Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Poetry Month Prep

Hey everyone.
Sorry I didn't post on Monday like I usually do. Things were very busy.

For those of you who are writing along with me and those who might be posting their poems in the comments, I thought I'd go over a few things.

1. Robert Brewer at the Poetic Asides blog will have a poetry prompt for each day. I will be posting my poems over there in the comments, as well as here. If you want to read his rules about the Poem A Day challenge (PAD challenge), click here.

2. I might decide to put a prompt every day (or maybe just every week) on this blog myself. But you don't have to follow it! Feel free to post any poem in the comments that you write during April.

3. Out of all the poems posted in the comments I'll choose my favorite one. The winner will be awarded an incredibly awesome award made by me in photoshop. I haven't made it yet but it will be fabulous. I honestly don't expect a lot of people to post here, but if there are enough, I will choose my top five favorite poems.

4. About copyrights and such: I don't pretend to be able to handle all the technical and legal stuff that goes on with copyrights and posting on blogs. If you're worried that posting poems in the comments here will make your poetry not eligible for publication later, don't post. My personal philosophy is that I am a poet and that means I should always be able to produce new poetry. If a few of my poems get jaded because I put them online, I don't really care. I can always write new ones and they will be better than the last. (That's the theory anyways.)
Here's Robert Brewer's take on it, which I found very helpful.

5. The purpose of this is to motivate/encourage the writing of new poetry. Have fun with it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Location Writing and April is Poetry Month!

So I tried the whole writing in a new location thing but it only happened once. Turns out not that many places in my area are open after 10pm, which was the only time I was able to carve out to go somewhere else and write. (I was able to write plenty in places I had already made convenient for me to write at however.)

So I ended up at a coffee shop I had never written at before, a half hour before they closed. I got some tea, I sat down, and I banged out a ton of words. I feel very proud of myself for not getting distracted.

My conclusion about the location writing experiment:
Writing in a new location is great for writers. But it's something that will only happen now and then. Writers should be open to being purposeful about writing whenever they find themselves in a new place. But seeking out a new place every day is not helpful.

I will, however, always remember the scene I wrote when I visit that coffee shop. The place now has a pleasant memory for me of being swept up in writing.

Now, onto my soap box.

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH! And I'm looking forward to it. Robert Brewer at the Poetic Asides blog challenges writers to write a poem a day. I did this last year and I don't regret a single bit of it. It was fun, enriching, and very healthy for my writing.

Anyone want to join me? Post in the comments if you'd like to write a poem a day with me. I will (hopefully) post each day what my poem is and invite you to post your poems as well in the comments if you so desire.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Location Writing Series, Part 1

I read this post by Robert Brewer about writing in a different location than you've ever written before.

I know that when I'm driving and listening to an audio book, if I go somewhere new, that new place gets imprinted on my mind along with the story. There are places on the highway where I remember some of my favorite characters falling in love, getting killed, or making discoveries, and every time I drive by them, I remember the stories.

When I was listening to C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength, I visited a Burger King I had never visited before. For me, that's where Miss Hardcastle died. I think about it every time I drive by there.

After reading Robert's post, and realizing that location does have a powerful effect on our memories, I've decided to do a project...

I'm going to write in a different location than I've ever written in before for at least half an hour every day this week. I'm not sure I'll get to post about it every day, but I'll at least do a summary next week of how it went.

Hopefully this way I can build up enough locations to trigger my memory if I ever get stuck with a piece of writing. Then perhaps going to those places will help.

I also suspect that my new iPod touch, a gift from my fiance, (thank you!), will help me write in places where a full-sized laptop might be difficult to manage.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Unplug Week

This week I feel the need to concentrate on my writing and other things.
So I'm taking the week off from blogging, reading blogs, and as many online things as I can take a break from.

Have a good week and I'll see you next Monday!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Second Draft

I promised a friend of mine that I would have the second draft of my WIP for her to read by the end of February.

And I let the story sit for too long until this past week, when I did a blitz of writing. This suddenly imposed deadline did wonders for my story. It made me write things I wouldn't otherwise have written, and it got words down on the page.

Why is it that writing becomes so hard after awhile? They're just words, right? But getting those words on there is more than just typing away madly. Say that an average novel will be about 70,000 words long. (Obviously the word count will change with each genre.) That's 70,000 decisions the writer has to make, and I think after awhile, my brain just decides it's done making decisions about which word to put next.

Things that go into making those decisions when there is no deadline:
1. Is this the right word?
2. Is this the direction I want my story to go in?
3. Will this phrase highlight what I want it to?
4. Does this move the plot forward?
5. Do I need to do more research before writing this section?
179. Should I stop writing and read over EVERYTHING I have so far, just to get a feel for where I'm at? (Hint: The answer to this one is usually NO!)

Things that go into making decisions when there is a deadline:
1. How fast can I type this scene?

We writers can labor over single sentences for hours trying to make sure every word is justified and correct. But at some point, I know I have to realize that my readers are going to be reading the perfect sentence I spent hours creating in about two seconds or less. Deadlines are helpful because they make me write at the speed my readers will be reading. There are other times where I want to slow down and think about the decisions I make while I write, but pressure is good now and then.

Do you write better when you have a deadline? Do you impose deadlines on yourself to get yourself writing?

I didn't reach my deadline entirely. There is still a lot more to do if I'm going to finish the second draft. But I got a good portion of it done and I feel great about that. To celebrate, here's the opening scene. Feel free to let me know what you think. Enjoy!

“Who’s this lad here?” asked a lady. A man said he didn’t know. He said he found him in the streets, arrested him for being under age out at night, and couldn’t get him to speak a single word.

“How old is he?”

“Don’t rightly know. Looks to be about 15, don’t you think?”

“And no one’s come for him?”

“No. We’ve held him for two weeks and there’s been no one. Only thing I know to do is leave him with you, here at the orphanage. Only thing he’ll tell me is his name.”

“And what’s that then?”

“Aden Hubbard.” The lady drew up some paper work. “You don’t think anyone will mind if I assign him an age, do you? It’ll make it easier for him, just being assigned one.”

“I don’t mind. I just want to see him taken care of.”

“Most likely he’ll go unclaimed until he’s 16. Those that graduate out of the system are worse off. I’ll put down 14. That’ll give him a few years to get his feet.” Before morning, Aden Hubbard became a part of the system. Though he was much older than 14, he was grateful. Being in a strange country alone was hard enough without room and board.