Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year, New Ideas

So tomorrow is New Year's Eve in my part of the world (Sunshine State and Lightning Capital of the World, funny right?). Lots of exciting stuff has happened this year, one of the most exciting still hanging over my head with an ominous e-mail of epic doom yet to come. Not telling what exactly that is until it happens, though, so let's hope it's soon! I've also been thinking that since starting this little blog, I've actually enjoyed using it. It's one of the few new things I've started that's actually stuck. And I've found some really good places and even better writing advice through it (here's looking at Nathan Bransford, My Inner Fairy, My Writing Masquerade, So close, but..., Damsel in a Dirty Dress, Pimp My Novel, You're Write. Except When You're Rong., and above all Writer Beware!).

Just to mix things up, I decided to add some new features to the blog. Since I don't have nearly as many classes next semester, I'll actually have more time to accomplish them too! The first is, in my quest to read more, I decided to review a book every other week. So every other Friday/Saturday I will have a book read and a review written up about it. So, any suggestions would be appreciated! My interests lie in anything medieval, historic, fantasy, and with a strong romance. Expect to see those predominantly. I am willing to branch out with a good recommendation, however.

The second feature I'm thinking about will be in an endeavor to sustain my sign language skills. By now, I'll be expected to interpret various things for school. Anything from medical appointments to every day conversation. So, has anyone ever been curious about how to say something in American Sign Language? I'm not talking single vocabulary, I'm talking entire sentences with grammar and everything. I'm in no way an expert (I'm not Deaf), but this is what I'm going to school for, and I know people I can consult to make sure the interpretation is valid. So, if anyone has a chunk of text they want translated into ASL, please post it in the comment section of this post or send it in to cheesysigning @ gmail.com . The weeks I'm not doing the book reviews, I'll post up a video of your interpretation on the same day for your education and enjoyment. :)

So, if either of these interests you, please leave a comment or send in an email. I look forward to hearing from you and wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ardent About Angst

On a first note, Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays, all that jazz. The gifts are mailed from Amazon with expidited shipping (costing a bundle by the way, the price of procrastination), now last minute wrapping must commense! Thanks for all the comments on my little dancing tale, I'll be sure to post at least one picture of my gussied up self when I can figure out how to get them on here. I lack a camera, just a cell phone and a webcam, and the cord to one is lost while the other has horrid quality. But before I get to that, I am happy to report I was able to write 1000 words, the longest session throughout this season I've done yet. And the driving force behind this spur of the moment inspiration? Character angst!

I've noticed in the past, that a lot of enjoyment in my writing comes from the really emotional scenes my characters are going through. It's when the description is most enjoyable, when they're at their most fascinating. Strong happy emotions are fine and dandy, but the juices flow best when there's a big conflict that makes the tear jerking rage really show. I do a consistent first person point of view usually, too, so it's all the more vivid. Those section are the most fun to read back no matter how many times I go over them.

My only conclusion to this seems to be that I delight in character torture. As a reader, that's the thing that keeps the pages turning for me, that hope for a resolution to those hard feelings. I'm the type who craves a happy ending after some really hard conflicts, or at least a meaningful tragic ending. Logic dictates that if I want to write what I like to read, my characters are going to see a lot of hell before they see any happy. A writing book I actually read called Thanks, But This Isn't For Us by Jessica Page Morrell had a chapter all about building suspense, page turning experience, etc. and the core rule of it was to just say no to your characters. That was the key of the entire thing. I equate that with character torture, and I've got to say, sometimes it is delightful.

What's your take on this? Do you like torturing your characters, telling them no constantly? Do you like that as a reader? Is there such a thing as too much angst for a character? I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting Girly...

The holidays are upon us! For my family, it's Christmas in particular. Christmas, for me, and the entire month of December, means no homework, plenty of family, and lavishing my attention on friends! This past Wednesday, I had the most glamorous experience I have had since my dad's wedding. I got all decked out in a new black flapper dress with leggings and character shoes. I spent half-and-hour on a really high ponytail that made my scalp ache, gussied up my face until I finally decided on about a pound of purple eye-liner (left my good makeup at school), and I plucked my eyebrows for the first time in my life. It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought and they turned out great! Don't worry males, the neutral part is coming up, I promise.

So, after all this, it was out to dancing! Swing dancing to be exact. It's an amazing form of ballroom that usually goes with music from the 40s-50s era, but it can go with any kind of 4/4 count music. The crowd is older than me, I'll admit, but man can some of those guys dance. And there's no romantic pressure whatsoever, I highly recommend looking up a local club for it. But, moving on. Me and three of my closest friends had a lot of fun, met a lot of cool people from around the area, and went through near five whole gallons of water between the four of us. After that, well we were hungry, believe it or not. So we walk out of the swing club and wander around a bit with the 40 degree weather (it's Florida, that's really cold), and low and behold we come across this really fancy, hole in the wall, gourmet French restaurant, right as it was closing! Turns out, the owner of the place was the only guy there and he was our waiter. We were the only people in the place, so not only was our service quick, we also got spoiled and free coupons on the meal! Since the bill was split four ways, we really got a bargain on such wonderful food. Even the glazed cabbage was delicious!

