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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Okay so everybody knows the seven sins right? Lust, Greed, Envy, Gluttony, Despair, Sloth and Extravagance, depending on which list you’re going off of, and yes, I’m not proud to say, I did have to look up the last four. 

Well, writers have their own version of each of one of these unappealing traits.  In fact, I’ve read several posts now naming the seven sins and how they affect a writer’s productivity.  Envy being one of the most debilitating sins to catch.

So, for your enjoyment, here is my  list of the seven deadly sins for writers and how we fall victim to each.

1. Books–The carefully crafted novels written by other writers in order to distract you from finishing your own WIP, which will no doubt be more brilliant and make more money than their’s.  That is…if you ever finish it. 

2. Contests–Writer’s are like small children, we see one shiny penny and we have to pick it up.  Inevitably, one blog with a contest has a link to another blog with a contest and since we writer’s are poor by trade, we’re also cheap, and can’t miss out on a chance to win free crap.  Whether we really want it/need it, or not.

3. Chocolate–Many writers seem to keep this handy while writing.  It doesn’t so much hinder our writing, but does make us incredibly fat when we hit a rough patch in our WIP. 

4. Coffee–The necessary sidekick to every writer that provides the right amount of pick-me up before getting to work on your WIP.  Unfortunately we’re so addicted the doctor has limited us to one cup a day and now we find ourselves falling asleep before twelve.  In the afternoon.

5. television–The reward for reaching any goal.  But often has no time limit and may lead into hours, sometimes days of writing time that you’ll never get back.  On the other hand, you completed your mini-marathon of How I Met Your Mother and it was Legend–wait for it–Dary.

6. Blogging–This one is tricky because we think we’re doing something good.  We’re writing down our daily struggles, making witty posts, connecting with others and building our platform, which, I’ve been told, is essential.  Right?  But then the hour you were spending developing a post and responding to comments, suddenly grows into two, three, four hours of reading and responding to everyone’s blog who took the time to read and comment on yours and between your real job and that thing called sleep, all you did was blog.  Another day wasted.

7. The Internet–Like a double-edged sword, so to is the internet.  It’s helpful in varying degrees of situations, like you’re writing and all of a sudden cannot remember the difference between effect/affect, so you go to yahoo, type it in, and nobody knows you slept through every English class you’ve ever taken.  But then there’s the research.  You’ve gotten to a great part and decide this is the scene where you want to add an extra layer of meaning, maybe allude to an ancient myth from Greek, Japanese, or Native American lore.  That’s when you find yourself checking your facebook, reading news articles from yahoo and obsessively refreshing your e-mail account, while repeating, I’m doing research, I’m doing research, to yourself over and over again.

So which of these seven deadly writing sins do you fall under?  Can you think of anymore?

Oops I just thought of another one.  Sin number eight, misplacing pencil after I’m done using it.  I really should work on putting it back away.

Don’t forget, I want to post your short stories and poems on my blog.  If you are  interested, please send me an E-mail at ejeglin(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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Today I am excited to share my interview with Natalie Whipple over at Between Fact and Fiction and I would like to thank lbDiamond for her awesome question. Now on to the interview:

1.  What inspired you to become a YA author?

I’m not sure I was inspired, it was more that my stories kept ending up in that range. When I first thought of publishing, I actually wanted to do pictures books. Since I like to draw and write, I thought that would work. Except I couldn’t think of a good idea, and I hated to put that kind of pressure on my art. Art is my hobby, and I fully intend to keep it that way.

Then I attempted a middle grade novel. That lasted, oh, 10 pages.

Finally I decided to go back to a story I wrote in high school and redo it. While it still didn’t turn out very well, it was the first novel I finished. And the reason I finished, I think, was because I actually enjoyed writing about a teenager. Not that I would ever want to be one again, but it seemed like a comfortable place for me to be. I felt like I could grasp the voice better than in anything else I’d tried.

2.  It’s important to both develop/describe the world you’ve created, but it’s also important to keep the action going.  How do you balance description and pacing?

Well, I mostly do it in editing, honestly. In the first draft, sometimes you don’t know how the pacing is because you can’t see the big picture yet. The book isn’t done. It’s hard to see what is necessary and what isn’t.

But in edits? You can see how one chapter drags and another goes by too fast. You can see where a scene needs fleshing out or pruning. You can put the information where it needs to go, instead of where you thought it up in drafting.

When it comes to balance, it all depends on what kind of book you intend to write. Different genres require different paces, and there’s even variance within genres. I suggest reading popular writers in your genre to see how they pace a book. Assess if you like it,or if you don’t. Think about how you want to handle it. There’s not really a hard right or wrong on this one.

3.  A hot topic right now is three-dimensional characters.  How do you make your characters pop off the page?

You have to know your characters, and that takes time. Sometimes I think I know them, but half way through a draft they “open up” and the whole book gets thrown off by what they finally tell me. Or maybe I get lazy and don’t really get to know them, because it does take work to fabricate a fake person in your head.

