NaNoWriMo: Results Revealed, and Future Blogging Goals

My NaNoWriMo attempt was a complete failure. Trash. Zilch. Nothing. I managed to write probably about six pages and half an outline.

But the truth of the matter: I’m not ashamed.

Because I was able to realize something.

When I created this website, I did so with the thought that I would also self-publish a novel; Dawn’s Risingwhich was a novel idea I created purely for the purpose of this blog, and that is the problem.

dawns rising cancelledI wasn’t writing my story for the right reasons. I wasn’t in love with it. I didn’t perfect it, I didn’t craft it. I thought I could just sit down and write something worthy of sharing with others, a “practice novel,” but I realize now that I am too proud and care too much about presenting something to an audience that is less than worthy. In order to truly perfect the novel, I would need time, and the truth is there are other projects that I care about more.

I’m realizing, even without my pipe dream that was Dawn’s Rising, my blog is beginning to develop itself. I am finding amazing writers and people out there, and I am writing. I’m writing reviews, and blog posts, but I am still writing. It is excellent practice, and I’m so very proud of myself and my perseverance.

And although Dawn’s Rising is taking a temporary to permanent hiatus, I am excited about the projects that I can now devote my time to. No more wasting time worrying, analyzing and not writing. I want my writing to feel alive again, not like a chore. Although, there is always that fine balance when you write for work or pleasure, but why not have both?

I do want to thank those who have supported and inspired me on here. And I am sorry that I do not have a finished work to present to you that I promised. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be other stories for you to enjoy.

I want that fire back. The complete and unaltered joy of taking pen to paper and nothing exists but me and the story. The feeling that you’ve gone through time; you’ve gone somewhere that no one else has. I want to devote my time to sharing the writing that I care about, so no holding back!

I will continue with the reviews, articles, poetry and short stories and anything that seems worthy of sharing for all you writing, movie, TV, food or story lovers out there.

And that seems like a worthy goal.

Happy writing everyone!

 

 

 

 

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The Words – Choosing Between One Reality and the Next

Last night, I saw the movie, The Words. It was a last minute decision, there was honestly nothing better to watch and I thought, hey, I’ve seen a trailer for this, it looks romantic.

Little did I know, that it was going to be completely different than what I expected…what a relief!

***I recommend this for anyone looking for a thought provoking film and if you just happen to be a writer, you’ll love it too!

This movie is intelligent, and just very well written. The Words is the name of a novel, which is narrated by the author throughout the movie; it is about a writer who finds a story, which he takes as his own.

The music is beautiful, the acting is superb and  it easily sucks a viewer in; the scenes are intricately woven and well placed ***this would be one of my examples of how to write a great plot!!

Anyway, the movie brings up questions about a writer’s capability and what it truly means to be a writer and the sacrifices that are made; about choosing between fiction and reality and that all writers eventually make a choice.

“Hitting a little close to home?” asked my friend in my ear during the movie, and well, yeah, it does!

I sometimes wonder if I don’t take too much time with my imaginary worlds. I’ll emerge hours later with a sort of glazed over expression and a dumb look on my face. My mother will be asking me a question but I’m still off in the story, I’ve still got the character’s voice in my head, I still feel their emotions.

Sometimes, it makes me worry, because it is so difficult to come back to the real world…to connect, to pay the bills, to do the laundry, to answer a friend’s text. Especially when things aren’t going well.

Sometimes the fiction world becomes an escape mechanism, a therapy. There is nothing wrong with this to a point, but suddenly I’m afraid. If you get too lost in your fiction, do you miss the real world, too?

Because, well…there is also beauty in reality, too.

Dawn’s Rising – What is in a Name?

Well, I said I was going to post about Dawn’s Rising so here it is…

I have a thing with names, which are very important to me as it says a lot about a character. Some of my character names are just named randomly, or by instinct, or what might sound nice at the time. But most of the time when I am having trouble getting to know a character, it is because of their name, which probably doesn’t fit them quite right.

My crap-tastic cover for Dawn’s Rising. All I can say is: Isn’t Photoshop just awesome?

A lot of my characters are rarely called by their real or full names, either. Everyone always seems to have nicknames and I guess that’s how a lot of names are in real life. I was called “Manderz” for a good portion of my high school years, still am sometimes, actually. (And I won’t date people with certain names, either –this is true!)

The point:  You can learn a lot about a person from their name and a character, of course, tends to be the same way, too.

Here’s a peek at some of the characters in Dawn’s Rising:

Niel Overland: Goes by many names. Mostly “Niel” although he’s been also called “professor” “doctor” and “teacher” in his lifetime, which is rather long and most people (with a few as an exception) don’t know how old he is. To some demons, he is known as “Dark Shadow” and his real name given to him by his mother is “Nicholas.” He appears to be in his forties, with long, black hair, which is slightly graying and often pulled back in some kind of hair tie. He is one of the Immortal Seven, who are meant to find the lost keys.

