Thursday, July 16, 2015

Everything I learned in English Classes...

Has been forgotten.

I have a new critique partner, which is awesomely wonderful. He is very honest, giving me the good, the bad, and the ugly about my work. Exactly what I asked for and needed. With his input I'm sure I'll be able to get my writing to that level needed to be worth publishing.

However, I've realized everything I learned in English classes in high school and college has left my "building". I've had to look up Protagonist and Antagonist again to get a more detailed idea of where I'm missing the mark. Being a techie, my writing revolves around user interfaces, system consoles, ROI and cost-benefit analyses, not fictional writing.

I find myself wondering why I "think" I'm a writer. But then something funny, odd, somewhat hysterical happens: characters invade my space with story lines, new problems and genres I rarely read let alone have the vocabulary necessary to write a story that will pull the reader in.

For example, Hallmark Channel was having a Christmas in July movie-thon and I was listening (and swearing profusely at an uncooperative server), when an entirely new character sauntered into my brain, plopped herself in a comfy chair and snarkily fed me a story line. A romance story line no less. I believe she actually belongs to Simone Anderson, but for whatever reason this character has decided I'll be the one to write her story.

That's when I remember why I think I'm a writer, because I have to write. Sure, I don't know all the rules or remember all the terminology, but it's the only way to shut up all of the people in my head.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Spinning My Wheels

by Patricia Kiyono

Normally, I’m up for a challenge. And since Astraea Press first published my novella in July 2011, I’ve been cranking out and publishing an average of three books per year. Winter NaNo? No problem. Roar Into Writing? I’m there. One hour writing sprints? Easy. The stories seemed to flow from my mind through my fingers to the keyboard.

But this year things have really slowed down. The book that was supposed to be submitted last December is still languishing on my hard drive, about 75 percent done. I’ve missed several writing deadlines this year. The only writing commitment I’ve consistently met (other than guest posts at my personal blog) has been my weekly Monday appearance at Four Foxes, One Hound.

At first I was just irritated at myself. I needed peace and quiet, I told my family. I need more time, and I need to keep up on my school work. But then the school semester was over and I had no more papers to grade. And the words still didn’t come. I got headphones and ignored my hubby. Nothing. I stopped watching television and shut off the internet for hours at a time. That did seem to help, but I’d still only gain a few hundred words rather than the 1500 I’d usually get during an hour sprint.

What to do? My daughter finally said, “Mom, maybe you just need a break. Forget about trying to force the words out and concentrate on something else. You’ve got plenty of hobbies. Sew a quilt. Catch up on your scrapbook. Crochet an afghan.”

I decided I had nothing to lose. So I closed my laptop and started sewing. And scrapbooking. And crocheting. I’m using up a ton of fabric in the house. Well, maybe not a ton, but an awful lot. And I’m nearly caught up on my scrapbook. The afghan I started four years ago is still in its bag, but if the words don’t come soon I’ll take it out. I haven’t forgotten about the story I’ve been trying to write. But maybe it’s not time to finish it yet. But when the time comes, at least I’ll have a more organized craft room!