Tag Archives: Struggling

Time to Get Serious About Writing

I’ve been flakey. I’ve been distracted. I’ve been tuned out and turned off and spun around. I’ve been depressed, but not in a sad way. I’ve been disinterested, is what I’m saying. I need to get a hold on things, get in tune with what I want in life.

I love having a social site presence, but I think it’s time I did it through a professional manner and not my personal one. I think I need a new tumblr – one about me and not just for reblogging all the cute things I love. I think I need to focus on my twitter feed with all the agents and publishers and editors I follow. I believe I need to keep up with this blog so that my style, my voice, and my true opinion and optimism can shine.

What’s standing in my way? Myself. Right now, sitting in my little corner of the new apartment, surrounded by empty and full boxes, all alone while my sister is shopping and my boyfriend is at work, I’m content. I’m happy. I’m ready to go. What will happen when they get home? Distractions. I need to stop focusing on other people and just do what I need to do. I need to stop everything and be more professional.

I’ve lost the joy I once had in reading, and I almost have to force myself to write, but I still love them both. I’m going to start today and reintroduce myself to who I was before I got caught up in what I ‘needed’ to do and instead find out what I ‘want’ to do. Where those two intercept is what is important.

Starting today, I spend a little more of my focus on improving my writing, on keeping up with my professionals, and on actually moving forward.

I’ll stay positive about this until proven otherwise. Help me stay positive, everyone.

Also, does anyone know how to become a book editor?

Ciao tutti!

RM

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Plot Lesson

Part lesson, part excerpt. Two birds with one stone.

I got an idea about a year ago, a person in a car accident and a horn blaring loud in the background. However, I had nowhere to put it so I wrote it down and stored it away. Then, about a week after my birthday this year, I walked around school unable to get it out of my head. Suddenly I knew what I wanted to use it for – a new novel, completely separate from my other ideas.

So I typed it up in Scrivener and decided to make the novel have parts, one each for different stages of life, beginning with childhood. I wrote the first scene, with the car horn, and the first meeting of two small child who will be my protagonists.

I stopped.

Why did I stop? Because beyond these two small scenes, I honestly have no clue where I’m going with this. I know a scene in the middle and a scene near the end and I know I want it to be one of those great romance novels up there with Nicholas Sparks’ work. Unlike most of my work, there won’t be any magical elements or fantastical things happening. It’s just going to be normal. I only have one other book planned like that, but while the ideas could be merged, I don’t plan to do that. I want this one to be something fresh. The issue is finding out what exactly I want to happen.

The great thing about a plot is that it usually changes two or three times while writing a novel. The idea stays the same, but how it happens tends to change. I once read the beginning of a guide on how to write a novel in 100 days. One of the things the guide says to do is to write the ending of the book on a note card or  spare paper. Write it as detailed as you want it, stick it in a drawer, and forget about it. Then, once you’ve written the novel, you’ll take out the paper and see just how much it changed.

The exact quote is from Day 21:

Write down the last paragraph of your novel and put it in the drawer. At the end of a hundred days, lets see how close you came to following your imagination.

The guide is more of a how to begin and how to keep motivated up to a good way through, but it’s all good knowledge for a writer. I may even use it late for a ‘In the Words of’ blog. Something else the guide says is to always know how the story is going to end. It may not be specifics, since the last scene will undoubtedly change, but it’s good to know who lives and who dies and what goal is accomplished inevitably.

Right now I’m working on the overall goal and the specifics of my characters. It’s time to figure out what makes them tick so that I can really sit down and write their story – after maybe reading some Nicholas Sparks or David Nicholls or something to really get in the mood.

Are you having trouble with a plot in your novel? I do suggest reading some of the guide up there. Each day up to where I read is about a paragraph long and really shouldn’t take a whole day (things like ‘decide on a schedule of when to write’ or ‘stay confident’ are entire days). One thing it says that I completely agree with is to make your characters and your plot simultaneously, as neither can survive without the other. I’ve got the start of my characters and I’m moving on to decide their pasts, their futures, and their personalities. My plot will grow with them. Yours will grow with your characters as well.

