Homework or creative writing…?

Dante vs. My Story. I struggle to choose.

Home work or writing for the fun of it?

Dante and Phaedo are sitting on my dresser. NOoooo, not the people, the books they wrote! (I wish the authors were though, I have a good long list of questions for Dante. What was he thinking when he wrote The Comedy?!) And anyways, I’m trying to read my homework and my unfinished is calling. It calls especially loudly when I’m reading something super duper dry that I just want to get away from (like Phaedo) or something super create that gets my own create juices flowing (like Dante). I debate back and forth….Dante’s story or mine? Dante’s story or mine? It should be easy. I mean, I’m paying an arm and a leg to go to school so homework is the obvious priority and I’m not getting payed anything for writing (yet!). But sometimes fun trumps logic. Those are the times I “binge write” because I miss writing so much. And the other times are when I say “just five minutes for lunch break” and then I realize about half an hour later that I need to run to class. Does any one else ever run into this problem??

*Sigh* My poor neglected novel. Will you ever see the light of day?

I need to stop complaining! School is flipping awesome! So, I guess for now school trumps writing (for the most part, hehe) and I’ll try to learn everything I can so that when I come back to my novel I’ll be a better, stronger, more creative writer and will be able to bring my novel to completion:)!

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I met someone who actually makes a living at it:)!

 “We will have a chance to ask writer Benjamin Percy a few questions about his stories we have been reading next class time” our teacher told us. I’m exhausted. I have more writing than I can do this week but I’m not tired enough to not be excited. I am going to meet a writer!!!!!!! One that actually gets pays and has a full-time job as a writer! I had started doubting if people like that really existed or if they were only in stories!

Today in class time I walked in to see an ordinary person with his caribou coffee come and take a seat in our circle of chairs. He may have seemed ordinary but I knew that he was the one who had wrote Refresh Refresh (which you should really read if you get the chance). I mean, this guy lives now a days; he shouldn’t be able to write that well! I know he had incredible control over his words and his reader’s emotions in his stories that left me really impressed and as he spoke, it was really similar to how he wrote. Captivating and easy to visualize, funny but had a good point, and rather memorable. I don’t know if he was working hard at sounding good because he was brought into our class but still, he was an excellent speaker. I was really excited to hear his story but what I was really looking forward to was hearing his writers tips. As he spoke he used

He gave us a lot of interesting things to think about that would help us as a writer:

Tip #1: Always Be Ready For IdeasHe said that he would always carry around index cards in his pocket so that he could jot down the random ideas that would come to him. Now he uses the notes app on his iPhone. Either way, it’s the same concepts: right down the little ideas that come to you and capture them. “Ideas definitely have an expiration date” he said, so it’s important to get them down when you first get them. “But don’t immediately write them down as a person is saying them,” he warned, “otherwise they’ll stop. I was once at a cocktail party once where I went to the bathroom at least 5 times to get the good things people were saying down before I would forget them….once person even asked me if I was really feeling well.” He said that writers always need to be open for business.
*Another Good Idea:He also has a cork board by his desk that is filled with his potential stories. Articles from magazines or newspapers, a few of his index cards, they’re all building blocks that he will work with when he is trying to sit down and right a story. He says that every so often a few will seem to pop out and click, and there, you have a story. He “reads the newspaper like a poacher…I am interested in what is gong on but also what I can take as a writer.”
*Tip 2: Explore your writing style. He said that as an earlier writer his style would change to whichever one he had read the latest and sometimes he’s met students who haven’t read so that their style doesn’t get effected. He exclaimed “that’s the point!” Like Painters who learn from mimic, you will slowly take from a variety of professionals and create your own specific style, but he warns that this takes literally thousands of hours. For now, developing and exploring that style is crucial.
*Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to kill the darling. He looked at us saying, “I know that you guys don’t write. You have 8 classes, work at the pizza place, and probably play lacrosse, not to mention Facebook distractions. Everything you write right now, is because you have to. It’s all things that are assigned and every moment of your time is precious [amen to that!!] and you probably have a hard time revising your writing because it’s your writing. ‘I wrote that sentence!’ but as a writer you have to let go. You have to be willing to ‘kill your darling'”. He went on to talk about the years that every author has spent on those failed novels. He says that he learned incredibly valuable experiences from all of those and it’s important to remember that. “If I had to take out a hundred pages, I’d be mad for about 2 hours and then I would be fine” he said, demonstrating how much he has learned to write. I was in shock. 100 pages?!?!?!?! That’s my entire novel!

