This past week in my life has been almost a literal whirlwind. In short, I was dropped from the nursing program at school and that sent me on a quest to find a new career goal between runs to the business office, professors, financial aid, and fighting off waves of sadness. Currently, I’m thinking education and I’m stuck between English for secondary ed or elementary ed. I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need to decide at this second, but that’s hard.
When my teachers first told me they needed to dismiss me, one thing they brought up is that I mentioned to someone I like writing. Obviously, I love writing. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t write the blog. However, I kinda dismissed that suggestion because a) my school doesn’t have the creative writing program I would like and b) it’s too competitive a field for a career and c) I’m too nice of a person.
All fine and good. I move on.
Then I discussed my mermaid paper with my professor, Dr. D. In spite of his doubts on my topic, he likes it. It has actually rather impressed him and Dr. D has, once again, mentioned publishing. I’m kinda like, “Okay, whatever. That might be cool.” I’m still staring at the chapter three section and trying to figure what to write exactly. Or even outline!
Moving on to announcing my dismissal on facebook and telling my nursing partners. (Obviously, some are shocked, because as someone put it, I dominated the tests.) Someone in all of this asked me if I’m going to change my major to writing.
After that, I posted Just Trust Me with the hopes that people would read it. I got one person liking it and two people at least clicked on it. But no comments otherwise. Nothing.
Then I go back for this final nursing thing about administer withdrawal to protect my GPA and such. Blahblahblah. Anyway, I just mentioned to my teachers that I was writing a paper comparing mermaid folklore across the world. They asked me how I came upon this idea and I explained that I wrote the story for the writing contest at my school (no clue how I placed yet) and I decided to write it as a novel. I wanted to do some research about it first though. They thought it was awesome.
Then the provost of my school (less than 800 students) has never met me before. No big deal. But she recongized me AND she made comments about how I have really made a difference in the TRiO writing center and that Dr. D has said that I write really well.
I only write for the student newspaper at school and to be honest, I’m not pleased with how my articles are coming out. I really wish I had someone to help me just iron out the little things and let me brainstorm with them. But I keep hearing about how good of a writer I am, or if I’m going to go into writing, but you know what?
But no one has read my fiction!
I think I write good fiction. I have come a long way in the eight years that I’ve been writing. And while some of my stories may not be up to the standards I would like, and I am a little on the slow side when it comes to editing, I really like the stories I have.
I even randomly started reading the ending of one of my stories that I haven’t touched in over a year because I randomly thought of it.
Everyone else knows that I write fiction too. Almost everyone understands that this is a passion of mine.
But no one reads it!
For once, just once, I want someone who has read what i have written in fiction to tell me that I’m a good writer, or ask me if I am going to look into writing, or something like that, I don’t want these people who don’t even know I wrote a novel to be suggesting I write as a career. Because for all they know, my writing stinks!
As it is, because I mentioned that I want my mermaid story to become an novel, I have now promised my nursing department a signed copy of it when it is published. I suppose it should be if, but I prefer to be optimistic.
I”m honestly trying to be upbeat about this. But it’s so hard. It really is honestly hard.
See, if you remember I entered the Agnes Hyde writing contest last January with the story “When Darkness Swallows“. I also entered an autobiographical essay. IN all honesty, I was really, really excited and curious. I was also hoping that this might be a way that I can get money for a clinical I have in May.
Well, the results of the contest are in, and not only did I not even win first place, I didn’t win anything. Nada. Just, poof! No Abigail entries.
I know that it wasn’t that great. When Darkness Swallows was rather long and not that great. But I had hopes for Flashes of Inspiration. I mean–my English teacher thought it was good!
But apparently not good enough.
Alas, I’m sad. I was hoping that I’d be able to post that I won and all instead of posting that I lost.
Well, at least I finally lost a writing contest that I tried for. I just wish he’d give me comments on my story.
This being spring break, of course I have goals. I’ve been looking forward it too much for there not to be goals involved.
That being said, I think that I should outline my goals, so anyone who wants to can check in on me and see how well I did when I say in May that I failed.
First off, with Dragon Slayers. I know, you haven’t read it. There are some parts of it that are really…. erm, yeah, but I’m going to finish that hopefully today (Tuesday) and give it to an English teacher at my school who I work with for her to read and comment on. If she comments on that quickly enough, I’ll input her commentary. If not, well, I’m going to do this anyway. At the end of the month I’m going to send it to Writers of the Future contest. I don’t think anything will happen with that, to be quite honest, because it isn’t fantasy enough, but I’m going to give it a try anyway so I can say that I submitted something somewhere.
Also, I’d like to seriously get into editing Shad. But that doesn’t happen until….
April 30th is actually the end of my semester and with it, when I want to be completely done with Shad. I might have more people read it but with a) this being so soon and b) I don’t have anyone to read it really, I’ll probably just let it be. But April is when I finish my first novel completely and totally.
I don’t think I’m going to have much time in May, because I have summer classes. However, I’m going to write a synopsis of Shad and that I will get proofread. The reason why is I need that to submit Shad to a publisher.
