I had no idea it has been almost 2 years since I spent the time writing on this blog. Life has changed and different things become a focus. My hope and plan is to get back in the writing game on a more consistent basis. I have spent a lot of time writing primarily blogs/updates on my sisters health for the last 7 months which can be seen at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/MIchelleEmsickWinston/journal.
I have continue to work on stories but not at the pace I was 2 years ago – now I find myself really wanting to focus on learning to write screenplays. I have several stories which would be good in prose form, but others which are destined for the screenplay. I believe this is something I have blogged about before – but it has become a big step for my in my writing journey.
to think, process and come up with new ideas. My writing life has not felt like my own for a few months now. I started that new job last September and it took about 6 months to get my flow so that I could feel that I had time and understood my job. I continue to enjoy my job, and have new things to learn but things are more consistent. Then I was in a car accident in February – my second in 6 months. I have struggled in the healing from this one – it messed up my neck and left shoulder so I can only type for short periods of without lots of pain. That shouldn’t be an excuse because the majority of my stories are actually written pen to paper. And now for the last couple of months I have been focused on my move – I am moving and entire 3 bedroom home into two bedrooms with a roommate and a fully furnished house – it’s taking so much time and I am close to the end and just want it all done.
The exciting thing for me is that I have had stories and thoughts I wanted to work into a story and recently have started to put it all together – now I just need the time to sit down and write it up. As I am packing and downsizing – I have been doing it with the television off and I can’t believe how nice and helpful it has been in getting those creative juices flowing. I plan to be all settled in my new home the first of August and am so excited – I am setting up a writing space and can’t wait.
I have a box full of note cards – on it are quotes from books, movies, and tv shows that I liked. Usually it is something that I found touching, inspiring or simply poignant. Somewhere is a box or notebook full of little sheets of paper with my own ‘inspirational’ quotes. I used to write them down thinking they were the beginning of a poem. Every now and then I found that box and I am inspired – there are some good lines there. And sometimes they stand alone. This is another one of those reasons I take down the lines that I like in movies and such – the lines stand alone and they spark something in me.
Often while I am driving – I think of a line, a sentence that has a place in a story of mine and I always feel like it is something that I have to remember to write down as soon as possible. These are not poetry or inspirational thoughts – these are often lines for a story – and not always one I am working on. Lines like this are the type of phrase that I often use as an opening sentence for a story. I wonder if there are many out there who will build a story around that one sentence. If I like it enough – it is the beginning of the story and sometimes I have to let the story tell itself and build off that one sentence – other times there is a story that has been roaming around in my head and trying to figure out how to start – this line might be just the start that I am looking for.
Are there others out there who pay attention to that one line that pops in your mind? what is it that you do with them?
I am going to try and get back in the habit of blogging. Not that it justifies it or anything, but life has been a little busy – and it doesn’t seem to want to settle down for awhile, but it’s all good. Seems to be the right direction for me at this stage of my life. Back in September – about the time I wrote my last blog – I had an opportunity for a new job at a different business. It all happened very quickly and I was excited. I had been with my previous company for about 7 years and had been very unhappy the majority of the time I was there – I enjoyed the job I did, the families I worked with and the changes I helped to bring in their lives – but I had a terrible boss. She made work completely miserable and it was so past the time of my needing to leave.
This opportunity came fast, was a bit of a cut in my salary – but not as much when you consider more pto’s and free insurance. The ironic thing is that one of the reasons I wanted to leave the other business was the lack of time I had for myself and my writing and here I am in a job which appears to occupy more of my time – yet I am so much happier – it’s a great environment and so much more supportive. I am still learning and finding more time for myself – but I keep telling myself, get to where it becomes a little more second nature – and I will be good. I have more changes, but am not wanting to go into those at this point.
Right now, I am working on a screenplay (my first) and a new thriller – I am not sure if it is a short or a novel at this point, I think I will have to let the story tell itself.
What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought this book was pretty good – the name for the tooth fairy’s was a little distracting and was not as enthralling or whimsical as I had hoped but the writing is very good.
