Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG: Viewing My Work Objectively

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event author Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. It's 10ish PM here on the West Coast...still Wednesday! Today's IWSG question is: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? I find that being a writer has helped me approach books with more attentiveness to character and plot development and how the author works (or doesn't work, at times) these elements into their writing.

Recently, as I was reflecting on my novel, it occurred to me I should switch out one of the supporting characters for another kind of character. So far, I am pleased with my choice. Awhile back, I decided to remove another character altogether, another decision I was glad to have made. I find that some distance from my work-in-progress helps me to view my story in a more objective light when I return to it so I can more easily identify areas that need attention. That's one benefit of having a work-in-progress that I've been working on for so long because my ideas and intentions for it have changed over time. Still, sometimes I still feel frustrated that I have not yet written THE END on my project yet. And that's what I sometimes feel insecure about.

What major editing choices have you made in your work after you've taken a break from it?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: Information Dumping & Clearing Out Office Space

Happy New Year! Today is IWSG day, a monthly event author Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. Today's IWSG question is: What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard?  One writing rule I don't care much for is the one that warns writers not to information dump. I find that information dumping in earlier drafts of a story can help me better flesh out a story in my head. Besides, excess details can always be trimmed in future drafts. I also find that an author can get away with some level of information dumping in a novel AS LONG AS they can still hold my attention. Lately, I've been reading some YA fiction by an author who information dumps quite a lot and it doesn't bother me at all because she's such an excellent storyteller. 

Now for my insecurity...at the dawn of 2017, what I really want to do is to continue on with a long-term project I’ve been working on (besides my novel) and that is to clear out some space in my office. This has been a challenge for me and I wonder if I'll ever have a truly neat desk or office. Stuff that take up a lot of space in my office are my books, articles, and research materials. On my shelves, I keep many books I’ve read, books I haven’t read yet, and books I’ve received as gifts. (It's no secret among those who know me well that I love books!)  I also hold onto a number of articles and clippings that inspire me in some way whenever I look at them. And on top of that, I keep folders full of stuff related to research and "homework" for my various projects. It's hard for me to decide what to let go of! 

How do you minimize the clutter among the items in your reading and writing life? 

What are your thoughts about information dumping in writing?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fan Theories

Thanks to D.L. Hammons for hosting the Deja Vu Blogfest, where bloggers are invited to re-post something we'd posted earlier this year. Since I had posted about fan theories late on IWSG day back in the fall, I don't think this post got as many views by the IWSG community as it should have. So here I am, posting it again...

There are a lot of fan theories about popular stories of various mediums on the Internet. These fan theories range from the one about the classic film Grease, that Sandy actually died when Danny tried to rescue her from drowning, as referenced in "Summer Nights," to the speculation that HARRY POTTER’s Ginny Weasley drugged Harry with a love potion, to Gilligan being Satan while the other inhabitants on Gilligan’s Island were the seven deadly sins, to how, in the movie (or theatrical production, which I'd recently seen) of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's Bizarro twin was actually the deceased Wicked Witch of the East, whose face is never shown. But interestingly, the two ladies share a shoe size. 

The creator of Grease dismissed the fan theory about his musical being merely Sandy's coma dream. It wouldn't surprise me if other creators of stories coming under speculation would brush off out-there fan theories as well. Still, I find some fan theories quite insightful, regardless of whether or not I believe in them. The "what if" questions presented in some of these fan theories challenge my notion of what seems familiar and comforting in these stories and encourages the exploration of a darker or more twisted perspective of what could be lurking beneath the surface. (I should add though that fan theories where everything was just a dream or a fantasy in the protagonist's head don't do much for me.)

Taking the concept about hidden stories past fiction into reality, I am reminded that it's important to take a closer look at what, at first glance, might seem familiar and comforting and to remember what is intentionally projected in any environment for an audience might not necessarily reflect what is actually there. 

Do you have any fan theories surrounding a story? What fan theories have you heard that you find interesting? (I myself could spend a day discussing my fan theories about the movie Inception.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG: In Five Years...

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about their insecurities and other details about their lives. 

This month’s question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Honestly, I don’t know where I see myself five years from now. Maybe I’d be a published author. Maybe I won’t be and will continue to brush off human irritants who say to me “You’re still not published yet?!” In five years, even if I’m not a published author, I’ll still be writing. I might have moved on from my current work-in-progress, a YA novel called KISS MY BUTTER. Either it will be published or I will have put it away. Nonetheless, my long-term plan is to continue writing, plotting and creating.

I do have more definitive plans for what I’d like to do in my writing career during the next five years but I won’t be sharing them here at this time.

