Why Don’t You Just Bust My Bubble…?

This post started as a simple question to a writing friend, but quickly turned into a novel of its own. If you read my blog, you know that I currently enrolled in a 14-week workshop at a college in my area. Before considering enrolling in any type of workshop, I wanted to do as much researched on writing as possible, I figured I could learn a lot on my own, and did. I bought books, checked books out at the public library, searched to the end of the Internet, and all were incredibly helpful. I learned a lot of the topics we are covering in class form these books, with the only difference that questions are asked and the answers are elaborated on a little more. I find however that aside from critiquing, which seems to play miserable tricks on your writing psyche by the way, I know a little more about what I have already read with regards to the “craft”.  
Recently we started reading our work to the class and getting the much-needed critique; last class I got a question with regards to my character that bothered me more than it probably should and I have been mauling over it all weekend. Did I mention that I think workshops cause writer’s block? Why, well I will tell you why…  because we concentrate so much on what will be said in class that we don’t concentrate on the writing itself.  Anyway, I was asked if I wanted the reader to like my MC, my answer of course is yes she is the heroin I need you to like her. When I get questions like that I come home and begin the killing of my darling, I re-read my scenes and see that I might be taking my MC in the wrong direction. What kills me is that it’s usually the opinion of one person, everyone else either completely hates how or what I write or they don’t get it and have no clue what to say which is frustrating when in a class of 15 only one or 2 people speak up. Now let’s not get into the head nodding and sympathetic looking smiles and the dreaded “you know”, well, no I don’t know it’s why I am here! How effective is a vague critique? Speak up people I want your advice and opinion so I can fix it!
I should point out that I get very helpful critique from my teacher, but I thanks to the two that spoke up, I leave not feeling in any way pleased. I swear these workshops were created to bust the creative bubble I live in and my ego. It confuses me; I hate second-guessing myself and that is exactly what I do once I leave the class, in the 25 minutes it takes me to get home, all I think about is what and where to begin the changes to my WIP. There is no doubt in my mind that these work shop are indeed helpful, I just think I personally am not getting what I want from it, I like to think everyone goes to class every Wednesday with an open mind and fully aware that they might not read what I write and vice versa, but respect the work anyway. But, isn’t there always a but? I enjoy the realization that I am in a room with my peers, with writers who pour their heart and soul into their work as much if not more than I do.
Tell me, have you ever enrolled in a writing course or workshop? What was your experience like? Are there questions I should be asking?

A Must Read!

I read a lot of everything, romance, paranormal, historical and rarely Sci-Fi. It’s all pretty spread out between YA and  Adult fiction and usually these are books that are recommended to me or  that I am drawn to  by the covers. It’s usually the cover that does it for me, I very rarely read the sinopsys and this gives me the ability to have an open mind when reading, especially if it’s something that I normally wouldn’t read.  One book  cover that caught my attention was Gayle Forman’s If I stay, a  moving and powerful story that will make you cry and smile, at the same time. I read this book in one sitting, absolutely loved it and not something I would usually read.  So while we thirty something gals patiently wait for Diana Gabaldon’s next tome, door stopper, or in my case a sometimes coaster. I have the perfect read to pass the time. I Am Number Four— forget the vampires and werewolfs people, the hot alien is taking over!
My husband brought home this book home because someone had recommended it to him, and because I constantly need to have a book in my hands, I decided to give this Sci-Fi story a shot.  Although Number four doesn’t sparkle he does shine Winking smileI am not a big Sci-Fi fan, movies or books, but I really enjoyed this book, I am still debating whether or not to go see the movie.  Any way, it has everything we want, a little love, a little suspense, a little war and a  smokin’ hot Alien. It’s an easy read, although not enough to tie us over until Gabaldon’s book 8 it’s enough to keep us entranced…

Happy Reading!
Are there any great books your’ve read lately? Anything you feel you have to recommend to friends and family?
 

Getting Your Work Critiqued…

A few weeks ago, I started a writing workshop and I was excited about, still am. We talked about goals, motivation and conflict, characterization, dialogue and things as simple as preparing a manuscript for submission. All incredibly helpful topics for a new writer like me, but the most terrifying and intense topic I had to overcome was reading my own work in front of the class. There has only ever been one person who has read anything I have written, my sister Pam. Her reactions are wonderful, to hear their excitement from reading your work, and wanting so badly to know what comes next is what every writer wants.  It’s a great source of motivation, makes me want to finish what I start, but it’s the thought of getting the opinion of practical strangers that is so nerve wracking it terrifies me. Things such as, what will they say, will they totally hate it cross my mind, my class is very diverse as far as different writing styles and genres are concerned they write historical, sci-fi and romance. Therefore, it’s obvious their opinions will all be different, some will like what I write and others might just not get it…
Last Wednesday was my turn to read, we had previously gotten a crash course on critiquing and  when I  started read along with everyone else’s work and saw how wonderful their writing was, I had that moment when I doubt myself. I write romance, women’s fiction, chic lit, whatever you want to call it. I like to think it’s humorous and sarcastic, but most of all I like that my character has a great sense of humour, it is this humour that most people don’t get, therefore I was terrified. When my turn came, I was nervous as hell and felt extremely self-conscious about revealing a part me in a sense that I had never revealed to many before. Although I got through it as gracefully as I could manage, feeling relieved to have done it, then came the waiting. We are required to write notes on the copies of the manuscripts we hand out, this waiting seemed to take forever, and I mean forever!  When the teacher instructed the class to begin the critiquing there was more silence, a sure sign nobody liked it or didn’t get it and had nothing to say, I wanted to walk out. 
I want honest critique, I want someone to tell me what doesn’t work, this is the only way I will improve in my writing skills, but it’s scary to think that someone will read and disagree with your writing style and not to mention your chosen genre. What is worse is having that feeling that when I get home, I will feel compelled to, not only kill my baby as they say, but completely want to butcher it.  After what seemed like an endless silence, that by the way lasted mere minutes, I got the positive feedback I was hoping to get. I made the suggested changes to the scene that make it flow better. I don’t know what I was expecting, but thankfully everyone was respectful of each other’s work and read each scene with an open mind. Next Wednesday I have to do it all over again and present the next scene, I will chew off nails that take an eternity to grow without a second’s hesitation, wait for the relief of having read reach me.
Have you  read your work to others? What was it like? Help me, are there questions I should ask?