And now, because I’m really kind of proud of it – the first scene with the car horn. Let me know what you think:

The loud tone rang through the evening air like a pathetic alarm clock, one that had lost its purpose and no longer understood it was meant to stop eventually. Several years passed in the slow moment between the first notice of it and the realization of its identity as the horn of a car. It seemed another month passed before all sense of sound disappeared so as to give space to the other sensations. In the place where ears used to work, the other senses flared up. The air was static charged over a turbine, vibrating around the space. Its warmth was a brilliant contrast to the coolness of the round object pressed against her cheek. On the other hand, her cheek was about the only part of her body that didn’t ache in the aftermath of the accident that put her here.

With great difficulty, memories floated in circles around her head like birds in a cartoon. She tried to grab them, piece together why her eyes wouldn’t open and why everything hurt. How long had she been here? How long had she been trying to figure out these answers? Each moment, each passing second felt like a lifetime… or, she believed it must be seconds. She couldn’t have been sitting here as long as she felt she was. The horn was still blaring, although she felt it more than heard it now. It filled her with the immediacy of needing to know. Why was the horn blaring? Why did it not stop? Why couldn’t she remember?

A breeze pushed by her, warm and tingling and smelling of gasoline and air conditioners. She tried to piece the smells together, but the warmth touched her heart and she thought of him before all other things. She couldn’t remember how she got here, but she knew one thing – she hadn’t been alone. Who had been with her, she couldn’t place. Where or why were blurs, but she knew there had been a man with her, and the horn told her to be afraid.

The breeze pushed harder past her face, bringing with it only warmth and no specific smells. She felt her whole body convulse in the effort to remember the last few days, the last few minutes – for she was sure it was minutes and not years that brought her to this place. Then the warmth of the breeze brought to her mind the clearest memory of a green lawn and a summer day. She knew without knowing how she knew that he was nearby, somewhere under the hot July sun that made her brow sweat and her heart die in her chest.

 

The Problem with Homework

The first problem with homework is the very term homework. I know it means ‘work you do at home’, but part of me always just wants to call it School Work because that’s really what it is.

Now on to the main issue here. Concentration.

I have an essay due in a few days, and what do I do? I write story notes. I let a friend convince me to read over something they’ve written. I check email and reply to posts. I do anything and everything I do on a normal basis on my computer apart from writing my essay.

Why?

Because for some unknown reason, I lose all concentration. I know what my general idea for the essay is and, unlike many of my classmates, I won’t need any outside reading or sources to complete it. I honestly just need to pull 5-7 pages out of my head to complete the essay. Even when the essay requires more in-depth research or reading, I still put it off, though.

I know inside that if I just sit down and start writing that the words will flow and work will be completed and sooner or later I’ll have the paper written and can more on to other things. However, I also understand the amount of time the paper will take and am afraid of hitting that infamous writers block that occurs for academic writers as well as novel writers.

I suppose the point of all this is to say that you shouldn’t be afraid to start new things, even if you’re not entirely sure how they’ll end up. However, I’m still procrastinating that essay by writing this very blog post, so…. I can’t say the lesson has entirely hit home yet. But-! I will get to it. I’m going right now, I swear, so if you’re fiddling around reading this instead of doing your own homework then GO! STOP READING! Go do your homework/classwork and get it over with, like I’m about to do.

And now I contemplate the reasoning behind not naming this post ‘the problem with writing essays’…

Ciao Tutti!

RM

In the Words of W. Somerset Maugham

After updating my blog, there was this quote sitting in the sidebar, smiling at me. I don’t know how it got there, or why it was that particular quote. It crawled out of a hole in time, space, and literary secrets to present itself to me. It made me smile, so I thought I’d share it with the rest of you.