So, that amazing experience was probably the best thing that's happened to me during this Winter Break. My writing progress has been...lackluster. Too much going on, too many things making me blocked. That's no excuse, of course. I've gotten 700 words in one session, that's my record so far this month. I'm hoping for more successful sessions in the coming days now that I've gotten all my Christmas shopping done. For now, I hope you enjoyed the light hearted post and you're having some great experiences of your own this joyful season! Feel free to share in the comments. I've love to hear about them. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Limits of "Looked"

I've taken time today to start editing my Nanowrimo from last year, the sequel to Faerie Games, and I noticed there's one word that keeps popping up in my first person style. "Looked" has become the bane of my existence within the first chapter. That's a word with a lot of synonyms, too, but not all of them are appropriate. There's stared, glanced, gazed, peered, beheld, gawked, gaped, perused, examined, all kinds! And yet, I keep writing this one word, over and over again. It's useful to use a ton of synonyms for Finn, he's all old fashioned and fancy. Melissa is a modern girl with a gritty attitude, though and that kind of diction doesn't have that many variations of the word "looked" at its disposal.

This is going to be a very long book at this rate...close to 110,000 words so far. I have to whittle out all these little instances of look to make sure it doesn't get too repetitive, or is this word like "said" in that it just gets looked over? And there it is again! Then again, there are a lot of little words that get repeated a lot in the first draft. Grins, smiles, those are popular expressions for someone to give. There are just so many of these words that are so common! There can't be synonyms for all of them that are appropriate in every little circumstance.

Edits are frustrating no matter what stage of the process, or whatever the issue. This is, by far, my least favorite stage, perfecting the language till it shines. I would much rather change things like plot, characters: revisions! But edits are necessary and going through the manuscript with many fine-toothed combs makes it all sparkly, right? I'll make that sacrifice to get my writing top-notch.

That doesn't mean I have to enjoy doing it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Exciting Experiments!

Exams are upon me as are the last days of the semester! I couldn't be more thrilled. Finally I can get back to isolating myself with no looming concerns and write like crazy. I'm looking forward to winter break so much it's not even funny.

So, while Korean Pop music is blaring in my ears (it's what's inspiring me right now, I'm not questioning Brigid), I am presently working on a new project. And for those of you who read about the blog a book idea I ran across last week, you know I have decided to try this for fiction. I'll give you three chances to guess what those two have in common, and the first one doesn't count. That's right, I'm going to blog this new project as I progress on it.

The way I'm going to make it work is set up a different blog dedicated exclusively to this project, do a brief intro post to explain the premise, then post an entry every 500-700 words until the entire rough draft is posted. The theory is, by making a blog dedicated to this book and making it a read as I write it kind of thing, it should garner a readership by the time I'm ready to start querying, and thus better promote a writing routine for myself with that motivation. I hope the experiment will pay off and feel free to use this format or make your own improvements if you feel like trying it out.

The project is an urban fantasy where faeries are running loose right under the nose of modern America, and people are dying because of it. That's why the Fianna were made: groups of faerie attack survivors whose job is to hunt these creatures and stop them from striking again. Lucy Harper and her mother, Helen, sought asylum with the Fianna, and now fight these things under the leadership of Yoel Schwartz and his daughter Kaida. Unfortunately, when members of Yoel's group turn up dead, there is reason to think that something is hunting down the Harper family on in addition to the faerie that drove them to the Fianna in the first place. Now Lucy and Helen must find a way to catch both faeries chasing them down before they and their entire new home become the fae's newest victims.

If you're in any way interested, check it out! And if you still like it after that, tell your friends!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Notions

Sadly, I have fallen off Nanowrimo. I'm too behind and too busy with homework recently to finish the 50,000 word goal. However, I successfully got to 24,000, and I'm happy that I got such progress on a project I've been thinking about for so long. I am looking forward to finishing that project in the coming months, but I have other things that demand my attention a lot sooner. I wish everybody who's still participating the best of luck and blessing that they can get to that finish line. As for me, here's to next year!

Meanwhile, while researching some alternative self-promotion techniques, I ran across this blog where the author Nina Amir blogs about blogging a book...while she's in the process of doing that herself. While it took me awhile to wrap my mind around her approach to writing, I got curious about whether it could apply to fiction. I read through some of her posts, and it is definitely geared toward non-fiction works, however I saw a lot of sense in some of what she says.

