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Dear sister, or, Goodbye to a writing friend

Dear sister,

I began writing because of you. Did you know that? Sure, I also wrote because of Star Trek, but real computer writing began because of you. It started when I told you stories at night. Do you remember that? We’d stay up and I’d tell you an ongoing story. If we had to go to sleep, I come up with a cliff hanger quickly. However, telling you stories at night took too long, and we couldn’t record them, so I began to write them down for you. In the car on the way to Springfield on February 14th.

Jennifer Bullinger stared at out the scene before her.

However, I didn’t show them to you then. I showed them to our brother. He liked them and became my first helper in writing. But then again, he was eleven and I was fifteen. Neither of us knew much about writing.

I gave you these books to you for your thirteenth birthday. You still have them too, upstairs on your bookshelf. By the time I finished my first official novel, Hope, our brother didn’t want to read it and I wasn’t sure I wanted him to read it. He had become too logical.

However, in between those four years, you had matured. I began sharing with you ideas for my stories. You helped me tighten and improve plots; in many ways,  you became a bouncing board for my ideas. Even though you don’t always say much, you sometimes said enough and sometimes you realized that all I needed to do was talk aloud.

From when you were thirteen to sixteen, you helped me. I’d tell you ideas and you would tell me what you thought. Often, you were one of the first people to hear about a story idea. You were the first one to know why Sagi hates the Yoni. You know all about Shad and my mermaids. You heard my mental discussions about whether to give my mermaids legs or fins. You know a lot about my stories. More than any other reader.

And, whenever we get to share a room still, and I ask if you want to know a plot or two, you get all excited. You want to know them. You want to know them all.

Do you even realize how much you know about me and my writing? You are one of the only people who know I submitted work for publication. Only you, in our family, know about my blog. Only you know that I am considering submitted short stories for self publication. You gave me some serious help with my synopsis.

Often you are one of the first people to read what I write and you would get mad when you weren’t. You have no idea how much help you gave me when you would read it so I could ask you questions. Those times after you read a story helped me more than you could imagine.

You told me that you want a book dedicated after you, as payment for all the help I’ve given you. I agreed then. Jokingly I’d tell you that it would be to, “Elianna, because she thinks that she deserves a book for listening to all my brilliant thoughts when in reality she did so little.”

You know, it hasn’t been the same since the summer though. I don’t think it’s me. I want to share. I almost need someone to share all my ideas with. (I go insane sometimes with all my ideas.) However, you aren’t doing what I really need you to do. You aren’t reading anything.

Since September, I’ve written three short stories. All three of them are pretty good. (It’s not like summer of 2010 when I wrote a bunch of bad short stories.) But you not only have not read them, you haven’t even suggested that you want to read them. Counting those, it now places the number at five stories that you have not read of mine. Five. And yes, I’d like to know what you think, but I can’t force you to read them. I can’t demand that you do anything.

But I can’t discuss things with you if you don’t read then. I don’t think I’m asking too much. Maybe you do like hearing the plots; I don’t know. But here’s what I do know. You aren’t helping me anymore. Not only that, but you don’t want to.

It finally hit this weekend. I just suggested that it is hard because I want to write to more sections of story, but I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of. Sure, I have a best friend at school, but she isn’t helpful in that area. I just e-mailed you on Thursday suggesting that it’d be helpful if you read it. When I asked if you saw my e-mail, you responded with, “I saw you were complaining.” Not meanly. Just in your normal voice of, “Yeah. I saw it. But I didn’t really think about it.”

Do you know what you told me then?  You basically said that you don’t care about what I write. You don’t care about my stories.

I realize that you’ve grown up. You’re almost eighteen now. Maybe you don’t have time for silly little stories your older sister writes. But I’m going to miss you nonetheless. I’m going to miss telling you all the ideas that come into my head. I’m going to miss getting your help with problems. I’m going to miss having characters that only we know about, like secrets sisters share. Or making Shad into a character on the wii.

Because even if you’ve grown up and you’ve moved on, I haven’t. I’m still writing. I’ll always be writing. Even if you aren’t going to read.

So I’m sorry it came to this. I really hope it wasn’t because I am at college now. But either way, I think I understand.  Just so you know.