I’m sending Shad off. Obviously, it won’t be titled Shad by then but I have to do something. I keep writing and writing and writing and nothing ever happens. At least once I send it off, I have something to say that I did. It’s not a case of, “I wrote a book, just like the thousand of millions of other Americans who want to write a book but get distracted after the first draft is finished with ten thousand plot holes involved,” but “I wrote book that I thought to be good enough to send to a publisher and guess what? I got rejected. But at least I did something. ”
I can do this. I like Shad, a lot. It’s not because it’s the first novel I wrote either, because I wrote Hope before Shad and I know that Hope is bad on so many levels. I like it because when I read parts of it, I get excited. I like it because the characters are good, the plot is good, and the ending is unexpected.
So, that’s my goals. We’ll see together if I get them accomplished. I haven’t heard from the writing contest either at school. I wish they at least gave me a clue about when they would be done judging them.
It’s official. I am entered into the writing contest at my school. I actually entered in two stories, but in two different categories. I entered in one of them because my English teacher from last semester told me to enter it in essay and then I entered my story for the fiction section.
As it turned out, I was spelling the writing contest all wrong. It’s actually spelled Agnes Hyde. I will fix that soon.
Of course, things couldn’t go completely right for me. I was trying to print it last night and my printer was giving me a little gray line down the side of it. I’m not sure why. My dad, the ex-computer tech repair person doesn’t know why. He told me to shake the cartridge and so I did but that didn’t help, so I had to print it at school. Luckily, that was no big deal. (I also mailed a copy of my story to my grandma, because I figured she’d like it to get a nice big package from us.)
Problem now is, I don’t know when it’ll be over. I honestly don’t. They didn’t us a good idea. But maybe it won’t be too far down the road.
At least now I done with When Darkness Swallows and I can devote myself more to Dragon Slayers (which is probably going to be named Time of the Dragon Slayers but I’m too lazy to write that all out.) and hopefully tomorrow night after shabbat I’ll be able to edit another story called Samuel Brakborn and post it here too. I already did the paper edit.
Anyway, until tomorrow or Sunday. Enjoy your weekend.
I might as well mention this, since I did post that other thing earlier.
I work in the TRIO writing center at school, which is basically a place where students, with certain qualifications, can get assistance with their writing. If a student comes in, I help them; if no student comes in, I don’t have to do anything.
As it would happen, I didn’t have anyone come in today. So the whole entire time I worked on my story for the writing contest. And, I finished. *little party* Oh, and I did post the updated version here. There are a few fixes that were really important, but nothing that wonderful.
Now, in all honesty, I’m not as excited as I think I should be. I wish I knew why. I think part of that I think it is way too long still. Another complication I’ve had is I don’t know if I have a real climax and if I do, if it is technically in the right place.
Or perhaps I’m just completely insecure about my writing and don’t like not knowing what to expect. Before, I had a clue. Now… I’m not sure.
I also don’t like the title. I don’t have enough of an elusion to the idea that he got swallowed up by space. But I also don’t have any better ideas. It’s not like something else I wrote where a guy’s name made sense. (Samuel Brakborn, you’ll see that soon hopefully.)
So I’ll admit it; I’m scared. I’m scared I missed something while editing it or that I messed up or anything. But as I said, it’s basically due tomorrow and so I don’t have a choice but to let it be. So I’m done, I’ll go home tonight, print two copies, send one to my grandma and bring the other one to school tomorrow and deliver it at lunch time. It’s probably best for me to do it like that.
Obviously, there are much better times to write this so I will probably be quick.. Why do I procrastinate so? Yesterday, I was going to basically have the whole house to myself. My mom went to church, my sister and brother went to youth (at another church actually), my brother was working and my dead disappears into the basement, so I would basically be alone. Did I work on writing things (since I don’t have that much homework)? No. I read comics, then I got distracted reading another website, then my mom came home and we started talking. So guess who didn’t write last night?
Why do I do this to myself though? The writing contest is basically due as far as I know tomorrow. They say it is January 31st but I don’t know how to deliver my manuscript before then. I edited all of it on paper so all I need to do is enter it into the computer, run a spell check and that’s pretty much all I can do. (Now, it is 20 pages of things to enter in but still, it isn’t that bad. i’ve done much worse.)
Instead, I’m getting distracted by every single thing imaginable, from stupid websites to writing blog posts to answering e-mails I actually need to answer. Worse thing is that I work from 12-1 (horrid times, I know.) and I want to eat lunch or some semblance of lunch (maybe I’ll bring a snack with me too.) before I leave. I just hope I don’t do something stupid and wait too long to enter. (Read Flashes of Imagination to understand my problems with procrastination more.)
This last semester I had a horrid time coming up with any type of plot. In all honesty, I was worried that the plot bunnies that infected and attacked me so long finally decided to move away now that I was older, which meant that writing, at best, would be a challenge and at worse, impossible.
Between that and the fact that I didn’t have much time to write stories, I figured that with the Anges Hyde writing contest at school, I would just wait until Christmas break, write a story then, and I would be fine. I did just that. I wrote Darkness Swallows in about a week, edited it and put it aside to wait.
