Yep, it's true. NaNoWriMo 2011 will have to go on without me. :( It's sad and a bit frustrating that I can't do it.
But I am graduating from college in about a month and a half, so I've got a lot to finish up before I can graduate. Just this week I have a massive culture report due for my business English class, a draft of my 10 page final story for my creative writing class, a four page final copy of my Barbie story, and 9 more journal articles for my analytical journal. Gah, just the thought of all that stuff makes me want to pull my hair out. I don't really want to do any of it. Senioritis? ... Yes. And oh, I'm also supposed to be reading a 425 page book and be finished by Monday. I haven't even cracked the cover.
I need to get close to finishing my internship hours this month and my parents are going on a cruise for the week of Thanksgiving, so I will be babysitting my little sister (almost 8 years old), brother (5 years old), and two dogs. My mom expects me to home-school them that week, not gonna happen.
I also really need to get working on applying for jobs. Stress? Just a little bit.
NaNoWriMo sounds like much more fun than life, but life wins this round.
I've been working on my dress and I learned something quite interesting... God did not make me a seamstress and for a good reason. I was working on the bodice of my dress and... there were seams in the wrong places, with edges emerging between the folds, the top wasn't quite lined up, and the sleeve holes were lopsided. It just didn't really do well at all. I give up. At first, it was quite frustrating for me, but this morning is better. God gave me a different gift, one to write and that is better than being a seamstress for me. And hey, I can still make some pretty awesome pillowcases. :)
Each week on Tuesday, I post a creative writing prompt and my response to it. The best way to get better at writing is to practice. It gives me a chance to write a little flash fiction and spend some time writing outside of my WIP. :) You are welcome to do the same and post your response in the comments!
I admit that I completely forgot that I was doing this for the month of October and I apologize. I have been quite distracted with school and life. For anyone who is wondering, my friend Chris, who is dying of a brain tumor, is not really doing well anymore. I went to see him last week and I don't think he really remembers me. We sat together for two hours and he only said two sentences. It's painful, but I'm trying to be strong. If you would, please keep his wife, Pamela, in your prayers. This is very hard for her.
Anyway, on to my creative prompt.
Creative Prompt #16
Where do you go when you want to get away from the pressures of life, family, work, etc...? Write about that place.
Sometimes, it rains there and sometimes it is sunny.I’d like to say that there’s a beautiful waterfall, spilling over a small ledge, only about ten feet high and pouring into an open pool where the water is always warm and one can swim without shivering for as long as they wish.I’d also like to say that my place is quiet and wind whispers through the trees, comforting words that I cannot understand but they bring me peace.My place of solitude isn’t exactly like that.
It is probably more reminiscent of Tolkien’s world, Middle Earth.Rolling hills as the beautiful melodies of Howard Shore reach my ears, brass and string instruments playing a song that touches my heart.I’m dressed in a long white gown, with flowing sleeves and not a completely modest neckline.The Evenstar glitters as it hangs upon my breast.I ride a chestnut stallion, feeling the strong muscles beneath me as he moves and the wind blows my long hair into my face.It doesn’t bother me like it normally does.Nothing bothers me as I ride into the sun, blinding by the light but always moving towards my goal.When night falls, I lay upon the field, gazing up at the stars in wonder and dreaming that I could reach up my hand and pluck one from the sky to hold the small little light in my hands.It would be beautiful.There would be no tears of regret, shame, sadness, or guilt.When it rains, I would stand in the cold rain – enjoying it and not wasting a moment to brush away the wetness.I would be at peace.I could live without fear that I would not make enough money or my stories would never be published.I wouldn’t have to bury another person that I loved, though I would be alone.But not alone.God’s presence would blanket me and protect me.I am safe and loved.I could only stay for a while.Happiness would pull me back to the real life that I live and I would be reminded that I could return when I needed my escape.
For my creative writing class, we had to write a two page paper using only three word sentences - challenging and actually quite fun once I got used to leaving things out. It had to cover a five year period with our character. So, that's a lot of details in three words sentences. I really liked how mine came out, so I decided to share it with you. I hope you like it! I'm really hoping for an "A" on this one. :)
Folded white blanket.Two yellow jumpers.One fluffy giraffe.Noah’s ark mobile.Wooden rocking chair.Baby powder scent.Empty white crib.Six more weeks.Michael kisses belly.So much love.Two years trying.I’m finally pregnant.Boy or girl?We don’t know.Knitting blue blankets.Sewing pink quilts.Honey yellow bibs.Lots of excitement.Everything is ready.Baby’s coming soon.
