Friday, January 28, 2011

Time and Space

Time and space - so much can be done with those two simple words. Where in time will my next book take place? Where in space did my character last walk? I have done both in my writing and many other mixtures, but I'm not here to talk about my stories, this time I'm talking about my personal time and space to write.

At the moment, I confess to not doing all that much writing of my own, though I am doing some polishing. I'm also doing some beta for some friends, but it's all still writing, even if it isn't mine.


There are different categories for 'when' I write. I'm a morning person so it's not uncommon to find me at the computer during the wee hours of the predawn doing what I love best, or some aspect of it. My husband is a night person and will stay up quite late most of the time, so consequently he'll sleep in to mid-morning and sometimes all the way till noon. Since I'm one to relish peace, and above all, quiet, that is my time away from reality. As soon as my husband gets up, all that is gone. There's breakfast and coffee. There's the radio and there's conversation. So much for concentrating on anything like a plot line or character arc, and keeping track of tiny details is impossible.

Though I may stay online, there's my daily advertising and all my emails to catch up on, and then I indulge myself in a couple Facebook games much to my chagrin. Mingled in with my online distractions is the assorted daily chores around the house, washing dishes, splitting firewood among other things, and then there's the not-so-daily chores like burning trash or bringing in buckets of snow. Even after the household chores are done (or skipped) there's still my husband's ever-present desire to fill the void with sound. When the Radio gets boring, he turns on the TV and when the shows get too stupid to tolerate, there's one movie or another. Don't get me wrong, there's things I am interested in on the radio, shows I like to watch on TV and many movies I like, but they all take away from my true love - writing, and on rough days - reading. I heave a huge sigh here - ah the choices

But that is my winter ritual, and it is what it is. My summer ritual is far stricter. During the summer, from June to September, give or take a week or two, I work long hours at a lodge nearby. So, the alarm goes off a five in the morning and for the next two hours I glance at my emails and do my advertising, then it's off to work. When I get home at six or so it's to wash dishes and fix supper, hopefully there's not much else to do but sometimes there is. Only later can I catch up with my emails and chat with my online friends. And if I'm lucky, I can eek out a little time for some reading and maybe even a little editing before heading off to bed around ten. It depends on whether I'm reading a book I'm holding in my hands or reading one of my own books here on my computer.


My house is really quite small and our table isn't all that big. There's room for my husband's computer and for my computer, which leaves only one side of the table 'open', not that it is clear. Currently, and most of the time, the folders where we keep our DVDs occupies that space. The fourth side of the table is butted up against the box that covers our battery bank, and over the battery bank is a shelf that holds our entertainment devices - the DVD player, the tape player, the TV and our internet devices - the modem and the router - all of it directly in front of me as I sit at my computer, hence the extreme level of distraction. The center of the table currently holds a couple oil lamps - they will get lit after the generator is turned off. The rest of the table is cluttered with papers, a notepad, the salt and pepper shakers, coffee cups and an abundance of other small things that seem to cover all free surface space of our small table.

Other than the table, where all life takes place in my house, right behind me (sorta) is the wood stove. The kitchen is a small fridge, a stove and a counter that takes up most of one wall. Beyond that is the bedroom. My floor measures twelve feet by twenty feet but my free walking space is barely wide enough for easy walking from the front of the house to the bedroom door. Especially during the winter, the walls are stacked with supplies and the rafters are hung with assorted coats. The floor frequently becomes littered with boots, shoes and buckets, not to mention the generator when it gets brought in. And then there's the ever present chainsaws, batteries (the big ones), and oil jugs.

So tell me about your time and space for writing. Inquiring minds want to know.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vampires, Werwolves and Dragons - Oh My

This evening, a young writer friend of mine asked be a very good question. "why are authors and young writers so fascinated with myth and legends like vampires and werewolves?" I thought it was a pretty good question so I thought I take a shot at answering it.

Not only young writers pick stories involving vampires and werwolves to write about, but I'm sure a lot of them do - at least several of the young writers on Ambitious Writers, Goodreads do. So why would a teenager (or younger) pick something so fantastic to write about? I think it may be because young writers have really very little life experiences to draw on - I mean, the alternative may well be a high school drama, provided they can dramatize it enough to make it interesting enough to be able to weather their way through an entire manuscript.

