Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stealing Stories

One of my favorite quotes is from my Theatre Education teacher. She must have said this a thousand times over the course of the semester.

"You're only as good as who you steal from."

This statement is a hundred percent true. As writers, we very often talk about finding an 'original' idea, making our stories 'unique.'

The truth? There is no 'original' idea. Our ideas are a sum of everything we've experienced in our lives up to that point.

You can argue with me all you want, but think about your idea for your story. Where did it come from? You were most likely watching something, or reading a book, or talking about something with your friends, and this idea came into your mind. It was a result of something else--it didn't just appear out of nowhere.

This is even true for dreams. Though they can seem to come out of nowhere, science proves that your subconscious controls what you dream about, no matter how weird that dream may be.

Is this a bad thing? Heck, no! We take the best of so many things, and we put our own spin on it.

Because guess what? Even though there are no 'original' ideas, every human being is original! We are all unique! There is no one else, and never will be anyone else, who is just like you!

So the idea may not be 'original.' The story may not be 'unique.' But your style is!

You can do it. I believe in you!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Bane of My Existence

I'm about to scream right now.

"You're too general," "You're too specific," "Give me more information," "Give me more to wonder about"


There are so many different opinions out there, and guess what? 

Agents have different opinions too!

So what can you do to write the most effective query possible?

Work on it. Work, work, work, WORK! And make sure you save your drafts, because you may end up wanting to go back to something you had in a previous draft.

I really wish someone else could write my query for me. But that wouldn't really work, would it?

*Sigh* Back to working...


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And so it begins!

*Shivers* I love the anticipation building up to NaNoWriMo. Love it.

I thought I'd share the first bit of my NaNo--realize, this is a NaNo and I wrote it in thirty minutes, so it's not edited AT ALL, but I like seeing what comes out of people's fingers on the keyboard when they're put to pressure :)

The first two (completely unedited) pages of CLOSED MIND:


            It was the only thought in my mind. I could hear them behind me, hear them following. There was no choice but to keep running, get as far away as possible—
            “Stop her!”
            The child in my arms cried. I shushed him, feeling tears come to my cheeks. I rounded a corner into an alleyway, searching for anywhere to hide. There was a hole in the wall, just big enough. I crawled in, soothing my son, praying endlessly to God.
            The knights ran around the corner. I held my breath. They entered the alleyway, confused, not thinking to look at the walls themselves. My son shivered in my arms, and I held him tightly, praying he wouldn’t cry out.
            “She’s not here,” one of them called.
            I exhaled loudly once they’d deserted the alleyway. “Thank you, God,” I breathed, kissing my little boy’s forehead.
            He whimpered, but stayed quiet. With some difficulty, I climbed out of the hole in the wall, grimacing.
            Hold on, Melinda. Just a little more.
            Limping, I backtracked a block, still keeping an eye out for knights. Only when I was sure there were none around did I knock on the door to the orphanage.
            “Please be awake,” I whispered.
            I strained my ears, and let out a sigh of relief when I heard the creaking of floorboards behind the door. A woman answered, not young and not old, a robe pulled around her shoulders. She frowned.
            “Can I help you?”
            “Please, can I come in?”
            The woman looked at the child in my arms and nodded, stepping aside. I staggered through the doorway and fell into a nearby chair. My breathing was becoming harder.
            Just a little more…
            “Are you hurt?” she asked, setting down her candle.
            I took a deep breath. “Take him,” I said, extending my arms.
            Her eyes widened in alarm. “You don’t want your child?”
            “It’s not my destiny,” I said with a gasp. “You must take him!”
            She hesitated for a moment before taking my son from my arms. A huge burden left my shoulders, and I smiled for the first time in months.
            The smile disappeared as another stab of pain went through my body. There’s still one more thing to do…
            I reached into my cloak. My hand brushed the tail end of the arrow, and the pain increased. I gritted my teeth, refusing to make a sound, but couldn’t keep the tears from coming. The woman holding my son took a step back in alarm at seeing the wound, the blood staining my dress.
            “I’ll find a surgeon—”
            “It’s too late,” I said, reaching out to stop her with my free hand. “You mustn’t tell anyone I was here. Not anyone.”
            I tried to meet her eyes, but my vision blurred. After a moment, she nodded, and a sob escaped my throat in relief.
            “This is his.” I removed the book from my pocket, holding it out to her. When she took it from my hands, my son began to cry, as if he knew. He probably does know…
            Exhaling, I slumped in the chair. My task was done—my destiny fulfilled. One hand grasped the side of the chair, the other the arrow protruding through my stomach. The woman knelt next to me, her features increasingly hard to read as the world around me faded into black.
            She spoke, and I strained to hear the words.
“What’s his name?”
A smile crossed my quivering lips, and I took my last breath.


Happy NaNo-ing!


Ctrl + N

It's been so long since I hit that key combination on my keyboard. As far as writing is concerned, I haven't opened a new document in Word in months.

Until tonight.

It's sitting open on my laptop. Waiting. Just waiting.

Ever since I finished the outline for my NaNo, I've been itching to start writing it, but like a good little girl I'm waiting.


Here's why I love NaNo: it's exciting. Diving into something like this is thrilling and just a whole lot of fun. 

But from my experience, I've realized that the excitement wears off. Soon it gets hard to put aside the time needed to complete this challenge (especially this week for me), you have new story ideas, but you're stuck with this one because otherwise you'll never finish--

Don't forget that excitement of opening a new document.

And come November 30th, you'll feel the excitement of submitting your word count, saying you've done it.

My clock says twenty minutes left to wait.

Knock 'em dead, NaNo-Writers!

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