Review Anxiety

I don’t know what else to call it. I’m just a student, but I’d say this feels a lot like leaving your new baby in the care of someone else for the first time.

It’s not the first time I’ve let other read my work and give me feedback, but it is the first time in a very, very long time. I’m anxiously waiting to know what they think…and praying that they like it.

It’s hard to share your writing with people, and it doesn’t get easier over time. Some times you become more comfortable with the person you’re sharing your work with, but even then it can be terrifying.

When I handed over my manuscript I wanted to vomit. I suppose the timing is a bit weird since I’m also pretty stressed out because of school still but whatever. Life is full of transitions and trials. It’s one thing after another.

While you’re waiting for your feedback it can be helpful to occupy yourself with another project. Keep writing!

–R.

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Books, Editing, Books.

So last night I wrote my final exam of the school year. Thank God. I was ready to be done with my courses back in March. It felt like the year just kept dragging on.

Now that that’s over with I now have time to edit my novel and work on my own projects. My goal is to complete this first edit by next week. I’ve already finished a good chunk, and I figure if I create a schedule I’ll be able to finish by then.

Setting deadlines for myself is extremely helpful, because when I first began writing I couldn’t stop. It was as if no matter what I had to write. Ever since I put my first novel on hold, I’ve been writing in a more…staggered pattern. Usually bouncing between projects, or suddenly choosing to do work out of the blue. It may also have to do with the fact that I’m an English major and I’m being forced to read and write versus doing it because I find it enjoyable.

I’ve recently been asked if I’ve been compiling a list of beta readers and editors. At this time I have a very rough idea of people, however it isn’t set in stone. I decided early on that I wouldn’t ask until I was satisfied with my own edits. Once that’s done I’ll let other people review it.

My Mom attempted to peak at my writing during Easter. I don’t believe I have ever shown her my writing. I’m not sure if it is her taste, and also she tends to prefer reading non-fiction. I think I’ll let her read this novel…since honestly it is a hundred times better than the six book series I’d been working on back in the day…yikes.

Anyway, at this point in time I feel like I’m in the very early stages of editing. I’m trying to tweak the first half of the novel which was written in 2013 to fit my current writing. It can be a little tricky at times, because there are sentences I really like and then there are sentences that I completely tear apart and rearrange. I think when I had started the novel I was trying to work on being more descriptive. This was before I realized that I really enjoy writing dialogue, and began using that to push the story along versus dragging out scenes where I described the colour of the wall. Don’t get my wrong, I don’t dislike lengthy descriptions but unless describing the scene is significant to that particular passage I don’t see a point in making my readers go through “Charles Dickens–like” descriptions.

I’m not bashing Charles Dickens, I just scored one of his novels the other day for only a buck. I have a little collection of his work. Oliver Twist is still my favourite so far, but it might just be because I used to rent Oliver and Company from the library every Friday with my Mom when I was in kindergarten. Those were the good old days. How did my parents not see this coming? I mean, I preferred reading Curious George and Cat in The Hat over going to my swimming lessons. I’ve had a journal since the first grade. I started writing stories when I was like five years old…very interesting ones. Mostly about animals…and occasionally “zoom-bies” but hey, we all start somewhere.

Not to mention my Nana is a book lover, and so are my aunt and uncle on my Dad’s side. I’ve been exposed to people who love to read, and my Dad shares the same name as a well known author (yes he’s been asked to sigh books before).

Yah…how did they not see this? Then again it was my neighbour who told them to put me into music. I Guess the only thing they really noticed was my love for drawing. My Nana actually made a scrap book of drawings I made as a little kid. They’re not terrible.

Well…I have a few things I’d like to do this morning. They’re not exactly work related but I just wrote an exam last night I want to relax for a bit, before I decide to suddenly jump into editing. I’ll probably do a few chapters this afternoon. I also want to do a bit of sketching this weekend.

Well bye for now,

–R.

