Uncategorized, Writers on Writing

My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions

REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2
REVENGE OF THE PENMONKEY: Wallpaper #2 (Photo credit: curious_spider)

Today I am participating in the TerribleMinds PenMonkey Evaluation. Here are the answers to my writing survey questions:

  1. What’s your greatest strength/skill in terms of writing/storytelling? –> Dialog. The voices make me do it.
  2. What’s your greatest weakness in writing/storytelling? What gives you the most trouble? –> Description. I touched on that just a couple of days ago here
  3. How many books or other projects have you actually finished? What did you do with them? –> Well, that’s a bit personal, isn’t it? Okay. Well. Finished? Can I count my one completed first draft that I’m still revising? I have several other first drafts that I’m still plugging away on, but that’s it as far as actually “finishing” a book. Unless you count my book of amateurish poems I slapped up on Kindle a while back. As far as other projects go, my blogs are doing awesome. Besides this one winning an actual award (as opposed to a Liebster or something like that,) I have been steadily gathering new readers each week. Continue reading “My PenMonkey Evaluation: Six Questions”
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Description, Writing Prompts

Describe something in ten different ways

Child Art Aged 2.5 Smiley Face with Writing Un...
Sometimes, I think my descriptive writing looks a little like this. | Child Art Aged 2.5 Smiley Face with Writing Underneath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Chuck Wendig/TerribleMinds writing exercise for today is to describe one thing in ten different ways. I decided I needed to attempt this one since description is NOT my strong suit. I chose to describe description:

Writing description, for me, 1) is like pulling teeth. Yes, cliché is often my go-to strategy. Don’t most of our brains take the path of least resistance most of the time? It’s 2) like a traffic jam when I’m already late (HA!)

Okay, now that I’m done dating myself, let’s proceed, shall we?

Writing description 3) is hard for me. Once in a great while, 4) it pours out of me as though someone has turned on the rusty description faucet in my head, full-blast, if only for a few minutes. Continue reading “Describe something in ten different ways”

Random Writing Rants, Writers on Writing

You gotta be you, I gotta be me

Thinking
Getting to your best writing requires very little conscious thought. | Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

Picture it: Sicily, 1965. Wait. No. That’s the Golden Girls. Remember them? But I digress.

Picture it: You wake before your alarm and lie in bed waiting for your alarm to catch up. You get an idea. A brilliant idea. You should get up and start writing immediately, but your bed is so warm and snug. So, you don’t. Instead, you lay there for an hour, waiting for your alarm to make you get up, turning the idea in your head. It’ll be okay. You can write it down after you get up. It will still be brilliant then.

Only, it’s not. Somehow, the words that slipped through the sieve of your morning mind refuse to maintain their original early morning brilliance. On the page, they are wooden and just not quite right. What happened? Where did you go wrong? Was the idea just not as brilliant as you thought it was? Continue reading “You gotta be you, I gotta be me”

Blogging

Tell me about your new book

Le Festival des Pot Holes....
Some days, an outside job filling pot holes sounds more appealing than an inside job filling plot holes. | Le Festival des Pot Holes…. (Photo credit: caribb)

I don’t know about you, but I sure haven’t been blogging much since the start of the new year. What I have been doing is plugging away at two novels in progress, both of which seem to grow farther from completion with each new plot hole I fill. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?

You know, sometimes revising a novel is kinda like when you think you’re just going to quickly replace a bathtub in your 100-year-old house only to realize that by removing the old bathtub, you have now exposed a whole host of other problems you didn’t know existed, including rotten floor boards and termite ravished support beams. Yeah, revision can be a lot like remodeling a bathroom in a house that maybe should have been condemned a long time ago…

Needless to say, blogging hasn’t been as much on my mind lately as it once was. Continue reading “Tell me about your new book”

Essays, Novel Writing

What are you going to finish today?

English: Spiral made of Floppy discs
I have about a million of these floppy discs containing business and management essays from both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business and management. I’m considering editing all of them and putting them up on an informational website (complete with ads to generate revenue.) If only I had a floppy disc drive. | English: Spiral made of Floppy discs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re like me, you probably have at least a couple of projects laying around unfinished. If so, then like me, your major goal for 2014 might just be to get shit done. Seriously.

I get a little overwhelmed when I consider all of the projects I started in 2013 and didn’t finish. I want to finish them all. I want to finish writing my current WIP and the one I started for thesis last spring. I want to revise the novel I completed for the summer writing challenge in 2013. I want to publish everything (even all of those business essays I wrote so long ago that they are sitting around on floppy discs.)

When I think about it, I have many great projects that are not only started, but are also nearing completion. For me, 2014 will be more about completing projects than it will be about starting something new. Although, I suppose actually finishing something will be new for me. HA!

