Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Thoughts On NaNoWriMo

I completed the 50,000 word requirement to win (yay me) and now have another novel to work on, leaving me unsure as to which novel I should work on finishing.
I was happy to finish, it took some work, thinking up things to happen to get from 0 to 50,000 and yet, the month felt as though it flew by.

What I learned by doing NaNoWriMo:
1. Turning off my inner editor and just writing is rather hard.
2. It's physically possible for me to write at least half a novel in one month.
3. I seem to stay on task better when I have a deadline on my shoulders.

I think its something worth doing every year, at least to keep myself writing, but now that it's over I don't think I can keep up the pace of writing everyday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Joining the Sensation

A few days ago, I was on the AW website and decided to look at their NaNoWriMo topics. After reading some of the posts I decided I'd try my hand at it this year.
And what's the worse that can happen? I manage 50,000 words on a new novel that I decide to continue working on, or I break this nasty writer's block and get back to work on Serpenttongue.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to write, but I'm doing my best to just stay casual about it; the goal is to work on my writing skills and just enjoy myself, maybe I'll even manage a humorous story (I'm not counting on it though).

It has me just a bit excited, though I have fears and reservations about managing my way up to 50k and I'll have just moved and don't yet know how the new environment is going to affect my mood and my ability to continue writing. I guess I'll have to wait till November 1st and get to it.

Anyone else trying out NaNoWriMo this year?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just a Little Satisfied with Myself

Today I finished the first draft of my short urban fantasy, yay me...I guess. Honestly, I didn't get as much satisfaction as I thought I would for finishing a story. Maybe its because I know that I still have to fix many things and go over it a dozen times before I can try submitting it.
Anyway it interested me, because it means I have more than just the epic fantasy category to work in; since I've read that book of short stories I've had a few ideas of my own to try.
Perhaps now that A Little Bit Hexed is written and I need to give it some space I'll work on a new short story.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Trying my Hand at Something New

I haven't done much work on my novel recently (bad Charlene, I know), mostly having a case of writers block; I don't have any dialogue to write or really know how to get from point A to my point B, and between how hectic my life has been and my own personal problems I haven't been able to do much anyway.
A week ago I picked up a collection of Urban Fantasy short stories to read then decided after indulging in a few that I wanted to try my hand at one myself. I've already been wanting to try writing a short story anyway and it seemed like the time to try something different. I don't know how it will come out or if any magazine or contest will accept it but at the least it will let me know whether I'm as good as others tell me I am, or if I need a lot more experience before I can have a work submitted.

So, what does everyone else write? Novels? Shorts? Just share you experience here if you like.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Buckling Down

I haven't posted anything in awhile, what with me having nothing post-worthy, haven't done much writing either...well untill today that is.
I've been alternating between writing four novels and revising one (well not so much writing as wasting time staring at a blank page), but I've been doing some thinking and I think I may try to devote the majority of my writing time (which is limited now, with all the procrastination and lack of motivation) on Serpenttongue and Wanted, as they're the two I feel the strongest about completing with possibility of submitting to agents. The other two will take some definite work.
I surprised myself, it was slow work (somewhere around five hours) but I managed 1,800 words of Serpenttongue today, which is saying something for me, as I just finished spending weeks not writing a word. I'm now to 44 single spaced pages and possibly a chapter or two away from what I consider to be the middle (or close to the middle) of the novel.
I am a little worried though, 25,000 words is pretty far away from being novel length...I can't help but wonder if I have enough ideas to make it to novel length.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Life Experiences

I was reading a chapter in the Characters and Viewpoint book yesterday that talked about pulling from life experiences for your story. Sure, it was talking about life experiences to use for character development, but it still made me think.
It's interesting that I'm revising a story I first wrote years ago (and haven't revised or read for over a year or so) and there's a scene where one main character gets hit by a car and the others go to see her in the emergency room. Because of experiences within the past year revolving around the emergency room of hospitals I can fill more information into this scene to make it more believable (or even relate now). I never thought when I wrote that part that I would ever be in a situation similar to it in the future.

Something New

I haven't been able to post anything in some time, been either busy or um...we'll say under the weather, so finding something to say is a little difficult.
I can say that I finally managed to check out a few books from the library to help with my writing, one of which is Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, I find it very helpful.

