Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why do you write?

I wanted to elaborate a bit more on yesterday's post. While writing is a necessity for most of us, I was curious as to why you do it? Yes, we love it, but what is the driving force behind it?

I know I write because I love to create, and there's so much going on in my head that if I didn't put it down somewhere and get it out, I would go crazy. Most of my emotions go into my writing and the story sometimes takes a turn depending on how I'm feeling at the time (not that it's always a good thing). It's not only a great outlet, but also a form of escapism.

I write when I need a break from everyday complicity, when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I want to think about something else, when I need to vent--the list goes on.

And lastly, yet probably the most obvious, although not everyone agrees...

I want to be published.

Plain and simple. I want to see my name and my words in print. Maybe it's the feat of overcoming that obstacle, chasing the white rabbit, obtaining that elusive goal, but I want it.

Now, of course, it's your turn: Why do you write?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And I can't fight this feeling anymore...

I'm frustrated. It's been almost 3 days, and I haven't had a chance to write - at ALL. I had a wedding to attend this weekend, and it was a LONG affair, which usurped the majority of my time.

Don't get me wrong--it was great--and nice to get out for a bit, but I was itching to get back to my little corner and write. I consoled myself with the fact that I would be home soon. When I got back however, things were exploding at work, and instead of writing, I ended up logging into the office, so once again, I was deprived of what I wanted to do. Needless to say, I was fuming.

And it got me thinking: when did writing become a necessity for me? Had it always been?

When I was younger, and throughout most of high school, I wrote every single day. EVERY single day, and it was so easy, and not much got in the way besides homework. I never had the chance to miss it. And it seemed like I had so much TIME (more on that later this week).

When University came around, other things were distracting me, and writing took a backseat, but I didn't mind so much because I figured I'd get back into it one day. Maybe. Probably. Unless life took another route...

For the past two years I've been writing consistently, as much as I can, and although life did take another route, it hasn't been any consolation, or gotten any easier. Because it's not the path I wanted to travel upon.

It really bugs me that things get in the way, although I know it's inevitable. I need to write,but I can't always just give into the urge on any whim. Even though I try to set aside time for it, things will pop up. Unavoidable things that have to be done.

So yes, writing is now a necessity to me. It's become an integral part of who I am, and I am downright antsy when I don't get to do it :).

What about you? Is writing a necessity for you? Do you find yourself wishing you were writing when you are caught up or busy with other things?

Friday, June 25, 2010

You are great because...

It's Friday! Woooooo :)

Now I want everyone to go into the weekend feeling happy and inspired, so I would like to do a little "kick-in-the-butt-indulgent-reminder" discussion today. (Yeah, it's weird, but you already know I'm all about making up things ;) )

I know we all have our down days (or weeks), but there is something (or many things) great and wonderful about each of us. Sometimes it's hard to remember this when you're feeling behind, or procrastinating, or stuck for ideas, or too busy to do what you love. Whatever the case may be, you're not alone and you are wonderful.

Got that?

You ARE wonderful. Because of who you are, not because of what you do or where you are.

It's not enough today to just repeat it after me, so I want each of you to share with me why you are.

It could be anything--because you're happy, fun-loving, a great writer, quirky, brave, positive, good at your job, caring, confident, like animals/people/creatures/aliens, a good parent/brother/sister/friend/aunt/uncle--okay.. you get the point. It literally can be annnyything. It just has be something that you know makes you wonderful.

I shall start:

I am wonderful because I am able to think outside of the box, am creative and am a loyal friend.

Now it's your turn to share: what makes you wonderful? Because remember, you are, we just need to be reminded every now and again.

Have a great weekend Everyone :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

That's Unreal... Or is it?

I came across a really great quote today and I wanted to share it with you guys.

"Imagination is the reality of the dreamer" - Scott Ringenbach

It's so true! As (fantasy) writers, we would be no where without our imaginations and whether we are born with it or develop it over time, by inherent nature, we are dreamers. I doubt you could truly embrace writing otherwise. We see the world a little differently, we hear voices when no one else can, we live for make believe.

That imaginary world inside of our heads is sometimes more real to us than the world outside.

