Inspiration

It’s finally Sring time! The first official day of Spring was Friday, March 20 and I know I’m not the only one who was excited about that.

sunny_daffodils-2This is a time of renewal and rebirth. And allergies. So many allergies.

Do you find inspiration in this time? In the yellow daffodils and your ability to walk outside without a jacket? I feel like this is the poets’ time. Or, at least a time for those poets who have a passion or attachment to nature.

I know that the weather has inspired me to shave my legs for the first time in months and also to contemplate an attempt at gardening on my apartment balcony. And part of me keeps contemplating tackling the idea of Spring cleaning, but it seems that I’d rather cook and go to the gym.

My fiction writing tends to be affected by the season in which I’m writing it. Is anybody else like this?

I typically start a work off in the season that I’m currently living. I’m sure this doesn’t always hold true, but it’s so much easier to look out the window and be inspired by my surroundings to create a scene than to try to remember what the world looked like before that particular temperature change hit.

Take my novel, Collecting Humanity as an example. I currently too buried in track changes to remember what scene I start it off in, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the Fall. I did, after all, write the entire thing in November.

Disbelief

Note: My apologies for the delay, but here’s another little piece of the story.

“I’m still not sure if you’re ready,” Tressa said.

“What makes you think that?” Gwen glowered at her.

“You didn’t even remember that fairies existed…I don’t want to overwhelm you.”

“Try me.”

Tressa sighed. “Well, there’s an army preparing to destroy our home and you used to be the only person who could reason with them.”

“Oh.” Gwen took a long swallow of her coffee, wishing that it was the sort she could get at the bar across the street. “Is that all?”

“And you don’t remember me, let alone them, so how can you be expected to solve anything?” She pressed her face in her hands rubbing it until her palms pressed into her eyes and she saw stars. Finally, she looked up. “It’s like you’re not even you. You don’t know how to stop a war and I bet you don’t even remember how to use your magic—”

“Wait.” Gwen cut her off.

“What?”

“I don’t have any magic. There’s no such thing.

Tressa stared at her with incredulity. “Then what the hell do you call me?”

“I still think that I’m hallucinating. Or still sleeping. And I hope that I wake up soon.”

“I’m a fairy. What more do you need to convince you that this is real?”

“You would actually probably be  more convincing if you weren’t a fairy,” Gwen said and then winced at Tressa’s facial expression.

“What is wrong with humans these days? You see a little bit of magic and automatically assume you’re insane. It’s like you’re so set on reality being crappy that you can’t accept any happiness or wonder that comes your way.”

“That isn’t true,” Gwen said quietly.

“Then why are you so adamant that this isn’t real? That there must be something wrong with you and not the situation.”

“What situation are you referring to?”

“Other than your excessive use of flavored creamer?” Tressa said.

Gwen just stared at her.

“The situation I’m referring to is the fact that you’ve lost a good portion of your memory. That doesn’t concern you?”

Gwen scrunched her face and returned her gaze to her coffee. “Can’t you cast a spell or something to give me back these memories?”

“It isn’t that simple.” Tressa sighed. “Magic doesn’t work that way, Gwen. “We’d have to request a meeting in front of the Fae Council and see if they would be willing to help us.”

“The Fae Council?”

“Yes.” Tressa finished her tiny mug of coffee and leaned forward to set it on the kitchen counter. “Maybe taking you to see more fairies would help to convince you that you’re not hallucinating?”

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Writing Goals for 2015

I know that there are a couple of days left in this year, but I felt like the beginning of the week would be just as good a place to put this post as any.

Looking back at the goals that I made for 2014, the only thing off of that list that I actually accomplished was finishing the novel I started for NaNoWriMo 2013. As you know, I did this by completely rewriting it for NaNoWriMo 2014. And, while I’m disappointed in myself for not having completed any of the other goals, I do think that the fact that I completed the big one, so to speak, is pretty exciting.

So, here are some of the writing goals that I have for myself for this upcoming year.