I think the most important thing is capturing your character’s voice. Not to say your book needs to be in first person, just that you have to know them. They have to talk to you. Am I making any sense? You really do have to know what they want. You have to know what they like, what they hate. You have to know their past, how they deal with it, etc.

Not all of this goes on the page, mind you. But you still have to know it. It will show if you know it.

4.  What has changed the most since you’ve landed an incredible agent?

Honestly, not much. Writing is still hard sometimes. I still have a family to take care of and lots of things to prevent me from working. It IS nice to have professional feedback though, to have someone in the business on your side.

5. You created Happy Writer Society.  What exactly is it and how can other writers participate?

The Happy Writers Society is dedicated to erasing writer angst. I started it because I was sick of stressing out over publishing, and I decided I wanted to be happy at every moment on the journey. Or at least trying to be happy. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that accomplishments don’t make you happy for very long. There’s always another goal ahead, another hurdle to pass. You have to choose to be happy at each point.

As for how others can participate in HWS, I post every Friday and am open to guest posts as well. The information on submitting is on my blog under the Happy Writers Society tab. Besides that, spread the happiness and you are automatically a member.

Thanks again to Natalie for taking the time to answer my questions.  You can follow Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction by clicking here.  Also, Natalie is no longer represented by Nathan Bransford, he, unfortunately for the writing community, has taken a job at CNET, but has left Natalie in the more than capable hands of Anna Webman.

Now it’s time for me to find my pencil, which means I will be wondering aimlessly through a pack of wild wallabies waiting pounce. ;p

P.S. I’ve been toying with idea of hosting short stories, poems, etc. on my blog, so leave me a yes/no/maybe so in the comments and don’t forget to check out Natalie’s site.

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It probably goes without saying that I love to write.  Not only do I write poetry (strictly for me, not for publication), I like to write short stories and novels.  In fact, I love writing so much, I have even started a blog so I can write about writing.

Recently, as in five minutes ago, I read Cat Woods current installment of the seven writing sins.  Today’s topic is greed and she asked the question why do you write?

Of course I left her a comment, but after, the question stayed in my head and I realized I had more to say.  So after some thought, these are the reasons why I write, in no particular order:

1.  It makes me happy;

2.  I believe I have something to offer the world and the way we view it; and

3.  Depending on the day, I genuinely believe I’m good at it.

There are other reasons, but these are the main three reasons why I started writing and why I continue writing today.

The first reason, it makes me happy, was something I figured out in middle-school.  I suffered from insomnia and stayed up late almost every night. Honestly I think my mom enjoyed my late nights because it almost always meant the house would be clean from top to bottom when she woke the next day.  But I definitely was not happy.  So I did what I always did and I researched ways to help with my insomnia.  One of the many tricks to help cure insomnia was for the person to keep a journal by their bed.

I didn’t keep a journal, instead, when I felt like I couldn’t sleep, I would write a poem.  Poems were the first things I ever wrote and I thought I was pretty dang good at them, not so anymore, but then I thought I was a genius. 

As time went on I attempted to write stories.  I had people and places in mind, but I could never construct a plot, or keep track of one long enough to complete one.  Looking back now I realize I spent too much time on description rather than the story itself.

Eventually I learned that a great story, and even just a good one, has something to say.  So I tried to discover what I had to say.  What had I been through that nobody else had?  At the time I couldn’t think of anything, so I put off on trying to write my novel, but I continued to write short stories and poems, as I waited to “experience” life so I would have something to say.

Now, a few years later, I have discovered not only the genres I am most passionate about, but I have also debunked the notion that I hadn’t “experienced” life yet.  I have many childhood and adult experiences I can draw upon to inspire me and help share what I have learned about human nature.

The last reason I think is my favorite because it really does depend on the day.  My boyfriend laughs at me because one day I will be confident, borderline cocky and the next I will tell him how bad my writing is and how much I suck.  Most days I’m in the middle, I think I have the tools to be a solid writer.  I may never be as great as some of the other authors and writers in the world, but I do believe I am better at writing than the average person.  Most people don’t have the patience to hone their writing ability, which is something a writer must do if they want to succeed because no matter where you start, or how good you are, there is always something else to learn.  And even though I’m not there yet, I know I’m closer than many people and that gives me hope that one day I might be able to make a humble living by my pencil.

So that is why I write.  It is one of the few things I am truly passionate about and enjoy, even when I’m frustrated and swear I’ll never type again, I know, deep in the back of my mind, it’s the only thing I really want to do.

So why do you write?  Is it for your own self-satisfaction?  Or does the potential money you could make entice you?

Please let me know while I find my pencil.  It seems to have disappeared again.

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I’ve just updated my Quick Story Sunday page with my first short story.  This is an exercise just for fun, so please go check it out and tell me what you think.  I think I’m going to continue to follow this storyline for now, at least until I get bored with it.

Pirate Ninjas-Part I

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