Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Voices of Ire by Aubrie Dionne

The Voices of Ire is like stepping into a magical land. The land is ruled by Wishcasters, and is threatened by the Murk.

Young Azalin, struggling to hide her powers and fit in with her neighbors, proves to be a wonderful character.

When she is invited to the Eaglecrest Kingdom to participate in the trials, which will determine the positions of the new Wishcasters, she doesn't go with excitement. Accompanied by her best friend, she makes the journey, and discovers her new role in life.

The characters in this book are interesting and lovable. Aubrie created a world of magic that is easy to walk in to. This book is well written and would be a great read for young adults or adults.

To learn more about Aubrie and her writings visit: http://www.authoraubrie.com/. You may also find the interview I had with her earlier in the year interesting.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

F2K: Free Creative Writing Course

I recently participated in the F2K: Free Creative Writing Course.

The exercises were interesting and thought provoking. I came away from the course with a slightly new look at my own writing. I also met some talented writers in the course and hopefully gained at least one new critique partner.

Downside of the course: we began with numerous students, but by the end only a few were left.

I would recommend this course to new writers or experienced writers who would like a little brush up on their skills or some social time with other writers.

You won't come away from the course a master of writer, of course who is, but you will come away with a new perspective. I would say the best lesson of the whole course was the material given for Lesson 6. The thoughts on plot and theme gave me a new way of producing my writing.

There is the option to have one-on-one Mentor assistance, which costs 25 dollars. I did not take this route, but it may have made the experience more rewarding.

An optional course book is also available: P. June Diehl's The Magic and the Mundane. Again, I did not have this to go with the course.

If you'd like to attend the next scheduled course, which is in October, you may register at http://writersvillage.com/free/ .

Step One: If you're not registered with F2K social yet, go to Login/Register for F2K Social. Fill out the simple registration form.

Step Two: You'll receive an email with an activation link. Click on the link (or copy and paste into your browser). You're activated.

Step Three: Once you're registered and logged in, a new menu appears. Go to F2K Course, select F2K CREATIVE WRITING COURSE 1010 and click the Register button. That's it!

Have you already taken this course? What did you think? Are there other courses you would recommend?

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Writing is Rewriting

"Writing is Rewriting."

I tried to find who said these words, but it seems a number of writers are given credit for them. I always thought it was Hemingway but I couldn't find the exact quote.

It doesn't matter. The point is I've never totally understood this.

I've spent years writing, doing a little editing, letting others read and critique my story, edit some more, and then submit. I've only been published once. I now see that this is not enough.

I've never claimed writing to be an easy task, but my writing deserves more work on my part. I've been fiddling with a rewrite of a story that has been rejected more than once. I'm in the process of polishing it up now and it hit me like a cold shower. Each time I hit the delete button. Each time I add another sentence. This is a good story, but I had failed to mold it into a wonderful story. I now realize that the rewriting process is just as important as the creation.

Below you will find my thoughts on the writing and rewriting process.

The drafting process, which is different for every writer, is only the beginning. (You may write a brilliant story, but it needs to be edited to death before you have a chance of getting published.)

The first step after creating your story in the first draft is to step away. Work on something else. Do Not edit the next day. You need to have distance between you and the writing. Do Not let other people read this first draft. Their efforts will be pointless. At this stage, there is still so much more to do. (Some writers can achieve distance from their writing quicker than others. The time allowed will be a personal preference.)

Once you've gained distance from your story, the next step is revisions. Revising is about looking at the big picture. (Adding, Rearranging, Removing, Replacing) Read through your story, taking notes as you go. Look for inconsistencies, scenes that aren't needed, characters that should be slashed or added. Is there enough tension? Is the pacing the way you want? Using your notes, rewrite. If needed, step away, and repeat the above procedures.

The next step is editing. Look for misused words, overused words and phrases, unneeded words. Every writer has at least one word that appears over and over again. Find that word and replace it in as many occurrences as possible. Check for misspelled words. Change passive verbs to active verbs. Check punctuation. Gage the pacing of your story. Are your sentences lengths varied?

Reading your work out loud can also help find mistakes. If you do corrections on computer, try printing out a copy and editing. Some writers find errors easier to see this way.

When you feel the writing is at its best, then it's time to let someone else read it. You will most likely find that fresh eyes will notice things you've overlooked, even after all of this editing. Take the advice given in the critiques or leave it. Not all advice is good, so you will need to weed through it.

