“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
— Hunter S. Thompson
Is that not a great quote or what? Sorry for the short post, but it was too long to tweet, and I was too inspired by it not to share.
For those of us who are always fearful of getting hurt or of failing, it’s a good reminder that life is a gift that shouldn’t be wasted.
Is it just me? Or does anyone else suddenly have the urge to jump on a Harley and take it for spin?
I was having just a wee bit of writer’s block with my story, and decided to find a writing exercise to jump start my brain again. And I thought I would share what resulted from it.
There are lots of tricks out there that claim to help writers through those frustrating times, and with me being the enthusiastic newbie, I’m willing to try them all. So this particular trick says to write about something completely different. Just something short and sweet, nothing too taxing that requires any research or any real work. You’re not even supposed to worry about the grammar really. But it isn’t free writing, where you just write whatever comes to mind (though that is another trick that is supposed to work). For this you need a topic. I found this topic by Googling “writing exercises.” It was on another author’s blog and it read like this:
“Write a scene from your real life or a fictional scene in which a group of people is in some way deprived of the usual amenities we think we have to have. It could be a cabin with the road washed out or a Red Cross shelter, or simply an ordinary home that temporarily has no Internet access or television. How do people act? What do they do? Are there conflicts, either funny or serious?”
I started out with this concept, but quickly put a different spin to it. Goes to show that even when writing about something completely different, you never stray too far from your own writing style.
I also wanted to let you know that it worked, and I’m now diligently working on my own story again.
If you want to read the brief passage that resulted from this exercise, just click here http://cecilesaldana.wordpress.com/on-the-side/
I just watched the movie “Juno” (I love this movie, I’ve seen it 5 times now). It makes me smile, cry and laugh every time. And I’m in awe of the screenwriters ability to create dialogue that in it’s ridiculous verbosity, is so witty and relevant. But it got me to thinking about the challenges of an adult who is writing from the perspective of a teen. As a YA fiction writer, I am fully aware of these challenges and have spent many a late night rewriting dialogue, and then rewriting the rewrites.
I remember religiously watching Dawson’s Creek those many years ago, and not caring so much that the characters on that show spoke in a verbiage way beyond their years, or that I had to have my dictionary handy to even understand some of the words they were spewing out. I thought it was great! And you can’t tell me that the demographic for that show was for the 30 somethings and up. It was on the CW channel for crying out loud.
I am no wordsmith, and my vocabulary is far from highbrow, so I don’t really have to worry about being verbose in my writing. But sometimes I do wonder if being so far removed from my teen years, if I am still able to capture the essence of that time in my life, without layering in too much of the experience and perspective I’ve gained since then. I like to provide my young characters with a depth and understanding that I didn’t have, or at least I don’t remember having at that age. And in doing that do I stray too much from the perspective a teen?
Then I realize that no one really wants to read about a girl whose only thoughts are about what she looks like, what that one guy in school thinks she looks like, or what everyone else in school thinks she looks like. Not saying that the majority of thoughts in a teenage mind are trivial or useless. On the contrary, they are complex and moreover extremely important. Because it’s how they deal with those thoughts that develop the qualities and characteristics they will grow into. BUT, I think it is fair to say that, because of lack of real-life experience, a teen is often ill-equipped to always deal with those thoughts in the most rational way. And I think it’s best to use that irrationality in developing the plot or the character rather than as the plot itself. Because in my humble opinion, a story– no matter how fantastical or surreal, whether it’s a love epic or a tale of horror– needs to be rational in the end.
There are few song writers that give us such a clear and beautiful perspective of the human soul than Tori Amos. The song “Crucify” makes me quiver every time I hear it.
An excerpt from “Crucify” by Tori Amos
Got a kick for a dog
Beggin’ for Love
I gotta have my suffering
So that I can have my cross
I know a cat named Easter
He says will you ever learn
You’re just an empty cage girl
If you kill the bird
I’ve been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I’ve been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Got enough guilt to start
my own religion
What song lyrics move you?
So I was spending some time cruising a few blogsites, to get the lay of the land-so to speak, and I stumbled across one that was really interesting. I tried to repost it here, so I could make a comment, but I guess these things don’t work that way..hehe. So here’s the link:
It’s his Sunday August 21 post. Basically, the author talks about the inclusion of sex scenes in books, and people’s reaction to it. He has some very valid points in his post.
I have to admit, I wondered about that subject myself in regards to YA books. I myself have tried to be fairly careful on what to include and elude to, and what would be considered too risque for a YA audience. The thing is, (without admitting that I was any kind of slut by any means) when I was a teen, I was pretty familiar with the whole sex thing. And I was definitely one of the millions of teens addicted to harlequin romance novels which often had a substantial spattering of sex. But I suppose those were meant for a more mature audience.
So just how much sex can a YA novel reader handle? Does the YA stamp, actually mean that the author is responsible for providing good clean role models in their protagonists? And is the inclusion of non-explicit sex scenes (kissing, fondling, then fading to black) okay? Would say, 10% or 20% of the book be acceptable?
I myself am a fan of sexual tension in stories, so I do spend a lot of my time playing around with that angst in my stories. But as they say “sex sells”. So if the sex plays an important role in moving the story along, and adding a integral layer to the character building, what would be wrong with including it?
So I’ve been sitting here for while trying to think of a topic for my first post here in WordPress, and as I usually do in pressure situations, I’m drawing a blank. It probably isn’t helping that I’m trying to do this at work–but don’t tell anyone! Seriously though, I must have minimized this screen at least 5 times since I started this paragraph.
I suppose it’s very ironic that someone who has a hard time writing about themselves would start a blog. But if you read my “About Me” section you’ll already have some insight on that.
I’m an author–or at least I write stories. I published my first Young Adult novel Finding Normal via Amazon Kindle late last year. It was an amazing journey from the moment I typed the first few words to the day I sold my first copy. I’ve been working on my second one. It’s going to be trilogy and has a little bit more fantasy/paranormal aspects to it. It’s been a lot of fun so far. But it’s been taking me longer to get through this one, and I’m told that the best way to get through writers block is to either read, or write about something completely different. So here is where I plan to do just that. I plan to look at it as my creative sandbox. I hardly think I have the gumption to critique another author’s work, so you won’t get that from me. But if I love a book, I’ll definitely pass it on! So basically I’ll read some, then maybe write about something I liked in a particular passage or narrative description. I’m not going to limit myself to books either. Anything and everything that inspires me will be possible topics of discussion.
Okay, I really need to get back to work now. But I am interested in finding out who else has had first blog stage fright. And how did you get past it?