 

You Feel Me?: Conveying Emotion in My Work

At the moment, I am currently working on an essay.

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“Where did all this homework come from!” (Image from Golden Time).

 

Fun right? Well, the information I’m gathering is kind of interesting. I also think my topic and thesis are cool…so that’s a start.

I did update my novel the other day with a really humorous chapter. I don’t think I’ve ever actually laughed that much while writing. I don’t know if it was because it was late at night and I was tired, or because it was actually funny. I’d like to think it was actually funny. I’ll find out when I edit later.

Whenever I actually feel what I’m putting down, I know that I’ll be satisfied with the final product. That’s why I don’t like to write about things I don’t know about…it isn’t that I refuse to do so, but I feel like it isn’t genuine and I don’t like to force emotion into my writing. I want the emotion to be real. If I’m not feeling anything, then I don’t think it is worth keeping. It took me a lot of trial and error when writing romance between characters when I first started.

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(Quote from 2D-Kun. Golden Time).

 

I know that there are some twelve and thirteen year olds out there who are in relationships, and claim to know everything there is to know about love. I wasn’t one of those kids. I’m not afraid to admit to it. I had people I liked, but I’d never dated anyone. My first experience with heartbreak was when I was sixteen…and it wasn’t because I was dumped.

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“Boo hoo! My heart hath been broken!” (Found on Google).

 

I wasn’t in a relationship at all.

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“Stop. Get some help.” (Image From Golden Time).

It was that experience that opened my eyes to this flaw in my writing. I stopped trying to write about those types of intimate relationships, because I finally had some understanding of how they actually worked. Instead I wrote what I knew. I knew about liking someone, but not wanting to ruin my friendship with them. I knew what heartbreak felt like, and realized that I am capable of jealousy…an emotion I hadn’t truly felt before to that degree. When I started to write the things I knew, I was actually feeling the emotion in my words.

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I didn’t have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to write about these things because I understood the feelings I wanted to convey. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to write about different aspects of relationships. Either things I’ve experienced, or that people close to me have gone through. Sometimes, I’ll admit, using another persons experience is difficult but it is still better than trying to conjure up some plastic emotion that you have no clue what to do with.

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Boo from Monsters Inc.

 

Just because you write fiction doesn’t mean that you can’t be honest.

 

Anyway, I’d better get going. I still have a few more articles to look at.

Till next time,

–R.

Rejection Letter

So I received the dreaded rejection letter, which included no feedback from the editing board. I know right? Annoying.

My Dad seemed pretty concerned that I would forever be discouraged from writing, and so he had Mom call me. Last time he did that was when he thought I was upset over a breakup. I told him I wasn’t angry at least three times before my Mom called me the next day to ask about the rejection.

“I’m not mad. A little disappointed, but otherwise I don’t care. At least I tried.” I told her, while standing in the basement of the library.

“Good. You don’t wanna let things like that get to you.”

And that was that.

I understand why my Dad worries about me, but when it comes to the things that I love there is nothing that can discourage me enough to stop. I couldn’t possibly stop…my work is an extension of who I am. I’m a writer. I write.

There are people who get hundreds of rejections on a single work before it gets published. It isn’t the end of the world.

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”  — Shia LaBeouf.

–R.


Yes, I used to watch shows about Pharaoh’s playing children’s card games….

Writing Tip: Getting Feedback

I’ve been making good progress so far while editing my novel. Since I began it three years…or now four years ago (Happy New Year!), I’ve noticed some mistakes I made later on. Thankfully they’ve been easy to fix, since they’ve been very minor details.

It is weird how my style of writing has evolved though. I’m thankful that I spent high school editing essays for friends of mine. Once I’ve completed transferring/editing my draft onto my laptop I’m going to have some people read it for feedback. I’m still debating on the who…since I want to be careful who I hand over my manuscript to. I’ve had bad experiences in the past with certain people. I’m able to take criticism with my work, but there are just certain people you don’t share your ideas with because they have nothing good to say. I don’t share my work with those who only know how to spit venom. I suggest doing this as well, if you are looking for someone to give you feedback.

