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…

The Amazing Adobe Photoshop CS6

So, for anyone who has been reading this blog, you might notice that I’ve had trouble downloading a free trial of Photoshop CS6. Well, I have some good news! I borrowed a friends faster and high-speed internet and I am pleased to say that everything is alive and well in the Photoshop world.

It took me an hour or so to remember how to use it, (it has been about 3 years) but I have about three-fourths of my cover page done for Dawn’s Rising and I am very pleased at how it is looking so far!

So, here I am writing a quick blog to emphasize how amazing Photoshop is for making cover pages. If you know how to use the program and have it on your computer, I would definitely use it for an eBook cover page. (Or, you can always do what I did and download a free 30 day trial.) It is easy using the various filters and effects and it really makes the cover page your own–and also a work of art. I am no Photoshop expert, far from it– but it really makes any effort you put into your page look like its been professionally done.

I am going to continue using it for various photos and cover pages that I might post on here, so look forward to updates. Also, as imagery inspires me, creating the cover page itself has given me ideas for the story and various plot twists. It’s been a very exciting project so far!

I was going to post a preview of the cover page here, but I would rather wait for the big reveal when it’s completely finished.

A quick look: I am now researching how to create a realistic sun-rising effect or sun burst effect…any tips or pointers would be awesome.

Self Publishing — Great Writing or No?

I was doing some reading today on Smashwords.com and was taken to this page: http://blog.smashwords.com/

It is Smashword’s blog, where there is an interview with a self published or “Indie” writer, Rachel Higginson. (For those of you wondering what Smashwords is, it is a company that helps you create your own eBook. Out of all the eBook publishers out there, they seem to make it the simplest and the cheapest to publish to Kindle and all the other Electronic stores and I have chosen them to publish my own eBook.)

Rachel expresses in the interview, how she had a dream of being published since college, but all of the queries that she sent out to publishers kept getting rejected.

Now, she is a self-published writer and making a living at it! The article felt inspiring to me, who has the very same aspirations…to see my work in print and to make money from it someday.

Nasty spider who built its web in the corner of my house. Sometimes the art of writing is like a great web–there are so many different strands that make up the greatness of the whole, that sometimes one weakness can corrupt the overall structure.

I have not read Rachel’s work, so I cannot say anything as to the quality of her writing…but if she is a best seller, it must mean that it can’t be too terrible right?

My biggest fear is this: to present something that I might consider a work of art to the general public and have it be trash. There are many best sellers out there that have been critiqued for that very reason (Stephenie Meyer for example). They write a novel that reaches a large audience of people and while their characterization and their plot line isn’t original, or their writing, something in their story drew people in.

While one can argue that the writing is not great, the writer has presented an idea that is catching. While the plot is mediocre, and the writing cliché, I would like to argue that in some cases, there is a way to write good cliché.

And perhaps this is the case in many self-published novels. While editors are waiting for that next, great, purely, original idea, the readers and general public are saying: No, we like simple and we like fun and no amount of originality can make up for a good, simple and relatable read.

While I want to be a great writer and to be appreciated for the art of my writing, I also want to create a book that is relatable and fun for a wide audience. I think to create something that is relatable and fun to read is also difficult, because it comes down to style. Every writing style is different, just like every writer behind the writing is different.

My question is this: Is there a way to write well, but also make it accessible?

You see books out there classified as “great reads” but they are not best sellers. And while great reads are not always easy reads, they are not always the most interesting either.

Is there a way to write intelligently, but also make it accessible?

I think, that when it comes to a great writer, great writing is all about balance. And every self published author, must find their very own balance. Finding that balance, on the other hand, is a whole different matter…

New TV Show: Revolution! Yeah!

Is anyone as excited as me about this new TV show coming on NBC in the fall??

My Dad’s only comment: “Where do they get the bows and arrows and swords from?” Hehehe. I love him.

Finally, NBC’s taking a show of post apocalyptic proportions and presenting it to us for entertainment! (Eh, with the exception of Terra Nova…and we all know how thaat turned out.) J. J. Abram’s involved, so it can’t be too terrible, right? Very excited about this!

As I am an avid TV watcher and lover (of course I am! I’m nerdy like that!) I will occasionally be reviewing some of my favorite TV shows on here. Revolution will most definitely be making an appearance. Also, keep an eye out for reviews of Vampire Diaries, Bones, and Once Upon a Time later on.

