#XD7 – One – Genie In A Bottle

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When the beeping stopped her free hand automatically reaching in her back pocket for her debit card then reached forward waiting for the clerk to take it, never looking up from her cellphone’s screen. She waited her hand suspended in the air, only realizing the rudeness of her actions when the it never left her possession. Dark amused brown eyes met hers before glancing down at the CD in his hand. Her eyes followed, watching as he turned the CD over and over in one hand, something she was sure he had done plenty of times in the past, before stopping with the cover faced up.

Someone more cleaver than her would have something witty to say about the lone pop princess mixed with Patty, Donnie, Jill, Mary, and Raphael. Witty response were not her thing. Instead she studied the CD sitting his large open palm, the pale blonds black lined sultry eyes of the pop princess looking back at her. No words of explanation came to her, she looked up slightly embarrassed. The amused look in his brown eyes was still there, increasing her embarrassment more. His left eyebrow raised in the air and slow smile forming on his lips, showing teeth expertly shaped by a skilled dentist. Actions she didn’t know were physically possible to do at the same time.

She smiled back.

“Do you need to be let out?”

Author’s Note:  I am taking part in the #XD7 Summer Writing Challenge, which is a 7 day challenge.  The theme is “Summer Lust” and there is a 250 word limit.  I have no idea where this is going but it should be interesting. More Information Here.

Check In Sunday: September 28

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When it comes to achieving my goals, I am very flexible with due dates.  I’ll set a due date and let it pass. As you might have guessed that it means that I have yet to complete any of my writing goals.  2014 was supposed to be the year that I finally finished and self-published a novel and a short story collection.  I am not that much closer in September than I was in January.

I couple of weeks ago, I realized that I wasn’t good with long-term goals.  So, I am going to try shorter weekly goals in hopes that they keep me motivated.  These smaller goals should make it easier for me to finally make it to the larger goal and if all things work out I should be able to finally publish something sometime next year.

Last Weeks Goals:

  1. Finish SS07182013 First Draft (Due 09/27/2014 = 1,143/day)
  2. Title (Due 09/27/2014)

Results: didn’t complete either of these goals. As of today I have 6,234 words of the 8,000 word goal.  I think this story is going to run a little bit longer than I planned and I’m okay with that. This first draft is much closer to where I want the final draft to be as compared with the discovery draft. There is a lot that I want to cut but it will wait until I am finished with completing the first draft and it has been shelved for at least two weeks. I have a list of title options but I am not happy with any of them. As the story gets nearer to completion I am coming up with better titles.

This Weeks Goals:

  1.  Edit SS11022013 (September 28 – 30)
  2. Possible Title List Due (September 30)
  3. Decided on NaNoWriMo Story (Due October 1)
  4. Outline NaNoWriMo Story (Due October 31)

I am going down the list of discovery drafts sitting in Scrivener and doing and read/edit. Most of the stories took a left turn somewhere because I am a panster. I want to read through SS11022013 and find out where I went wrong and create a plan of attack.  Hopefully, I will come up with an official tittle.  My normal plan after that would be to start the writing process but I am going to take a break for a few days and work on the yet to be decided outline for NaNoWriMo.

That’s it for this week.

Controlling Runaway Words

I realized that I have a problem after trying to edit a short story that I started over a year ago.

I let my words Runaway.

I start typing and let the words go wherever they want. I have no control over them.

This is a problem.

Because with my current short story SS07182013 (I date WIP that have no titles) I didn’t finish. I just stopped because I didn’t know how to get the story back on track.

Now, I have to do a complete re-write. Almost none of the of the 4,802 words that I wrote are usable. In fact, most of them belong in a completely different story in a different genre. That would be all and good if I didn’t want to finish up my short story collections in which I have only one story completed and want to have at least 15-20 stories to choose from.

