Tag Archives: Reading

What are you reading/writing?

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted and, dang it’s good to be back!!! So what are you all writing and reading?

What are you writing?

I’ve started out the year by going through my yearly review. For the past month I’ve been going over all of my old notebooks full of old story ideas I had massed through the years. I gave the old idea tree a shake, and I found a few stories and outlines from years ago that I’d completely forgotten about. There was one story about a young girl who’s trying to solve a mystery in a Gothic mansion sometime in the 1800’s. The story as I had written it in college was a bit of a shambles so I think I might try to rewrite it as a play. I got started with creative writing during a playwriting course in high school, so I think it might be nice to get back to my roots. 

Getting back to my playwriting roots!! 🙂

What are you reading?

For the past few weeks I’ve been working through my ever expanding  to-read list. I’ve read the first 8 books in the Phryne Fisher murder mysteries series by Kerry Greenwood, Girl on the Train, and I’ve just started on Philip K Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle’. I’ve also started on my 2017 Reading Resolution List. Every year I give myself a challenge to read certain important books which I think I might have read but never actually have. This year I intend to read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, and Team of Rivals. I’ve become more interested in writing mystery stories so this year I decided to read the stories which laid the foundations for the genre. The Sherlock stories introduced a lot of the principles of forensic investigation (some of which are still in use today) and The Moonstone has been cited as the very first detective story ever written. 

Thanks for reading and commenting!!! I really appreciateI’ll see you soon!!!

Exercise of the day- Clearing the Cobwebs

We all get into ruts at times. Our minds start feeling sluggish and it seems that the world is speeding past without us. What does your character feel or think when they get into that mindset? What situations made them feel that way? What would they do to get their minds back into fighting form? Write a journal entry for your character which answers these questions.

Have fun with this!! 

 

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Filed under Creative, Creative writing, Fiction, Ideas, Literature, nano, Nanowrimo, Novel Writing, Novels, Playwriting, Plot, Uncategorized, Writing, writing prompt, writing tips

10 Reading/Writing Resolutions to Kick-start 2015

 

Welcome to a new year!!! Gosh, it has been a while since I posted, but with working retail during the holiday shopping season I went into writing hibernation and have just now started reemerging into the writing scene. I found that I was getting so batty with work, that when I tried to write I would write a page or two and spend the rest of the night nursing a migraine and a bad attitude. But, the holiday shoppers are on their way home and it is time for me to get back to work! YAY!!!

RETAIL STRESS!!! BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

RETAIL STRESS!!! BOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

The time has come, once again, to make resolutions and set goals for the next 365 days. Instead of making resolutions about losing weight or some other such nonsense I like to make a list of books that I am going to at least try to read in the next year. Last year’s list included Dickens’ Bleak House, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and a few others. I actually ended up finishing my entire list!!! Now it’s time for a new list and this year I’ve decided to read books that I had started but never got around to finishing. Like I’ve mentioned before I have a tendency to be a bit of a distracted reader but I am really working on overcoming that habit. I am hoping that working through this year’s reading list will offer me plenty of chances to conquer my reading problems.

So here’s my 2015 Reading Resolutions List

  1. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy – I’ve read the first two or three books in this series but I never got around to finishing.
  2. Finish reading the Lord of the Rings Trilogy – I just recently finished re-reading The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring but I haven’t finished the rest of the series yet.
  3. 1776 by David McCullough
  4. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  5. I have to read the 4th book in the Millennium Series (title unknown) – I am not sure what the series will be like now that Steig Larsson is dead and the series is getting passed on to a ghost writer. I am not sure I will like it, but this is one that I have to read.
Imagining what my character might write in their private dairies really gave me the chance to see from their perspectives

Imagining what my character might write in their private dairies really gave me the chance to see from their perspectives

Every writer needs to be a reader, so I decided to give myself a reading and writing resolution list for the new year.