This is the story that I referenced earlier in that it grew in length instead of shrunk. Originally, I wasn’t concerned that much, because this one contest that is for short stories say to have a story shorter than 17,000 words. So I figured as long as I was less than 17,000 words I’d be fine. (I have, however, been hit on the writing contest in Minnesota for mine being too long.) I’m about 12,000, so I should be fine.
Then, I started thinking about it. It is about 25 pages in length. When I print it. it will be close to 50 pages (I’m submitting it in MLA format because I don’t know how else to submit it. They don’t say.) I fear that I would scare away anyone who looks at a fifty page “short story.”
I started to look up what defines a short story, to get an idea, and I found this on wikipedia:
Other definitions place the maximum word length at anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 words. As a point of reference for the science fiction genre writer, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America defines short story length in its Nebula Awards for science fiction submission guidelines as having a word count of less than 7,500. In contemporary usage, the term short story most often refers to a work of fiction no longer than 20,000 words and no shorter than 1,000.
This poses some problems to me in a way. if we even go with less than 9000 words, I am way over. I could possibly go with the contemporary usage, then I’m okay.
However. the problem is that I can’t change it now. The deadline is for it is January 31st. Even if I wrote something today, I would like to have it sit for a while and rest before I edit it. Moreover, I don’t have the time to write that kind of story.
So, instead of looking into this more, I think I’m just going to leave it. There is nothing I can do, beyond submitting one of my older (and poorer) stories. I think that this story is rather good. Hopefully, I’ll have two more years to enter into the contest and by then I’ll have a better clue at what to expect. I am also submitting into the essay contest per my teacher’s recommendation, so maybe I’ll win something. If not, like I said, I have two more years.
My logic is to writing is write fast, edit later. When I write like that, I usually get whole paragraphs where I just repeated what I wrote in the previous two paragraphs. Utterly boring and unnecessary. Thus, when I write something I can usually count on lose some pages (or words, depending on how you count it) from my original count.
So when Kontyo came out at around 20 pages and 11,000 words, I was rather happy. (I’m aiming for less than 17,000 because I’m hoping to enter Kontyo also into the writer’s of the future contest. I was also hoping to do that with Giant’s Wife, before it came out at 46,000 words.)
Since I finished it yesterday, I did the final touch ups today (well, probably not totally final, but it’s practically done.). Then, I did another word count and it comes out at not less than 11,000 words but at 12,000 words and 25 pages! This is suppose to be a short story.
Now, I’m not sure what is exactly short. For the library’s writing contest in MN, they wanted about ten pages in the beginning. When they actually put a limit on pages, they put it at about 7. But this contest at school doesn’t have a limit, a topic, or anything, and it is driving me crazy, because I don’t know if this is technically write, and their tougher on grammar here I would think as well.
My harder part comes from finding a title now. I have a clue about something with darkness swallowing up people or disappearing in darkness or something. Maybe I’ll just post it anyway, but I need a title sooner rather than later. Contest ends January 31st and I’d rather submit it no later than the 12th. Who knows what kind of homework I’m going to have by then.
My school has a writing contest, for which I am very excited. See, I entered in five contests during the four years I qualified for it in Minnesota. EAch year, I did rather well and actually my writing level improved between contests. (To the point I thought mine was better than the one who won first place during the last contest.)
I really want to have a clue about how well I write however. Because I think I write rather well (seeing my blog does not count. I’m lazy and don’t even halfway edit this) but I honestly don’t know. Sometimes I think I write very poorly. (LIke Giant’s Wife I think came out poorly, although don’t think you know about that story yet. I shall post a summery of it maybe.) A writing contest is, in part, a good way to gauge how well I write.
So I began to write for it today. I’ve been throwing around a few ideas in my head. One involves something about two people from two different social classes who becomes friends and are later caught doing something bad. The one in the higher class is only slightly punished whereas the one in the lower class is banished.
Another one is about a group of people doing genetic research scientists who are bombed/attacked because someone just found out she was pregnant and had questioned everything they do. (Because they work with embryos and fetuses). This was loosely based on the song Held by Natalie Grant. (Which, I honestly don’t know what the song is about, but it would be cool to write a story like this one)
Finally, I’m doing a pre-story to Shad. This one focuses instead on the captain in Shad when he first became a sweeper. He starts out very immature and irresponsible and has to change to survive. Based on what I have played around in my head, it might turn out very cool.
That all being explained, I think the first section came out so, so. I forgot all of the immature things I wanted to do but hopefully people realize that they are playing with water guns while around computers. And I like how I have it set up where they look like they are younger, perhaps sixteen, and then Kontyo (who the story is about) says that he is twenty-one. So we’ll see after I finish writing everything. (And hopefully, it is something good enough to win.)
On another note, I’m reading “Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” by Heinlein and it is surprising how much his generally idea with the prison colony matches with my idea of Shad and the sweepers. Only that with Shad, they are trying to just act normal and in that book, they are trying to be free of the evil communistic type government. I guess that goes to show that there are no new ideas in writing, just new presentations.