DIYMFA Saturday Prompt

Today we did a prompt based on a photo. We were to pick one and answer a few questions and then write a 500 word scene. I wrote it, but it didn’t go so well for me. I had a hard time coming up with a story line, and then once I did, and wrote it, and edited it, it evolved into something I didn’t intend to write, at first.

As to of this sparked a longer story… nope. It was all I could do to get these words out. I don’t particularly have a connection with the person in the photo that I chose. It was difficult to determine, story wise, what he was doing and why. At first I wanted him to be a bit of a peeping Tom but as I started editing, the story started changing, and now he’s seen something disturbing.

Here is the photo:

And here is my submission:

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DIYMFA: Collecting Characters

Characters  are my favorite topics to talk about, because I love a character I can sink my teeth into. A well-rounded character will have an entire history his or her own and I will know them like the back of my hand, to the point where I can predict what s/he will say or do in a certain situation.

This week we’re talking about our characters and how we collect them. Do we have a grouping of people hanging out in our heads or on paper waiting to be written? Are they stolen from real life and pieced together?

My writing style is usually plot driven, mostly because I have written so much fan fiction where the main character is always the same person, different situation. Add original characters, mix, and pour into a glass. My original fiction has followed the same path because that is what I’m used to. A “what if” situation or a “ripped from the headlines” story might plant a bug, and then I start to design characters that would/wouldn’t fit and figure out how to make the story interesting.

I collect some of my characters from real life but change so many of the characteristics that I’d be impressed if anyone recognized themselves. I try to “model” characters after a person, either by personality or by appearance. I had a serial story that I wrote for a long, long time and one of the minor characters was modeled after one of our off site managers at work. From time to time, he comes to the office, so sometimes it’s like having that character just a few feet away from me. Really weird feeling, by the way.  There are others that I take first or last names but no other info like the job they have or their family makeup. I combine and build and develop until I have a pretty much ‘fictional’ person and only I know the original inspiration.

I’ve also told my friends when they end up in my stories.., though I always let them know if I am going to use their name or something they’d recognize. One of my friend’s names recently showed up in a story without her knowing and it was quite the surprise. I know I’m not the only person on earth with my (real) name but it is not a “typical” name so it would stand out if someone used it.

The main character in my current WIP was born from the title of an album. I started mulling it over in my mind and a ‘what if’ situation popped up and I started inserting characters.

 

DIYMFA: Books on Writing, in which I confess…

A brief note before I post: Day three of the 30 Day Writing challenge is up on my Tumblr! If you’re participating by blog or Tumblr please let me know so I can follow!

So, today we are discussing building a library on the craft of writing. And I have a confession to make: I buy writing books all the time but don’t read them. I have several books of writing exercises but don’t really make use of them. It hasn’t been a medium that has been effective for me… it’s that feeling of flipping through a book and realizing it’s in a language you can’t read. In fact, I become overwhelmed and quite stressed out after reading them because I feel like I have no idea how to apply what I’ve just read to something I’m currently writing.  I am much more of a writing blog reader than I am a writing book reader, though I do have a couple of writing books I like:

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DIYMFA: 9/16 Weekend Writing Prompt

 

For those unfamiliar with DIYMFA, it is a website that allows writers to use tools, exercises and experiences to design their own advanced writing program. The do-it-yourself approach allows each of us to flourish in our own ways and dive as deeply as we want (or need) to go to improve our writing and knowledge of the craft.

It’s our first Weekend Writing Prompt! The Starting Point:

Reading:
1) Do you read regularly? If so, how many books per year, on average?

Yes, I am an avid, voracious reader. This year my goal is to read 50 books or more.

2) What are your Top 3 preferred subjects or genres?

I’m a fiction reader- within that I like literary fiction, women’s fiction, some erotic romance  and historical fiction (set in the US).  I read some non fiction but not much- it has to be for a specific purpose. Right now I am reading memoirs of people with schizophrenia as research for a story I am writing.

3) List the last 5 books/magazines you’ve read.

*consults my GoodReads account* – Swallow the Ocean (biography, non fiction), The SisterHood of Blackberry Corner (adult fiction, women’s fiction, black author),  Surrender the Heart (christian fiction, historical fiction), The Accident (fiction, thriller) , The Whispering Room (fiction, mystery, thriller)

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Had a bad day.

So, I had a bad night last night. Very, very bad. Like, sitting in bed staring at the laptop, sniffling and sobbing, teary twitter updates bad night. And it was all my project’s fault.

See, here is the thing. I’m a writer. I have finally admitted to myself that I do this thing called writing. And now that I am well aware that I am a writer, I am looking past just “writing”. Now what I want is to AUTHOR.

I want to write a book. Not a book that I finish and smile at and put away. Not a book that is so amateur that I have to self publish because YE GODZ, lady, no one is going to publish that drivel. I want to author a book and then edit the crap out of it and rewrite it and edit the crap out of THAT and send it to 184 agents and have ONE say “yeah I think we can make this work” and have that agent send it to 45 publishing companies and have one of THEM say, “Yeah, we definitely want to publish this” and have my book be available at frikken Barnes & Noble where my mother– who lives on the other side of the country– can go visit a bookstore with her best girlfriend and stand there and stare at it and cry in the middle of the store and be all proud and stuff.

That.

I want that.

But the thing is? I’m not really sure I have that kind of talent. Continue reading