So, here's my idea: take a novel you're working on, or want to work on, any one, and write it via blog. You could make an entirely new blog dedicated to the project and make your updates your word count for that day, or you could take one blog you're already managing and just do a post a week with an excerpt, any approach! Heck, sites like fanfiction.net and fictionpress.com function on this very principle and have a very loyal following. I, for one, am very excited about trying this idea. Sure it's going to be challenging posting a rough draft for the world to see, but I might get some good feedback and a readership in the process. I honestly have nothing to lose, either, so why not give it a shot?

Tell me, what do you think of this idea? You think you might undertake it yourself, or some kind of variation on it? If not, why? If so, why?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Keeping Commitment (Nano Day 21)

The Nano themed month continues. Unfortunately, my novel progress has come to a halt just short of the halfway point. I'm hoping going home and liberating myself in the warm embrace of turkey stuffing and pumpkin pie will help the creative juices start flowing as well as my anticipatory saliva glands. However, my biggest obstacle at the moment is coming from school. Despite the fact I've been keeping up with homework lately, the credit stacking I decided at the beginning of the semester is catching up with me near its end. Eighteen credits wasn't so bad with my classes at first, and even now I'm still finding time for sleep and a sparse social life. That's a good sign, I think. Next semester, though, I'm definitely keeping it light. Only three bulky classes and a pretty free schedule otherwise. Spring will be for finishing this rough draft the rest of the way!

This business leads me to the topic of today's post. This month, I'm sure people have been beating the subject of 'balancing life and writing' to death. I thought I'd try a different format if I can successfully figure out how to embed a video into this post. Wish me luck, and even better, watch if I'm successful!

video

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Suiyoubi Skies! (Nano Day 10)



For anyone who is confused about the Asian ring to the title, that is the Japanese word for Wednesday. I am putting Japanese words into my title because that is the only class I have today before I get to take off for the weekend! Cue celebratory trumpets, and scene finished.

That bit of good personal news aside, my Nanowrimo progress is 15,637 words (I can write that in Japanese too, but I'm not gonna because it's long as heck). I powered through the 5000 I needed to catch up on Monday night (or early Tuesday morning, take your pick) and got a little extra done yesterday. Now I just have to get through the daily word goal of 2000 today and I'm set. And better yet, I've only gotten blocked on the novel once so far.

Now, onto the writing portion of the post. Since my only post this month seems to be Nano themed, I've decided to make the entire month like that in this portion. Last week covered regular writing sessions, this week I'd like to talk about continuous writing within the session. If that is too vague, then I'll give the example of the marvelous program Write Or Die. For those of you who have used it, you know precisely what I'm talking about. If you have never used this program (please check it out), it works like this: you're given a blank screen where you do nothing but type. It can be an essay, a story, a novel, a blog rant, anything. As you type, if you find yourself getting tired or blocked and your fingers stop tapping at the keys. Your screen turns red, screeching violins (or crying babies, your pick) curdle your ears, and if this isn't enough to jar your fingers into action, the words on the page start to disappear one by one (not permanently, I assure you). The goal of this program? To keep your fingers clacking away, your word count going up, and your ideas free-flowing onto the page.

The idea is pretty clear in your heads now, so how about the process? It does have it's pros and cons, what doesn't? On the plus side: words come out, ideas come out, and it stirs the muse in some people because the muse isn't allowed to rest for two seconds. The minus side: the words aren't necessarily going to be good, neither are the ideas, and it can be rather stressing if someone prefers to process everything so they can get a better handle of what goes into their computers/notebook.

My thoughts are that the technique certainly isn't for everyone, but it's really helpful. For me, half the battle is getting words on the page to begin with, getting a workable base prepared for fierce cutting and revision later on. If I have something, anything to work with, I'm good. This system helps leave more time to conquer the hated editing stages, as well. However, one of my favorite authors is one of those who works gradually on her MS and stops to revise as she goes. The draft process takes longer, however the finished product is downright shiny and already nearly ready to send out.

So, now your turn to give your take on this, does the technique work for you? Are you a fan of the continuous stream of words or are you more the taking-your-time type? What works for you and what doesn't with this technique if you use it?

And on a little aside, thank you so much Summer Ross and Elliot Grace for your consistent comments, they mean a ton. Check out their blogs if you don't already, Summer's is both quirky and insightful while Elliot's is both eloquent and moving. (As for the infamous Aizen commenter, they already hear how awesome they are on a regular basis!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dozy Day 2

It is now day two of Nanowrimo...I am happily trekking forward with a cushy 500+ word buffer at where I'm supposed to be. I have to say, doing an attempt at historical accuracy in a historic fantasy is wearing on the eyes as far as research goes. So many little details to get straightened out! I've learned, even more, the power of a good Google search and the value of Wikipedia for casual research in these past writing sessions.

I also stayed up with a buddy of mine last night (or should I say this morning) doing nothing but writing the novel, all while I am completely caught up with my homework at the moment for today. I even have time to patiently wait for my Glee to come on while typing this. I have to say, it's a good start to the month. Only down side? I'm tired as hell, hades, and all the other underworlds known to religious belief.

