To Live In A Moment

To Live In A Moment

At some point in the future, I hope that all of my labor will bear fruits from the seeds that I have sewn. That is what all of us creative types, parents, or people striving for more desire, right? While that time is what I aspire to, even now I find relevance in the present that I am living.

The light filtering through the window, then splashing across the room that I work in, which illuminates the pages I have filled within my spirals, or the exuberant laughter of a small child often accompanied with requests for a story or a jaunt through the woods, remind me that while one day I do hope to have been published many times over, as that is my ultimate goal, I also have other objectives outside of writing. So for now, I will enjoy the mediocrity that is being unknown, for this time and my daughter’s younger years, are only here for so long.

I do not have a fancy desk, but a small functional one, where I can be found at various times throughout any given day, typing away with a fervent flame of desire that courses through me to tell the stories that are woven into the fabric of my soul. I do not have high end devices, but a laptop that has served me well in the time that I have had it. Scattered notes are written throughout multiple notebooks, and someday I may have them readily available in the way that I have witnessed professional authors do. Right now though, I am reveling in my amateur status, because one day I hope to have the privilege of thinking back on it fondly, with the knowledge that the best is yet to come.

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I’ve Got My Outline, So Now What?

I’ve Got My Outline, So Now What?

The end of the first quarter of the year is approaching with haste, even though it feels like only yesterday we were putting the finishing touches on our resolutions for the year. My, how time does fly. So far this year, with writing at least, I’ve fared well. Between this blog and my other projects, I’ve accomplished a fair amount. As far as my novel goes, my outline is complete, and the first Camp NaNoWriMo session is just around the corner with only a few weeks away.

With the outline in hand, I’ve been researching in preparation to dive deep into the heads of the characters I plan to portray. For this novel and series in particular, I am not writing Own Voice, which is intimidating. There will be Own Voice rep in it, but it will not exclusively come from the main character, who is a far cry from who I am. Still, I adore this MC, as well as every other single one in this series, and so I plan to do right by each one of them.

Within the next few weeks, I will be inhaling more novels, information, and hopefully some rest, as I continue to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. At this point, I would like to hit 50K if possible, or write until the manuscript is complete. Whether or not my time or life will allow that, will be better determined throughout the course of April. The minimum goal I plan to set is 30K though. I’d like to write at least 1K a day, and then if I need to, complete the manuscript in May. As of right now, that is where I’m at in the writing process of what will hopefully be my debut novel.

With that being said, throughout the course of April, some Friday writing posts will include updates on my progress throughout Camp NaNo, what I’m learning from it, etc.

So, that’s about it for today. This post is a bit more informal than what I normally write, but NaNoWriMo is just that, so I figured I’d follow suit.

If you’re reading this, are you participating in Camp NaNo? Have you heard of it? Let me know down below in the comments if you like. Thank you for reading!

Until next time,

T.J.

Seattle & Stiefvater Seminar: A Recap & Travel Blog

Seattle & Stiefvater Seminar: A Recap & Travel Blog

A few months back, I stumbled upon an advert for Portraits & Dreams. I’ve never attended a writing seminar before, but I’m a writer. So, after reading about the class, I figured, well, what the hell. Why not? Following an early birthday gift in the form of a purchased ticket to the event from my spouse, I was then set to embark to the Emerald City for a class on writing by Maggie Stiefvater.

The day came on a windy Saturday when everything seemed to be against my attending. At least, that’s how it seemed from my perspective at the time. Looking back, there were a set of unfortunate circumstances that could have prevented me from attending, but thankfully, I persevered with the support of my loving husband.

After a dramatic morning of Uber screw-ups, and frustrated cursing, I left with a driver who could bring me to my first destination of the day – the ferry terminal. There, I munched on an apple tart and savored my coffee in a local shop as I attempted to swallow the memory of the morning from my conscious thought.

(Not the best picture I’ve taken, I know. Food and beverage made at Fraiche Cup.)

As one does when utilizing public transportation, I then sat and waited anxiously for the ferry to Seattle. The thrum of various energies surrounding me was both exhilarating and a bit nerve-wracking, but there was cascading sunlight and the promise of a wonderful day in the city. With that in mind, I queued in line when called, and then stepped onto the boat which would bring me closer to my destination.

As we boarded, clouds began to roll in and wind became sharper. It was gorgeous still, but a reminder that nature is not to be stopped by the wishes of humans. It does its will, whether we like it or not. Even so, I snapped a few pictures before I took cover in another viewing area on the upper deck.