Go through and correct what is needed.

Is it time to send it off to a publication? NO. Let it sit for at least a day. Reread it. Correct anything thing that catches your eye.

Now, it's time to submit.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this process, or let us know your techniques for molding a great story.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

2010 Muse Online Writers Conference

Registration Deadline is Tomorrow!

You must register for the conference by tomorrow or there will be a five dollar late charge.

Official deadline for registration is September 10th.

The conference runs from October 11th to 17th.

It's a full week of fun, learning, and socializing. Come join in the 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Critique Partners

Many writers will tell you that one of the most important aspects of becoming a talented writer is find a good critique partner. I would have to agree.

When I began toward my goal of becoming a professional writer, I became involved in a forum abundant with creative talent. With their help, I became a better writer. The forum closed and unfortunately so did the ties I had with the group. The closure was unexpected and there was no way to find a way to contact the critique partners I had come to rely upon, but the experience was great.

I have continued on and managed to become a member of another critique group and supplement that relationship with a great critique partner. With their help, I continue to grow as a writer.

You may be wondering, "How do I find a critique group?"

One way is online. There are many writing forums on the Internet and they are a great way to reach out to other writers. You may be lucky enough to find there are groups locally you can join for in person interaction. Or, you could always start your own group.

You will need to decide whether you want to find a group or an individual. One critique will give you one opinion of your writing, but will allow you less work when only having to give feedback to that one person. A group will give you multiple opinions but you will have to give feedback to multiple people. Give each a try and decide what best fits your time allotment and helps you the most.

Remember, you don't have to stick with your first choice of partner. You may find that you don't click with that particular group. Politely bow out and find one you do click with. It is important to find a group that helps you and does not hinder you. Accept criticism gracefully, but don't let someone beat you down. There are some writers out there that will strive to kill your spirit. Weed through them and find a healthy group to be a part of.

Do you have a critique group? How have they helped you along the way? Do you travel this journey alone? Is that working for you?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Seven

We have reached the end of this journey. I hope you all have enjoyed following along with me.

Many of the exercises were not in the book, but were created for extra activities. You will also find that some of the exercises in the book did not appear here on the blog.

It would be your best interest, if you have not already done so, to purchase or borrow a copy of the Artist's Way to further overcome your blocks.

The last exercise is to reread over the blog posts, reread the book, and to share this journey with an artist friend.

Always trust in God and yourself to provide the fuel for your creativity. God Bless.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Six

Combining Creative Processes

Many exercises during this course asked you to try a different method of expressing creativity. Now, what would happen if you combine these processes? Let's give it a try.

You painters who wrote a story, try painting a picture based on the story you wrote.

You writers who drew a picture, try writing a story based on the drawing.

I consider Tarot cards a form of creativity. You connect with your inner guide. You find a connection with the cards, their images, and other aspects and you form an interpretation for the client or yourself. Try creating a story from a layout of three cards.

You may also try combining baking or gardening into your creativity. Draw a picture of someone doing these activities. Have your story character be involved in these creative methods.

Whatever you combine, it doesn't have to result in a master piece. Have fun with this.

Friday, August 6, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Five

Take out your results from Day Two and read over what you wrote. Do you see multiple ideas? A single idea for a new story? A few lines that sound like poetry?

Take a second piece of paper or open a new document and jot down what you think about the results and what you can do with them.

If a germ is there, begin the new project. If not, set both results aside and come back in a few days and see if any growth has occurred. Continue until your gut tells you that nothing came into being on the pages and move on.

You will not always get results from this exercise. Not every seed sprouts.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Four

The first rule of magic is containment.

People will test you. They will tell you that it's a good hobby but not to expect anything to come of it. When they feel you are neglecting them for your creativity, they will speak up.

Some will even pretend to support you, but don't be surprised when the chores and errands around the house suddenly multiply. Your loved ones will not do this intentionally, but some will do it, because they can't stand the thought of you having fun without them. They want to be wanted, and thrive on your attention.

Your best friend may suddenly start calling everyday just to see what you are doing once she find out what you have in mind with your creativity. Again, these people usually don't even realize what they are doing, but they will do it.

