Friday, January 27, 2012

The unnatural writer

Some writers are able to create sentences that are elegant, fluid and fall like snowflakes. Sometimes it's a blizzard but other times it's like music. The rhythm of images and words make for a poetic dance.

I'm not much of a poet or lyricist. But when I read quotes or the first sentence of a story by a talented writer, I'm amazed. How aware are authors to see and describe characters and their environments in such a pure, insightful way unburdened by awkwardness or oversimplification?

Perhaps I'm not a natural writer. My words stumble at times, but I believe it's part of how I am evolving. Because of having a mental illness, perhaps my mind is tainted by medications that dull the creative spark and cloud the mind. So in the past, it has been difficult for me to be a better artist or writer, because of not only the illness but also the treatment.

Still I trudge on, trying to find my artistic wavelength. The magical place where words and images come naturally.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two weeks, six stories and counting

So a while ago, I took on a challenge of writing two short stories a week or 1,500 words a day. Over a period of fourteen days, I wrote six short stories. I explored different topics and points of view. Some stories were sad or funny. Because these were short in length as opposed to a novel, I was able to spend more time on each paragraph, slow down and get into the character and feel his fears, sadness and happier moments.

Someone says when one paints, one has to go through a lot of bad paintings before the cream rises to the surface. In writing, quality may vary, but like art, as the creator matures I believe he will get consistently better.

I've been reading some short stories by Fredric Brown who is described as the O. Henry of science fiction. Highly recommended.

This next week, I may write a little less and focus more on reading Frederic Brown and books on writing. The important thing is that I'm working on it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1,500 words a day

So, I've heard that professional writers will often use the method of scheduling a certain number of words or a time period to write each day. Some might write for two or three hours at the same time of the day and then leave their stories to rest and do other things the rest of the day. Stephen King in On Writing states he writes 2,000 words a day (or ten pages) and can complete a 180,000 word novel in three months.

Now I'm not up to that standard but I wrote and edited a short story in two days. I didn't break any records and spent hours fine-tuning. I left it rest overnight and finished it up the second day. However, as I was suffering from a bad case of "I can't write" for months, it was a triumph. I confess I did write a creative nonfiction piece in December, but it was hard to find the right words.

To break through fear and free myself up to explore and experiment was a risk but I was very satisfied with the result. In less than a week, I wrote another two stories as well. So once I was able to set a goal and funnel all the expert advice I've been reading from other writers, I created something original. I was able to show in the right places. I didn't overexplain. I kept to first person point of view.

So am I willing to take the plunge and set a goal of writing 1,500 words a day or two short stories a week? Would I be able to keep to that without coming up with drivel? New writers that tackle NaNoWriMo are able to complete a novel in a month. It may not be their best writing but it forces them to be creative and just plow through.

So as I am toying with the idea of setting a daily or weekly goal. I'll let you know how I'm doing next week!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What Stella and Roz taught me

Hello all,
I apologize I haven't been updating my blog frequently enough. Sometimes life gets in the way, but I think the new year is a good time to change that. First off, I stepped down as editor for Majestic but am still active as a columnist. Why oh why would I step down from this prestigious position? Because I'm prioritizing. Instead of managing the newsletter, I plan to spend more time writing, or at least practising writing new stories.

On Facebook, I met Stella Deleuze, a writer and professional editor in London, UK. The author of No Wings Attached and Excuse me, where is the exit? available on Amazon. She was on Facebook one day and we started to chat about her latest manuscript. I said, I was interested in reading it as her main character seemed similar to one in a book I've been writing. So we exchanged files and agreed to edit each other's stories. She took me by the hand and showed me what I needed to do to improve my story. She focused on plot, point of view, continuity, character development and made many comments and suggestions on the first several chapters. I was able to see how to improve my writing by limiting the point of view and not using omniscient point of view indiscriminately.

I also was reading Roz Morris's blog. She is a prolific writer also based in London with a lot of good ideas about how to write better. She's the author of Nail Your Novel and My Memories of a Future Life  available on Amazon. She said if one has a blog to post frequently, otherwise readers will think it's been abandoned. So I certainly don't want to look like I'm neglecting my blog, so here I am writing about my plans for 2012 and plan to continue documenting my journey this year.

The main goal I have is to concentrate on new writing. With thanks to Stella, Roz, and others, I have new tools in my writer's toolbox. I am more discerning and perceptive about how to improve and by practising my new skills; I'm ready for action. As of this week, I've broken through writer's block and am exploring new ideas and the techniques I've learned.

So in a nutshell, 2012, I'm ready.