I think I'm re-learning a very good bit of technique in this whole marathoning process. I've heard it on other writer blogs, and I'm sure that the attitude of muses varies with their owners, but sitting down to work on this purposeful spewing out of a rough draft is actually making Brigid (my muse) very responsive. I've gone weeks with spuratic outpourings onto this rough draft or that rough draft once in a while when I have time, but making time for it is getting such good results! Experience is the best teacher it seems, am I right?

For those of you who are doing Nanowrimo, how are your month-long novels going this early in the game? Shaky or wildly successful? What about those of you who aren't doing Nano? What are your thoughts on sessioning your writing and how your work responds to it?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Faerie Games Teaser

Faerie Games

Melissa Danforth didn’t ask to win a trip to Ireland, she wanted a summer off school to work her butt off and recharge her bank account. Her first day on the island, and a curse attaches to a Ren Faire escapee claiming to be a faerie.

Finn of the Ivy was the most renowned womanizer in the Otherworld, and just getting to be respected for it. That is, until the High Queen banished to the human world for a crime he didn't commit.

Bottom line, they're stranded in a one-room walk-up together and want things back to normal. Normal means getting Finn home using a “key” to the Otherworld. Obstacles include: the only person who knows its location is in Ireland, Melissa's too broke to fly there, and an ancient enemy of the fae is on their tail.

With the race for the key in full swing, if Finn and Melissa’s newfound foes don’t finish them off, the pair might kill each other before they realize they don’t want things back to normal anymore.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Inspiration Instability

The only news I have to offer, regarding my life, is that classes have been heating up lately. That is the same old song and dance with school, so I suppose I don't have anything particularly exciting to report other than an influx cute guys coming to my attention. This, in itself, is a miracle! In all honesty, my corner of Florida is not the place to go for choice men, and odds are, if you see one, he is a tourist. I'm still trying to figure out how I should deliver an exerpt of Faerie Games (the back-of-book blurb from last week) to the blog, but I should have it up by the end of the week so whoever wants to can tell me their thoughts. But all that aside, on to the juicy stuff!

I thought I would talk about something that's been plaguing me lately regarding the tricky figure all artists come to love and hate: the muse. I know that's a generic term for inspiration, what makes our imaginations tick, but it is apt. Many authors go so far as to personify this, at times, mythical figure. I think, for novelty's sake, I'm going to do just that. Since I have a soft spot for Celtic Mythology (particularly in the Irish sector), I'm naming mine Brigid, after the Irish Goddess of fire, the forge, healing, and inspiration. She's quite the multi-faceted lady after all!

Going along with the multi-faceted nature of that figure, my mind is always revolving around a few particular projects I keep wanting to work on at various times. College has made my Brigid very fickle, because she keeps switching my focus between these multiple projects. On one hand, there is the Irish Faerie trilogy whose final installment I desperately need to iron out. On another hand, there is a thrilling idea for an open ended urban fantasy series I want to play with. And on a third hand, the looming month of November and NaNoWriMo is bringing up a historical fantasy I'm giddy to get to finally finish.

On one hand, I am happy that Brigid is churning out so many fun ideas. She used to go through outrageously long dry spells while I was between projects. However, I have trouble focusing as it is when I have the drive to write, but when it is being split into so many directions how in the world am I going to find time to finish anything?

Rest assured, the girl always comes through for me in the end, so I'm not worried on that front. However, I'm wondering how other aspiring/established authors manage this overflow of ideas. How do they focus and sort their attention? How do they keep the motivation to stick with one project without wandering away to the next shiny idea? I hear this is a frequent occurrence among writers, has it happened to any of you?

And on a completely different note, what is your attitude toward your muse? I would love to meet them if they've developed a monster personality of their own.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tumbling Tuesdays and New Novembers

Yep, my title probably doesn't sound like I'm trying anymore. I was trying to be more cute, however this time around because I've been tumbling over a very eventful weekend involving a trip to an amusement park, Busch Gardens, a trip to my second ever Rocky Horror Picture Show (first time I watched all the way through, definitely a fun time despite and probably because of the craziness), and finally the slew of last minute homework I had to complete upon arriving back home from this weekend. Believe you me, taking 18 credits of ASL translation and observation, writing fiction and nonstop poetry, and an Asian language is not as fun as it sounds when it builds up like that.

So finally Tuesday is the breather day of all this and I am ever so excited to remember that November is coming up! And if you don't know what that means for writers everywhere (and all those agents hiding in fear of their slush piles), it's NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Click the link if you're interested in the finer points, but basically you write a book in a month! I 'competed' last year and finished half of a sequel I was procrastinating for the longest time. This year, I'm planning on participating again and shell out the rough draft of either a project about a medieval British serf and his brush with Welsh faeries or the bizarre family of a Scottish Unseelie noble (this is the point where I slip into some Celtic mythology jargon and ramble on for another ten paragraphs).

