The Meaning of Weekend — August 12, 2013

The Meaning of Weekend

Coming off a nice relaxing weekend, I’m contemplating what decisions led to that and what might lead to more relaxing weekends.

First off, I think the most important one is that I take Sundays off from writing. I think it’s good to have at least one day where I’m allowed to just relax and not think about work in whatever form it comes. Will there be times when I can’t take Sundays off from writing? Maybe. But I know that if I have it firmly planted in my mind that Sundays are writing-free days, it’ll be easier to keep to it later. I might have to work harder the other days of the week to allow for it, but it’s worth it.

Second, I’ve often contemplated making Saturdays permanent writing-free days too. Quite often Saturdays become my day to get everything done that didn’t get done in the week. And when that happens, it’s suddenly 11 at night and I need to get to bed.

Third, I try not to stick to a schedule too much on the weekends. Other than church, nothing is planned unless it’s tickets to a movie. Or a rodeo or play or something. (I’m a girl of many likes.)

Lastly, I do my best to eliminate guilt from my weekends. Guilt over not doing this or doing that, etcetera. When I’m relaxing, it’s because I need it. And I refuse to feel guilty for that.

Because the true meaning of weekend is resting from your everyday labors and commitments, if you ask me.

What’s your favorite thing about weekends?

(P.S. Why do weekends have to be so short?)

I got nothing — February 14, 2013

I got nothing

Honestly, I have no idea what to write about on this blog anymore.

I still haven’t decided if I’m coming off writing hiatus. If I do, I don’t know what I’ll write. I don’t have any ideas that don’t rely on Woven getting published. Crazy, I know. But it’s how it’s been for a while. There is an inkling of an idea, but it will take a lot of research to even really come up with a full-fledged idea.

I haven’t really been reading much either. Which makes me sad. But it doesn’t at the same time.

It’s official — October 19, 2009

It’s official

I’m insane.  iminsaneiminsaneiminsaneiminsane

Do I need to say it any more times?

I’m insane.

I’m going back to school.

Because, you know, two college degrees aren’t enough.

Sigh.

This is really gonna put a crimp on my writing time and such.  But it won’t happen until January.  (If I get in at all.)  I know it’s been said we shouldn’t talk about rejections on our blogs.  But this isn’t the type of rejection that I have to avoid speaking of.  I really don’t think I’ll not get in, but you never know.  They might look at my transcripts and such and be all, “You’ve got two degrees.  No, we can’t let you in.  You’re on your own.”  You never know.

But, yeah, that’s the plan right now.  I’ll be hopefully getting a bachelor’s degree in art and visual communication.  So I’ll be taking drawing classes, photography classes, and learning all about typography and such things as go into the design of a book.  Well, my emphasis will be on graphic design.  So it’ll be fun.  I’m really excited about the prospect.

Now I just need to get Oracles Promise and  Lodestar finished before I go back to school.

My blog — September 29, 2009

My blog

I’m worried I’m going away from what I intended on this blog.  I’m not an expert at the craft of writing and yet I persist in writing about the craft.  My information bar at the top states that my blog is “My place to explore my personal voice, update on my works-in-progress, and generally converse” yada yada yada.  (You can read the whole thing if you want.)  I’ve got the second one covered with my WiP Wednesdays posts.

But the first one?  I’m not so sure on.  After this week, I may be taking a break from my regular Tuesday and Thursday posts to think hard about what I want this blog to really be.  It’s titled “Chronicles of a Novice Writer” but I don’t feel I’m really chronicling anything.  You’ll still get WiP Wednesdays and Fiction Fridays.  For a time, anyways.

But I need to take some time away to think about what I truly want this blog to be about.  I worry I’m not being true to who I am to try to be the fount of advice on all things writerly.  Because I’m certainly not an endless fount of wisdom.  I don’t think I have any wisdom to part with on this blog, really.  But maybe that’s the best wisdom- find what you like and stick with it.

I don’t know.  But I just wanted to let you all know about the break so you don’t think I fell into the toilet or something.  (Though I do sometimes wonder if I’d really end up in Australia or China if that happened.)

So Many Books, So Little Time — September 15, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time

We all know that as aspiring authors, novice writers, etc. we should read extensively. This reading should be done both inside and outside our preferred genre. Easier said than done, though, on so many many levels. this year I’ve tried once to break out of my comfortable reading zone of YA fantasy. It hasn’t worked. At all. Example: I tried reading Damsels in Distress by Joan Hess. It’s a murder mystery. I bought it as a publisher’s remainder at B&N for like $5 with money I got for graduation with my master’s degree. I lasted 60 pages or so before I retreated for my comfort genre. This is just one of several books I started this year but didn’t finish. But it is the only one outside my genre. The next book I read will be in that genre.

