20 November, 2013
When you make a choice to pursue a dream, you will sometime hear advice that goes like this... "Make sure you have a back up plan", or "make sure you have something to fall back on". Here's the problem with that line of thinking, it's not based on faith. Faith is the "evidence of things not seen". That means you have to jump even though you can't see the ground. Now people that say the aforementioned statements to you mean well. But you were created for boldness. Be bold. Take that dream, that passion, and put yourself into it 100%. Don't have a Plan B. Here is what I've learned. If you have a Plan B, you will never devote yourself to your dream more than 80%. Sometimes not even 50%. There will always be apart of you that you hold back. Here is what I know. You only have one life on this planet. God didn't give you this life for you to play it safe with Plan B. He meant for you to go all out and pursue that dream with everything you have. Plan A. An uncle of my reminded me of something. When you do what you love (Plan A), you'll never work a day in your life. Work is Plan B. Let's decide to get rid of these Plan Bs. They weigh us down, choke the dreams out of us, and do nothing to bring joy in our lives. Take sometime to remember what your Plan A was. Prepare yourself for your Plan A and then jump.
08 October, 2013
I've finished my third novel. It's a young adult sci fi thriller. I've decided to do something different with this novel. I'm writing the screenplay adaptation for it. There are lots of screenwriting books on how to write an adaptation and I will join those ranks, but my book will be a self pub. And less than half the price of those others. Why? I'm more interested in helping other writers than making a huge profit. Writing an adaptation of a novel you wrote is easier, but not easy. Yet, I am enjoying the process. While I'm working on the adaptation, I've gone back to my first love--short stories. I'm working on a collection of short stories for women with broken hearts. Healing and second chances happen. Back to work I go...
03 October, 2013
I've been adjusting to a new job and working on a new novel. Life changes can sometimes have you on the ropes of a boxing ring, or falling out of a plane five hundred feet up, with no room to unleash your parachute. No matter. I've survived. Writing a novel about a cyborg is not easy. That is not to say I thought it would be easy, but with my Mfa and two prior novels under my belt, I thought it would go a lot more smoothly. Now I second guess myself more and get frustrated more quickly than before. I'm realizing all the wonderful things I learned in my master's program are great for after the rough draft is finished. Right now, my focus needs to be on telling that critical voice in my head to shut up, and allow myself to write badly, write okay, write brilliantly--just write. Writing is more challenging now because I'm exhausted. Reflection is a good thing. But when you reflect and realize that not only did you not have a vacation this year, but you haven't had a vacation in over ten years, it can leave you frustrated. Especially when there is no vacation in sight. However, I did find a wonderful waterfront park in the town center that is perfect for taking my iPad and keyboard, a picnic basket, and blanket and novel for after my writing. Recharging my batteries is key and will bring back that vitality I need in my creativity, and in me as a person.
27 July, 2013
I did it. I walked across that stage and received my Mfa degree in writing for children and young adults. Two years of intense emotions, deep writing, and learning all those craft techniques that I never knew. Now I can not only tell you about psychic distance in a story, I can give you several examples, among other things I learned. I cried going across the stage. I guess it didn't hit me until then what I had accomplished. I am very grateful to God for the opportunity to attend Hamline and be the person He always knew I was. I had amazing faculty advisors in Anne Ursu, Eleanora Tate, Claire Rudolf Murphy, and Marsha Qualey. Each of these wonderful writers/authors, taught me not only about craft, but about the hidden treasure that is me. Yes, I am a treasure. And so are you. There is only one you. Which means if you don't do what you were created to do, the world will shine a little dimmer because of it. Post Mfa. Leads to the "so now what will you do?" question. What will I do? Write. I was writing before, but I didn't have the knowledge, skill, or belief in myself. My writing now is not hindered, hampered, or choked as it was before. How do I know? I just started a new middle grade novel and I'm having fun writing it. Does that mean beautiful prose flows off my fingers as they tap, tap, tap the key board, or scratch, scratch, scratch the pen on paper? No. There are sentences that need work, words that are not my best, but that my dear is for the revision. And as a famous author told me, that voice that bothers you is for the revision, not the first draft. If you are a writer, or you want to be a writer. Let me give you some awesome and amazing advice from the Amazing Krissie, the character in my new middle grade novel. "Write. Don't listen to that bad voice that says what you are about to write is stupid, pointless, boring, and no one will like it. That voice is jealous of you for trying. So stick your tongue out at it, wiggle your butt, and scream at the top of your lungs-"Na, na, na, na ,na, Na. I can't hear you. And write away." Krissie is about to take a very, very, long voyage full of mystery and peril so she will have to get back to you later, but don't forget her words, and WRITE.