I know that's the case for me. I'm not sure who I would be without my imagination. It's an integral part of my very being. Maybe that's why I'm so anxious to put it on paper, so other people can see the interesting, um... intricate workings of my mind :D.

Now it's your turn. Do you agree or disagree? Do you find that your imaginary world sometimes seems more real to you than your reality? Would you be lost without your imagination?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's Raining..It's Pouring...Creativity is Soaring

Most people when they wake up to a dreary, rainy day, they feel like crawling back into bed. It's the opposite for me.

We had a thunderstorm yesterday while I was at work, and all I kept doing was looking out the window and thinking how much I wanted to write. I had all these great ideas and expanding plot lines, but of course I couldn't act on them because... well... I was supposed to be working.

When I got home - it was bright and sunny, but I was no longer feeling that burning urge to write.

I find it's always that way with me - I write best on rainy days. I'll write on other days too, but it's the rainy days that really allow my creative mojo to soar. There's just something about the sound of the rain that relaxes my brain and allows me to just let go. I tend to get a lot done on those days.

Today is a rainy one too, and it's supposed to last all day - so let's see how much I achieve.

Do you have any specific kind of weather that inspires you to write? If not, do you have a specific day or time of day?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

I am very late with posting this, and I know it's gone around to quite a few of you already, so I am very sorry if there are any repeats.

Thank you so very much to both Melissa and Amanda for this award. You guys are the best :)

And if you guys haven't already checked out their blogs, please do so now, because they are awesome! :)

So, here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4) Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award

Here goes!

1. I've recently discovered gummy bear vitamins (yes, adults can take them too). Oh. My. God. What brilliant genius came up with this and why didn't they do so sooner?!

2. I am addicted to collecting TV series. I am currently trying to find all of my favorites from when I was young - I have: Saved by the Bell, Full House, Reba, Dukes of Hazzard & Mr. Bean to name a few.

3. We used to have budgies and they laid millions of eggs--that actually hatched! We didn't sleep for months because they sang all night (AND all day).

4. One of the things I look forward to the most on vacation is the FOOD.

5. I've never attended a Writer's Conference and I really, really want to. Can't wait for WriteOnCon!)

6. I used to be OBSESSED with origami - if you name it, I probably could have folded it.

7. Sadly, I can't remember the last time I got enough sleep or didn't feel tired (even with all the energy I get from those gummy bear vitamins!).

And I shall now pass this award on to these fabulous bloggers:

3. Simon @ Constant Revision
5. Lindsay @ Adventures in Writing
6. Aubrie @ Flutey Words...
8. Bekah @ Mrs. Bekah K
9. Sierra @ Sierra Godfrey
15. Regina @ Regina Rhythm

Monday, June 21, 2010


I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

So I wasn't able to stay exactly on track as I planned. I took far too many breaks--notice anything different on the site ;)--and got caught up reading dozens of blogs (I think I should also be blaming you people for having such interesting and entertaining reading material for me, but alas, that's like blaming the chocolate for finding its way into your mouth - you put it there, didn't you? Le sigh... I have no willpower).

Apart from my little rant though, I've come full circle. Back in the early stages of my blog, I made a referral to something I called constantcompulsiverevising-itis. You can read the post here, if you so desire.

THIS, my friends, is the problem. I like to revise way too quickly and way too often. I write a little, re-read it, and unless it's flowing exactly the way I think it should, I revise and edit right away, and then decide I don't like it, and suddenly I've taken 6 steps backwards.

So my new plan is going to be not to re-read my work until after it's written. Maybe then it will flow properly, because hopefully there will be words on the paper to entice flowyness. (Yup, today is all about making up words ;) )

Alrighty, now it's your turn. When do you revise your work? After it is complete or while working on it?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Moving in the Write Direction

It's Friday!! I feel like this week would never end - mainly because I am uber excited. About what, you ask?

I am going to WRITE this weekend.

I mean, actually (re) start and work on my MS. And while I know most of you are already doing this everyday, because--well, that's what we're supposed to be doing, I haven't been. *Hangs head in shame*

I've done my little exercise, my characters are ready and I'm just going to STARt. If I wait until I do a plot outline, etc., I'll keep changing things, and end up going backwards.

So this entire weekend will be dedicated to writing.