I am over 1,700 words into the re-write and I can see that I have already started on the wrong foot.  The first sign is that my main character, Emma, is not where she is supposed to be at the start of the story.  She’s not that far away for her destination, but she is not there. I have two options 1) to re-write the beginning and place her where she needs to be or 2) to keep going and make a note for future revisions.

I’m going with 2) to keep going and make a note for future revision.  I did make a comment to myself in the document that I had to get Emma out of the car.  Which needs to happen as soon as possible because I am giving myself a 8,000 word limit on this one. If she is still in the car at 1,700 words than it doesn’t look good.

Hoping that since it I notice the problem in advance I can get it under control, before it is too late.

We Will See

Writerly Weakness: First Person Narrative

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I struggle with finding topics to write about on this blog.  I have no real writing advice to offer anyone and since this is a writing blog that leaves me with nothing to say.

Then I came across at The Blood-Red Pencil about the pros and cons of the first person narrative (here).  After shooting off a couple of tweets about my problem I decided that talking about my problems with the first person narrative would be an excellent blog post.

 


tomswift46 ( Hi Res Images for Sale) / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

 

I don’t write in the first person narrative.   Well, that is a bit of a lie.  I have written in the first person narrative.  Once.  And that was in letter form.  It was my first flash fiction piece, which I am extremely proud of and happy that I finished (edited and everything).  But I can’t help but that it is cheating to call it a true  first person narrative.  It’s a letter.  All the letter’s that I have ever read have been in first person.  I wouldn’t know what to do with a letter written in any other style, but first person.

My default narrative is third person limited.  It is the style that I have been using since I work my first R.L. Stine still teen horror back in middle school.  Before, almost every house had a computer, when I would have to use school’s computers in the library before class, at lunch, and after class.  It’s this long history with the third person limited narrative that makes it my go to form.  Third person seems to flow from my finger tips when I sit down to write.  It’s rather effortless and since I have come to accept that I am lazy, I have never thought to change it.

I imagine that the first person narrative requires the writer to “become one with their characters”.  I don’t think I could ever become one with my characters and I doubt that they would want to become one with me.  Instead, I see them as people that have a story that they want told and I am their way to get it out.

I think I write in the same way that I watch movies.  As a observer.  I see what is happening to my characters and I write it down. (Which might sound a little odd because I write emotions better than I write details but that is another post).  I do get to see/feel their emotions and translate that onto paper but with everything else I am a passive observer.  An observer with a limited perspective.  I can only write about what they see, feel, think, and hear.  I don’t experience those thoughts and emotions myself.  I am more like the friend that sees everything, hears everything but gets to do it without the personal involvement.

That probably says a lot about me now that I think about it.  I am normally a very detached person.  So, it’s not a surprise that I am detached from my characters and see them as something separate from myself.  Hence, the third person limited default.

Another reason that I don’t write in first person is because I don’t read in first person.  I have a hard time connecting to books written in first person and have the opinion that the first person narrative is really hard to pull off successfully.  Some of the books that I have liked the least have been in the first person narrative, which is why I don’t read much Young Adult Fiction.  Since first person is popular in that genre.

To me first person requires a specific skill set that is surround by the author’s ability to make the reader care about the main character in the first couple of pages.  You have to make your reader feel that they are vested in the character and that they care enough about them to want to hear their every thoughts, good or bad.

It’s just such a tricky style for me and one that I have seen that is pulled off with little success (IMHO).

I think one of the challenges for me as a writer is going to be trying to write in first person.  Coming out of my comfort zone as a third person narrative writer and trying to embrace something new and challenging.

Maybe one day, after I complete all the projects that I am currently working on.

 

RIP Dr. Maya Angelou

I was trying to come up with a topic to blog about then a tweet informed me that Maya Angelou had passed.  At first I was upset, because the tweet indicated that TMZ was the source and because the internet is always killing off famous people.  But then I found out the news was true.  Now, I am just sad.  A lost for words.  

Rest in Peace Dr. Maya Angelou

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My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.

