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Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Hello, my name is Melissa and I’m a procrastinator.

Yes, it’s that dreaded nightmare that holds people back from continuing their plans (or even getting started on something). I admit that I can be a really bad procrastinator. Back in school, if I could put something off, I would usually do it. I always liked to think I just got distracted really easily (which I do, trust me), but I can’t put all of the blame on that.  Sometimes, it’s not distractions that hold me back. It’s not having the drive to do it or putting it off to the side so I can “Finish it later.” We all know that never really happens.

Have I been procrastinating finishing my book? Yes. Have I been doing anything about that? No.

A part of it is definitely fear. Fear of what’s next after that last word is written. After the editing is completed and the book is ready to find a publishing home.  Self-publishing or not? If I do go self-pub, how am I going to do it? How in the hell am I going to afford it? Those questions race through my mind and makes the procrastination monster rear it’s ugly head.

Tomorrow, I’m making an effort to try and write more. It’s important to get this finished even when I don’t know what I’m doing afterwards. I have to worry about that after I’m finished. Not right now.

I also plan on blogging on here more. I’ve been so busy trying to make jewelry and hair accessories to put in my etsy shop so I can save up money to actually publish my book.  I’m still not seeing much success, but I guess it’s all about patience, right?  If you want to read all about my jewelry and hair accessory making, you should check out my new blog which talks all about that. 🙂  I also have one that I started on blogspot for all of you on that site to follow. I’m probably going to make the switch to that one soon.

I’ll leave you with this flower headband I just made that’s in my etsy shop.

Cute, yeah?

Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about my views on self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. Stay tuned!

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That Evil Inner Critic

It appears I did it again…..

I neglected this blog yet again. I think this was like the third time now.  Again, I’m really sorry. My internet connection sucked. Okay, I’ll admit that I lived in the land of Dial-Up. Yes, that does actually still exist.  It was unreliable and super slow, so blogging took awhile. I got busy with other things included trying to get my book to the end (we’ll talk about that in a moment) and working on my jewelry and hair accessories that I sell (It would make me the happiest girl in the world if you checked out my etsy store…. just saying..)

So here I am, back at my blog now with high speed internet. Yes, I have finally made it out of dial up. Thank goodness. So hopefully I’ll be able to blog more now that it won’t take me hours to post.  Of course, it can make writing a little more difficult considering the distraction it can be. But, good news is that I’m about three or four chapters away from finishing my book.  That’s always a good thing, right?

My problem always has been finishing though. I sort of freeze up and really start to feel the pressure. Everyone starts asking if I have finished yet, what am I going to do with afterwards, how I’m going to get it published. Blah, blah, blah. All of this pressure starts to build up and I freeze. I start getting really critical about the words I type and whether it’s good enough to actually publish.  Yes, my book is about the start of a zombie apocalypse, but it’s not completely full of zombies either. It’s really character driven and sometimes I’m not sure if that’s what people want. I know you can’t please everyone and we all have bad critics who want to bash everything we do but……. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the inner critic in my own head to get to those outside critics.

That’s my biggest problem. The inner critic always wants to bring me down. Will I let it? Of course not. But, it’s always a bitch to get over.  How do you turn off the inner critic in your head to get the work completed? Let me know in the comments section below!

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First off, I’d like to apologize for my absence these past couple of weeks. After NaNoWriMo started last Tuesday, I’ve been so focused on getting a good lead that at the end of the day, I couldn’t even imagine writing blog posts haha.  So how am I doing so far with my word count? Well, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter (but why aren’t you? Hmm?), here’s my progress report:

As of November 12th, I have written over 50,026 words. Yes, that’s right. I’m already finished with NaNoWriMo.  If you remember my failed attempt at doing this last year, you’ll realize how much of an accomplishment that is to me. To finish this major writing even in a little over a week and a half is mind-blowing to me.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how I managed to complete NaNo so quickly this year, but for today, I just wanted to say hi and let you all know that I did it. I showed the ones who doubted me that they were wrong about me and for those who did believe in me, well, I did it. 🙂  Before I did NaNo this year, I’m not sure if I would have suggested any other writer to do it, but now I think everyone should experience it.  I learned a lot about who I am as a writer and that it is possible to write 50,000 words so soon. It is possible to get that far with enough determination and support.

