I love learning about different cultures, so when my friend wrote this comparison between her life at a college in Georgia (USA) to her life in Reading, England, I had to read it.
Since it pretty much covered all of my confusion, here is the article for you to read as well.
Good evening, folks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Will you READ it already?!
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.
Not all written out.
I’m in my third semester of college. This week I made the comment that I am learning a lot. But not necessarily in the order of school (Well, I am, don’t worry. When I’m your nurse, I’ll take good care of you.) but more in the aspect of writing and school and studying.
See, the first semester I learned that stress sucks plots. I should have realized this earlier. I wrote my best work when I was unstressed and blissfully happy. But that whole first semester, except for one story that I probably shouldn’t even show you, I had nothing. Even though I had a giant poster staring at me every time i went upstairs in the library to study, nothing came. Within a week after finals–boom!–plots came.
The second semester I learned, kinda, how to write during school. Over Christmas break, I got several plots and so I kept writing them as the semester progressed. I actually wrote Time of the Dragon Slayers at that time, which I am still quite proud of, along with two other stories that really should never been shown to a single living soul at the moment.
This semester, I learned to plot. That sounds bad. After all, I’ve been writing for almost eight years now. But here’s the thing is that I never knew how to write while stressed. Now I can. Now, it’s not like I’m writing a novel here, but I’ve written now two short stories this semester, with plans for another that won’t probably be started until Christmas break, but who cares? I came up with, and developed properly, three separate plots almost.
Plot 1: Ethical Dilemmas: A mermaid find herself in a difficult situation when her rebel, half sister gives her the option of either turning her into the authorities or committing a crime.
Plot 2: Shay’s Tadpole: Hurt and abandoned in the woods, Shay has no hope of being rescued until one of the feared male creatures finds her after crashing on her planet.
Plot 3: Completely unnamed: A soldier rescues his twin sister from an abusive relationship and flees to the neighboring enemy country, only to find that he has a claim to one of the senate seats.
Now, those other two titles are currently working titles. Well, probably more secondary working titles, since the first working title for Plot 1 was “Mermaids” and the one for Plot 2 was either “Shay” or “Save the Males.” The latter was taken from something my teacher said, that I mentioned earlier in this month’s plots section. But I’m not sure if I like those titles or not. I will however, be posting Ethical Dilemmas very shortly, probably by the 15th or so.
None of those numbers, however, include the novel I’m trying to write, that involves pirates. I’m momentarily stuck on that, so nothing is happening however. But I did write another chapter this month.
On top of those fiction works, I am also attempting to write a nonfiction work. Now, this has to do with two factors. Factor one, and probably the motivation factor to begin with, is that there is the writing contest once again at my school, and it allows for essays. As such, I am planning on submitting something to that. The second factor is that my dog died last Monday, so I actually have something to write.
To summarize, and I haven’t told anyone but you now, earlier this Fall our dog (my dog, whatever you want to call her), Rosy, became paralyzed. The vet said that it could be a degenerative disk or it could be a spinal tumor. With the disk disease, she could live several more years. With the spinal tumor, she would continue getting worse. She could not x-ray to find out. So we’ve been taking care of her, and trying to help her, but suddenly she just took a bad turn and it was only right to put her to sleep. (I honestly didn’t expect her to live through the night, but she did.) Chances are that it turned out to be the spinal tumor.
Because this impacted me so hard, and because she was one of the best dogs that we’ve had for a while, I want to write about her. So that is more of the reason why Plot 3 isn’t going to be written until Christmas break.
All things considered, though, this writing thing in college is going well. I have hope that I’m not all written out.
My school has this curriculum about how everyone has individual strengths and we need to all develop them to make ourselves a better person. Although I disagree with the presentation how they do it, using these 34 strengths can be useful in writing.
We all know that characters need weaknesses. However, sometimes characters get so packed full of weaknesses that they fail to have any strengths. Characters, just like people, need a balance of everything. As such, here is a list of strengths as taught by my school. You can find the website here, if you are more interested, although the website does not reflect any of my opinions. (It actually looks like they’re selling something, but I just took the list from the site.)
|Achiever®||People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.|
|Activator®||People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.|
|Adaptability®||People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.|
|Analytical®||People strong in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.|
|ArrangerTM||People strong in the Arranger theme can organize, but they also have a flexibility that complements this ability. They like to figure out how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.|
|Belief®||People strong in the Belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging. Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.|
|Command®||People strong in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.|
|Communication®||People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.|
|Competition®||People strong in the Competition theme measure their progress against the performance of others. They strive to win first place and revel in contests.|
|Connectedness®||People strong in the Connectedness theme have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason.|
|Consistency®||People strong in the Fairness theme are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same. They try to treat everyone in the world fairly by setting up clear rules and adhering to them.|
|Context®||People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.|
|Deliberative®||People strong in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.|
|Developer®||People strong in the Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.|
|DisciplineTM||People strong in the Discipline theme enjoy routine and structure. Their world is best described by the order they create.|
|Fairness TM / EmpathyTM||People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.|
|FocusTM||People strong in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.|
|Futuristic®||People strong in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.|
|Harmony®||People strong in the Harmony theme look for consensus. They don’t enjoy conflict; rather, they seek areas of agreement.|
|Ideation®||People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.|
|Inclusiveness® / Includer®||People strong in the Inclusiveness theme are accepting of others. They show awareness of those who feel left out, and make an effort to include them.|
|Individualization®||People strong in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.|
|Input®||People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.|
|Intellection®||People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.|
|Learner®||People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.|
|Maximizer®||People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.|
|Positivity®||People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.|
|Relator®||People who are strong in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.|
|Responsibility®||People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.|
|Restorative®||People strong in the Restorative theme are adept at dealing with problems. They are good at figuring out what is wrong and resolving it.|
|Self-Assurance®||People strong in the Self-assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.|
|Significance®||People strong in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.|
|StrategicTM||People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.|
|Woo®||People strong in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.|
If you care, mine are Responsibility, Ideation, Learner and Individualism.