  1. This year’s “big” goal is that I want to finish editing my novel, Collecting Humanity.
  2. Another main goal for me is that I want to try my hand at freelance writing again.
  3. I’m also planning on blogging regularly both here and at No Penny Required. I made a commitment to both these blogs when I decided to purchase their domain names. I’m also playing with the idea of once again trying to create some sort of author website using Wix.
  4. You may have noticed in the sidebar that I’m going to give myself the poem a day challenge again as well. Even if it’s winds up being something I can’t use, I want to get something down.
  5. The same applies to short stories. I want to try to write as many of those as I can during the year as well, and the Story Pieces series that I’ve started doing here should help.
  6. I would also like to submit my work to different literary magazines,
  7. attempt to find a literary agent once my novel is complete,
  8. and get some professional head shots made for the web and also for, one day, the inside cover of my novels.

There are so many things to see and do and learn in 2015. What are some of your life and writing goals?

Citations

I know, I can’t bring another Story Piece today, but I can find time to give you two posts in one day instead? We already knew that I was strange.

I recently realized that I haven’t been citing from the book that I’ve been using to find quotes from. And, because I think it’s important for you to use citations in work, it must also be important for me to use citations in my work. This posts is simply giving you a head up that whenever you see some words in magenta at the end of one of my posts, that is a citation from Son of Citation Machine.

ExampleofMagentaCitation

Above is a better example of the magenta that will be happening. I know that it looks pink, but if you have a WordPress account, you can look at your color options and this one is, in fact, known as magenta.

Anyways, I’m going to go through the other few Weekly Quotes that I have and make sure that I have MLA citations for each of them.

QuotationaryThe book that I was referring to is the Quotationary put together by Leonard Roy Frank. This is a wonderful book that I’m pretty sure my grandma found for me somewhere at some point some years ago–it’s been a while. It’s also a book that I think you should make a part of your collection because it is wonderful and also because it is apparently only $0.98 on Amazon.

I’ve always found quotes to be fun to look at it and they can also be an inspiration for your writing. I find that it’s a great way to spark poetry, in particular.

And this book is designed wonderfully. For one thing, it’s huge! It’s filled to the brim with so many wonderfully easy to read and find quotes.

Frank did a great job when he decided to separate the quotes by subject, making it easy to flip through your ABCs until you find the type of quote you might be looking for. The index is also broken up into topic and author, making it even easier to find what you’re looking for. Each quote has the speaker of said quote along with what they might have said it in, be it a novel or speech or letter. There are even some classic, anonymous quotes at the end of each section.

Procrastination

Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination, never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

Lord Chesterfield

Believe it or not, I didn’t intentionally pick another Lord Chesterfield quote! I actually didn’t even realize that it was until I was glancing back at last week’s quote to see how I had formatted the post.

The reason I picked this quote is because it really applies to how I should be looking at life. This past year, I’ve discovered the art of laziness and I’ve been working on slapping myself out of it. Hopefully, this adventure away from laziness with continue on into the next year.

This quote also has a lot to do with writing. You have to “snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment” of writing that you’re able to get your hands on because sometimes a few moments might be all you get in day to let your creativity flow.

And when you do get your hands on it, you need to dig in with all of your focus.

I.e. it probably isn’t the best idea to write while watching Guy Fieri‘s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Which is not what I am currently doing. At all.

Frank, Leonard Roy. Random House Webster’s Quotationary. New York: Random House, 1999. Print.

My Notebook Editing Process

I mentioned last week that I’ve come up with a new way to organize the scenes of my novel so that I can see what needs work. With the hope that it will be helpful, I’ve decided to break it down for you here.

So far, I’ve been writing down recaps of each scene with as few words as possible and then writing down little captions of what point in time they’re taking place. If said point in time needs to be fixed or if I think the scene needs series work, I’m going to write myself a note saying so. Later, once I have all of the scenes’ captions written out, I’m going to work on numbering them–figuring out what order they should be in and what chapters they should be in.

Maybe I should have been giving each scene an entire page instead of just three blank lines. Too late for that!