Tuesday doctor appointment.Something is wrong.Baby in distress.Premature labor begins.Michael’s not there.Stuck in traffic.Sharp contracting pains.Gasping and crying.No pain relief.Suddenly contractions change.Pressure increases greatly.Need to push.Still no Michael.Doctor’s eyes darken.What is wrong?I watch monitor.Heartbeat is dropping.Not too late.Emergency cesarean section.Praying to God.Don’t take baby.Please Holy Father.Michael finally arrives.Holding my hand.Machines beep endlessly.Surgery is long.Longer than bearable.Baby is born.Covered in blood.Most beautiful sight.It’s a girl.Not a sound.Mouth suctioned out.More painful waiting.Then the sound/our baby wailing.Her voice protesting.Tears on cheeks.We cry happiness.
Low Apgar score.Loud voices increase.Baby stops moving. More tests needed.I watch horrified.Praying for help.Save our baby.She’s so little.Michael is solemn.I feel alone.Sewn back up.Waiting in recovery.No good news.No bad news.Nothing is heard.My heart aches.Never held her.She needs named.Ruth Estaline Adams.“Ruthie” for short.Michael seeks news.Ruthie’s in danger.Born too early.In neonatal ICU.Praying so hard.God, a miracle.All I ask.I need you.Save our baby.
I’m allowed in.Tubes sticking out.Leg wrapped tight.IV tucked beneath.Ruthie is hidden.Tiny eyes closed.I haven’t seen.What color eyes?Why our baby?What sin committed?Watching my baby.Chest slowly rises.Chest slowly falls.Tears are silent.Prayers are constant.Night comes quickly.Baby isn’t changing.Not much hope.Gather the family.Won’t survive night.Pleading with God.Please, please, please!Save little Ruthie.Crying with Michael.Want to hold.Want to kiss.Touch our baby.
Early in morning.Ruthie is fading.Prayers are desperate.Please Holy Father.I’ll do anything.Wanna keep her.Stats go up.God is listening.He answers prayers.Ruthie is stable.Tears of joy.Baby gets stronger.Each day better.Holding little Ruthie.Bright green eyes.Tiny little fingers.Ten soft toes.Perfect little baby.
Four weeks later.Ruthie goes home.Sleeps in crib.Spits on giraffe.Pees through jumpers.Swaddled in blanket.Rocks in chair.Sleeps in arms.Sweet baby girl.Crying at night.Feeding through night.Loving our baby.Thankful for gift.Kisses at night.Kisses at sunrise.So very grateful.
One year old.Bouncing baby girl.Brown matted curls.My spitting image.Sticky little fingers.Munching purple crayons.First full sentence.“I want cookie!”Learning to walk.Tripping over feet.Drying her tears.Pink little dresses.Butterfly kisses together. Michael’s piggyback rides.Rides on shoulders.Giggles with Ruthie.Smiles at us.Pouts at bedtime.Soft pink lips.Never really works.Reading giraffe stories.Loving our baby.Not always happy.Three ear infections.Coughing throughout night.Drippy little nose.Cuddling my Ruthie.Prayers to God.What is wrong?Let her stay.Keep germs away.
Life is fast.The terrible two’s.Ruthie comes first.Walks in park.Tantrums at store.Prayers at lunch.Little hands folded.I love her.Michael’s bear hugs.Dates on Tuesday.Sitter paid $20.Shopping for diapers. Calling home twice.Napping during movie.Dinner at home.Ruthie spitting peas.Loves her apples.Health is weak.More sick nights.Ruthie has pneumonia.She gets better.Then another cold.Cries at night.Never harsh words.Only soft tones.Giving up job.Staying with baby.Prayers every night.Thank you, Father.I love you.I love Michael.I love Ruthie.
Three years old. Tears all around.Acute lymphoblastic leukemia.Months of treatment.Bald little head.Chemotherapy – radiation – nothing.Bone marrow donor/no match found.I’m always here.High medical bills.Michel’s night job.He sleeps little.Prayers at night. Why our baby?Don’t take her.I won’t forgive. Please, not Ruthie.Kisses in morning.Never giving up.
Hospital at four.Last little birthday. Dirty old giraffe.Yellowed white blanket.Tattered pink quilt.Ruthie lays quiet.Barely smiles anymore.Oxygen through nose.Miserable little girl.I kiss cheeks.Promise to love.Ruthie prays aloud.“Thanks for giraffes.Peanut butter, jelly.I love Mom.I love Dad.”I read stories.Tell of Jesus.Jesus loves her.Waiting in heaven.“I love you.”Sitting that night.Prayers once again. God, I understand.I am thankful.Four more years.Better than none. Love my baby.Keep her safe.Always sleeping now.Ruthie is fading.No more giggles.No more kisses.Takes last breath.Michael hugs me.My heart’s broken.But faith remains.I’ll always love.I’ll always remember.God’s precious gift.Our little Ruthie.