Jennifer “Dawn” Desoto: Goes by the name of Dawn, which is her middle name, because she does not like the name Jennifer. Possibly because it’s a name given  her by her mother, who made her dress up in beauty contests up until she was a young teen. Her father was MIA most of her life – work and drink. Has a younger brother who was seven or eight when she left at eighteen, she supposes he must be about 13 now. Her family lives in the mid-west. She is tall, curvy and tan, thanks to her father’s Italian relatives. At eighteen, she left home for California to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress.

—In which I want to include the other ‘leading male’ role in the novel, but I am having trouble finding a name that suits him. I don’t want him to be a complete ass, but I also don’t want him to be a big softy and so far have not found a name that is in the middle.

In the book description, I have him as “Grant Holden,” which to me sounds way too stable for the character I have in mind. Well, Mr. Holden has a secret that only Niel knows about, as they are a lot closer than the other people under his employ.

…and that’s it for now! Some more, eventually, on my characters as I develop the story more. But, by typing up a character study, it really does help me feel like I know my characters. And of course, the few sentences up there, is only just a portion of what I know about them!

 

 

The Nitty Gritty

Well, first of all, I’d just like to thank those that have liked any of my posts or that are now following this blog. It is such a great relief to know that someone out there is listening and cares about the same things that I do! You guys are awesome!

So I thought for my NEXT post…I’d do something a little different. I thought I’d share a little bit about my characters and my plans and thoughts from Dawn’s Rising with you.

Mallard duck at Greenfield Lake, NC. FYI…there is a time stamp on each post. Plagiarist’s beware! Grrr…

So, I’m probably going to do something that no writer has done before. I mean, why reveal your characters and part of your story before it’s actually written or finished? Isn’t that like the great taboo of good authors who must horde their creative ideas in the possibility that it might get stolen by others?

That is very likely…but as this is my “warm up” story, my first real-length “crappy” novel, I wanted to do something different for my viewers. All writers have their own writing Gods: J.K. Rowling…Stephen King…Neil Gaiman (who is one of my favorites by the way) who all talk about their first crappy draft or their first attempt at a novel and who admit that it was terrible and are sooo happy that it didn’t get published, etc…and that’s good for them, except I’m left wondering:

HOW did they get to that process? Why was it crappy? And what did they learn from the experience?

Everyone has their own method and way of writing that works for them, but wouldn’t it be great if someone actually shared that process step by step? Every writer has to start somewhere. Even if it’s at the very nitty, gritty beginning.

And that’s a lot of what this blog is about: my own method of learning, my own mistakes…to share with you, other writers, curious observers, avid readers. It’s certainly not a process that’s talked about or shared, because I suppose yes, it is embarrassing looking back and realizing you’ve got writing where “His eyes sparkled” way too much or  her heart “pounded like a race horse’s hooves” or other such cliches…but hey, it’s all good fun!

Gotta reelaax. Pick up your pen, or run those fingers across that keyboard and just write.

Good Food, Good Breathing, Good Life

Well, what can I say? Life sucks really, and the more you try to make it better sometimes…the more things fall to the wayside. Feel like crawling back into bed and hiding under a blanket yet?

I guess the only thing I can do now is share this picture:

Garlic toast with freshly chopped tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, topped with parsley and freshly ground salt and pepper.

My lunch. Sometimes when life gets you down, you got to be creative. I’m no great cook by any means, but I love getting creative with food sometimes, and when you can make something beautiful out of something so simple…it reminds me to relax, take a deep breath and realize that there can be something good about the everyday goings of life, no matter how mundane they seem to be.

When I was in college and stressed out, I used to send food pictures to my sister all the time. Although, it probably helped me gain that extra freshman fifteen, it was such a comfort.

Remember that food is something you can control, too. Even if it has to be healthy, it can still be tasty! And isn’t control what some of us want just a little bit out of life?

Plot Plot Splash!

Had another night where I did everything else but write. Yay. Went to church, went out to lunch and then watched a movie and then sat down to write…well, then the parents came home and someone started watching football and the effort was pretty much gone from there.

Did get some tub-time in though and as my niece’s green squirt-y turtle was floating around the tub, I was able to clear the mind somewhat and get a little story planning in.

I struggle a lot with plot. Hey, I’m a poet and I don’t know it! Durrh.

Seagulls at the beach on a cloudy day in Wilmington, NC.

Anyway, from what I notice, a lot of my writing and story planning has a lot to do with scene. I will picture a particular scene in my head; a location in full detail, the sky, the buildings…and the people in it and then I will build my story around that particular scene.

It’s almost like C.S. Lewis with his dream of the fawn in the red scarf, except my Narnia doesn’t seem to want to develop itself quite as effortlessly. What I’ve noticed a lot about Dawn’s Rising though, is that I’ve let my characters do a lot of the planning for me. I let them go where they want to go and viola! I’ve got a brand new twist and something new to go upon. The trouble with this is that it makes for a more complex world, as people (especially characters!) are never as simple as they appear.