Whenever I can get to that TBR list, that is.

That said, I’ll now post said list in hopes that it will get me motivated to read through them.

The List
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
The Naming by Alison Croggon
Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Sturgeon
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need by Susan Thurman and Larry Shea
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

So many books, so little time should also read “so little means.” Here’s my wishlist:

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Curse my phobia of library books that won’t allow me to borrow books to read for pleasure. (Research materials are another thing entirely.) Sigh.

OK, I’ll stop rambling now. But you tell me: Did I miss a book I absolutely should have on my TBR or wishlist? Is there something there you’d absolutely recommend against? What are your strategies for breaking out of your comfort reading genre? Would you like to see a list of what I’ve read this year? If so, when? This week? In December?

I’ll stop with the 20 questions now.

Novellas- Real or Myth? — August 4, 2009

Novellas- Real or Myth?

The current issue of Poets and Writers has an article on novellas. I found it to be an interesting read. I’ve labeled my story that I wrote recently as a novella simply because it is not quite novel length at a whopping 60, 822 words; however, at that word count it is clearly not a short story.

But this article got me wondering if it really is a novella or if I should be working on this story to turn it into a full-fledged novel. I don’t think it would sell in the real world so I’d have to find a Christian niche market. My characters never have sex, never really do anything but go to fancy dinners or have dinner with friends at home. It’s very non-edgy and clean, but I enjoyed writing it immensely.

The author of the article, Josh Weil, talks about what makes a novella a novella, but struggles with the traditional length-based definition of “novella.” My favorite quote from his article is from George Featherling that says to compare novellas to shortened versions of novels is the same as “insisting that a pony is a baby horse.” Weil adds, “Describing it [novella] as a short story, just longer, is like insisting that a Clydesdale is a thoroughbred with bloat.” Ha! Have to love the humor of these two, eh? (OK, I may be a bit skewed there having been raised around horses.)

I’d quote more of the article, but it’s just more argument for recognizing the novella as its own independent form. One that is overlooked by publishers and by readers in favor of the clearly-defined short stories and novels.

Though this gloomy-gus post from Pimp My Novel will discourage anyone from writing anything but a novel-length work of any genre…sigh.

So, do novellas really exist if we can’t define them? (I’d answer yes [edited from a no answer], but I may be biased.)

A Life in Freefall — July 24, 2009

A Life in Freefall

Life gets away from me sometimes.

At the beginning of the summer, being unemployed and free from school was liberating. It was exciting. I had time to read for pleasure again. And there was time to work on my creative projects too! Happy day!

Now, my life is in freefall. It’s nearly the end of July. I haven’t done near as much as I’d hoped in regards to reading, writing, etc.

And unemployment really bites you in the heiney sometimes, you know?

Maybe my unemployment is why none of my characters are in dire financial straits. (Is that the right one? Is it straights?) They all live nice comfortable lives. Granted, they all have magic too (or are royalty if they don’t have magic) and so life gets pretty cushy for them. They can essentially get their hands on whatever they want just by dropping a few coins or working their literal magic on something. (Of course, magic always has its limits, but it is pretty brilliant for what it can do.)

Pretty boring, I know, but writing is my escape and escape right now for me means a life that is comfortable and secure with some financial backing.

Must work harder on characterization. Now off to the grindstone.

Sorry for the sort of off-topic ranting but I just need to put it out there somewhere. Especially as I’m looking into more training/schooling in order to get into a position with a practically guaranteed job for me and start feeling like I’m just giving up on 6 years of education.

Critique groups in non-artsy-fartsy states/areas — July 23, 2009

Critique groups in non-artsy-fartsy states/areas

Last time I blogged about whether to enroll in an MFA program. (OK, so maybe that should be a MFA program. But I’ve never been able to figure out the correct way. It makes more sense to use “an” to me.) Today I’m going to talk about my other problem. (My other writing-related problem that is. Trust me. I’ve got lots of problems you don’t need to hear about.) I live in a very non-artsy-fartsy area of the United States. I foresee living here for the next couple of years at the very least. I’m currently looking for a job and will likely end up working at the Olive Garden. (I’m writing this before my job interview that I have lined up so that could have changed.) The only thing I could find on a recent search of the local arts council webpage was a lot of stuff promoting local art galleries. Don’t get me wrong, I love art, it’s inspired an entire chapbook of poetry, but it’s not what I need. What I need is a critique group. Not right this very minute, mind you, but I will need one soon.