Carving pumpkins, leaves falling in a constant stream like a light rain, bowls of candy corn, crisp days and cold nights, little kids dressed up in adorable costumes - ringing doorbells, asking for candy; Halloween decorations - glow-in-the-dark spider webs, spider rings, fake ghosts in the window, more candy corn, hand-drawn pumpkins.
I love October. I love Halloween! But I just wanted to say that my all-time favorite Halloween movie is the 1993 classic with Bette Middler, "Hocus Pocus". I absolutely love that movie! I love the plot line and the characters, talking cat and brothers protecting their sisters, three crazy witches that are sisters and two of them are not very bright. Wonderful humor! It may be a little cheesy, but I love it.
If you've never seen it, you should definitely take some time this month to watch it! :)
Here are some pictures of my lovely Halloween decorations!
Step 1: Write a blog post with the topic "Why I write". The goal is to search inside yourself for the core reasons as to why you open your notebook/Word Processor/napkin every day and put words down. Step 2: Link back to this post somewhere in your post. It can be in the opening, the ending, in an image, whatever. The point is to direct people here so they can read everyone else's reasons.
Step 3: Link to your post in the comments below. (Note: give a bit of a teaser, such as key words, the opening sentence, etc.)
Step 4: Read the reasons from others and gain a better understanding and fellowship about what it means to be a writer/author.
Step 5: (pretty optional) Use one of the graphics below - or make your own - to link in your sidebar to the reason why you write so all your future visitors can see it too and learn more about you.
Alrighty - let's see what I can come up with.
WHY I WRITE
I've always been really close with my older sister, Stephanie. She's two years old older than me and for most of our childhood, we were mistaken as twins. Though people usually thought that I was the older one as we aged. My sister used to write all the time.... in the bathroom. Steph would leave notebooks full of her stories on the bathroom floor and I'd read them, even though she would yell at me for it later. Most involved her being married and having 8 children, all boys and living in a big house while taking care of them. I always thought that they were interesting. She doesn't write anymore, but she does read a lot more than me. Steph literally finds time to read several books a week. I love my big sister and I love that she got me started writing.
I didn't get serious about writing until 5th grade when I met my friend, Molly, in my literature class. She was in the same row with me and we had to write a story where one person writes for a few minutes and then passes it to the person behind them to continue it. Very funny. Our row ended up writing about trapping Santa Clause. That's how "The Holiday Catchers" began and our friendship. Molly and I have been friends since we were ten and writing since then. We've written many stories since then and I promise that the plots have improved from trying to catch Holiday figures.
Writing is often therapeutic for me. I've lost quite a few people that I love. In a span of ten months, I went to four funerals - two family members and two friends. I also have a friend right now that is dying of brain cancer. A lot of what I write has deep connections to my life or is a way that I deal with something bothering me. There was a young man on my college campus that disappeared and I couldn't deal with it. It frightened me and I was scared for him. I wrote an entire novel that helped me deal with it.
Writing gives me an outlet for my emotions. I'm a highly sensitive person (you should look that up if you don't know what it is). That basically means that I have a high psychological sensitivity. I can become more easily overwhelmed by some situations, but most of the time I am pretty shy. I am easily affected by other people's moods and big groups of people make me uncomfortable. I have a rich, complex inner life and I enjoy music more than others. I need time by myself to recharge. Change can upset me. It's not a curse being highly sensitive. Highly sensitive people are often unusually creative and productive workers, attentive and thoughtful partners, and intellectually gifted individuals. It used to bother me, but I just need to be more aware that I am really sensitive to things and I try to avoid those situations that upset me. I really love that it helps me be more creative and I can write about those emotional stories better.
Ever since I started writing, writing has been the only thing that I've only wanted to do. Maybe a teacher for a while, but it's always really been about writing for me. I love it.
This morning, I woke up from a horrible nightmare with tears streaming down my cheeks and I didn't even know that I had been crying. Wow, it was just terrible. I haven't had a nightmare like that since I was in high school and I woke up screaming from a bad dream. Sad part is... I went back to sleep and straight back into the horror, except now another close friend was dying. Nightmares.... they really suck.
But it got me thinking. How vivid should we write something that is terrifying our characters? Should the reader be having nightmares about what happened to that person or be unable to stop thinking about it? That's up to the writer.
At the same time, we should have scenes so vivid that the reader feels like they are actually there. I decided to edit one of my scenes that I've written to make it even more vivid. It's those concrete details that really help the reader see what is happening. Those details SHOW what is happening instead of TELLING what is happening.
The damaged wooden, brown door swung open with a hard bang, echoing down the long hallway.Liora pulled her knees to her chest, adjusting her long green dress and refusing to look up at the man. She set her chin, her face passive and emotionless.
“Get up,” the gruff voice snarled.“It’s your turn.”
