The Writer Side of Life

“Is your Boyfriend a Jedi or a Sith Lord?” Excuse Me?

So, funny story.

While I was braving the mob of last-minute Christmas shoppers, I went into the Newbury Comics store in the mall. It’s like nerd central over there, I love it. They sell books and comics and other geeky trinkets. I was trying to find a present for my boyfriend, Micheal (Y’know, that guy you hear so much about on my blog). Thankfully, he’s a big nerd too.  So I found something in the store that led me to have this interesting conversation with the store clerk.

(This is a side note;  I try to be considerate and a freaking perfectionist when buying gifts. I consider myself a pretty good gift getter, most of the time. I pride myself on it. I put a lot of thought into the presents I get for people.)

(Another side note; I can’t say specifically what I bought, because my boyfriend will probably read this and I want his Christmas presents to be a surprise. I might have to censor myself. We’ll call it a Star Wars related item.)

Here’s how that conversation more or less went….

I picked up said Star War’s related item and looked mildly interested in it. This store clerk guy came over. Not gonna lie, he looked like a cute dork from a cartoon, with big glasses and a nervous laugh. Maybe he was still in high school, I don’t know.

“That’s a good [Star Wars Item]” He commented.

“Oh yeah? I’m trying to find something for my boyfriend and he’s a big fan of Star Wars.”

“Yeah, that one’s pretty popular.” Note; I think he was right about that, because there were only three of ‘said item’ in stock in the entire store and they all looked beat up. I tried to find the least damaged one. Back to story.

I told him while examining said item “I think he’d like it, he likes stuff like this”

Then he asked me, “Is your boyfriend a Jedi or a Sith Lord?”

“Excuse me?” I was genuinely unsure. Is that something you’re supposed to ask your significant other? Should I know that off the top of my head? I mean, we’ve been dating almost six years, shouldn’t I know if my boyfriend is a Jedi or a Sith Lord?

“Well…” I said, somewhat stunned by the question. How do I even answer that? “I’m not a huge Star Wars fan myself. But I know his favorite character is Kylo Ren.”

This poor store clerk. “Cool, he’s with the Sith. They’re the bad guys.” I may not be a big fan of Star Wars, but I know the Sith are the bad guys. Who doesn’t know that?

Then he said “Your boyfriend’s probably a Sith Lord” What? Are you calling my boyfriend a Sith Lord? Should I be insulted? He’s more of a turtle than a Sith Lord.

Me trying to change the subject back to the said Star Wars related item I was thinking of buying. “Yeah, I think he’ll like this because [reasons why my non Sith Lord boyfriend would like said gift]”

“Oh Yeah, and also because it has [more reasons why my non Sith Lord boyfriend would like said gift]” He was adorable, he was just as excited about the ‘item’and he actually did sell it to me. So points for being a good salesman, I guess.

I tried to wrap up the conversation because it was 30 degrees outside and I wore a bunch of layers, but inside the store it was 110 degrees and I was slowly melting in my sweater as I bought the thing.

Hopefully Michael likes said Star Wars thing. Cross your fingers when Christmas rolls around. What are you guys up to this holiday season? Getting carried away in the bustle of shopping? And just for reassurance, that’s a weird question to ask someone right? Or is it just me?

Write With Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky.

 

Why I Failed NaNoWriMo, but I’m Ready for Next Year.

Okay…

I’m going to be real honest for a minute.

Before I started National Novel Writing Month, I had an idea for a story. A detective and his assistant, solving mysteries in the 1920s. In the summer, the concept and plot were strong and clear in my mind, I just wasn’t motivated enough, I guess. But when Autumn rolled around, that picture became a little fuzzy. I didn’t feel like I had the connection to the time period and to these characters that I wanted to once November started. It was like we were once roommates, living together and then, they became the neighbors down the street. An unexplained distance came between me and this story idea.

I tried my best, give me credit for that. I wrote about 10,000 words this November, which is an accomplishment, in some regard. I’m grateful for my experience with NaNoWriMo, it got me back into writing, regularly, without stopping to edit. It pushed me to be a better writer and to write more frequently. And I think that’s what I needed at this point in my life.

