Life with school and writing and poor time management and jobs and….
Indulge me for a bit. Please.
I know I haven’t written here in a while. I don’t have a good reason except that, for some reason, when I’m at college I can’t remember to or think of things to write about related to writing.
That doesn’t mean I’m not writing. in fact, this year has been a very productive year so far.
- I’ve written two short stories (that I consider complete),
- i severely edited one to make it more concise.
- I have three others in various stages of completion. (Well, sort of. Perhaps I’ll explain the problems I had with one of them later this week.)
- I’ve also been working hard on my mermaid novel, which I haven’t written from August until December, and I’m really excited about that. This past week I really focused on that and have edited four or five chapters. (Okay, they’re little chapters, but that is real progress.)
I think what ends up happening with almost all the novels is that I get stuck at a point, don’t really know how to move on, and I think (falsely) that by waiting I’ll figure it all out.
On top of all this, I have actually been reading as well. (Well, and listening. Librovox is wonderful for that.) So far I’ve listened to
- some Sherlock Holmes (I got addicted to the TV show Sherlock, which is awesome I might add, so I wanted to read the books. Unfortuantly, I think the show is better than the books. (Please don’t kill me Holmes fans.))
- Dicken’s Oliver Twist
- And am currently listen to A Princess of Mars, which may also been known as John Carter in movie form (I have not seen the movie at all though.). My dad told me he wouldn’t recommend it because it was a guy book. I’m quite annoyed by that, but I’m enjoying it a lot too.
That isn’t including the variety of other books I’ve read, mostly modern YA books, including Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Article 5, Deliurium and Ship Breaker within the past month. (If you want some awesome world building, read Ship Breaker.)
And yet with all these seeming time on my hands, I can’t manage to write a blog post. Bad Abigail. Bad bad bad.
But, see, I’ve also been scheming. Mwhaha. (< = little evil laugh) And this scheming hasn’t included just characters. It’s actually included my life.
First thing first. I began looking into making ebooks. It didn’t seem that hard and no, I didn’t do all the research that I should, but I did it anyway. Why? Two reasons. One is that I really do want to share my stories. I write so people can read them. That’s always been my goal. So why not? Also, my goal originally was to just charge, say, $.99 per story to see if I can make a little bit of money on the side. I don’t know if I will actually do that though. I’ve only gotten 70 downloads in a little less than two weeks. (Then again, I’m not in Ibookstore or on B&N, so that may help once that happens.) It probably also doesn’t help someone bashed it ( :( ) because of bad grammar and gave it two stars. (So if you want to be really, really nice to me, reviewing it nicely would be sweet.)
This is part of the reason why I said to indulge me, because I’m taking this as a moment to promote my story that you should download and tell your friends about. My page is here, but as of right now, I’ve only uploaded one story. (I planned on uploading another one on Wednesday, but I think I’ll wait until this story goes into all the bookstores before I release the next one.
The other thing that I want to do is to actually teach English. Now, I’m know; I’m in college going for an elementary education degree, but hear me out.
First of all, I learn things best by doing them. This would give me amazing teaching experience. But beyond that, I was homeschooled. My sister is also still being homeschooled and she’s in highschool. When it comes to her English, my mom gets stuck. She doesn’t know what to do or how to do it well. An example is that they struggled for a while to come up with words describing a sunrise and, in passing, mention it to me. I come up with more words than the two of them came up together. I also know what sounds good and what doesn’t and why it doesn’t.
If I taught this English program, I would develop it from the ground up. (Which I already have started working on.) I would then submit assignments, grade papers and provide parents with grades. It helps everyone involved because there are more people than just my mom who wants their child to have a good education but struggle with English. Oh, and best of all is that it’s a creative writing based. I would have jumped at the chance to do something like this in highschool, so why not?
The problem I’m having is how to start it. I have the idea. I have lesson for the whole year outlined, with plans for about two months developed. But I don’t have any clue how to put this out there to say I want to actually teach people. So if you know anyone, have them e-mail me. (Yes, I finally got an e-mail address too.)
Now this one, although I am promoting my own business, will actually benefit you as well because one thing I think I’ll be doing is posting some of my lessons from that on here, especially during the summer as I film the videos.