I say this because I have the same problem writing about my own life. While my life might be totally fascinating to those who read it, for me it is merely my life and though I enjoy sharing it, I need help coming up with the next story. Many high school students merely try to endure high school long enough to graduate, I know I did.

Another reason may be because a young person has really very little control over their own life. Parents decide (usually) what kind of clothes they buy, what kind of food they eat, what they can do with their free time and I'm sure a host of other small things. At school, teachers set up the curriculum and dictate the homework.

With such a controlled environment, and with such close horizons in life, what is there to write about? How about something totally fascinating and fantastic? Something that bears no resemblance to the doldrums of their every-day life? And what could be better than something where the very laws of nature could be changed to suit the story?

Like all writers, young writers need to write, and what better way to help them see and understand the laws of our nature than to let them sculpt their own nature and make it work. Understanding people can come around the same way, vampire, werwolf or human, they all have social issues and life problems beyond their physical issues, which are normal for them of course. Writing about all such things, regardless of the genre you write in, is one way to analyze the people and the society around us. With such analysis comes an understanding of motivations, even if only hypothetical, and such an understanding is vital in order to write a believable story.

So it is my opinion that as young writers grow and mature in their life, so too will their characters grow and mature; they may even out grow their vampireism or lycanthropy. And when young writers already write very good vampire stories, when they finally publish one of them, they can only do awesomely well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ambitious Writers from my Favorite Group on Goodreads

Last year I interviewed a group of young writers from Ambitious Writers on Goodreads. These young writers are the flame of the future. Over the last year, the group has grown to become one of the most active groups on Goodreads. I believe it's been nominated though I don't know the vote; it certainly deserves the distinction.

The group deserves a special mention - - stop in for a visit. Stay a while; you'll be welcomed.

But though the group is the greatest in my opinion, that isn't why I'm bringing you here today. A year ago, I interviewed several of these young writers - - and I thought I'd do it again this year. Some names have changed and new people have participated this time, but they all deserve accolades. Here they are:


Hi, my name is Greer and I'm thirteen years old. I've only just joined Ambitious Writers - where has it been all my life? - and I'm just starting to get the hang of it. I live in Australia.

I started writing stories when I was six years old; I had this terrific teacher in grade one. I think he used to be a publisher. He got us all to write narratives in our exercise books, and then when we had finished he would type it up on a computer and bind it. We then could illustrate it. I remember I once wrote this really long story about ponies, and he actually got up in front of the class and read it. That was embarrassing.

When I was ten years old, I won a writing competition, although it was only running in a relatively small country town. Still, it was published in the local paper and I got a trophy! Looking back on my story, it is majorly strange... "The Missing Thumb", it was called, which gives you an insight on its random-ness.

Since then, I've only recently gotten back into my writing. The story I'm currently writing, called 'Highly Flammable' was inspired by a random thought that came into my head: "When you have two options, death or death, you choose life. Duh. Even when fate is screaming in your face that life isn't an option." OK, kind of weird, but all of a sudden I got a sudden urge to tell a story where I could include that phrase.

I get a little obsessive about my stories... My current one I mentioned before, Highly Flammable, is about faeries, and on a long road trip, about five hours long, I pretended I was flying, flexing my shoulder blades, where the wings would be, in and out, the whole way, just to see if it would be tiring. It was, and my sisters in the back seat got extremely ticked off about it.

I love reading, and writing is like... reading a book that hasn't been created yet, only you can control what happens.

Once I told my mum I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. With a dubious look on her face, she said, "That's a hard road to travel." Well, I'm gonna try and travel it anyway.


Hey, it's the MYHAPPYMONSTER here, also known as Keara. Let's see... *taps pen* I'm pretty horrible about writing about myself, so bear with me and just MAYBE we'll all make it out alive.

I'm a self-proclaimed Grammar Nazi, so try to keep the typos to a minimum and you'll pretty much be on good terms with me. I'm currently 15 (turning 16 on October 11) and I'm definitely excited about being able to get a permit, but it scares my family and loved ones to death. I just started high school this year (9th grade, to be precise) and I'm happy with what school I picked, since there were several options in the little Utah Valley.

I've got a kick-butt family; an overly-sarcastic father, a tolerant mom, a giggly brother, and spoiled sister. I'm the oldest, and I'm glad it turned out that way - I'm a wicked older sister.