But It also made me realize, I might need to go back to the drawing board with this story idea. It made me question, is this the best story for my two main characters? Should I change the case my characters are investigating? Should I write something completely different?  Should I add a little fantasy element into this mystery?

If I do justice to these characters, they can be something special. I have to believe that.

Yes, I understand fictional characters are fictional. As writers, the characters we create can be more than that to us and we feel obligated to tell their tale and tell it right.

Going back to the drawing board and figuring things out is not a bad thing. Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture.


There’s another reason why I had to quit NaNoWriMo. (Possibly a good reason)

I got an internship. Now, for those of you who have read previous posts and know a bit about my life, you know it hasn’t been easy for me to find a job in the field I just earned a diploma for. I won’t sugar coat, it’s been tough. After hearing rejection after rejection (even got rejected by Barnes and Noble during the holiday season. Seriously?), I eventually heard a yes. It’s currently an unpaid internship, writing for a blog that focuses on everything Disney. It’s definitely made me unusually busy this November (After a couple uneventful months). Something is something, and I intend to learn a lot and gain some valuable experience. My task is to write 5 articles per week, with an average of 600 words each. That’s about 3,000 words a week, if my math is correct. I want to do a good job on this, it’s the perfectionist in me. And technically, I will have something published with my name on it. So, I’m okay with focusing on this internship for a while until I feel comfortable balancing article writing with fiction writing and my own personal blog writing.

I’m definitely gonna try NaNoWriMo next year. It really was a good experience, even if I didn’t “win”.  I still kinda won, sorta. NaNo gave me the push of motivation I needed.  So this rookie ain’t out yet, next year, I’m aiming for the world series  (I’ve been making a lot of baseball references to NaNo, haven’t I? Should I be concerned?).

I want all you aspiring writers to keep on writing, even if you feel stuck at the drawing board or things don’t fall into place quite so easily. Never forget how magical storytelling is.

Write With Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky.

Help! What Book Should I Read Next?

Hello everyone!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I’ve been sick most of this week. Yeah, it’s been pretty crumby. Today, I sunk so deep into the cozy corner of my sofa, I watched a Hallmark Christmas Movie, while feeling absolutely gross. But I had a very nice Thanksgiving. My family and my boyfriend’s family all got together. His mom is a wonderful cook and made a fantastic turkey and rice and stuffing, the works.

I haven’t been reading much lately, except for the occasional Sherlock Holmes or F Scott Fitzgerald story. I need a new book to read, plain and simple. Most of these books I’ve bought at thrift stores or on sale. Because i’m frugal (The boyfriend says i’m cheap.) These book are in the ‘I will read you eventually’ pile. We all have one of those, right? I could really use your opinions guys, what book should I read next?

In no particular order, here’s a list of just some of the books on my shelf waiting to be dusted off…..

  • Bryant and May on the Loose by Christopher Fowler
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
  • The Book Thief by Zusak
  • My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder
  • Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
  • Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck
I’m not sure what exactly I’m in the mood to read, I just need a good story I can really sink my teeth into, you know? Let me know what book you think I should read next. Or if there’s one that should be added to the list. Can’t wait to hear your suggestions. I’m counting on you, peeps!

Write With Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky.

NaNoWriMo Day 8: Notes to self. Room to improve.

It’s day 8 of National Novel Writing Month. Had a good writing session today, broke 8,000 words. Yes, I know I’m behind word count wise, but this horse is still in the race. Since this is the first NaNo I’ve participated in, I’ve found things about my writing style that have room for improvement, and may make the journey to the end of the month a lot smoother. Because there have been some bumps in the road so far. So…

Here’s me critiquing myself (the title of my biography in 50 years.)

Note to self.

formalfickleherring-max-1mbStop trying to edit and be perfect – Now is not the time! I’m trying to get to 50,000 words here. I’m trying to hold myself back from deleting things that bother me for just being plain terrible. Trying really hard, but sometimes there are just garage sentences that nag at your brain to remove them. Holding out until December. (December will be a freaking slaughter of words, won’t it?)