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.— W. Somerset Maugham

And there it is. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to offer to aid the quote, as I’m sure everyone can understand the meaning of it rather easily. But just in case you’re worried your idea might be wrong, let me put your mind at ease.

What Maugham is saying is that this is no set way or rule to writing a novel. Yes, somewhere in the universe of secrets there are three exact rules for writing that will get you instantly famous and everyone will love you more than baby kittens who sneeze and fall over into more kittens, but the fact you have to understand is that no one in the history of the world knows what these key rules are.

There is no way to know for certain what your writing will be liked by anyone but your best friend since second grade or your ever-loving mother figure. There’s no way to guarantee your story, poetry, or play will be made into a movie, gain more than a few thousand fans, create a new entry into the dictionary, inspire a theme park, change lives, or last 1,000 years into the future so The Doctor can tell his companions that you’re the best-selling novelist of all time. There is just no possible formula known to man, woman, or publisher to figure out how or why any fandom becomes as popular as it does. It’s 60% skill, determination, and knowing the right people… and the other 40% is simply luck.

So enjoy yourself while you’re writing. Write at your pace and about the things you care about. Be yourself and hope for the best. Maybe you aren’t lucky now, but maybe one day the right person will see your book on the shelf and your luck with explode.

Good luck in luck, fellow writers.

Ciao tutti!

RM

The Coming of Emotional Death

I was planning on updating with something mildly literary again this week, but it turns out my mind is elsewhere – mainly on how much it hurts >.o Darn headaches.

This week has been quite eventful. Yesterday, my co-worker brought in his newborn son for us all to coo over in the office and distracted us from ‘work’ for a good 2 hours. We weren’t doing much anyway. Maddox is perhaps the most adorable baby I have ever seen – so tiny and cute. I can see in his facial structure and his eyes that he has the potential to be a very attractive man when he grows up.

I met with someone about graduating this coming spring. Let me tell you, school planning is a nightmare. I met with my adviser three weeks ago where we decided I was golden to graduate. The next week, I got an email saying one of my Spring classes has been cancelled. Shit. So I scheduled another advising meeting, enrolled in a new class to cover the new vacancy and we decided I was all good again. Now I meet with the Intent to Graduate people and find out I need to make another advising appointment just so my adviser can sign a paper that substitutes this new class in for the old class, because my degree audit isn’t registering that it counts. Also, my minor isn’t showing up properly, but based on the 2009 catalog, I’ve fulfilled all requirements. They think I must have completed everything for the 2010/2011 catalog because that’t the minor I signed up for, and I didn’t even start going to this school until 2010, and I didn’t apply to that minor until August of this year. So that has to be sorted out as well. Silly programs. Silly school. Golly!

I saw three movies over the weekend – Footloose (which is beyond epic and all the important scenes were just amazing adaptations of the old scenes, so none of the magic is lost. My mother, a die-hard fan of the old one, loves this new movie), The Three Musketeers (unlike Jeremy Jahns, I happen to love this movie too. I thought the graphics were awesome. The characters were hilarious and/or well acted. And the plot was well enough great.), and Real Steal (which was thiiiis close to being awesome). Today, my boyfriend has come over and invited me to Puss in Boots (which was witty and clever and would have been much more entertaining if all the 3 year olds had stopped talking for two minutes).  Those were all definite pluses to my week as well.

Now the downside – I’m making a costume for an anime convention on Nov 11. I found out I left the sewing pins at my mother’s house and my boyfriend was supposed to bring them with him this weekend, but my mother apparently couldn’t find them so now I have no pins. Since I just told my friend I would definitely have the costume done in time, this now puts me in the predicament of going out and finding where to buy more pins…. and shears, because I have none of those either. In the middle of this, I have a paper on Dante Rossetti due next week and I still haven’t finished my Grad school entrance paper to be edited by my professor. I also haven’t sent out my info to my other professor for a recommendation letter, I haven’t gotten my GRE test scores, I have that advising appointment to make, my neck is twinged so that I can’t fully turn it to the left, I’m supposed to send an email with a bunch of links and info to a girl who’s making The Rose Chateau bookmarks for me, and next Tuesday is the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

In short – there is just too much too do and I’m going to commit accidental emotional suicide over it all. Wish me luck in living.