The Shadow Scholar
Today’s article is something more of interest I think in the relation that it has to writers and jobs that writers can get. After reading this article about how he writes papers for students, I find myself terribly wanting this job, if only for a year. Just think if all you’d be able to learn!
The Shadow Scholar — The man who writes your school papers.
The most interesting comment he makes:
After I’ve gathered my sources, I pull out usable quotes, cite them, and distribute them among the sections of the assignment. Over the years, I’ve refined ways of stretching papers. I can write a four-word sentence in 40 words. Just give me one phrase of quotable text, and I’ll produce two pages of ponderous explanation. I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph.
How good is the product created by this process? That depends—on the day, my mood, how many other assignments I am working on. It also depends on the customer, his or her expectations, and the degree to which the completed work exceeds his or her abilities. I don’t ever edit my assignments. That way I get fewer customer requests to “dumb it down.” So some of my work is great. Some of it is not so great. Most of my clients do not have the wherewithal to tell the difference, which probably means that in most cases the work is better than what the student would have produced on his or her own. I’ve actually had customers thank me for being clever enough to insert typos. “Nice touch,” they’ll say.
Why else do you think that he doesn’t edit his assignments? Because he’d probably realize how much fluff he put into it, not to mention that he doesn’t want it to be too smart. But as legitimate writers who want our name on our product, we should keep in mind that we don’t want fluff and we don’t want to seem too dumb.
I think I need to get my priorities straight.
This week at school has been on the slow side, mostly since my teacher hasn’t posted what we are suppose to read, so I can’t read it. (*sigh*)
Anyway, because of that I’ve been able to do a lot of writing this week. Or more correctly, editing.
See, I’ve been ever so slowly editing my mermaid story over the last month. I finally finished it last week, but I’ve had a hard time getting the changes in. it’s just that I have so much to do.
- I need to study for two nursing classes.
- I need to keep up with chemistry class.
- I need to work with a tutee I have, and make sure that I prep properly.
- I have a job in the writing center.
- I have to get my ranking up at critters.
- I need to write blog posts
- I need to maintain on my house chores.
- And I have the added responsibility of a paralyzed dog.
- Then this past week, I needed to figure out my class schedule for next semester.
None of those things include anything about writing.
Now, in all fairness, during my one job at the writing center I am most often not busy. I can work on number 2, 5, 6 and 9, not to mention writing, all while there. But I only do it for about four hours a week and I don’t always get around to doing those things because either a) I actually have to work or b) I talk with one of the other people there.
Yesterday I got on the computer and I began thinking that I should write today’s blogpost, then I realized that I should probably finish editing my story, so I did that instead. I can’t keep postponing it is all, and I have to remember that.
Now, about other things. I’m thinking I’m going to take a minor. This is maybe crazy, I know, but I’m trying to delay my graduation in hopes that my school will get accredited. (That whole problem is another issue.) And I know I’m going to nursing school and all, but I really am thinking I want a jouralism minor.
Reasons for this are rather simple.
- Writing makes me excited. I almost took an Advanced Expository writing class this next semester, and I got all excited at the possibility. Sure, it’s a 30 page research paper, but who cares? I can do it.
- My weakest point when it comes to novel writing is research. The point of jouranlism is research, so far as I understand.
- It gives me a chance to develop my writing skills. Up until now, I have had no official instruction in writing. This will hopefully help to make me a better writing.
- The creative writing program at my school doesn’t look too good. If I am going to take a creative writing program, I wants to know how everything works. So I think that it should include a little bit of what makes a good story and all, and a lot of how does the legal systems work, in different countries, and how do people generally respond and how would society respond to a problem.
So, to me, it makes sense. The idea of going for an extra semester is no big deal; I love school. I love everything about school, but especially the classrooms. And the way I put it, nursing is to pay the bills. Writing is for life.
So I one hand I’m saying I’m too busy to write, and on the other, I’m saying that I’m going to take writing classes. Yes, I know, contradictions, but I think it is a really good idea.
Anyway, look for the mermaid story soon. I haven’t figured out a title for it yet. Maybe that’ll be my rant next Friday. For now, it’s called Ethical Dilemmas, but other possiblites I have include My Father’s Shame, To My Father’s Shame, For life?, A Life Worth Living, Ambushed, The Value of Life, Just a Child.
Grammar does matter.
In almost everything I write for school, the teacher will almost always take off some points for grammar. Not always the technical things, but each teacher does expect that you can write things correctly.
That being said, my boss, for lack of better terms, recommended this website. Now, I will say that it took a bit to load, but the podcasts look very good.
And while we’re at this, this was a rather humorous video.