On a side note, after my last post, I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback about the spur of the moment book jacket blurb, whether you commented or not. I'll put up a post, a link, or something having to do with the first chapter of that project in the near future, probably as soon as next week. I just have to figure out how I'm going to go about it first.

So, on the NaNo side of things, I'm still debating over which project I should do...any thoughts to those extremely vague premises for any faerie fantasy writers out there? For everyone else, what are your ideas for NaNo, if you're participating, eh? Tell me! I'm excited to know what's going on with you! :D


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sneaky Suggestions...

Well, still no word from that publisher. Apparently they have cons all through the beginning of October, but I'm still hoping! For now, however, I find it odd that I have a blog about writing and miscellaneous, but no actual writing of mine on here other than posts. Hence, I was wondering if anyone would actually read it if I posted the first chapter of one of my projects on here for free for all critique and/or your hopeful enjoyment.

The general back cover of this book would probably read something like this: Melissa goes about her busy life in comfortable frustration until she wins a trip to Ireland out of the blue and accidentally un-banishes a bonafide faerie. Finn, that very fae, has found himself taken away from his decadent Otherworld and stranded with a woman too prude for his liking. Unfortunately, getting Finn back home will take more money than Melissa has saved up. Their efforts at even finding the elusive way into the Otherworld, however, not only tangles them up in an emerging supernatural conspiracy, but tangles up their rocky relationship even worse.

How's it sound, eh splendid little band of people who actually read this blog? :)

I'm sure a poll would be much easier, however I have no idea how to use many of the features on this site. Leaving a yay or nay in the comments would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Enduring Endings

Well, for once I'm doing a post solely committed to plotting and craft. Or, that is the intention as I write this.

Lately I've been thinking over the first book I ever finished in seventh grade. It was supposed to be a trilogy with these hard hitting endings that would leave you wanting more through the use of...wait for it... (you have to pause for effect on this one)

Cliffhangers.

Normally I see these at the end of chapters and only occasionally at the end of books (and even then they're subtle like the promise between Eragon and Roran at the end of Christopher Palioni's Eldest). When I think of an ending, I think it can be ambiguous and even leave you with a lot of loose ends, like in a series. However, my philosophy on the subject is that an ending, regardless, should leave you feeling like something was accomplished.

In every series I've read, the ending of the book didn't necessarily tie up in a neat bow, but the meaty big plot of the story DID tie up. The same goes for every episode in a series I've seen unless it's those ominous 'two-part' stories. Even then those are technically one episode. When I personally read or write a book, I want to be filled, regardless of if it has sequels or not. The only way of bringing that feeling, in my opinion, is to give some kind of closure and not leave it off for the reader to be cursing the author until their next book comes out. I, at the very least, am eager enough because of all the loose ends.

What's your take on the whole subject? Do you like endings that leave you hanging in the thick of things or can you not stand them at all? What kind of endings do you usually give your projects in this case?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Diabolical Dole-Drums

Today's title will probably not match the theme of today's post. However, I'm doing a mostly stream of consciousness type of writing at the moment. there's nothing particular in mind I really want to write about, but a blog post should be made this week, regardless, so here it is!

First thing that comes to mind is music. That's been inspiring me a lot lately, actually. When I was in middle school and first dreaming of writing a book as most kids do at one stage in their life, I used to blare music in my room at the back of the house, usually something rockish like Evanescence before the departure of moody, and pace. As I paced the length of my hamper strewn all over the plastic faux tile, I'd get ideas. These ideas came in a rush of images, events, scenes at various points in the project I wanted to work on. The music could have been from Radio Disney and it would somehow prove as the soundtrack to an epic, anime-esque fight scene. So lately I feel like I'm subconsciously getting back to my roots because I've been doing this more often. I've even broken out the ancient MP3 player and boomed the old school Amy Lee through my ears.

This is probably because my latest project deals with a mesh of the four first characters I ever seriously stuck with. Two of them starred side by side in a still bustling text based RPG site that never seems to change no matter how much I go back. The other two were a father-daughter duo who starred as the villains in the first book I ever finished.

So somehow my muse has been pulling out Evanescence, tortured roleplaying rejects, and cliche fantasy types from the dredges of my wannabe gothic stereotype tween years, and combined all those into a seriously fun idea. Go figure how all this stuff seems to work out in the end.

Have any of your nostalgic ghosts of writing past been influencing your work lately? How so? C'mon, tell me about it, eh?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Precarious Platforming

The whole school thing is going well. I straightened out transportation issues with classes and all that for those who are even remotely interested in my modest University life. I went to my first club this semester, and it was even a creative writing club! I had a lot of fun editing the crap out of this a screenplay one of the other members brought. Everyone was talking about a zombie movie he had made in high school and I sat and listened quite intently. It was all very fun...

