Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blog Chain Wrap Up

Well kiddies, we had an awesome chain full of some really good writerly gems. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every post.

I was going to post a little bit of what everyone did, but since the posts consisted of quotes, stories and youtube videos, it is a little hard to summarize. However, I highly HIGHLY suggest going through the chain (members listed to the left under Blog Chain) and reading each and every post. There were some amazingly wonderful, inspiring, and downright funny quotes, some hilarious stories and some that were just so true (and you don't even have to be a writer to appreciate it). We also had some truly fun and fabulous videos and sparkling gems of advice that were just a joy to experience.

Thanks everyone for your awesome posts! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hazards of Moving continued

Hazard of Moving #4: Unpacking computer stuff. Guess how much time I've spent unpacking and how much time I've spent goofing off on the computer, catching up on forums and IMing my friends.........................................

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Love Your Blog

The very sweet and much too kind Kate awarded me with the incredible I Love Your Blog award. I am speechless with joy and gratitude. I, speechless?! A certain territory far to the south of Heaven must have frozen over for sure! Since I cannot adequately express how absolutely thrilled, stunned, and overjoyed I am to have received this award, I'll let one of my favorite animal pictures say it all.....

Thank you so much Kate. I will endeavor to deserve such an awesome nomination. And for my part, I'd like to nominate the following fantabulous bloggers...

Carolyn over at Archetpye Writing - a more intelligent, awesome, generous, wonderful person you could never hope to meet. She is awesomeness with a cherry on top.

Cole Gibson at Hair Dye & Samurai - a sweet, funny, very talented writer who just nabbed an awesome agent. Her blog is a must visit!

Carrie Harris at The Wonder that is My Blog - her witty and hilarious posts have me rolling on the ground every time I visit her site. From Batman's eyebrows to everything snaralicious, her blog is one of the highlights of my day!

Terri Rainer at Terri Rainer Published Author - a new friend of mine that is truly my long lost twin. Terri is an expert on all things ghostly and an awesome writer to boot! I highly recommend stopping by her blog!

And last, but most definitely not least, our dear Abi at Blogging Experiments - the gorgeous and simply fabulous Abi has a site full of awesome posts and fun writerly games and exercises. It would be a crime to miss her fantastic blog!

I wish I could post a few more, but the rules say to pass it on to five fellow bloggers, so my friends, congratulations - I love ya!!!

For more terrific sites, check out my links on the side - every one is a must see!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blog Chain - Writerly Gems...Share the Wealth

All right all…time again for the Blog Chain Gang. Our awesome Carolyn started and wrapped up the last chain, so head over there if you misssed it. This time (let me apologize in advance) it is my turn to pick the topic.

You know, when I am having a bad rejection streak, suffering from the ever-lurking writer’s block, or maybe just having a general bad day, I love to log onto RallyStorm or crack open one of my “writer” books and read the funny stories and quotes from other writers who have been, or are, exactly where I am. It is heartening to know that there are others like me in the world, and reading their often humorous words of wisdom always brightens my day.

I did actually have several other topics in mind, that were a little more deep, required a bit more thought….but I am at the tail end of a move, I’m sick, and the holidays are coming up – in other words…I am a tad on the stressed side. I want something fun :D Soooo, here is the topic….

Share a favorite poem, quote, joke, anecdote, or anything of the sort that deals with writing, writers, the publishing industry, or the other strange and unusual tidbits that belong to our little world.

Share one, share ten, whatever is your pleasure. Discuss them if you like, or simply post them. There are so many wonderful, funny, inspiring, encouraging, truthful and/or cheering little gems out there (many of which have been posted in previous chains), that I can’t wait to see what people come up with. It can be something as simple as Red Smith’s “Writing is easy. All you do is sit down at a [computer] and open a vein.” Or maybe a quick and funny line of advice like Mark Twain’s “When you catch an adjective, kill it.” Or maybe a funny picture like:

Or, as we querying writers are constantly checking our email....

This little blurb is a list of writing rules that are presented by example (and they always make me laugh) :D This is from William Safire’s “Fumblerules” – Mistakes That Call Attention to the Rule:

Avoid run-on sentences that are hard to read.
No sentence fragments.
It behooves us to avoid archaisms.
Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.
Don’t use no double negatives.
If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, “Resist hyperbole.”
Avoid commas, that are not necessary.
Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Writing carefully, dangling participles should not be used.
Kill all exclamation points!!!
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
Take the bull by the hand and don’t mix metaphors.
Don’t verb nouns.
Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
Last but not least, avoid clich├ęs like the plague.

And finally, I took a poetry class in grad school and came across this poem from Anne Bradstreet while writing a paper on heroic couplets. It is hilarious, very true, and I loved reading something that was written 400 years ago that is as true now as it was then.

The Author To Her Book

Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did'st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad exposed to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th' press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
The visage was so irksome in my sight,
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I washed thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run'st more hobbling than is meet.
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i' th' house I find.
In this array, 'mongst vulgars may'st thou roam.
In critic's hands, beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none;
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.

Sandra is up next in the chain, so everyone head to her blog!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Hazards of Moving

Ahh, there are so many, to be sure, but for a writer, I think we have a few extra.

