In Which: Overwritten is Unwritten

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I remember when I got my first review that really hurt (as an adult). It was about a year ago on one of those online pieces that every member of an online forum has written at one time or another, and while it was nothing truly official, it still stung. My writing was called ‘pretentious’.  Something about that word hurt more than a reviewer just saying my writing might be boring or  sloppy. But why was that I wondered? I thought back to all my early english classes in grade school where my dyslexia was still so bad I could barely write a sentence the teacher could understand. I remembered the joy I found when things finally started clicking in college and I could express myself in academic essay format and tone.

And then it hit me : The word pretentious troubled me so much because somewhere in my mind it meant my tone was now getting in the way of my writing being understood  in the same way my spelling use to. My writing was eating its own tail and I wanted so much to fix it. But what to do?

I still haven’t answered that question. Writing very bare bones doesn’t come naturally to me, but I also don’t feel like the John Green level of literary YA is in me either. Stylistically, I’m a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place.

What do you do to keep your writing relatable? Do you care about style? Would being called a ‘pretentious’ writer get to you at all or would you shrug it off?

In Which: Writing Is And Isn’t Work : Rant List #1

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Random Writer Rants #1

  1. No matter how much I write everyone always thinks it’s ‘just a hobby’.

1.1.These remarks always seem to happen when I’m working my hardest and getting more done than ever, leading to my being needlessly grumpy.

2. Somehow it is entirely possible to write most of a story in what I think is breathtaking detail only to find that I never actually told the reader important exposition that the whole plot doesn’t work without .

3. Writing five pages always feels longer than reading five pages….

4. Except when that five pages is one of the ‘fun parts’ I have been looking forward to writing.

5. …Yes I know, if I am a ‘real writer’ every part should be the fun part. But I’ve come to find out as much as many books on how to write say that every part of writing should be a joy, the day to day reality of it is that sometimes it *gasp* actually feels like the work it is, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I love it any less.

6. Sometimes I can put blood sweat and tears into a story and it doesn’t show on the words on the page…Or, maybe it is there and my own writing isn’t to my own reading taste? Wouldn’t that be ironic. Oh well, back to work…

In Which: There Are Notes Of Books

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The orange mini-note is my traveling notebook since it’s built in pocket makes sure I always have something to write with on hand. I’m pretty sure needing to write but having nothing to write with is one of those dark circles of afterlife punishment. (Most boring DOOM level idea ever)

I don’t have a problem…

Okay, maybe I do. Today, since I am sick with a bug that is going around through my hometown countryside, I thought I’d do another small post. This time to share my notebook collection. This is only about half of it, but I think you can see my slow slide from ‘Writing must be serious every step of the way’ to ‘Darn it if I’m going to be writing for hours and hours I want something that makes me happy.’ Back to school sales always fill me with a renewed drive to write more, so those newest two sparkling silver and black books were just too good to pass up.

 In my case, I use notebooks to get out certain scenes and bits of dialogue that need to come into being right this moment, and then my laptop to slap them into place in the bigger scheme of things, plotwise. 

Do you have a favorite notebook? (Or if you don’t write on paper a favorite program or app?) What gets you fired up to write?

Do you have something you’d like to hear me talk about on my blog? Drop me a line below!

In Which: There Shall Be No More Cuts

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Just a quick little note here to say that from now on I won’t be putting my posts behind read mores. All the info coming in on my almost first full week here shows that hardly everyone clicks on them to actually read more, so they are pretty much unneeded. Frankly, that news frames my blog a bit on the sad side to boot.

So, since even my longest posts nearly only clock in at 500 words or under, I’m letting most of them frolic uncut through the glassy fields of the internet. Maybe they’ll meet more friends that way.

Be free my little wordlings, be free.

Edit: Soon after writing this post I learnt that wordpress auto-cuts all blog posts anyway and that I was doing a lot of work I really didn’t have to all that time. Good to know. 

In Which: Writing Woes: There Is and Isn’t Action

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Movies make it look so easy. Action scenes play out like finely tuned dances of crashing cars and flashing swords. But where does that leave the action in books?

Often, I’ve seen action scenes that were only hinted at, or nearly summarized on the page, made into play by play battles in a movie that could take your breath away.

So, I’m more than a little lost about the level of detail needed to make action real to the reader in books. Make no mistake, I’ve read enough books to leave ink marks on my fingers, and bright eye strain spots, sparkling like the Ghosts of Ebooks Past, whenever I look at a computer screen.

But still the right amount of detail escapes me,  and I find myself wasting all my time on Google searching for things like ‘How big would a spear and polearm for a ten year old be’ and ‘best way to kill a goblin’

Needed details? Maybe. But I won’t be using exact measurements for anything in my story (because magic) and I know it.

It’s all worldbuilding fluff compared to the big show vs. too much show action scene war.

It battles on inside my writing mind, and the odds are never in my favor.

In Which: The Blank Page Is Golden

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I love the blank page. The blank page of a computer screen fills me with the thrill of possibility. But something happens when I see the blank page of a notebook. Is it fear or writer’s block that suddenly hits me? No, I don’t think so. My ideas are are as alive and well as they’ve ever been, and I actually do like writing longhand. So, what is it that makes starting a new blank notebook so hard to do?  Well, for me, it’s what I like to call the first page jynx.

Meaning, in a nutshell, that whatever I first write down in a notebook seems to scar all the remaining pages 70 to 200 college ruled pages forever.

It’s only a silly writer’s superstition or deep seated anxiety in my mind, I know, but those first words just stay with me.

Even if it is just a draft that later turns golden with editing, if I don’t like those first few words, the notebook in question always feels a bit less lucky. If, for example, I years ago used most of a notebooks pages for a math class I didn’t do so well in, any story I try to start on the remaining pages just feels off.

On the other hand, a notebook I write a good first sentence in is quickly filled up, and mourned long after it is gone as a lucky charm.

I’m a collector more than anything, and I always have a pile of writing notebooks waiting to be used on my sofa and under my bed.  Their covers are bright , and inside they blank pages are clean and undecided, waiting for that first mark.

Here’s to freshly sharpened pencils.