You must hold your intentions within yourself. Learn to be your own counsel. Move silently among doubters. Only voice your plans among your allies. And learn who your allies are. Do not indulge or tolerate anyone that throws cold water in your direction. Forget their so called good intentions. Forget that they didn't mean it. Set your sights, and don't let anything or anyone detour you.

If you don't know who your allies are, one quick way to find out is to make a small comment such as: "I've been toying with the idea of writing a book." Watch and listen to their reactions. If you feel a negative vibe coming from the person, just don't mention it again. You can't force your positivity on anyone.

List five people you can talk to about your dream and with whom you feel supported. Consider this your circle of positive energy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Three

When we think about creativity, it's all too easy to think of art with a capital 'A'. For our purposes, capital 'A' art is a scarlet letter. In order to nurture our creativity, we require a sense of fun, even humor. We are an ambitious society and it is difficult for us to create when it does not serve us and our career goals.

We must reevaluate our definitions of creativity and push them beyond what we called hobbies.

The definition of hobby is an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.

The definition of creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.

While most of us do not create as a main occupation, for most of us the goal is to do so. Quit thinking of your writing, drawing, painting, etc. as an hobby, if you plan to make a go at a career in the field. If you feel that the chances are slim in doing so, well, you have two choices.

Continue with your creativity, with the purpose of self-enjoyment or, continue with your creativity, with the purpose of entertaining others.

Another thing, if you write, you are a writer. If you paint, you are a painter. The degree of you talent can be measured, but you are what you create.

As we work with our morning pages, and artist's date, many forgotten creations often come to mind. The memory of that story you wrote in the third grade may come to your attention. Could you pull it out and reinvent it into the next picture book to hit the markets. We've been creating all of our lives. We ARE intended to create.

Add a page to your morning pages. At the top of the page, write ' My Intentions as a ______.' Fill in the blank with what you create. Write a letter to yourself discussing what your intentions are with your creative process. Do you plan to be published? Do you hope to one day see your paintings in a gallery? Are you doing your creativity to relax with no intentions of going public? Right now is a good time to determine what you hope to accomplish during your creative journey.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day Two

Creativity, like life, begins in darkness. This needs to be acknowledged. All too often we think in terms of light. We say, "Then the light bulb came on, and I got it." It's true that insights may often come in flashes. They may even be blinding, but it is also true that these ideas are preceded by a gestation period that is internal, murky, and completely necessary.

Most of the time when we say we want to be creative, we mean we want to consistently creative, like machines. As creative channels, we need to trust the darkness and learn to gently mull, instead of churning out ideas like a little conveyor belt trying to meet production quota.

Hatching an idea is a lot like baking a cake. Open the oven too soon and the cake gets a hole in the middle because all the steam rushed out of it. Creativity requires time. Let your ideas grow, let them form on the roof of your consciousness, and then let them drop like light rain showers onto the page.

Free writing is one way to open your mind and let the ideas drop slowly or even in a flood onto the page. Something magical happens when you just let ideas pop out of your subconscious with no care of what form it may come.

Take thirty minutes today to free write. You may do this by computer or by hand. Set a timer and just jot down anything that comes to mind. At the end of thirty minutes, set your results aside and let them grow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Twelve - Day One

Recovering a Sense of Faith

Each of us has an inner dream. That dream can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is and the faith to trust our own admission. The admitting is often very difficult.

A clearing affirmation can often open the channel and allow the unfolding of our dream.

We will start this last week out with admitting our dream, and creating our own affirmation.

My dream is to become a published author and share my creativity with others.

Affirmation: I ask God to allow me to be an open vessel to creativity and allow me the courage to share my insights with others. I am capable and able to create stories with my imagination. I will place these words onto paper and send them out into the world to be shared with anyone willing to accept my tales.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

the Artist's Way - Week Eleven - Day Seven

It's been a long journey and we are coming up on the last week.

Take today to inventory yourself.

How have you changed since the beginning of your recover? Which practices have affected you the most? Which practices do you intend to take with you past the twelve week recovery process?

Me - It's been an interesting journey and I've taken something from each exercise. I feel I am much more open to my creativity and have the ability to let it flow through me onto the pages. I've become aware of my blocks and am slowly working through them to allow for more progress. The lesson this week on over extending yourself was a real eye-opener for me. A few months ago, I cut back on my obligations, but now see that more cutting is necessary to accomplish my dream.
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