Writers Unite!

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Passionate writer and avid reader. I am writing my first Young Adult novel and working to get it published.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Showing the "Goods"

I have had news stories published and I have had no problem reading those to people, but for some reason my creative writing has been a different matter. For the longest time I couldn’t work up the courage to show someone else my work. I kept thinking that if I show someone my work and they start suggesting things then it will no longer be completely mine. Now I know that’s not necessarily true.

I must have written at least three drafts before showing my book to anyone. I was really nervous and it was scary when I finally decided to share it. I thought I was going to have a heart attack waiting for him to finish it, so he could give me feedback. My dad was the first person I ever let read my work. I know what you are thinking that my dad couldn’t possibly give me an honest answer, right? Well you wouldn’t be saying that if you knew my dad. I am writing something that isn’t his cup of tea, but he is actually reading it. He now sends me texts asking for the next chapter.

My sister is the second person I sent my book to. She is my best friend and she knows everything about me, so I was more afraid to send it to her than my dad. She brought to light some of the boring things that I didn’t think about for instance, she told me my character needs to eat. She also told me I need to work on my description because she wants to visualize my characters. I’ve spent so much time making the dialogue work that my description has fallen to the background.

So the point of today’s lesson is that sharing your work is scary, but it is also necessary. You want to get someone else’s point of view before sending it to an agent. That way you know if your book is worth sending. Of course whoever you send it to you want to make sure they are honest about your work otherwise they are not helping you. Who do you share your work with?

Some people you can send it to:
Family
Friends
Teacher
Writing group

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

All the voices in my head

This post is going to be a little short tonight because I am hoping to get another chapter finished before I have to call it a night. This post is going to be about the characters that live inside our heads.

Every good writer knows what it’s like to have many personalities speaking to you at all times. Writing a book in a way can be like having schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. You have imaginary people talking to you and chances are you are talking back to them. It sounds crazy, right?

I remember reading an author’s interview and she was talking about how the characters need to speak to you. They tell their own stories. I never fully understood what she was talking about until I had it happen to me. One night I was lying in bed and the hero in my story started talking to me. Most people would think this is a sign you are going crazy, but I was excited because I felt like I had overcome a stumbling block in my writing. My characters are taking on a life of their own. Now when I write a sentence I have someone in the back of my mind asking me, “are you sure I would say that?”  Has anyone else had this same epiphany?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reading while writing

Reading growing up for me was a way to escape the stress and hassles of the real world. I can think my life is bad, but whenever I open a book and read about someone else’s problems, made up or not, helps me realize my day isn’t so bad after all. For instance I don’t have “He who shall not be named” trying to kill me.

Writing and reading go hand in hand. I am an avid reader. I read all kinds of stories, from classics to contemporary in different genres. But I mostly enjoy reading books in the genre I want to become involved in. Some people may feel reading in your genre while working on a novel can influence your work. I agree it can influence your work, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

My journalism degree has taught me that research is imperative to writing any great story. Reading other stories in my genre is research to me. It lets me know what already exists and how I can make my ideas more unique. I can dissect a favorite book and figure out why I like it so much. It helps me see where the plot is going and how the author has kept my attention throughout the entire book. Without this how do I know I am not creating a story that already exists?

If reading while writing starts to drown out your own voice or make you doubt your writing will ever be good enough, that is when you need to put the book down and take a deep breath. Then remember that this book was not created overnight. You are only looking at the finished version of a book that was edited many times by many people. You don’t know what the original looked like and you can’t know how your work truly compares to theirs. You must always have faith in yourself. It is okay to enjoy and admire a good book, just don’t let yourself get lost in the process of reading it.

About this writer

The one thing I was always sure about growing up was that I would be a writer. I didn’t know what kind of writer I wanted to be. I just knew I loved to write. The road to discovering my writing preference feels like a long one, but when I finally decided to take a breath and ask myself what I want out of life the answer was simple. I want to write my own story.

When I was little I used to make up stories all the time with my friends, but I didn’t discover my passion for creative writing until my Fifth grade teacher had us write the ending to a mystery story she had read to us one day. She encouraged us to embrace our creativity and I did. I would look forward to her writing assignments because I knew I would be able to write whatever I wanted.

In high school I began writing for myself. I would write poetry all the time. I began writing my first book at that time too, but I never finished it. Probably a good thing because since then I have been rewriting and expanding on the idea I started with. I feel like this version is the best one I’ve created so far, but more on that later.

I was going to be a creative writing major in college, but my advisor talked me out of it. She said a journalism degree would better prepare me for the workforce, which it did. During my college years I wrote for the student newspaper and realized I really do not like newspaper writing. I had an internship for a local magazine and while it was better than newspaper writing, it still was not what I wanted.

I graduated with my degree in journalism and I had a job as a part-time reporter and I hated it. I am very thankful to the people who hired me and gave me the opportunity to write professionally, but it just wasn’t for me. During all these years I would always write for me. Writing for myself kept me sane when everything else was a mess in my life.

I had a short job as a copywriter. While I was writing everyday I dreaded sitting at the computer for eight hours a day writing about subjects that were quite honestly, very boring.

It took me losing that job to realize I was going down the wrong path. I was living a life I felt like I was supposed to live. I wanted a good paying job, but I wasn’t happy. I was unemployed for a month and during that time I decided I was going to write my first novel. I would work hard everyday and I would try to get it published. It is the path I wanted to be on in the beginning; it just took me a little time to get there. After failing at the things that make me unhappy it is time to try something that makes me happy. Even if I fail at this, I admit I won’t be happy about it, but I will be able to say that I tried and to me that can be everything.

First time

So this is the first post in my new blog. I think the best way to start this out is by explaining what I hope to accomplish through this blog.

I am writing my first novel. My passion is writing and my dream is to write my novel and get it published. Of, course the first stepping stone in this scenario is writing it all down. I am hoping this blog will keep me on track and force me to write every day. I plan on blogging about all of my challenges I come across and random thoughts that run through my mind. I encourage others to respond to these posts with their own problems that they have run into/random thoughts too. Maybe we can all conquer the writing world together.