I'm LDS/Mormon, and it's really hard to fire me up and get my angry unless you insult my religion. So... yeah, don't accuse me of all the fake crap you hear about me and the Mormons... I just became a Mod(erator) in Ambitious Writers (the group that we're showcasing here), and I'm so happy that Rose and Amani bestowed this great and almighty power upon my scrawny little shoulders (kidding - I'm pretty average height).

Oh - I'm supposed to be writing about why I like to write... my bad... Well, my mom's a published author, and I still haven't told her that I write stories and such... I'm not sure why, seeing as she's been through all the editing and publishing crap before and would help me a butt-load if I'd just let her. Oh well... I've probably been writing since third grade, when we had to twist one of the Grimm’s' Fairy Tales and/or Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes into our own creation. I wrote about sisters and a giant sunflower that they found while picking roses at a castle. There were cows, silverware, and fiddlers involved... and I STILL didn't get full credit because I turned it in late. Sad day, since it's one of my proudest moments...

I got serious about writing in... April of '09? It's hard to remember - I just remember having this dream over and over again... I kinda deleted off of the group's forum, since it sucked cow's butt... But it took weeks to get all the details sorted out - and I've still got that. ^_^ Right now, I'm trying to redeem werewolves' bad name from the train-wreck that is Twilight... I'm hoping to wrap a few things up by the end of the year, seeing as I have several ideas and scenes that are playing out in my head.

I love writing because it just lets you... express yourself in a way nothing else can. Everything is left up to the readers' imagination and nobody can really take the message in the same exact way. You just think one word and it could change an entire outlook on life for a reader. I can't imagine my life right now if I hadn't read any of the authors in the Ambitious Writers works... if that even remotely makes sense... Their poems and stories have really helped me see that there are others like me out there, and I've watched them improve even in the short time I've been a member.

Also, I apologize profusely for all of the ellipses (maybe it's "ellipsis?"... whatever). I tend to type those out when I'm thinking about what keys I'm about to hit next. >_<

By *DOMO Kat*

Hello, I’m Katherine. But of course if you’ve read my name or have met me- cyber or physically- you probably know or have the slightest idea that I like to be called Kat. The reason is that Katherine sounds like I’m a snobby girl.

And ya know one thing?

I probably am.

I live in a highly populated area, but my heart lives in North Dakota. I love animals and believe that our lives aren’t any more important than theirs. So obviously if you haven’t gathered what I’m trying to interpret. Or maybe you’re just the tiniest bit of slow- I’m a vegetarian.

I joined this group not because I’m some kid prodigy with extreme writing talents. I did not join this group just because I ‘felt’ like it. But I did join this group because I love writing. The blank page before you, one thought and you have created a diverse universe. Of course I’m a little lot rough around the edges- especially with grammar. But, hey a kid can dream.

It all started in the fifth grade- slash that- the fourth grade. I wrote this poem, it made no sense what so ever. It was called ‘imagine’ and it just listed things with imagine in front of them. Then over the course of the year I edited it and all that crap. Then one day during writing in fifth grade I read it aloud to the class. My teacher said it was ‘deep’. I almost wet my pants from laughter. (If you haven’t noticed, I use that term a lot. Don’t take me seriously when I do though)

In other words, I don’t do this alien term called ‘try’. I also don’t usually finish things.

In case you haven’t gathered, I don’t really care what people think. My wardrobe sort of reflects that. Hey, anyone know where I can find rainbow stretches?

Also, I don’t usually give second chances. I swear a lot. And I do not put up with potential female dogs. Okay?

Three words to sum up me or my life Insanity, War, and Obliviousness.

I bet you’re going ‘WTF?!’

My answer, Insanity- My world is often tipped upside down. And I’m often upside down. War- I’m not exactly a peace keeper and am always at war with the people at my school. Obliviousness- I don’t care what people think. I do stuff, and don’t give a glance to their expressions.

By Kimathy

I'm Kimathy Gertig, or that's what I present myself as online. I'm 15 years old as of last June, and I live in America. I started writing in fifth grade when i got this amazing teacher(Props to you Mr. Harris!) I hated writing in the beginning of the year and he told me the first day that by the end of the school year I would love writing, I didn't believe him. But of course he was right. Now I love to write all the time. I stated writing my first story in 6th grade for an assignment, but it was so long I didn't get to finished it before it as due.