It is important to find someone who you know will be honest with you about your work. You don’t want someone who is going to tell you everything is perfect because they want to avoid hurting your feelings, and you don’t want someone who is going to tell you everything is horrible because they’re just being a jerk. If you can find somebody who will be honest with you about your work, and will be professional about it (meaning they will give you balanced feedback with pros and cons), that is fantastic!

Well, that’s all for now. Perhaps I’ll post some of my doodles later.

–R.

Hi There!

Wow, it’s been a while. I’ve been pretty busy since my exams finished. I’ve barely used the internet. I’ve either been editing my novel, sketching, writing music or running around visiting relatives.

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Oct. 16th, 2016. O. Ryder

I suppose that taking a break from social media is alright. Being “connected” all of the time can be tiresome. Sometimes I prefer to be left alone. I don’t want people messaging me 24/7. It’s more fun actually having a face to face conversation in the flesh than sending a snapchat to my friends.

Writing Update: I’ve begun editing the first draft of my novel, and I am now working on the fourth and fifth chapter of the other novel that I’m working on. I like to continue writing during my editing process. I feel as though I need to remain productive, because whenever I have completed a project, I always think to myself, “Now what?” since back then I usually spent an entire year focusing solely on one thing at a time. This low-key multitasking is actually really nice. What I do is I create the structure for other projects, while I am writing others, and then once I’ve begun editing my main project I have other things to work on as well. This is so that when I have completed my main project I am already set up with another project. I’ve found this method effective, however I know that it isn’t full proof. Obviously ones main project could change partway through, however it is a good way to battle against things such as writers block.

 

Life Update: I won some money in the lottery. $22.00. I’m a rich kid now.

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Bear in the Big Blue House

 

I will blog again soon!

— R.

Nearing the End

The other evening it occurred to me that I’m coming close to the end of two of my projects. One is at the point where it could be complete within a couple hours of hard work, and the other is almost ready for its first round of editing.

Although I didn’t meet my original goal, which was to have them complete by the end of May, I did manage to stay true to my word and get them done before the end of the summer.

With all that has been going on since I arrived back from school, I know that I pushed off my work. I made money, I ran back and forth, I packed, I cleaned, I entertained…but in my free time, rather than work on my personal creative projects I instead focused on keeping an eye on my loved ones. I suppose I was more concerned about everyone’s wellbeing and feared that if I slipped into my own worlds, I’d want to escape for days at a time. I’ve done it before. So rather than write or draw, I just made up stories in my head or read books. When I was exhausted I stayed in bed for hours and did nothing but trace the patterns on my blankets while creating stories in my head. For some reason whenever I feel seriously tired, it is harder for me to fall asleep.

Anyway, I thought I would share my excitement with you.

P.S right now its 7:45 am where I live. That means that no one woke me up in the middle of the night because she couldn’t sleep. She had to go back home…which is a little sad, but I got a hug that apparently never, ever, ever, EVER goes away, so I’ll survive until our next visit.

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Image from Ponyo

 

 

Maybe in my next post I’ll be finished my work? We’ll see!

— R.

Novel Update

On Saturday I got a lot of writing done and I was finally able to complete the chapter I’d been stuck on. I can’t even remember what had stumped me in the first place but I managed to continue where I had left off. Not once did I believe I had writers block and it’s my professor’s advice that helped with that.

My creative writing professor said that writers block does not actually exist until you begin believing in it. She explained that once you say something it comes to being. She told us that if we become stuck or we are struggling in a certain area of our work that we should simply work on something else. She explained that this was better than not writing at all because as long as someone is writing they are unable to say that they’ve got writers block.

Although I’m not fully sure about the mid-section, where I continued that chapter I am 100% satisfied with the way it ended. It allowed me to move certain characters into position for the climax as well as set up important events.