He also talked about finding your own personal method at writing a book, some people are the organic writers that let their story grow and cultivate it as needed, moving things around while he is more the lego writer. Getting many of the pieces and then clicking them together.

Hugely helpful tip: He took like ten feet of paper and mapped out his entire novel before he even started writing. It really helps there not be story gaps. I think that’s genius! I have a story that has gaps and holes all over and whenever I move a piece of the story over to cover one gap there’s something somewhere else! It’s driving me crazy! So I’m going to try this…once I start writing again. Because he’s right. I do have like a million things to do and right now, I’m only writing for classes.

So, I have this renewed excitement about why I’m doing what I’m doing:) I want to be a writer! I want to be an author!

The Mall…the mall?

This story happened in the beginning of the school year but I just had an adventure that reminded me of it…so I decided to share it with you:)

So I decided to go to the mall. The mall of America. And I am completely directionally challenged and have never driven in the cities by myself. So we were driving for a while and things didn’t look familiar at all. I’m not sure what I had done…I did print out directions….but my brother, the navigator was asking if we had a map. We didn’t so we went to the gas station and I asked how to get to 35W from wherever we were. 

Him: 35W north or 35W south?

Me: Um…35W West…?

Him: It’s kind of north or south.

Me: Um…I’m trying to get to the Mall of America.

Him: Oh.

He looks at my directions.

Him: Ok, write these down, I’m going to give you better ones.

So we continue driving with the directions from the guy at the gas stations. We see the cities and I’m pretty thrilled. At this point, even if we get lost we’ll have plenty of things to see. I love the cities. And then we had passed the city. The Mall of America was south of something so we were doing pretty good. It was like being on a roller coaster that I was driving- we never knew which twist would be coming up next in the road. It was a little frightening, hehe. But completely awesome. Airplanes! Yeah, we must have been getting closer–there is an airport somewhere in the cities, right?

You have no idea how thrilled I was to see the beautiful mall of america. I screamed just like I was on a roller coaster and pulled into the the first parking lot I found. No parking ramps, thank God! I step out of my car and we stretch and look around. Every other car around me had that shiny, commercial new kind of look.

“Am I going to get towed?” I ask my brother as I look at my dingy little car sitting in the middle of all the other shiny ones.

He didn’t know. I didn’t either. I wondered if this was something like staff parking. I mean, I think there would have been a sign but I’d missed plenty of signs on the way here, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was missing one now.

“OK, we’ll just walk like we know where we’re going so that even if it is staff parking or something lie that, no one will stop us.”

So we do that and enter the mall. Nordstrom. Shiny lights and clothing displayed in elegant fashion. I sit there a few seconds in my “Go Purple” school t-shirt and jeans. Me and my brother look at each other, then shrug and walk through. If we can find the entrance to the main mall it’s all good.

So I had come to the mall to for an appointment at the apple store to try to figure some stuff out with my email and my new computer etc. So we had to get the that store in a certain amount of time. But first, we had to find the apple store. Seriously? More chances for the directionally challenged me to get lost?

But, hah! I did it. We walked only in a few circles, and only went on the wrong floor once before going promptly back down. So we sat looking at those little stands with maps on them and are trying to find the apple store on the map. My eyes stray past the big map stand thing and I see the glowing apple right in front of us. Yay!!!!! Oh, it’s the little things in life. Like making it to your destination alive!

Adding Some Flavor to Your Writing;)

Vibrant pinky purples colored the snowy white, as the fluffy cake soaked up the juice from the berries. The sweet melting angel’s food with tart fruit was all topped with clouds of airy whipped cream.

I had strawberry shortcake for breakfast. It was a good beginning to the day.