For my NaNoWriMo buddies (you know who you are), I’d just like to thank you all for the awesome support and encouragement that you have given me. There were times when I would hit a small wall and want to give up because it seemed like such a huge task, but you never let me. You all picked me up and told me to keep going. I’m not sure I would have done this without all of the support I have received. So thank you for that. For those who are still working on getting to that 50k finish line, just know that I’ll be there cheering you on! You can do it.

It is awfully nice at the finish line.  Very comfy and relaxing haha. Although I wish there some cookies or something….

If you’re still working on NaNoWriMo, comment below with how you’re doing.  If you need any encouragement, well, I’m  here haha.

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Happy Halloween!

It’s almost here. No, I’m not talking about NaNoWriMo this time (although it IS almost here… yikes!). This time, I’m talking about Halloween. It has to be my favorite holiday out of the year.  Even though I’m older, I still get excited dressing up as random characters/creatures. When I was a kid I had costumes like: Barbie (when I was four or so), ghosts, princesses (one year, I was Belle from Beauty and the Beast. My favorite Disney movie), generic rock stars, etc. Now that I’m older, there’s one specific thing that I like to dress up as. If you’ve been following me on Twitter or on this blog for awhile, you may be able to guess what that is. I’ll give you a moment to think.

…….

Think you got it? If you guessed zombie, you’d be correct!

Hey, it's me as a zombie!

I really can’t explain my fascination with the whole zombie culture. I just really enjoy it whether it be books (please read World War Z by Max Brooks if you haven’t. You’ll thank me later.) or movies (Shaun of the Dead, please!). Halloween is the one time of the year where I can put on full zombie make up, walk around (or stumble as the zombie case may be) and not  be judged as “the weird zombie girl”. Although, I think most people do view me as that anyways, but who cares?

So, this Halloween, I hope everyone has a very spooky and fun time. Dress up however you want and show your personality. For all you NaNoWriMoers, relax a little because once that clock hits midnight, it’s time to get to work!

For all of you who signed up for my Spooktacular Halloween Short Story Blog Fest, don’t forget to post your story tomorrow on your blog and link over to this one! I’m excited to read everyone’s stories. I’m sure they will be very spooky!

If you haven’t signed up, but still want to write a story for it, you still can! There’s no word limit, so it can be a short or long story. That’s up to you. Just let me know by commenting here if you want to participate.

Also, be on the lookout for some new zombie photos of me this upcoming week.  I’m excited.

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This week we’re going to have a couple of guest posts for you all to enjoy. If you want to join in on the guest posting here, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at thestoryinme@gmail.com with your idea.

I had posted something yesterday about preparing for NaNoWriMo this year, but I guess my blog hated it because it deleted it.  Let’s just say, I’m not exactly prepare for the month long novel writing fest, but I’m trying. I know people are already researching and plotting, but not me. Not yet. I know what I’m writing about.  I have some of the characters in my head. I just haven’t done “character sketches” for them which is something I always do before I write any story.

I always like to be somewhat prepared for any story I write. Last year for NaNoWriMo (which is National Novel Writing Month for those who don’t know), I wasn’t prepared.  I went in thinking I was going to “wing it” and ended up lasting about two weeks before my story fell flat. I hit the wall and I couldn’t get around it. I had no support. Nobody I talked to was participating in this so I couldn’t really vent to anyone. So I gave up.

Not this year. This year, I’m going into November, more prepared than ever. I know where my story is about and where it’s going.  I already know quite a few people from Twitter who are also “NaNoWriMo-ers” so I know I have a support system who also want to see me succeed.   I’m going to hit that 50,000 word finish line by November 30th.  You just wait. 🙂

I’ll keep everyone updated throughout November on how things are going. I’ll need all the support I can get, but I think this will help me discover a new side of writing. I’ve heard this makes you become more familiar with your writing which is something I need. Thankfully I have people looking over my first book for edits while I work on the next one haha. That’s a nice relief. Am I still nervous about the whole idea of doing this again? Yes. Am I feeling a bit overwhelmed already? Absolutely, but this is something I have to do.