Only I barely spoke.

You see, I'm not the least outgoing person in the world. I talk to people I hardly know every day, start up conversations out of nowhere, and I have a decent group of friends I keep in touch with on a regular basis. I have some eccentricities, but then again so does everyone. I don't try hiding them. My mental picture of myself is still hesitant around new groups of people, however. And even worse, this odd viewpoint of mine makes it harder to interact with people and therefore build some sort of platform for myself like what was mentioned in Nathan Bradford's wonderful blog post today about the subject.

My question is, then, how do shy or hesitant authors build that platform if they naturally aren't as social as required to generate a decent word of mouth campaign for their book? Take me for instance, I have a blog, a Facebook, a Deviantart account, and even more recently a Twitter. I have a modest supply of interested folks, however it doesn't seem nearly enough to turn out anything of a profit.

Then again, am I thinking in the wrong terms? I've always heard that good writing sells itself, yet how do people hear about it unless they see it somewhere? The entire process just seems elusive to me no matter how many books I've encountered in the library by chance or heard about from a trusted friend.

Also, there's the entire precarious idea of sustaining a good image. So many things offend certain people and there is such a fine line between seeming egocentric and spreading buzz about your own work. Then again, I could also be worrying my pretty little head thinking about so many things before my work is even published.

What does anyone else think, hmm? This could apply to any self purported product, whether that be marketing for a business or even your presence at a job interview. Some tips would always be appreciated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fascinating Features of Feedback

I'm celebrating the fact I can sleep in tomorrow morning with a 7:25 AM class cancellation by doing a blog. What else can a girl under the drinking age do with no car on a Monday night?

The subject of this blog is feedback. But not just feedback, but how it seems to span past art and into interpreting.

I mused this during this poetry forms/workshop class I take on Monday nights. As the teacher went over the rules of workshopping to the class, I was struck with how similar it was to that 7:25 class where we do the same thing when translating between ASL and English.

The basic rules of a workshop are pretty simple: a group of writers get together, one of them reads their work, then shuts up while the rest of them proceed to give him/her their two cents worth. If you've ever been in a workshop of any kind, you know this can be one of the most humbling experiences in your writing process and one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal. For interpreting it's surprisingly the same way. One of the interpreters performs/recites their translation, then shuts up as the other interpreters give their constructive criticism on the various points of improvement.

I'm left wondering how something so seemingly formulaic can be so similar to something so creative. My theory is, it's because they both play with language for different purposes. Writing plays with language for the sake of art, while interpreting plays with it for the sake of communication. Both change tangible ideas into the most appropriate words to get an idea across. Both utilize chance moments of clarity and strokes of genius to convert words into something new.

Therefore, I've been humbled by God's particular workshopping process by the serendipity in which these two interests of mine have intersected to support each other in a most unlikely way. So different in purpose, yet so alike in technique. If I had the resources to delve into this further, I might just pursue that. But for now, you're suck with my impromptu musings.

What about you? Any experiences interpreting for someone, or even trying to communicate in another language? Has this had any effect on your writing? Do you see any similarities between the two I might have missed, or do you think my thoughts are unfounded?

Workshop this idea with me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Satisfaction? What Scandal!

Well, I'm actually timely with my next post unlike usual. And this week I am reporting on a very happy note as well! This is only being reinforced by the spazztastic Dance Dance Revolution Jpop blaring from my computer speakers at the moment. I just might play some after this...

Classes are going very well. I'm ahead in my sign language translation class and turned in my first short story project in my solitary fiction class. It was relief to write that amid the waves of poetry I've been immersed in this semester. I'm not a born poet, I understand this, and this is only making me have newfound respect for those who weave language in stanzas, not prose. Writing as also been going well. I got 1300 words in one session between the pathetic squeaks of my dorm's broken fire alarm system after close to a week of nothing. And speaking of writing...(what else would this blog be about?)

On to the main event!

After sending out a ton and a half of query emails to various agents and publishers, I actually got a positive response from one of the earlier small presses. Now, I am not sure about anything certain quite yet, but this is a nice bit of encouragement after a summer of standing in front of a giant screen at Taco Hell only to exchange that for a few hours worth of poetry reading each week (believe me, the latter is preferred).

So whilst I am inwardly celebrating this amazing blessing between trudging through university sidewalks in the Florida summer humidity, what good things have been happening to you this week? Type out some bright spots in your days of work, school, marriage, children, all of the above, what have you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Whimsical Whirlwinds...

Well, it's a new school year at the ever wonderful University of South Florida. I've been in classes for nearly two weeks now and everything's going great for once. I got a lot farther on a new project of mine, a hopefully serial series called THE FIANNA and on the third of the trilogy I'm working on FAERIE TREASURES. My sign classes are going well and I actually have two poetry/workshopping classes I'm taking at the moment. Hopefully my lyrical language will improve because of these...I was never really good at poetry stuff. Reading is one thing, but revising? Whole new ball of wax. As I type this I should be working on a piece for my Fiction class. The format for the story is fable or tall tale, what do you think?

