More than just Volocio out here…

Posts tagged “writing

On Where I’ve Been….

Oh my! It has certainly been a while! I apologize for being MIA for so
long but don’t worry, I’ve been writing.

First off – I moved to Germany! Yup!  I met a wonderful guy and moved
here to be closer and here I am!  It was a very crazy and hectic
process and I documented everything in my travel blog:
www.adventuresoflamari.com
Be sure to visit – it’s quite entertaining!  I had started it back in
2011 when I attempted a trip to the UK by myself (note: it was a
success)  It was a way for my family back home to keep an eye on me.
Now that I have moved, this blog is the perfect communication key by
enabling me to reach as many people at one time.  At first I was
blogging everyday up until I moved here but now I only update on
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

As a result, I have been able to get back to work on Tas’und’eash.
However, since coming to Germany I have suddenly inundated with ideas.
It’s great but there is a tiny hitch at the moment.  For my first two
months here in Deutschland, I am living in this small room:

IMG_5285As you can see, there is no desk.  I know what are must be thinking:
you’re in Europe! Go to a cafe!  I don’t really do the sit in a cafe
and write bit.  I will do it if a fellow writer wants to try some
place new or nice but I prefer to work from home with little
distraction.  My boyfriend and I should be getting an apartment soon
so I will then be focused on getting a desk.  Yay!

So what other projects am I working on?  Well, I will have to save
that for another post.  There is so much to do!  But in the meantime,
I should also get back to writing this blog.  It’s a good way to
document where I am going with this (hopefully) getting published
journey.

Until Next Time,

Advertisements

On Names…

So for this week’s writing challenge, we were asked to delve into the power of a name.  This reminds me of Elizabeth Haydon’s Symphony of Ages.  This saga is about a woman named Rhapsody who is a Singer who wants to reach the status of a Namer.  A Namer knows the true name of every plant, animal, and being in their world.  Knowing these names means power.

So whose name shall I delve into? I decided to talk about the name that gains the most compliments:

My dog Abner.

Abner at the Vet

Abner at the Vet

Several years ago I was looking at names for the guinea pig I had at the time.  Her name was Cuy (little side note: Cuy means male guinea pig…..but it also means the dish of cooked Guinea Pig.  It was a joke in my family that I got her, but she was never eaten).

Anyway….I was looking at names and I saw the name Abner.  I was immediately taken back to my childhood.  I loved the Indiana Jones movies and it’s the mark of a good fan who knew the correlation between Abner and our favorite archeologist:

Abner Ravenwood (Marion’s father from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’) was Indiana’s mentor.

As soon as I saw that name I had a light bulb moment: if I ever had a boy pug, I would name him Abner.  It then became my goal: I wanted to own a pug and name him Abner.  It is a name you never hear anymore and even when you do (or at least I do) you would imagine a feeble old man with his cane.  Of course a pug has the face of a little old man so the name just seemed to click together.  All I needed now was the dog.

Several months later, I was in a Delilah’s Pet Shop in Bloomington, Indiana (a store that only deals with breeders) and I met this adorable little baby:

Baby Abner - I was in love.

Baby Abner – I was in love.

He’ll be five in May and he’s the love of my life.


On Writer’s Block…..

A while back, I went to a reading of Neil Gaimen’s newest book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  It was my first reading of an author.  Got my copy of American Gods signed (hurrah!) and got to hear him answer questions from the audience.

One of the questions concerned writer’s block.  How does he work passed it?

First he talked about his time as a journalist.  He spoke of having deadlines.  He was not allowed to have writer’s block.  I went through the same thing when I was a ghost writer on a tea blog.   In the end you had to just write through it.

Gaimen also talked about that there were days that he had to force himself to write and every word that came from his fingertips felt like shit while on his good days the words felt like gold.  And yet when he went back and read everything it was really all the same.

If you find yourself stuck, just keep writing.  Stephen King called it “shoveling shit.” It certainly is but it will be the only way to get through.  The more you write the easier it will become.  You may have to find another outlet in the meantime if you really just can’t write your particular project.  I always keep a journal and I currently have this blog as well as my traveling one for my impending move to Germany (yay news!).  But even if I am not writing Book of Tas’und’eash then I am still writing something else.  Each time the words flow more easily and thus I will keep writing.

What do you do when you find yourself with writer’s block?


On Reading…

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

-Stephen King

I’m alive!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been knee deep in writing and reading.  I have finished book 1!  I felt like I was sprinting to the end of the book.  I don’t even want to look at it for a while so I am working on book 2 which has been a great and fun change of pace.  I plan on working on it for a while and then I will go back to book 1 with fresh eyes.

Anyway, concerning my quote above.  When I haven’t been writing, I’ve been reading.  A lot.  Reading as many books as you can get your hands on is just as important as practicing your writing skills.

