Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"If writers stopped writing about what happened to them, then there would be a lot of empty pages" Elaine Liner
It's true. Most of our writing is derived from our experiences in real life. I think if we didn't have experiences that we thought were worth writing about, our lives would be pretty dull. The sad thing is, not everyone wants to write about them.
Setting, characters, motivation... they can come from anywhere--places we've visited, people we've met, things we've done.
We all have a story to tell.
Sometimes though, I think it's about the story you want to create.
A lot of my writing comes from my imagination, with a tiny bit of my experiences thrown in here and there for good measure. Depending on the day, and my mood, there may be more or less.
But a lot of it comes from things I wonder about, things that take up room in my brain, and give life to my imagination. It's the stuff that keeps me up at night, thinking, "now, wouldn't that be cool".
I guess at the end of the day, you need to do what feels comfortable for you - there's no right or wrong way.
Do you write mostly from your own experiences, or do you write based upon something you've created in your head?
Monday, October 25, 2010
Yup people, November, also known as Nation Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is just around the corner!
Although I'm pretty certain everyone reading this post is already very familiar with exactly what NaNo is, if by any chance you're lost right now, go here to find out more and register!
Basically, it's the one month of the year that we all huddle down in the cave, and write our butts off in hopes of attaining the true honor of being able to say "I wrote 50K in one month!"
I signed up last year, and was able to report a very shameful 0 words (*hangs head in shame*)... yes 0 (don't look at me like that! ;) ).
I was all gung-ho and signed up for the first time ever, yet I didn't even go anywhere near my MS for the entire month.
Not this year--I've signed up again, and I will not be defeated!
I've estimated that I have approximately 40K left to finish this current MS. I know a lot of people tend to either start new projects for NaNo, or use the time to push forward with their current novels.
I'm not sure yet exactly what I want to do. I think I should continue with my current MS, since I've built up a really great momentum in the past week, and I'm scared that if I stop and take a break, I'll lose it.
At the same time, it seems like a great opportunity to start something new... pluck one of the ideas simmering on the back burner and bring them into the limelight.
I'll see how this week goes before I decide. I hope you'll join me next month though :)
How about you? Are you signing up for NaNo this year? Will you be starting a new project, or trying to get 50K in on your current one?
Friday, October 22, 2010
So as I mentioned last week, I have decided to stick with my current WiP, and boy am I glad I did. It was like as soon as I made up my mind and committed to it, the ideas just started flowing.
And it's weird, because it feels like they're coming out of no where. Next week, I will give you some examples of what I mean.
For today, I wanted to update you on my progress.
This week alone, I was able to write 10k... I don't know if that's a lot or a little bit by normal standards, but for me, it's huge. I haven't written that much since my break.
Along with the word count increase, I also went back and edited the first 50 pages that I knew needed to change.
So yes, it has been a VERY productive week.
I hope next week is just like this one, if not better :D
How are you guys all coming along with your current projects?
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! :)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Alrighty, so I've settled on "Words for Wednesdays"... I'm sure there are other wacky titles I could use, and when I think of them, you can be sure it's going to change ;)
"Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult" Stephen Leacock
I am always daydreaming.
I think at least fifteen times per day (sometimes more, sometimes less), I think to myself, "what if". It's usually based on something that transpires around me, or some random thought that meanders into my brain, but I'm constantly thinking, "hey, maybe that would be a great idea for a story".
The thing is - apart from that one liner, many of those ideas never come to fruition (that may actually be a good thing because otherwise I'd have a lot of half written stories lying around). If I remember however, I do jot them down, and hope that one day I'll return to them.
So while I don't exactly have trouble with ideas occurring or with jotting them down, sometimes, when I start panicking, or worrying, I do have trouble with expanding on them. One idea doesn't always lead to another, and some days or weeks, I can be stuck for hours, racking my brain, and wondering what the heck I was thinking. Sometimes what seems like a great idea at the time, is much more difficult to build upon from that one liner.