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12 goals I have for writing in 2012

My brother pointed out that no one posts lists about the top best 11 things of 2011, which gave me the idea. Why not the top 12 things I want to write for in 2012? Okay, I don’t know if I can do that, but we’ll try.

And while I’m at it, let’s cover my writing highlights for 2011.

Top 11 things that happened to me in 2011 so far as writing goes. 

1) I wrote my first synopsis. Boo-yah! And set up everything to send out a novel to a publisher.

2) I came in 3rd on the writing contest with Just Trust Me

3) I started a new novel, mermaids. Completed the pre-draft.

4) I took a creative writing class. (And got an A in it. :) )

5)  Realized I know HOW to write a good story. That now I just have to WRITE the good story. (Basically, stop reading books about writing and write already.)

6) Started writing a series story for the newspaper.

7) Wrote for the school newspaper actual news articles.

8) Started a writing group. Which I had to leave because I transfered schools, but hey, it happened. Finally.

9) Kept this blog going (more or less) for two years. That’s a BIG accomplishment for me.

10) Okay. I’m getting desperate again. I almost made 10 posts in Critters in a week. (That gets me MCP, which means I jump to the front of the line.) I missed it by one.

11) Wrote poems. (I should post those, shouldn’t I?)

Okay, so here’s what I plan to accomplish in 2012. I wouldn’t go so far as saying that these are resolutions, although a few of them are. I don’t really like the idea of a new year resolution because it makes it sound like you can only turn over a new leaf on January 1.

So these are just goals I hope to do in 2012. 

1.) Send out Shad. This is an easy one. And, okay. I know that was my goal for this year. And I have everything ready to go. But I need to print it at school so that won’t happen until next year.

2.) Finish mermaids/my second novel. Right now, I have the pre-draft done. (Is that confusing? It’s like a really, really, really bad first draft / rough outline. Maybe soon I should post again how i write.)

3.) Write more short stories. I like the short story format. Also, they can be sent out easier and take less time. However, I might be held back here because all of the short stories I read ended sadly. I don’t like sad stories.

4.) Get a rejection letter. Okay. I’d be nicer if I get accepted, but let’s be real. First time writer. Probably not.

5.) Does becoming editor of the school newspaper count for writing? I have that goal.

6.) Edit some of the short stories I wrote. Specifically Shay’s Tadpole and Ka’za. (I know. You don’t know what those are. But I do and that’s what I care about right now. I wrote them both last year. This way, a year from now, I can see how well I did?)  Oh, and maybe see about fixing How Johnny Cash Saved my Life so I can actually do something with that.

7) Nanowrimo. Never done it. ‘nough said.

8) Submit a short story. I wanted to do that in 2011 but I keep thinking the new year starts tonight, not last night.

9) Write more consistently for here. :) (Okay. I’m getting desperate for goals. But I do want too.)

10) Write something once a week at least for novels. Okay. I totally just made up that goal. But it’s a good goal. Otherwise, I go for weeks at a time not writing anything.

11) Read more often. I don’t read as much as I should and writing is tied with writing. So I want to read.

12) Use Critters more effectively / more often. I really could have used that this semester when I was working on my story. (Maybe they would have told me that lyrics will be copyrighted early on.)

This final one is something I want to do, but it also relies on someone else, which is why it doesn’t get a number. I want to write out one of my roleplays with a friend. It’d be really awesome.

Farewell, my dear friend.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used Appleworks. I loved appleworks. It was simple enough, it ran smoothly. It had this great, great feature where you could indent and un-indent and all that stuff with just a few simple buttons. Nothing complicated. When I was younger than ten even, I remember drawing pictures on Appleworks (since windows painting wasn’t out yet).

I am the appleworks queen. I know everything there is to know about appleworks, besides the guy who programed it, but it’s so old he’s probably dead or something. :) I made resumes. I made overhead pictures for worship. I made cards. I made posters. I pretty much made everything on appleworks.

However… recently appleworks has been doing two things on me. First, it’s been eating my documents. It actually ate one of mine completely. A whole, actually rather difficult section to write, of a story. It’s also eaten a day or so of notes from a class. They just disappear.

