Day 202: Prelude To A Serial of Sorts

English: my typewriter

English: my typewriter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have had a work in progress in my head for about a decade now. The original seed idea came from a short story assignment in tenth grade English class. It has gone through many rewrites already and I am not even through with the first draft. I was forced to start from scratch twice because lightning struck the computer I was using at the time. Since then major draft changes are emailed to two very good friends who back up their hard drives frequently.

My characters have distinct voices in my head. I have told this to some people and they seem to think I’m crazy, but that’s how my writing process works. I’m currently trying to settle an argument between everybody about how the story should proceed. The problem is that they are all talking very loudly! I have spent weeks trying to make sense of the babble to no avail.

An my mom’s suggestion I have decided to write a series of vignettes featuring each of the principal characters and what happened the day before the novel starts in the hopes that it might get them to stop trying to talk over each other. I have decided to post them to the blog to get feedback. This will be the first time this story, even little tiny bits of it, has been seen outside of a few people and hope it’s well received.

Day 176: Drabble fiction exercise

BUNSEN BURNER

BUNSEN BURNER (Photo credit: jasonwoodhead23)

The last day of class is always the longest. Most of the students tremble visibly with the effort to stay on task for that last hour. The tension is palpable because now after a whole semester they are almost basking in the light at the end of what has been for some of them, the dark and gloomy tunnel of a chemistry lab. There are no careless spills, all workspaces are neat, tidy and dry, a definite change in the first few weeks when two of the tables had to be removed because of permanent acid damage. Fortunately no one was hurt and the offending students were removed from the class.The day after the incident would probably stay forever etched in the remaining students minds. The teacher, someone usually known for their eloquent explanation, kindness and laughter was brusque and gravely serious. The fact that a chemistry lab was never to be used as a playground was drilled into their heads even more thoroughly than it had been on the first day of class and that was possible The worst part was that there was never a raised voice, only an extreme sense of disappointment. Classes continued fairly normally after that but everyone showed new levels of concentration and attentiveness to detail so that on the last day of class there was not even a speck of dust to be found out of place. When the bell rang everyone  gathered their backpacks and shook the professor’s hand as they left. Not a single one of them was the same person who had walked through that door at the beginning of the semester and maybe that is the whole point of school.

 

Even though this is a writer’s blog fiction rarely finds its way here despite the fact that I would characterize myself as a fiction writer mostly because I find it difficult to write in a short story format which is what blogs lend themselves to. I have never  taken a chemistry class and my entire life largely because  I might be the one who spilled acid on the table because of my disability. The basic setting of the story and a few of the keywords were provided by StorySpinner.com I would recommend that as an excellent tool to fight off the dreaded writer’s block.

Day 166: Barbara Cartland and Sean Connery changed me forever

 

Cover of "Finding Forrester"

Cover of Finding Forrester

I was allowed to start reading romance novels at the age of 13 and the first author I was allowed to read was Barbara Cartland because the romantic scenes never went beyond a PG-13 level.  I should clarify that she was a historical romance novelist. From the first day I picked up one of her books I knew I wanted to write. Her books were filled with historical details that really  enhanced the romantic story itself. I wanted to write like that, to create a world rich in texture. She is dead now and any books that are published in her name within the last 10 or 15 years are completely different from her earlier books due to being entirely written by ghost writers most of whom are terrible.

A few years later the movie Finding Forrester came to theaters and I was freshly inspired. The movie plot centers around the relationship between a young writer and his mentor, a widely famous Hemingway like author who inexplicably wrote one great classic and then seemed to disappear off the face of the earth, so much so in fact there was rumored that he passed away. I’m not going to give away the ending but I truthfully believe that it is a movie that all writers should be required to see at least once especially when you start to wonder if this writing stuff is worth it because the movie will remind you that it is worthwhile and can be accomplished . I suggest watching it when you have writers block you actually might find a way out of that wet paper bag your creativity seems to be stuck in.

