I am berated at work constantly. I am made to feel stupid and below others at every opportunity. I am trying to remind myself that it is a job, it is only a job. But I can’t help but bring home the bullshit. I try to remember that I am a bright, talented woman…but it is so hard right now. My writing is definitely suffering. I am questioning whether I have any kind of business trying to be a writer.
So, I have decided (with the blessings of a couple of people) to post the Stephen King exercise. Not only that, I’m going to post the first draft! Oh my gosh! Say it ain’t so! It is so! You guys will see every mistake, every awkward phrase, every failed attempt at conveying a thought…I haven’t even gone over it once. I think I’m doing this because Stephen King did it in his book, On Writing. He put his first draft and then his edited draft of “1408″ into the end of the book, and I thought that was very effective. Even masters have a lot of re-editing to do. I am copying him and posting the first, unedited first draft. Once things calm down with work and moving, I will go back to the story and proceed with the second draft. In the meantime, comments (of course, comments must abide by the rules put forth in “Correct me, please” :) ) are welcome.
Note: The exercise had to do with writing about an abusive relationship….how everything starts out fine, then things go wrong. But he wanted the abuser to be the woman. I thought of going really psychotic with the story, but decided a slight dramatic flare to it would be enough. The things that happen in the story would probably be more prone to happen in a soap opera (albeit it, a well written soap opera), but you know what, sometimes life really be’s that way…
Yeah, this whole work thing is putting a damper on the writing thing. Try writing in the morning, and I’m tired. Try writing at night, and I’m tired. The stuff that I’m writing sucks. I keep telling myself, just have to get into the swing of things. Hopefully the swing of things will happen before Tuesday, because I have a draft due for the Coil Review, and thus far, what I have sucks. :(
I need a benefactor. Any takers?
Just wanted to post the links of websites (look under Blogroll) where you can find cool stuff about hair and reggae (on different websites :) ). And maybe there is a little somethin’ somethin’ from yours truly. If there are any mistakes, blame the editor (see blog entry on editing).
I am a writer-in-training. This means I have a lot to work on. When people point out that something isn’t right with a piece I wrote or tell me that a sentence or two sounds awkward, I get defensive only because they rarely have some suggestions to go along with their criticism. Actually, that’s not completely true. I get defensive because any criticism is hard for me to take, and I’m sure many others would feel the same. It is just a hard thing to have someone tell you that something you worked hard on isn’t up to par. But, as I have said, I understand that I am going through a learning process right now. So, I am trying to be openminded and gracious to comments and suggestions I receive from those who read my stuff. On that note, when doing so, please try to adhere to the following rules below:
1) First and foremost, praise me for the awesome things I did do. Let me know that I rock before you tear me down.
2) When you begin the actual criticizing part, do it in a way so that I don’t realize you are actually criticizing. Example: “This one sentence has such vivid and amazing imagery…it might flow just a little bit better if (insert suggestion here).”
3) If I get pissed even after you have perfectly followed 1 and 2, and I have temper tantrum in which I yell at you about how you “just don’t get it,” please be patient. I normally sit for an hour or two, calm down and realize that indeed, you were trying to be helpful and not trying to crush my creative spirit. And once I start thinking rationally, I take all suggestions very seriously.
Point is…I am dramatic, I am often irrational and I am overly sensitive. But I know that in order for me to succeed at this whole writing thing, I need to do two things…practice and listen to others. So bring on the criticisms! Just bring with it a suggestion or two…and please be gentle :(
P.S. Big Ups to Joseph! He rocks at criticizing my writing in the proper way :)
So, I am reading Stephen King’s On Writing, and in the chapter I just read, he gives an exercise for the readers to do. I have started on it, and it is actually kind of ok. So, here is my dilemma. How true do I want to be to this blog? I thought since it is on writing, I would like to post the finished product of this exercise. However, it is sort of uncensored. Stephen King stressed being honest to yourself when you write. I was trying to be really honest with this piece. However, if people, i.e. family members, present and future employers, and church members (yeah, don’t go to church, but who is to say in a month or a year I won’t become an alter girl at the neighborhood catholic church and all the congregation members will want to read my blog, because by then, I will be some famous author, and they will want to see where I started!), have access to it whenever, that would just be a little uncomfortable for me (“Wow, she wrote that? Interesting.”). I mean, I don’t have the main character kill anyone (well, at least not yet) or go into REALLY explicit details about sex…but yeah, it is edging a little close to an R rating.
Aight, people need to comment on this one. What should I do?
I have recently become involved with a couple of online magazines in order to 1) practice my writing and 2) get some samples going. One, the Coil Review, is awesome. It started in June of this year and is professionally and beautifully done. Soon, my very first article will be published on that site. The other is a site that, at this moment, I will refrain from mentioning. Not that the site won’t be great…it looks like it has a lot of potential and once it gets it together, I think it is going to rock. But right now, it is a work in progress. The real reason I don’t want to give the site out yet is that this work in progress has already posted some of my work in progress. Oh, cool! Let us know where it is, Stephanie! No. Here is where I am starting to understand the differences in editors and editing techniques. On this particular unripe site, the editor has decided to post the definitely unedited version of one of my stories. This version has cute little notes to myself in parentheses and in bold, such as “don’t know where he was born…want to put in…come back to.” I use “come back to” a lot, because you know what, I was going to COME BACK to it. I sent this article to the editor because I needed help. He obviously didn’t look at it…just said, cool beans, let me slap that mess up on the site, woo hoo! I wrote him to remind him (because I certainly said in my first email to him that that version was a DRAFT that needed HELP) that the particular article he had up on the site was not the final draft. I asked him if I should just send him the final (as final as it was going to get with just me looking through it) draft to post, or if I could just somehow change it myself. He said it was no problem, send him the “final” draft (at least the draft that doesn’t show me being a schizo writer talking to myself), and he would post it. That was two days ago. My bootleg draft version of the article is still up. Thus and therefore, no one is getting a link, not until my bootleg final version is up.
