Tag: Writing Forward

Lesley University: MFA Residency (January 4-12, 2013)

LUAh, residency. That blissful nine-day span where nothing matters but literature and writing. I love it and am freshly home from my second residency in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Lesley University. While this residency had its obvious differences from the first one back in June, it was still exactly what I needed–a huge push to get back into a writing routine.

Here’s a quick look at the seminars I went to:

  • The Past Coming to You Live (A seminar on historical fiction in young adult literature.)
  • In Cold Print: The Cross Pollination of Fiction, Nonfiction, Drama, and Poetry
  • Indoor/Outdoor Writing: The Inspiration and Imperative of Place
  • An Afternoon With Mark Siegel, Author/Illustrator, Director of First Second Books
  • Chiarscuro: Darkness and Light in Children’s Literature
  • The Art of Juxtaposition
  • What’s So Funny? Exploring Appropriate Humor for Children for and Young Adults
  • In the Smithy of My Soul: When Writing Takes on the World
  • A Place Like No Other: Crafting a Compelling Setting That Readers Will Remember

In addition to these, I also had nine hours of workshops to attend.

Overall, this residency was another great learning experience. I made some great new friends and learned so much more than I thought I would. I will admit that the seminars weren’t as exciting as the first time around, but I still wouldn’t trade them for anything else. The faculty at Lesley is amazing and my work is better because of all of them. My new mentor, David Elliott, is a great guy. I have a great feeling about this semester with him.

And so it begins.

Happy Writing,

Signature-1

On Gutting Stories We Love

Let’s face it. Very few of us are natural-born writers. That is, very few of us are perfect at what we do. As writers, we become attached to what we write. We fall in love with our characters because we spend countless hours creating them and adding that dimension of reality that’s needed to make readers like (or hate) them, too. We love our settings and the descriptions of them. Many of us love everything about our stories.

Because of that, the revision process can be pretty daunting. And by “pretty,” I mean “so frightening that we don’t want to bother.” That last part, the “not bothering,” is detrimental to any writing career. Revision is an integral part of writing because there is always room for improvement. Always. “Revision” is a big word. It encompasses a lot. A revision can be something small like a few lines or one chapter to half of your book or even a complete overhaul on a novel. Regardless of how big your revision is, it needs to be done. Period.

Because we’re not perfect, in many cases a revision is huge. It’s not uncommon for an entire storyline–that is, an entire novel–to be overhauled. This is where things get really scary. When a story needs to be gutted, we have to cut scenes, lines, and much more that we love. Please believe that it’s a regular occurrence. You’re not the only one removing favorite lines or killing of characters. We’ve all done it. We’ll all do it some more in the future. If you’re ever on the verge of tears over losing a piece of your novel or story that you love, remember this:

The things you cut will almost always make a reappearance. While something may not fit where it is right now, the perfect, scene or chapter will come long and the fit will be perfect. You’ll only have to part with your loves for a little while.

See? Things aren’t so bad now, are they? Revisions are hard. Large revisions are even harder. But you can do them. And you will do them. Why? Because you’re a writer, and revising is what writers do.

Happy Writing,

Lesley University: MFA Residency (June 22-30, 2012)

This post is a bit late, but I’ve had so much going on since returning home, and this is better late than never, right? Right.

As most of you know, I was accepted into the Writing for Young People track at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts back in February. The program is a low-residency one, so twice a year, we all meet on the campus for ten days of residency–intense, writing-focused days full of seminars, workshops, and readings. My first one as a new student took place last month, from the 22nd to the 30th.

Writing, Readers & the Inspiration to Carry On

Lately, I’ve been trying to get back into my writing. The itch to write has been present for almost two months now, but things were preventing me from actually sitting down to write. The main thing was packing up my apartment and moving. I’m done with that now and am settled into a spare bedroom at my parents’ house for a while.

So, why can’t I write?

It’s not that I don’t want to. Its not that the itch to do so isn’t there. It’s that nobody I live with respects the fact that I write. Here, writing can “always be done later,” and isn’t a “real job.”

This saddens me. Because it feels like my writing doesn’t matter to anyone but me. Perhaps that’s the way it’s supposed to be? I don’t know. It would just be nice to have some support from family. Right now, it feels like there’s nothing and to be honest, that hurts.

So, what to do about this situation.

I have one friend who is constantly supportive of my writing endeavors. He offers daily encouragement, yells at me when I don’t want to writer (thereby making me write), and always reads new chapters and offers wonderful feedback. I’m so grateful for this that there’s really not a word to describe just how happy I am that I have this person. What I’ve determined is that I need a group of people like him. I need more than just him, even though if that doesn’t happen, I’ll always be grateful with him alone.

I think I’ve convinced myself that without more than one reader, I can’t get very far in my work. I don’t know if this is true or not. I think the problem is that I feel belittled when people aren’t interested in what I do or what I’ve created. As I stated above, the fact that very few people care is disheartening. It hurts. It hurts because I believe–I’ve always believed–that support is essential to any type of long-term endeavor, especially writing. I feel that without support, my writing means absolutely nothing. But, at the same time, it means so much to me that I’m not willing to let it go. So, there’s that.

I’ve considered putting a call for readers out there somewhere. But, until I’ve determined the best way to go about doing so, I’m going to write. Because I need to. I have to get this story out there. Somehow, some way. So, I’ll continue writing until it’s done, and afterward, I’ll see where it takes me.

Happy Writing,

This Week in Links: 1/30/2012 – 2/4/2012

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

I subscribe to quite a few interesting RSS feeds in the book/writing niches. Perhaps you do as well, but in any case, I’d like to share my starred links from this week:

Monday, January 30, 2012:

Tuesday, January 31, 2012:
Wednesday, February 1, 2012:
Thursday, February 2, 2012:
Friday, February 3, 2012:

Happy Writing,

This Week in Links: 9/11/2011 – 9/17/2011

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

I subscribe to quite a few interesting RSS feeds in the book/writing niches. Perhaps you do as well, but in any case, I’d like to share my starred links from this week:

Monday, September 12. 2011:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011:
Wednesday, September 14, 2011:
Thursday, September 15, 2011:

Happy Writing,

New Work: “The Consequence of Liking Girls” Chapter 17

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I’ve finished chapter seventeen and you can read it here. It’ll go through changes, but for now, I’m focused on getting the first draft of the entire story finished.

As always, any feedback is appreciated. With any luck at all, I’ll have some more for you to read very soon.

Happy Writing,

New Work: “The Consequence of Liking Girls” Chapter 16

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I’ve finished chapter sixteen and you can read it here. It’ll go through changes, but for now, I’m focused on getting the first draft of the entire story finished.

As always, any feedback is appreciated. With any luck at all, I’ll have some more for you to read very soon.

Happy Writing,

New Work: “The Consequence of Liking Girls” Chapter 15

I’ve made quite a few changes throughout the manuscript in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been trying to stay focused on writing forward. It took some work, but I’ve finished chapter fifteen and you can read it here. It’ll go through changes, but for now, I’m focused on getting the first draft of the entire story finished.

As always, any feedback is appreciated. With any luck at all, I’ll have some more for you to read very soon.

Happy Writing,