While I love to write stories I'm also in love with writing poetry, you can just express your self so well. In 7th grade I even got an honorable mention in a writing contest. Now I almost die when an idea pops into my head and i don't have paper and pen. I usually write fantasy or sci-fi, seeing as those are the majority of books i read ( humongous Potter fan here) I do hope to get published but for now I'm just an amateur.

By Coquille

I'm one of the older members, but my passion for writing began at an early age. I remember having writing published in the newspaper from my third grade class and having a story I wrote read over the intercom to the whole school in seventh grade. This kind of "celebrity" encouraged my passion for writing for sure.

As a teenager, I wrote books to entertain my friends - stories where we were rich, parentless, and living in big cities doing what we wanted.

In 9th grade I won $50 in a short story contest that I had only found out about the day before the stories were due. I really wanted this Swatch watch that cost $50, and when I found out that that was the prize, I said to myself I would win. I set out on an old-school typewriter to craft a story that the guidance counselors (whom I had discovered were the judges) wouldn't be able to resist. When I actually won, it was amazing.

I always thought I would be a writer, and all through high school I wrote stories, poetry and novels, but eventually life got busy and I stopped writing.

Now that I'm almost 40, I have finally come back to writing and it's the most amazing feeling to be doing what I have always wanted to do, though I know it's a long road to get published. Now I work a stupid corporate job that I basically hate, only to write in my spare time. Still, writing always makes me feel better after a crap day at work. I can have all the control I don't have in my "real" life in my literary world. My imagination runs free and I am replenished. Then I can go back to work with a secret, another life that I think about while I go through the motions of the day, the secret life of my stories. It's awesome.

Though I sort of regret not pursuing writing more seriously in my twenties and early thirties, I know I gained life experience that feeds my writing now. There's no going back, so now I just focus on writing forward. Even if it's just for myself, it's something that feeds my soul. I am hoping to get published soon, but even if I don't, I am loving writing again. It's like a long, sweet drink after a long journey through the desert.

By Filza

I am Filza and live in Karachi, Pakistan and I am 17year old I am not a good writer, but I try to be a good writer. When I was in grade five we came to a new city, so I couldn't really fit in there and felt upset at times, anger, mirth, frustration all were heavy upon me, at that time there was only one let out 'writing'. While writing I feel as if my emotions were channeling through my pen into paper. That's when I started loving writing, I feel light for writing. I don't write often because I don't get a lot of time for it. At times when I am upset and feel retarded I read my diary, it is stimulus for me to move on. I have many ideas but when it comes to expressing, I don't do the job well. INSHALLAH I will someday.

By Lisa

My name is Lisa Kumar, and as for my age, I’m old enough to divulge that information but also am of the mind that a lady should never give her age, especially when she’s as old as I am (though if you ask kindly, I just might tell you). I'm undoubtedly one of the older members on Ambitious Writers, but I like to think of age as merely being years of experience gained, not lost.

I wish I could say I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life, but first and foremost, I was a reader and still am. That’s not to say the notion of writing didn’t appeal to me--it did, just in some nebulous way I too easily swept aside for other pursuits like college and marriage.

Then finally, over a year ago, after tinkering with the idea for more than a few years, I decided to begin the journey that would see me finish my first novel. Has that novel been published? No, and time will only tell if it will be. But that’s not stopping me. Writing is like any other craft. It takes dedication and persistence to improve and reach a measure of success. But even without success, it allows me to escape into another world of my own choosing, much as reading does. That's a luxury I don't want to give up.

I’ve just completed a novella and am starting to work on a sequel to that first manuscript I mentioned. I don’t know where my writing endeavors will take me, but I’m tagging along for the ride. Placid lake or whitewater rapids, here I come!

By Andy

I'm Andy, 23, from Scotland.

This should be pretty easy for me as I write for pretty selfish reasons. I only started writing properly in the past few months, but I 'picked up the pen', as it were, maybe two years ago. Most of my creative endeavours (Sorry I'm gonna persist with UK spelling) were in textile design, which I studied at art school but I had a couple of cool ideas for short stories and stuff but never really took the time to explore them. Then, my first love dumped me. Yip... it's all a girls fault. A friend told me just writing about stuff helped clear his head. So I was getting over the break up with a kinda diary/whiney brokenhearted 21 year old Romeo in the sycamore grove thing. Sure enough, I found something cathartic about writing that wasn't there when I was stuck in front of loom. I've been doing short stories on and off since, but more seriously recently. I have a new project with a local fashion designer who wants to work on a collection from my stories. So I don't have any major influences in a literary sense, I guess I just write to make myself feel better, or maybe it's the hope that girls might realise how bad the dude feels. So yeah making me feel better and girls feel guilty, that's the long and short of it. Far less inspiring than other posts but that's my story.

