The Study of Our Craft

It's amazing, now looking back, that I completed my first novel without ever stepping foot into an upper-level English or Creative Writing class. After two years of reading, writing, and learning English and literature, I feel a whole new appreciation for the study of my craft.

I received as Associates in Science in 2006, and that was no big deal to me. After all, I had only completed my basic classes. I wanted more. My desire to finish college, despite my lack of financing, stayed with me until in 2010 I went back with the blessing of some long, lost VA financing. It's a God thing. I am still studying English with a minor in History (to help me understand the context of literature), and now I realize how much I needed the education to further my writing.

Let's be honest, reading always helps us write better. We learn from the best, presumably, the published (this I say lightly because I realize that there are many talented people who have not been discovered yet). We learn structure, plot, character analysis, and other general writing techniques from reading, often without even realizing it. As people, we generally tend to search out and mimic patterns; I suppose that's how I wrote my first novel without any formal training. There is nothing wrong with this tactic because some people are just brilliant, talented. Not saying that I fall into that category but some do. With that being said, there is nothing but good that can come from studying your craft, whether that be on your own or formally. The training is meant to enhance the talent/gift/drive that is already resting in your hearts.

I started my second novel, Realm of Desire, immediately after I finished my first. I'm still working on it in between school assignments, and I have to tell you that it sounds like a different writer is writing the later stuff all because of everything I've been learning. We evolve.

I encourage you, as a serious writer, to search out helpful books, workshops, and techniques from other writers. We need to learn from each other. Also, read about publishers and follow agents' blogs. They are very helpful.

I agree with Sir Philip Sidney when he said in his "An Apology for Poetry" :

Orator fit, Poeta nascitur
[The orator is made, the poet is born.]

We were born writers, but we are not born at our fullest potential. While perfection is impossible, the pursuit of it is necessary to become the best we can be. Horace had it right when he said in Art of Poetry:

Mediocribus esse poetis,
Non Dii, non homines, nor concessere Columnae
[Mediocre poets are not endured by gods, men, or booksellers]

Cheers to the aspiration and conquering of becoming great writers.

Happy writing!

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Midday Coffee and Fairy Tales: Trends for 2012

Two posts in one day! I am on a roll here. ;)

I've heard that when people become adults, they have a hard time embracing the things they once loved as a child, i.e. fairy tales. Well, I'm here to proclaim that this is not always the case.

 Over the past few months, I've fallen in love with T.V. shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm. (If you haven't seen these, you need to ASAP. You'll love them, I promise!) I never get a chance to watch them on their scheduled air times, so I watch them on Hulu. (To whoever invented Hulu: You're awesome!) I digress. Anyway, my dad, knowing the nerd I am, got me a copy of the Brother's Grimm fairy tale book. I cannot tell you how much I love it! My husband and I started on Christmas reading a story every night. Come to think of it, I guess that makes both of us nerds. lol

I'm making a prediction that fairy tale revisited books/novellas with an adult edge will be the "it" thing for 2012. I'm no stranger to writing my own versions of fairy tales. I wrote a play last year that was a spin off of the Snow White story. If I'm right on this, maybe it's time to get out our old fairy tale books to draw some inspiration. When looking to get published, it's (although sometime unfortunate for us) important to follow trends. That doesn't mean we write the same thing as everyone else. It simply means that we need to know what hot before the world knows what's hot, and I have to admit that this is one trend I'm happy to explore.

Check 'em out!

Happy writing!

Side Stories: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

I know I've talked about Character Haunting before on here, which leads me to this post. In my second novel Realm of Desire, I have a bit of a side story about a teenager and her dad ... The point is, this character is fascinating me. I want to know more about her. I want to explore her story further, but there is no room for it in the novel. I know I can write more about her later. Maybe a whole other novel where she is the MC would work. Who knows?

What I want to know from you (the writer/reader) is do side stories enhance or distract? Or, does it depend on how it's written?

I've seen side stories work if they are somehow tied to the main plot. My side story is tied to a character's relative, so hopefully it works. BUT I've also seen side stories not work (at least not for me). An example that most of you might be familiar with is in the Twilight series. When the writer went on and on about the Indian history about werewolves. You know, the part where they are sitting around the fire? I think it's in the third book. I must admit, while I enjoyed the series, I hated that side-story so much that I skipped a few pages. I certainly don't want readers to get bored and skip through any of the pages in my book.

What are your thoughts? Do they work for you or not?

New Year, New Goals!

Hi everyone! I trust that you had a wonderful and merry Christmas and New Year. Mine was great, although very busy. The time with friends and family was the greatest gift ever.

I was sipping my coffee this morning and thinking about how much things will be changing for me this year. I will be working a lot on our new, little lake house. Details, here. I also should be graduating with my degree in English in December of this year. I'm so excited! Our lives are feeling absolutely blissful for the first time in a long time. We are truly blessed.

I'm not usually one for New Year's resolutions, but this year feels different.

1.) Read the Bible in a year. (It's only three chapters a day. Totally doable!)
2.) Graduate college!
3.) Write more! (The Creative Writing class that I have this semester should help with this one.)
4.) Publish one of my shorter works (poetry/short stories).
5.) Finish my second novel.
5.) Embrace every moment!

These are a few of my top resolutions; I hope I can stick to them. What are some of your New Year's goals for your writing? Whatever they are, I hope all of you have a wonderful, prosperous, and very creative 2012!

Many blessings.