One of the first pictures I captured while walking onto the ferry.
Closer to our destination, when the clouds and winds became more prevalent.

The boat rocked and swayed with the water, as it moved at the whims of the wind. Otherwise, it was a beautiful hour-long boat ride, which I quite enjoyed immensely.

About 30 minutes or so in, we had a decent view of the journey’s end. However, pictures were not possible until we were within minutes of docking.

Hello, Seattle!

Right after this pic was snapped, it began to drizzle. Still, the precipitation did not douse my parade of excitement. I had made it this far, right? I couldn’t give up now.

Then, we were docking.

Flurries of feet stamped and pressed against the floor as we each tread towards our separate destinations. The venue where I needed to go was not far from the ferry terminal, but it was an uphill climb.

After a few more minor mix-ups along with some anxiety, I finally arrived!

To summarize, as this is an experience best left unspoiled, in short, it was fantastic! Stiefvater knew how to teach, as well as work the room. Her upbeat energy, coupled with her down to earth attitude, made this class a joy to attend. I learned a great deal. I cannot wait to apply the knowledge I gained to current and future writing endeavors. Attending this seminar is one of the best choices I’ve made for my writing career so far. To be able to learn while also surrounded by over a hundred others who love the craft as much as I do, well, it’s energizing, to say the least. If there’s anyone out there considering it, then please, do yourself a favor and purchase a ticket to a future event! It truly is worth it.

Following the seminar, I captured this last picture as I found my way to the ferry terminal once more.

Again, not the best picture, but I love visuals.

Until next time, Seattle.

The Intersection of Diversity and Willful Ignorance

Though not the only instance where something of this nature has occurred, recently on Twitter there was an author, a woman who identifies as queer, who chose to explain to people why she felt that as a writer she could take creative liberty with facts about a transgender person’s life. As is expected, I and other people reacted with shock, anger, and dismay. I cannot speak for anyone else outside of myself, however, the chain of events that led up to this cannot be placed solely on the author, though it would be easy to scapegoat that one individual. Since the incident, I’ve taken some time to reflect and cool off a bit, rather than approach the topic with my natural reaction, which is a burning fury that anyone could believe that they have the right to erase our identities.

Dr. James Barry, the aforementioned man in question, whose life will be portrayed in the upcoming title mentioned above, presented as a man, acted as one, chose to be called one, and therefore was one. To suggest that the use of female pronouns after there is evidence of him forgoing that identity, is not only distasteful but downright disrespectful to do so. It appalls me that a publishing company or author felt that this was the right course of action to take when it has been made wholly clear that were he alive today, James Barry would be downright indignant at the slight of being misgendered, regardless of the reason for it.

As for what this means for the transgender community at large, I believe it bespeaks a willingness from a publishing giant to underutilize resources to accurately portray an individual who was, in fact, the opposite of what the author they have contracted claims. That others defend her flagrant disregard in the wake of scrutiny from transgender people is also troublesome at best, and terrifying at worst, because people who would know better than someone who is not trans should be listened to, right? One would think so at least.

This whole event is only one case of many though where a writer portraying a person unlike them has taken the story into their own hands and believed that they know better than the people they write about, despite an innumerable amount of protestations to the contrary. It is disheartening that this book was deemed worthy to be published, given that it grossly misrepresents one person to benefit another group of people, while dismissing the real fears of the group that it should actually be about.

As a writer, it is the duty of each one of us who wields the powers to craft words, however good or bad they are, to do so with a respect for those who we portray. Whether our works be about people like us or those who have a life dissimilar from ours that it would take hours, months, or years, to research to become knowledgeable about, regardless, we should do so with the care that we would wish others who write about us to take, and nothing less.

With that being said, there is a petition/open letter to get Little Brown’s attention, which I will leave linked here. Please, if you have a moment to, consider signing it. Thank you!

On Finishing The Outline For My Novel In Progress

I conquered another vast landscape on my journey towards a published novel – I have completed my outline! Writing it and molding it to be what I needed took the better part of January, as well as the first few days of February. Minor adjustments will be made as necessary, but it is now finished.

Within the writing community, perhaps due to NaNoWriMo, there are a couple of popular adjectives floating around which describes what sort of writer one is. Some identify as “pantsers”, while others as “plotters”. At one time, I had been the former. After having gone through what I did in the last month or so, I can say that it will no longer be the case.