Have you accomplished writing goals that you set for yourself five years ago?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

IWSG: Daylight Savings

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about their insecurities and other details about their lives. Again, I am late to post today but it’s still Wednesday here in California! First, let me get to this month’s IWSG question: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? One of the many things I love about writing fiction is that I have a tangible place to bring the fruits of my imagination and creativity instead of just letting it all sit in my head. Honestly, it wouldn’t be healthy if I kept all that stuff inside.

This weekend marks the end of daylight savings. The good news is that I’ll get an extra hour on Sunday. I'm hoping to spend this once-a-year gift working on my novel. And if not, I might spend this time sleeping in. So yippee for that extra hour! That said, I’m not usually a big fan of the end of daylight savings. There’s something about shortened days and earlier nights that reinforces the notion that there isn’t enough time to do things I want to do, and that includes work on my novel-in-progress. It’s an unproven notion at that but I still find something a bit disheartening about days cut short. 

What are your plans for the extra hour on Sunday? Do you prefer longer days or longer nights?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG: Fan Theories

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about their insecurities and other stuff happening in their lives. I am late to post today, but we still have a couple of hours left in Wednesday and here I am! This month’s IWSG question is: When do you know your story is ready?  My story might feel ready after I have had it properly critiqued, have given it an honest revision, have taken a break from it, and when I revisit it after a break, I don't itch to revise everything I see. Right now, my story is not ready.

Today I'm here to share an insight, not an insecurity.

There are a lot of fan theories about popular stories of various mediums on the Internet. These fan theories range from the one about the classic film Grease, that Sandy actually died when Danny tried to rescue her from drowning, as referenced in "Summer Nights," to the speculation that HARRY POTTER’s Ginny Weasley drugged Harry with a love potion, to Gilligan being Satan while the other inhabitants on Gilligan’s Island were the seven deadly sins, to how, in the movie (or theatrical production, which I'd recently seen) of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's Bizarro twin was actually the deceased Wicked Witch of the East, whose face is never shown. But interestingly, the two ladies share a shoe size. 

The creator of Grease dismissed the fan theory about his musical being merely Sandy's coma dream. It wouldn't surprise me if other creators of stories coming under speculation would brush off out-there fan theories as well. Still, I find some fan theories quite insightful, regardless of whether or not I believe in them. The "what if" questions presented in some of these fan theories challenge my notion of what seems familiar and comforting in these stories and encourages the exploration of a darker or more twisted perspective of what could be lurking beneath the surface. (I should add though that fan theories where everything was just a dream or a fantasy in the protagonist's head don't do much for me.)

Taking the concept about hidden stories past fiction into reality, I am reminded that it's important to take a closer look at what, at first glance, might seem familiar and comforting and to remember what is intentionally projected in any environment for an audience might not necessarily reflect what is actually there. 

Do you have any fan theories surrounding a story? What fan theories have you heard that you find interesting? (I myself could spend a day discussing my fan theories about the movie Inception.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

IWSG: An Encouraging Comment

Today is IWSG day, a monthly event Alex Cavanaugh started to get writers sharing about their insecurities and other stuff going on in their lives. This month’s IWSG question is: How do you find time to write in your busy day? My response: I wrote about this subject in last month’s IWSG post. The truth is, I don’t get to work on my novel everyday but that doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about it or doing other things (reading a book, researching details, or just reflecting on my story) to prepare me for the time when I get to work on it.  

 A few months ago, the IWSG question of the month was about sharing the best comment someone made about our writing. I don't know if there is one best comment I've received, as I've been lucky to receive support from many people. But there is one encouraging comment that has stuck with me for a long time:

…Years ago, I attended a weekend writers workshop with about two dozen other writers. Most attendees were other adults, like myself. A youth program allowed a few teens to participate too. The first two chapters of my YA work-in-progress at the time was publicly critiqued by everyone. Most of the feedback, useful or not, seemed to come with kind intentions. Still, I came home from the workshop feeling misunderstood and defeated. A few grown-ups in the workshop clearly didn’t get what I was trying to do. *Sigh* As a courtesy, I still emailed most of the people I met that weekend, grown-ups and teens, with a quick note about how it was nice to meet them and good luck with their writing and all that stuff. One of the teens wrote back to me and shared that my manuscript had been her favorite among the grown-ups’ manuscripts.

It was a short note but it made my day. It also helped me see that not everyone has to get what I’m doing. But as long as someone does, it makes the effort to do what I'm doing worthwhile.

What  is an encouraging comment someone offered you about your writing? Have you ever felt, by certain feedback you have received, that your work was being misinterpreted?