Write It Down Already!

I don’t know how all writers work. I can however, say that in order for me to actually sit down at the computer and write I need to be in the right frame of mind. If I am stressed or in a real crappy mood, nothing turns out right I get frustrated to the point where I want to kill off all my characters. When I get a story idea the first thing I think is I should really get this down on paper, but rarely do I do that right away. I can walk around with an idea in my head for days before I actually sit down and write it out. I don’t outline or plot and as the days pass the idea develops in my head and I know what the beginning, middle and end will be. It’s all a visual process for me I not only need, but I also want to see the story developing in my head like a movie. Granted this isn’t always an effective way to begin, for me anyway, I do get visually overwhelmed to the point where I don’t know where to start, does that make sense? Some scenes stand out more than others do therefore I don’t always start from the beginning, but the important thing is to start…
Tell me: Do you need to be in the right frame of mind to write? Are there things you do to get in the zone? How long from the time you get the story line idea in your head, to when you actually get to writing it?

Bernard Pivot Blogfest

Love this, can’t wait to read everyone’s post today…
  1. What is your favourite word? Awesome
  2. What is your least favorite word? Hey, can’t when instead of using my name people yell “hey”
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? My Children, they are truly all the inspiration I need in my life.
  4. What turns you off? People who are disrespectful.
  5. What is your favorite curse word? There are two Shit and Fuck (a.k.a Fudge when my kids are around). Although there is several that my other wishes, I had erased from vocabulary.
  6. What sound or noise do you love? Water, I love the sound of the ocean, rivers, rain.
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? The bass coming from the car next to me… Why do people have to listen to music so loud?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I love the arts; I would have loved to have been a dancer or an actress.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? Medicine, I respect doctors and nurses, but I don’t have the balls for it.
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Cheers!


Keeping it Real

Keeping with the Valentine spirit of the day, let’s talk romance. I write it, I read and I love to watch a good movie where the girl gets her ever after. I know sometimes it’s not always easy to get into the groove of things when writing romance, aside from the obvious boy meets girl, boy falls for girl and vise versa, you have to ensure that the romantic dialogue doesn’t sound awkward. You want to make the speech sound authentic, in our regular day to day life we don’t use formal grammar when we speak. We say “gotta go” not  “I have got to go”, it’s realistic, not every person you meet is a character from a Jane Austin novel.
Despite trying to sound authentic we at times have be careful not to have speech reflect real life too closely,  keep in mind though that one other thing a writer should ensure is not make the dialogue too dull. Give your hero a hard time, remember we women always answer a question with a questions.
“Why did you go to the mall?” he asked
“Why are you asking?” she asked.
Try to create a little suspense, allow for questions to arise in the dialogue without actually having your characters do the asking, you don’t want characters that are too forthcoming. Why did she walk away? Why doesn’t she just tell him she loves him? Why doesn’t he just give into her? These are some questions we are faced with as the reader, it’s what frustrates us (in a good way) enough to want to keep reading. Also not everybody is sweet and proper we all swear at one point or another, stick a bad word in the dialogue every now and then (just don’t over do it), think of the word that comes out of your mouth when you drop something? Hmm I can think of a few, but I will contradict myself and be sweet and proper.

Have you read a good romance lately?

Where Is My Drive???

I am so not in the mood, don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have sat at my computer everyday for the past year, with the exception of weekends, I have not missed a day of work so to speak. This week however, I lack the motivation of the past few months, and it’s not because of a lack of ideas, trust me I am full of them I just don’t want to sit and write it all out. At first I thought it was writer’s block, something I have never gone through, but then I think to myself it can’t be because the story is developing in my head., it doesn’t sound like writer’s block to me.  Maybe I need to go for a super long walk, or maybe take a few days off and just think of why I write? But what if I can’t come up with the answer? What if I’ve just lost it all together and it’s a long while before I get back to my normal self?
It’s almost sad to feel so inspired one day and then all of a sudden feel like it’s all going wrong. Wow! I don’t think I have ever sounded so negative… That’s it! I am blaming it on the weather, I am self diagnosing, I have the winter blues.
Tell me has the initial excitement of your goals or project ever begun  to wear off ?  If so how did you deal?