It's true though. Jotting down your great ideas is relatively simple. Keeping hold of the ever slippery muse? A whole other story ;)
What about you? Do you ever struggle with coming up with ideas? What part of writing is the easiest for you?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Alright everyone, like I said yesterday, we are interrupting our usual programming to bring you a very special announcement.
We've been counting down the days, and it's finally here!
As many of you may know, today is the official release date of our dear friend Alex's debut novel, CassaStar.
If you're new to the blog, please go visit Alex's site, and check out his virtual tour schedule. I promise you, you won't be disappointed!
Monday, October 18, 2010
In last Friday's post, I referred to the difference between good writing and good story telling.
A lot of people will say that an adverb riddled, dialog tag filled piece of work is bad writing. Now, while I know the rules, and do believe they should be followed to an extent, I can't say I completely agree with this statement.
If the story is compelling, the characters believable, the arguments strong enough, I find I'll overlook the "bad" writing, because the important thing--the story--is there.
I want to compare this to watching a movie. Sometimes you leave a movie feeling fulfilled and satisfied, having just watched an epic film that will stay with you for weeks. A good book should do the same. You would never leave a movie saying it wasn't well written, you would say that the "storyline" had potential, but they didn't fully develop it.
The difference with a movie is that you're watching the event play out in real time in front of you. In books, a good and well told story will play out in your mind in the same way, regardless of how it's written.
I think everyone can learn how to write well, but being able to create and tell a strong and masterful story... this is a gift. Some people are naturally born storytellers, but those people don't always turn out to be writers. This works in the opposite too.
In my honest opinion, it's all about balance, and that is something we can all learn. A good book should be able to move you, whether it's through the phenomenal writing, or the engaging storytelling, or best of all, a little bit of both. We all obviously have a story to tell, otherwise we wouldn't be writing.
I think in the end, we're all trying, and we're all learning, and this determination and perseverance will make each one of us winners.
What about you? What is the difference between good story telling and good writing? Is there a difference, or do they go hand in hand?
******AND please be sure to check back tomorrow, yes, TOMORROW, for an unscheduled posting and a very special announcement... and NO, I'm not telling you what it is... you'll just have to come back and see ;)******
Friday, October 15, 2010
I'm almost finished the 6th Harry Potter book.
I'm trying to read it as slowly as I can, just to savor it.
I don't want them to end! I think if I had managed to read them at some point before now, I would have re-read them about 20 times by now.
I've been going back and watching the movies as I've finished each book, and not only do so many spotty parts make sense now, but I'm beginning to wonder how I thought the movies were so good. They're well done, yes, but the story... oh my gosh.... there is SO much in those books that you couldn't even fit into a DAY long movie!
J.K. Rowling definitely has a gift. She is an amazing story teller. She hooked me right from the beginning with Book 1. I'm almost debating if to re-read the series right now when I've finished, but alas, The Hunger Games calls...
When I'm writing, I usually can't read books without being overly critical and analytical, because I move into full time editing mode.
But this one?
The story just pulled me right in, and I'm not even pausing to notice if there are any glaring flaws.
I think that's what good books are about... next week we'll delve a little bit further into the difference between good writing and good storytelling.
What books have you read recently (or in the past) that had a captivating story?
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Okay, I'm still wrestling with the Wednesday title for this feature, so until I figure, it will be the above :D
"When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am grown up, they call me a writer." Isaac Bashevis Singer
Well, in my case, it was when I was little girl, and it wasn't a so much a liar as it was, "well, she has a vivid imagination", and "I have no idea how she comes up with these things". ;)
I've always loved to spin stories, especially ghost/mystery stories, vampire stories, always involving teens or preteens, though these days the scary elements have disappeared. I used to love to scare my cousins at our sleepovers with grim, haunting stories that used to keep us up at night, shivering under the covers at 3 a.m., positive we were hearing someone slowly creaking up the stairs towards us, or seeing something peering in the window with glowing red eyes.