But pshh trouble! Complexity is great…it just makes the plot, which is all twisty and full of cul-de-sacs hard to spot! I remember one time a creative writing teacher said the reason I have trouble with plot, is that I cannot SEE what I’m writing. So I took the story that I wrote and printed it out and arranged it all page by page on my bed and what a difference that makes!

There’s a symmetry to knowing that your words and the actions behind them are following the right path. Perhaps I should try the Castle thing, and hang pages up on a clothes line. If you’re not familiar with Castle it is a TV show on ABC starring the ever brilliant Nathan Fillion, whose character is a writer. I highly recommend it.

ANYWAY, a lot of writing plot I’m finding, is figuring out how to do it and in a way that works for you. I admit, I have yet to do this. For shorter stories I am fine…but for two-hundred plus pages? Ahh! Because there’s got to be a better way to SEE the story line.

I suppose that’s why creative writing teachers tell you to write the crappy novel…get it out-of-the-way and then you learn from the experience!

So, meet: Dawn’s Rising. My first “crappy” novel. Doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining along the way…

The Boy with the Bread

Been reading The Hunger Games today because I recently watched the movie last night and am struck with a particular scene in the novel: Where Peeta, the bread boy, throws a starving Katniss burned bread from his kitchen.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, I suggest you go read it now. Not only is it great reading, but great writing too! From the first page you are drawn into Katniss’s world, you feel her emotion, and the unrest in the dystopian society that she lives in. (I can’t tell you how much I don’t like that word, for some reason it just irks me.) It is a fast read, but not a read for the faint of heart, certainly.

Anyway, I guess the English Major in me is stuck on the Boy with the Bread Scene and the juicy little bits that scene may or may not represent. Oh, it certainly doesn’t have to represent anything, but I love that it can and that Suzanne Collins isn’t dumb. That deliberately or not, she has created a scene that sums up the heart of the novel, or at the very least a great portion of it and that is:

Sacrifice.

What does Peeta sacrifice when he throws Katniss the bread? Well, he certainly didn’t get hurt for nothing. He was willing to risk injury to himself, in order to be “kind” to help out Katniss, who was someone in need.
His motives? Well, love. He later claims that he’s been in love with Katniss ever since a young age. (Although it certainly takes her awhile to believe it).

And isn’t that at the very heart of the novel? Peeta’s initial sacrifice only goes to emphasize Katniss’s sacrifice; the offer of her own life in exchange for her sister’s at the reaping. It is because of her love for her sister that she sacrifices herself. And other characters experience their own sacrifices as well. It is the love and the sacrifices accompanying them that says a lot about family, about life and death throughout the novel.

Any thoughts? What do you love about the novel? About the characters? About Katniss?

New page check it out!!

I just added a new page at the left there in my menu settings, “About this Blog.”  So have a go and find out what The Writer’s Hub is all about! 🙂

<====It’s over there. Just to be obnoxious. And yeah, because sometimes people are blind. And dumb. Or their brains got hijacked by space monkeys. Ever seen a space monkey? Hmm. What an interesting thing to write about…

Rainy Writer’s Block

It is raining here in upstate, New York (thank you, hurricane, Isaac,) and I am having one of those days where the couch, a nice, warm blanket is where I want to spend the rest of my day. Suffice to say, you might think that this might be a nice time to write…NOT.

A view from my front porch; rain dripping off my mother’s hummingbird feeder.

The more I know I need to write, the more I can’t. When writing becomes an obligation, it becomes not fun anymore and then I  get that dreaded writer’s block. (This has been happening more often than not lately, now that I’ve given myself a deadline for this eBook and definitely want to see this one completed! I think I’m going to aim for November. I want a draft and some finalizations for November at the latest.)

I’m reminded of a fantastic article I found on Patricia Briggs’ website. (Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite authors…she writes primarily Urban Fantasy; the Mercy Thompson series…amoung other things.)

Anyway…where was that article again?

Ah, well I couldn’t find the article I wanted…buut, at any rate, the main gist of it was this: to find a way to make writing fun again.

  •  Go out for a walk, take a break from it, phone a friend…etc.
  • Try another project than the current one.
  • Write in a different character’s perspective for a while.
  • Think outside the box…think outside the current chapter you are working on.
  • Start writing in another place.
  • Research.

What I do sometimes: Take a character in your novel or current idea and have that character write a letter to another character. The end result is this: You get to know what your character is feeling, you know their relationship with that other character based on the letter that he or she wrote, and you get a better understanding of the motivation behind why he or she does what he or she does.

I like this technique because it is very personal and because it’s so personal, you can really understand and hear the particular voice that your character has. (I’m not just talking about the voices that writers hear in their heads, although, there is that too.) I’m talking about the voice, the mannerisms of your character; why he or she is the way he or she is.

Anyway, perhaps, I’ll go follow my own advice now…

Because when it comes down to it, only 20% of what you know of your character actually gets on the page; so you better know that character 100%! And who is a grand example of this? Only J.K. Rowling of course!

New Cover Page!

It didn’t take me surprisingly that long to finish this cover page…so here it is! 😀

Later, I will include an excerpt of Dawn’s Rising as I update the page…