Maya Angelou

 

New Writing Milestone

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Photo credit: ~FreeBirD®~ / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Today, I did two things that I haven’t done in a long time.

First, I finally finished a piece.  I will admit that it was only a flash fiction piece that was under 1,500 words.  I will also admit that I started it on Sunday and spent the rest of the week editing it.  I will also admit that since we were only together for a short period of time, I wasn’t really attached to it.  But I still consider it a milestone.

Secondly, I upload my story to a critique site for feedback.  Something that I have never done in my entire life.  I am feeling a bit like the little girl in the photo looks.

Feedback is great and I know it is necessary for me to grow as an author.

But what if they hate it?

And while I am not as connected with Flash as I am with some of my WIPs.  It is still one of my darlings and I think it’s great.

What if they don’t see Flash’s greatness?

Will I be able to handle the criticism?

What have I done?

Reflecting On Life: Where Am I?

In a week a very good friend of mine is moving away. She isn’t moving far away, only a 4 hours drive upstate. But as someone who doesn’t drive 4 hours by car is a long distance for me. I know I could do a road trip and visit her on the weekends but that is not the same as having her live just around the corner that I can call on to go to Starbucks and waste away an afternoon. Our Monday Night Pizza Night is dead, there really isn’t a reason for me to go if she is not around. $0.99 pizza is a good deal, but I do it for companionship, not the food.

Her pending departure and the fact that it is March has made me look at the goals that I had set for myself in 2013. 2013 is supposed to be a big year for me, a complete change to the course of my life.

My Goals:

  • Transition for having a job to having a career
  • Publish Something
  • Move
  • Save Money

When I ran down my check list.  I realized that I have done very little to achieve these goals.

I took with me the same bad habits that kept me from getting ahead in 2012 (and all the years before that) into 2013.

At some point in my life I became a Professional Procrastinator. I don’t know when or where but that is what I am.

It is a hard profession to break away from.

I am great about sitting down and making plans but when the day comes for me to put them in action, I push them off until tomorrow.

This morning I sat down and wrote 745 words. Which is great! I got words on the page. Which is something that I do sporadically. So, sporadically that I have yet to complete anything. Not my two novel length WIPs or my short story. But at word 745 I hit a road block and while trying to figure out how to make an otherwise adorable character an evil little brat, I started to think about my writing goals. Which lead me to think about my life goals. Which lead to think about my friend leaving.

Which lead me here to this rambling on a blog (that I forget that I have ) about how I have completed nothing in the first three months of the year.

What does this have to do with writing?

Everything. The pattern of my life reflects the pattern (or lack thereof) of my writing. Sometimes, I move forward and do things that will help me achieve my goals. Just like sometimes I will sit down and put words of the page.

But today I came to a realization that in order for me to achieve my goals in my writing I must first take steps to achieve my goals with my work.

Right now, I have a job but what I really want and need is a career. Just like with my writing. Right now I am an aspiring author but what I want to be is a published author.

Somehow. the two goals have become intertwined. When I am working on both at the same time, then I feel like I am getting something done. When I am doing only one, something is missing and eventually I stop and both end up neglected.

Most, people would ask “Don’t you want to make a living off of your writing?”

The short answer: Yes

The long answer:

I try to be a realist. As a literary/contemporary fiction writer I know that my market shares are small.  As someone who writes primarily about Black Americans my market shares are even smaller. As someone who plans to self-publish I know that the chances of me making a living off of my work are slim.  There is probably someone out there that would will list a number of self-published authors that make a living off their writing.  But, realistically, they are the exception  not the rule.  Therefore, I need something that will pay my bills and that is where the job comes in… but the job is stressful and it only provides me enough to just pay my bills and set aside a little extra. Like many Americans I am basically living paycheck to paycheck. Besides, my job right now is not stable, in fact I am watching the company that I work for not so slowly sink. I need to jump ship before it is completely underwater and I have to start collecting unemployment.

