Slammed

Yes, I have been slammed via homework. Midterms are NEXT WEEK OMFG WHAT DO I DO and I’ve been forced to give up the remnants of my social life in favor of studying. Which, not okay, teachers.

Anyway, I’m basically writing this to let you know that a) I’m alive, b) I actually am writing, just not what I’m supposed to be, and c) I do have plans for a lovely little post about writing-related people-watching which I’ve wanted to talk about for a while, so look forward to that.

I’m still fairly active on Twitter when I get the chance, and I’ve found time to revisit one of my fave British shows, “The Vicar of Dibley” (if you haven’t already, go watch it like NOW). Hopefully I’ll be writing that post sometime this week, but I can’t make a promise, since it’s shaping up to be pretty hellish for the next few days. Wish me luck and happy writing!

 

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I’m Not Dead, I Promise…

I’ve just been a little bit busy the past few weeks. I hope you’ve all been reading and writing wonderful things; I know I have. I’m currently lost in City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments series, which I’ll most likely review once I’m done with it (yes, I know I’m terribly late to the TMI party, shhh). I’m also working on doing a bit of plot-tweaking and solving a few somewhat big issues on my own project, so wish me good luck!

In more blog-related news, I’m considering writing a post about POVs. I’m having a mid-novel crisis about them at the moment, and I hope writing a post about will serve to help me sort it out and/or clear things up for you in some way. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in (input is love after all).

Anyhow, I just thought I’d write a quick note to reaffirm my status as “alive and not dead/missing”. I hope you all are having a great February, and happy belated Love Day!

 

The Hot Dog Technique

So in the past week I haven’t written a word of chapter 4. That isn’t to say I haven’t been writing; I have, just not what I’m technically supposed to be. I’ve been doing exercises, free-writes, diagrams, charts, lists, but nothing concrete to say for the actual rough draft. I think doing these exercises has helped a lot with de-blocking me for chapter 4…but wait, I should probably explain said blockage, huh?

Okay, so last week when I reached the fourth chapter I was feeling accomplished and great and overall writer-spiffy, but chapter 4 holds some important plotty events which I hadn’t quite worked out the technical aspects of at the time. So I got stuck, trying to dig out how exactly to write what happens. Enter in the Hot Dog Technique.

(Okay, so it isn’t really called that, but I like the name so what the hell.)

I read it somewhere a while back (sorry, but I honestly don’t remember a website or book to point y’all in the right direction), and at first I didn’t think much of it, but then I tried it just because, and wow. What you do is simply this: with no punctuation or fretting about sentence structure/grammar/spelling WHATSOEVER (that’s pretty much the most important aspect of the exercise), write to the middle of the page and when you get there go to the next line. It helps to fold the paper in half, hot dog style (the vast majority of people will remember this from elementary school) and only write to the crease of the fold, then to the next line, then the next. Like so:032
This technique helped a ton because its purpose is to free you from distractions like over-thinking  The only true rule there is to follow is to only write to the middle of the page, and even that isn’t required. It gets you out of those holes you dig yourself into, and it also loosens you up and forces you to stop thinking and just write. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it.

So now I’m sort of unblocked, and hopefully this chapter won’t be too rough on my nerves. I hope everyone else is having a great week!

 

To chapter 4!

This past week has been a bit unproductive writing-wise because both my best friend from Arizona and my father’s family came to town for a visit at the same time. I had a great time, but I unfortunately had very little time to write, though I did my best when I got the chance. I also finally got an iPhone (the 4S model) and I’m absolutely in love with it. <3

I’m back now, thank Buddha, and I’ve reached chapter 4 of my novel, in which my main character…okay I’m sick to death of saying “my main character” (it’s such a mouthful for me), so his name is Dastan. Anyway, Dastan’s father is captured, and I’m excited but at the same time dragging my feet again because I know the first time writing that scene is going to be hard and probably not that brilliant, but I just have to get over it, don’t I?