I love the summer, but I am excited about the new season of TV starting soon! FINALLY! Something worth watching! Can’t wait!

 

What do I stand For?

Feeling a tad irritated at life, the world and blogging today so I’m trying to find that song that’s been stuck in my head since last night…

Ah, here it is:

I know it’s not the regular music video, but sometimes I don’t like the them because they change my own personal view of a song, and where’s the enjoyment of that? If I can’t relate to it on a personal level?

Anyway, looking over the lyrics…Wow, they really do reflect how I feel right now: Very disconnected, and very adrift…always the questions that pop up in life: What do I stand for?

Mostly the questions for me now are this: Am I making the right choices? Am I doing the right thing? What’s the right job? What’s the right move? Always the startling questions for a struggling artist…and someone who hopes they are getting everything they want out of life…

“What do I stand for?”

 

Photoshop update #2: I have abandoned my quest for download and have decided to seek greener pastures: Ebay.

 

Dawn’s Rising Synopsis

I updated my Dawn’s Rising page with a new synopsis, just in case anyone was wondering what the story was actually about!

I will keep updating as the story comes along. A picture to follow, as soon as I can download photoshop. Heh.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Words Worth a Thousand Images

Spent the majority of the day watching my niece and after the pancake and bacon making, the Lego Star Wars, and the playing on the playground, aunt Amanda is whooped! So, thought I might relax on some of the research of eBook making for the day, and focus on another very important interest of mine: Writing.

In my creative writing classes over the years, we used to take at least 15 minutes of the beginning of class to do a little creative journaling, usually inspired by a prompt that the professor provided on the board. A couple of months ago, I discovered this webpage:  http://creativewritingprompts.com/

It is a website that lists hundreds of writing prompts for free. Although a trifle simple perhaps, the fun is in not knowing what might spark the imagination just by scrolling through the various numbers on the page.

I usually like going through until one sparks my interest, but tonight I’m going to just pick a number at random by scrolling over the page…

#200: Create a story based on this plot: gets trapped in the bathroom on Valentines Day:

Hmm…now, let’s see what I can create out of that. I’ll give myself 15 minutes and will write it now, and will leave it mostly unedited…like I would if I were writing in my journal (Beware of run-ons):

For some reason, Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems to come to mind…I imagine a girl crying, make up running down her face, dark hair, a bruised eye and red lipstick that’s been smeared a bit at the corners, giving her a grim smile…

Veronica wiped at her wet cheeks and her wet lips and then grimaced as she looked at her fingertips. The lipstick that she had carefully applied that morning was sticky and wet from her tears and looked like blood — she was just thankful enough that it wasn’t her own. Who knew that her date at the Valentine’s dance would turn out to be a Vampire? One really couldn’t tell these things…and who would know that he had a vampire posse, or was it a horde? attack everyone in the school cafeteria? She was sure she saw Mrs. Collins taken down by one of the monsters in the large, pink cake next to the punch bowl and Mr. Peters, the Principle, watching, with a fork dangling in the air somewhere half-way between his mouth and plate– his piece of chocolate, pink-slathered cake smeared on the floor next the blood running out from the crown of Mrs. Collins’ head. Her friends had all fled to their cars, but she, the idiot, just had to use the bathroom and first dates were usually rough the first time…right?

There was a tap on the door of the bathroom, the creek of the door swinging open and she heard footsteps and she very quickly tucked her feet up on the toilet she was crouched on. It could be one of them…ran the thoughts in her brain. I’m next…I’m another, quick, snack…. But the door swung open and she was almost knocked  to the floor when someone with large, red, hair poked their head in and said loudly, “Well, hi!”

The head belonged to a young girl, with very, carrot-colored hair and a lot of it. It ran down her back, in a mass of curly, wriggling, orange ripples. The girl had to at least be twelve years old, a startling difference to Veronica’s own fourteen–whoever decided to combine the school into seventh through ninth graders were idiots, but that wasn’t what startled her. The girl had huge, blue eyes and she was wearing a too-cheery smile, the grin stretched widely across her face, white and fixed and planned…

Well, that’s that. Fifteen minutes and I’ve got a poor Vampire-attacked Veronica and a mysterious creepy-clown-like twelve-year-old. *Insert sinister grin here, haha*  Well, the cliff-hanger is kind of lame, and while not great, original plot writing, and very raw and unedited– where was that comma supposed to go again? The point is this: the imagery!