Now, this leads me to my experience with the editor of the Coil Review. Just like the site itself, my relationship with her has been professional. I had a deadline for submitting article topics. She wrote me back about which one she liked most. I wrote an article on that topic and had a deadline for sending it to her. She sent it back with a multitude of comments and concerns. Needless to say, it was a bit shocking at first to see all those write-ups…felt like I was going back to middle school. But then, my pride decided to back off and I realized, I really don’t know how to write for this type of medium. I am a rambler (as many of you can probably tell by now), and her response to this was, this needs to be shortened, this needs to be cut, make this a page and a half (yeah, it was definitely about three pages), just make it concise and simple! The people who will be reading this site will not be primarily my friends and family, who love me so much that they put up with my rambling, listening and reading intently, knowing that eventually I am going to get to the core of the story. These will be people who don’t know or care about me…they want the story now! I should know about these people. I am exactly the same. When I read a magazine or some other informational press, I want to get to the bottom of the story right away, or I will just tune out. Whether it be ADD (which sometimes, I really question if I have) or just the fact that our society has become so impatient and high-strung, we don’t have the time or desire to sift through a lot of fluffy, pretty words. And this editor has helped show me how to at least begin to write in such a manner that won’t turn people off or make them go to sleep.
So, I sent her a revised draft, she sent me another edit of my revised draft, I sent her back the revised revised draft…and now I am waiting. Hopefully, my article (which looks very unlike the first draft) will be posted soon. And hopefully, the next time I write an article for her, it will take me only a few days to do instead of a few weeks. Practice makes good (and good editors make perfect).
I used to be an avid reader when I was younger. Then I went to law school. After reading (or supposedly reading) pages upon pages of dull, lifeless text, I really just had no desire to read anymore, even for fun. So for about four years, I didn’t read any fiction novels. I began reading People and US Weekly magazines, just because I needed something mind-numbing. Reading anything more complicated would mean I would have to think, and what little thinking I did was reserved for trying to make it through law school. Then I decided to quite the law…and I found that I wanted to start reading for fun again.
Stephenie Meyer wrote the Twilight series about one of my favorite fictional topics, vampires. Vampires falling in love with normal girls. I used to fantasize about crazy things like that happening to me, ever since I watched a high school production of Dracula and dreamed about Count Dracula biting my neck the way he did the lead actress. Ohhh, how insanely delicious, I thought, and still think. So, it seemed natural to get into Ms. Meyer’s books. But I just didn’t get into them…I began to obsess. I took the books everywhere with me…I couldn’t stop reading. It was like a flood gate had been opened, and my being, having craved such wondrous words for so long, could not get enough. I flew through the three books she had written, and I am now patiently (has to be patiently, because when one is broke, buying a $30 book is a super, duper special treat) waiting to buy the fourth installment.
Since those books, I have become almost psychotic about reading. In the last four months, I have read more books than I have in years. I am sure being unemployed has helped this wonderful surge in reading, but I want to believe that once I get a job, I won’t stop. It feels great. It feels awesome, wonderful, amazing. It feels free. I can’t believe I ever stopped doing it. A good book is almost like good sex (haha…just kidding, mom and dad…isn’t like I would know what that is like, being a virgin and all). After you read it, you just feel so satisfied, so content, so…so good!
OK, it has been a long day. New York is still kicking my ass, and simply going from point A to point B is an exhausting experience. I did, however, go to Barnes and Noble and buy myself a book. I know, I know…I have no money. But it was a treat to myself, and it is actually a book about how to write children’s books. And it wasn’t $30 (come on Stephenie, help a poor girl out!). Stephen King said in his book, On Writing, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I have been doing relatively well with the first…now, I need to definitely work on the latter.
So yeah, I am definitely having a hard time keeping this blog up. I keep telling myself, I will start writing in it more often, but something always gets in the way. This time it is reality. Being broke, having no job, not having my own apartment (big ups to Adia for putting up with my ass in a cute, but small studio apartment), it all just makes me tired. I am just tired all the damn time right now. Writing feels like a luxury, and although I know this is wrong, it just seems like if I do that instead of finding a job or a place to live, I just feel bad. Besides that, reality has a way of numbing my creativity. Stuff is so stressful right now, I can barely read let alone write without thinking, hmm, I wonder how I will afford to eat today.
So, I’m going to stop making promises on this blog. I will write when the desire hits me.
And oh, for whoever is reading this, I don’t know if Narcodex is a real word, but Google sort of said it was, so that is enough for me. So there.