Friday, November 15, 2013

Anti-Collaboration and a Mess of Epiphanies

So I'm guessing no one cares to ask me anything, or at least, come forward and ask.  That's alright anyway, I'm extremely shy and very protective of my work.  However, I'm ready to begin coming out of my shell. 

It is bugging me that I still have so far to go in my writing journey.  I just sat reading a book written by John Flanagan (The Brotherband Chronicles, book 2: The Invaders), and then I took a break and read some of my short stories.  This included one that was written when I was in a very different place in my life.  I read two or three of them, all the time amazed that not only had I written them, but that I was enjoying them just as thoroughly as when I was reading John Flanagan's words.

Why am I not published yet?  Fear.  That's my answer to myself, and I know it to be true.  I also know that I am now angry at that answer.  I can do this.  I can write, and I've been given a gift to write.  Why am I not sharing it with the world?

I sit and watch Lindsey Stirling, the Piano Guys, Alex Boye, Pentatonix, those harp-playing twins, and all of these gifted people on youtube sharing their talents, their lives, and their happiness at having found their joy and their purpose in life, and I'm jealous.  I'm actually jealous!

I want that!  How come I can't have that?  Fear.  It's not to say that these people never felt that fear.  They most likely did, every one of them.  The difference, though, between them and me: they overcame that fear and put it out there anyway.

It's that saying that comes back to me: the worst they could say is "no."  The worst that anyone can tell me is that they don't like my writing.  Is that really so terrible?  Not really.  You can't please everyone, so you know someone is not going to like what you do. 

Just yesterday, I was listening to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on CD as I made my way home from work.  The article about Hagrid's half-giant status had just come out in the paper and Hagrid wanted to resign his post as Care of Magical Creatures teacher.  Dumbledore, ever the wise wizard, said, "Honestly, if you're holding out for  approval, I believe you will be in this cabin for a very long time."

I already know that people aren't going to like it.  However, that doesn't mean there won't be any who do like it.  Even more, there's a chance that people will love it!  So why not take the leap and see if I fly or if I fall? 

So now I just need to finish this book.  There's a simple statement that has a whole lot more weight than you could imagine.

It's all in my head.  I'm halfway there, I just need to keep trekking, or as Dori from Finding Nemo says, "Keep swimming, just keep swimming."

I have short stories that I can try and publish in the meantime.  They may not get me much money, but they might open that door a crack and allow people to see that I'm about to unleash the hounds.

And yes, I have been writing lately.  It's coming along.  I would say it is coming along well, but first drafts never seem to want to come as easily as you think they will.  That is why editing is wonderful, and should never be forgotten.

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.  ~Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Presenting the Q&A

There's nothing like the internal struggle of creativity, real life, and being physically and emotionally exhausted to put everything into perspective for you.  The perspective being that if you don't fight through it and do it anyway, despite all the issues, it won't get done.  And no one can do it for you.

So I'm listening to some Lindsey Stirling tunes, some Piano Guy tunes, and some other random tunes to inspire my mind so that before the evening is over and bed begins to call, there is an ample amount of words added to the existing in-the-works manuscript for my book.

I've often thought of revealing what it is I'm writing here because, see, it's easier to relate if you know more details.  However, I also learned early on that revealing too much also seems to give people the notion that it's okay to share or inevitably take and do with what they will.  It's a risky and sometimes crazy catwalk that authors tend to walk in sharing enough without giving too much.

Now I know that in all honesty, who cares about what I'm writing?  I'm not even published yet so is there any hype to my upcoming work going out to the masses?  No, but that doesn't make me any less protective of my work.

Not after first grade when my best friend at the time stole all my homework out of my folder when I was in my reading group and attempted to pass it off as her own.  What a surprise it was to come back to my desk and find all of my homework magically incomplete and unfinished!  Now how did that happen?

Then, of course,  the one incident where someone took my writing and passed it off as their own.  These occurrences both took place in elementary school, hardly a place that matters once you move on in life, but it was enough to teach me that giving out too much before its time is not a recommended thing.  Even more, leaving it out there also isn't a good idea.

It's something that I appreciate learning early on, so hopefully I don't make the mistakes that Stephanie Meyer made with her Twilight series, or any other author whose work was stolen and passed off as another's.  It's difficult to undo something like that once it's done.  So why take the chance?

At the end of the day, and at the end of all this rambling, I still want to share something with you.  But I'll leave it to you, all of you who are reading my blog, because I know I have readers.  I know because blogger rocks and tells me how many people look at my entries.  I even know your blood types, muahahaha!  Okay, not really, but it does tell me when people read my page and about how many of you do.

