My Story’s Purpose

I finished up a round of books that are all deep with social commentary in the message of the story. They were great stories with such meaning and touch on dark spots on our human experience.

When I got the end I reflected on my own stories I’ve written and they seem shallow. Yet the deep, dark sides of humanity seem constantly in our faces with the news, conversations, and tragic events that happen all around us so why do I feel bad for wanting to bring joy, laughter, and light into the world with my creative works?

Do I want to take my religious/political/world view and bare it to the world by burying down into the storyline and make the reader’s question just what is happening in the world? Is that my purpose? Do I want that to be my purpose?

To be a writer, I want to be very clear about why I AM writing. Is it to entertain? To lighten another human’s burdens even for the brief time they read my words? Or do I want to comment on social woes and strive to make changes?

In the end, I don’t think it matter why I write. Maybe I’m just being too heady about this all and I should just write what I want to write and let the rest sort itself out later after I’m done with the piece. For now, I guess I will be content and get the story out of me and let the rest just be and not worry to deeply about it.

Finding the words & telling the story,
Melissa

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Focus

My creativity, well most likely my life, is being super squirrelly. I’ll get these great ideas and I’m excited to do the work. The words flow out of me and onto the page. It feels me with joy and struggles to capture it all. And then nothing. I slam into my own back hole. I’ve never had this happen to me before it’s like I’ve been robbed of the sun.

Maybe this is because I’ve still got other pieces that are in various stages of pruning and shaping that I can’t seem to focus so my mind keeps wanting to wrap up the other works first? Naw, that sounds like an excuse. So how do I keep my eye on the long-term goal of getting the actually writing down and finish a project?

Well, I do know of one thing NaNoWriMo is around the corner. I’ve been wanting to do it for a few years but I’ve normally been neck deep in editing when November has came around. So this year I’ll make sure I’m pumped and ready to write starting November 1st. I love me a good deadline so this idea works with my goal oriented brain. So between here and November I’ll make sure I’ve got the structure of what I want to happen and the characters a bit more fleshed out than what I normally have before I start writing and see how it goes for me.

To the plan,

Melissa

Tiny Pushes

It’s funny when your tank and creativity is dry and you feel like the most unoriginal writer in the world, when you receive a kind word from a random person. That one drop is like water to parched land; I feel better and it gives me the fortitude to continue the work.

Without these tiny nudges to remind me that I doing what I’m meant to do, I doubt I could go on. So I thank all of those who read my early work, read by blog, or just random people who I meet and when I tell them, “I’m a writer,” they aren’t dismissive but instead are genuinely excited that they know someone who is blazing a path to capture their dreams. I don’t know where I’d be without all of your love and support; I’m more grateful than mere words could express, which is a great concession to someone who adores words, but my hope is that I am able to support you to in return.

All My Love & Gratitude,

~The Blessed Writer

Reading to Write

As a writer, I am developing a deeper love of reading; I know, I didn’t know that was possible either but I’m so glad to be proven wrong. So now when I read things I am struck by various writers in different ways.

Here’s but a short (and not the all) list of writers who I want to emulate as I work on my own stories:

Laurie R. King, in her Mary Russell series, has blown my mind in how she unabashedly wields her large vocabulary and complex sentence structure to reinvent and flesh out an older Sherlock Holmes in a new century.

Jill Shalvis and Richard Paul Evans in their ability to build flawed characters and build conflict between two people. (Though I’m not the biggest fan of romance, I’ll read Jill Shalvis material because she nails it.)

Jennifer Cruisie, Katie MacAlister, Jim Butcher, and Kevin Hearne because they are in rare form every time I read what they write. They are amazing story tellers but most of all they make me laugh. Almost any book I pick up from them is a treat and I trust their name on the cover will be a safe bet.

