Writing Wednesday

This entry is about the excuses we give ourselves and how it can stop you achieving. With real life examples!

I had been telling myself that What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Was as good as it was going to get. When Steve offered to review it and give me feedback I nearly told him no, because I’ve already been over it so many times. In actuality it was a lie I was telling myself so I could continue to ignore the manuscript. Basically, I was lying to myself so I could be lazy.

I was focussing on other things, I told myself. Really important things, like zoo world on Facebook. So very important. Sure I’ve been writing some short stories and Rain, but I do believe in WtWTCH? I think it’s a good, marketable book. So why had I stopped shopping it around agents? I knew it needed a re-write and I couldn’t be bothered doing that.

How do you solve this desire to be lazy? By getting motivated.

In my case it was Guardian Angel of Writing Steve coming over and giving me enthusiastic feedback that did it. Other times I have become motivated by re-reading the manuscript and seeing that it had room for improvement. Visiting the museum also helps me. You have to find your own inspiration and stop giving yourself excuses to do nothing.

No more doing nothing, says I. More writing and working towards publication.

I do have one problem this week though. Matt suggested my Halloween Video short story would be good for everydayfiction.com if I can get it under 1000 words, but at 1200 I’ve stopped cutting. I have to cut proper content from the story and I can’t see how to do it…Frustration!

Some good linky on writing:

On Twitter the other day Cory Doctorow engaged in a YA lit chat in which an author answers as many writing/book related questions as they can over a certain period of time. There was lots of awesome on display but these two tweets struck a chord with me:

* Keep writing. What you write and how you feel when you write are are largely unrelated
* Secret to writers block: write even when you’re blocked, even when it feels forced. Inspiration sucks, working rules

Pay attention and follow the yellow brick rules.

Some tips on writing a fight scene. Of which there are many in WtWTCH? and in fact, in all my books. I use my roleplaying experience to write fights. It’s awesome.

Recommended via Dan R on Twitter some good thoughts and tips on writing first paragraphs for short stories. (GHOSTPIGS).

An excellent article and example of manuscript format.

And finally the best ever thing I have ever read in regards to rejections i found this week on the Apex publications contributor guidelines page.

Keep in mind that the search for awesome stories is as difficult as writing them. If you are rejected, don’t get angry—instead, become more awesome. Write something better, and better, until we have to accept you, because we have been laid low by your tale. It really is that simple.

celebration

So, I’ve been talking a bit, all mysteriously, about upcoming life changes. It’s all official-like now, so here’s the news…

I have a new job!

I’m sticking with the same company, but switching teams. I get to stop doing those parts of my job which were getting tiresome and learn some new stuff. It starts on July 19th.

I am very happy.

Things I Love Thursday

Singing something you really love. On Saturday at the Karaoke party I had promised myself that I would sing something alone. I’ve always been too shy to sing alone in front of people, because I’ve never had any training and come from a distinctly unmusical family. I didn’t want to break anyone’s ears 🙂 Anyway, all this rock band practice has given me courage, as has Lee commenting that I’ve definitely improved over time. So earlyish in the evening I booked Jolene and got up and sung it and afterwards a couple of people told me I sounded good and I was chuffed. Later on I was moaning to Frank about the lack of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen and he pointed out that I should check for covers of his stuff. I found a Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah and signed myself up for it.

OK, so it was just Karaoke, and it was just in front of some friends, and the version was weirdly long with a long intro and a huge instrumental in the middle but OMG it ROCKED to sing that song. I know it so well, and I love it so much and I felt like I was giving a little tribute and…best experience ever. Afterwards, I was so happy. I felt like I had sung it well, that I’d sounded good. I think the Karaoke DJ said something nice about it, even. Bliss.

Sharing the joys of steak night and rocky road memphis meltdowns with dear friends.

Buffy game goodness: Following the epic game of epic on Friday night Megan doesn’t seem to be coping too well. Also I had a text exchange on Wednesday night with Ash, in which he laid his cards on the table and offered Calvin something. Something very tempting…

Writing mojo is so back. I fixed up that story that was giving me trouble a few weeks back, finished it and sent it to Matt to read, since it was written with his prompts.

Honourable Mentions: Cosy warm bed, power naps, darling friends visiting, watching things that make me laugh, new shirt that people say nice things about, compliments on my pigtails, explaining the attraction of terrible movies.

Best of Gir (Invader Zim). Also, I am addicted to this song:

Please share your own thankfulness list below…

Wednesday with some Writing stuff.

My writing mojo is finally back, I have successfully beaten back my cold. Woo!

My writing this week isn’t particularly newsworthy though. I have edited a short story, written a bunch of characters for the superhero LARP (date is set for that BTW: Sept 18th) and had an awesome session with Steve where he gave me much constructive criticism for What’s the Worst That Could Happen? I realised during the session that I have forgotten a fair bit about the book so it seems like a good time to pick it up again and give it an overhaul. The best thing about the session was how positive Steve was about my book and the characters and the way I write. I is inspired. Cheerleaders are awesome.

I didn’t really spend any time reading interesting blog entries this week, so to pad out the rest of this post here’s my answers to Gala Darling’s Curious Tuesday.

