“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” Mark Twain

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Writer's Block

Maybe it's just that it's back to teaching and I'm coming home mentally and physically exhausted, but I look at what I've written and all I can say is "This shit sucks." I look forward to it all day and I finally get to sit down with my computer and wonder why I've wasted almost 2 years of my life writing. Except to make me a better writing teacher so grading the scribbles of 90 sixth graders will take up so much time i can't write, anyway. Hell, I could have been watching TV!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love, again.

I've seen mixed reviews about the movies. Those that love it do because mostly because of Julia Roberts who has always been only okay in my book. I did like the David guy in the book. But I had a hard time believing a guy like that is for real. What woman doesn't want to fall in love on the rebound with a handsome, sensitive actor? And James Franco, to boot. That would be worth the netflix.

Those that don't say it's too long and it's about a spoiled American woman...blah, blah...just what I said.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

The movie comes out on Friday. My daughter gave me the book for Christmas and I was excited to read it, but, well...I put it aside. I was having issues with it.

I read the first chapter or two or three. The writer-Elizabeth Gilbert, if I remember correctly, decided she needed to divorce her husband. She didn't go into all the issues because she wanted to respect the privacy of her ex-husband. The issue she talked mostly about was the fact she felt trapped. She decided she didn't want to start having babies and do other things that were expected of her, things she basically agreed to when she said, "I do." Or even before when she said, "Yes." I guess I have a little problem with that. I've been married for over 27 years. My husband is a good man, but he has a head injury and, frankly, wow, how do I want to say this without making either one of us sound less than we are. Well, he's lacking certain qualities I wish he had. I have to do many things I wish he would do, but he can't because his brain doesn't work that way anymore. And honestly, I didn't realize all these things before I said "Yes, I will marry you," and "I do." In some ways, my marriage is not what I thought it would be or what I hoped or envisioned. I don't think many are, but some of us manage to work through the frustration and disappointment, find the good things about the relationship and make it better. I'm sure I have disappointed my husband in many ways, too.

So there's that. Then--well, maybe this is envy speaking but--I would like the opportunity to travel the world to "find myself." I'd also like to travel to lose myself and be myself. EG was fortunate to be a travel writer and had an opportunity to begin her spiritual adventure by working. I'm not sure how the rest was funded, maybe the same way. I certainly don't have a problem with that. But if most people who "found" ourselves had to wait until we could travel abroad to do it, well, we'd be permanently lost.

I have a hunch that "finding oneself" is a recent luxury of middle and upper class America. Most people alive today and who preceded us consider "feeding oneself" and her family a blessing. I'm extremely blessed to be able to sit in my comfy cool home in the desert summer and spout off about a tidbit of pop culture.

I may be missing a lot by not reading this book. Often, however, hyped movies and books leave me feeling, "Really? So what?" Not all the time, but many times. Maybe the movie would be simply a good story if I didn't have issues with the book. And maybe, when the DVD makes it to Netflix, I'll find out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Why Romance?

Last night I finished writing the first draft of my second, well, third, novel I'm a little abashed to say they are romances. Not the Harlequin heaving bosoms kind (I hope-it's been awhile since I looked at one) but hopefully something with a little meat in it, looking at modern relationships, maybe comparing them to older models. And rebuilding devastated lives, which seems to be a common theme in women's fiction. There's a topic for some pondering and a post some day.

I didn't set out to write romance, but I started typing in November of 2008 for NaNoWriMo and that's what came out. But I like a good escape tale. Life can be so mundane, day-in-day out samething. Too much work, too little money, too many bills, etc. Guys read and watch action/adventure blow things up/shoot guys dead for their escape. I don't mind that once in a while, and most of them do have some kind of romantic subplot.

I'm reading Steven King's On Writing right now. He says don't be ashamed of the kind of stories you write. Someone chided him on his horror/suspense genre early in his career-he was smarter than that. Well, they sell and he's a kabillionaire. If you do something well and there's a market for it and you love it...

Of course, the jury's still out on if I do romance well. Heck, the jury hasn't even been given the case yet.

I'm going to ask a few friends if they'll read it for me. I need to take a few weeks of from it and get some distance. I can watch movies, read books and screenplays and work on my second screenplay. Or begin book 2 of the trilogy.

I'm fairly intelligent, above average, but not necessarily deep. I know a little about a lot of things. So, I guess my writing will reflect that. I don't expect some dense, brooding tome exploring the meaning of life, etc. At least not yet. My writing will mature as I continue work on it, but in the meantime, if romance comes out when my fingers hit the keys, so be it. I pray I do it well, entertain, maybe get women to look at their relationships and think about God's part in their lives.