I have no idea where to begin to look for one. Writing is apparently a dying art that no one but those of us trying to keep it alive care about. There’s not anything but a very outdated poetry reading listed on the local arts council website. (And even that was incredibly difficult for my not-so-computer-savvy brain to find.) I really do better in a more workshop setting, where I can see the people face-to-face when they critique my work. I think that face-to-face you’re more likely to get constructive feedback instead of someone absolutely vilifying your work if they don’t like you or it and they want to hide behind the anonymity of the internet. (I’m one to talk, right? *eyeroll*)

Am I going to be forced to relocate for my chosen craft? Or do I just bite the bullet and try to find an online group that I can work with? Like I said, I do better in person than over the internet. Decisions, decisions.

The Top Ten Things You Need to Know about Novice Writer Anonymous — July 22, 2009

The Top Ten Things You Need to Know about Novice Writer Anonymous

Tess Hilmo today unofficially tagged all her followers to continue the 10 Things tradition so here goes. My Top 10 things are as follows:

10- I’m perpetually single, doomed to be so, and a hopeless romantic thanks to Disney.

9- I’m acrophobic and creepy-crawly-phobic to ridiculous extremes. (Put the spiders and worms down, NOW!)

8- I’m the Queen of Saturn with a very spacious palace there. I’m known to host parties for my friends by sending my personal space shuttle to pick them up and deliver them to my palace.

My palace on Saturn, or a close approximation at least…

7- After abandoning successive plans for a PhD, an MFA, and a degree in culinary arts I’m now on the hunt for my first grown-up, “real world” job.

6- I’ve only ever really lived in 2 states in my life, with a brief interlude on the east coast.

5- I’m a Sagitarius with a well-developed wanderlust.

4- I’m an insane writer with more projects in progress than you can shake a stick at.

3- I love Indian food, Mexican food, Italian food, and a good burger. And throw in some cooked sushi for good measure. (Though I’ve only ever had sushi once in my life so I really don’t know why I crave it so much.)

2- I hate cold, I hate hot, and wish that it would stay 70 degrees all year long.

1- I’m insane because I’m thinking of adding another project to my WIP list. This time a memoir, which I have no idea how to write beyond knowing it should be topic based and knowing what topic I want everything to focus on.

Feel free to comment below and if you’d like to do this sort of thing yourself, consider this as me tagging you to do so.

The Raging Debate: MFA: Yes or No? — July 21, 2009

The Raging Debate: MFA: Yes or No?

I posted before about my dilemma regarding the MFA. I’m going to revisit this debate today. As I said before, I was told once by someone who I had never met in person and who had only read a paragraph or two of my writing (Yes, I know agents read about the same amount before deciding.) that I needed to take classes on fiction writing. What I was showing that person was something that was not the finished product, that was an example of something I wanted to work on as part of my graduate school studies. Not something that would ever get published and see the light of day. Now, I know that there are perhaps some things that I could work on in my writing, but is it really fair to essentially imply to someone that the only way to ever be a really good writer worth their salt they have to dole out thousands of dollars to take officially sanctioned classes? Shouldn’t we be learning to write by example, by trial and error, by blood sweat, and tears? One of this year’s issues of Poets and Writers had a letter to the editor which said something along the lines of how nice it was to see an author getting recognition and publication who didn’t come from the “MFA machine.” That’s really stuck with me.

The recent issue of Writers’ Digest had an article about the debate between whether the MFA in creative writing or the PhD in creative writing is the terminal degree for poets and writers of any genre. That’s really prompting this post here. It’s always been something that’s bothered me. (By always, I mean in the last couple of years since I started actually thinking of myself as a writer and poet.)

So my dilemma has been and perhaps ever will be this: Do I try to get into an MFA program? Or do I simply work with the resources I have around me and work to improve my craft that way? I mean, I live in a totally non-artsy-fartsy region of the United States. It’s not really likely that there’s an MFA program here nearby. And it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to find other things that a writer would need, like writing conferences or critique groups, here in my area. But more on that next time.

I really want to prove this guy wrong so I can put a really snappy, biting dedication that only I’ll ever know who the target of it was. I’ve already got that dedication in mind and was planning on putting it on the project I was planning, but will likely never get off the ground, so I’ll put it on a different one. But is the MFA the better way to go?