Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lots to Talk About...

What a week it's been already.  I got a call from my mom on Tuesday letting me know that my sister, and her kids were coming down for a surprise visit and were an hour away from where I live.  After visiting with my mom, my sister was too tired to drive an hour back to where she was supposed to be staying the night, so I let her and the kids crash at my place.  The kids enjoyed running around on the beach, and seeing the dock that washed up on it from Japan as a result of the tsunami.

I did get more of the scenes written leading up to the first fight scene in "The Shepherdess Princess" last weekend.  I still have a little more to add leading up to it, but I feel I'm well-informed from my research to do a decent job at the bloodshed part.  I also thought up of another couple scenes to add earlier into the story to give it more "meat."

I submitted my story to "Chicken Soup for the Soul" over the weekend as well.  Here's the story for your viewing pleasure:

“What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?”

            When you’re growing up, adults in your life are constantly asking the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  My answer to that question never really changed, “I want to be a writer!”  Usually the follow-up question was “What if writing doesn’t work out for you?”  Stubborn child that I was, I answered “I’m going to be a writer anyway.”
I have a couple early memories that stand out which influenced the path I’ve chosen as a writer.  One of the reports cards that were sent home with me in 3rd grade, my teacher wrote in the comments area “Amanda loves to write unless it’s an assignment.”  That is one of the few report cards from my academia days that I have treasured into my adulthood.  I still take it out of its hiding place once in a while, and reread it.  The words make me chuckle every time because they are still true about me to this day.
The second memory I have is from 9th grade.  I had three classes that were part of a freshman block group: English, Health, and Science back-to-back.  One day I was given back a writing assignment that I had written about the beach located a couple blocks away from my home.  I was perplexed because the story came back ungraded with a post-it attached asking to see the teacher after class.  I instantly thought I was in trouble.  I sat at my desk dreading the bell to signal the end of the period.  I went up to the teacher’s desk after the other students file out of the classroom, and asked why he wanted to see me.  It turned out that he wanted to ask my permission to keep a copy of my story in a notebook he made up of past student’s assignments that moved him in some way.  I was in shock and awe for several minutes, but I agreed to his request.  The teacher died a couple years later from a blood clot, but I’ve never forgotten this moment in time.  Last I heard, his wife still had the previously-mentioned notebook in her possession.
My stubbornness prevailed as an adult because I now have three self-published books to my credit.  One is a fiction novel entitled “A Candlelit World” that I co-authored with a friend, and two are my own personal volumes of poetry.  Self-publishing works well for me because it’s affordable and I don’t have to worry about a hard deadline.  If I set my own deadline to have a book finished by and am not quite finished with the manuscript when that date arrives, I strive for another date.  It’s no biggie to me because I don’t have a traditional publisher breathing down my neck for the finished product.  Deadlines tend to make me nervous, and bring on a lot of unwanted stress when I’m working on a project and get hit with writer’s block.  It is difficult for me to market my poetry book in local venues because I’ve come across several anti-poetry readers at a local book signing I attend annually.  I know there are some poetry lover’s in my community, but they are few and far between.
Overcoming writer’s block can be quite a chore.  At the moment, I’m not suffering from it.  Thank God!  When I do, there are several different ways I try to overcome it.  If I’ve been writing poetry non-stop and suddenly have the inspiration dry up, I try to take a walk, read a book, take a shower, or take a nap.  Anything to distract me really until inspiration hits, but if doing any of that still doesn’t work I try to move onto another writing project for a while.
I have ten story ideas at the moment that I could decide to work on at any given time.  Lately when I’m not writing poetry, I’m working on a romantic-type fairy tale/Historical fiction book.  My other story ideas consist of fantasy, regular fiction, romance, an autobiography, and a compilation of letters I wrote to Jesus thanking him for his love in the good times and in the bad.  A lot of my story ideas have came to me as a results of dreams that I didn’t automatically forget upon waking up.
I do like to challenge myself once in a while by participating in WriMo’s (months during the year where a person’s goal is to try to write a 50,000 word novel in the span of thirty days).  NaNoWriMo in November has the biggest turnout of aspiring writers because November is officially deemed National Novel Writing Month in the United States.  They have JulNoWriMo coming up in July, and a Camp NaNoWriMo that starts in June, and resumes in August.  For the Camp NaNoWriMo, a person can decide to try to write a book in both months, or just pick one month to participate in.  Every April, the WriMo world takes a break for what’s called ScriptFrenzy where a writer can choose to write a screenplay based on one of the novels they’ve written in WriMo events should the book ever be turned into a movie.  The possibilities are endless.  I usually just participate once a year, but I did try to work on my novel some more in July last year just to see how much further I could get in it.
It’s not too hard for me to tell when a book is done, and ready to be published.  There is a feeling I get of things “winding down” as the book progresses.  My friend and I wrote “A Candlelit World” in nine-and-a-half years mainly because we couldn’t get together everyday to write.  We had a lot of slumber parties on the weekends, though.  When we both felt that we contributed what we could to the story, we discussed how we wanted to end it.  Then we had my friend’s mother proofread it, and did some editing as per her suggestions, and found a way to self-publish it once we had her mother’s approval.  Neither of us really wanted the story to end because our characters became like our children, and we were both saddened a little bit when it was time to “send them out into the world” on their own.  When it came to writing my two volumes of poetry, I set a certain amount of page numbers I wanted to strive for before they were ready for publication.  My first attempt lacked the amount of pages I wanted, but I published it anyway because I was having a hard time with writer’s block and finding inspiration for anything new.  Once I published it and began working on a separate writing project, the inspiration for new poems came back to me.  That’s when I began my second volume of poetry.  I reached my page goal for the second volume of poetry, but it was difficult near the end because my writer’s block was rearing its ugly head again.  I struggled for a couple months to get the page count I wanted.
Writing is hard work, but can be very rewarding.

I'm not sure if it's good enough to add to the book coming up titled "Inspiration for Writers," but I covered all the questions they had for a person to answer.  I'm not certain it's inspiring in any way, but I'll find out when the book is finally published.

I got word from the Literary Arts people that my application for the Oregon Literary Fellowship was received.  They don't send notice of receipt unless the applicant encloses a self-addressed stamped enveloped with the application itself which I did.  I learned working as a grant writer in the past to always get verification of some form when applying for anything because things can get lost in the mail, or disappear from someone's desk.  It was just a precaution I decided to take because it was optional to do so.

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