By Rose

Hello, my name is Rose. You may remember me from last time.
I was the insane one.

Okay, I'll rewrite everything.

I live in Fontana, California, Aka, the City the Other Crappy, Gang-Infested Cities Make Fun of For Being Gang-Infested...and Poor.
That sucks, I know, but I manage quite well.

I currently attend high school, having just finished my first semester of Sophomore year of which I ABHOR (lame teachers, mostly...I miss Freshmen year...).

My parents emigrated from Mexico, in an even poorer and even worse gang-infested area that I've only visited twice in my life and didn't even know how to pronounce or spell its name until I was ten.
Scratch that.



Scratch that.

I still don't know how to spell it. Damn.

I suck, I know...but I manage quite well.

Anyway, it means Cradle/Nest of the Snakes in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. And no, I am actually not very related to the native populace, oddly. I am of Spanish and other various European nations but mostly Spanish descent...

And I still have a thick, horrid accent when speaking the minimal, conversational Spanish that I do know.

I'm a sucky Mexican, I know, but I manage quite well.

I always felt alienated from my family because I was the only one born in America (an anchor-baby, if you will...aside from my little brother...the only person in the world whose Spanish is worse than mine despite being part of a family in which the parents speak absolutely nothing except Spanish...dammit, I don't know how I don't know Spanish either...but I don' with it, like I do) and couldn't speak Spanish (throwback!).

I was a spoiled child, born when my parents were moderately wealthy, but then things hit the shitter and my parents became poor again.

It sucks, I know, but I manage quite well.

So I would escape reality by reading mounds upon mounds of books.

Despite the fact I actually don't really remember much of my childhood (though no one in my family believes that claim...I only remember small snippets, and it's usually of bad times, like when I was angry or crying...It sucks, I know, but I manage quite well), I specifically remember that I didn't like my childhood and that I would use books as a means of previously mentioned.

I live with my dad, my mother, my older brother, and my little brother and the family's eldest child is my sister, who has already flown the coop (lucky bitch).

The biggest reason for my me starting to write was as escapism. See, my mother is a housewife who has taken on a multitude of menial jobs that she eventually quits after about a month but due to hard economic times, can no longer find any temporary work. That and she's gotten much much lazier and even more mentally worse off. She has- what I have diagnosed as- Capgrass Syndrome. This mental illness causes her to believe that close friends, spouses and certain family members have been replaced by a doppelganger and due to her creative imagination, she has come up with fanciful- if retarded- means of explaining everything that's happened to her.

Either that or I resent her so much that I literally don't believe a single word that comes out of her mouth...which is a very likely scenario.

You see, her illness (she has refused time and again to receive treatment of any kind) was once so bad that she took my little brother and I out of school, force my older brother to quit his job, and wouldn't let any of us leave the house without her accompanying us (not that she let us out beforehand- she used to be overbearing, now she's just insane) because she thought that my father's doppelganger and the organization he's working with the steal my family ancient fortune and land back in Mexico (see? Fanciful) were going to kidnap us so that they could force my mother to tell them what they wanted.

That sucks, I know, but I manage quite well.

So we were basically under house-arrest by Mother for...oh, I think about two years or so.

That REALLY sucks, I know, but I managed quite well.
How, you ask?

By playing video games, specifically, X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse.

I was so enthralled by the story of it all (and by Jean Grey/Phoenix's awesome powers) that I decided to read more into the X-Men.

I found the whole idea of a leap in evolution so awesome that I decided to create my own character. Now, as an amateur idiot, I decided to base the character on myself...and create other character based on my family. At the time, I thought that my creations were the greatest thing in the world, now I- sadly- realize that all I did was create a....a...
...A family of Mary-Sues!!!

I know, I know, it fucking sucks, but...I manage...somehow...
But ignoring that black period of my life...