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

Tyrion Lannister

I certainly have been using my whetstone 😛 This last year, I had been taking public transportation through the Windy City in order to get to work.  It’s about 45 minutes each way and I always carry a book with me.  As a result, I have been devouring book after book.  I think that every book helps in your writing.  It’s just as important as writing a blog to practice your style.

Sorry if this post reads a bit disjointed.  I am multitasking.  I wanted to at least reach out to wordpress and let everyone know that I am still alive and kicking.

And now I leave you with a question: what books do you like to read? How does reading help you in your writing?


On Reality…

Hey all, sorry it’s been awhile. Work has been crazy…hell…life has been crazy. I am still writing a lot but I noticed that I had not checked in with you guys for a hot minute.

I am still working on the first draft of this current project. Every time I think I got the overall story down, more ideas come flooding into my head. *sigh* I will get there. I should have a good couple day break coming up in the holidays. I will be heading back to Indiana to visit with family and friends. I also need to catch up on studying German.

But that’s really what this writing passion is about: learning to balance between duty and what you love. What you need to do versus what you want to do. Obviously I would love to write more but there’s that pesky job that cuts into at least 8 hours of the day (not to mention the 45 minute commute each way) along with everything else that needs to be done (cooking, cleaning, dog stuff, German stuff, hitting the gym) that at the end you are so frazzled that when you try to sit down and write, you find that you can’t.

What do you guys do to ensure you reach your own personal writing quota of the day?

I will try to write more often. Until then…

Cheers,
MLT


On Writing with a Foreign Language…

So my current project takes place in South America…in the beginning.  I have a group of characters who speak Spanish.  The question here is how do I portray that? Do I write in English and just say it’s in Spanish?  Do I write some bits in Spanish and then immediately translate? Or do I go the David Mitchell route from Cloud Atlas and just write certain excerpts in only Spanish and let the readers hope for the best?

I think I’m trying a little bit of everything.  Mainly the dialogue is in English; however, I have managed to put in a little phrases here and there (being half-Peruvian, I use what I grew up with).  I feel that it makes it a little more real by adding this little dash of flavor.  Examples?

I have a character who has a line that goes something like this:

Oye huevon! Que haces aqui? Why are you not at the church yet?”

I don’t translate it.  If you’re familiar enough with Peruvian Spanish, you’ll get the ‘huevon’ bit.  If not, it doesn’t effect the story.  It is simply a name that one character is calling another in jest.  “Que haces aqui?” What are you doing here?  I don’t translate that either since but you see what I did there? What are you doing here and Why are you not at the church yet are asking the same questions.

In essence, I added a little dash of culture but what is important is still in English.  Don’t get me wrong, I do write some dialogue where it has to be translated.  But if you do this, use it sparingly.  So far, it is one of the few places in this project where such a practice is used:

“Parca,” the old man whispered. Reaper.

“Si.”

“¿Me puedes ayudar?” Can you help me?

Cesar nodded. “Por supuesto, señor.” Of course, sir.

What other ways of utilizing a foreign language do you use?  Granted, not all of us are Tolkien’s here who can develop a complete language for books (although, like Tolkien, I did study linguistics….I just wasn’t a professor).  Do any of you try to use your own language when writing?

Thoughts?


On Pacing…

One of the problems I am finding with this current project is the pacing. Whether it’s the flow of the words or the flow of the plot. Right now I am suffering from the latter which in turn is affecting the former.   I wrote the ‘skeleton draft’ in one shot.  By ‘skeleton’ I meant it is simply all of the main points I want told.  Now I’m going back and beefing bits up; however, it all feels so scattered.  You have to find the tools to see your story on a bigger scale.  I will briefly write a few things that have helped me with both of these issues.

When it comes to the flow of words I use one simple trick: I take what I have written and read it out loud.  You read slower when you verbalize versus reading it in your head.  This also helps with when writing dialogue: does it feel natural in your mouth when you say the words?  This may not work for everyone, it definitely helps me.

When it comes to the flow in plot I found index cards to be essential.  But I will take this one step further.  I found an awesome computer program that allows for index cards but these cards are digitally connected.  The program is called Scrivener.  I found it while checking out author Veronica Roth’s blog.  Here’s an image of what I’m working on:

As you can see, I have index cards discussing plot points I’m hitting for a particular “chapter.”  But if you see on the left hand side the title of the index cards have been blurred.  It’s there that the actual written portion is.  I can change the order of these “index cards” and it moves the written portions for me 😀  But this way I am able to see my work as a whole.  It’s almost God-like, having this bird’s eye view of the entire story.

I highly recommend Scrivener.  They at least give you a thirty day free trial and if you like it you only have to whip up about $40.  Here is the link to the site:

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

Enjoy!