Saturday, August 28, 2010

More reading

I forgot to list in my previous reading post Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.  I read this a few months ago and for some reason forgot about it!  The second book in this series is already out and it was a quick read so I think I'm going to do a fast re-read before picking up Linger.

I also re-read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins in preparation for the release of the final book - Mockingjay.  I ended up finishing it overnight since I was very sick and couldn't sleep anyway. Amazing finish to a series.   Even if you read the synopsis for these books and don't think you'd be interested, I still think you should give them a try. 

I just started reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is exactly how it sounds - P&P word-for-word with an added zombie storyline.  After I'm done I think I might donate this one to a classroom, along with a few other books.

My friend Jessica has started a writing blog, so I recommend heading over there and following her!  She's a dedicated blogger, writer and high school English teacher. 

I also just started classes this semester and I'm trying to get ahead so I can dedicate as much of my free time as possible this November to NaNo!   I have a few ideas bouncing around, 2 of them starting to get fleshed out in my brain.  I am considering writing two novellas this NaNo instead of 1 novel.  Nothing one can really sell, but it's a quick way to clean out my brain clutter and get back to focusing on my main WIP.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just do it.

I'm not a disciplined writer.  I wish I could be.  I've always wanted to be one of those writers who schedules a time and place for writing every day.  You know, the ones who end up being successful.  Stephen King's On Writing gives me this advice.  My writing group gives me this advice.  So what do I do instead?  Binge write. 

I'm a feast or famine writer.  I fling a few words on paper here and there, but usually find a way to procrastinate until it's bedtime.  Then it's just another day at work, another evening of procrastination, another night of sleep. (Or lack thereof.  I'm sort of an insomniac.)

Why do I even consider myself a writer?  What's that saying?  A writer writes.  If you want to be a writer, write.  (No, I don't know who said that.  Someone help me out?)

As I said, I binge write.  Just so you know, there's no other outlet for enabling binge writer like NaNoWriMo.  Go to the website and check it out.  Every November writers from all over get together for one big online writing orgy.  50K words of a novel in 30 days.  NaNo's little brother, ScriptFrenzy, is held each April.  100 pages of a screenplay (roughly a feature-length film) in 30 days. 

Who is in this year?  You know I am.  It's the only time that I stick to my writing commitments. I'll be tweeting like crazy this year, and would love to participate in word count challenges.  Who else is in?  Let me know so I can stalk you on twitter.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I write, therefore I read

I've found that one of the best ways to better my writing skills is to read and read some more. I enjoy books in a variety of genres and try to switch it up as much as I can.

I don't plan for this to become a book review blog, but I will probably add a tab up top for my recent reads in case anyone has also read the same book and would like to discuss or is thinking about reading it and wants a recommendation.

I'm also a member of Goodreads, a great website for reading and writing book reviews as wells as getting recommendations from other avid readers.

Over the past several months, I've read:

Up in the Air by Walter Kirn
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I also just finished re-reading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Even though I haven't read a lot of it lately, I do enjoy a lot of YA books. This series has been one of my favorites, and I'm looking forward to the third and final book in the series, Mockingjay, to be released this month.

When I was a kid, I was a huge Christopher Pike fan. In fact, at one point my life's ambition was to grow up and adapt all of his novels into screenplays, especially my favorites Whisper of Death, Remember Me, and Scavenger Hunt. As a pre-teen and teenager, I was obsessed with Stephen King, and I still own most of his books. Just last year I read his new epic tale Under the Dome, which was amazing.

My friend Katie just sent me a nice box of books, some ARC's, to read and recommend if I like them. I just started I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman and it's already getting good just a couple of chapters in.

When I start posting links to writing blogs, I'll be sure to post some to my favorite book review blogs as well so let me know if you want me to check yours out!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stuck in a rut.

I'm trying to pull myself out of a writing rut, and it's one of the reasons I started this blog (and my the associated twitter account).

I currently have 3 works-in-progress.

1) ScriptFrenzy 2009: completed feature-length screenplay that needs major revisions. I tentatively titled it St. Patrick's Day but that title doesn't do much for me. If I'm able to buckle down and get one good revision completed, I'd be willing to pick up a BETA for it and let someone tear it to shreds.

2) NaNo 2009: My baby. It's sitting at the less than halfway point, right now around 55K words. I know where it's going and have obsessed over it for almost a year but have somehow managed to not write any of it down. With this project, I feel like I need to sit down and outline the entirety of the book, something I never did to begin with. It is untitled, but during my re-read I started calling it Fade.

3) ScriptFrenzy 2010: About 104 pages and needs 3-4 more scenes to be another finished feature-length film, then major revisions as well. I tried to write a novel a couple of years ago, but decided it worked better as a screenplay. Again, no title. I guess I suck at titles.

I love writing challenges. I wish I had the same discipline year-round. During ScriptFrenzy or NaNoWriMo, I write every day and always make my goals.

NaNo 2010 is just around the corner, and I do plan to participate. Yet another unfinished manuscript to add to the pile!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why do you write?

Some people write to vent frustrations. Some people write to create a world they can use to escape reality. Some people write simply because they can - they know they're talented and are focused on getting published. Some people write because they have to. The characters don't let them sleep at night unless they are released from their prison inside the writer's brain.

So, why do you write?

Why do I write?

I've been an amateur writer my entire life, thus the title of Casually Writing (plus the silly reference to my name was too easy to pass up). When I was a pre-teen, it was poetry. My pre-teen brain dramatized every crush and every mistake I made. I wrote woe-is-me poetry to express in words on paper what I couldn't express verbally. I wrote a few short stories as a teenager and outlined some novel ideas but never saw them to completion. Ideas rattled around in my brain, but there was always something more pressing going on in my teenage life.

Why do I write now, as an adult? I write now because an idea takes hold of me and doesn't let go. It might not be a great idea, or a publish-worthy idea, but it's an idea that develops into plot and characters and twists and turns. When I have an idea, I think about it in the shower, in my car, when I listen to music, when I'm trying to sleep at night. I write because the blank page has a special allure. I write because I'm a closet control freak, and the world I create follows my rules.

I'm still at the point in my writing (and I may always be at this point) when I write to satisfy my urge to write without writing for an audience or a particular market. For me, the satisfaction of completion is my success. My only goal is to read my story in its entirety and feel that I did it justice.

So, I still ask - why do you write?