My interest in the X-Men grew so great that I eventually branched off into the rest of Marvel, particularly Deadpool, but that's an epic tale best suited for another time.

Anyway, I loved Marvel so much that I decided to geek out with fellow Marvel buffs such as myself on the message boards.

I was introduced the world known as fanfiction.

And by god, do I love it.

Of course, most of the fanfiction I read sucked was still ten times better than what I had written...and drawn...and basically were better than mine.

Anyway, by the height of my interest in Deadpool (and by extension, Marvel), I decided to enter a little fanfiction contest for October. I wrote a little story involving Deadpool going trick-or-treating and the troubles that came with it and I won...

Second place.

So I was determined to write better, and before I knew it...I had forgotten all about the Marvel Boards (I had been kicked out for swearing at another guy who said that Deadpool sucked- THAT BASTARD) and decided it was high time to start my own universe full of awesomeness...and so I graduated to Quizilla.


But, long story short, I both hate Quizilla for sucking and hold a grudging gratefulness to it for being the first in a series of playgrounds in which I grew as a writer.

Of course, I still sucked when I was in Quizilla...but I was still one of the best writers there.


But then, with the help of my best friend Amani, I have grown much better as a writer.


I don't suck anymore.

Mission accomplished!


But I still have yet to be published on a wide scale (I've been published on a small-scale literary journal at my school and was the best person to every write in it...but no), and that's what I'm currently aiming to do: Get published.

Ignoring that.

I am the co-found of Ambitious Writers, along with Amani (lurv you).

We made the group so we could help other young authors in a more structured environment because we say that no other groups really had anyone reviewing others people's work properly. It was either, “Ooh, that was a cool story/chapter!” Or, “That sucked! Never write again! I hate you and your guts for no reason other than because you're an amateur writer who can't write worth a damn!!!” (Incorrect grammar and horrid spelling not shown.)

We saw that no one was utilizing constructive criticism and none of them were at all organized. However, the icing on the cake was (aside from the hate messages to certain authors about their stories, otherwise known as flaming) definitely had to be that someone would just join, post their work, and leave because all these writing groups were so tight nit and alienated any new person who joined and so the new person had two choices: create their own group with an equally tight nit group that would alienate newer people OR...never write again due to the fact that no one was willing to just read their writing.

It sucks, I know...I cannot manage AT ALL with that...

So we created the group to combat this, to make people feel welcome, to give them tips on how to become better, to make them feel like they mattered as most wrote as a way to escape that feeling of loneliness. We both knew how that felt, and if it hadn't been for writing or for friends to lean on during dark times, we definitely would've given up writing...or worse.

So that's why we created the group.

My favorite genres to read are...urban fantasy, sci-fi and comedy, (as well as the occasional drama, but that's only if I'm in the right mood) and that also makes them the perfect genres to actually write in as I have so much experience with and exposure to it.

The worst problem, for me, when writing is...actually writing. Up until recently, I've had an immense and non-stop bout of Writer's Block. It once got so bad that I literally got a headache whenever I wrote because I was so creatively blocked. Of course, the floodgates have yet to open, but there's just enough overflowing for me to write things like this or essays.

The easiest thing for me, when it comes to writing, is dialogue and jokes.

I don't suck, I know, I actually manage really well.
Dialogue just comes naturally to me. I can easily tell you, and even act out how a character- and not just my own character, even other characters I'm familiar with, like from TV shows or books or whatever- would speak, their choice of words, the actions- like hand movements- they would do while speaking, and I'll even attempt to mimic their voice (depending on who, I can either copy their voice or fail horribly).
I often spend a few nights with my older brother just acting out random scenes with random characters, making funny voices and cracking jokes in different voices as different people.

Dialogue is just easy for me, and I'm told that sometimes I write too much of it, but SCREW THEM dialogue is awesome.
Literally, I've written hundreds of stories with NOTHING BUT dialogue...and they're all HILARIOUS. You can do so much with dialogue, it's such a versatile piece of writing, and I'm an expert at it, but no one seems to really appreciate dialogue in all its worth. They think of it as simply conveying a message from one character to another, but I see as the literal gateway to a character's core. So much can be done with it but so few really understand it. Whatever a character says is as important as their actions.

You know that old saying? Actions speak louder than words.
Yeah, fuck that saying. These are my words and they're pretty damn powerful (and thus loud) in your mind as you're reading this, aren't they?
Thought so.