Writing resolution list for 2015

  1. Turn off the internet on my computer when I write to cut down on distractions. The internet can be very helpful to writing when it comes to gathering information for any research that you need to do, but it is also chock full of distractions. Best idea is to save your internet usage for research/editing time not writing time.
  2. Write more. I know this seems a bit obvious but it’s really something I need to do. Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it can make me become a better writer. I think the best way to accomplish this is to work on at least two new writing prompts per week.
  3. Create more diverse characters. I’ve noticed that my characters have become a bit one dimensional so I think I need to work on making them more diverse. I don’t think that it is enough to make them more culturally or racially diverse, I must also make them more psychologically diverse as far as their ways of thinking.
  4. Explore different plot and genre elements. Research the plot elements and plot differences between different genres of literature. Going back to the basics when it comes to plot has helped my before when I’ve needed help generating ideas. A bit more research couldn’t hurt.
  5. Finish something. One of my major problems hasn’t been starting new projects is has been finishing my old ones. I need to make a better effort to finish my projects.
Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the day: Most Prized Possession

A character of your own invention finds a note which reads

Hello you slimy piece of filth,

I know who you are and what you did. I have taken the thing that you value most in the world. Either bring me what I want or face the consequences. You have one day.

Signed,

You know who

Using this note as your starting point write a story. You must decide who your character is and the reason for the note. Who wrote it and why? What did they take? What are they planning to do if their needs are not met?

So long for now!! Hope to hear from you soon!!! Please feel free to comment with any questions or concerns.

Author’s note- I might be MIA for the next few weeks. We’re expecting now in my area for the next few days and when there is snow I have no internet. I will post as much as I can though. Later!!!

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The Times and Trials of a Bookworm

I’ve said before that the vast majority of writers begin first as readers which I still think is true, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. One of my younger cousins was complaining about having to read a boring book for class and when I told them the list of books I had to read for my lit courses she said “well that’s different! You like reading!!” True, I do enjoy reading but that doesn’t make it any easier.

For me, my struggles with reading started in kindergarten. For some reason I just couldn’t get the hang of reading. I knew my letters because of the alphabet song and the like, but I couldn’t make sense of written words. They told me “This is an A, this is a B, and this is a C”, to which I would reply “No it isn’t!!! That one looks like a funny hat, that one’s a snowman, and that one is a squiggle!” After literally months of these little episodes my teacher was thinking I had something like dyslexia and I just thought I was stupid. I would sit for hours holding my books in my room and would try to piece together the mystery of what they meant. For almost an entire year I saw my classmates breezing through books while I was still stuck on page two. Finally someone had the thought “maybe there’s something wrong with her eyes”. EUREKA!!!!

As easy as ABC? I WISH!!! :)

As easy as ABC? I WISH!!! 🙂

I went to the eye doctor and after my exam I remember that he told my mother “I’m not surprised she’s having trouble reading!! She really needs glasses.” So finally after almost an entire school year the mystery of my “reading problems” were solved. For a long after kindergarten I absolutely hated reading. Whenever I picked up a book I remembered the struggles I had and how stupid they made me feel. For nearly 13 years I avoided reading whenever I could but slowly I learned to let go of those negative feelings and let myself fall into the wonderful world of books. Now that’s not to say reading isn’t still a struggle. Even with glasses every once in a while I get terrible migraines and more often than not my mind starts wandering and by the time it wanders back to the book I can’t even remember what page I was on. So for me reading is wonderful and I really enjoy it, but it’s a struggle. But when I finally reach the end of a book I feel like I’ve just won a massive battle. So yeah for me reading is a struggle, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth it!!!

Reading = Worth the stuggle

Reading = Worth the struggle

 

Exercise of the Day:  The Lesser of Two Evils Exercise

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day

Imagine a situation where your character must choose between sacrificing two things, both of which are important to them. Describe the situation itself, the two things your character is deciding between and also the thought process they would use to come to a decision. How would the situation resolve itself? How would the character feel at the end?

Weighing the options

Weighing the options

 

Have fun with this exercise!! Feel free to comment! I love feedback!