So I know you're out there.  Do you want to know anything?  Please ask, because it might help me share more with you about what I am doing. I'll start.

What genre are you writing?  I'm writing a science fiction series, with a basis in reality.  This means it's not fantastical science fiction.

A series?  Yes, it is going to be three novels long. 

Is there a name for the book or series yet?  There is a name for the first book and the series, but the other two books have yet to be named.  No, I don't feel like sharing quite yet, but I lovingly refer to it as "E" when my husband and I talk about it.  And yes, that is the first letter of the entire title.

How long are the books going to be?  It's too early to tell, but I believe a modest 300-400 pages is expected, at least for the first book.

So now I leave it to you, do you have any questions about the book?  If you are wondering where I got the idea for the novel, I'll remind you that I spoke about it in the previous entry, The DinerI had a very vivid dream and woke up and couldn't shake it from my mind.

The dream itself has nothing to do with the story, but it inspired me to think about the dream and how it made me feel, and the "What ifs"  started to whirl around in my head and suddenly, I had a story that over time has continued to evolve into what is now going to be an amazing series.  Or at least it better be.  I'm not putting out all this blood, sweat, and tears for nothing you know.

Go ahead, ask questions.  It's no fun if I'm only sitting here talking to myself anyway.  I can get rather annoying.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Diner

So I re-wrote a publishable version of The Diner on Monday.  It's a short story based on a dream I had about a year or so ago.

You know, I always think of my creative writing classes that I took back in 2008 at California State University- Northridge.  I had a wonderful teacher that taught me to look at my writing from outside any and all parameters that I was used to.  It unlocked my mind and really turned me on my head when it came to writing, which, she said, was what her goal was.  To this day, I crave her crazy writing prompts, as they forced my mind to open old, lost doors and create all new ones.

One other thing that she taught her class was to never write dream sequences; to never write anything that came from a dream or resembled a dream because they never worked and were never conveyed properly.  They were always filler and never accomplished anything amazing. 

There is one of many things I've learned in life (not just in writing):  Don't always listen to your teachers. 

*gasp* Did I actually just say that?  Don't listen to the teacher?  Isn't that wrong?  Well, no. 

In my writing, I choose to utilize my dreams as inspiration, sometimes making it part of my stories because, well, that's where they came from.  Now, all of my stories change over time and by the final product, there is no true element of a dream sequence in them.  So technically, I'm following part of her advice.  However, that's how they begin.  And I'm not ashamed to keep it there until I'm ready to let it go, if I feel it's important to let go.

I feel, for me, that the best stories feel like dreams, though they aren't openly mentioned.  That's how I received my inspiration, so that's how I feel the delivery of the story should be.

If it doesn't work, I pray someone will tell me so that I can fix it, but until that day, I have found that sometimes what works for some people, particularly in creative fields, doesn't necessarily work for others.

This works for me. 

Almost every one of my greatest stories is based on a dream I've had at some point in my life.  My dreams are so vivid and so free of my own stresses and self-defeatings that my best ideas come from my subconscious.  I can't not write about them.

My current novel ultimately stems from a dream I had back in 2010 in which I explored galaxies and saw the birth of stars and planets and all manner of beauties that still make my gut tighten in that glorified terror of witnessing something that no one else will encounter unless I write about it.  Once I finish it, I'll give you more details. 

Until then, I figured I should leave you with a little something, so here are the first three paragraphs of The Diner:


             

              The diner was quite welcoming in its own way.  The linoleum was years old and well worn, the lighting was yellow and old-fashioned, but the air was warm and smelled of fresh baked bread and pie, the booths were comfortable without the plastic crinkle sound you usually heard, and the menus were those red plastic covered bi-folds that reminded me of the first time I ever recalled going out to a restaurant with my family. 
               All those years ago and all I could recall about the experience was the comfort, the peace, and looking at the plastic covered bi-fold menus while my feet swung back and forth, dangling from the booth.
               Something felt so familiar about this place, though I knew I had never been here before.  This was just a stop off to my final destination.  It takes a long time to travel across country, let alone the journey I was making today. 


I wish I could leave you with more, but I feel that my bed is calling me.  That, and I want to bask in a little more of The Piano Guys before bed.  I went to their concert tonight.  It was fabulous, and I cannot wait to go to another and bring my girls.  Seriously, if you don't know them, go find them on youtube.com.  They are so inspiring to me.

That's two things I can check off my bucket list: riding a camel and going to see The Piano Guys in concert.