Tag Archives: friends

Writing Life: “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll”

Today’s post comes from my friend Jade Bennett over at Jade Bennett Writes. Who also, if you hadn’t heard, launched her IndieGoGo campaign today!  She’s aiming to raise money to self-publish her first novel Mechanics of Magic, the first in a series titled Mechanical Maladies.  Check her out, and if you support her cause, please donate or share her IndieGoGo page!  Thanks, everyone!

Now, about Writing Life.

I’ve spoken on the topic of saying what you mean to say, how you mean to say it, multiple times, and this post isn’t going to change that tune.  I’ve been asked by several people why I choose to portray controversial subjects in my writing, how I approach those topics, and how I deal with the “backlash.”

Truth?  I’ve never really had any backlash.  I own what I write, and if people don’t like it, they can go complain on the internet.  (You know, like I do all the time.  You guys know.  =P)  If something means a lot to you, and you want to put that down on paper, that’s your call.  Gaining the courage to show the world is an entirely different matter.

Let’s face it: a stranger’s opinion is the difference between the cost of one book in our pocket and one less digit on our sales sheet, and that’s big.  But not as big as how we feel about, say, our mother reading that gay romance novel we wrote, chock full of drug abuse, rape, and our main character’s struggle to get by in an anti-equality society.  Or our father running across our heart-rending essays on teen suicide or our flash fiction about parental alcoholism.

It doesn’t matter.  I swear to you, write what you’re passionate about.  It may not be pretty and it may cause some controversy, but that’s okay.  Our modern world was built on controversy.  Voices rise and things change, but if we keep silent, we’re stagnant.  Even if it’s in your fiction, in a small, indirect way, say what you mean.  Even if it’s through your characters in a fictional realm on a fictional planet, address those things that call to your heart because only you can say them the way you intend them to be said.

Stand up.  Your friends and families will judge you.  Strangers will judge you.  But at least you can say that you stood for something.  So few people see what courage there is in writing fiction.

Be blunt.  You don’t have to be crass, but be honest.  If it’s not honesty from your perspective, be honest from an opposite perspective.  Fiction always displays at least two sides, if not always evenly.

Moral of the story?  Don’t be afraid to write about the hard things in life.  Your family may not approve, but you’ll be a voice for so many people who stand beside you.   More than you might realize.  Don’t let fear silence you. <3

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In the Spirit of Summer

Here’s a list of starters and prompts.  I want you guys to have fun with this one.  Lazy July days are necessary. <3

  • Write about your dream vacation. If you could go anywhere or do anything this summer, what would you do?
  • I was lounging on a beach on Maui when suddenly…
  • The last thing you expect to find in a swimming pool is…
  • Most kids set up a lemonade stand to make some money, but not us. We decided to…
  • This is going to be the last summer when I…
  • One thing I wish I’d done differently last summer is…
  • The minute the fireworks started going off, I…
  • Write a story about people from a land of perpetual summer visiting people from a land of perpetual winter, or vice versa.

Thanks to The Writing For Children Resource Site for these prompts!

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Writing Life: On Muses and Writing

Salut, all!  Today’s Writing Life post comes from my fellow writer-friend, Jessi, over at A BA in BS.  We’ve been through a lot together, me and this chick!  We’ve been friends for 13 years, created, hosted, and nurtured a writing group together, and even served as Municipal Liaisons in Massachusetts for NaNoWriMo 2010!  So, enjoy!

+*+*+*+

Inspiration. The ever illusive and always floating around us phantom that seems to slip through our fingers whenever we’re searching for it in earnest. I’m not sure about you, but my muse is a bit of a nudge. She shows herself when she feels it’s appropriate and no other time. I’ve tried coaxing her out. Leave some cookies and a mug of coffee by her door and hope she’ll want to play. I even made the cookies myself… No dice. ‘Fine. I’ll write this without her’, I convince myself and crack my knuckles to sit back and write.

It was a dark and stereotypical night when our hero found himself caught in a rain storm

“Really?” I sigh, delete and try again for the perfect first set of sentences. The truth of the matter is however, it’s not happening. Whether it’s a lack of inspiration or the lack of perfect, non-cliched writing ; the truth is, no quality writing is happening. So what do you or I do in that case?