Anyway, it is useless to sit here psyching myself out over the mountain of work I have ahead of me. So why do it? I can only do one thing at a time. So. What do I want to do first? That’s the real question begging an answer. Continue reading “What are you going to finish today?”

Memoir, NaNoWriMo, Write Your Novel This Season

Did you write a novel this season?

Cover Image - NaNoWriMo Gone Wild - The Quest for 50000 Words
This is a current draft of the cover for my NaNoWriMo project.

Earlier this year, I started my Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge, which then morphed into Write Your Novel this Season. While I did manage to complete a full draft over the summer, I am still working on my fall novel. Considering I am only three chapters in, I am kind of doubting I will finish it by the first day of Winter (December 21st.) However, I have managed to get into a regular writing routine, so there are no worries here. Looking back, I see that I have made great progress over this past year.

I spent the early part of 2013 writing a 90+ page creative thesis that would net me an A for the final semester of my Master’s level professional writing program. I graduated in May, found and lost a job (that, looking back, I am happy didn’t work out). I was unemployed for the summer but spent a lot of that season traveling and spending time with family members I hardly ever get to see.

As I mentioned above, I wrote a full first draft novel that I am currently revising. I also wrote a full memoir/writing manifesto-type manuscript for NaNoWriMo, just to prove to myself that I could write 50,000 words in one month. I am even considering publishing it and offering it up for free downloads. Continue reading “Did you write a novel this season?”

Education, Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

How long does it take to become a writing master?

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins
How many words do you think you need to write to become a writing master? | Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Facebook friend recently shared a link to an article titled, Here’s A Shocking Truth If You Think You’ve Wasted Your Life. According to this article, it takes a person about seven years to master a particular task. This prompted me to consider how long I have been writing and how close I should expect myself to be to mastering it.

After giving it some thought, it occurred to me that I am probably exactly where I should be in regards to my writing career. Although I have been writing in some capacity for most of my life, it is only in the past five years that I have put my full effort into it. Prior to that, I had taken a ten-year break while I was married because my ex didn’t want me to write at all. Continue reading “How long does it take to become a writing master?”

Blogging, Flash Fiction

200 Words: Part 2 of Making Merry

My cat making merry in the christmas tree
My son’s kitten has been making her own bit of merriment in my tree. Stop, ornament thief!

The past two weeks, I have been participating in Chuck Wendig’s 200 Words flash fiction challenge. This week, author Michael Woods picked up my story start, Making Merry, and added the next 200 words. You may read it over on his blog.

So far, my favorite part about this activity is seeing how another author can completely change the setting you had in your head just by adding a couple of words. For example, I had originally pictured a lower-middle class suburban neighborhood with small ranch houses, but the addition of the Saab and BMW parked on the street suddenly morphed the setting I had in mind to more of an upper-middle class neighborhood. This totally changes the dynamic of the story moving forward. Continue reading “200 Words: Part 2 of Making Merry”

NaNoWriMo

Every day you write, you are a writing winner!

nanowrimo completion certificate
Here’s my official NaNoWriMo completion certificate. If you “won,” be sure to get yours too!

Now concludes NaNoWriMo. If you wrote 50,000 words this month, you officially win. If you didn’t, that doesn’t mean you lost. Did you write more than you normally would have? If so, you win!

Now, for some last minute housekeeping: Have you completed your NaNoWriMo profile page?  If not, you should. I would especially like to see you share an excerpt from your project so I can read it. Also, be sure to “buddy” me while you’re there! Continue reading “Every day you write, you are a writing winner!”

Blogging, Flash Fiction

Who’s up for a 200 word piggy back ride?

Mandy Webster NaNoWriMo stats
Here are my latest NaNoWriMo stats. It lies about how many words I’ve written today. I just haven’t added any more words to my NaNo project.

I finished NaNoWriMo Tuesday, and guess what? I haven’t stopped writing since! Today, I am joining a writing challenge hosted by Chuck Wendig over at the TerribleMinds blog. It’s a five part challenge in which participants will collaborate to write several flash fiction pieces 200 words at a time.

To participate, this week you should write the first 200 words of a story and post it to your blog. Then head over to TerribleMinds (where you can also find full details of the challenge) and share a link to your post. The next week, you will choose another author’s first 200 words (maybe even mine!) and write the second 200 words of that author’s story. The following week, you will choose yet another story and add an additional 200 words of your own, and so forth, until you have written a total of 1000 words on 5 different stories.

Sounds like fun, right? Okay, so here’s the first 200 words of my story: Continue reading “Who’s up for a 200 word piggy back ride?”