Saturday, May 11, 2013
I have my WIP to polish, and a Query letter to perfect and send out (July is my goal, here), and personal things that need a little extra attention.
Shouldn't be more than a few weeks... hope to have good news when I return! ;)
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Last week, I talked about Originality… but the more that I thought about it, the more I realized what I was actually worried about wasn’t a matter of originality, it was a matter of perspective.
When I was going through college, I started keeping this little notebook. I would write thing in it to keep me from getting too overwhelmed by the culture shock of a homeschooled girl from rural Ohio being out in a crowded and busy world. By the time I was in EMT school (3yrs later), I had a pretty good sized list. As I was thinking about last weeks post, I realized that the ‘list’ easily converted to writing life as well.
I won’t bore you with every item on the list, but here are a few:
- Change your perspective.
- Try new things.
- Be optimistic.
- Do more than you have to.
- Reflect, but do no dwell.
- Do it with a smile.
- Tiredness doesn’t excuse rudeness (or laziness).
- Don’t make others pay for your bad day (not even characters).
While there are several things on this list, I think they are really all just different ways to remind myself that when things stop working, or seem difficult, really all you need to do is take a step back and look at it from a whole new angle.
What is there that you didn’t see before? There is always some small piece of the puzzle you(either willfully, or inadvertently) don’t see.
This is helpful with many things, but this last week, I applied this list to my concerns that my story may not be original enough… there is no shocking thing that I came up with to offer the fictional world. I didn’t re-invent the wheel.
I sat back and looked at my story, and instead of only picking out the one or two things that reminded me of other stories that I have read over the years, I looked at the big picture. I looked at my side plots. I looked at my ending. I looked at my hooks. And I felt better.
While we’re talking about it, consider this: While the story is initially what grabs you when you chose what book to read, isn’t it the characters that keep you invested? Why?
That is too complex for a simple answer from me, so I’ll answer this way:
Say an EMT goes on a squad call. The call comes in: MVA with fatalities. Happens. EMT gets there, no survivors. SO and coroner clears the scene, so the EMTs start to load the DOA, (typically into a body bag directly onto a backboard. Easier to carry a broken body). This is routine.
The EMT looks over, while fastening the cot straps, and sees a copy of Bag of Bones by Stephen King, laying on floor of the passenger side. Blood sprayed across the mangled cover. The same book the EMT was reading just before the call came in. They stare at it for longer than they mean to. Swallowing became a little more difficult. They start to notice other things then. The dog toy in the road that fell out of the back seat during extrication. The ripped baby blanket with all the shards of broken glass on it.
The perspective changed.
That body ceased to be the job, and became a person.
If you can find a way to do that in your story… make your reader shift from reading about a character/story to reading about a person… the problem of originality ceases to be a problem.
What do you think?
Sunday, April 28, 2013
I have been editing and rewriting my WIP, and have had that fear (that writers are prone to) that my story may not be original enough. I mean, I think my story is unique in it's own way... but really... everything has been done. Are my characters individuals? Does my storyline have enough to offer the fictional community?
Where do you draw the line between Influenced by, and Derived from? Is one adapted voice, while the other is fanfic?
It is a very uncomfortable and tricky subject, as they say in the above podcast. I don't want to be one of those people that 'tries too hard', nor do I want to follow the market. I just want to write stories.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
(If the above link doesn't work: http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/07/02/writing-excuses-7-27-the-problem-of-originality/ )
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I’m a writing slob, who found herself over-correcting into a control freak.
But seriously… It’s a thing. I had a loose, and moderately sloppy manuscript to start with. So I went looking for ways to hone my craft, and while I am convinced that most of the changes that I had made to my writing schedule were very helpful to my process, I inadvertently fell into that sand trap that is … *drum-roll* … the over plotted story.
Don’t panic! It’s okay… I mean, I did have a pretty crappy couple of weeks where I didn’t understand what was happening. Something was broken with my story (or me! At times I thought that I have even forgotten how to write), but I couldn’t tell exactly what.
