Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The PennWriters Group Has A New Member!

Thank you, God! An answer to prayer!

As you know, I have been searching for a writer's group to join for several months, to absolutely no avail. On Thursday, I opened up the Showcase (our local "events" section of the paper) to the Literary Events and discovered that the PennWriters Group was having a meeting at Barnes & Noble on Saturday afternoon. I contacted the group leader via the e-mail provided and got all the necessary information I needed.

So, guess where I was today from 1-4? You guessed it! I attended my first writer's group meeting! I can't remember the last time I had that much fun! Several of the members (there were about 25 people in attendance, including 2 other newbies) brought print-outs of a few pages of their work for us to mark up and critique and everyone was so helpful. Honest, yet kind. I really enjoyed it! And man, can those people write! I wonderered what might be said if someone's work was truly awful, but if today's meeting was any indication, I don't think I'll have to worry about that at all. Hopefully, I don't start a new trend!

You can't bring your work in for critiquing unless you're a member, so I'll have my turn at the next meeting. They meet on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of every month. It takes about a week to process an application, so if I send mine out on Monday morning, I should be good to go.

I'm so nervous! What if they think my writing sucks? You know what though? I don't care if they do. As hard as it would be if they do, I'm determined to take whatever they say and learn from it. I don't care how much work it's going to take! It's time to make my dreams come true.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

Write about someone who has to abruptly leave town.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blank Page Horrors

I have never before read a book by Stephen King. I am not a fan of horror by any means, though I did enjoy the movie version of his book, The Shining. And yet, the other day as I was browsing the Writing Reference section at Barnes and Noble, his book entitled "On Writing" somehow fell into my hands. I took it over to one of those big, comfy chairs and sat down with it for a spell. The next thing I knew, I was several chapters into it and my husband was nudging me to let me know that it was time to go.

I didn't buy the book that day, but I did check it out at the library a few days later (poor, starving writer and all). In the past week, it's been my constant companion, going with me wherever I go (I always carry some sort of book) and I've gained quite a bit of wisdom and knowledge about the craft from it.

Though he does mention his own works (it's really a memoir and writing book combined) it's definitely not designed for the horror or suspense writer (there's no push in that direction whatsoever) but just any writer in general. There's lots of helpful information and insight into the life of a writer, as well as the craft, including this little nugget that I purloined for my quote book:

"The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better."

How's that for a motivational kick in the pants?

I'm nearly finished with it, but I'm going to add it to my Amazon wishlist. I know that I'm going to want to read it again in the future. Besides, he deserves every penny he earns from it.

For all you beginner writers out there, do yourself a favor and go pick yourself up a copy (be forworned, there is a small sprinkling of f words in it). Zombies will come attack you in your sleep if you don't. ;)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spark Word

Today's Spark Word is:


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Weekly Wednesday Writing Prompt

You're sitting in an outdoor cafe waiting for someone when you receive a text message from an unrecognized number. The text says, "I have the money and hid the body." You think this is a practical joke from a friend, so you play along at first. But the more texts you receive, the more you realize that it isn't a joke. Write the text conversation you have with this unknown texter.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mocking me!

And as if to mock me, it is now suddenly working. It still won't let me go back and edit the other posts though.

What am I doing wrong?

What is with the lack of spaces?!?!

Here's what I hate: paragraphs that are not seperated with a space so that they look like a big jumbled mess! I have tried and tried to edit my posts so that it leaves a space between paragraphs, to no avail. I have tinkered with my settings and layout, and still my posts read like one bad, run-on sentence. With punctuation. Whatever.

Can anyone please tell me how to get my spaces back? I sometimes leave up to 10 spaces between paragraphs, yet when I hit "publish" and view my blog, they're all removed. It's driving me bonkers!!!