🙂

 

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From First Draft to Finished: 3 Critical Editing Tips

 

"The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.” ~ EB White

“The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.” – E.B. White

So you’ve completed your first draft? Great work!!! The work however does not end there because right when you think you’ve finished comes one of the most key, and at times terrifying, parts of writing…EDITING!!! No writer in the world writes perfectly the first time. Sometimes it can take a million drafts and rewrites to get it into shape and even then it never feels like enough. There are many keys to learning what to edit and what to keep such as reading groups, the inner critic, and lastly self-censorship. If you’ll just bear with me, I can show you what I do to make sure that I am able to edit effectively.

Find the balance
Finding the right balance

I- Reading Groups – Finding the Right Balance

Though writers are often portrayed as stereotypical loners, if they don’t have other people to turn to they can become a sobbing pile of neurosis. It really helps you to know what is good and bad in your work to have a few objective readers who can look at your work and tell you flat out what works and what doesn’t. The hard part is that you need to find people who can give you constructive criticism but who also aren’t going to tell you everything you write is golden because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. To form a useful and productive writing group you need to find people who are going to tell you the truth and who aren’t going to give everything either a blanket approval or rejection. It’s also a good idea to grow some thick skin. Criticism, even when it’s constructive, can be really hard to hear sometimes. If you worked really hard on one particular piece that you think is really good and you get really attached to it, when it gets any criticism you run the risk of getting defensive. If you get too defensive you run the risk of keeping weak material in your work. When you get criticism, don’t freak out just keep an open mind.

II- The Inner Critic- Help from Within

The Inner Critic- Helpful Madness

The Inner Critic- Helpful Madness

Whether or not you are a writer, a lot of the times in life you find that YOU are your own biggest critic. For writers, this voice usually pops up and makes snide comments about what they’ve just written such as “how could anyone write anything so stupid”, “there’s no way that character would ever do that” and of course the ever popular “and you call yourself a writer”. There are two dangers related to the “inner critic” and both have the capacity to destroy your literature. First, if you listen to you inner critic all the time you will end up hating everything you write because you will automatically assume that it’s garbage. Second, if you never listen to your inner critic you will end up automatically loving everything you write, even if it’s not well written, simply because you wrote it. That means you run the risk of keeping a lot of bad material in your work. The solution is simple; listen to your Inner Critic sometimes because sometimes it’s right.

III- Self-Censorship- Learning to Play the Game

Censorship

When I say self-censorship I’m not talking about the FCC or the “man” bringing the hammer down and trying to shut down your creativity. I am talking about you as the author being able to tailor your own work to suit different audiences. It’s not about taking down censorship, it’s about learning how to push past it and still produce quality work. Also, if they want you to make a cut that will totally destroy the meaning or purpose of your piece then that particular place probably isn’t the best outlet for your work. Censorship might not seem like it really belongs in something as creative as writing, but if you as the writer don’t think about it in some respect, especially if you want your piece to be published or performed, you’ll never get in the door. You have to look into the other kinds of work that the company or magazine has come out with. If they mostly publish work that’s so clean it squeaks, then they are not a good bet to publish something with bad language or sexual content. They will shoot down your work and most likely, depending on the organization, not trust you to censor yourself. Here’s a great tip: Save multiple copies of your work. I usually write plays, so whenever I write one I always save at least one original uncensored copy. Then I can edit for content depending on the theatre, or school, or playwriting competition I am submitting it to that way I always have that uncensored copy to start from.

“No author dislikes to be edited as much as he dislikes not to be published.”J. Russell Lynes

The greatest tip anyone can give you about editing is to not worry about it until you have to. If you freak yourself out about it too soon you will only succeed in driving yourself insane. At first just breath, relax and write your story.

Exercise of the Day

Exercise of the Day:

For this exercise I am going to give you two characters, a setting, and a conflict. You need to take the three little pieces I give you and write a scene. Now this can be a drama, a comedy a thriller. It can be whatever you are in the mood to make it.

Character A- a 35 year old mime

Character B- a 45 year old detective

Setting- an art gallery

Conflict- someone is trapped

 

Have fun with this and I will see you next time!

 

 

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