Secondly, and more consistently as of late, it’s been quitting. I ask it to do a spell check and it just quits. Or save something and instead it quits.

Moreover, I’m getting a lot of teachers annoyed at me because I need to submit all my assignments in PDFs. I don’t have Word. I HATE Word. They want me to submit them in Word format. Moreover, when I try saving them as an RTF file, someone said it didn’t work. Maybe it’s user error; I don’t know. The fact is that it’s getting to the point no one can read appleworks files, even if I do save them as RTFs.

As such, and with great sadness, I am saying farewell to appleworks. I won’t delete it yet. I still will probably need it for drawing or something. I don’t know. But all of my new documetns, and all of the documents that I am working on, will be now going into Bean 2.4.4.

This is scary. I mean, after all, I don’t know what Bean is going to do. I don’t know if it’ll hurt my poor documents or not. I can’t handle another word processor that eats my stories. Then, how do I do headers? Or footers? Or other things that are valuable but I can’t think about right now?

On the other hand, I don’t have a choice. My brother, whose opinion I trust, recommend Bean as a simple, basic word processor. Nothing fancy but enough to get the job done. I hope so.

On the plus side, Bean has this notes feature that is awesome! I’m so excited. I even created a shortcut that will allow me to go cmd-M and mark up my document. So, say, I’m tired and I’m reading a story, I can just go, cmd-M, [this is really dull] and it is done. So overall, I’m pleased with my computer performance today.

So there you have it.

I didn’t change a lot. The biggest thing I would like to point out is that I have uploaded all of my stories as PDFs so you can download them at your connivence, read, and leave comments.

I’m also trying very, very hard to get ahead in my homework, so I’m not panicking the day before to get it all done. Unfortunately, at this moment I am currently writing this post instead of taking some quizzes but writing posts is more fun. :)

I also took on a challenge. I didn’t realize it was going to be a challenge when I said I could do it though. See, i volunteered to write for the school newspaper. NO big deal. Except I volunteered to write as a creative writer. I figured I’d just take Time of the Dragon Slayers, cut it up into the sections I already have, and turn that in.

Yeah right.

I get an e-mail. Abigail, try to keep it to 500 to 750 words. Take out the first section and run a word count. 2000 words. O.o.

I end up deciding to chop the first section into two sections. Not sure how that will work in the long run. Then, I proceeded to cut out another 300 words.

There is the chance, the very slight chance, that this might end up actually being a better version. I’m cutting out a lot of description though so I don’t know. if it is better, I’ll obviously post it.

Here’s another challenge with that. I need to have some kind of tension every 500 to 750 words. Moreover, I need to make it interesting to both guys and girls. For some dumb reason, the guy part of my brain isn’t working. The guy part that says explosions are cool and love stories are stupid. I want to write a love story. (Yes, I still did swear them off.) I also want to write a sad story (since I can’t spell the real word I want) . No one is going to like me if I write a sad story for the newspaper. No one where the guy’s wife turns out to be a spy and then kills their baby.

So, I can’t write something either. Not too sure what to do about that when I start short stories at the end of October. And the short story I wrote this summer isn’t coming along well because the real story doesn’t start until six pages in. The horror.

Anyway, the real topic, that I actually updated my blog, has been long lost. As such, I will leave you with one final question, since it is question Sunday: What was the hardest writing project you tackled?

For myself, it’s a toss up between these poems, though I seem to be doing not that bad on them, since they confuse me like nothing else. Or it is when I actually wrote articles for the newspaper at DWU. That made my brain somewhat explode. Anyway, what about you?

Good evening, folks.

Wow!

I realize that it has probably seemed like forever since I have written here last. I’ve missed it. No. I have not forgotten all of my fine readers. However, I needed to take a break because life became busy (okay, and I got a little discouraged/depressed in June), and then I had nothing to speak about because I’ve been a bad writer and haven’t written anything all summer.

*gasp*

I know. The horror.

Actually, I just finished writing the first draft a short story, which I started two weeks ago, so that was still summer, right?

Unfortunately, I can’t promise that I’m back for six days a week like before. See, I moved since I last wrote. Okay. I moved an hour away from my old home, but it involved a school transfer. I am now living in the dorms. And to be honest, dorm life can be busy. I went to two meetings tonight, both lasting an hour, and then dinner lasted an hour too.

