Tag Archives: Young Adult

DIARY POST 5: IT’S BEEN A CRAZY WEEK

CRAZY

Two weeks ago I posted an article titled ‘You Belong To Me.’ I was trying to be creative about the ups and downs of IT. This week, constant network issues were not funny at all. For four consecutive days our offices were in turmoil. I stressed about it for the first two and a half days before deciding to leave my burdens down by the riverside. There is only so much I can do. I don’t want stress to prematurely age me. That will never solve a problem, it will create one. I’ve already missed several spin classes. That’s where I draw the line and I don’t mean on my forehead.Wrinkled Face Cartoon

I’ve allowed stressful days to affect my editing. However, it could not be blamed for me not writing this past weekend. I had a lot of free time, yet I did nothing. Procrastination controlled me until I tried to make it right on Wednesday. I want to keep my blog honest, that means sometimes I have to admit when I am at fault. This weekend I was. Normally, I draft my Friday post early in the week and add every day. This week I started it on Thursday. I hope the quality is acceptable.

About six hours of editing, between Wednesday and Thursday has brought me to a comfortable place with chapter three. My routine requires that I leave it alone for a few days, and then review it. I will comply.

On another note, I have noticed an increase in traffic on my blog on the days that I post, and maybe the day after. My twitter account is doing well – two hundred and fifty-nine followers and counting. I want social media to count, so I need to encourage a lot more interest. When I first opened my twitter account I thought no one would follow me. Not many people did until I started Diary of a Writing Woman, and began to tweet. It’s a lot to keep up with, when you have an eight to four job.

A friend has offered me their photography and filming services. I have no skills in either area, so I am quite grateful and excited. Expect a related post in the next few months. I have a reputation of being almost terrified to have my picture taken. When I post them, please be kind, because that’s a really hard thing for me to do. It’s a level of self-exposure that I need to work on. My blog is very important to me, so I will do it. To be honest, I’m afraid of ‘hate.’ I subscribe to a couple of You Tube channels, and just by the disclaimers, I know some of the girls get hurtful, unnecessary comments.

Every hit and every subscriber is a big deal to me. Your support makes me know that my little blog is appreciated. It’s been a month since I’ve had the Diary of a Writing Woman feature. It’s helping me a lot, although I struggle to maintain a routine.

http://wordsfromanneli.wordpress.com and abaseng have been avid supporters. I look forward to your comments. Thank you.

https://selimaandthemerfolk.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/you-belong-to-me/

DIARY POST 4: THERE IS NO BETTER MOTIVATOR THAN PROGRESS

Chapter 1 and 2Throughout my journey in writing this novel, there were months that I did not write a single line. Sometimes it was pure laziness, other times I was crippled with worry. I question if I’ll type ‘The End,’ let alone get it published. I’ve been working on this novel for about a year and eight months, and it has been a great experience. Not only am I pursuing something that I love, and will be able to check ‘become a writer’ off my bucket list, I’ve been privy to learn from some wonderful people.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve experienced this year was that one of my school friends started a blog. She blogs her short stories, and credited me as an inspiration. Another welcome effect of writing a blog is to experience support. Family support is wonderful, but there is something special about a stranger cheering you on.

Writing is so subjective. It takes courage to expose your thoughts to others. It’s not just your view or imagination that you expose; it’s your grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and style. I take refuge in the fact that I put great effort into my posts, and I accept that even people who are the best at what they do are criticized.

Last week, I mentioned that a friend of mine agreed to review my book, and that I sent chapters one and two to her. She sent them back on Monday, much sooner than I expected. She did a fantastic job. I accepted most of her suggestions. I have since made the changes and am currently working on chapters three and four. I will forward them to her by next week, because I want to send the first four chapters for a final edit by the end of this month.

I think chapters three and four will go by faster, because of all the practice I got making changes to the first two chapters. The story line is the same, but I thought it lagged and needed to read better.

‘Writer’s Digest’ is a reputable organization. I will be using their 2nd Draft Critique and Editing Services. Their minimum submission is fifty pages, which is just about my first four chapters. I will review their service in a separate post. If anyone knows of a better option, please send me a link.