Liora slowly stood and he grabbed her arm, yanking her down the hallway and out into the sunlight.It burned her eyes as she blinked quickly.Too long had it been since she’d seen the sun.The gallows hung in their forbidden glory; the rope already stained with blood from its previous victims.Her captor forced her to stand on the uneven wooden box.Small slivers went into her bare feet, but she didn’t make a sound.He slipped the noose over her neck.It felt warm and wet against her skin.Liora glanced to the right, seeing the small bodies of the other children, lying in the dirt and discarded as if they meant nothing.Some still had their eyes open as if trying to see a future that never came.Liora felt the hot tears trickling down her cheeks as the man adjusted the noose.The crowd didn’t speak words of remonstration, but she could hear them whispering and shifting in the dirt. The heat kept them quiet as the women moved their handkerchiefs back and forth to moving the stale air.
“…her sentence will be to hang until dead.May God have mercy on her soul.”
His voice echoed in her ears.No one request clemency or yelled that someone stop what was about to take place.Only a godless people could do this.Liora took a deep breath as the box was kicked from beneath her and her lungs never took another breath. Her heart beat once more and was silent.
Really powerful, the stuff of nightmares. Hopefully I won't have another nightmare like that for a few years. But I will make a point to make sure that whatever I write is vivid and full of concrete details.
Recently, we had a discussion in my creative writing class about not using "The Compliment Sandwich" when discussing someone's writing, but to just give them straight commentary about the problems of the piece and what needs to be improved to make the piece correct or slightly enjoyable. Not say anything that works with the piece or anything nice.
I am all for the compliment sandwich! I'll even serve with some nice freshly cut strawberries. I understand letting another writer know that what they wrote isn't really working, but since this is such a hard industry I think we could also use a little sugar coating, as long as the truth is clearly spelled out for the person. We don't need to insult them, but we do need to give them accurate advice.
Jen's character is interesting with her desire to walk kittens as a career. But at the same time, she lacks any depth. She has no other desires or goals in life. Jen doesn't have any relationships other than Tabby, her cat. Try adding another character - human character and give Jen some goals. What does she like to eat? What does do her spare time? Does she have any super powers? You've got a good beginning, but it needs more.
Compliment Advice Compliment
It's helpful and it doesn't destroy the writer. This would probably be different if the work was terrible. But it can be done. I had to critique a classmate's paper that had no conflict, the character's life was perfect, she lived with a guy that we (the reader) didn't know if he was a friend, boyfriend, brother, or just roommate, and it was riddled with simple spelling errors. She's a college student in a writing class. Not the best, but I didn't tear her down or the work. I gave her a lot of different ways to improve it.
As fellow writers, I think we should encourage each other to be better and to keep writing. Writing is a difficult dream and sometimes a nice little sandwich on the way is helpful. It lets us know what's wrong, but it also lifts us up.
Sometimes we do need tough love if nothing is redeeming or good in the story, but most of the time... I'm kind and I'd rather encourage with help. :)
Well, this is just my way of saying that I didn't achieve all of my goals from September, actually I didn't really do well, but that's okay! I've been dealing with some stuff. It's like the elephant in the room, but it's a hippo because I really love hippos. They are so cute!
* Write at least 20,000 words on my current WIP (Nameless) Hmmm... nope. I am sitting at 6,190 words. Not really close to 20,000.
* Finish the country map of Menrio (for my novel Nameless) Did I mention that I'm not really good with the program and I am not geographically smart?
* Contact Lulu.com about the possibility of having "Down in the Creek" or "To Love without Hope" professionally edited I actually did this one and decided that I don't have that kind of money right now. I am working an unpaid internship and don't have an income, just what is in savings. It's not a priority at this time.
* Write to 10,000 words on my WIP (Nameless)
* Work on my Halloween costume! (I will most likely make lots of reference of Halloween this month since it is my favorite holiday! I love decorating, dressing up and handing out candy.)
I am hoping to make a Regency style gown for my costume, to be Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. I found this pattern online and I hope that it isn't too difficult. It doesn't have to be perfect, but I hope that I can make it look pretty nice. :)
I am only going to give myself two goals for this month because of school work, time commitments with my internship, and other things. I really would like to spend more time with my friend that is dying. He's a great guy and I am trying to make some special cookies for him. :) God is giving me this time to spend with him before he goes home and I don't want to waste it.
I also need to decide if I should do NaNoWriMo this November. I've done it the past three years and I've done one month of Camp NaNoWriMo. It might be a more emotional month for me, but I might try it.
I hope that my October goals don't turn out like September or I might look like my poor hippo, Chubby. I lost him and my mom had hippo-napped him and hung him up in the bathroom. Poor guy.
How do you keep up with your goals? Do you reward yourself for achieving your goals?