Anyways, I’m also planning on adding more sections to this notebook, including one for the characters that includes their description and character traits. There will more than likely be a section dedicated to scene too.

As of right now, the pen colors are:

  • Black –> Initial scene recap
  • Purple –> Points in time that the scene takes place
  • Red –> Notes about major editing fixes that need to happen

Those are the only colors that I’ve needed so far. Eventually, there will more than likely be at least one more color with the purpose of marking the order and chapter of every scene.

Slightly Random Note

I mentioned before that I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d spend the money on keeping this domain for another year. Well, while in the spirit of Christmas shopping over the weekend, I decided to buy it for myself.

Tinker Bell and Coffee

“I’m sorry,” Gwen said.

“No. It isn’t your fault.” She followed Gwen back to the nightstand where they resumed their original seating arrangement. “I’m frightened by the fact that someone could do this to you.”

“Why? Who am I? I wasn’t a fairy too, was I?”

The fairy laughed so hard that she would’ve fallen off her perch on the alarm clock if it wasn’t for the fact that she had wings.

Although she suspected that she was being laughed at, Gwen couldn’t help but smile at seeing the small creature happy for the first time. “I’ll take that as a no then.”

Tressa sighed, wiping tears of mirth out of her eyes. “You were never a fairy, but you do have magic. A great deal of it.”

It was Gwen’s turn to laugh, but more in disbelief that anything. She was the opposite of magical. “I need to call my boss before they mark me down as absent.”

“Alright.”

“Could you maybe go to the kitchen or something? Do you know how to turn on a coffee pot?”

“Yes,” Tressa said, “I’ll go start your coffee for you.”

“Thanks.”

~~~~

When Gwen got to the kitchen, the fairy was just sitting there in front of her Keurig with her hands on her hips, looking as if she were insulted by the thing. “What are you doing?”

“I can’t figure out how to work this thing. Too many buttons.”

“That’s fine. I can do it myself, anyways,” Gwen.

“But I wanted to help,” Tressa said, continuing to stare at the coffee machine and crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“Here. Like this.” Gwen showed her which buttons to push and how to put it in a new coffee pod.

“Oh.” She scrunched her face up. “These things used to be easier.”

“I actually think this one is easier.” Gwen grabbed her container of chocolate caramel creamer, her current fix, out of the fridge. “Do you drink coffee?”

“Sometimes.”

“Well, do you want some now?”

“I don’t think you have a coffee mug my size,” Tressa said.

Gwen pursed her lips and leaned against the corner as the pot gurgled and steamed fresh coffee into a mug behind her. “I actually think I might.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. My mom just sent me my old dollhouse the other week. Weird how good her timing was, right?”

The fairy just smiled at her.

Gwen went to the living room and started digging through a slightly dust covered box. “Unless you had something to do with it?”

“What makes you think that?”

“You’re magic, right?” Gwen rinsed out the tiny coffee cup before using an eye dropper to put some coffee from her own mug into it.

“Well, yes.” Tressa accepted the tiny mug from her. “But we can’t do everything. Each of us has different abilities.”

“Like Tinker Bell and her friends?”

Tressa gave her a blank stare, slowly putting the mug down on the table beside her.

Gwen raised her eyebrows at her expectantly.

“No. We are not related Disney’s recreation of fairies.”

“Well…” Gwen blushed. “It’s not like I have much else to go off of here.”

“Well, I don’t appreciate being compared to a cartoon.”

Gwen took a drink of her coffee, staring into the swirls of a little too much creamer. “You still haven’t told me why you’re here.”

The fairy sighed. “I don’t know how you’ll react.”

Gwen grabbed a different mug out of the cabinet; it was one the sort that you would see in old tea parties on little saucers while the ladies ate their cucumber sandwiches. She sat down at the kitchen table and put the cup upside down in front of her.

After studying the obvious makeshift chair for a few moments, Tressa gently landed on it. Her feet didn’t touch the ground, instead they swung back and forth, her heels gently tapping the porcelain covered in blue flowers.

“I’m listening.”

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