Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Notes From Carol's Class: A Writer's Goals

Today the notes are actually from guest speaker Cheri Pray Earl (if I remember correctly--I'm not really a super good note taker to be honest).

Goals as writers in any novel:
  • emotion
  • tension
  • laughter
  • connection w/reader
  • story--let the character tell it, and tell a GOOD story
  • keep the MC (main character) from getting what they want
  • MC gets what they wants
  • finish
  • closure
  • satisfaction
  • suspense
  • page-turner
  • NOT Twilight

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So, I have this thing that I'm working on. There's this journal that wants to publish this thing. And they've been working with me--giving me feedback and telling me what to expand or trim. I was supposed to send them my updated version of this thing last Wednesday. I didn't. I sent it to them yesterday, but didn't even work on all the stuff they wanted.

I realized that this is the first time I've ever really worked with a publisher type person on a manuscript. I mean, there was that one time, but mostly that was me saying I wanted some changes and I didn't like a couple of the edits and then it was done. This time I keep looking at my manuscript and thinking it has such a long way to go and it should never be published (and maybe it wont because maybe the journal will have a mind change) because there's so much in there that just doesn't do what I want it to do.

It's cool to have deadlines though. I mean, ones that other people are holding me to. Its easy for me to be flexible for myself and to wave off those times when I don't make the cut with one of my goals. I'm harder on myself when I miss a deadline that someone else expects me to meet. Why is that? Shouldn't I be more important?

I think I have at least a partial reason. I'm with myself all the time. I know how busy things are and how often I change my mind about what I value or what's important. I'm okay with shifting around my goals and accommodating myself.

I guess, when it comes to publishing, it's a good thing other people have deadlines for me to meet (or be late on) because otherwise I might never get anything done with all this mind changing and value re-aranging.

Anyway, I'll let you know if I make the cut and get this thing published (but don't get too excited).

Write on!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Do you ever sit down to type away your wonderful stories and scenes and characters only to find that you don't really have all that much to type?
Maybe sometimes you'd rather be crunching the leaves outside.
Or building a snowman or flapping a snow angel?
Maybe you'd rather make playdough sculptures of unicorns.
Whenever I do anything I have to take my time. If I'm going on a trip I have to allow myself enough time to stop and get lost or to swing at a playground or to spend thirty minutes blow-drying my hands in the coolest public-restroom-hand-dryer ever. Basically, what I'm saying is that I putter. I take my time getting places (and because of this I almost always arrive 15 min to an hour late to everything).

I take my time creating, and thinking, and cooking. I've realized that because of the way that I putter I tend to think that I never have enough time to do anything. Making pesto is going to take so much time--I can't manage it in only an hour! When really, it takes like 15 minutes to make pesto (longer for me because I like to watch the blender do its thing so I let it go slow for a long time).

Anyway, I think my point is that it's okay to moodle. I think actually, it's really important to putter and to take time for things--to MAKE time for puttering is absolutely essential. Because, "you see, imagination needs moodling -- long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering." - Brenda Ueland

Crunching in the leaves and swinging on the swings and flapping snow angels and staring at the pinenuts blending around with the basil and the oil and the lemon etc is all part of letting the imagination breathe and live and grow.

How do you moodle?

Write on!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Notes From Carol's Class: Action

Action advances the narrative. It pushes the story forward.

But, action only get's you so far--"remember that in your love lives."

Don't forget to let your characters drive the story, too. Spend time on your character's thoughts and development of relationships.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's 5 a.m.

And I could write my damn essay about The Dead.
Or I could write a proposal for another damn essay.
Or I could work on my novel.
Or I could just stalk people on facebook.
OR Listen to Rachel Maddow only because someone posted a link on facebook of pictures of her and AI was curious to know why she's so important and now that I'm listening to her show I'm still curious to know why she's so important...

Or I could just go back to bed. Who wakes up at 5 a.m. anyway? Who gets out of bed at this time of morning?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Notes From Carol's Class: What's your MDQ?