I thought sharing my professor’s words on writers block would be great because while I was stuck on that chapter, I’d been working on other projects, such as my class portfolio and not once did the idea of writers block pop into my head: I was always writing.

I will update again soon. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

— R.

Fourteen Pgs. of Character Notes…And Writing Tips for Detailing Characters!

Fourteen pages of character notes. Wow. I don’t know how that happened but I’m glad it did.

I always try to give as much depth and detail to my characters as I can. I believe that the more I invest in a character, the more attached I will become and that attachment is what makes that character seem more real (that’s a lot of mores). Its great because my characters go from being an idea to becoming like a close, life-long friend (until you know…that scene where they get silenced by the pen aka they die).

It’s a fun process honestly, even though I’ll admit it takes time. Despite the time it takes to do it is a lot more fun than just naming a character and throwing them into your story. A name is only a fraction of a person, there are many other things that make us who we are.

A lot of the time I like to draw pictures of my characters: the facial expressions they might make in different scenario’s, what clothing they might wear, what their hair looks like, their height, the colour of their eyes.

It can be really helpful, but of course I know that not everyone likes to draw. What I used to do on my drawings was create a list beside my character. The list usually looked like…

  1. Name: Bob Robert Bobbinlee
  2. Age: 22
  3. Likes: cows, cats, cookies and cake
  4. Dislikes: anything that doesn’t start with the letter C (is for cookie)
  5. Family: Mama Bobbetta, Father Bobert, Juliettabobo Boblee, Bobafett
  6. Friends: Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum (yes I was talking to my 4 year old niece recently…any watching Pokémon)

What I’ve begun doing now is creating this same list in a table on Microsoft word.

Its pretty easy to do, you just go to insert, then click table…etc.

So now I keep my images and my charts separate, giving me more room to add written details about my characters. This is especially helpful when I have side characters. Usually I don’t know the personality of a side character. Some times I might just have some character who until named is called “Book Store Clerk.” The first thing I like to do is to draw this character out (or imagine what they might look like), then I take that image and I create a detailed character chart, similar to the list above but in chart form…and because it isn’t on the same page as my drawing I can add even more detail.

Using the same example from above:

Name Bob Robert Bobbinlee
Age 22
Appearance Hair: Crimson

Eyes: Crimson

Height: Average

Special Features: Tattoo of the letter C

Personality Hot-headed, sweet-tooth, perfectionist, crazy about cats and cows, creative, incredible cook
Family Mother: Bobbetta

Father: Bobert

Siblings: Juliettabobo, Boblee and Bobafett

Friends Cookie Monster, Elmo, Pinkie Pie and Ash Ketchum

 

Partner (or partners for them playa’s) Cloe Ver
Pet Cactus the Cat and Carver the Cow
Hobbies Reading, eating and baking cookies and cake, chillin’ like a villain with his squad…I mean crew.

 

Occupation/Education Book Store Clerk

 

Fears The letter Z…because he isn’t sure if it should be Zed or Zee even though he’s Canadian. He just…doesn’t know.

 

Dreams Publish a Children’s Cook Book

See, its that simple, and even though some of these details won’t end up being in you story, they are details that are significant to who your character really is. Once you know this much about your character they begin to take on a life of their own, and as an author I have to say that is one of my favourite things that happen while I’m writing.

Whether you like to draw or not, this is a method that I highly recommend. It’s easy to set up and once you get going it can be a lot of fun. Before you know it you’ve got fourteen pages of characters and this amazingly long chart!

Also, if you are a tech-savvy person you can even scan a drawing of your character and place the image into the appearance box on the table. I’ve never done this but I’m definitely going to give it a try. The idea just came to mind.


 

I hope that this post was helpful!

If you’ve never tried to do this sort of detailing with your characters I highly recommend it. Its both fun and rewarding.

If you have any different ways of detailing and developing characters (or you’ve written a post with another writing tip) feel free to share in the comment section. I’m sure, myself and many people would appreciate it!

Happy writing everyone!

— R.