Have you ever been eating a particularly good meal and suddenly felt like bursting into song, poem, or words? (Hey! I’m not weird–it actually could be helpful when writing some future story to have a vivid little description of some amazingly good or memorably bad food:)

What are the little moments in your life that you suddenly feel like writing about…no matter how trivial they may be?

Immortality-that’s a nice bonus:)

Why do you write?

Lately, in class, I’ve been learning about why some of the greatest writers of all time liked to make up stories and poems; ya know, the guys like Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare.

Well, here’s the thing: everyone is afraid of dying and being forgotten. Not to be depressing but I think that has been something humans have thought about for a while. That’s part of the reason that people would have kids back then–it was a great way to keep the family name alive, to keep your memory alive, to not be forgotten. But really, lets be honest, having a bunch of kids with your genes are great but they’re not going to make people remember you completely. People can see your kids and forget you (and I’m not arguing this is a bad thing!) And what if you don’t really want to have a family? Then is your name just going to vanish for good?

So what does this have to do with writing…?

Well, if you’re a writer you’ll probably agree that your book can be like your baby. It has bits of you in it, you’re so proud of it, and it’s just so good! People can feel this way about anything they create. I’m sure that great painters and sculptures feel the same way about their art that we do about our words. Words are like offspring that don’t change.

Shakespeare speaks of how his words will outlast stone and keep throughout the course of time. He praises someone he loves in it to keep his beloved alive (sonnet 55). That’s one of the reasons that they greats would write: their words could keep them alive in memory. It might not beat being alive in person but it definitely beats being forgotten forever.

And in a way, it shows just how big headed people like Dante and Shakespeare were. Shakespeare seemed pretty confident that he was going to be read till the end of time. He was good and he knew that if he put the person he loved in a poem, that person was going to be remember till the end of time (which is neat because, English majors still do!:). Dante also thought a lot about who he mentioned in his story and the people he really doesn’t like, he sort of ignores in his writings. There are times he’ll say things “the people that I didn’t really recognize” and will avoid naming them, while talking in length about other people that he really admired. He could keep people alive through his writing because he was just that good, and he knew it. What’s really crazy is that the people he mentions are actually remembered, I mean, I’m a little American girl and I’m learning about all these crazy Italian guys that Dante talks about. And the people he dissed by not mentioning them…not even historians know that much about them. Wow. Writing just got a lot more serious!

Writing for immortality…

It’s certainly an attractive idea!

I think it’s rather inspirational. I mean, lately I’ve been wondering how many people will buy my books, what should I do for cover art, should I e-publish or not…and I still think those are valid questions but when I think about other authors’ question like “who should I keep alive through my words?” I remember that writings stories is a whole lot more than just making a fast pace plot and some sweet characters. It’s about quality that will last.

It can be about making something so beautiful that it lasts forever.

Tips for a Writer:)

Alright so in my imaginative writing class we have this really neat activity that we have to do every time before class. We have to right down three physical observations we have. Noticing things like the temperature, the funny lighting, the smell of a relatives house, the angles of a room, these are all things that writers need to pay attention to. Giving a few unique important little details can make a much bigger impression on a reader than saying tall and dark haired. It’s important to form the habit of always paying attention to what makes things distinct and then trying to transfer the experience from you head to the paper. It’s pretty cool!

So here’s an example of the one’s that I’ve submitted….sorta lame, yeah, but I’m working on getting better at finding those distinct details that makes life so colorful:

1. I notice the reflection of the people in the bus window. From where I am sitting, my reflection is just a darker patch through which you can see the cars and streets outside. I can also see the rest of the people in the brightly lit interior of the vehicle. There are some people laughing with each other, some people are sitting quietly looking forward with stern faces. The front window of the bus is a mirror of life, suspended in air, showing people at as themselves but holds them as an odd tilted angle and if you look at it closely you can see the world beyond and the people themselves fade away.
2. I also notice the cars shadows that are so misshaped. If a person were to compare the shadows of their cars they would all see the same, sharp and bent angles of darkness that shoots into the lane beside them. You can’t tell by the slanting reflection whether it is a corvette or beaten up clunker. The shadows stretch as the cars go around a corner and they are like tails which unwillingly drag beside the car and don’t even try to seem to do justice the the vehicle they are portraying.
3. Home smells like marshmallows. I walk in and can catch a whiff of warm s’mores, or maybe it is rice crispy treats. Health conscience people that we are, we still always keep a few of the white fluffy treasures on hand just in case someone feels like having a some for a light dessert. When they are warmed they give off the best aroma and it depending on the time of year it can make me think of s’mores of a late night bonfire, a rice crispy treat during well earned break in the middle of studying, or a cosy evening with a cup of hot chocolate. I guess, they also make me think of the people in my family that enjoy them just like I do:)

I love to read about the super unique sorts of details that you put in your books:) The more “distinctive” the better:)!