My goal for this coming week is to send chapters three and four to be reviewed. However, I’m hoping to surpass my expectation.

http://www.writersdigestshop.com/2nd-draft-line-edit/?icid=2nddraftlineedit

DIARY POST 3: THE BEST TIME TO WRITE

clocksTwo am. That’s the time a close friend of mine wakes up to study. This friend is quite accomplished, but two o’clock in the morning! I don’t think I could do that, and then function efficiently for eight hours at work. I would need an energy drink, chased with a large mug of coffee.

I tried getting up at three am. I actually did, once. To my surprise, I didn’t talk myself into excuses, one of the two times that I tried. I edited for about an hour and was quite pleased with myself throughout the day.

When you want to be a writer, and you have a full time job, you have to fit writing in whenever you can. For me, I need total quiet to write. I don’t even want anyone to be in the room with me. This quirk makes it difficult to sneak in time during the day.

Lunch time is my gym time sometimes. So, my times to write are weekends, before I go to work, or about two hours at night. I tried all these schedules this past week. The schedules are not the problem. The spirit in me called procrastination, attacks me like a possession. Every week I have to exorcise him. (When I read over this paragraph, I realized that I have a lot more time than I thought to write).

For the most part, chapter one is 90% completed. I revised it again, as well as chapter two. They have both been sent to be reviewed/edited. On Thursday, I began editing chapter three. I hope to report it as being completed in next week’s post.

I think the best time to write is when you are inspired. Hopefully, the inspiration will come when you are in a position to give it your full attention. I like mornings. It’s quiet and cool and I’m not half as drained as I would be after having a long day.

I draft these posts on a Wednesday, complete them by Thursday and on Friday I do cosmetic editing, as I like to call it. ‘Selima and the Merfolk’ fall in whenever it can (which is horrible). Since I have been writing this feature, I write more often. But I want to adapt the three am practice.

My goal for this coming week is to have chapters three and four almost ready for review, and if I get back chapters one and two I’d like to make the necessary changes. As I mentioned in my last post, I like to leave the story alone for a week, and then look at it with fresh eyes.

Wish me luck and keep me accountable.

DIARY POST 2: SMALL PROGRESSIVE STEPS

Work in Progress 1This week was all about the countdown to the four day, Easter holiday. Usually, I go to the beach, as does everyone else in the country. This year I plan to relax at home, and work on my novel. Maybe go to the Cinema. I’m just glad for the consecutive days off.

I was disappointed that I didn’t have more progress to report in my last post. From last Friday, I made a greater effort. I began editing chapters one and two again. After I read Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ a few weeks ago, I combined my first three chapters into two. In ‘Carrie,’ he exposes Carrie’s telekinetic woes, and an intense bathroom scene very early in the book. My novel does not need that type of shock element. Nevertheless, I was compelled to ‘tighten up’ the writing. I introduced one of the main characters in chapter one rather than in chapter two, in order to entice readers with one of the more significant scenes earlier in the book.

It is always recommended that writers write and read often. Of course, you will not change your story every time you read a book. However, because ‘Carrie’ began in such an intense and captivating manner, it forced me to notice that my story lagged a bit.

In my opinion, Stephen King is the King of writing. I never liked reading until I read ‘The Green Mile’ several years ago. He knows how to hold your attention, and drag you into his world.

My favorite part of reading is creating my own visual version of the story. No two people see a story the same way, until it’s made into a movie.

Chapters one and two will get you acquainted with the protagonist and her situation. Four main characters are introduced. You will begin to form your opinions and choose sides.

Chapter three encourages imagination. It is one of my favorite chapters throughout the book.

The essence of the first chapters is the same. The story just moves along more quickly. Every time I rewrite, I feel better about the story. I made this last change after I finished chapters one and two, thinking they were ready to be edited professionally.

To conclude, chapter one is semi-finished. I’ve printed it twice. This means that I’ve edited it three or four times. It’s off limit for a week, and then I’ll pick it up again.

I’ve started chapter two. It’s printed, but I haven’t begun editing. For me, once I have typed the story the way I want it to read, the final analysis has to be done using a printed copy.