day two: what have I gotten myself into? the double-edged sword of commitment

Swiss longsword, 15th or 16th century

Image via Wikipedia

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.  What they don’t tell you is that the first week of forming this new habit is probably the hardest, shame on them people deserve a little warning!  One of my reasons for doing this post a day thing is because I plan on using it as a means to combat my depression.  The previous statement appears wonderful except that I almost used it as an excuse not to write today.I have taken antidepressants for several years now and up until relatively recently they have done their assigned job well, now however it appears they are falling short of the mark.  I started this blog with the intention of writing in it every day but have let entire months lapse without a single post on more than a few occasions.  I started this blog to be able to ride without people, namely my family, breathing down my neck all the time.  I am fortunate to have a family who supports my writing however I have come to realize that their support is often a double-edged sword. Let me rewind and explain a little more just in case there are newcomers who might get a bit confused.In my myriad of dust covered computer files I have a novel manuscript, it started out as a short story written for a high school English class which is now in the process of being fleshed out into a real book because several people who read the original story (teachers and classmates etc.) have assured me that if it were expanded into a book people would  definitely read it. My family thinks so too.  I think they actually believe that it could reach a spot on the New York Times best-seller list.  The problem with that kind of faith in that a lot of pressure comes with it.  My grandmother is almost 75 years old and she is afraid that she will die before the book is officially “in print”.  My father appears to see this as yet unpublished book as my salvation, my gateway to independence.I know my family means well but those two simple statements put a lot of pressure on a manuscript which is barely out of the proverbial diapers.Whenever anyone asks about the book I internally cringe because of course that will be hurt and disappointed to find out that all their well meant encouragement has succeeded in doing is causing a massive case of writer’s block.Yes, I write the story but I cannot control when the muse decides that she will descend and grace me with her presence.I only have so much control over when the story is published.  I feel myself panicking because I know it is unlikely that the book will be completely finished and published within the next year and a half.  If for some reason it does not get published before my grandmother dies I will feel as though I have completely failed her.  The feeling of panic does nothing to alleviate mental blocks, in fact it reinforces them.  What if the book doesn’t make as big of a “splash” in the proverbial pond as everyone hopes?  Will my father be disappointed in me?  I have heard that writers can be neurotic and now I believe it wholeheartedly.Am I the only person who sometimes sees the encouragement of family and friends as more of a monster lurking in my bedroom closet?

Fan fiction as a writing tool

Harry Potter

define:Fanfiction – Google Search

Fan fiction (alternately referred to as fanfiction, fanfic, FF, or fic) is a broadly-defined term for fan labor regarding stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator. …

There are hundreds, if not thousands of fan fiction sites dedicated to writing based on numerous book and television series. If you have heard of this phenomenon but have never read any of the wonderful stories it has produced you may believe that fan fiction is written solely by teenagers whose time would be better spent studying the grammar of the English language as some of the truly awful stories I first came across nearly convinced me. Happily this is not always the case. Many well educated adults, and teenagers, write fan fiction as a hobby. Why, you ask, might a writer benefit from writing fan fiction?

  • The “hard” work is already done for you. Because the characters you are writing about are not originally yours you do not have to spend untold hours creating the major settings and background history for the characters , leaving you more time to focus on the actual storyline you wish to write though of course your story will divert from the original author’s in some way however, if you wish to place an orignal character into the world you are responsible for their background etc.
  • There is far less pressure to complete it. If “real life” gets in the way you can stop. Your livlihood does not depend on seeing this piece through to publication . Your only deadline is the one you impose and those can modified easily.
  • It can be a tool with which you can overcome writer’s block. If you get  stuck while writing an original work take a break to play around with fanfiction. Because a lot of the work has been done for you you can let your mind go almost anywhere it likes. Maybe if your lucky it will spark an idea to put into the original work.

It has been my experience that writing fan fiction can just as rewarding  as writing an original work, sans the possibility of getting paid. They are lots of people out there willing to leave reviews that will help sharpen your craft. A final word of caution though, like paid book critics not every reviewer of fan fiction leaves kind, or even constructive criticism, a review saying your work sucked without giving any reasons says more about the other person’s lack of education than it does about how well a work is written.