What surprises me is how much of it I was already attuned to unconsciously. I don't know how I obtained the information as this is the first book on writing I have ever read in my life, but it's there. It makes me wonder if in some way I'm picking up on these skills through just reading novels somehow, which amazes me that the mind would be capable of that.
I'm certainly going to continue reading this book, and when I get the money buy it for myself. Hopefully that book, along with the other one on syntax, and the editing class I plan on taking next month will help me in all the areas I've been needing work with.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Inactivity

In preparation for my move from Oregon to Maryland I find my time and attention will be taken away from writing for an indefinite amount of time. And after that I don't know how long it will take for me to get back online once I move.
Things have changed, and I've discovered it's time for me to finally relocate like I've been considering for some time now; I still have packing to do and address changes to make, etc. so The Writer in Me won't be receiving any updates.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fraility

How fragile humans are.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a vague pain that steadily increased throughout the day until I could barely breathe through my chest by 3am.
On Friday I went back to the hospital for a second time, to find out that at some point in my sleep Tuesday night I must have twisted wrong in order to have strained my chest wall, explaining the debilitating pain and inability to inhale...It's Monday and I'm still having dim pain.

It made me think about all the things you can do as a human to injure or kill yourself without ever meaning to. How fragile a species to be capable of giving itself great pain by moving the wrong way unconsciously; you can sprain your wrist by sleeping the wrong way, if you sneeze, hiccup, and burp at the same time there's word you can make your heart explode, if for any reason at all your heart loses its pace you can hemorrhage.
A little bit of air injected into the veins can kill you, being cut with a rusted instrument can also kill you, and so many other accidents can befall a human being and take them out.

It's just a little worrisome to think about; that I could walk out the door right now, trip over the curb, and if I hit right there just might be a chance of killing me, if not doing severe damage.

How sobering.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Critique: I Am Legend

It took some time to finish, but I did, and it definitely wasn't what I was expecting, especially the ending. I won't give that away though, that'd be wrong.

As a reader:
It was a little too slow at times for me, I found it hard to keep reading; there were a lot of times when I had to read in short bursts. But it was mildly interesting; I'm curious to see the movie to see what differences there are between them.

As a writer:
I'm slowly starting to recognize and understand the importance of variety in sentence structure, it makes for a better read all around. I have yet to get better at it though.
The variety in this story gave it a more formal read, made it feel more developed and whole. Detail, which I'm learning to use more of, also helped it feel whole; when I think of it, I see the comparison between lack of detail and a complete work as a skeleton vs. the human body complete with flesh muscle, etc. It helps.
I'm also starting to recognize pacing. I've read in many different places that alternating between slow pacing and quick is a good idea to keep the action parts moving, and the downtime between as a place for readers to catch their breath and take in what they've learned. The use of shorter sentences and less detail helps speed up the pace of a scene, while more detail and longer sentences slows it down.

I don't know when then next critique will be, I have to find another book I'm interested in reading, and that could take awhile.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Come In Character

Through Nathan Bransford's blog I found another interesting resource called Come In Character. It's a place where you can answer posts as a character from your work. It's helping me develop my characters and at the same time its interesting to read responses from other characters.

That's pretty much what I've been doing lately; while I can't find the motivation to write or do much else (a personal issue I'm still working on), I've been keeping up with this blog to the best of my ability.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nothing New...

As the title says, nothing new has really happened to me these past few days, save for figuring out what I want to do for my birthday; a first for me in many years.
I've been sick these past few days - and still are - so I haven't done much reading or writing thanks to the terrible migraines; I did learn that jogging or power-walking while sick isn't such a good idea, and multivitamins come in chewy for people over the age of ten which is a relief.
Hopefully I'll be well again by Monday so I can do my reading and maybe, just maybe, get some writing done on something. The other two WIP are feeling lonely.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Useful Reference

I just thought it’d be a good time to mention the wonderful Emotion, setting and description, and color texture and shape Thesaurus compiled by The Bookshelf Muse, its been pretty helpful to me since I stumbled across it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Horse Pills And Applesauce

I’m done, as of yesterday I decided that better health isn’t worth the hassle I endure with multivitamins.
They’re too large for me to swallow whole so I have to crush them up and add them to applesauce; the flavor is awful. I can swallow a pill (a small one) with no problem so it looks like I’ll have to go shopping for new, smaller multivitamins…assuming they exist.

On an unrelated note, I may have to give the dog a bath soon. He’s gone far too long without one and trying to add bird poo to his scent is where I draw the line.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Critique: Twilight

I decided to pick up and read this book after hearing all the positive and negative opinions about it and decided I wanted to see for myself, hopefully learning something useful along the way.

As a reader:
I found the book to be pretty slow and uninteresting through the beginning; I wasn’t particularly interested in the main character or her day-to-day life. I became a little more interested near the later half of the book where I feel like it picked up significantly. There were strange parts where names were mentioned that weren’t mentioned before and other small things which were odd but weren’t too distracting.