View all my reviews >>
There is an art to being a storyteller. I aspire to be that. I also aspire to be a writer. I believe I am both, but I just hope others believe the same thing. It’s funny but recently I have been talking with some of my friends that these do not necessarily go hand in hand.
I have a sister who was picked on horribly by some of my younger brothers and sisters. Her stories went a little long – and I sometimes wonder if she didn’t try to read how interested people were and embellish – just a little. Anyhow, my siblings called her, Rose (from the Golden Girls) whenever her stories were getting a little long. She is now a much better storyteller, but I think that it damaged her self-esteem a little early on when it came to storytelling – so that is not my recommendation.
Some of the people I know who are the worst storytellers – writers. I am not sure why but there is a lot of time I want to say, ‘too much exposition – get to the point.’ And yet they are the same ones who critique my peers on using too much exposition.
LOL – not sure what my point is here, but I do believe there is an art to good storytelling. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Have a story to tell.
- Get to the point – evaluate ‘is the extra build-up or follow-up necessary.’ Often I believe it is not, most of the people I am talking to are not stupid and needing to be walked through the story and if they need to know more they ask questions.
- Don’t ask the questions yourself – if your listeners aren’t asking, it probably wasn’t relevant to the story, or interesting enough for them to identify questions.
- Know your audience – if it’s offensive to certain populations, maybe it is best told to those one or two people who know you well enough to tolerate you even when you offend. And if it is in the field they work with or related to someone they know – you don’t need a long explanation of who or why it’s important. Which leads me to my final point -
- If you have to explain why it’s a good story to tell, you are probably wrong.
If you think of any points I may have missed – feel free to leave them in the comments.
So about ten days ago, I spent a lot of time investigating some online magazines and their guidelines. I have considered doing some of these for quite awhile, and found one which I was really interested in – gud magazine – but they were on a submission hold. However, by cruising around their site a little, I was able to discover some other sites. I remember one – though not offhand that I submitted to, only took something like 48 hours to reject my submission.
The funny thing is that I was telling some friends about it and was kind of excited – it was a site which would not accept simultaneous submissions, so it was nice to know early on that they were not going to accept it so I could submit it somewhere else. By then the time that the other magazine was starting to accept submissions again – and I was so sure, I knew this would be the magazine for it – they took 6-ish days to reject me. Not as fun the second time around.
Oh well, more opportunities out there, I just gotta get looking, right?
I have been very disappointed in myself with writing the blog as of late. I am trying to get back into more of pattern that will challenge me to post more often. I am in these two newsgroups and have recently loved the challenges that one of them is bringing to me. There is a woman who is trying to get more interaction on the newsgroup going – she is posting questions about writing and people are responding. So far they have been very interesting: What are you reading? How do you write (pen and paper or computer), roll call and getting to know your characters.
Some of these are ones I have blogged about in the past, like the character development. The one that really provoked me to do a lot of thinking was the one on how do you write. I always thought that I was being ‘less productive’ and not keeping up with the times because I tend to write – pen to paper. It’ll happen in the most unusual times and places as well – and I will write on whatever I can find that will work as paper and welcome the pen that I am using.
I have tried typing my initial story on the computer – but always seem to fail because either I am distracted or just get tired of sitting at the computer and typing. When I look at the short stories I have written – everyone completed one of them was written first from pen to paper. So it got me thinking about why I do this and I wonder if it has to do with the whole editing portion of the computer. I think I try and edit as I write when I am typing, but when it is pen to paper – it just keeps coming out with a speed and focus that I can’t seem to get on the computer. Though I am a much faster at typing on the computer than I am writing by hand.
So now that I have identified this, that offers a new challenge – either get writing more with pen and paper or learn to write without editing on the computer – one would be faster than the other. Both have just as many inconvenient steps as they do convenient ones. The pen and paper route really allows for me to write just about anywhere – that means I have to carry paper with me wherever I go. Pen and paper is slow for me to transfer to the computer – seems to be my first edit. The computer is just faster and it is right there for me to edit after I finish; however, doesn’t seem to be something that I do well at doing (although I do seem to be able to do it in my blogs).