Which brings me back to my goals and writing. My hope is that one day, that my writing will provide a second source of income so that I can save money for traveling and retirement, maybe even a house one day. While my work will allow me to pay my bills and eat. They go hand in hand.

Which basically brings me to the point of this blog post:

I need to get my ass in gear and get shit done.

789 just to say that.

ROW80 Goals

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A Round of Words in 80 Days starts today and I have decided to take part in it this time around.

My Goals:

  1. Write at least 500 daily
  2. Finish The Short Story that I started
  3. Place The Short Story online for critique

That’s it.  I don’t want to make the goals to hard because I know myself.

A Light Bulb Moment

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Photo credit: Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC

This morning while working on one of three of my WIPs, the paranormal romance, a light bulb went off in my head.  I realized that my expectations for this story were way to big for the limits that I placed on it an myself.

About WIP: PR (original plans):

  • Originally a NaNoWrio 2012 Project
  • 60,000 word limit
  • 25 Chapters
  • Complete by January 15th

This should have been all doable.  But I am a procrastinator, slacker and a horrible planner.

The Reality:

  • 60,000 words is not going to complete the story as is.  It’s just too complex with too many elements.
  • Again 25 Chapters is not realistic for the scope that I have set for myself
  • Finish by January 15th… In my dreams. I’ll be lucky if I finish by the end of February.  Yes, it is that bad.

As you can see I have a lot to think about and some decisions that need to be made about WIP: PR.

Not much of a light bulb moment you say.  Well, her is the light bulb moment.

WIP: PR was originally suppose to be part of a four part series surround a set of brothers.  My original attention was to have each story highlight each female lead and one of the brothers.  Add in some kind of drama and done.

But WP: PR (I really have to think up another name for it), is not behaving.  There are three elements in it that are making it hard to contain it to just one book.  The female lead issues, the male lead has issues, and the pack (I did mention that the paranormal element was werewolves didn’t I) has issues.

Issues:

  • Female Lead Issues:  Can be solved in one book.  Her issues aren’t that dramatic but I can make them more interesting and action filled.
  • Male Lead Issues:  Cannot be solved in one book.  He has a whole lot of history and has a company to run.  He’s rather complicated.  I need more than one book to wrap up his life and send him to HEA land.
  • Pact Issues: Is a wolf pack ever without issues?   I can drag there issues out for as long as I need to and create more if necessary.

The light bulb went off when I realized that I am going to have to make WIP: PR three separate parts by itself (I know kind of confusing).  So, instead of having four books in the series, where each book focus on one brother, I could stretch it out a lot.

Solution:

  • Brother 1: Story will be told in three parts.
  • Brother 2 – 4: No idea.

Yep, that is my solution.

All I know is that to make this work and for me to be happy with this WIP I have to draw it out.  I am not a huge fan of insta-love or endings where everything just seems to magically fall into place.

I don’t like that as a reader and I refuse to do that to anyone else (if this even sees the light of day.

For now, I am going to continue WIP: PR and hope to finish it sometime in February.  During the revision process, I will work out all the kinks and get it under control.  I just want to be able to write THE END.

The Aftermath

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Another NaNoWriMo.

Another failed attempt.

Another semi-complete novel.

*Head Meets Desk*

Really.  Seriously.  

So, after letting my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel sit on the shelf for 20 days, I decided to pull it out and try to work on it some more.  

I even gave myself a deadline. 

January 15th.

The day that it needs to be completed.  

Under 1,200 words a day to get it done.

But….

I don’t know where it is going. 

Seriously.

There are so many twist and turns in this novel that I am not sure how to complete it.  Or even if I should.  

I am wondering if I am doing myself a disservice by even trying to complete it. 

I am wondering if I should not stop and go back to the drawing board and maybe maybe do a little bit more plotting.  

But…

I want to get it done.  I really want to write those magic words:

THE END

Words that I haven’t seen in so long.

What’s a girl to do?