A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogging from A to Z - April 2011 Bloggers' Challenge

For those of you who are like me and need to have someone whoop your behind into shape to get blogging, I have fab news!

*epically long drumroll*

Question is, are YOU up for the challenge?! *beady-eyed look* Join in on the blogging fun and click the frawesomesauce picture above! *points up and nods lots*

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Congrats to Cambria Dillon = 30 pg MS Critique! #WIN

Another frawesomesauce contest I stumbled upon that ends tonight at 10pm EST! For those of you who already follow @CambriaDillon on Twitter, you know all about the fantastic news ~~>>> She was signed by Vickie Motter from Andrea Hurst Literary Management!! YAY! CONGRATS! In celebration of this momentous occasion, she's hosting a 30 page critique giveaway contest on her blog at www.cambriadillon.com!!!! *insert epic SQUEE here* The critique will be from the ever-fab Martina Boone of Adventures in Children's Publishing (@4KidLit on Twitter)! *more SQUEES*

What are you waiting for?! *shoos you away* GO! ENTER! *waves pompoms*

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Dangers of Dangling Modifiers

Another Monday, another blog post... Hey, I think I'm actually getting pretty good about writing in this thing. LOL

So the idear behind this little post here came from an email I received this morning from an agent who had given me a critique on the first 500 words of my current WIP. I don't even have to say how invaluable a crit like this is. I literally *squee'd* when I read the little "1" bubble on my iPhone email icon. As I opened up the pretty in my inbox, I realized that it wasn't exactly pretty. LOL

Okay, honestly, I was expecting much MUCH worse, so what I did get I was thoroughly happy with. The thing that most stood out among all the other suggestions was her one about dangling modifiers. I read that word and went "Eh? WTF is a dangling modifier?!". My brain went into overdrive and literally could not wait to google the thing. Diving head-on into the google-worthy links I found, there was one that said it simply and with examples - The Purdue OWL.

Dangling Modifier

"[A] word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept."


Now, the problem was that I wasn't even aware I was using the danglies (as my frawesomesauce friend Corinne O'Flynn has kindly dubbed it). But after reading the various examples and applying them to certain sentences I found in the first 5 pages of my WIP, my Ah-Ha! moment did the whole flashing lightbulb thing (only in my head of course LOL).

Moments like these are not only humbling, but also remind us how any and all crits are invaluable to the writing process. I write because I don't know how to be without writing. It is a constant learning process for me while I navigate the do's and dont's, all the while trying to take everything with a grain of salt and do what ultimately makes my work awesome to ME. But every once in a while, you get bits of wow knowledge that can help you take your craft into a whole other level.

Have any of you ever had any noteworthy Ah-ha! moments during your writing journeys? If so, how did they come about and what were the ending results?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Deadline Monster Rears Its Not So Ugly Head

So a thought occurred to me this past weekend as I was scrambling to complete a case study for my Business Law course. (Business Law has nothing to do with my story, but maybe when driven to madness by all the reading and writing that I will eventually have to get done for this class, my pending breakdown might be a featured post! #ohjoy LOL) Anyway, I digress. (Which I tend to do 90% of the time. Ha!)

Okay, so back to my story. I was sitting there going over all of the things that I have to do for the weekend (i.e. write individual paper, go over case studies for said paper, brush up on reading for Bus Law class, prepare to take quiz, etc.) The list could literally go on and on. This, by the way, is one of the many things that make me wish we had 48 hours in one day. #ifonly

I added the chapter I needed to get done for my current WIP to this list, plus the chapter that I needed to return to my CP that I totally promised to have done by this weekend, and voila! We have a recipe for multiple deadlines. #score

I don't know about you, but I'm a total pantser. No, this does not involve pulling someone's pants down to their ankles a la 5-year-old me, but on second thought, that sounds like a fun idea... *claps hands all evil-like* Ahem, anyhoo, where was I? Oh yeah. Deadlines. Pantser. Totally back on subject.

So when I realized how much stuff I had to get done, what did I do? You're probably saying "You did them, of course. In perfectly listed order, starting with the easiest task and finishing off with the hardest." Pfft. Sure. In Never Neverland. C'mon, writers. You know this scenario was doomed to fail from when I started writing this blog post. *insert laugh here* It doesn't help that the weekend started off with a migraine (which could potentially kill any day that involves other things besides laying down in a nice warm bed, consumed by darkness...), but my mind just went blank.

Completely. Utterly. Blank. -_-

I tried to sit down on my laptop (well, not LITERALLY on my laptop) and pulled up all of the different Word documents that I had to finish by the end of the weekend. I kept thinking to myself "Oh this one will take this long..." (and then I checked my Twitter and emails), "That one will take that long..." (and then I checked my Twitter and emails), and so on and so forth... That, suffice to say, was totally and epically fail.

So how did I get into gear? (I swear, this post has SOME kind of potential meaning and/or reason for existing. LOL)

I made myself a concrete deadline.

How was this different from acknowledging the tasks, you ask? Well, for one thing, I gave myself motivational goals to obtain once I had established said deadlines for each individual item. For the school things, the goal was to finish the assignments so that I can focus on other, more fun writerly things. For the writerly things, it was to be able to gain a chapter trade with one of my CPs.

I've asked many writers what their secret is to punching out their novels and not one could give me an answer that is the same as the previous. This is because not everyone functions in the same way and all kinds of crazy things can encourage or discourage the creative process.

My discouragers are Mr. Lazy and Mr. Procrastinator. I may have to introduce them to you in some blog post not so far down the future. My encouragers are Miss Muse and Mr. Deadline.

I find that I work better under pressure. If I have a looming deadline to meet, I will procrastinate *kicks Mr. Procrastinator* because I am lazy *kicks Mr. Lazy* until Miss Muse decides to cooperate and works with Mr. Deadline to get the job done. So I beat Mr. Procrastinator and Mr. Lazy to their bloody death (okay, not really, but you get what I mean) and take a preemptive strike by imposing my own deadlines. Set a time that I MUST finish each task (usually I like to give myself until the end of *insert said date here*), otherwise I'll get the shit beat out of me by my discouragers. And they are skeery when they wanna be.

Also, when I'm working to finish a chapter to submit to CPs, I find the extra adrenaline burst helps my creativity as well. When I KNOW that I need to turn something in, instead of "Oh I'll get it done whenever.", it gives me that extra kick in the pants that I need to get my buttocks in gear. Yes, I said buttocks. So sue me. :P

How do you guys feel about deadlines? Do you set your own and how has that worked for you? :D