As a writer:
I found unusual sentences that didn’t sound right, some issues with perspective, and typos. I noticed there were a lot of semicolons, which doesn’t really bother me but makes me wonder how many are too many for a novel.
The novel made me think about starting a story with action vs. starting slow and leading up to more, and the effects they both can have over readers. When I do more reading I plan on looking into it further.

Not a particularly comprehensive critique, but it’s a learning experience for me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maybe I Was Wrong About The Writer's Block

Wow that didn't take too long, with a little effort I managed to go from nineteen pages to twenty-four and finally end chapter three. It's a little shaky and needs editing but I got there.

I'd forgotten just how helpful writing was for my mood. It makes time pass by faster and gives me something to do. It also helps me generate ideas for the rest of the story. Just last night I figured out some more ideas for the plot and characters...still at a loss for the environment though.

I've read in different places that its recommended to create a basic outline before you start the story that way you have something to work from and stick to as opposed to just jumping in and wandering through; I tend to like both ideas, and last night both worked together nicely.

Of course, now I'm stuck again...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Purple prose

Friday, while doing my usual search through the Absolute Write website I found a topic about one particular book deemed filled with what others referred to as “Purple prose.” I had heard mention of the term before and had a basic idea of what it was, but today I’ve decided it might be interesting to lean the exact definition and maybe read around to learn a few ways to avoid it.

*Maybe I should mention at this point that while the thread talks about Purple prose it also uses some examples from a few erotic pages of a novel, and the comments in the thread are also probably not something you want your child to read so be warned.

Purple Prose
Dictionary.com defines it as “writing that calls attention to itself because of its obvious use of certain effects, as exaggerated sentiment or pathos, esp. in an attempt to enlist or manipulate the reader's sympathies.”

I found a longer definition on Wikipedia:
“Purple prose is a term of literary criticism used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context. It also refers to writing that employs certain rhetorical effects such as exaggerated sentiment or pathos in an attempt to manipulate a reader's response.”


Well, while I was successful in getting a definition for Purple prose I wasn’t able to find any clear tips on it. I guess maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Either way, I learned something new, and what I’ve taken from this whole research attempt was to watch what I write carefully.

Oh, and though it’s an older post another writer, David Malasarn (The Literary Lab) wrote about Purple prose if you’re looking for more to read about it.

Maybe someone has an example they'd like to share here for fun?
(Just mind the language)

Time Management

In the course of one day I've managed to increase my load of daily activities by quite a bit.

Of course there's still the must-haves: video games and sleeping for long hours (I'm getting around to working on that one) but now I've added working on manuscripts, reading up on writing, keeping up with the blog (and others blogs), reading, critiquing what I've read, and chores. Oh and walking the dog...that ones very important.

Well, maybe getting it all done isn't that difficult, but what it got me thinking about was the idea of how much time you should spend doing each activity. Maybe there isn't a set amount of time each person should spend on say, writing, but I wonder how much time you should spend researching and studying tools of the trade.

I seem to be doing just fine as I am now (I'm sure that will change within a month or so) so I'll stick with it, but how do you divide up your time between life and writing?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

On Improving My Writing

Everywhere I go I read that one of the best things you can do for your writing - other than just writing - is to read, read, read. Having lately not been able to pick up a book and take anything from it other than rereading a line over and over again yet not comprehending what I just read, I took a break from it. Now I feel like I can get back into it and - hopefully - learn something so my plan is to look for some books to read - preferably ones around my genre, read them, and try to take something from them if I can. Maybe I'll learn something useful, maybe not, either way I'll be reading again and it'll at least give me practice on critiquing, which I seriously need work on.

Okay, so maybe Twilight isn't quite what I'd normally read, I figured I'd try reading it to see what the buzz is all about, both good and bad. I think it'd be a good place to start.

Trying Again

After deciding to take a much-needed break away from my first manuscript and its most reccent edit I decided to go back to one of the unfinished ones I hadn't touched in over two months. I figured, new computer, why not break it in?

I did a little editing on the one I created last (shall for the present be named "Wanted") and realized something: I like my writing better when it's in third person than when I write first person, it seems more developed. That's not to say I don't like the first person manuscript, but it feels like it probably wouldn't be very well received anyway...maybe I'll try rewriting it in third person to see how it looks.

Anyways, I spent quite some time editing what I'd written of Wanted (sadly, only 19 pages) only to still be stuck at the same point. Well, this time around I have a vague idea of what I'd like to happen next, but the specifics in getting to that point aren't there. Perhaps some sleep will bring about a revelation.

Blogging: Day One

So, this is my first post for my new blog (boring, I know). My plans for this space are to post updates to my writing, interesting things I learn or read about, and maybe get some discussion going on topics, most of which will be related to writing...if I can manage to stay focused that is.

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