Monday, January 31, 2011

Lookie, lookie!

I'm blogging on my Nook. Just because I can. And I'm blogging while sitting in bed. Again, just because I can. Wi-fi at home is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

First week down, 51 to go ...

Posted my progress on the Write 1 Sub 1 blog: finished one story and submitted it to a contest. Finished writing a second story, but it needs revising and cutting down, since it's 17 words too long for the contest it's intended for.

Writing in the short story format is proving to be quite difficult. Normally for novels, I get a single burning great idea, and I can spend years on that one novel. (Heck, make that nine years. That's how long I've been working on Sparkless!) With Nanowrimo, I now have at least four novels that need finishing/revising.

I decided this "write one, sub one" idea was the perfect thing to get me to sit down and just WRITE. Something different every week. Something that I can sit and read through in a small amount of time and quickly revise. It's so hard not to spend days or weeks revising something I've written. I know I'm impossible to please with my own stuff, so the "submission" part is helping me with that. My main goal with this is to learn how to write good short stories and get some great feedback from publishers in the field in the process. If I get published along the way, that's a bonus.

But coming up with ideas is hard. I usually get my novel ideas from dreams, but I don't remember my dreams often enough to do a short story a week with it. Nor do they always make enough sense to lend themselves to story writing. These first two stories I've written I think I've made as interesting as I could, but there's nothing really new about them. One is based on a newspaper article I read about a local woman who killed her husband. The second is based on a theme for a contest about something important being lost and then found by someone else. Again, the same problem: I think I wrote it well, but the idea isn't new.

I think I'm frustrated by the constant pressure from the outside world to write "new" stuff, ideas that haven't been done before, concepts that haven't been explored. But is there really anything left in the world that's new? For heaven's sake, we've come to sparkly vampires as popular entertainment. I got really ticked off when I read "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." I mean, if all I had to do was take an old novel and thrust a few zombie scenes into it, then why didn't all those books on writing say so in the first place?!

Granted, I'm not writing because I want to be a famous author or make tons of money from it. Heck, if I wanted to be famous, I probably should have run off to New York and tried to make it on Broadway. I think I'm a better singer than I am a writer.

I want to entertain people. I want people to love what I write, what I sing, what I make as much as I love other writers' work, other performers' songs, and other artists' creations. I don't want to write like Tamora Pierce, I just want to make others feel the way I feel when I read her Tortall novels. Performing in Nunsense II this weekend, I was exhausted to the core, but I relish the laughter I get from the audience and the fact that some of them are crying as I sing my goodbye song. The moment I step on stage, the energy comes racing back. (Though it does desert me once more as soon as I step off the stage!)

Whew. Okay, that was kind of heavy!

I know one of my faults as a short story writer is that I've read very few short stories in my life. Most of them were read in college in English classes. I'm not sure why I can't get into reading more of them. I love novels so much, why not shorter versions as well? Maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. Maybe I need to put down "The Count of Monte Cristo" and read some shorts instead. (On page 508 of 1,058 of that, BTW.) There are just so many, it's hard to wade through the info and find a place to start.

Starting to get the desire to revise my second short story. Please excuse me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

First Write, First Sub!

So my first week of Write 1 Sub 1 went pretty well. I wrote a story, spent a day polishing it, and finally submitted it to a contest yesterday. My reflex is to spend weeks polishing a piece, but I know myself; I'd find something to change every single time I read it, and it would never be good enough. So this time I reigned myself in. I won't really learn anything until I start putting my stuff out there for people to read. I keep telling myself that, anyway.

Nunsense II opens tonight. Eek! We had our first audience last night (preview), and it went fantastically well. A lot of laughter and people joining in and having a good time. My biggest panic was the bingo game. I had to cover my mouth when the whole audience started murmuring, and then everyone yelled "Bingo!" at the same time. I had a hard time holding back a smile. When I got off the stage, I started dancing like a loon, pumping my first in the air. I got huge laughs for some of my lines, again trying to keep a straight face. At the end of the show, several people came up and told me I was their favorite character. I was also told of several audience members who were seen crying during my sad song. I love entertaining people.

I was thinking maybe I should write a series of short stories based on my theatre experiences. I mean, small town theatre presents a lot of entertaining moments that the audience never gets to see. Could turn out to be an interesting string.

Anyway, I'm still half asleep after a very full day yesterday. I've got a long night ahead of me, and another long day tomorrow. I think I better get a nap in.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And we're off with a bang - a lot of them

Last night sounded like a war was going on - so many explosions, pops, and bangs going on for hours. Fireworks started going off as soon as it got dark (around 5), probably because the Borough allowed the use of personal fireworks in town this year. At least, that was what I heard. We didn't get any, but we stood outside and watched the mayhem in the sky, listening to people scream and shout and shoot off guns. We simply stood and sipped our sparkling apple cider like the simple squares we are. :)

And so the new year begins by doing exactly what I wanted to do - spending some quality time with my husband, and sleeping late. Now I'm fighting the urge to clean the place since it's my only day off with hubby, and we were talking about going out for a drive or something.

Today also marks the beginning of Write 1 Sub 1. So I definitely plan on planting my butt in this chair later today and getting started on that. I've been researching newspaper articles and blog reports, and I have two different story ideas I'm kicking around. I think the hardest part of short story writing is finding ideas. I think my little notebook will come in handy for daily inspiration.

For now, my next question is: what do I want for breakfast?