Each writer has a unique voice and writing style. We all know that.
There are times when I read another author and I think they way they wrote the book was brilliant. Like, Ann Dee Ellis, in This Is What I Did. The way she showed her main character's silence was so cool.
Recently, I found a video segment online where Laurie Halse Anderson is talking about her book Wintergirl (I think that's what it was called anyway). The main character is anorexic and to show her thought process in an artistic and unusual way, Halse types out the first thought like, "Oh, that pizza looks good." and then she'd literally crosses it out and types her character's next thought, "Don't eat. Don't eat." It's published with the crossed out thought in the book. Does that make sense? It's hard to explain.
Well, when I was listening to Halse speak about it I realized that would be such a fun thing to do with my character. A traumatic event happened to her when she was 10 and since then she has disappeared into herself. But she still has real thoughts. So, can I use Halse's idea of crossing out thoughts? Or is that stepping on another author's geniusness? I totally don't want to look like I'm copying the idea (even though I would be), I just think it totally rocks. Opinions?
And I totally won't take offense if people are like, "Heck No! You can't do that." I just need to know some thoughts.
Reading The Hunger Games this week put a halt to my writing. What an amazing book. But, finishing it late at night did give me disturbing dreams. Pretty much, me or a loved one, almost died five or six times during my dreams. I would not recommend reading this book late into the night. But it was an amazing book. Very well written. And dare I say, I'd have given it Savvy's spot in the Newbery Honor books? Yes, I think I will say that. :)
So I now have two more scenes in rough draft form. From my rough outline I have around seven to nine more scenes to write. And then connect them together. Which means this week I need to write four more scenes one week. And five more then other week. That means a lot of focus, but I finally cleared out our computer room and set up a work station, so I feel more stable about having a writing spot. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it!
Sorry that this blog is more of a journal entry blog and not full of fun interesting thoughts and opinions. Oh well. I think we'll all live.
For those of you going to the LDS Storymakers Conference next weekend, see you there. I'm excited to be going!
Nothing beats lying in bed at 3:00 in the afternoon, listening to the rain, and reading a great first chapter.
I can tell, The Hunger Games is going to be a disturbing and yet thoroughly enjoyable read. It's been a while since I've enjoyed an opening as much as I did with this book. *Much bowing to Suzanne Collins*
Now, I'm going to get back in bed and keep reading. -Sorry children, hope you don't feel too neglected today.
Well, one whole week later and I finally finished my goal of character sketches and a rough draft of one of the most pivotal scenes in my book. I took the scene with me to critique group last night. I wanted to know if I pulled off the emotional pull I needed. My fellow writers said I accomplished the feeling -Yay! Now I just need to clean and tighten it up. The more I write the more I discover that I write three drafts before I finally get to what I call my rough draft. Haha. It gets annoying, but I can't leave a scene until I feel it's halfway decent.
Lately, the thoughts of how I need to stop watching so much TV at night and read instead has been jumping in my brain like big, red bouncy balls. Currently, I'm reading Savvy by Ingrid Law. It's such a fun book but is taking me forever to get through (due to too much TV at night and not enough reading). I also got Hunger Games from the library and can't wait to get into that.
Since I'm so non-visual I decided to assign my characters actors and actresses. THAT WAS SO FUN! I've always been a fan of Emmy Rossum and using her as my main character is almost like meeting her in real life, only probably cooler.
The last thing in this rambling post is a Shout Out to Molly and Smart Cookie. THE best sugar cookies I've ever had. The Easter Bunny would totally replace Santa in my book if he filled my easter basket with those cookies this year.
Forgive this nonsense of a post. It's pretty much just a stream of concience. My goal for this week is to get two scenes hashed out in my book. I'm excited!
Oh, one last thought - to all fellow writers - check out the TV show Castle on Monday nights (I think at nine). It's about a murder writer that helps solve cases. It's pretty fun. :)
So I finished my character sketches. Oh, they were so much fun.
I can tell I'm going to have to go over them many times during the writing process. It's like meeting someone new and them telling you their name, where they live, where they work, what their family life is like, and so on. It can get kind of confusing keeping it all straight in your head. Does anybody have any tricks on how the remember their character's little facts so well?
Hey y'all, (No, I'm not southern. That "y'all" came out of nowhere)
So I joined Trisi's Challenges today, which means my goal of having a complete rough draft of my current ms done by the end of April is now sitting on my plate of things to get done, along with getting off my rear end and at least giving my house the minimal cleaning treatment.
I know myself well enough to know though that I am the queen of procrastination. So, to try to remedy this flaw of mine, I'm going to give myself a daily goal. Hopefully, by doing it that way, I will get the rough draft finished.
Today's goal - finish character sketches of my four main characters - Harley, Carlina, Eileen, & Robert. Also, give the "coal draft" of the current scene I'm writing and small polish and turn it into a rough draft.
Definition of Coal Draft - for those of us who don't outline it's the first writing of a scene. It's really bad, but after a lot of pressure and hard work, diamonds appear.
I'll report to you tomorrow morning to let you know how I did!
I am on the lookout for a critique group. I'm in one group already that exchanges manuscripts online (YOU GIRLS ROCK!), but I'd like to also have one that meets in person.
I recently went to one group that's been meeting for quite a few years, but they were much more focused on punctuation than the story. We read parts of five different manuscripts and not once did anyone make a comment more in depth than, "You need a comma here." I was bummed.
I'm currently working on a YA and would love to know if anyone has openings in their group or if they know of one that meets in the Payson to Provo area.
Well, by my standards, I now consider myself a true author. I received my first rejection letter today from Deseret Book.