Ciao Tutti!

RM

Month 3 – Self Publishing

Being published is a road of constant entertainment. I may be self-published, and my sales may be a measly 8 books, but I still have fun every week when it comes to being published.

The first month, six books were purchased. Five were by family and friends. One was by a stranger online who alerted me to a rather large typo near the end and then professed the book to be one of her favorite books. I count this as a HUGE win… including the typo bit. Month two, one book was purchased… by a family member. I bought four copies of my book. One was given to a good friend of mine, who happens to be an employee in the young adult department at the Bartow Public Library. After distracting her from work for a good twenty minutes, she held the book close and claimed she would claim the chance to be the first to read it once it was on the shelves. The other three books were for my Goodreads Giveaway – which ended on the 30th of September.

The books have gone out but wont arrive at their destinations for at least a week – sad as the mail service is. Le sigh. But in the meantime, a new friend of mine found the book fascinating and decided he wanted to borrow it, read it religiously, and then probably purchase his own copy. More power to him! Part of me thinks he’d prefer the typo’d copy of mine. He thought it was fantastic. The very next day, I’m at work and a girl comes in and wants to interview me about my college experience for one of her classes. We discuss my major in Literature and she asks if I write creatively. I calmly reply that I in fact most definitely do and mention as a side note that I’ve self-published. As I try to continue about my Literature degree, she stops me and very quickly copies down the name of the book and where to buy it because she’d suddenly extremely interested.

Somehow I managed to market my book to two random people in two days, and the conversations surrounding the book talk are enough to make me smile when I think on them. Now I have to wait for the giveaway books to reach their new owners, hope those readers are generous and leave me reviews, and then see what kind of reaction I get from the 1107 people who didn’t win and the 209 people with The Rose Chateau on their to-read lists on GoodReads.

Hopefully soon I’ll have bookmarks to put around campus and flyers to hang on the backs of toilet stall doors like those poor women who desperately need a new roommate.  In the world of marketing, no time can be wasted. Everyday of self-publishing is interesting. I can’t wait for the publishing house adventure.

Ciao tutti!

RM

Thoughts on the Agent/Publisher Route – Illustrators

It occurred to me that as a self-publishing newbie, I should have kick-butt epic awesomeness on my promotional propaganda. The current cover of my book was a semi-generated one from CreateSpace.com. My friend was meant to make me one, but do to time-constraints and her back suddenly giving out on her, this didn’t happen. That’s alright. I like the cover I made.

That’s when I thought ‘aha! I can just get someone awesome as my artist for next time!’ And so I went onto deviantart.com and found one of my favorite artists of all time Haiiro-no-tenshi and spent a good while staring at her beautiful works. Then another thought occurred to me. My next book will be through an agent and publisher. They may not let me commission just any artist. Which is a pity, because Haiiro is brilliant. I love the angles to the faces, the strength in their necks, the reality of their clothing and positioning, and I cannot move past the brilliance of her emotions.

http://haiiro-no-tenshi.deviantart.com/gallery/9548449#/d391yup

http://haiiro-no-tenshi.deviantart.com/art/COMMISSION-Byaghro-201425834?q=gallery%3Ahaiiro-no-tenshi%2F160629&qo=23

http://haiiro-no-tenshi.deviantart.com/art/Princess-Serenity-213914752?q=gallery%3Ahaiiro-no-tenshi%2F160629&qo=8

I have been following Haiiro on deviantart for some time, and I still cannot get enough of her work. I would also consider woshibbdou as a backup. Keep it up, you brilliant artist.

But now I’m truly curious. Does the author get to choose the artist? And if they do, is it limited to people already in the business? And does that decision rest with the agent or the publisher? @_@ Oh dear.

Ciao tutti,

RM