When I began forming the idea for the book that I will begin writing soon, I never imagined that I would have been able to have a fully-fledged outline written in the time that I did. For so long, it seemed that the trick to making it towards the next phase of creating a book involved magic, the sort that might have involved blood or sacrifice, and some sort of complicated knowledge that I was not in possession of. However, after having traversed to where I am now, I can confirm that I needed to do nothing more than write, and research, of course.

Outlining is a process, but a necessary one, in my humble opinion. Without it, plotlines or whole chunks of a novel can be put in the wrong spot, or will not be fleshed out properly. I would rather spare myself the pain of putting work into a story before writing it, than stressing about where to go next as I write. Was outlining all sunshine and rainbows? No, it was not. It was work, just like any other part of the process that is the creation of art. However, because I toiled with the bits I was less sure of and did end up changing or deleting all together, I no longer have to worry about doing that as I write the actual manuscript.

I still have much to learn, but I am grateful to have reached this point. It was not easy, but worth it. Now, on to the next portion of my journey to publishing – writing the book itself.

Like You Mean It

Like You Mean It

Anyone can say that they are a writer, but it takes a dedicated one to become a published author or journalist. It is easy to fall into the trap of postponing the inevitable, but actually writing a novel, or any formidable piece of professionally written work, is hard work. When one has fallen prey to the excuse mill, there comes a point where it will catch up with them. To avoid this, the next course of action is simple – just write.

With that being said, there will be days, and months, and most likely even years where you will write crap, over and over again. Each piece though is one step closer to becoming the author you wish to be. It takes practice to know where you excel or lack. That knowledge is achieved in writing less than admirable work, and then afterwards, searching for ways to fix it so that the next time you may do better. It is a process, but one that cannot happen if nothing more than brooding or sipping coffee is done.

A myriad of excuses can be tossed out for why one cannot write on any given day. This writer in particular has used a handful of them on multiple occasions. The problem with that is it validates why we are not actively doing what we claim is the very essence of our identity. There are indeed people around the world who can get away with writing only ever so often. What are they called? People with a hobby.

So, if one wishes to avoid becoming little more than a hobbyist, there really is only one thing to do.

Write as if you could not live a day without doing so. Write as if your heart has bled for each word that you are allowed to type or pen on a page. Write as if the world would cease to exist as you know it if you did not. Write like you mean it.

Outlining; Or, My Attempt At Leveling Up My Writing

Outlining; Or, My Attempt At Leveling Up My Writing

I have raged against proper outlines from the moment I learned of them. I have never been a fan. In the past, I have info dumped, and then continued from there. At least, until now.

Be it the fact that I binge watch certain author YouTubers, such as Jenna Moreci or Alexa Donne, I felt compelled to work harder at my craft. At one point last year, I had almost given up entirely. Their channels, as well as others, kept me from throwing away a life long dream. But as with all dreams, there comes a point where you either have to settle for it as a mere fantasy, or bust your ass to make it a reality. I have chosen the latter.

Yesterday I outlined the first four chapters of a fantasy novel that I have been working on for a while now. By working on, I mean writing chapters or snippets, rather than outlining, when that’s what I should have been doing all along. Sure, I can get by without an outline, but that doesn’t mean I should.

Everyone works differently, of course. However, the more I prepare to write, or continue writing the books I have plans to one day query for publishing, the more I’ve realized my disorganization has affected my output and my motivation for the projects in general. That’s why this year I am sticking to firm goals and/or deadlines. It’s the only way to prepare for what I hope is a life long career of writing.

My goal for this month is to finish that outline. In February, my plan is to be tweaking said outline. Then March the real fun begins with a pre-NaNo writing month that I hope will yield a majority of my first draft. In April, I hope to finish up my first draft during Camp NaNo. When May arrives, I will be taking a breather, for various real life reasons. Once June 1st begins, so will revisions. It is my hope that by July I will be able to write a second draft. Should I do that, August will be a break month. Then comes September and October, or in other words, the months leading up to the main event – National Novel Writing Month. It is here I hope to write my final draft, unless that has already happened in September or October. In which case, I hope that during that month I will be doing last minute checks on the last draft. At some point before January of 2020, I hope to be querying, and so on.

I feel like, given the year I know I have ahead, this is an ambitious schedule. However, it is not impossible.

With that being said, every other post here at least, will pertain to some aspect of the writing process, as that is the main theme of this whole blog. I’m not an expert though, just merely chronicling bits of my life as I continue to work towards what I have hoped to achieve from a very young age. Younger me is counting on older me, so I can’t let them down.