Erm, where was I before I started ranting about dialogue?

Ah, jokes. Like all jokes, you can only crack one when you're speaking, so jokes are just a specific, more refined form of I don't really know where I was going.

Jesus Christ, I just realized that I've written about four pages. Wow...

Though half was about my family...that seems pretty reasonable...
Anyway, I guess I should just continue.

I hope to become one of the Greats in the writing world. I hope to have video games and movies and TV shows made of my books (in that order), but for now, I can only hope and dream and, of course, write.

But before I finish- I know what you're thinking, “Shut up already! We hate you! Now go die or write or something that involves!” You guys are so mean- I just want to tell everyone how I see a stupid yet funny yet true way (the best way there is).

Writing is 45% creativity, 45% lying, 5% tears, and 5% insanity. You need creativity to create your world, your characters, and everything in between; you need to be a compulsive liar in order to have to experience to make everything believable enough so people will buy it; you need tears in order to realize that there's only a 0.10% chance you'll make a living out of it and you need to be insane in order to go through with it.

That's my quote. Steal it without crediting me and I'll stab you in the face with my writing/drawing pencil!

His name is Stabby...and I'm Rose!

Good night!

By Guitar Chick - Dolly Dagger

Hello to all the good people out there who read Anna's awesome blog!

My name is Guitar Chick. Call me GC. It's easier.
I'm probably one of the younger members of the group. Music and writing are my passions, and I'm getting pretty good at both of them.
I'm still writing a series on merpeople, trying to bring the genre back and combine all the beautiful legends and funny little bits I've come up with.
I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd and have two wizard rock projects (Magic Most Evil and Love Wrocks. Look us up on MySpace). I've made a lot of friends from around the world and might be opening up for a few bands on tour if the come to my city.

The group here on GoodReads has also led to a lot of growing up. Stuff like not making excuses when that last chapter you wrote read like bad fanfiction.

I'm looking forward to what I can acomplish in 2011 in writing in music. I finished the first book in my mer series in 2010 and plan on finishing the second this year.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my slightly interesting life. It's not half as funny as the rest of them.

By Sharon

Hello, my name is Sharon Atkinson and I am at present 34 years old. I live in Essex, England with my partner who goes by the name of Monster (more like a BFG).

I didn’t start writing properly until 2001 when a friend said to me that I should write as I have so much inside me that people would like to hear. So she set me up with my website. It did encourage me to actually start writing. I started on the poetry and before long some of my poems were being accepted for publication in anthologies. It was certainly a great boost to the system and it encouraged me to keep going. I think, personally that to see your name in print, there is no better feeling. Since 2003 I have now had 16 of my poems published in different anthologies including, “Poets of Greater London”, “Love in Ink”, "The Path of True Love", “The Chessboard of Life” and “Daily Reflections 2005”, and more recently “Looking for Love” which is an entrant to become “The Love Poet of the Year”, to mention but a few. These have been published via ForwardPress.

In October 2007, I self published my first book of poetry “From Dreams to Reality”. As a writer, I write poems straight from the heart and I reflect this in order to inspire readers with a different level of understanding and a feeling of the side that is not usually portrayed in your normal line of poems.

I get my inspiration and motivation to write from the people that surround me, my friends, family and things you may just hear in the street walking by.

My poems have been heart-breaking as well as mystical and in many ways consist of a little bit of magic and wisdom, although I have many more years to travel through, which is a great conquest for me and my followers to look forward to more writing from me.

I have been working on my second book of poetry which follows the deeper, darker gothic side with the sometimes romantic twist. I am hoping to have this one out published this year, (with a bit of luck).

Along side the poetry I am working on my first novel which is proving challenging but fun. I am also delving into the short stories, some of the dark influence and some with a more supernatural but romantic feel.

2011 I am hoping is going to be a good year for writing. I already have quite a few ideas floating around in my head, all I need now is to actually get them down on paper.

By Susannah

Hi, my name is Susannah and I'm twelve. I live in Illinois, in the U.S.

Technically, I've been writing since I was eight, but I was actually writing since I was three. One day at school, I was bored and decided to start a game with myself: I would describe everything that was happening to myself, as if I were writing a story about it. I pictured the words in my head when someone talked, and also described where I was. I never stopped doing it. I think it helps me with vocabulary and spelling a huge amount, and it also gives me a chance to practice writing all the time, even subconsciously.