The Car Against all Odds

Meet Sorn.

Most people name their car things like Betsy…actually most people probably don’t name their cars at all…but, really, if you’re going to be using a car for a longer period of time then it just feels like you have to call it something.

So my friend and I got matching cars. Not on purpose, it just so happened that they ended both being chevy luminas that were around the same age. I mean they were made the same year. So I decided they had to be named.

What would you name a car? Well, we were reading the C.S.Lewis space trillogy and there was a race called the Sorns and there were some creatures called the Eldil. So mine is Sorn and my friends is Eldil.

Both of these cars have a complex personality like all first cars. Sorn’s air-conditioning doesn’t work, the windshield has cracks in pretty patterns, and the doors controls come off any time you try to shut the door so you have to go back and stick it back in. But it works. It drives. And I love my little car for hanging in there for so long!

 

All the Worlds a Stage:)

Maybe this is just what crazy people do, but have you ever taken a different identity for yourself when you go out someplace? Like go to the airport and pretend your a secret agent from England. You speak in the British accent and keep an eye out for anyone tailing you. You put in your earbuds so that you even have the epic soundtrack. Ok, the airport might not be the best place for this but anywhere else it is seriously awesome fun. Once, while driving my sister to school, I had her freaking out about the white van trailing us. I had a whole theory about why they needed to get us and the best part was that my brother went along and expanded the back story so she assumed it was something we both knew about previously. Well, I’ll be honest and admit she wasn’t completely convinced but it was still a pretty exciting ride. Best part? The van was headed to her school to so it “trailed” us the whole way!

I don’t tell my siblings they’re adopted.

I just do stuff like this.

It generates stories:)

George Lucas’ ideas for names

Funny that he was on Oprah talking about getting names for characters at about  the same time I was blogging about it:) anyways I included the article so that you could read his ideas on getting names (really kind of neat actually!!)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/oprahs-next-chapter-george-lucas-names-star-wars-video_n_1222978.html

 

Starting with a Sunrise-Story Ideas

You can call it cliche but it is such a perfect semester starter to wake up and be driving with the sunrise. This made me think of s a story starter idea that I guess I’ve used for a long time without thinking about it:

Have you ever been out taking a walk or driving or bored and looking out the window and suddenly your wondering what scene would work perfectly for the weather? Or better yet, what new story could you start with that weather. Jane Eyre talks about how the stormy weather makes her feel adventurous and the first days that she’s at the boarding school its very stormy. Now, I understand the weather can be a painfully boring thing to talk about if writers don’t do it right, but if you’re able to capture it–well, then you really have something. And if you keep an eye out for the weird weather, like that sunset where every cloud looks like a marshmallow (no joke!) or them moment in late summer when the cotton is in the wind and glows golden with the setting sun so that it looks like glitter across the pink sky-if you can capture moments like those you can incorporate something real and vivid in the backdrop of your story:)

“The pale pink and baby blue was a friendly warm contrast to the frigid air but all the world seemed to be waking up, even the colors. The patch work quilt of pastels in the sky changed to a vibrant blue and she could see the sun’s rays striking the misty sky scrapers in the distance. It was the day to start an exploration or an adventure. Certainly not a tragedy or murder mystery, more like a day to start a comedy in it’s true sense – a light hearted telling of life that ends well:)”

First of all, just gotta say there’s I’m glad there’s no one in the car to listen to me talk to myself (or making my character talk while creating dialogue) but I also gotta say that if a sunrise doesn’t give inspiration to a person, they haven’t seen the right sunrise.

Let the semester begin and I hope you all see many happy sunrises!:)