Another thing I've been doing recently is trying my hand at sending out queries to a few more agents. I attempted identifying what genre my finished project fits into, and I'm trying my hand at submitting to people who like Paranormal Romances rather than Urban Fantasy. I might look into more small press publishers soon, but that's after homework is done. That aside though, all these various versions of query letter have gotten me in a big revising/editing mood. I have to say that's the most pain in the butt part of the entire writing process in my opinion. First drafts, they come pretty easy if you work at it, but making them sparkly is a whole other matter (if I were working with vampires that would be mildly funny).

Thus far, I've only gotten through the revising process once ever with FAERIE GAMES and now I'm working on the sequel, FAERIE TOYS, whose first draft has been sitting around for awhile and is in dire need of polishing. So I'm reading over the first few chapters, reliving those moments that I was so eager about in the planning stage, looking over the language that works, the dialogue that I still love writing between these characters.

The rest, was utter crap as only a NaNoWriMo novel brought to the garish light of day can produce. In so many places the emotions are too quick to change, the same expression is used over and over again, and for the love of God all the "til's"! I find myself wondering what I was thinking during these pages. Then I remember, 'Oh, I'm writing two more of these right now' and I have second thoughts about not Baker Acting myself.

What a fun whirlwind learning the ropes of writing is, eh?

P.S. I realize I am horrid with giving this blog any routine! I'll try doing at least a bi-weekly Friday thing, maybe earlier if I'm feeling ambitious.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Patience, Persistence, and How They Are Pains in the Ass

By nature, I am not a patient person. By far I long for the instant gratification that my generation has come to expect out of the world (or so experts say). I get excited about something and burn out quickly. I start things and leave them unfinished all the time. I can't keep up a stable routine or work ethic to save my life. I'm left wondering if this is a phase leftover from high school or an innate flaw in my personality.

I'm a firm believer that attitude is everything, so to overcome these tics, I've done my best to shift my outlook of the world. I rejoiced with every rejection letter I got from agents and publishers alike because it taught me patience and I was getting myself out there. Though a time finally came along where that kid inside me decided to tantrum and break down that hardy attitude for a few minutes.

Those few minutes were not fun, to say the least.

In the wake of this episode, I pondered the whys and ways I could fix it. Then it hit me why I was pursuing such early publishing of my MS so aggressively, why I locked myself in my room for a good sob to my best friend, and why my writing wasn't going anywhere lately.

Fear.

I found out I had a lot of that fear lately. I let it consume my attitude by making me feel like I had to compensate for my disappointment. I allowed that emotion to escalate and mix up my priorities something awful. It finally burst out and punched me in the face. I have to say, I'm glad it did because I've been living in it too long.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, from agents, writers and the whole shebang. The one bit of advice on all of them (and even on a comment on my last post, which I appreciated), was to write, write, write. My focus has shifted so much that I haven't been allowing myself to write. I haven't been allowing the gift God has given me to work when He knows very well I'm not ready for publishing yet.

So, my conclusion out of all this was pretty straight forward for once. I'm going to stop obsessing over 'making my own success' and let the Almighty guide my fingers in doing what I was meant to do: write.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Writing Woes

Doesn't every wannabe/newbie/existing author have these? This morning before I head off to work at the place of inspiration for one of my favorite characters, I did one of my impulsive research sessions where I wander the internet looking for potential publishers. Google is my personal favorite search engine, but in all these sessions I always learn new tidbits about the publishing industry itself, how to better my writing, etc. This particular one spawned one rather ominous conclusion...

I am a little fish and it is the big fish. The big fish wants to eat me and I have to swim my little tail off so it doesn't accomplish that goal.

That's probably exaggerating a tad, but that is supposed to be my job, right? Selling exaggerated lies that hide truth? Using this particular analogy is fitting though, because the little fish in this scenario is getting ready to leave the shelter of mommy fish. Mommy fish is big enough, but to come from that to the publishing fish? A big dream with staggering odds.

I admit, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm gradually learning bit by bit. The only conclusion I'm coming to in all this is to keep swimming against the giant publishing fish and have the patience to know it will eventually pay off when I'm a bigger fish that can hold my own.

Ironic part of all this is I really don't like fish...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Muses and Manuscripts

On a high note, it has been a few months since my last post and my life has been looking up immensely. I have been spending all my time at work, school, or my two homes (the second home being that of my best friend and Ideal Reader). Thank you for those of you who commented on the last post. The encouragement was appreciated.