Soooo… at first, I just floundered about… giving myself permission to write/edit badly… no pressure. After all, I can always revert back to the original drafts, right? (Grr, I hate feeling like I’m wasting time… so this is hard for me to relax and let go… but necessary!)
Interestingly enough, I started writing scenes that didn’t fit with my current story, but a much much earlier version of the book… like from months ago! And it was better!
So, while I do feel that a lot/most of my new writing/ scheduling habits have been very helpful in my productivity and organization… I have to be very careful here, not to over plot my stories into rigid, emotionally stunted works.
That’s writing, isn’t it? Just when you think that you have it down, it chuckles at you and reminds you who’s boss. ;)
My goals for this (and last) week was to polish/edit the first 60pages of my manuscript. I spent the first three days feeling like I was stuck on one side of a thick glass wall, while my story, and characters were on the other side, just out of reach. Thankfully that feeling has passed, and as I sit here today, I’m not at that goal, but happier with my story.
I ultimately lost nearly 40 pages of manuscript. I’m going to go a little slow on the repairs/re-writes. Partly because my basement flooded with all the rain, and I’m going to be shampooing carpet until it smells fresh again *lol*, and partly because, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.
So, my new goal is to have the manuscript changes made, and the revised draft done by June 1. If I get done early, yay! If not, I can enjoy the process at a nice pace.
Tortoise and the hare, baby. ;)
By the way, did you guys happen to notice the sweet playlist over there? *courtesy of Spotify… I just learned how. :) --->
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Okay, so last night, while I was unable to sleep… I was perusing Pinterest for some creative charcoal sketches… I love charcoal… and I stumbled across a journaling technique called “Smashbook”. (It’s like scrapbooking and journaling collided at a high speed with an open bottle of glue.) Some people call it “Art Journaling” but I think that is a bit more advanced.
I then remembered something that I had read on The Paperback Writer’s blog… and here is that link: http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2013/03/writer-junk-journal.html *she is always doing crafty and awesome things… I marvel at her time management skills!*
I fell in love with the idea! I basically have been doing it for years on my corkboards… but there always comes a point when the board needs cleared… so now I will just throw all my writing art and what-not's into a smashbook journal for that WIP.
super fun as far as procrastination goes, yeah?!
Here is a link to my Pinterest collection of Smashbook-ey things… http://pinterest.com/caseylynnclark/sketching-drawing-journaling/
… and while it’s neat that they make special books to do this with… I am all about the homemade ones… some are made from old newspapers! I love that! I have so many art and crafty things here that I will be making my from recyclables … adds characters. ;)
(I would credit this pic, but the link was dead. sorry to whoever took it!)
Here is a cute blog about her journaling: *she calls hers a “junk journal”… I love that.* http://www.johwey.com/2010/04/21/junk-journal-1/
I also like some of the ideas for how to attach notes and scraps in creative ways to your journal.
This girl just manipulated a paperclip to attach a card… rubber bands work… some people just sewed the cloth or pages directly to the book with a neat zig-zaggy stich! I love it.
I think I shall take this day, blare a little music, and work on some crazy journaling. :D
I’m sitting here, in my office. It’s almost one o’clock in the morning here. I’m a bit tired, but for some reason I find myself unable to settle down.
I’m thinking about books I’ve read, or want to read. Books I’ve written, or want to write. I’m thinking about how hard it can be to find the time to do all the things I want to do. I’m thinking about how much I enjoy all of these things… and you know what? I think I enjoy them that much more because of how hard it can be.
I enjoy the challenge.
I like finding time to work my writing in. I like that it doesn’t come easily. I never really realized it before… at least not consciously. Is that weird?
I guess I feel like I accomplished something when I had to fight to make it work. Hmmm. *sometimes I wonder about me*
Sunday, March 17, 2013
So, my apologies for this nearly non-existent blog post... but I'm determined not to fall behind again so soon after catching up!
I have a lot of edits ahead of me... and a really...REALLY busy week looming. But I leave you all with a song from my WIP playlist... its catchy.