Last night was the second meeting of my Monday evening Advanced Novel Writing course at Mount Mary College. Our homework for last night was to complete two writing exercises designed to get us thinking about our stories and where we are going with them.
The first exercise was a “Building the Novel” exercise that our professor adapted from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. (I haven’t read this text yet, but it sounds like I may need to.) We were to review Campbell’s 17 Phases of the Hero’s Journey and then type up one paragraph for each of the phases, describing how the characters in our own novels would deal with each of the phases.
Even though I felt like I had much of my story figured out already, I found this exercise to be very helpful in getting me to the next step in writing my story. I worked out a lot of new details and answered a couple of old questions as well. I also wrote my first chapter last week, and the story now seems to be seeping out of my very pores, drenching the pages with word sweat. (more…)
It’s hard to believe summer is over already. So much for all of that writing I meant to do this summer. I only taught one course over the summer semester, and that was online so I never actually had to BE anywhere. I did a bit of freelance writing, but the work was hard to get this summer for some reason. I had a lot of time to write, yet somehow couldn’t ever seem to get anything done. Now that I’m back to school with a full-time teaching schedule, I suddenly have all sorts of material begging to be written. It seems I need chaos in my life in order to write. (more…)
Yesterday, I officially joined the International English Honor Society at the 2012 Sigma Tau Delta induction ceremony which took place in the beautiful Caroline Hall student lounge at Mount Mary College.
According to the Sigma Tau Delta website, “Candidates for graduate membership must be enrolled in a graduate program in English, or one of its specializations, have completed six semester hours of graduate work or the equivalent, and have a minimum grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.”
I lured my children to the induction ceremony with the promise of food, and they were actually very well behaved throughout the ceremony. Perhaps it was the promise of a slice of the huge cake sitting on a back table that kept them in line. My boyfriend came along as well to keep an eye on the kids and man the video camera (he kept the camera trained on me for pretty much the entire video!) (more…)
I had to miss class Saturday morning to make it to the 2012 AWP Conference and Book Fair in Chicago. My Narratology instructor encourages students in our professional writing program to attend such events, so he was okay with a few of us missing class just this once. However, he asked that we each write a review of the conference and discuss what our biggest takeaways were so we could share the experience with our classmates who couldn’t make it.
I thought my review, with a few revisions, would make a good blog post for today considering I’m always short on writing time on Wednesdays (I teach 2 classes on Wednesdays.) Enjoy… (more…)
I’m off to the Windy City today for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ (AWP) 2012 Annual Conference and Book Fair. This year’s conference includes a variety of readings from published authors, a keynote address by author Margaret Atwood (pictured at right,) and a plethora of educational sessions. There are so many options to choose from, I’m having a hard time deciding which to do. But here’s a quick-list of a few sessions I’m hoping to hit today: (more…)
I’m one course and a thesis paper away from completing my masters degree in professional writing at Mount Mary College, and I’m feeling pressed to decide on a specific career course. So yeah, I’m a writer: but what kind of writer am I? I’ve written poetry, short stories, parts of novels, but for a long time I’ve struggled to find that one niche that I am really passionate about. Until I recently discovered YA.
Okay, so I’m sure I’ve read plenty of YA novels in the past. I’ve occasionally read some of my son’s books, and he’s getting into that age range. And, I’m quite sure I read tons of YA when I was a YA myself. But until recently, I haven’t really studied the genre.
While taking my poetry course this past fall, I read Crossing Stones, a novel in verse by Helen Frost, and I just LOVED that book and form. I then read a few of her other books: The Braid, Diamond Willow, and her latest, Hidden. All great reads. I found a lot of inspiration in these books and began to wonder if I could write something similar myself. (more…)
My hands are getting pretty sore lately from the strain of actually being productive at writing and crocheting in the evenings while sitting on the couch watching TV with my kids or my boyfriend. Yes, I crochet too. For some reason, my hands must always be busy doing something, thus the carpal tunnel syndrome.
Anyway, I recently made several scarves for Christmas gifts and a couple of stockings for my BF’s kids’ cousins. A few days ago, I finished a huge green and gold blanket for my packer-loving BF. I’m using the leftover pink and purple yarn from the girls’ stockings to make myself a new set of hot pads, and then I promised my 5-year old I’d make “his blanket” next. And of course that means I’ll make one for my 12-year-old after that. (more…)
Today marks the first day of the last week of the fall semester. I just finished grading a huge stack of essay booklets from my written communications course and will be grading research papers next weekend. I also just submitted my final poem of the semester for the course I’m taking on writing poetry for children and young adults. And now, it’s time to write my final reflection paper of the semester. The topic for this paper is the writing process.
So, what have I learned about my writing process? For one thing, I can now boil it all down to a few simple steps: (more…)
Last night began the Fall 2011 Writers Series sponsored by the English department at Mount Mary College. I had the pleasure of joining many of my classmates for this event in Mount Mary’s beautiful Stiemke Hall. Milwaukee Magazine editor, Bruce Murphy, spoke at length about his own freelancing experiences in the Milwaukee area. Murphy, who was instrumental in breaking the Milwaukee County pension scandal a few years ago, shared some interesting insider stories, along with tips for working as a freelance writer in the area.
In his discussion (and in his online bio,) Murphy refers to himself as a “fiscally conservative liberal contrarian.” I took this to mean that he likes to play the devil’s advocate, a favorite role of my own, so I enjoyed the talk. And, who can complain about the free food (more…)