I forgot how great it feels to lose yourself in something that is completely different from other writing projects and I am very proud at the detail that such writing creates! Curly, wriggling, orange ripples and pink-slathered cake notwithstanding!

What a great way to get the creative voice flowing! By remembering that sometimes the simplest writing can create such alive, evocative images. And images are very, very important in great writing.

Occasionally, I am going to post in this blog with my random image-worthy creative writing prompts and here might be a way that can inspire other stories, OR, it’ll help to remind me to keep the visual images flowing on current projects.

Oh, and there is always that other thing: It’s fun!

The Cover Page

In some of my research, I’ve discovered that some of the best ways to market yourself is through pictures, or in the case of an eBook: a great cover page!

I discovered a great video from “Jim” on http://7dayebook.com/ who shows you how to create an eBook cover in 5 minutes under $5.00. He shows you how to go onto www.fotolia.com and purchase photos. You purchase the photos by purchasing credits and (in reality, it cost me $13.00 because you have to purchase at least 10 credits at a time.)

But it’s not a total waste, because I’m sure I’ll be purchasing more photos in the future as I intend to publish other small, eBook short stories. Those photo-savy people out there can just use their own pictures of course. (The pictures that I purchased are below.)

Image

Image

I decided to purchase some photos, because the pictures on fotolia are clean, good quality photos and can be used many times. Also, I didn’t have any great pictures of my own on the ready and to find ones that are already available, what a time saver!

(It’s also not very smart to go on google images and steal random photos from people as you will essentially be selling your eBook with that photo on your cover page, and yeah, that’ll just look bad if someone finds out you’re a thief.)

ANYWAY…in the video, Jim makes a very, simple cover page with one photo using Adobe Photoshop. He sets the dimensions of the photo for the requirements of a Kindle Cover, but that is an easy fix and you can adjust those dimensions accordingly to whatever format you are using.

I like Adobe Photoshop for creating the cover page because of the many things you can do with it. You can really make the cover page yours if you have the initiative. Although, I underestimated how HUGE the whole program is. Since I am poor, I opted to download a free 30 day trial of Adobe Photoshop CS6. (I took a digital art class in college a few years ago, so am somewhat familiar with Photoshop.) Little did I know, that the program would take 7 hours to download!

I’m sure those without satellite internet connection will have little trouble with the nearly 1GB program, but seriously? It was in the middle of a download last night, and windows decided to do its clever updating thing, so I’m sure I’ll have to start the download all over today. Thank you, Windows 7, thank you.

BUT, once I do get the program downloaded, I do have some ideas of what I want to do with the photos that I purchased. I picture a medallion with a blue snowflake on a cover of a smoky, snowy type landscape, with the title Dawn’s Rising in silver or gold. Huh, feels a bit Olympic doesn’t it? Anyway, here, is where the many filters of Photoshop will have an awesome effect.

Now, if only I can get technology to cooperate a little bit.

Rallying to the Cause – the Marketing of Me

Here, really, is my last-ditch effort to try and create a webpage. I have tried many times (and failed) to create a blog and now I think I’ve finally found a purpose: ME. Or, *coughs* I mean, my writing.

I have decided to try and publish an Ebook. I studied Creative Writing in college and have had a love of writing (pretty much my whole life), and now I want to try and market my fiction. I’m not quite at the point where I want to send it away and have someone at a desk, (probably with a stiff, high-backed chair and wearing dark-rimmed glasses) in an important office somewhere tear my work apart…(it could be because I’m also lazy,) so I’ve decided to get a bit of writing practice in and Ebook publish some of my “less serious” works of fiction.

I call it “my warm-up story,” because at first it didn’t start off terribly original, nor did I believe it was intelligent or reflective, (in the kind of way that a lot of Young Adult fiction is) – which is what I normally write.

Well, boy was I surprised when this “warm-up” story started to write itself. It was supposed to be short, sexy, and fun…not teeming with complexity…characters that jump off the page and numerous settings and what not. Huh.

So, here is my last effort to create a blog, and ultimately – try to market this story that I’ve decided to create. It’s got a mind of its own…and I hope – a lot of potential.