Okay writer friends.
I decided to start something cool.
Do you know Carol Lynch Williams?

She wrote that awsome book, The Chosen One
And that other awesome book, Glimpse

And that other awesome book, Miles From Ordinary
And all those other awesome books...just go look them up.

Not only is she a super fantastic writer, she also teaches sometimes at BYU.

I took a class from her.


But not because I failed or anything...

Basically, she's one of the best writing teachers in existence.

So, I've decided to make Tuesday the official "Notes from Carol's Class" day.

Please note that while these notes were taken during some of Carol's classes, some of the ideas, tips, or writing techniques may actually have come from another source (such as other students or guest speakers) in the class other than the beautiful Carol Lynch Williams. I will try to keep all referencing as accurate as possible...

Every story has a Major Dramatic Question (MDQ).
It's that point where a character walks through a door and can't turn back.
It's a disruption of a routine.
A struggle with the disruption.
And then a fatal (or positive) choice--the ultimate point of no return.

Once you get there, you're set up for the CLIMAX.

The Secret Tip:

You have to know what your character has to lose from the very beginning. And you have to risk it.

What's your MDQ?

Write on!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Probably You Should Tell Your Writing Group

So, I sorta kinda quit my writing group.
And by that I mean I ignored all the group updates and the notifications that my submissions were due...
Because I'm busy and doing school and work and blah blah blah.
Mostly, I was trying to convince myself that I wasn't quitting. I would have time...eventually for sending feedback and posting my own submissions.
But, really, I knew I couldn't keep up. And I didn't tell my group. Because I didn't want to feel like a flake. And because I sorta forgot. But then one of my group members read my post about how I'm not working on my novel right now because it's not the time. And she called me out on it.

Moral of the story is, probably you should tell your writing group when you quit. And here's the thing: It's okay to move on. Or to let your group move on without you. It's okay to say, "I can't do this anymore". But, it's better to let your group know so they don't keep expecting you to be there and hoping for your feedback and not getting it. and not getting it. and not getting it.

To my writing group (because I know some of you read this): I"m sorry I didn't tell you. I'm still learning that I can't take on the whole world. But, I'd also like to say that you've been an AWESOME group. You've all given me a lot of very helpful feedback, and I really enjoyed reading each of your stories (I won't lie, I'm really holding out for Winston the most). I appreciate the times when we got to just chat about our stories a bit and work through some issues. Overall, the group has been a great learning opportunity for me. Thanks Bruce, Susan, and Michelle! Good luck with your writings. :)

Write on!

Blog Writing

So, I haven't learned to be very consistent with my writing for this blog.
But, I've really been trying to keep up on this other blog (http://lgbtvoices.blogspot.com) lately. It's a collab blog, which means I'm not the only one who writes on it, which gives me a little more motivation to post every week on my day (Sunday, if you'd like to look at my posts). I just finished my project of finding almost entirely all new members for the collab because I wasn't getting the dedication and consistency that I wanted out of my bloggers. Now we've got a whole new team of wonderful writers.

I've been thinking about blogs and wondering why I value them. What is the purpose of blogs? It seems like an un-updated blog isn't very useful (right?). With the lgbt voices (or Breaking the Silence) blog I feel like I have some sort of direction--I want to address issues people don't really talk about. I want to cultivate understanding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and to let a few awesome people have a voice.

I don't know exactly what my purpose with this blog is. I like having a place where I can spew a few thoughts about writing habits (or non-habits), but to be honest I think I created this blog becuase I wanted to make sure I had a space where people could find me (you know, for when I become a famous writer)... Maybe it's also a good place to connect with other writers, too. I like things like that.

Do any of you have any ideas for my blog? Or at least any ideas for things I could write about? Maybe that would be helpful. Maybe I just need to be more creative and to learn to be more funny...or something.

Anyway, thanks for reading...even though it's a bit boring right now.

Write on!