Take a break

Maybe you’ve been starring at the computer screen for just about as long as you can remember. The hours have ticked by and your poor eyes are weary, dry and less than welcoming to the bright white of the empty page of text. Time to get up. Let the dog out, get a fresh cup of coffee, or go outside to smoke a cigarette. Whatever it is that you do to take your mind and eyes off the computer screen for a five minute break, do it. Sometimes all it takes is a momentary change of environment.

Try a writing exercise

It sounds silly. You’re working on your masterpiece, why would you stray from that? Well for starters, it may give you a new perspective on your hero/heroines current predicament. Also it could give you a new idea for a setting or character design. The point is to get your mind working on something else, and potentially, allowing it to then tangent back to your original, with something completely unexpected in tow.

Music

Ok. I’ll admit. This sounds a little stereotypical but at the same time, stop and give it a thought. How is your character reacting in the scene you’re imagining. Is it high stress? Are they about to valiantly save the love of their life? Are they relaxing by a stream? Where are they located?

Having some sort of soundtrack to your writing can save you in more than one instance. Sometimes listening to your characters theme song (assuming they have one) can trigger memories that you haven’t yet created for them, giving them purpose for being in the scene. Give it a shot, worse comes to worse, it doesn’t work and you’re still here.

Your inspiration comes from…

So where does your inspiration come from? Did you get the idea for the novel through a conversation? A walk in the park? Or did it pop up and become a pile of notes at a coffee shop, scribbled all over napkins? It may sound simple, but revisit that moment. Have a conversation with someone that understands the writing process and it’s inherent quirks. We all have writer friends that see how our brains work even if they don’t quite see through all our gauzy thought processes. Try to relive that moment, or go back through those piles of notes, seeing if something comes back to you, or even spurs on your muse.

So your muse is back or at least on speaking terms with you. Huzzah! The point however, of all of this is to try to gather on the inspiring moments in your life. Try something different and see what happens. I’ve always been a fan of writing to write, even when you’re in the middle of a project. Sometimes those bits of tangent lead you in a direction you never imagined and bring you to brand new conclusions. Even if it’s something you don’t want to use, you’re thinking and bringing your storyline forward.

And then again… there’s always the backspace and delete keys. Nothing is forever, and you can change it all as much as you want. You are all my biggest inspiration. You who keep writing, even knowing that this may all lead to nothing.

Keep it up and tell your muse to stop being such a pain in the tush.

+*+*+*+

Jessica is a tenacious, twenty something with big dreams of becoming a published novelist. She enjoys sitting in between the stacks at libraries, pulling inspiration from texts there in. She is a Municipal Liason for National Novel Writing Month (Worcester, MA) and the co-founder of Inkwell Imaginings, a writing group settled in Southbridge,MA at the Jacob Edwards Library.  Visit A BA in BS.

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Making Progress – Ebook Exclusive, Subscriptions, and Fiction, Oh My!

Salut!  I know I’ve been plugging this quite a bit, but I’m finishing up a few more fiction pieces for my ebook exclusive offer.  So, if you like my fiction, and want a free ebook containing three pieces of fiction straight from G&L, two unreleased Letters from Blackford Hill installments, and two pieces of original unreleased flash fiction, subscribe to us!  If you’re already subscribed and want the ebook, refer someone to G&L, and, using my Contact page, tell me who you referred!  You’ll both get a copy. =]

More information on this offer!

Not sure how to subscribe?  On the Home page, in the left-hand column, under “Follow the Adventure!” click “Sign me up!”  If you don’t have a WordPress account, you’ll have to input your email address.  =]

Also, after much toiling and upset, I’ve finally launched the first installment of Talion.  It will now update every Saturday.  Good news, yes?  Feedback is always appreciated, so don’t be shy!  Letters from Blackford Hill is still on schedule for Monday.  =]

Wednesday will be G&L’s first entry for “Writing Life,” a set of articles designed to help and encourage aspiring writers wrestling with their craft within the confines of “Every Day Life.”  I hope you all enjoy the series, and if you have questions or issues you’d like addressed, don’t hesitate to send them my way!

Update: Complete.