I ended up returning to my high school job and my hours have been looking up. Finances is still an issue, yet God has provided and I know he will continue to provide. The summer semester is going well, lots of signing. My writing has been going great, and I even finished a first draft of a project just recently. Even better, however, is that I have sent out my current manuscript to many smaller press publishers and one has shown an encouraging response.

This sudden spike in my writing has unfortunately left me at a loss of what next to apply my efforts to. There is always room to edit old projects and I still have many to choose from if I want something new. My muse simply refuses to tell me which to work on. I have done everything I can to try and prod it into acting up, but fickle as usual, it decides to stay obstinate. With my usual methods not working, I'm led to wonder what exactly it takes to stir a muse or creative impulse into jumping on command. An author I have been following recently on Facebook said that the muse always favors a working writer. Perhaps all I need to establish is a few hours a day dedicated to spitting out pages or set a goal of a certain amount of words. How do other writers make the creative juices flow?

It does help to have my favorite person back in my life. She is doing wonders for my stifled creativity, and ambition for that matter. I have known this girl since we were ten years old and we are still thick as thieves. She has always provided the best balance of confidence and critique on both my work and my life. I could go on about this for pages and pages, but the point is that having a real life muse always helps my writing immensely. Having someone to always rely on for honest feedback is the biggest asset, I think, to professional and budding writers alike. That person may be an editor, an agent, or a best friend, yet they're always needed for success.

So, instead of consulting my inner muse for ideas, perhaps I should consult my outside muse instead. Maybe, on the off chance the inner muse gets jealous, the conversation will spur some ideas.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Of Faith, Finals, and Finances...

Even now I am waiting for the email from a literary agency saying yay or nay to whether they'll represent the manuscript portion I sent in for Faerie Games. Even now I am, literally, biting my nails (a very old bad habit) because of the wait. Even now I am asking God in my personal prayers, why all the waiting?

On top of wondering if the manuscript will get published, I have finals coming up in subjects I sorely want to excel in. Trouble is there is a little thing called "work ethic" I need to master. Consistently doing homework on time while turning it in on time would be a lovely quick fix habit to be granted.

And finally, the universal problem of Americans in this day in age: finances. After all, college is expensive. The next year is covered, but what then? I hardly qualify for anything need based and is there anything academic that's even being offered anymore? I'm looking for jobs, applying to all kinds and asking around. No one seems to be hiring or at the very least are taking their sweet time in looking over my applications. I've had a total of one summer job at Taco Bell when I was 17 and now I find myself either overqualified or under-qualified for everything I see.

The common thread in these issues seems to be waiting. I beg for more patience yet how else can it be gained but this agonizing process of waiting for something to happen? I am making initiative for once in my youthful life, so why isn't it paying off lickity split? Why can't opportunities be served to me on silver platters with federal grants and silver spoons?

Such is the curse of the middle class student, to wait and build patience that way. Character is built is more than a day, as are experiences that make us who we are. I'll have to keep waiting until the fruits of my labor finally start to show up. Until then, I can either whine privately or keep trekking along. I'm finding more often that I end up wanting to choose the latter of those more and more.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who Is The Cheese?

Welcome to BrieTheCheese: a blog about myself, my life and my work as an aspiring novelist. Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering why exactly I picked this blog name and even if you aren’t, you’re reading this post so I hope you’ll be interested enough to continue. My real name is rather long and drawn out, Briannon, so when I was little I endeavored to come up with a nickname for myself. Since my name is rather long, I was often called some variant of “Bri, Bree, Bria,” however you spell that. My mother sat me down to help me find a way to spell that nickname. We looked through all the combinations and I liked the aesthetic quality of “Brie”. My mom then told me that was a kind of watery cheese. From then on, my nickname has been both Brie and Cheese among friends and family alike.

Quirky anecdote aside, I am a college student majoring in Sign Language Interpretation with a minor in Creative Writing. So what’s with it, a “cheese” that’s going to be a sign language interpreter and an author? There have been odder combinations, you have to admit. Either way, this combination fits me best and I intend to see both through to their inevitable ends. Sign language lets me use my hands in the same way I use my pen to express myself on a level deeper than mere language by using just that medium.

However, this is supposed to be about my writing primarily. I’ve been writing since seventh grade where I completed the first crap manuscript I ever thought up about a tough girl princess with dragon wings and a bitter prince who rode dragons like horses for a living. I let my English teacher read the entire thing, start to finish, and she actually told me to try getting is published at 12 years old. Luckily, I have matured past that level, but everyone has to start somewhere and that 263 pages of notebook paper was mine. Nowadays, my characters are more fleshed out and my plots less fantastic despite the fact I like dealing in the fantasy genre. I have recently started sending out my manuscript, Faerie Games, out to a potential publisher and a literary agency. Here’s hoping my unpublished status won’t stay that way for long!

So that is basically me in a nutshell! I hope you enjoy the blog as I readily update it whenever something interesting enters my thoughts or happens in my life. Happy reading and thank you for checking me out.