I’ve also seen three very inspiring movies that I highly recommend (well, Pitch Perfect wasn’t really “inspiring”, but it was pee-in-your-pants funny), Les Misérables and Perks of Being A Wallflower. Neither are necessarily writing-related, but they have given me some really great ideas that I could work into a future novel. Les Mis is a movie that I have been obsessing over since I first heard about it, being a huge fan of both the musical and the book (though the movie was not all that special), and it did not let me down; in fact, it went beyond anything I could even imagine. The cast was just brilliant, the music gave me goosebumps like every two seconds, and it is simply one of the most incredible musical films ever made in my opinion. Go see it. Now. Then you can come back and finish reading.

Perks of Being A Wallflower was at the dollar theater, and all I knew about it was that it had a cool soundtrack, Emma Watson (my ladylove), and drugs. I didn’t expect it to be what it was, and what it turned out to be was unforgettable. I just ordered the book off Amazon, and I will without a doubt be buying the movie the second it hits stores. It’s not a movie for everyone, but if you have an open mind and you want to be inspired, then this is a great one to see. I absolutely loved it.

Now, last thing (my God, this is a long post). I went to B&N Thursday and picked up another writing book/guide/instruction manual shindig called 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. I’m on page 56 so far, and I also read the end (because I fail as a human being, yes I know), and so far it’s a great read. Domet is very frank and no-nonsense (like a good deal of college professors), and pretty much a badass sassbucket, if you take my meaning. She had me laughing from the first page, and she has a very set way of approaching the novel-writing process, which may not be for everyone, but I’m certainly enjoying the read. The book works like an actual lesson plan, with first a prologue, and then actual day-by-day assignments that help you build both an outline and a completed rough draft. I love outlining and writing exercises, so I’m looking forward to trying out her methods, perhaps over the summer when I’m less pressed for time (and energy).

Hope your New Year is going well!

 

Chapter 3!!!

Remember back when I got to Chapter 2 yesterday? Well, NOW I’M ON CHAPTER 3!!!

And chapter 3 is getting to be a real fun chapter. It’s got a lot of drama and dialogue and action, and it’s getting close to the real start-point, where the MC’s padre gets ‘napped by the bad guys and shit hits the fan. Wooooo.

My chapters are turning out to be short, like a few pages each, which I’m not sure how I feel about. I mean, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with short chapters, but I know that if I keep this up, the novel will end up being like 200 pages, which is not good at all. Do short chapters bother anyone else, or am I just the lone, picky wolf? Of course, I’m definitely not writing as well as I can, I’m just pounding out the words and making plenty of mistakes, because I want to make this rough draft as messy and fun to fix as possible, which goes against the grain to be honest. Even now, I’m fighting the urge to print out what I’ve got and take my vindictive, bitchy red pen to the whole mess until I feel like it’s bookstore-ready. I’m doing my best to not look at what I’ve written, and I’m going to try and do that until I’m done with the rough draft so I don’t give my inner critic any more ammo than she already has.

But on another topic, I’m almost done with The Weekend Novelist, and I’m looking for other books on writing to dive into before school starts destroying my brain cells again. I’m really interested in things concerning plot, the writing of the first draft, and especially time management since I’m a student and it can be really difficult to balance writing with schoolwork. If you have any recommendations, please comment and let me know!

Writerly Things

Writing is going swimmingly. I can’t begin to describe my relief. I’ve written almost four pages in three days, which is probably nothing to a seasoned writer, but for me it’s  the most I’ve written in a long while. That’s not to say it’s flowing smoothly. I still get stuck a lot, but instead of giving up and telling myself “later”, I keep pushing and, if I really need to, I skip that scene and go on to something else. It’s working wonderfully (insert squealing and bouncing here).

In other news, I’m thinking of getting a Twitter for writerly things. I have one for RL (which I don’t use), and one for online friends (which I do use), but none specifically for writing. Actually I’m not really sure what one does to make relationships and conversation in the online world of writers, but it seems that Twitter is one such way of “connecting”. I love having people to talk to who are in the same boat as I am (writers, readers, dreamers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers) and while blogging is WONDERFUL, I sort of want more ways of sharing and interacting with people, just because it makes me happy.

Of course, if I make a Twitter I’m not really sure what I’d do with it, since I only follow a smattering of blogs, and I don’t really like following people unless I really genuinely want to know them better and talk to them or I even just like what they’re saying, because otherwise what’s the point? (God, that came out a bit snobbier than intended oops.)