If I want to grow as I writer, I must keep filling my tank up with inventive, creative, and better writers than me. It’s also a great excuse to continually read more. I’m always on the lookout for other great writers and when I find them, I’m not shy about extolling their wonderfulness to others. There’s nothing better than recommending a book to someone and when they come back they have the same glint in their eyes that I have about reading another great story.

Do you have trusted authors that you reach for time and time again? Why? I’m always got an open ear for “undiscovered” authors, well ones that I’ve never read before.

To relishing in a great story,

~ the writer

Mood Shifter

I love coming up with new ways to describe things. It may be odd to make something what is black and white like a typed story into imaging what it would be like if we could describe it with other senses. So here’s my question: is your story like a cozy hot tottie by the fire or maybe so cute that a gaggle of kittens would fart fairy dust? And if it’s not what you want, how can you change it?

A few elements that can change the readers images/sense of the story are sentence structure, word choice, and mood.

Sentence Structure – short simple sentences are like crack for most readers, they move the story along at a fast clip. Dense sentences are great for reflective times where the author is slowing down the pace.

  • My feet slapped the pavement. I gave in. I stopped and leaned against a wall. My breath was ragged and raspy to my ears. There’s no way out, my brain protested.
  • With my breath raspy and ragged in my ears, my feet slapped the pavement. I gave in, leaned against a wall, and thought, there’s no way out.

Word Choice – is paramount because this can change the feel of everything in a story so once you know what mood you’re going for it’s easy to see if a word doesn’t work to create a mood.

  • The fire shot up, pushing the night’s darkness to the edge of the campsite.
  • The fire snaked up into the sky, gobbling up the black sky, and shadows danced around the campsite.

Mood – is the feeling the reader gets from the writing. It’s created by using a combination of sentence structure and word choice.

  • birthday decorations before the party:
  1. Cries of not it float through the window, my lips can’t help but smile. Cake with grass green frosting with five red candles are center stage waiting for the singing masses of his friends to bounce off the walls. It’s perfect.
  2. Cries of not it burst through my roiling emotions. The sounds are everyday but they are hollow. Cake with grass green frosting with five red candles are center stage waiting for the singing masses of his friends to bounce off the walls. It seems so perfect but how long can it last?

The first is light and carefree but in the second there is a sense of foreboding and unease. So using these very basic but powerful elements one change the world or at least shake up your character’s world.

So go reek some havoc and have fun playing with these elements to your hearts desire.

Nothing like messing with your character’s minds. We meddle because we care!

Grit

To become a published author one must ignore much of the noise around them, the inner critic, the outer cynics, the jaded, and the hopeless. These swirls of dissidence will do you no goood. Understand the difference between the anger and fear others have because you are reaching out, breaking out, and refusing to stay small. By following your dream, you are changing the pattern of most people you know; you are striving for something you truly want.

Keep your goal dead ahead, allow the voices that aren’t serving you to achieve your vision to dissolve and be left behind. No one but you can plot your course to get your dreams. Remember you are at the helm. So cut those anchors and explore the vast oceans of your fantasies.

Ahoy mate,

The Writer ~ Melissa

Mechanical Troubles

Another week gone by and I’ve failed to make my word count goal I had set for myself. Well, I have two options degrade myself for my slothful performance or I could take stock of where I am and adjust my goal. Only one is helpful but it is harder to do the latter.

So how can I cope with my falling short of my goal?

  • Know that I will fail some days. It’s natural so be kind to myself.
  • Know I can’t fall behind because it’s my plan. Cut myself a break.
  • Know why I didn’t make the old goal. Was the original goal too difficult? Am I striving for perfection? Once I assess make the next goal reflect my findings.

Even if I didn’t make my small goal I am still on my path to achieve it. View it as a filling up of my world allowing me to come back to the task refreshed. Then hit it. Carve the time out of my schedule to do the work. If it’s important enough for me to be angry for missing it rededicate myself to it. It’s my dream if I don’t make time for it, who will?

Love,

The Struggling Writer