<3 Enjoy what’s left of your Sunday.  =]

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Featured Blog: The Unabridged Girl

Wednesday again!  You know what that means!

FEATURED BLOG!

I felt like PeeWee Herman just then….

Anyway.  Featured blog this week is a FANTASTIC lady I’ve been following since I started out in WordPress last year.  She’s had her ups and downs, but I’ve never seen her lose her optimism.  Even her sadder posts end on a happy note, and sometimes in life, it’s impossible for a person to see past the rain to the sunny days ahead.  Her posts and the quality of her fiction are just so outstanding, once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop.  Trust me.  So, I present:

The Unabridged Girl!

Speaking of her fiction, she’s currently working on a project called Weatherly, for which she’s posting excerpts as she writes them.  Holy fantastic~! The first installment leaves you begging for more, and the intro to the piece?

Dear Friend,

If you are reading this, I have gone to God and pray my bones rest in peace.

I charged Mr. Colley not to let a body peek a written word ’til I was three days in the ground. No doubt, he has done well. Now I do not give a wisp about your judgments, so leave with you a full record – best to my knowledge – of the events at Weatherly.

D.

If that doesn’t make you want to read, I haven’t the faintest idea what would.  Incredibly compelling work.  <3

Mckenzie has been a massive source of inspiration for me, and I know she’ll be the same for you.  She’s an amazing blogger and friend, and I’m proud to feature her blog on G&L.  =]

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The Role of Gaming in My Writing

I’m a gamer.  Well, a lapsed gamer as of late, actually.  This new lack of gaming in my life has led me to consider just how role-playing affected my writing.

Have you role-played?  Table-top, play-by-post, LARP?

The role-playing process starts with creating a character.  In table-top gaming and LARP, there will be a set of rules, guidelines, and restrictions you create your character by so that s/he fits into the universe transcribed in the handbooks and players manuals.  In play-by-post, it’s usually left to the player’s discretion, however, combat has it’s own set of guidelines depending upon the chat client, forum, or individual combatants.

My first role-playing experience was with play-by-post in Yahoo chat rooms back in 2000/2001.  I wasn’t very good at it, mind you, not at the time.  But within a few months, I began using role-playing as a way to test out characters and give them life before I plopped them into a storyline.  My writing was just as awful as my role-playing posts back then, and I recently dug out the notebook that housed some of those ventures and… I have to say it made me cringe.  It also reminded me how much fun writing used to be, using my characters in different mediums before I gave them life in a story.

I still do a little play-by-post RP now and then, though now it’s more for recreation than to test out my characters.  If you’ve never done it, I advocate trying it out.  Taking a character, giving it life in an alternate universe, giving it the option for romance, drama, anguish, and anger outside of your daily writing.  It pits your character against the character created by someone else, it makes your character have to react to what that other character is saying and doing.

It keeps you thinking on your feet.

It gives your character a new sort of life and consciousness.

It makes you separate what you’d do, and makes you think what s/he’d do.

I’d like to get back into role-playing for that reason.  My characters have new life that way, new quirks, and a much more 3D personality.  Bring me back to my roots!  Maybe make writing fun again and break through this awful barrier.

Table-top RP is fantastic too, but the structure is much more rigid and offers you the chance to act as your character in the situations the GM/DM throws at you.  Still fun!  But not as useful (to me, anyway) in working through my writing and character blocks.

Any spiffy gamers among my readers?  What are your experiences with role-playing and your writing?

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Some stuff!

So, I’m working on a piece of flash fiction that was supposed to be done today, but it’s not.  I’ll post it tomorrow.  =]

Also, I’ve been ultra busy creating a separate blog for Paganism.  I figure it’s best to keep my writing blog separate from my spiritual journey, so here we are.  Thistle in the Wind is up and running, but still being tweaked and tuned to what I need.  It doesn’t look pretty at the moment, but content is what’s important.  =]  I’m getting there.

Today is the debut for my Celtic Paganism social networking site as well!  Caraid Còmhlan!  You’re all welcome to check it out, though since I have more writer friends than pagan friends on this blog, I’m not holding my breath. LOL.

I’m getting back on track, slowly but surely. <3  I missed you guys!