1. If it was your birthday tomorrow, what would be on your wishlist?

Time off work to attend day time sessions of the film festival. Cash to go shopping for clothes with (I am currently addicted to clothes shopping), or I guess vouchers would work. Chocolates and a trip overseas.

2. Do you look after your nails? Do you paint them? If so, do you have a colour that you keep returning to again & again?

No, not really. I sometimes get a manicure but it bugs me how quickly the paint gets chipped or ruined so I don’t do it often. I used to be fond of painting my nails camouflage style but I haven’t been bothered with that since university.

3. What star sign are you, & do you think it is accurate?

I’m Libra, and I think it’s fairly accurate. At least I think I display these typical Libran traits: artistic and drawn to beauty, unable to make a decision (constantly weighing up all options), easy going, charming, self indulgent and flirtatious.

4. What is something you have recently learned to appreciate?

This is a tough one, but my recent sickness has given me a real appreciation of my ability to write and make up stories. For so many days I simply *couldn’t*. On my darkest night I told Lee sadly that I was in fact, never writing again and I should stop even trying to pretend to be a writer. He was characteristically unmoved by my melodrama and told me to stop being stupid. Now that the cold bugs have evacuated my brain, I’m loving how I can write, and think, and create. Love.

5. What is your favourite city in the world, & why?

Well, Wellington is the best city that I know well. But then, I haven’t been to very many cities and only one or two outside of New Zealand. So I guess I’m biased.

I love Wellington because it’s small enough that there’s a lot of crossover between groups of people. There’s lots of stuff going on (quiz nights, improv comedy, film festivals, etc) so you don’t get bored. Living in the middle of Wellington has given me a feel for the rhythm of the place. I went out one Tuesday night and handed my bag of recycling to a very friendly recycling collector. When we have a fire drill we can just go to the dairy and get an ice-cream, or over the road to Burger Fuel. People get loud and drunk on Fridays and Saturdays. This morning there was screaming when I work up, which I placed as people watching the World Cup match over at Four Kings with the windows open. (My first thought was zombie apocalypse.) Besides all this, you can drive for 15 minutes from the centre of town and find yourself in the country side.
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I do have one writing related link for you though. The lovely Ellen, who I have roleplayed with and is a frequent commenter here, has been writing flash fictions on demand and posting them on her blog. There’s even a longer one that I suggested the title and word for, which I like very much. There’s something about having fiction written *for you* isn’t there? Anyway, her stuff is weird and funny and spec ficcy and you should read it.

Finally, in honour of my twitter buddy Andrew Jack…

Fall actual play 203 “Frenemies part 2” aka Megan’s worst day ever

The episode started right where the last one left off, with Alex going to find Calvin and see how he’s doing after telling Mason about their relationship. Calvin is lying on a park bench, hands under his head staring up at the sky. She leans over, putting her face into his line of vision and says Hey. He says hey back. She asks how things went with Mason and Calvin’s quiet for a moment.

Calvin: I think we need to avoid him for a while.
Alex: I’ve kind of already been doing that.
Calvin: Right. (He sits up.) Listen, I think there’s something weird about Ash.
A: You mean apart from the fact that he’s a bit of a creep.
C: Yeah.
A: Why do you say that?

Alex sits down. Calvin relates how the other night, when he and Ash had been surfing (after the second car race) Ash had seen the scar on Calvin’s shoulder from the vampire bite and got kind of…odd. Like staring really intensely and moving closer than Calvin was comfortable with. Then at The Limit the nigh before he’d been acting really strained after Megan got hurt. Alex points out that he might have just been angry that Megan had been thrown into the drum set.
Calvin: Maybe. But there’s just something about him. He gives me the creeps. And he was staring at me again.
Alex: Maybe he’s into you.
Calvin: That’s not what’s going on.
Continue reading

Things I Love Thursday

Awkward family pet photos.

Just amazing.

Jay showed me this awesome video of an owl that transforms when presented with rivals…

Steve sent me the link to a collection of images from an art show called OMG Pwn!es which features some fantastically geeky My Little Pony Mods. From the same website, I enjoyed this list of the best Batman panels ever. “Seriously. The dude loves to punch.

Honourable Mentions:
True Blood 301, the final episode of Glee, my bunny, warm blankies, naps, schnitzel, pizza, winning quiz nights parties, kareoke, parcels in the mail, pink wafer biscuits, buying whatever I want at the supermarket, dreaming about holidays and free lunch at work on Wednesdays.

And you my lovely?

Writing

My writing is still up the spout. In fact I have been crafting rather than writing. Which is awesome, actually, because making stuff is very satisfying. Plus, I’m telling myself that this is actually a holiday for my brain and when everything becomes clear again my mind will teem with ideas and awesomeness. Teem I say.

But it’s not happening yet.

Here’s some links:

Who says you need a publisher? Embrace the impossible has a great article that answers this question.

The difference between post-apocalyptic and dystopian futures. Explained and actually, yeah. I knew that. Cool. I is smrt.

Wither utopia?

Writing and chocolate.

Why are so many female characters beautiful? Are we privileging the pretty and if so why?

The art of seat-of-the-pants storytelling.

A rather awesome article from Melissa Marr about Sex in YA books and whether it’s OK.