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.