I’m also taking six classes this semester, and of those, it looks like I must read the textbook for three of them. Plus papers. Plus my own writing. So, I’m still trying to work out priorities. But, I’ll try to make this more important.

On the plus side, one of the classes I’m taking is creative writing, which means that we’ll probably get some things that I’ve never discussed or would have discussed (such as poetry). I’m also taking Native American Studies, which will probably give some fascinating ideas to incorporate into a world. I wrote in the paper that

 I hope to learn more about the culture of the Oyate so I can use that information in the future.

Now, in the future he’ll think when I’m teaching, but by in the future, I mean in my writing. Sneaky, eh?

Another thing that’s coming soon is I’m actually going to sit down and reformat this blog. While that means a lot of work for me, it also means that I’m going to try and make my stories in an easier readable formate, with the idea that you can then put it on an ebook reader.  Now, I’ll just offer them as either an RTF or a PDF (votes anyone?) but that’s another change here. I’m realizing how important it is to develop a pre-publishing fan base, which sounds really bad, I know, but with how things are going, it’s more than likely that books from new authors will not be published soon. As such, anything I can do to make it easier for you, I will.

These changes will probably include a list of books I’ve read, since I’ve been reading a bit more, and maybe a three line review. However, we’ll see how that goes.

So, that’s my official coming back post and I’ll see you around.

The productive week.

I said I would start posting my word counts, to encourage me. :) Well, so much for that. I did, however, write this week so I might as well admit it.

Last time I posted, I had 19,009 words competed in mermaids. Since i didn’t write for almost two weeks, we can assume that is the same number. This week I have 24,985, which means that I wrote 5976 words.

Not only that, but I also imputed the paper edits of Shad’s synopsis, all 7 pages.

Oh, and I think I came up with a good enough title for Shad, at least until someone can really give me ideas: The Sweeper Pilot. Preferably it’d be fun of it showed up on the book as The Sweeper Pilot, but I think that works well enough. What do you think?

This was a productive week.

Unique beginnings

I wrote this story last year called Miles’ Love. It came out to 34 pages, poor writing and too much dragging. I didn’t like it and left it on the shelf for some later date.

That later date happened to be yesterday. See, I figured out how to cut out a good 10 pages from the story, and that’s just the beginning. It also made it ten times more interesting I think. The reason for this change is the story started much too slowly, because it had too much background.

Now, this does mean I have to change the story from third person to first person, but I kinda like it like that actually. We’ll see where it goes at least. I thought about doing this before  type of introduction before but this is the first time I actually tried it.

So here’s the very beginning of Miles’ Love.

********************************************

“Your father and I believe that the time has come for you to be married.” 

“We have been told that you can help us with a bomb issue with are having, involving the SFFC.” 

“Rachel is a nice girl. You will do well for each other.” 

“I’m just here for therapy. Nothing more.”

“You weren’t really on guard duty, were you?”

“Three years is more than enough to be running around the world with the military. It’s about time you settled down.”

“I know I’m the eldest, Luke, and that my tradition my marriage is arranged. But I don’t want to be married, let alone to a girl I don’t know.”

“I can’t tell you anything. It’s classified. Mother can’t know either. If she knew….”

“You take care of Rachel, you hear?”

“Thank your for your help, Major Jospehson. We are indebted to you.”

“Don’t go to the mall–not until Wednesday at least. It’s not safe.”

“You should take her on a picnic. She would like that.”

“How much were you hurt when the bomb exploded?”

“What did you hear?”

“Stop playing games with us, Jospehson.”

“You used the bomb to lure me out.”

“We have our sources.”

“Don’t you dare hurt her.”

I was ten when I first heard about the Changers. These people would voluntarily removed parts of their body to have new, improved bodies, generally speaking for criminal purposes. The prosthetics had become so advanced by now that a person could sometimes move faster, quickly and more. Changers were the future of the criminal race, for they used these skills to exploit and steal.

accurately with one. By the time I was fifteen, everyone believed that any amputee was probably a Changer. Not that they could be easily recognized, since most artificial limbs looked normal. Still, people would see, or think they would see, the small metal band and know. As such, most everyone would do anything to keep a limb, no matter how maimed they were.