On a side note, I am also toying with a few ideas for weekly features (to be revealed in the next little while, so stay tuned :) )

How about you? What are your plans for the weekend? Do they involve writing?

Regardless, I hope you have a great one :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When Good Characters Go Bad (aka Character Backlash - Part Trois)

Alrighty, here is the second part of my story, continued from Tuesday's post. Before we get into it though, I just wanted to point out a few things as I think there might have been some confusion.

So in Monday's post, I mentioned that I was having some trouble with my MC's in my current MS - this story I am posting here is a little exercise that I did over the weekend as my way of getting reacquainted with them - only I found that they had changed and I no longer recognized them. They are upset with me because I abandoned them and haven't been writing for a while. The narrator in the story is me interacting with my characters :) I hope that clears things up a little and provides some more background--I'm sorry if it was too ambiguous.

What Happened - Part 2

“Wait!” I scream it, my words slicing through the thick air with little effect, like a dull knife.

The street lamps above my head are flickering, and frantically, plunging forward as though I am caught in a kaleidoscope of incomplete dreams, I dash after them.

“Wait! Don’t go!”


I run and run, until I am out of breath, and my side is cramping. I cannot catch up with them. I stumble, unable to keep moving. I have to face the truth.

I can no longer see them. The lights go out, and I am hurled into a dismal abyss. What am I to do now?

I stifle a scream when I feel the hand on my shoulder.

“We’re still here,” she says calmly. I hear a grunt of disapproval from her left.

I grasp her fingers blindly. “You came back!”

“Yes,” she responds. “I want to give you another chance. You deserve another chance. He has agreed.”

“She doesn’t deserve it—she’s being honored with it.”

I nearly sob with relief. “Thank you! I promise this time—”

“No,” she cuts me off. “What you must understand is that things are different. Nothing can be the same. A lot of time has passed.”

“I understand...” But really, I don’t.

“We won’t wait around again,” he adds, his tone hollow. “We can’t do it again.”

“Take your time,” she adds, her own voice gentler, “but don’t leave. Don’t give up on us. You need to believe. Promise me.”

“I promise,” I swear fervently, desperately. I need them. They need me.

“Then open your eyes and begin again,” the lights are flickering once more.

“What’s happening?” I feel like I’m yelling, but the words are barely a whisper.

They are circling me, closing in and pushing through the brick wall that surrounds me, interjecting themselves into my mind, leaving their imprint.

I exhale and slowly open my eyes, finally able to see…

The End

And on that note - my characters and I are back on agreed terms - I can't say good, because I'm not sure they are as yet. It's almost as if I need to reestablish their trust. They will let me write about them, but I need to commit to it and to them, something I have resolved to do. On the other hand, I do feel like I've awoken from a bad dream.

This was an interesting exercise - I've never done something quite like this, but I found it was very useful.

What about you? Have you ever tried such a writing exercise? What sort of things do you do when your characters start acting up?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Breaking Through the Nutshell

I just received my first award! Thank you to the lovely Amanda Sablan for passing this on to me :)

Okay, so what you're supposed to do here is list 10 facts that are not common knowledge and pass them along to other wonderful bloggers. Unfortunately, not many of the things I currently know are unknown, so you are going to have to settle for things you don't know about mE!

It hit me when I started to write this that I actually did something similar a few months back here, so I needed to think of 10 other things you don't already know.

Sooo, without further ado:

1. I love to cook and invent new (sometimes strange) dishes/desserts - I have invented the "Bumuco". What is it you ask? Why, it's a cross between a biscuit, a muffin and a cookie, quite tasty, and quite discovered by accident when a cookie recipe went wrong ;).

2. I detest cold weather - and the older I get, the more I hate it. I would love to live some place where it is warm and sunny year round.

3. I have a secret dream of owning a library like the one in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

4. I am probably the most indecisive person you will ever meet when it comes to buying things - food, clothes, shoes, furniture - you name it. It takes me forever to decide whether or not I want something. The only things I'm always sure about buying are books and movies.

5. I love making lists. I have a list for everything. Groceries, plots, characters, travel plans, music, etc.

6. I can't walk straight. I don't know why or how this occurs, or if I am totally unbalanced, but people are always telling me that I am pushing them off the sidewalks.