So that’s my little ramble of the day. I hope you’re all enjoying these last few days of December (it’s a damn icebox even here in the Southeast). I know I for one am looking forward to the new year and all the change it will bring.

Be happy!

The Writer’s Memoirs 5-8-2012

In the past few days, I have touched upon pretty much every emotion on the scale, which could perhaps be blamed on those inevitable female things which I suppose can’t be avoided at times. I successfully crawled through the worst Monday of my life, managed to avoid losing my mind, and discovered that one cannot go 24 hours without sleep and still feel like a rockstar (unless you’re Superman, that is). I have very unsuccessfully been attempting to write.

I could of course make school the scapegoat of my poor productivity level. This is the last full week of classes before exams, which means I figure out my teachers really are trying to bury me alive with work, and I also figure out that I’m an even worse procrastinator than I thought. A revelation, I tell you.

These past few days have been hard. I look at the mess that is my novel and I see what it could be, but I don’t feel as though I could come close to doing the story and the characters justice. I feel like such a wanna-be, a fraud, a sham, a pathetic loser endlessly deluding myself into believing that I could ever be successful at the one thing I’ve always believed in, the one thing I’ve always loved.

It just feels as though I’m going in circles. I can’t take a break; I’ve been on one for the past year. I don’t want to write, because I’m terrified and certain that my words will be wrong, that they won’t say what I need them to say. So I don’t write.

And not writing hurts like hell.

Writing Tidbits/The Writer’s Memoirs 5-1-2012

So, seeing as how I was a complete fail at posting this past week, I’ve decided to sort of mesh two posts into one. I’ve been completely exhausted for the past week, and next week isn’t looking much better, seeing as finals are just around the corner. My writing has definitely taken a backseat to school, which frustrates me because I really feel ready to dive headfirst into this novel.

But in other news, my muse has suddenly started cranking out all these other ideas, so whenever I’m actually able to spare a few minutes to write, my mind isn’t focused on Glenbrooke Hall, but on my other half-assed ideas. I’m working on channeling all that creativity into my WIP, but my brain is being difficult about it, so fingers crossed that it does what I tell it to do. I might buy a book to help me.

So, while I’m on the subject, how do we “channel our creativity”? One thing that always helps me (though this only pertains to my *cough*fanfiction*cough*) is to go back and reread my story reviews or the emails between me and my crit partner. This always makes me happy and smiley and ready to try getting a few more compliments out of my readers (yes, I’m shamelessly needy when it comes to compliments, they always make my day). But, unfortunately, too often I find myself closing the doc, either not in the mood or just too distracted to write. And it frustrates me because I know my story, I know my plot, I know my characters, and I love its potential, but I can’t seem to find my way out of this funk or discipline myself enough just to write, even if what I write is utter crap.

Do you have a special method/technique/ancient remedy that you use? If so, I’d love to hear it. I’m getting just a wee bit desperate. :(

The Writer’s Memoirs 4-18-2012

For the past week, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been avoiding writing like the plague. It seems to me that during the week, school and the whole “learning” thing completely zap my brain of any creative energy, and by the time I get to the weekend, I’m so completely drained that all I want to do is collapse on my sofa and sleep until Monday. Unfortunately, that’s not very productive.

So I’m trying to figure out a system that utilizes my time and gives my muse something to work with, but so far no luck. Thankfully, however, summer is around the corner, which is when I usually get the most done, so hopefully I’ll be able (and more motivated) to write more soon.

The Writer’s Memoirs 4-11-2012

This post was actually supposed to have been up yesterday, but unfortunately things didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped. Life has been rather chaotic for the past week or so. I started back at school again on Monday, which meant much less time for writing and blogging, and added to that, yesterday I had to attend a birthday party that lasted more than 3 hours.

I haven’t made a single bit of progress with Glenbrooke, but I am proud to say that I’ve gotten a good 50 pages into a very intriguing book (which I just might review next month). I’ve committed to plotting out the next 2 chapters by Sunday, so hopefully I’ll at least get that done, if not more. School just sucks away all my time, but thankfully I’ve only got another month and then (finally!) some free time, at least for a week or two.