Except me. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine I would become a Changer.

I didn’t mean for it to happen. I should have seen the bomb, realized the location, not miscalculated the time–anything to keep myself from being caught in the explosion. But it did explode. Before I could get out. When the pain cleared enough for the doctor to give me a choice, I told him to use his best judgment.

But I never thought he’d chose to remove my arm. And even then, I never thought I’d be pressure to opt for a millitary-issued arm. Nor did I expect that injury would encourage the military to select me to go to Bordino, a third world country who current sold telepathy to anyone willing to buy.

With an advanced arm and a telepathic ability to sense other’s emotions, I might as well be a Changer. I couldn’t tell my parents though.  A lord’s son–without an arm? Even if that would be found out soon enough, no one could know about the telepathy. That was against the contract. Nor could they know that my expertise lay in bombs, both decoding Intel and defusing. I made too many enemies in the war zone to allow that to be known here.

And where did all this end me?  My specialized skill set and training? A basement cell, kidnapped by the SFFC  because I prevented a bomb explosion earlier this week. And my betrothed pretending to sleep against the wall, her dark hair falling into her face. Luke, my brother, told me to keep her safe before we left for the picnic, but I couldn’t have imagined this would happen. I couldn’t have known they would know about me, let alone go after me.

I took a deep breath. No matter. First, I would get free. Then, we’d deal with how they found out. But about Rachel… I had been in worse situations.

I shifted and stretched my legs. “I’m thinking it’s about eight.”

Rachel pushed herself up. She didn’t really sleep. Only pretended to.  “I don’t know. Why does it matter?”

“It just does.” The sun set within the last hour, so we would have enough twilight to run and enough darkness to hid. I fumbled with the handcuffs behind my back. Rachel just stared at me, her large brown eyes not even bothering to hide her fear.

“Did–they say something? When they questioned you earlier?”

********************************************

So, what do you think? Did it work maybe? What do you know about Miles (the  person who is telling the story)?

Have you done any kind of unique beginnings like this for your writing? How did it work out for you? 

Is this me writing or him writing through me?

Currently I am taking in college Advanced Composition, which involves writing a huge research paper. For my topic, I chose mermaids in folklore, because I’ve always liked folklore, I want to write a story about merfolk, and it seemed like the only topic I could stay interested in all semester.

All is fine and good. He reads my first third, really likes it, gives me a few suggestions, and really encourages everything to move on. Then he reads the second chapter, isn’t too sure because I’m not clear, explains how to become clearly. Then we get to the third chapter.

Now, by this time I have found extensive lists of mermaid sightings, include mermaid dissections, sighings recorded by by Henry Hudson and Columbus (although Columbus probably saw a manatee), sightings as early as the Roman empire, and all sorts of other fun things. I don’t really know what to do with this last chapter, but I kinda wanted to pull in the sightings and what people did to protect themselves against merfolk, into the last chapter. Since he wanted me to make a comment on what the merfolk meant, I thought about it really hard and came to the conclusion that merfolk were the ancient aliens. Since we can now explore the ocean, we know there are no merfolk. But we can’t explore space, therefore, we have aliens and UFO sightings.

I showed him my outline and he thought it was crazy. Basically, the way he said it was that it pulled down the paper. He suggested that since I am finding stories from everywhere, from Japan to Native Americans to Europe to Africa, that I should do a discussion on what do these stories tell about the human psyche. (He said this after chapter two as well.) To encourage this, I should compare three stories from three areas, and then make my statement on what it says.

And I have something. Now, it’s depressing when I think about it, but I have something. In short, marriage sucks and ends too soon, people want simple things in life, but also to be special, and people want to be human. (I’ll eventually post this paper on my website so you can see how I came to that conclusion.)  We’ll see some time later what he thinks about it. I can’t turn it in until tomorrow.

Then today, I looked at chapter 2 so I could put his edits into my copy for the final. And I found a note at the end of the paper.