When I'd just turned eight, near the end of second grade, my mom read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to me. By the end of the third chapter, I was completely hooked. I loved it. When we finished the first book together, I read the other five (there were only six out at that time) and then waited desperately for the seventh to come out. While I did that, I decided to write a story which was basically Harry Potter, except with different character names and a slightly different plot. Also, instead of doing magic, the people in the story could turn into animals. It was called, "Henry Hopper and the Secret of Larconia." When I finished it, I felt strangely sad. I realized that I'd enjoyed writing it a lot, and so I started to write a sequel. But it wasn't long before another idea came into my head, completely different from Harry Potter. I started to write about that.

Soon I decided that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I wrote stories, most of which I abandoned before I could finish. Then when I was in fifth grade, I made a decision. It had been lingering on the edges of my mind for a while, but I made it official when I wrote it down, as number one of the list we were making of "Fifty Things I Want to Do in My Life." It was: "Publish a book before I turn fourteen."

After that I wrote a few more short stories, then in the summer between fifth and sixth grade, I started writing a story which I wanted to get published, but I didn't finish it. I started a few others, but also never finished them. Now I have finished the first of my books which I intended to publish. It's the first I've finished since fifth grade.

Right now, my mom is editing the book. She's a writer, too, though she writes nonfiction while I write fantasy and science fiction. It's going to take a while to edit it and finish it up and send it off, but even then I might not get it published. If that happens, I'll just keep going. I will not give up. After all, J. K. Rowling, my favorite author, wrote a huge amount of books which were rejected before she published Harry Potter.

I love to write. I carry my notebook, or "writing sketchbook," around with me everywhere, and keep a pen in the belt loop on my jeans. I wear blue because I heard it inspires creativity, and my favorite symbol is a feather because they come from birds, which I love, and because feather quills were writing utensils before pens. I talk about my book with my friends and named a few characters after them. I work on my book and write in my notebook. I write in my mind, as I have since I was three years old. And I still have that idea, that dream which makes me an ambitious writer. Even if I have to push the age up a little. Even if my books are rejected at first. I still do intend to publish a book before I become an adult.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Write it Like You Say it, or Not.

Over the last year or so, I have learned that writing a novel is much more than just spinning a good tale. There's a lot of little things that must fit together like a puzzle before an idea can come alive on the printed page.

Need I mention spelling or sentence structure? Well, maybe just a little. The English language is riddled with words that sound the same and yet have very different meanings - words your handy-dandy spell checker will be perfectly happy with, if they're spelled correctly.

As for sentence structure, we can all talk. We supposedly learned how at a very young age, so if we can write as well as we can talk, that's half the battle.

That is by no means all of the battle. There are so many little things about stringing a bunch of words together that make for a good sentence. Good sentences, or even captivating sentences are not all that easy to craft. Extra words and repeated words or phrases need to be watched for.

Funny thing how these things frequent our dialog without notice, but once it's on the page, it sticks out like a red flag. Or maybe that's only true when other writers encounter such things in they're reading. I know I see things like that now. Really very frustrating. I don't know whether to kick myself or stop reading altogether.

When I first started writing, I discovered that I have a flare for the dramatic. My content was quite archaic. Writing where 'my Lady' or 'my Lord' was a common tag didn't help. Bringing my style into the 20th century wasn't easy, but finally I was able to settle on the way I speak; reading out loud to myself helped, even if I seldom did it actually out loud, I still forced my brain to rattle off the sentences until they flowed off my brain's tongue easily. And coincidentally, my speaking today has even altered as I now watch for repeated words and passive sentences in my writing. So you see, the two are attached closer than you may guess.

Recently, I discovered that computers these days can read, and the coolest thing is that they can read what is actually written. Being mechanical, it picks up run-on sentences, helping me with comma placement. It also finds where I've managed to leave off the tell-tail 's' in some plurals. Such tiny mistakes like that my brain seems to always miss since it likes to read what I want to be there. I strongly recommend you figure out how to make your computers read your writing to you.

So, can I still tell a good story? Who knows. I will work on this puzzle of writing and hope you will join me. There is strength in numbers, they say, and I believe that.

What tricks to you use to help you craft your sentences?