I’m super glad Mckenzie has Flash Fiction Thursday up and running again.  I needed a set day that made me feel bad for not writing or I never would.  Damn my own lack of self-motivation.

Woo!  And things. <3

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Dave Magario’s Tour Dates!

As promised, I have a list of my friend Dave’s tour dates! There’s a pretty good smattering of cities in there, kids, so check to see if yours is listed!

10/22 – The Raven || Pleasant St Worcester, MA || 9pm $5 21+ and $7 18+

10/23 – Goodbye Blue Monday || 1087 Broadway St Boorklyn NY || 8pm Free All Ages

10/24 – Sidewalk Cafe || 94 Avenue A at 6th St NYC ||  8pm $5 All Ages

10/25 – Greece Ridge Mall Hot Topic || 271 Greece Ridge Center Dr. Rochester, NY || 6pm Free All Ages

10/26 – Founders Brewing Company || 235 Grandville Ave SW Grand Rapids, MI || $5 7pm

10/27 – Keweenaw Brewing Company || 408 Shelden Ave Houghton, MI || $5 8pm

10/29 – Rhinos All Ages Club || 331 S Walnut St. Bloomington, IN  ||$5 7pm

11/03 – House Show || Washington, DC || Free All Ages

Check out Dave’s music and website in my previous post: Dave Magario, ON TOUR!

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Inkwell Imaginings Workshop Schedule

We’ve got the schedule for II made up!  Anyone interested in being present via Skype, let me know, and we can get this all situated.  All meetings start at 6pm EST.  Inkwell Imaginings is also on Facebook, if anyone is interested in joining the group for updates.

Inkwell Imaginings

Writing Workshop Schedule

October 25th: Character Creation and Development. A workshop to create believable heroes, villains, and supporting characters, and bring depth to your story through them.

November 8th: Outlines. A rundown on outlines, how to use them, the pros and cons, and the many ways of making use of organization and prewriting.

November 22nd: World Building. A workshop to discuss how far world building should be taken, detail levels, and creating a believable world from the ground up.

December 6th: Grammar. A crash course in basic grammar and the big “no-nos” an editor will slap you for making.

December 20th: Dialog. How to create dialog that flows naturally. No one likes reading a book and thinking, “People don’t talk like that.” Make use of dialog and what it can bring to your story.

January 3rd: Building a Scene. Bring your story to life by learning how to create a scene that’s compelling and moves your story forward. “The basic unit of fiction is not the sentence or the paragraph, but the scene.” — Unknown

January 17th: No Inkwell Imaginings due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

January 24th: Writing Flow and Style. A crash course in how to find your style and gain an ear for the flow of language in your fiction.

February 7th: Contacts, Resources, and the Publishing Industry. Learn the importance of networking, the process of submitting your fiction to various markets, and what’s expected of a writer in the world of publishing.

Any questions, email:

Kit —> katiemacconnell@gmail.com

Jessi–> jessipeterson@gmail.com

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Dave Magario, ON TOUR!

I return!  But this time I’m putting a hold on my writing updates to offer the spotlight to a fantastic musician and great friend of mine, Dave Magario!

This is the most recent of Dave’s blog posts, announcing his upcoming tour:

A few days after my last post a very short, very great conversation happened…

“Hey Dave, what are you up to next month?”
“Uh…not much. I’ve got a couple shows…”
“Wanna go on tour?”
“Sure!”
“Ok!”

And just like that, there’s a tour being booked and the ideas start flying. Over the course of the last week and a half I’ve gotten T-shirts, Stickers, CDs, and made a pile of the denim DAM Bracelets I started selling last year. So from October 22 to November 5 I’ll be on tour with Greg McKillop. When it’s mostly confirmed, I’ll post up the cities and dates. See you thursday!

I’ve known Dave awhile now, and it’s been really great to watch him grow musically from our high school choir days to where he is now.  (And the answer is, yes, Dave. I had to bring up high school.  =] )  Seriously, if you haven’t heard his work, check him out, buy his CDs, and look for him on tour.  I’ll have his dates posted as soon as he gets the confirmations!  Subscribe to his blog!

Dave’s Blog:  Dave Magario, Officially

Sample his music and look for show dates on his website.

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