So, that’s pretty much my life, beyond the normal stuff of I need a summer job, I’m taking three college classes, I’m helping out at home and trying not to get too frustrated with my sister’s laziness. But, I am at home, so I should be able to write more at least over the summer and hopefully get a good stockpile of posts as well for the school year. (See, I might get ideas about what to write but I feel bad popping on here, writing something really quick, and then popping off for another couple weeks. It doesn’t seem that fair to ya’ll for some reason. And yes, I just used ya’ll.)
And if anyone remembers or wonders about the book I sent off to a publisher, no, I have not heard back on that at all, either positively or negatively.
(BTW, I really don’t like this new formatting on WordPress. It rather took me by surprise. :P)
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.
I read a book.
I know; that isn’t a good thing to say as a writer. But with college and my own writing, my fear of not having a good book, and the sad lack of books we have available at the library in South Dakota, I haven’t picked up one in possibly a year.
Wow! I forgot how good it is to just read a good book.
I read Imager, by Modesitt. It sounded pretty good, so I asked to borrow it from a friend. I didn’t start it for almost a week. Once I did though, and I actually got passed page 60, I started finding it incredibly interesting. I almost literally couldn’t put it down and would bribe myself to clean a section of the house, read a chapter, clean, read, clean, read. (I had to clean; I wanted to read.)
Now, don’t mistake this for a review of the book. I actually think it was a little slow and a little confusing, and I wished I had a map. But I’m more focusing on the fact that I read a book and leave my reviews for amazon.
I actually did it based on someone’s advice. I didn’t want to write and all I could think about was reading. I just wanted to be swept away into a story.
And suddenly, I want to write again. It’s like after seeing a beautiful world created and put to right, with fun characters, plots and intrigue, I wanted to put that kind of magic on paper. For really, in many ways, it is magic. Think about it in that we as writers get to sweep someone up in a world of our own creating, and hide them in it for a while.
I’m now ready to write again. In fact, since Saturday night, I wrote 5000 words, which tallies out to about three or four chapters. Yes, I’m writing small chapters. I like doing it better that way.
So now I’m looking for more books to read, and I want to soon modify this website and include a page on my recommended books in sci-fi and fantasy. I don’t have a lot right now, but hopefully they’ll grow.
Christmas break makes me think of books. And speaking of books…
How often do you read a book as a writer?
I have to admit that I almost never read books. I don’t have time during the school year, and it takes so much time from writing if I do read. :P I really need to get batter at it though.
Where to find classics.
So, I say that I think that everyone should read classics. But where does one find them?
In general, you may want to have an ebook reader. But you have three options about where to find these books. (At least three. There are probably more.)
1) You can go to amazon and buy them. Either Amazon or Barnes and Noble have classics for sale, and generally at cheap prices. I think that B&N is cheaper, but I’m not sure. And, while researching this, I also discovered that Barnes & Noble have ebooks of classics, some of which are free.
2) As I mentioned earlier this week, Gutenberg is a great place to go for free, public domain books. (And trust me; almost all the books you want to read is in public domain.)
3) B + R Samizdat Express. This gives out a free ebook of the week, for both children and adults. Now, the children books aren’t your typical book of, “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!” These are equal with current adult reading. I am copying the directions here about how to subscribe to that.
Just send me an email (email@example.com) and let me know that you want to be added to the list and each week, usually on Tuesday, I’ll send you a complete book as an email attachment. You can see a list of all the books we’ve sent out since March 2004 at http://samizdat.stores.yahoo.net/freeb.html
Likewise for our free kids’ book of the week (a separate list — you can be on one or the other or both) http://samizdat.stores.yahoo.net/kid.html
How many people do you know who love books but have never read a book on their computer? I’d be happy to add them to these distribution lists as well. Please spread the word.
So those are three places where you can go. Do you know anywhere else, preferably to get free ebooks?
Why One Should Read Classics.
Although I tend to write more science fiction than anything else, and I find that science fiction classes are not always the easiest to find, I have a special place on my inner bookshelf for classics. I actually read enough classics in highschool, and as such, I will never say not to read a classic merely because it is old.
Because of that, I have come up with five reasons why you should read classic books as writer.
1) They are all well written.
