Writing Quote

"Don't write merely to be understood.
Write so that you can't possibly be misunderstood."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

checking in...

Tonight I'm basking in being done with all my major school projects. It's smooth sailing from here until finals in a couple weeks. But I'm not worried about that. In the mean time, I've cleared up two notes on my WIP and I have three days to do 28 more if I'm going to reach my writing goal by the end of the month.
I am so tired. All. The. Time.

I think it's my allergies. Or my allergy medication.

But I won't go into all that, except to say I have a theory I'm trying and hopefully it will help me be a little more awake so I can write the way I want to. So many things can get in the way of writing. The biggest problem is that I love writing, but I usually love all the things that keep me from writing, too- except the dishes; I definitely don't love the dishes. That's been my constant struggle lately: to find time for all the things I love.

I hope your writing goals and your life goals are in better harmony with each other than mine are right now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2/3 through April and halfway through May

If the date is April 20th, can someone please tell me why my brain is stuck in the middle of May? I keep reminding myself that if it was the middle of May, my baby would already be 1, I'd be finished with the semester, and life would be a lot less nuts than it is. But alas, my mind just won't join me in the here and now. So I suppose I'll have to make do without it. Um... how does one do that?

Well, brain or no, it is 10 days till the end of the month. I got my English paper turned in with plenty of time to spare. I can't say the same for my History paper. It's due tomorrow, no later than 5:30pm. I still have a page to a page and a half left to go. The good news is, I finally have all my sources and I have a good idea of what the rest of the paper will be like. I just need to disentangle myself from my family long enough to get it all down on paper in a comprehensive way.

Another project got thrown at me this week as well. It's a group project for English. We present on Tuesday. Just like that. I'm trying not to think about it. Believe it or not, procrastination can actually be a healthy and productive way to deal with life.

So once my paper is done, I need to do some prep for my group project, and then I'm free to edit my WIP. You see, this was all leading some where. You see, I do have a plan. The problem with plans is that plans have a way of not working out. Then the plan becomes the problem. But then there's the power of positive thinking. My plans will work out fine this month. My plans will all go according to plan. I will get my school work done to the best of my ability and also pay some attention to my book. Oh, and I won't utterly neglect my family to do it. The universe will not implode; it will not!

So with a fool proof plan and the power of positive thought, I simply can't go wrong. But if all else should fail, I'm pretty certain the universe will not implode. Write on!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"I give you books, and give you books...

...and all you do is eat the covers." When I was growing up, my dad used to say that whenever we were complaining too much. And though I've never actually eaten the cover of a book, they are delightful in their own way. I like to browse the firstreads give-aways on goodreads.com and occasionally enter a drawing or two to win a free book. Each drawing provides a little blurb to entice people to enter that particular give-away. But with hundreds of books to choose from, I don't want to read all those blurbs, especially when half of them are just feel-good quotes from big-time reviewers, praising the book to the skies. Yes, yes. There's someone in the world who thought your book was amazing. WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Back to the point: I judge books by their covers. There. I said it. Each firstreads drawing has only the cover of the book and a couple lines of text to hook me in before I'm on to the next one. If I'm intrigued, I'll read the full blurb and decide if it sounds interesting to me. Of course it's a little different when I'm in a bookstore. At least I know at any given moment the genre I'm looking at. But still, unless it's an author I'm already familiar with, I'm not going to read the back of the book if the cover doesn't grab me. Am I wrong to judge a book by its cover? Maybe. But the fact is, we all do it to some extent. Which leads me to wonder...

What will my books' covers look like? What judgements will others dish out to my work, based on its clothing? It may be a bit premature to be thinking about this but I think when I have to choose a cover for my book, I'd like it to be a cover that I find attractive. I know I'm supposed to want others to be attracted to my book. But I figure, if it looks good to me, it will probably attract people who read the way I read, who like the same things in a book that I like, etc . Maybe there's some kind of formula I should be considering, all about what sells in today's market, and such. I don't know about all that, I just know what I like. And for the fantasy genre, I tend to be attracted  to life-like, gorgeous art, with a lot of play on shadow and light. It should depict a scene from the book, but not a spoiler scene. And there has to be a sword, or some kind of weaponry. I know it's weird, but a book with a sword on the cover always piques my interest.

For The Slave Knight, I imagine a painting of Jhampo as a flesh and blood man (his sword prominently displayed, of course), maybe standing on the deck of a ship, next to a harpoon gun, with a sea monster's head rising out of the water. Or maybe Jhampo (his sword drawn), leading a band of ex-slaves through the forest.  Or maybe Jhampo, kneeling before the throne to receive his knighthood, with the proud, disgruntled gentry looking on.

What kind of a cover draws you to a book? How do you decide what cover art to wrap around your story? How much input does an author actually have in that decision?

Friday, April 8, 2011

So far, so good.

This week has gone fairly well. I got my interview done. I talked with my mom about her father's polio. It was interesting to say the least. I haven't done much of the digging I need to to find appropriate historical accounts of the polio epidemic. But that project is not my top priority. I have a little extra time before I have to worry about it. And why put off till tomorrow what can be put off till the day after tomorrow, right?

So the dreaded poetry project has been my main focus this week. I got my poems picked out, my topic chosen, and a rough outline written up. I've even started writing out my first draft. I found some potential reference material, but I still need to read through most of it and see what I can actually use. But I had to include at least one book (as opposed to journals or other electronic references), which I did last night. And I must say, our readings and class discussions have moved on to dramas. It helps immensely that I get a break from poetry at least part of the time. And it helps that I actually enjoy plays and such.

This weekend and early next week, I need to select quotes from my reference materials, finish writing my draft, and get my bibliography in order. We'll do revisions in class on Tuesday, so the deadline is definitely motivating. I sure wish I had a writing group or something to give me deadlines and accountability for my fiction.

Happy writing to the rest of you, too!

Friday, April 1, 2011

And a very happy April to you, too...

You may have noticed that March is over, and with April comes a new quarter and a new quarterly challenge over at Tristi's. I may be insane to try and do another challenge when I just utterly failed NaNoEdMo and I have a lot of course work to do. BUT I did sign up. I must be a glutton for punishment or something.

No. NaNoEdMo did not go well. I got about 10/50 hours worth of editing done, and at least a couple of those hours were spent revising school papers. I was just overwhelmed with school work, life, sickness- my own and my kids'- and whatnot, lots of whatnot.

But it's a new day, a new month, a new quarter, and I can do better. This time, I'm going to be smarter than I have been. Since I set my own goals for Tristi's challenges, I am including those wretched homework assignments that threaten to cause me another failure.

So my April goals are as follows:
1. Get my English poetry research paper written and turned in by April 19th.
2. Get my oral history paper written and turned in by April 21st.
3. Get through 30 of my editing notes on my WIP, since there are 30 days in April.
My focus right now has to be on 1 and 2. But it's still excellent writing practice. Hopefully that thought will help keep me moving along. This week, I need to choose the poems I'm going to write on (and the topics within those poems) and find some literary critiques to support my ideas. I also need to conduct my oral interview and find some historical references to compare my interviewee's experiences to. Phew! To the library!!!