Here are my writing projects since November, 2008

A Box of Rain--abandoned (for n0w)
The C Word Can Make You Cry (NaN0 2009. Well , this isn't technically finished. I left the last few pages go to the last day of Nov., thinking, "What can possibly keep me from it. An unexpected serious illness that required hospitalization. That's what I get for having a little hubris)
Another Place on the Planet (began as an alternate ending for Box and took on a life of it's own. I have enough material for 2 more books to make a series of it, I believe.)

Another Place on the Planet (based on the 3rd book of the series)
Life in the Face Of... (working title based on The C Word...)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How To Be Alone

Free Writing Advice

I emailed the following to my daughter and she posted it on her writing blog so I'm going to borrow it back and post it on mine.

I was reading your blog entries--you're amazing--about writing. I have some advice. Unsolicited sure, but that's what moms do. At least it's only about writing.

1. If you write, you are a writer. not of sorts, but you ARE. damn, girl, you've even been published!

2. writers write every day or as often as possible. we make time to write, give up less important things to write--less important not meaning important relationships, getting out with people and having some new experiences-(consider it research for the future)

3. your short story--I guess your deadline is past. Did you finish the story? I mean plow through it until you could write the end? It's a first draft, not intended to be perfect. Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is shit." Doesn't matter how bad you think it is, if it makes sense or not--get it down. Most times the first draft is where we figure out what the story is going to be about, etc. that doesn't have to be all ready before you type. I've been doing a lot of reading about writing and that's what everybody says. And it's true. Rewriting the beginning is a way to procrastinate when you're afraid to move ahead and see you might actually be good.

4.place to write. Isn't it the Isle of Wight? Even though the Isle of Wright might be a good place to write. Don't wait till you get the perfect place. It's a another form of procrastination. If i waited till I got a sewing room to sew all those dresses I made when you were little, you wouldn't have had them. Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote in a cold prison cell, etc. Set up a crate in your room for the typewriter (If that's how you insist on doing it) or take your computer or notebook to a coffee shop, whatever. You can get a cute little cottage when you sell a book. I'll share mine if I get it first!

5. I bet there's some writing groups in Philly. My critique group has been the best thing. I have learned so much about the language, style, everything. Including my writing is at least reasonable, people understand it, i occasionally turn a good phrase or hit upon some wisdom or something that resonates with someone. It's scary at first, but it's worth it. You have lots to share, too.

I like the way your writing blog looks. I started a new one-i must add another entry ASAP!

so there's my $0.02.

Be happy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The end is near--if only I could write it

I have until Sunday night to finish my book, Another Place on the Planet. I just have to hack it out to get it done. I don't have a flair for snappy endings. Heck, I'm not even sure I have a flair for decent writing, but I try.

Another Place is an alternate ending to my first novel, A Box of Rain, which I wrote for my first NaNoWriMo in 2008 when the the writing bug bit and I became infected. I think some parts of the story were good for my first attempt, and I had some nice compliments from my critique group, (Glendale Writer's Critique Group) although none of them liked the main character's love interest. It had an ending. But as I thought about it, I wasn't satisfied. After all, it's a romance and all the ending promised was stability with a nice guy. As escape material, I thought, "Boring!"

So, I had the MC meet another potential love who was a bit more interesting. And I liked that and hopefully had the reader wondering who was going to get the girl, the MC. But then I took it one step beyond and Another Place on the Planet was born and has grown and grown and...

I have enough material for at least three books. I started last May and spent almost a year writing scenes, rewriting a few, taking different twists but couldn't get it all focused so this summer I said, "Trilogy!" We'll see what a publisher, if any, says.

But first I have to write the end of the first book. Then I have to revise and see if it all makes sense and where I can improve conflict and sexual tension, etc. I have to focus on the unseen details that make it tight and readable, that make it flow. It's quite the learning process. Not as much fun as devising new situations for two characters I've come to love. But any good writer knows that most of writing is rewriting.

I've been finding if I get bogged down and can't move the story forward I need to take a short break from it. Maybe work for a day or two on my current screenplay or watch a few movies or read some fiction or a combination of all of the above. I do have a couple of Netflix I've been looking forward to viewing, Precious and Through a Glass Darkly. So, maybe I'll do that tomorrow. Also must edit my critique group submission for this week and critique the submissions from last time.

My free time is rapidly drawing to a close. I went into my smelly new classroom today and filled up my desk and put a personal-type bulletin board up where I hang important papers I need often and things the kids give me. I'll have 90 kids this year instead of 70. Besides Science and Social Studies, I hear they've tacked on Writing, so I'll have 90 kids to read for. Hmmm...I'm not going to let it cut into much of my writing time. Keep it short, stupid. KISS.