Now I’m off to do some character sketches. If you’re also doing NaNoWriMo this year, let’s be writing buddies haha.

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The Painter: Part 5

If you have missed parts 1-4, please search for The Painter in the search box on the right hand side! Comments and/or questions are welcome! Check back next Thursday for part 6.

Part 5

I sat down beside Sal and waited for him to continue. He looked up at the darkening sky with mournful eyes.  I waited for him to talk, pushing my curiosity about this mysterious lady he mentioned.
Sal looked down at his paint covered hands and said, “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. She’s my inspiration.”
“Who is she?”
His lips turned into a soft smile. “My beloved Oihane.”
I commented about how I have never heard that name before and he nodded. “It means from the forest. She loved these woods, so her name fit her well.”
As Sal continued to talk about Oihane, I looked at my surroundings.  Everything looked different like it had taken on a life of it’s own. Now that I knew who was the owner of the cottage, it lost that dingy and abandoned quality. This was Oihane’s haven. I never met her but from being in her favorite spot, I felt like I knew her for years.
“Where did you meet her?” I asked when Sal became quiet again.
“In Mexico. After we got married, we moved to New Mexico for awhile. I could tell she was never really content there. It was almost as if her heart wanted to be somewhere else.”
I gestured towards the woods. “She wanted to be here?”
Sal’s gentle smile came back as he glanced at the cottage. He didn’t have to say anything. His big brown eyes said it all.
“Enough about me,” Sal said suddenly. “I want to hear about you. How do you feel about this place?”
It was really hard for me to describe how I felt. Of course I still felt a strong dislike for the whole state of Oregon, but I could see why Sal liked being out here now.  I opened my mouth to speak, but Sal held up a hand to shush me.
“You don’t need to say it. Your eyes tell me everything.” Sal brushed some dirt off of his khaki pants. “I believe eyes are the perfect storytellers.”
“What about art?”
Sal threw his head back and laughed. “Art is magical. It can reveal a person’s soul without even them realizing it.”
My mind went back to the horrible painting I did earlier and I grimaced. That wasn’t how I wanted my soul to be portrayed. I told that to Sal and he laughed again.
“You are still learning. What you need to do is learn to unlock your soul and start painting with that instead of your head.” Sal tapped on my forehead. “It won’t be easy for you to discover what’s out there in the world if you keep that wall up around you.”
I remained quiet, knowing he was right but was too scared to admit it. Saying it just makes it worse.
“What do your dreams consist of?” Sal asked, breaking the silence.
The question caught me off guard. “I don’t know,” I said in a small voice.
Sal glanced back at the cottage and looked thoughtful. The air was getting colder around us as the sky got darker. Stars began to twinkle above us. The silence between us continued for a few minutes.  There was something about Sal that I couldn’t figure out.   There were many stories hidden beneath his weathered and worn face.
I wanted to know more about his mysterious wife.  There were so many questions unanswered. What happened to her?
When I asked Sal this, it was almost as if he shut down completely. He shook his head and stood up slowly.
“We should be getting back,” he said. “It’s getting late and your parents will worry.” Sal picked up his suitcase. “Although I know that you snuck out of your house and they don’t know where you are.”
I stopped in my tracks, wondering how this old man knew that. He was already at the lake when I shimmied my way down the tree from my bedroom window. Maybe he was a psychic. Maybe he just was really good at guessing things. It could be that I’m just that obvious of a person to be doing something like that.
“So, have you made any friends since you’ve been here?” Sal asked, still standing on the steps of the cottage.
I shrugged. “I don’t really like anyone at school. I have friends back in California.”
“Who says you can’t have friends here as well? You can never have too many friends.”
“How many friends do you have then?”
Sal laughed. “I’m an old man. I know what everyone says about me.”
My mind went back to what my mom said about Sal while we were in the kitchen.  She called him some old painter like he wasn’t important.  I felt Sal was important whether anyone realized it or not. I was going to make sure people saw how talented he still was.
I scraped at the peeling white paint on the wooden railings. “Do you not have art exhibitions or anything for your paintings?”
“Not anymore. Nobody wants to see an old man’s art. It’s not for anyone to see now.”
Sal started to walk away but I continued to stay where I was. I didn’t want to go home. Not yet.  Sal stopped and looked back at me.
“We should stop analyzing me and start focusing on you,” he said. “You are the young one with the bright future. You just don’t know it yet.”
“What else don’t I know?” My frustration was starting to go into overload. I didn’t want to explode on this old man. He was the only person who listened to me.
Sal looked surprised that I asked him this. He looked past me into the cottage and his eyes lit up.  What was he thinking?
“Do you want to see what’s inside the cottage?” he asked suddenly.
He walked to the door of the cottage with more speed than I  have ever seen. As he unlocked the door, my heart started to race. What was I going to find in that dark little house?