7. Sometimes when I see people, I imagine out entire stories for them in my head.

8. I am way too shy--crowds and being the center of attention make me verrrrry nervous.

9. I think I have a very developed sense of smell. I seem to be able to pick up on smells much faster than other people - comes in handy if food is going bad, and no one else can tell!

10. I am unable to sleep unless the curtains are tightly drawn (or if the closet door is open). I have to get up and close them if I see even the tiniest sliver of light. Regardless though, I am an insomniac.

Done! That was so much harder than I thought it would be!

Alrighty, I shall now pass this on to these awesome bloggers:

Justine @ Justine Dell
Jemi @ Just Jemi

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When Good Characters Go Bad (aka Character Backlash - Part Deux)

Alrighty, as promised, here is a look into the crazy inner workings of my mind. Even as I write this, I'm wondering what I'm getting myself into. I never actually meant for anyone to read this - but as they say, we all have to start somewhere. It's very rough... so please excuse any glaring errors.

Oh, and there are no names included just because at this point, I sort of feel like I don't know them *sobs* :)

What Happened - Part 1

It’s cold. It’s never been this cold before. It’s never sounded this quiet or been this empty. I’m all alone. For the first time in months, I am irrevocably alone. I refuse to accept it and search in vain for a sign, anything, something to show me that I haven’t lost it all. I almost miss him when my eyes finally light upon his figure. Night has fallen, and long shadows are cast along his face, ­partially hiding it from me.

In this light, he looks more dangerous than usual, but less fiery than I remember him. It feels as though time has robbed him of his very essence, everything that he once was. His previously solid frame now appears thin and vacant, the locks of his hair too long, reaching past his bony shoulders and blending in with the darkness surrounding him. The stark contrast gives his face an eerie glow, luminescent, yet suspicious, wary of my sudden return.

“Where have you been?” His voice is gravelly, as though he hasn’t used it for a while.

He shifts, his movement almost imperceptible, coming slightly out of the gloom. I take a hesitant step back – even though I’ve been waiting for this moment, longing to see him again. He’s angry. I can see it in his fierce gray eyes as they rove over, and finally settle on my face, icy and distant. The harsh planes of his profile are no longer familiar. I swallow hard.

“I—I’m sorry,” I stammer, knowing it excuses nothing. “It’s just that...” I trail off, not sure of exactly what to say.

“You started this whole thing, and then you just abandon us?” His tone teeters between incredulous and seething.

He won’t look at me any longer. His eyes have moved to the far right, staring at something over my shoulder, something I can’t see, and can’t even begin to relate to. He looks older, robbed of his youth, having been left to wait for something that never came.

“I didn’t mean to!” I protest, desperate for him to understand. I never meant for this to happen. But I had been wrong to leave things the way they were.

He doesn’t respond.

“Honestly,” I reach out to touch him, but he stiffens, and my hand falls limply at my side. “Please believe me.”

“Why.” He sounds broken now, more emotion in that single word than he has ever shown before.

He glares at me defiantly when I don’t answer, suddenly composing himself. “Why should I believe you? You’ve stopped believing in us, haven’t you?”

I feel like crying. I’m too ashamed to speak, even though he’s got it all wrong. I didn’t stop believing in them, I stopped believing in me.

“She needs another chance.”

I jump at the sound of her voice.

Squinting, I see her materialize out of the shadows behind him. Her face is drawn and pale, her dark hair in tangles, and the bluish tint that rims the bottom of her eyes make her look as though she hasn’t slept in months. He reaches behind him to take her hand. She squeezes his and I realize with a start that they have turned to each other for solace. These two, who cannot stand each other’s company, together.

My heart is breaking. How could I have done this? What was I thinking?

“We’re leaving,” he says firmly.

“No,” she responds softly. She touches his face lightly, soothing him, before turning to me. “I’m sure you had a good reason.” She takes a step closer, her eyes pleading.

But I don’t. I have no feasible reason at all. But I don’t say it. How can I admit to it?

We’re the same height though and I can’t look away. She reads the answer on my face.

“See,” he growls roughly from behind, having already come to the same conclusion on his own, “I told you. Let’s get out of here.”