And as odd as it sounds, I'm ok with it. In fact, the annoyingly optimistic side of me thinks, "Hey, I want to frame this letter. It means I'm on the road. I'm following my dream."
I know that one day I'll be published. Whether in a year or ten or twenty, if I put in the work it will happen. I believe I have some natural talent (not JK Rowling or anything) and I believe I can learn everything else.
Now, on to writing. Carlina and Harley are calling.
Ok, I just have to give a huge huge huge (I guess I could have just said gigantic) shout out to Francine Prose, author of Reading Like a Writer.
This book is amazing. For the past couple of years I keep hearing, "If you want to write then read, read, read." I get that. But nobody has ever explained how to "read". Yes, I know that last sentence sounded funny. Think about it though. There are fast readers and slow readers, readers that skip everything that isn't dialogue and readers that read all of it. So I took the advice and just kept reading. I read the way I always have - for enjoyment.
But Mrs. (or Ms., I don't know) Prose introduces how to read like a writer. I'm not even halfway through her book but I've already implemented some of the things she talks about. Let's put it this way - on average it takes me three days to read a book. However, with my current book it's taken me five days to read to chapter three. And I have learned more than I ever have. And you know what - it's made my writing a heck of a lot easier.
A light bulb went off in my head - and I love it!
And to make things even better, there is a mighty wind storm right now in Utah - and it just blew off one of the hideous, slightly pink, shudders one my house. Now I can justify buying brand new, gorgeously black, shudders. I can't wait!
And just so you know - I never go back through and fix all my writing errors in these posts. All rules go out the window and I just write. How liberating after dissecting every word and punctuation mark in my manuscript!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I went to the LTUE conference on thursday and friday. Even though lots of the classes didn't apply to me (since it's a fantasy writing conference) there were still some that did. There was one class that was AMAZING though. It was taught by an author named Clint Johnson and he talked about conceptulizing your story to its full potential before you start writing. Then, of coarse, he told us how he goes about that.
I loved it because, I, who hates to outline, found it a great way to get all my thoughts out about my story, pick the best one, and then start writing. Before, I'd have a vague idea of my story, but it was bound to twist and turn every which way, usually depending on my mood. But last night I analyzed my protagonist and my antagonist the way Clint showed us and rewrote my first chapter (for the third or fourth time) today. It was so much fun!
So, now I just feel happy and content with the work I did. I know it's not perfect, and I'll revise it another thirty times before I'm done with it, but I feel like I've accomplished something on a much deeper level than before. YaHooo!
There's a couple things I've been thinking the past few days.
The first is how much I love this writing community. I blog hopped, starting from Janette Rallison's site (thanks Janette :) ), and found this whole big blog writing world. IT'S BEAUTIFUL! (sorry for shouting, haha, I just love it so).
Each day, before I begin writing on my manuscript, I actually visit a handful of writing blogs to help me get in the mind set. Each time I do this I find little nuggets of gold. Example, yesterday I found out about LTUE, a free writer's conference. Oh the joy! I mean, who isn't up for that? Thanks LaRene Hall at LDS Writers Blogck.
The second was about my main character's voice. This being the first real YA I've written (I've also written a failed chapter book that was so horrendously bad I'm embarrassed) I'm not sure if I have a problem on my hands or not. I'd love some feedback.
Carlina, my main character, is willing to self sacrifice in order to do what she thinks her dad wants. And if that means accepting an evil (and the most popular girl) at school as her stepsister, and a superficial stepmom into her life, then she'll do it. Everything that comes out of Carlina's mouth is nonconfrontational. And no matter how bad her life gets she won't let anyone know about it. The possible problem lies in the fact that when Carlina is speaking in her head her voice can be quite sarcastic and hurt. But when she speaks outloud she sounds like a demure little mouse. Is that ok when the character thought voice is different from the spoken voice?
So those are my thoughts. Looking back through my post I realized I'm having a parenthesis day. Cool beans. Love ya guys!!! Ashley
A while back I was blog hopping through my graduating class's blogs. In one of the blogs the writer is big time into art- like photography and painting. In one of her posts she made the statement, "I know that writing is not technically considered an art."
That was news to me. Writing is definitely not a science. If it were, I think a great many of us would be published authors.
Really, writing is similar to all the other forms of art. We, as individuals, are trying to make our thoughts and emotions entertaining for other to look at/read. Right? Am I wrong here?
Have any of you ever heard someone say writing is not considered an art?
As all moms know- finding the time to write is hard. How in the world do we find the quiet time to really give our full attention to what our characters are saying?
A couple of weeks ago I resolved to get up every morning at 6:00 to write. There would be no children to distract me from my goal. That lasted around four days. I swear my boys have a innate sensor that tells them when I am awake. Now they get up at 6:15 every morning, hoping I am awake. Ugh.
Not that I don't absolutely love them. I just wish it was easier to find the time to write. I could also write at night, but I have a confession- I am a T.V. junkie. And all my good shows are on at night. Between Heroes, Lost, The Bachelor, American Idol, Bones, The Office, and House I end up watching T.V. every night. I know, I know- its horrible.
Anybody want to offer advice? Anybody want to give me a smack upside the head and tell me to not watch so much T.V.? Anybody?
I thought I had my book figured out. And I was excited about it.
Then I had a conversation with hubby. It wasn't even directly about my book. It was about another book I had just read, A Dance for Three by Louise Plummer, and my book changed.
But I believe it changed for the better. I've been writing long enough to know that I find my character way before I find my plot. Which I enjoy and loathe at the same time. This is my question though- how do you know when you've found the right story for your character?