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Before we get into the guest post, I just wanted to remind everyone that if you have a guest post you want to share here on this blog, please e-mail it to me at thestoryinme@gmail.com. Keep in mind that the posts should be either writing or literature related. Check my previous post on more guest post guidelines.   This guest post is kicking off my NaNoWriMo preparation posts for all of you. The other day I decided to participate again this year (hopefully I’ll be more successful than last year..) so keep checking back for those posts. Now, onto Panda’s guest post (btw, she’s one of my NaNoWriMo writing buddies lol)

The Power of Speech

This year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. I’d heard of it many times in the past before, but was always under the impression that writing a novel just wasn’t my gig – I always found myself much more drawn towards poetry (I was rather successful on allpoetry.com in years gone by!)

However, as I’ve grown up (probably not actually, just in terms of years) I’ve found myself wanting to… well… get my ideas out there. I want to get into the open the thoughts and opinions that float around my mind on a daily basis. This is virtually impossible through poetry, there’s so much restrictions and rules, and I’m not one for “writing my thoughts in a poetic manner” – there’s just too much floating about in there to put into poetic terms.

So that’s how I ended up here, guest posting on a blog, writing about NaNoWriMo 2011 and why I’m participating.

But that’s not what I actually want to talk to you about. No, what I want to talk about is the power of speech within a novel.

I mentioned above that poetry has a lot of restrictions. If you think about it, so do novels. There’s definitely a “way” to put across a narrative to someone. A narrative can’t possibly be your own exact words, thoughts and opinions, because there’s no personification. No, where your ideas come into it is through the art of speech.

Speech, in a novel, is key to subliminally getting across to the reader what you, the author, are thinking about whilst writing the novel. You can personalize speech to make it fit your character, who could, in turn, be based on you, and thus compelling the reader to indulge in YOUR thoughts and ideas, and not that of the character alone.

For example, when it comes to narrative, you generally have to write using proper English. This is standard across the board really, after all, it needs to be easily understood. However, with speech, you can bring in accents, dialect, made up words, “in-joke” words, whatever you want really.

As a narrative, “She held on to the street light for dear life as the tank rolled through the quiet town” sounds quite, well, boring really, doesn’t it?

However, if you transfer that to speech, you can put it across whichever way you fancy. Whichever way suits you, as well as the character.

“Well I was walkin’ ‘cross the street an’ this bloody massive tank was thunderin’ towards me! So I held ont’ the street light and, lordy lordy, I could feel the ground ‘neath my feet shakin’!”

It just makes it more… personal, more interesting to read. Some would say that the former is better because you can add imagery to it. Flickering street lights and quivering pavements are fantastic, but when I personally read the two together, the first-person spoken description is much more visually pleasing when you imagine the scene in your mind.

NEVER underestimate the power of speech in your novel. A novel with too much speech is destined for disaster, this is true. But likewise, a novel with far too much narrative will bore your reader into a mid-afternoon nap if you’re not careful.

Finding the right balance is key to creating an enthralling novel. But try not to convey all of your imagery through narrative. Speech can be one of the most powerful visualising tools available to an author, so use it wisely!

If you’d like to read my blog, you can do so here -> http://procrastinauthor.blogspot.com/ J

And if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, best of luck!

Panda

xxx

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