The small speckle of hope vanishes from her face, making the last remaining light in her eyes dim, and she makes no effort to conceal her disappointment in me.

He’s pulling her now. Pulling her in the opposite direction, away from me, away from the three of us and the good thing we shared. He’s always been too headstrong.

I cringe. Why did I make him that way?

They’re disappearing right before my eyes, fading into the night that gobbles them up greedily. Soon they will be gone, and there will be no more.

What do I do? What can I say? How can I make this right? Too much time has passed. Still though, I must try...

To be continued... on Thursday! Thanks for reading :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Character Backlash

I've been saying for a couple of weeks now that I am going to get back into my manuscript. And this weekend--I tried. I read everything I've written to date over again (the initial 200 pages that I had scrapped and the next 45 I wrote recently) to see if I could salvage anything that qualified as usable.

Yeah, it so did not work. It's just not going where I need it to go.

I'm honestly going to have to start anew--which is okay, because I have tons of ideas doing battle in my mind for their chance in the spotlight.

I decided however, that I wanted to use the same main characters. I've spent so much time developing them, and making them mine that I am loath to let them go. They're like real people to me. I hear their thoughts. I feel their emotions. (I'm not crazy though... right?)

But I couldn't get back into them either. Too much time had passed. I missed them dearly, yet it was like they had given up on me. It was very disconcerting.

So what I ended up doing was writing a very short story on my re-encounter with them. When I re-read it, I was surprised to see what had transpired and how--I don't know--dark--my two charismatic main characters suddenly seemed.

Things are different now, but instead of telling you, I am going to show you. What do I mean by that?

Okay, so I debated and debated, and thought about it, and debated, and thought, and hesitated and thought again, and finally decided maybe I'll post my crazy little story on here for you to read. I need to start to get comfortable with my work being read by others, and you wonderful people get to be the first (apart from my sister). Don't you feel scared--er--I mean--special? :D

But because I am positively evil ;), I'm going to post it in two parts, and the first one shall be revealed tomorrow.

Now people, it's your turn. Have you ever experienced this type of character backlash? Have your characters ever changed on you (particularly if you abandoned them for some time)? What did you do?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wait! Wait up for me!

So we briefly touched upon this subject on Wednesday (and I apologize for moving this post to Friday - besides getting distracted, I thought it might be some nice food for thought over the weekend).  
To recap: "Some of us are born ready to take the world by storm, while some of us are biding our time, slowly crawling out of our shells".

Let's face it. Some of us were meant to be in the spotlight. Others--not so much. I've been reading quite a few blogs/comments lately where writers are worried they're not good enough, they're not writing fast enough or they don't have what it takes to be a full fledged author. Sure--they like to write, but liking something and attaining it are two very different things. Maybe. But doing something? Anything? It counts! Trust me!

I think even the people that love the spotlight and are incredibly socially adept at making others gravitate towards them still have these same fears. They are completely natural, and you're no less or more for having them.
Writing (as well with many other forms of artistic expression - but this is the one we are focusing on here) is baring your soul.  And that's a hard thing to let others in on.  When we write, we're creating - creating the world as we see it, as it exists in our own minds.
Yes, we are all on the same path, but the journey is ours and ours alone.  The same thing that brings us together is also what makes us different - we are each unique, regardless of the type of writer we are.  Again, we are all on the same path, no matter how quickly or slowly we traverse down it.  
Keep in mind, almost all of these paths started with a dream - no, not literally (for all you Stephenie Meyer fans out there ;).
I mean the dream inside of you. You love to write. You love seeing the way the words grow and evolve on the page.  You love that as scared as you are, that someone, some day, might read those words, and love them as much as you do.
So, repeat after me: WE ARE NOT ALONE!  We're all in this together!  
Regardless of what type you are - the one racing towards the finish line, or the one in the corner, peeping out to see when it's safe - we're all starting at the same place, and we will all meet up there at the end and celebrate!
Happy Friday Everyone!  Have a great weekend, and I will see you Monday :)  As always, I would love to hear your comments.  Please share!  Do you agree?  Do you have anything to add?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

But...But...It's so Prrrrettty!