Not bad for a week’s work.

DIARY POST 1: EDITING TAKE THREE

Clapper BoardMy first week of recording progress or lack thereof began last Friday. I tried to take a day off, to write, but by nine o’clock, I was forced to rush to work. Maybe it’s true, everyone says when I am not at work, technical issues cripple the company. Needless to say, I didn’t have time to write anything, except a reminder to my supervisor, to purchase replacements for our infrastructure.

The weekend was successful, though unbalanced. I decided to do ‘Diary of a Writing Woman,’ and spent significantly more time working on my platform than on my novel. I did go over part of chapter one (for the hundredth time), but I am not at the level of perseverance I should to be.

For my platform, I wrote this, as well as ‘The Road’ post. I updated my blog interface, and did a lot of research. Also, I joined some great websites, which will be in another post. As I often do, I promised myself a reward – a pair of skinny Levi’s jeans, if I maintain this feature until chapter twenty.

To ensure that I make my jeans look good, I joined a gym. My enthusiasm was a dangerous, somewhat comical thing for me. I went to the gym once, before I took an intense fitness class. Does anyone remember the ‘Tin Man’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz?’ For days I walked like he did, before ‘Dorothy’ oiled his knees. This week, I was more sensible than excited. Spin Classes proved to be more my speed.

When I decided to do this weekly feature, I promised myself that whichever direction my progress went, I was going to be honest.

I will do better this coming week.

Thanks for the support!

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THE ROAD

Selima and the Merfolk is my first attempt at writing a novel. I began in September 2011, and completed a first person draft on January 1st 2012. Round one of editing left me disappointed. I had only edited a few pages, when I decided that my novel would engross readers more, if it were written in third person narrative. Although it was a lot of additional work, I feel confident that I made the better choice.

My second draft was finished in June. I then commissioned an editor, and after two months I confidently had my manuscript bound. Four very different people read it. One review was negative. Relatively new to straightforward criticism, I did not revisit the manuscript until January 2013. It took months, but I realized, that what I received as negative was actually necessary and good advice. He was absolutely right. Every suggestion improved the diction, as well as the flow of my novel.

Writing a novel is much more work than I anticipated. Even so, it is the most enjoyable, fulfilling thing I have done thus far. People views are subjective. Your feelings can, and will get hurt. However, there is a difference between cruel and supportive critiques, though they may have the same points. To know the difference is paramount. You might miss out on some good advice.

WHAT’S UP WITH ME AND MERMAIDS?

The Fairy - Quiet and Beautiful.

The Fairy – Quiet and Beautiful.

Until I was seven years old, I lived in a small fishing village. They were the happiest years of my life.

I first learned what mermaids were when my grandfather told me a story about them. He said that there was a river at the end of Las Cuevas beach that the locals dubbed ‘The Ferry.’ Many years ago, people claimed to have seen mermaids when they sailed through in fishing boats or ferries.

According to the locals, the river was named ‘The Ferry’ because ferries frequently sailed through it. Papa called it ‘The Fairy’ and it became a fairytale for me.

My grandmother told me my second mermaid story. She said that in the forest, there was a river where a girl found a beautiful comb. When she combed her hair, she got terrible migraines. As soon as her grandmother saw the comb, she told her that it belonged to a mermaid, and that she must take it back. She did, and the headaches stopped. When she went back to the river, the comb was gone.

Another significant person in my life, my favorite teacher, took me to spend a weekend at her home when I was about six years old. There I saw the movie ‘Splash.’ She gave me a pink sweater with ‘Splash’ written in glitter, and the ‘S’ was a mermaid’s tail. I don’t have to say how much I loved that sweater.

Children having fun in The Fairy.

Children having fun in The Fairy.

My father was unaware that mermaids dominated my fantasies. He rented ‘Splash’ so often that my siblings came to love it almost as much I did. We were all fascinated by how real Madison’s tail appeared to be.

Hopefully, everyone has a childhood fantasy. Mermaids are mine. I am working on a novel that incorporates mermaids, but they are not the only focus. Like I said, it’s not going to be ‘The Little Mermaid.’

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