28 June, 2013
Options There was this show called Let's Make A Deal. I love watching reruns of it on cable The contests have to chose between door one, door two or door three. I've been thinking about that more intently since my grandmother passed away. She was a true light in my life. She always believed I could be successful (all of us) with hard work and determination, and the Lord's will. Right now I'm contemplating my options. Having an Mfa in writing fills me (or it will when I walk across that stage), with a sense of accomplishment, but also renews my desire, my dream to be a published writer. Writing is who I am. It's what I do. It's what I love. At my grandmother's funeral my uncles gave me some solid advice. It is this advice that has me looking at the three doors. Options aren't just where I want to live (U.S.A. or U.K.), but what I want to do with my hours. I would love to teach a college level writing course; volunteer to teach inner city kids the joys of creative writing. But I also want to focus on my writing; in a way I haven't as yet. Options are also what to do to make ends meet while I pursue writing. At this date I have two completed novels (young adult and middle grade), and five completed screenplays (young adult to adult). I have a partially completed middle grade script, and a partially completed middle grade sci fi novel--both of which I plan to finish by September. I guess all this is to say "Don't give up on who you are, or what you love doing. Trust in God and He will always make a way to see those dreams He gave you turn into reality." I've made my decision about where I want to live and what I want to do with my time. It is a radical shift, but its the right decision at the right time.
01 May, 2013
Alive on the page? Do you ever put a book down and think "Man, that character is crazy", or "Man, I can't stop reading this, I hope she doesn't get caught by the ogre". Or does this happen instead, "Man, that writer used some really powerful words", or "Man, that writer really knows how to mess up a book. I'm done reading this." The difference in the two is just like acting. We love to go to a movie where we can get lost in the character, not in the person playing the character. Personally I hate going to see a movie and I see the actor, not the character, he or she is portraying. Well the same holds true for a novel. A writer wants the reader to feel like the character could come off the page and be a real person. A writer does not want the reader seeing the author. I'm revising my second novel with my advisor in graduate school, and I have caught myself "writing pretty". Writing pretty is my way of saying an author throws words on the page to let the writing flow, without paying attention to the character. You see me as the author, you do not see the character. I find that I write pretty when I am typing solely on the computer (or iPad). I find that my writing is rich and full of character and description when I write long hand. So I've switched to writing my revision and all new material long hand. It takes longer, but then again God blessed me with being able to type over 80 words per minute, so I'm good. Plus the action of writing, and the typing allows me to do more reflection and editing. When my novel is published, you will be glad that I took the time to write long hand. And so will I.
06 March, 2013
I wish that title was true, but alas I have not been able to perfect the sub-light engine required to travel to Mars. Oh well, there's always NASA. My critical thesis is done, my whirlwind tour of Minnesota and LA are done for now and I am home and back to work writing. I am still hard at work on my creative thesis. It is a middle grade fantasy novel that has always had a soft spot in my heart and I am working on revisions. Oscar party in LA the night of the Oscars. I had so much fun being around like minded film people. Ben Affleck's speech via the big screen TVs, really struck a cord with me. It gave me a recharge for my screenwriting career. A meeting in Hollywood, and I got the boost I needed, confirmation of being on the right track, and an eagerness to get out there and sell my work. It really made a difference to meet someone excited to help me with my dream. Changes. Remember I've stated before change is necessary. Instead of reading screenplays on Saturdays, I'm now reading two screenplays a day. Every day. And with the change in my job I'm able to write six hours a day. Not six hours on Saturdays and a few hours on weeknights when I could, six hours a day. I have my full time job and my full time writing career and I've never been happier. I jump out of bed full of energy, trying to see what I can get done with my writing before I work, and look forward to finishing work and sitting down to my laptop to work on scripts, and my iPad to read screenplays. This afternoon I wrote a beat sheet for a new horror screenplay. It's got the elements I want, and love to write- flawed characters, life altering choices, despair, hope, twists, scares. I can't wait to get started.