That may seem silly, I know, but think about it this way. You go to WalMart or Barnes & Nobel, and you pick up a book that is said to be a New York Times bestseller. That book may be popular, but it was written–what?–two years ago? Who says where it will be in the next five.
Compare that to we’ll say a Jane Austin book. That book has been around for almost two hundred years. By the mere fact that it is still read two hundred years after it was written, we can be pretty certain that it is good.
3) They didn’t waste words.
Two hundred years ago, they didn’t have computers. They didn’t even have typewriters. All books were handwritten, copy by copy. Personally, if I had to write each copy of my story out, I probably would have given up writing a long time ago. I most certainly would be very careful not to use any more words than I need to. So they demonstrate good writing, while not saying too much.
2) They have some of the best examples of good writing.
All writers look to find the best examples of dialogue, narration, character development, ect. At least, all writers should be. Why not read how to develop these from books that are older, and from a time when people spent more with each other? This goes back to the last one, but still stands on its own, because sometimes the best way to see how a character develops the best is to read it from a really, really good book.
I have done that with The Three Brides, and it actually worked for character development.
Now, besides that, many of them were written in a time period when it took a lot less to shock people. As such, you can see how to take something small and make it serious.
4) They’re not all bad.
This sounds really bad, coming from someone who has been singing about the praises of classics. However, when I first thought about reading classics, I thought, “Boring.” Really! With the exception of Hemmingway, I have found very few classics that are truly boring. And what is better to say?
“I don’t like Hemmingway.”
“He’s just so old!”
“I don’t like Hemmingway.”
“I’ve read two or three of his books and they just didn’t sit with me. Not to mention he’s not that clean.”
5) They are long.
This is an added bonus. See, what would you rather read? A two hundred page book where you get friends and then lose them, or a five hundred page book where you can gain your friends and keep them longer before you lose them? Personally, the longer the book the better.
So where do you find these books? There are numberous itouch apps that have them, so you can carry them around. I don’t know if ibook does (I just downloaded that.) but look around and you can find some.
Also, Project Gutenburg contains a lot of out-of-print books for free. I’d suggest starting with either the top 100 downloaded books or by starting with one of my favorite authors, Charlotte Mary Yonge.
Anyone have any other recommendations on what to read?
Ease of the Write.
Some things concerning the challenge of writing a good book.
What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. ~ Samuel Johnson
When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing. ~ Enrique Jardiel Poncela
Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves. ~ Don Marquis
Question of the Week, 5/01
I said I will return and I have. (No, that post about Shad was not me returning, if I hadn’t figured that out.)
Last week I asked the question: What books are your favorite and why? The reason behind this question is that if we can identify what we like about books, then we can mimic them in our own writing and write pretty decent stories (hopefully).
So, one my my all time favorite books is Firebird. There is two reasons behind this book. Reason one is that I like how who is the good guy changes. Up until the time I read this book, the good side was always the one the main character was on, and the bad was the one against the main character. That is not true in this book. Unfortunately, although I have tried on several occasions to mimic this, it has come to nothing.
The other reason why I like this book is because I like the telepathy. Again, I have tried to mimic the telepathy and that has had more success, mainly in ETOLT however. This interest in telepathy might actually go back to Star Trek and my early days of writing. But I think Kathy Tyers did an awesome job with that whole series and only wish she’d write more. (hinthint)
Another one of the best books I’ve read is Calico Captive. This one I believed impressed me because it is not my normal genre of reading and it still kept me captivated. Let me put it this way; if you want a good example of how to keep a reader hooked, read that book. The secret, I think, is because I kept asking myself, “What about this?” and because of that, I kept reading.
Still feel free to answer this question (on that post), because many of these posts do get seen long after they have been written and a good list of books is always a treasure.
This week’s question is:
How do you remember your plots or ideas before you can write them?
Edit: You can find the answer here.
Question of the Week 4/25
We writers learn by reading and then analyzing. Because of that, this week’s question is one that is actually important.
What books are your favorite and why?
FAct is that it is easy to list of ten or twenty books that we love. However, if we can figure out why we love the books so much. then we can figure out how to slightly copy that into our writing.
I’ll request a limit of three books max. That doesn’t mean you have to do all three books but you can recommend up to three books.