Hazard of Moving #1: I can't write. Now, I really didn't think this would be a problem. I thought a few days of not writing would be a nice little break. But I am now moving into week two, I am STILL unpacking, I've got story ideas flying through my head, and I can't write any of them down because the evil unpacked boxes are staring me down (and yes, Elana - they really are!!!) :D

Hazard of Moving #2: I can't read. My books are packed. And then I'm too busy unpacking everything else to sit down and enjoy. And then, once I started unpacking, I realized I'm missing a few. Now, I know they are around somewhere (one of the evil boxes is hiding them, I know it!) but as silly as this sounds, it really distresses me when one of my babies is missing and I can't find it. Which brings me to...

Hazard of Moving #3: Unpacking said books. I've read them all, mostly. That is why I have them. I love them. I want to read them again. And the ones I haven't read yet are just crying out for me to take a gander. Which is why it takes me a whole day (at least) to unpack my books. Because I just can't help thumbing through them a few times...and reading a few pages here and there...then realizing it's been half an hour and I've only unpacked 2 books so I put that one on the shelf and pick up another one and...well, I just had to make sure all the pages were still there, right? And I won't get into all the organizing involved in unpacking the books. After all, they must be dusted (and yes I did this before packing them, but still), sorted, alphabetized, sorted again, placed in the right bookcase on the right shelf (by the way, I need another bookcase...Mr. Elky has decided he is going to move downstairs to his man cave cause he doesn't want to sleep in a library anymore :D )

Well, there are many, many more hazards...but I've got to go unpack some more now...or I'll never be able to get back to my writer life. I miss my storyworlds - and the voices are getting rather, I'm off to tackle the evil boxes!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Creative Side of Angst

Once again time for the blog chain, and this round the chain was started by our resident uber-genius and all around wonderful gal, Archetype. The question she wants answered is:

Some people argue that creative people need “angst” to produce good work. Do you? What emotions drive you as a writer?

Do I think creative people need angst? …. No. Do I think many creative people have angst (at least more than the average person)? ….. Yes. Do I need angst? …. I have no idea.

Archy defined angst for us as “A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression…[and]…going through deep emotional and possibly physical pain .” For you visual folk, this is how I see it:


No Angst:

I do tend to be more inspired by angst. Depression and sadness seem to draw the creativity out of me more than other emotions. (What this says about me I really don’t want to know…I try to stay away from Archy’s couch as much as possible) :D The good news is, I don’t necessarily need the angst to be my own. I get very inspired by other people’s angst as well, like a really good, angsty song or movie. I guess I’d have to say, no, I don’t think creative people have to have angst in order to produce good work. But, I do think it helps.

Robert Penn Warren said:

The writer’s fundamental attempt is to understand the meaning of his own experiences. If he can’t break through those issues that concern him deeply, he’s not going to be very good.

I think this is what I use in my work. I wouldn’t describe it as “angst,” but I do dissect my experiences in order to serve up the most intense parts of them. And the more “angsty” emotions do tend to be the strongest, the ones that stick with me the most. For example, I was ecstatic at my wedding. It was a wonderful day. And then when my son was born, the love and joy I felt looking into his newborn eyes was beyond description. But the experiences that are the easiest to delve into now, are the depressing ones, the sad, heartbreaking, emotional ones. I have a hard time feeling that exact euphoria I felt at the best moments of my life. But I can feel the pain and anguish and rage and heat and desire and all consuming love that I felt at the worst or most intense moments in my life at a moment’s notice – I just have to dip into the right memory.

What I truly think you need to produce good work is emotion. Any kind of emotion. Not angst, necessarily. But raw, unfiltered emotion.

Edna Ferber said:

I think that to write well and convincingly, one must be somewhat poisoned by emotion. Dislike, displeasure, resentment, fault-finding, imagination, passionate remonstrance, a sense of injustice – they all make fine fuel.

Notice that these are almost all “negative” emotions. I just think negative emotions are easier to tap into – and they are probably easier to relate to as well. Not everyone has felt that rush you get when you first fall in love. But everyone, at some point in their life, has been sad or hurt or scared. There is a line in Pretty Woman that I have always thought was so true…when Vivian is asked why she doesn’t believe the compliments she gets, and she answers, “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”

I think this is true in a writer’s work as well. I think that goes along with the saying “Too good to be true.” The bad stuff is just easier to believe, to convey, to tap into. Do I think all creative people need to dress in black and sit around brooding with a shot glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other?…no! Of course not! In fact, my writer friends are some of the funniest, happiest people I know. But I do think a writer or artist has to have some kind of emotional background to draw from.

Archy also asked “What emotions drive you as a writer?” This one is easy….all of them. If you read a scene in one of my books that is particularly depressing – well, I was probably feeling depressed that day. Or I heard a song that made me think of that one time where I was horribly hurt or heart broken and Ta-Da!!! Someone in my book is going to get shot (just kidding…well, sort of). And if you read an especially funny scene, I was probably in a really good mood that day. Can I write a funny scene if I’m mad or depressed? – yes. But I guarantee you it will be funnier if I was in a good mood when I wrote it. Same with the opposite end of the spectrum. I can write a fairly convincing tear-jerker no matter what kind of mood I’m in – but it really helps if I’m bummed when my fingers hit the keys.

I probably didn’t answer the question at all, but, you’ve gotten a further glimpse into my confused and jarbled mind :D I am sure Sandra will do a much better job so head on over to her blog to see her take on the whole angst-laden creative person issue.