The Deal

I've been wanting a new laptop for nearly a year now. I say "new", but what I really mean is "my own." Our old laptop works fine, as long as you don't move it. The battery has passed on from this life, so that whenever you unplug the computer while still running, it crashes immediately. It's all hooked up in the back to the printer, DSL, my ipod shuffle dock, etc, so it's a pain to move around. And the desk we use it at is made for a youth, so it's not comfortable to sit at for long periods of time.I just want a computer that I can write on, that I can take with me to the coffee shop, or outside on our patio, or wherever, without worrying about if I have an outlet nearby.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just any old cheap laptop will do.
Yesterday my husband made me a deal. He said he will buy me a laptop IF I can complete three consecutive chapters of a novel. He knows all too well about my 2-pages-then-bail writing habits.
What do you think? Do you think I can do it?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Writer's Groups

The most prolific time of my life was when I was in 8-10th grade. My best friend Charity and I both loved to write, so we would go home each night and write and then bring our new pages to school the next day and switch. Whenever we got a chance (when the teacher wasn't paying attention, when we were finished early with a test, during study hall, etc) we'd read what the other had written and when we were done, we'd offer each other constructive criticism and encouragement. The other two best friends in our group, Mindy and Julie, didn't write stories (though they did dabble in poetry) but they would also eagerly look over our work and ask the tough questions that every writer needs ("I didn't understand this part," or "I'm not sure what you meant by that.") and it was so encouraging. Having someone else to write for, was like knowing your target audience. It was so valuable in keeping me focused and ensuring that the readability level stayed consistant.
I think part of why I can't seem to get farther than page 2 anymore is because I don't know my target audience. I don't have anyone to focus me and keep me going. To ask those hard questions, and offer encouragement. Perhaps not all writers need this, but I think that I am one who does.
For this reason, I think I would benefit greatly from being part of a Writer's Group. The problem is that I don't know where to find one! If I knew just one other person who might be interested, I'd try to start one myself, but I don't know anyone who writes anymore. I've tried to google it online (didn't help), search the newspaper (couldn't find anything) and even thought of putting up a flier somewhere, but I can't find anyplace that allows you to do that anymore.
Does anybody have any tips on how to find or form a Writer's Group?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spark Words

Spark words are words meant to jump-start your imagination and get your creative juices flowing. Given to 10 different people, you'd most likely get back 10 different stories or scenarios. And that's the beauty of it! You decide what it means to you, or how it works in your story. You can use it in your exsisting work or use it to start something brand new!
Wanna try?
This weeks Spark Word is:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Unknown Girl

Beside my bed there stands a picture in a distressed white wooden frame. The photo itself is black and white -- a snapshot of three young girls around the age of 10, I'd say, though I certainly wasn't there to document it. It was taken sometime in the early 1940s, from what I've been able to gather, and the three young girls are distant relations of mine.

On the far right is Rachel, standing straight and tall in her wrinkled, ill-fitting striped dress. Her dark hair is bobbed just above her chin, her face is strong and proud. She looks athletic, as if she prides herself on being able to run faster and climb higher than all the boys.

In the middle is Reba Jean. She is a little more petite than the other two, a little more refined. Her light-colored dress fits properly, her white socks neatly folded over above her little white shoes. Her blond curls frame her sweet face, but the slight wrinkle in her forehead and the turn of her lips hints at the dramatic. I can easily picture her lost in a book, or wandering through the wood with daisy chains in her hair, imagining that she is the princess of some unknown realm.

But it is the girl on the left who intrigues me the most. In contrast to the other two, she is wearing pants -- some sort of pale shaded overalls with a white button-down shirt and socks, and what looks to be loafers on her feet. Her wind-tossed hair looks as if it hasn't quite decided whether to be straight or curly. Her eyes dance with laughter and her smile is full of mischief. She is obviously the brains of the operation, and I have no doubt that she was able to talk the other two into performing whatever tricks she could think up on their poor, unsuspecting relatives!

There is something in her that speaks to me. Perhaps it is because when I was her age, I looked a bit like her. Whatever it is, I will probably never find out. I know almost nothing about her, other than that her young life was cut tragically short. Not long after this photo was taken, she and her father died in a house fire in West Virginia.

I don't even know her name.