At the time, I didn't think of it as story telling, or even that I might want to be a writer someday (in fact, I was pretty sure I was going to be a lawyer). It was just natural to me. It was what I did, a part of who I was, and I thought everyone else did the same.
So when I was told that I had a vivid imagination, I wasn't sure if I was being insulted or not.
To this day, I guess I'm still telling myself these little made up tales, but it's good to know that the "vivid" imagination seems to be leading somewhere. "She's a writer" sounds much nicer than "she's a liar".
Now it's your turn. Were you the type to always tell yourself (and others) stories? Were you labelled as a "liar" (:D) or like me, told it was just an overactive imagination? Did you know you would one day be a writer?
Monday, October 11, 2010
I hope everyone had a great weekend!
I spent the weekend going over, and actually re-reading my current MS (yes, the one I mentioned shelving last week). I know, I know... before you start yelling about the dangers of doing this, hear me out :)
I needed to do this to see exactly where I was. I started writing it in July, so quite a bit of time has passed since I first put those words to paper. I wanted to see what drew me to writing them in the first place.
And surprisingly, I'm actually glad I did--because as you know--this usually has the opposite effect on me. I think with some minor tweaking at the beginning, and some major tweaking in the middle--which is where I am--this thing might be salvageable.
I'm loathed to let this one go too. Despite my misgivings, I really have become attached to these characters and the story. I just can't stop thinking about it, even when I wasn't writing it.
Sooooo.... on that note, many of you will be glad to hear that, as you had strongly advised, I have decided to continue with this MS.
If it works, it works, and that's great, but if at the end it doesn't, at least I can say I tried and I completed it, and learned something along the way, which in the long run, may help me more than abandoning it at this stage.
What about you? What factors make you either push on with a project that might seem hopeless despite the potential, or shelve it to start a new one?
p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! :)
Friday, October 8, 2010
Happy Friday Everyone!
So as I mentioned earlier this week, I will be unveiling my new blogging schedule today.
Previously, I tried to post everyday. While I love doing this, it's unfortunately not leaving me much time to anything else... like write my book ;). This will also give me more time to visit all of you too. What can I say... I have a serious addiction, and I can't/won't kick the habit, so I needed to find a compromise.
Thus I've decided to post 3 days a week. Henceforth, I will be blogging on:
Thoughts for Thursdays will now be..umm.. something for Wednesdays (Words for Wednesdays?)
There may be the occasional, additional postings when fits of randomness strike (and you know they will).
I'll also do bi-weekly WiP updates on Fridays.
There we have it.
I hope everyone has a fantabulous weekend :D. What are your plans? Anything exciting in the works?
Thursday, October 7, 2010
I know I usually do a "Thoughts" post on Thursdays, but as I will be posting a new blogging schedule tomorrow, I decided that I will do something a little different today.
Since my return this week, with visiting everyone, and seeing your comments, I've started thinking about why I blog.
I began this journey just over a year now, and I was reading the first post I made in July of 2009. It seems so long ago, and things are very different now. I was a sporadic blogger for a while, mostly lurking, too shy and scared... worried that no one would want to read what I had to say. I decided to take the plunge however (because you never know until you put yourself out there) and I became fairly active this year.
I know people say blogging, twittering, facebooking, etc. are all great ways to build your platform. Especially if you want to be a writer - it's good to earn your audience now, to get your name out there. And while this is all true--I'm not sure it's why I started, or even why I continue.
I blog anonymously right now. I'm not quite ready to share myself with the world as yet (rest assured, as soon as I'm ready to reveal myself, you guys will be the first to know!).
Because of that, this was supposed to be an online journal, a way to share with the world what I was doing even though no one else (apart from my sister) knows. It was a way to get myself out there without really putting myself out there... if that makes sense.
Because you guys get it. You get what this is all about.
Because you do it too.