Okay, so I know that today's post was supposed to be about different personality types, but you see, what happened was that I got...uh... sidetracked, and *shifty eyes*, which in turn, segued into this post. (Never fear though, we will discuss personality tomorrow)

Yes, in one form or another, we have all experienced this--it's more severe in some of us than others, but no matter when or where it strikes, it has the same incapacitating effect - we end up not doing what we're supposed to be doing: writing!

I think you know what I am referring to here? Uh huh... Distractions!

Unfortunately, for me, unless I unplug my internet while I write (which I am seriously considering doing), it's my number one distraction. I always justify it by telling myself what I am actually doing when I pause in the middle of my MS to google something very important is research. And even though I end up reading blogs instead, it's okay. Because this is relatively new to me, and there's such a wealth of information out there, and I have to learn, right?

Wrong! Well, not completely :)

Yes, we need to research, but there is a time and place for everything. May I suggest writing down what it is you want to know on your handy dandy post-it sticky, and come back to it later during your free time (this is clearly advice I need to follow myself). Just keep writing even if you need some more information for the scene. Because once you stop, there's no telling when you will go back and what frame of mind you will be in.

While internet is the biggest one for me, there's also books, television, people, food and other. There is so much more that falls into that other category. I find I get the most easily distracted when I'm procrastinating (see the segue ;) )

Now it's sharing time. What are some of your distractions and how easy is it for them to pull you away from what you are supposed to be doing?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why do today what you can do tomorrow?

Yesterday we talked about having a fear of writing.

Today, I wanted to elaborate on what stems from that fear, or rather, what spurs it on (for me at least)--procrastination.

I'm a planner by nature most of the time--I like things to follow a certain order--but if I'm faced with something that scares me, I will do almost anything to avoid doing it right away (for instance--rearranging my whole room or alphabetizing my cans in the kitchen cupboard...uh, yes, I did that). Once I get into it though, you can't stop me. I don't like doing things last minute, but every now and again, I will stall for as long as I can.

But what causes this?

Why do some of us hit the procrastination button when we are faced with certain situations, while others immediately pass "Go" and never pause, even to collect $200? It may just boil down to force of habit.

Some of us are born ready to take the world by storm, while some of us are biding our time, slowly crawling out of our shells and both are okay! (Just as an fyi, we are going to go into further detail on this particular point in tomorrow's post)

Back to the topic at hand however - take heart. For those of us running in the opposite direction--we are going to change!

So what's our new re-jigged mantra going to be? Courtesy of Mr. Jefferson (yes, it's not an exact eye opener - but it works and we forget sometimes!):

"Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?"

Because we are all going places people, and we have to get there, regardless of when!

Okay, show of hands--who here is a procrastinator with me? You get a high five. And if you're not, you get a high five too (but please share your techniques with us)!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Confession Time

I have a confession to make:

Writing scares me. Ahem. Writing scares me!

There. I said wrote it.

I didn't think it did, but I have to face the truth, because the sooner you accept something, the sooner you can move forward. The only reason I am realizing it now is because I am currently on my third attempt at my novel, and after re-reading the first two botched manuscripts sitting on my desktop, my fingers and brain feel frozen.

I love it. I hate it. I want to be published. I'm terrified of having people read my work. I don't want to write. I can't stop. This journey is just one big oxymoron. But it's worth it ;)

I promised myself I would get back into it this week, but I keep opening a new word document, only to stare, and then close it again after a few moments. It's okay, it's only Tuesday. The muse is there--I think it might just be shy, perhaps because I've been so hard on it in the past. We are going to get reacquainted this week, and I will keep you all posted on progress.

My question to you is whether, as much as you love it, (because we all do, otherwise we wouldn't be doing this) do any of you have a similar fear of writing? For those of you who have finished your MS, does it ever get any better?

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Art of Reading - Through a Writer's Eyes

I've always been a fairly voracious reader. I devour books. When I was little, I couldn't go to sleep unless I had been read to. As I grew older, I had to read at least one chapter, and then two, and then three--until eventually, it was the entire book that needed to be finished before going to bed (and trust me, this made for some very exhausting days at school).

That's the thing about reading - the way that almost any book, well written, and thoughtfully crafted, can completely transport you to another world. You don't want to put it down. You can utterly submerse yourself into the storyline and become a part of it.

