I wrote a story for my creative writing class. No surprise there. I liked my story a lot too and I’ll probably post it here within the next couple of days. It’s really good actually (At least. I think so.).
Here’s the problem. This story revolves around the idea that a girl, Marie, basically hates her life, finds Johnny Cash as an artist and begins to really listen to him. Through his songs, she ends up saving herself. (It sounds morbid. Maybe it is a bit. I’m not sure.) Anyway, part of what I did here is integrate lyrics of Johnny Cash music into the story.
Did you know there is serious problems with that? I didn’t.
Apparently, you can’t just cite the songs as a source like a research paper and all is fine. People apparently want money from the lyrics, even if the person has been dead for 69 years.
This involves writing letters for each song, asking to use the lyrics (even if there is just two lines used). On top of that all, just because they were all recorded by Johnny Cash doesn’t mean that they all need to be written to whoever owns the Johnny Cash music. I looked at two songs, Flesh and Blood and Hurt, and both of them are owned by different people.
So basically… this means that the story I wrote either a) needs to get them completely edited out or b) is just another story that I can use to build my skill and not do anything else besides post it here.
Well, I’ll actually correct myself. After reading everything in this thread, well, most everything, it basically comes down to that you might or might not get help and you might or might not get permission. If you really, really, really need the lyrics in there, then you should include them. If not, then don’t. (Someone went as far as to say avoid poetry of all kind, which I typically agree with.)
There is the chance that having two copies work out well, because then if permission cannot be obtained, then the story can be submitted through the backup
Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me, because my story relies on my lyrics. She almost has a conversation with them.
So, I’m back down to one short story. That makes me sad. I really need to get better at writing.
Here’s another article about reprinting lyrics if you’re highly curious.
Learning to cut–again
One thing I wanted to do while at my new school was write for the student newspaper. Problem is that I’m squeezed so tight schedule wise, taking the extra class will not be beneficial. As such, I can’t take journalism, so I really struggled last year when I wrote.
My solution: I’ll write a story.
Why not? I want them to be enjoyed.
So I picked Time of the Dragon Slayers. I like that story and it has good tension throughout. At least, I think so. I figured it’d be easy, I’d copy each section, e-mail them to the newspaper, and tada! Life is easy.
I need each section to be 500-750 words. Do you realize how hard that is? Hard. Think less than two pages per section (single spaced).
Last week’s section was 1000 words that I needed to cut to 750. (I think I ended with 748.) This week I have 1600 words I need to cut to 750 again. However, on my first cut, I’m already down to 787, so it might not be so bad.
You think you can do it? Probably not, but it really helps you think about how to say things in as few words as possible, and to carefully pick your words. Maybe you should give it a try, because I’m actually thinking it’s making this story better on the whole.
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.
Short stories versus novels.
So, with the possibility of a writing contest coming up again at school, and myself trying to write a novel, it got me thinking on this topic and I want to hear what you all think about it too.
Do you prefer to write short stories, novels or in some other format and why? Also, do you find it difficult or not to switch between two formats?
Time of the Dragon Slayers (part 7)
The (so far) complete verson of “Time of the Dragon Slayers” is there on one of my pages, if you haven’t read the beginning.
For some reason, Natlie expected when she came back to the farm Colton would be there, looking tall and solemn across the land. She’d touch his shoulder gently and he’d look at her with a sad expression. “We’ll rebuild,” he’d say. “We’ll rebuild it all, just like it’s always was.”
Time of the Dragon Slayers (part 6)
The weather only become warmer, with many rumors of this being the hottest autumn ever felt before. Colton wiped his brow and took the water gratefully when she offered it. Threshing was hard enough on cool autumn days that doing it in near summer-like conditions zapped his strength.
He gulped it empty before handing it back. “Thanks.”
Time of the Dragon Slayers (part 4)
Colton winced as Natlie touched his face again with the warm cloth and pushed her hand away. “I’m sure it’s fine.”
She gave him a hard look. “It still looks bad.”
He glanced at the small mirror she brought out and shrugged. “That’s just how it’s going to be for a few weeks I think. Until it heals.” He stood and glanced towards the door. “I suppose I need to do the chores now.”
“I can do them if you want.”
He shook his head. “No, thanks. I’ll be fine.” He shuffled out of the house.
Natlie glances at Justin. “He isn’t acting right.”
“Most men don’t when they just had to fight for something that should that they always thought to be as consistent as the sun rising,” Justin said from in front of the fire.
Time of the Dragon Slayers (part 1)
Or “The Sentinels of Basham Heights.” I haven’t really decided yet. I think Time of the Dragon Slayers is better though.
Anyway, this is the first part of my Dragon Slayers book. As promised, I have finished it and I am going to post it. Comments from fellow writers are great to be quite honest. And for anyone who is keeping track, this is goal one of my March goals completed.
Now, the story:
Natlie slammed herself against the tree and caught her breath. The birds still sang softly above her, like they always did on lazy, late summer days. Besides that, only the trees’ whispers could be heard. Still, she knew when she recognized something abnormal in the woods, even if she couldn’t name it.
Silently, ever so silently, she pulled an arrow from her quiver and fitted it into the bow. Then, she just waited, her ears straining for the sound of something moving again. One slight movement and she could hit it. Living her whole life in the Dragon’s Nest helped her become an excellent marksman.
five parts of any character
I think characters are one of the key parts of any story. One of the largest problems I think that new writers face is having good, solid, 3D characters. As such, here are some recommendations that might help anyone move in that direction.
Keep in mind however that this isn’t just for the hero of the story. This list applies just as much to the villain as the hero, if not more so, because villains are harder to understand. It’s easy to understand why someone would want to save the world from being taken over but a lot harder to convince the reader why the world is being taken over in the first place.
1. Appearance. This is more of a technicality than a mandate, but having a good clue about what your character looks like will save you a lot of headache in the end, when you start editing and find that on page one, she has brown eyes, page five blue/green eyes, page seven brown eyes again and then on page fifteen she has the gray, stormy eyes that melt the heart of her boyfriend or whatever.
2. Interests. In general, what does he/she like? This can play into what they do what they do but sometimes it might just be an aspect of what they miss now that his/her life has been ruined by the author. Everyone likes doing something, even if it is just checking facebook and playing farmville.
3. love. I know, you’re not writing a love story. and since I myself have sworn off love stories this seems an ironic one to include. However, I’m not just talking about boyfriend/girlfriend kind of love. I’m talking about maybe the relationship that the said character has with his/her parents. Or maybe it’s a sibling. This can be a powerful motivator both to do things and to not do things. But having a brother that you haven’t heard about until page 90 being kidnapped and the hero decides, “Oh, you know, I think I’ll turn myself into the bad guy just because he’s such a great brother,” seems a lot weaker than a brother exchange when the kidnapped brother has been a support, someone who’s been sending him money, and someone who hid him from the police on page 30. Know who your character cares about and, if needed, why (or why not.).
4. Motivation. Take note: this is a big one for the villain. However, almost everyone has motivation to do something. Thing about yourself. Why do you go to work in the morning? Having a character that gets swept along willy-nilly seems weak and like they are pathetic. Now, maybe that is an attribute you want in a character because you’ll eventually work it out of him/her, but be on guard for it. Know why your character does what they do.
5. Weakness. What can’t they do? Not everyone, or very few people at least, are perfect in everything they do. And what I am discovering very quickly is that everything takes lots and lots of practice. It’s very easy to create perfect characters that don’t ever have a problem but everyone has a problem. Everyone either gets annoyed, frustrated, angry or weak-kneed. Try to have a clue about what that is before writing, so you don’t have to edit it back in later.
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.)