Writing is one of the most personal things you can do - you're letting people into your head... to see your innermost thoughts and feelings. It's a scary thing.
The thing is... blogging has become so much more than what I initially meant it to be. I've connected with so many wonderful people, in all different stages of this process, and I've learned so much from each and every one of you. You are all inspiring and positive, you let me vent and you "listen". I'm able to express myself freely without fear of the blank "look" or sense of confusion you can sometimes get from people when you tell them you want to be a "writer". I'm able to share with you and take part in all of your experiences and journeys too.
So for all that and more...thank you :)
This is why I blog.
Why do YOU blog?
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Soo... I'm sure you've been wondering since my return... did she meet her lofty goal?
And the sad, sad answer, as you may have already deduced from the little wordometer in my sidebar, while I did make progress, I definitely did not finish - or even get half way :(.
I'm not too upset though, I got much further than I have all year. I have 25k, and just over 100 pages. Most of my word count was obtained during those first two weeks of my break--before things got too hectic.
As you can guess, I'm not querying this year--which as many of you have told me, is okay. It's better to not rush through it and submit something of less quality than I'm capable of. This first novel is the only one you actually have all the time in the world for.
You want to hear the bad part?
I want to start over. AGAIN.
I must have some sort of strange complex. Even though I've been good with this one! I haven't been re-reading or revising throughout. But I'm watching the story in my head, and I don't like the way it's playing out, and I keep having visions of a different beginning, different dialogue, different plot overall...
I'm okay with starting it again... I'm just wondering how many times I'll keep doing this. I always say "there's a reason for everything", and I know there's a reason I need to keep working until I get this story to come out exactly the way I want it to.
Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself? Maybe I'm just crazy... ;)
How many of you suffer from this dilemma? How many times did you restart your WiP before you were able to finish it? If you have finished - when did you know it was right?
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Warning: this post is almost entirely NOT about writing
This past little while has been absolutely crazy! Between two weddings and two sets of relatives visiting for an extended amount of time at alternate times, needless to say, my "time off" has been quite hectic.
Relatives took up the last bit of my summer, but it was great to have that mini reunion, as my family from New York hadn't visited since 2006. We usually visit them at least once or twice every year, but we haven't had a chance to this year. We're debating a visit in November.
I went to the zoo for the first time in eleven years around the end of summer. I don't think it's changed one bit, but I love it all the same! I can't believe it took me so long to go back. Random: has anyone ever seen an elephant pee before? Because let me tell you, it's not something you'll soon forget :|.
September was wedding month. Both my cousin and my best friend (separate people) got married (not to each other). My friend has actually moved away, and I've been really feeling that loss this week, as I used to meet her for lunch almost everyday!
I also started reading the Harry Potter series (for the FIRST time--yes, I know, gasp!), and I am currently on Book 6 - The Half Blood Prince (yes... apparently I'm so clever as to choose my writing break to undertake this task). Can I just ask you... was I living under a rock all this time? How have I not read these books before? They are AMAZING, and J.K. Rowling is fast becoming a favorite author :D. That woman can definitely tell a story. She was on Oprah the other day.
That was my break in a nutshell... I guess I lied... it was ENTIRELY not about writing, but don't worry - that's coming tomorrow ;).
What exciting things have YOU done in the last little while?
...And now for your viewing pleasure:
Bye for now!
Monday, October 4, 2010
That's right... after almost a month and a half, I am back!
I missed you guys so much! I've been trying to visit your blogs as much as I can, and if I haven't made it to yours, I'm sorry...but don't worry, I will!
As I sit here typing this, it's both foreign and familiar, kind of like coming home after being away for too long. I can't believe so much time has passed, yet at the same time, it's kind of like I never left? Does that make sense?
Soooo... what have I been up to for the last little while, you ask?
All this and more shall be revealed over the course of the upcoming week, as well as a new blogging schedule to be unveiled on Friday. Hmm... exciting, I know :D
Just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive and kicking.
Hope to see you all again soon! :)