The sad thing is when I'm writing, I'm not quite able to enjoy reading in the same way. It's like my brain fully rewires itself into "analyze mode" and all I can see is the technicality of the writing. I'm constantly picking apart each element of the novel, frequently going back and re-reading certain parts to see if they match up--it almost becomes very tedious, but I can't help it. While I still lose myself in the story, the expression "reading for fun" now has a different meaning for me.

Despite this, while I'm picking apart all these novels - I know it's because I'm learning. This never happened before when I was just writing for myself. Now that I'm positive I would like to someday be published, these are the sorts of things I am suddenly paying attention to. I'm learning not only about writing, but also about technique and myself--what works, what doesn't, what I enjoy, what I don't, how the story should flow, etc. When you really look at it, the book you're holding in your hands is something someone, somewhere thought was good enough to be printed - we can all learn from that.

Don't get me wrong - I can never stop loving reading - it's almost like breathing to me, it's just a different experience when I'm writing at the same time :).

Does this ever happen to you? Have you found that reading has changed for you since you became serious about writing?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gender Specifics

Being a female myself, I have always written from the female perspective--because it's what I know. My MC is always a girl. When I was younger however, I used to want to show what everyone in the story felt, so I would end up writing from ALL character perspectives--male, female, animal, name it.

Eventually I just stuck with the female POV because it made sense. But I like to know what everyone else is thinking too--especially the male MC and particularly if he is the love interest of my female MC. I always imagine how things are on his end of the spectrum in vivid detail, because even though readers aren't seeing things as they progress in his mind, I want them to be able to understand his actions and reactions.

It's not necessary to make your MC the same gender as you in order to write a good book. Look at J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter anyone? How about E.B. White and Charlotte's Web? Or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Also Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I think you should be able to write from any perspective as long as you understand your character and know what it is you want to convey to your reader.

I am curious to know whether your MC is a male or female. From what perspective do you write and why did you choose the same or opposite of what you are? Which is easier for you?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let Us Die Young or Let Us Live Forever

Yup, I'm quoting the Jay-Z song here.

In today's post, I would like to discuss the idea of character immortality in books and what it is about it that draws readers in. Vampires, Werewolves, Immortals, Angels... just to name a few ;).

There has been a surge in these types of characters recently, but they have existed in stories forever. Many fantasy novels involve at least one type of immortal character, if not more. They are usually young and beautiful, frozen that way, both doomed and destined to roam the world for all eternity. But what makes them so appealing?

Is it that they never get older? They are literally "forever young", and considering the human quest to unlock that elusive fountain of youth, perhaps this is what draws us to them. They don't need to die young to be immortalized or obtain perpetual youth. People will never remember them as old, aged or wrinkly. They get to live forever, never age, never get sick, experience all life has to offer, to do it all with no regrets--because they always have that second, third, fourth chance to make it right. But do they?

Not always.

Perhaps it's the tortured soul that we sympathize with. The lost wanderer who is all alone with no one to turn to because he/she eventually loses the people and things they love, while they themselves continue to merely exist, but not really live anymore.

What do you think? Are your characters immortal and if so, why did you choose to make them that way (of course, depending on the genre you are writing)? And if not, what is your opinion of the appeal of these characters?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Honing Your Writing Skills

It's a fact. The more a person writes, the better at it they become. I've definitely noticed a very slight improvement over the last 3 failed drafts of my novel. In each one, the writing has gotten consecutively better, even though the story is still not coming out right.

I haven't been getting to write as much as I would like to over the last few weeks, and all the words just get bottled up inside, and eventually they start becoming jumbled. So then--how is my writing getting better if I'm barely writing at all?

Today it hit me.

While at work, I was trying to reword and decode a very long, frustrating email for public distribution. As I sat there, thinking my time could be better spent actually writing, I realized that's exactly what I was doing. I was writing. And I'm fortunate to be in a job where I constantly am writing, even though it's not the type of writing I would prefer to be doing.

I think every little bit helps. Writing in some form or fashion, whatever it is--helps. And your writing is improving, even if you think it's not.

I would like to throw this out there. What do you do to hone your writing skills? Are you currently in a job or situation which allows you to give your talent a workout?

Bye for now!