Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving, and Other Matters...

It's been a while since I updated this page.  I was planning on doing another blog update a day or two after my last one, but I came down with a terrible cold and today is the first day I've been out and about among the living again.

I have three new poems I wanted to share that I wrote 2-3 weeks ago now:

It has been a couple months
Since September 11th came and went.
Signifying twelve years since that day
The terrorists tried to take our way
Of living when two buildings were destroyed,
And a third plane was grounded that was deployed
To go for our Nation’s Capital.
Instead, the passengers recaptured
The plane from the hijackers,
And landed it in a field
Before their lives they would yield.

 On that day.
No one thought it would turn out that way.
They went to work like usual,
Or got on a plane that was fueled
To go to their destination,
And ended up being casualties of terrorists’ premeditation.

Those people were not the only heroes to fall
As I think of the men & women who answered the call
At the twin towers:
The very people who spent hours
Looking for survivors
And losing their own lives being the heroes they were.

Then there are movies like Remember Me
That shows another side unseen.
What the families have to go through
As they mourn their lost loved ones.

Where would they be now
If that horrible day never came?  And how
Different would our lives be
If the terrorists were stopped completely
Before anyone was sacrificed?
We’ll never know, so we go on with our lives.

In remembrance of everyone that gave
Their lives to save
Our way of freedom
As Veteran’s Day was also seen.

Yearly, the people’s minds are cast
To those whose sacrifice showed their “last
Full measure of devotion.”
I bet all the dead bodies could fill the Pacific Ocean.

It’s almost completed:
The novel that will be repeatedly
Distributed when it’s accepted
By a publisher that’s been affected
By my words.
Being read by many is what my characters deserve.

I  will go home from a coffee trip
With the intent
To turn on my laptop,
And get lost in my imagination.

Other writers are about
Hoping to get their word count
For the day.
Oblivious to their surroundings
As they get lost in the creativity.

“The last single girl kiss”[1]
Was shared last night in anticipation of wedded bliss
With an ethereal audience waiting
For the two halves to become one
Under a blanket of stars with no one
Except the priest to bear witness
As their vows are sealed with a kiss.

The Heavenly Hosts approve
As a beacon of light shines through
The night sky,
And surround the united groom and bride.

Their love will go on forever,
And when they grow old they’ll remember
As they sit on the porch swinging
Of that long ago day with wedding bells ringing.

“You’re as beautiful as the day we met,”
The husband admits with no regrets.
The wife’s cheeks blushed a rosy hue
As they smelled the dew
On the grass.
Both wish this moment would always last.

[1] This is part of a line delivered by Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex and the City movie.

Other Writing:

I'm still working on finishing "The Shepherdess Princess."  I was hoping to be nearing the end by the time this weekend rolled around, but I've had a terrible cold for the past week and a half.  Thanksgiving day was the first time in the past couple weeks that I added anything to my manuscript, and I have a couple more chapters written out longhand that I'll be adding to my computer when I get home from the library tonight.

I have finally jumped the hurdle that led me to print out my manuscript and edit what I had before I continued with the story.  I broke through that stumbling block yesterday, and came out of it a woman possessed!  I spent a couple hours last night before going to bed writing 5 more pages in my spiral notebook.  Then I added 2 more longhand pages this morning when I woke up.

The end is so close that I can see a shimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel!  I have an idea for four more chapters that will take place at the ending.  This weekend I'll be working on closing the gap until I reach "the final four" as I'm going to refer to them from now on.  I have a scene written out already that is staying in my novel's splice file until I need it that will end the book.  I just can't believe I have the end scene figured out already, but I'm beginning to feel accomplished because I'm so close.

If my creative streak keeps going, I should be typing the words "The End" to "The Shepherdess Princess" by the middle of December, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

7 Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction

A friend of mine shared a link to this article on Facebook, and I thought I would share it on this blog.  For two main reasons: 1) I like Ernest Hemingway, and 2) I'm writing fiction novels, and struggling a little bit with it.

Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction

Before he was a big game hunter, before he was a deep-sea fisherman, Ernest Hemingway was a craftsman who would rise very early in the morning and write. His best stories are masterpieces of the modern era, and his prose style is one of the most influential of the 20th century.
Hemingway never wrote a treatise on the art of writing fiction.  He did, however, leave behind a great many passages in letters, articles and books with opinions and advice on writing. Some of the best of those were assembled in 1984 by Larry W. Phillips into a book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing. We’ve selected seven of our favorite quotations from the book and placed them, along with our own commentary, on this page. We hope you will all–writers and readers alike–find them fascinating.
1: To get started, write one true sentence.
Hemingway had a simple trick for overcoming writer’s block. In a memorable passage in A Moveable Feast, he writes:
Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.
2: Always stop for the day while you still know what will happen next.
There is a difference between stopping and foundering. To make steady progress, having a daily word-count quota was far less important to Hemingway than making sure he never emptied the well of his imagination. In an October 1935 article in Esquire “Monologue to the Maestro: A High Seas Letter”) Hemingway offers this advice to a young writer:
The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you so try to remember it.
3: Never think about the story when you’re not working.
Building on his previous advice, Hemingway says never to think about a story you are working on before you begin again the next day. “That way your subconscious will work on it all the time,” he writes in the Esquire piece. “But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.” He goes into more detail in A Moveable Feast:
When I was writing, it was necessary for me to read after I had written. If you kept thinking about it, you would lose the thing you were writing before you could go on with it the next day. It was necessary to get exercise, to be tired in the body, and it was very good to make love with whom you loved. That was better than anything. But afterwards, when you were empty, it was necessary to read in order not to think or worry about your work until you could do it again. I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
4: When it’s time to work again, always start by reading what you’ve written so far.
T0 maintain continuity, Hemingway made a habit of reading over what he had already written before going further. In the 1935 Esquire article, he writes:
The best way is to read it all every day from the start, correcting as you go along, then go on from where you stopped the day before. When it gets so long that you can’t do this every day read back two or three chapters each day; then each week read it all from the start. That’s how you make it all of one piece.
5: Don’t describe an emotion–make it.
Close observation of life is critical to good writing, said Hemingway. The key is to not only watch and listen closely to external events, but to also notice any emotion stirred in you by the events and then trace back and identify precisely what it was that caused the emotion. If you can identify the concrete action or sensation that caused the emotion and present it accurately and fully rounded in your story, your readers should feel the same emotion. In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway writes about his early struggle to master this:
I was trying to write then and I found the greatest difficulty, aside from knowing truly what you really felt, rather than what you were supposed to feel, and had been taught to feel, was to put down what really happened in action; what the actual things were which produced the emotion that you experienced. In writing for a newspaper you told what happened and, with one trick and another, you communicated the emotion aided by the element of timeliness which gives a certain emotion to any account of something that has happened on that day; but the real thing, the sequence of motion and fact which made the emotion and which would be as valid in a year or in ten years or, with luck and if you stated it purely enough, always, was beyond me and I was working very hard to get it.
6: Use a pencil.
Hemingway often used a typewriter when composing letters or magazine pieces, but for serious work he preferred a pencil. In the Esquire article (which shows signs of having been written on a typewriter) Hemingway says:
When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. So you might as well use a typewriter because it is that much easier and you enjoy it that much more. After you learn to write your whole object is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader. To do this you have to work over what you write. If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333 which is a damned good average for a hitter. It also keeps it fluid longer so you can better it easier.
7: Be Brief.
Hemingway was contemptuous of writers who, as he put it, “never learned how to say no to a typewriter.” In a 1945 letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, Hemingway writes:
It wasn’t by accident that the Gettysburg address was so short. The laws of prose writing are as immutable as those of flight, of mathematics, of physics.
Oops!  I'm guilty of breaking number 3.  I'm always thinking about the story when I'm not working on it.  And I break number 6 because I always use a pen when I'm writing something new down in a notebook to add to my manuscript on my computer later.  Number 4 I have done, and it does help me to come up with new ideas for future scenes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Update...

I've been wanting to update this blog for the past couple weeks with my newest poetry, but I kept forgetting my USB stick at home.  Well now I have it with me.  Here's the two newest poems I wrote:

Once upon a Halloween
Amid the blood-curdling screams
Emitting from the goblins & ghouls
Going from door-to-door
Trying to score
The yearly sugar-induced coma
Before heading home.

“Trick or treat” they cry
At each house they stop by.
They want more treats than tricks
That’s for sure.

The goblins & ghouls return home
With sacks and buckets full to show
Their friends the next day
How much candy they came away
With, and to gloat
If it was more than their friends got.

The Forgotten One
(Co-wrote by Sara Megan Kay)

Look at the bones
In the coffin entombed
With no visitors
On record.

The forgotten one dwells within
The family mausoleum
With no family and friends alive
To visit him.

The flowers have seen better days.
They were newly left there in the month of May.
Several years have come and gone
As the brick work crumbles one by one.

As for "The Shepherdess Princess"...

I finished editing what I had so far in the manuscript on my computer file.  I still have to rewrite a bit the scene I was stuck on before I continue with the rest of the story.  I'm mainly having a flow problem with the newest scene, but I have an idea for fixing that.  I'm going to be working on that for the rest of the week.

I'm not participating in National Novel Writing Month this year because I'm using the month of November to hopefully finish this novel.

Other News

I have a surprise I want to share with my readers, but I'm going to wait a while to see how things pan out first.  My partner-in-crime already knows some of my news because it pertains to the book we co-wrote together.

Stay tuned...:)