I wrote:

In fact, the variances and differences among personality and activities are rare and usually induced by human interference. Interestingly, these characteristics are not isolated by continent but span the world. With both appearance and personality rather similar, it is enough to raise questions as to the true physical nature of merfolk.

This was written with the assumption that I would show the status of merfolk in the real world in the next chapter, including both sightings and the idea that they are the old aliens. With the new paper, it is obviously changed. However, he wrote underneath it:

NO. The similarities and variations raise the questions about what the merfolk mean of the human psyche.

Now, that is written as best I can tell. He’s very old and has handwriting that I struggle to read. However, this started me thinking.

Am I having him tell me what to write too much?

This teacher became excited about my project and excited about everything involved in it. And since I really want an A (if I don’t have an A, I lose my greater than 3.75 grade in his class.), I have been listening, nodding and agreeing with him in that I’ll do what he recommends. But after seeing his note, I’m wondering if this is case of this is what Dr. D wonders or is this a case of what a normal person reading this paper would wonder.

I don’t know. I don’t know if I would have the courage to go completely against what he said. And he may be right; claiming that merfolk were the old aliens is crazy. He originally suggested a very evolutionary idea of merfolk, which myself, as a creationist, will not do.

However, after all of this, I’m thinking if I’m bored this summer that I will write my original third chapter. I had enough. I could have been very interesting.

One, two, three… one hundred and twenty thousand.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to figure someway to track my progress in writing on here. I don’t know if any apps or widgets that would actually do it. However, I think I have a new plan.

Now, you all probably know about my “new plans.” Just look at my welcome message. I totally haven’t followed that in months. However, here’s the thing. I think it’ll work, so long as I remember.

Because the end of the week for me is Friday, on either Friday afternoon or Saturday evening I’ll post how many words I am into the story and how many I wrote this week. Editing with obviously be done by pages.

So with that being said, I currently have….

17820 words in Mermaids.

I’d like to write two chapters  (at least) by the end of next week. And since  those are going to both be hard chapters, I don’t think that’s too undershooting (not to mention how many other papers I have to write as well. )

Three stories, five books and not enough time

I realized today that I have actually started three separate books. I’m stunned. And worse, I don’t know what to write.

  • Mermaids: This story revolves around a political turmoil in a mermaid world. Nessa is the youngest daughter of the king but wants to be queen. Under their government, she can be elected as queen.  However, it is only through the Adamahs, humans who have been changed to mermaids, that she can do this.  In this I have the election, and the result afterwards, and it’s really awesome. :)
  • Intentional Accidents: This story revolves around two characters, a pirate and an assassin. They’re stories  interweaves into smiliar threads and storylines but I only know about the pirate. She is feeling lonely, hurt and wants off the pirate ship but doesn’t see a way to get off. A police man unknowingly gets on the pirate ship and encourages her to find her own way. The assassin is also tired of her life, wants out, but doesn’t know how to leave. I haven’t dealt with the assassin much, focusing on developing the pirate story, then the assassin, then merging them at the end.
  • Mindskill: In mindskill, a doctor develops telepathy as an implant. He implanted his daughter without her knowledge, understanding that soon it would be a necessary skill to survive. He dies though before he can tell her, in an “accident” and she must discover the truth for herself, along with a plot to take over the world and a plan to keep those with this skill safe. This was going to be my shot at writing a trilogy (Which is a huge task, let me tell you.)

I’ve written 36 words of Intentional Accidents (9,455 words), 93 pages of mindskill (25,000) and 61 pages (16,000 words) of mermaids.

Here’s the problem: I like them all. I stopped mindskill because I needed to develop it more. I stopped Intentional Accidents because I needed to skim and I didn’t know how to. (I’m playing around writing the ending scene to that.) And I’m currently writing mermaids (which may not end up being mermaids, which makes me sad, but that is fact.)

I have every intention of finishing all of these. All of them are probably good. But how? I’m mean, seriously, I probably have enough to write about for three years (at least), not to mention that I  need to write synopses to send these books out, and I want to write Sagi’s tragedy (short story), and I’d really like to write one of the stories my friend and I write out (novel), and I’d like to edit Hope (or at least make a logical decision whether to toss it), and edit Giant’s Wife and–

*stops for breath*

I just have too many ideas I think. How do I choose?