Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Critquing my Novel

After writing the first draft of my story,  I needed to get some feedback from fellow writers.  I found out about scribophile, which is a free critiquing website for writers.  Before I could post however, I had to critique others' writing.  The site gave me specific items to critique and helped me to write my comments in a concrete way.  If the writer appreciated my critique, I received points so that with so many points I could finally post my writing and get feedback from others.  This was most helpful as the critiques were helpful and thoughtful.  I had tried other sites in the past and they were not helpful as they either were too vague or too mean! 

Next, I took an online class from the Loft Literary Center, which is in Minneapolis, MN.  They do have workshops on site, but I took an online Novel Writing one.  I received helpful but vague feedback from the teacher and the other students.  The readings every week were from other writers about their process.  I found these to be boring and not helpful.  I took a class from the Loft last year that I learned a lot from, so I was disappointed that this didn't meet my expectations.

Final note, Writer's Digest has lots of online writing workshops, some that I took.  They are informative and I learned a lot.  I recommend these over the Loft if you are a beginning writer.  The Loft is for those who have some writing experience or education.

Quote for the week: the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. It took me many years to figure out what the difference was.  But here it is: I can only control me, and only parts of me: my attitude, thoughts, feelings, and will.  I can't change what I was born with, but I can change what I do with it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

When Did I Start This Novel?

Last November.  I wanted to do the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  But on day 1, my mind was blank.  No story ideas whatsoever.  So I wrote my memoirs.  Apparently my life has not been long enough to fulfill the 50,000 word requirement.  Not only that, it took longer than a month.  What with my crazy hands it takes me twice as long to type as an average typist. 

I set my memoir aside, and hoped that an idea would come.  One had started to germinate in my mind.  My niece, along with her tween peers, were obsessed with Hunger Games.  I neither read the book or saw the movie.  I was intrigued, but thought the violence would upset me too much knowing how emotionally overwrought I get in movies.  But I liked the idea of a woman hero.  There have always been too few.  Every time a super hero movie comes out I think, "what about Wonder Woman?"  She was my hero as a child. 

I wanted my story to have a woman hero,  but instead of fighting peers, she would fight evil.  Last spring my pastor spoke at my woman's Bible study about the armor of God.  A light clicked on in my mind.  My female hero would go on a journey to battle evil and gain the armor of God. 

I bought "Ready, Set, Novel," from NaNoWriMo, which is like a workbook to help me flesh out my story.  I was amazed at how ideas poured forth onto paper, and I finished the workbook in a month.

I'll quit now before you get too bored.  I want to finish with one of my mottoes: "failure is failing to try."  We all fail in life, but if we handicap ourselves with fear and not try, we may miss out on something.  I don't want to get old and regret not trying something I wanted to do.  Life is too short to waste.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Introduction to my Dysfunctional Writing Process

In my research about how to write a novel, I read the writer should have a blog and post about the process.  Well, I already have a blog, so here is the process! 

The first thing you must know is that I don't have a clue what I am doing!  I think I am crazy to attempt this, but I was inspired last spring, and am determined not to give up, for that is my M.O. 

I have been writing for a few years, taking online writing workshops and writing short stories, articles, and poems, and managing to have them published online, in one mag, and in one anthology.  The total benefits of my efforts?  Fifty bucks!  But I keep telling myself I have to start somewhere and I'm not in it for the money.  If I was I would have stuck to computer programming in college. 

No, I have always wanted to write, but never had the guts to, until my career options were limited to assembly or office.  Neither of which appealed to me, and of which with my short stature and crazy hands, would make both difficult.  So, I thought, what the heck, why not try writing and see what happens?  What have I got to lose?

I hate when people ask what do you do and I say I am a writer.  I feel like I am joking.  Me?  A writer?   I can't possibly be in the same profession as my favorites, like Harper Lee, Khalid Hosseini, the Bronte sisters, or even the Bible writers.  As any artist, as a writer I am a dime a dozen, one of the many hopeless and hapless mass who delude themselves into thinking they have something to offer.  I really don't know myself.  I often doubt my abilities, wondering if my family is just being nice about my writing.  You know how it is.  It's like those people who try out for American Idol and they totally stink, but are convinced and have been told by loved ones they can sing.  I don't want to be deluded like that. 

But then again, I am too hard on myself, I am my own worst enemy, my mother says.  I am a perfectionist, come from a long line of perfectionists. 

Before I close, I just want to say, "by the grace of God go I."  So, here goes.