Success!

Since I’ve been more active with my writing recently, I’ve gotten through chapter 2 (finally!). That chapter often bewilders me, because of one complex scene: Two characters meet another character for the first time, thinking that the party of the third part may or may not be insane. They dialogue, each bringing their own emotions into play as they discuss the safety of another character, who may or may not be in jeopardy.

So confusing.

However—

I feel like I’ve finally kicked it in the butt! I pared it down and followed the flow of thought. A lot of tweaking to go, but it’s manageable 🙂

Any scenes causing you trouble? Why?

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Writing Exercise: Close Your Eyes and Imagine…

I get distracted by visuals. The room around me screams for attention. Watermarks on the kitchen table, the half emptied dishwasher. Even the computer screen distracts me when I’m trying to write. Double spaced or single. How does that sentence look? Does it spill onto the next line? The next page? Punctuation needs to be perfect, so of course I have to go back and fix that mistake. Pretty soon, I’m no longer writing a story. All that’s coming out is proper grammar and punctuation, all the little scribbles that look nice on the page. My imagination has been invaded by visual stimulus.

Stop. 

Just stop.

Does this happen to you too? 

Close your eyes and ignore the space around you. Imagine the scene that you’re writing and the space your characters are in. What color are the walls? Are there watermarks on their table? What is the mood? 

Lift you hands to the keyboard and type with your eyes still closed. Don’t go back for misspelled words—as long as they’re recognizable, they’ll be fine. Plus, muscle memory will seriously kick in. Punctuation? Don’t worry about it. Free your imagination from all distractions and go. Just go. 

This is a good way to beat writer’s block, and to focus on your work when life is pulling you in a million directions. Try it out.

Does it work for you? How’s that scene coming?

Discipline: Essential and Elusive (Part 2)

Soooo… I wrote last week! I plunked myself down and forced myself to have “butt in chair” writing time. None of my usual flitting about organize this or clean that (I can’t stand having a messy house).

It was great! I skimmed through the first chapter again, because I’m planning on sending it off with a grad school application. And then I moved on to the second chapter, which is closer than ever to being finished. I’ll sum it up this week, and then start on number three. 

Tea of the week: Milk tea. Infused with either rose, or star anise. I just learned how to make it, and it’s amazing. (So wonderfully amazingly amazing. And easy to make.)

How’s your writing coming? Anything exciting?

Discipline: So Essential, yet So Elusive

Tonight, I had a revelation.

It’s same revelation I have every once in a while, and it goes like this: I should schedule my writing time so that I move forward at a respectable pace and build discipline. 

Does it ever happen? If I’m honest with myself—rarely. 

I think I’ll try it out this week though. I’ll write one hour per day, from Monday through Friday, and update you at the end. I’m sure I’ll drink twice as much tea as usual. Maybe some iced milk tea. Mmmmm, yum. 

Can you think of any personal challenges that you need face? How do you build discipline?

Book Review: The Help

The Help is an incredible book. It’s taken me a while to pinpoint exactly why, because there are so many layers. But I think I’ve got it.

Here goes.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett will always shock and entertain with one key element: it’s human. It points out the inhumanity of humanity in a very humble, humorous way.

Am I making any sense? 

The book brings us to the sweltering heat of Jackson, Mississippi, and nearly makes us sweat while we read. Looking back fifty years, we learn that America’s racist past isn’t as far in the past as we thought or hoped. We also find that the wives of this small, stuffy town orbit the ladies’ league: one huge clique with Hilly Hollbrooks at the center. Painted smiles cover all of their faces, but the story slips behind those smiles to expose the people within. The nice ladies are not so friendly after all. And the happy women are not so happy after all. The charade, thankfully, is exposed by Aibileen, Minny, and all the others who see the secrets. 

I rarely endorse a movie as highly as the book, but the film adaptation captures the spirit so well. Since I watched the film before reading the story, I had the actors invading my imagination. Normally I dislike this—for example, Elijah Wood. I do not want him as my visual for Frodo because he doesn’t fit Tolkien’s character. But actors in The Help so thoroughly embody the characters that I enjoyed the book even more with them.