Focus on one scene at a time – I have this problem that always seems to get me frazzled. I plant the seeds of all these different scenes, and then I end up confused and overwhelmed in a jungle.  Instead of jumping around and writing a bunch of bits for a bunch of different parts, I should tune in to one scene and only focus on that one part at a time.

tumblr_nscgzpygmq1uc78xbo1_250Write more descriptions – For some reason, dialogue always comes first when i’m writing. It’s like the bones of a scene for me. I’m pushing myself to work on describing the setting and characters more vividly. An image should be painted in color, not black and white.

Sometimes you gotta ask yourself, how can I be better at my craft, or whatever I’m trying to excel in? It’s not about listening to the voice in your head that says “Man, this story is a dumpster fire.”, it’s critiquing yourself in a way that you improve. Well, that’s what i’m working on in order to (barely) survive November. What are you guys working on in your writing? And how is NaNoWriMo treating you? Well, I hope. Look forward to hearing from you all.

 

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

NaNoWriMo Day 5: Slowly but surely.

Hello everyone,

It’s day 5 of NaNoWriMo. I’ve got about 5,000ish words down so far. It’s not the average word count, but that’s okay. Slowly but surely.

It’s a slow start, I’ll admit.

But I’m committed to writing something every day. Even if it’s 100 words or 1000 words. Even if I haven’t written as much as everyone else.

And I’m determined to at least try to achieve the 50,000 word goal.

Don’t be discouraged, fellow writers, if you feel like you’re falling behind or you’re not dishing out words fast enough or somebody else seems miles ahead of you. Focus on whatever your goal is and freaking  hit it with your best shot.

I’m gonna be here, swinging for the fences as I attempt to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Knowing how I am, I’ll probably end up writing like 10,000 words on the last day.

How is National Novel Writing month treating you guys? I’d love to hear all about your experience so far.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

NaNoWriMo: Day 1 Jitters

Not gonna lie, starting felt like dipping a toe into a cold, public pool. Or like the first day of school after a long summer.

Takes a minute to get into the rhythm of things, but it’ll happen. I’m determined to make writing a routine this month, that’s one goal.

Fueled by leftover Halloween gummy bears, I wrote about 1000 words. Not bad, not bad. The ball will eventually get rolling, just gotta find a steady pace.

Wanna be buddies? Find me at LadyJabberwocky on the NaNo website. (I’m assuming that’s how it works)

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Celebrating Halloween with Edgar Allen Poe.

To those celebrating Halloween tonight, happy Halloween! Hope you have a fun night with tons of sweets.

To everyone on the eve of National Novel Writing Month, I wish you all the best of luck. Don’t worry writers, we got this!

How am I spending this Halloween and Nano’s Eve? By reading Edgar Allen Poe. The master of mystery and creepiness. Perfect for a night like tonight.

No trick or treating  or costumes for me tonight. The boyfriend and I are having a night in with some twizzlers and gummy bears and maybe a Halloween themed movie. Really exciting stuff.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Last minute re-outlining before NaNoWriMo, because procrastination.

Hey everyone.


There’s a saying that pressure makes diamonds.

(and anxiety attacks)

National Novel Writing Month is fast approaching, peeps. It seems like everybody has been planning the whole month, and of course, me, last-minute was like “okay, let’s actually outline”. Basically, I redid (and hopefully improved on) the outline I’m using during NaNoWriMo.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a skeleton of an outline before. But I decided I should give it more…substance? You know what I mean. Before, I had a bullet point that just said ‘intro’. Like just titles of scenes.

 

So I’ve been scouring through the internet, and other blogs for tips on outlining and winning NaNoWriMo. Clearly, I need all the help I can get. And some people actually know what they’re doing, unlike me. I found one blogger who made a post it wall of notes on poster board to outline their story. Inspired! What a great idea! I am a visual thinker and posting notes on a white board like that actually helped me spot plot holes and weak points while keeping track of sub plot stuff. It’s also a pretty motivating thing to look at.

 

Never made a board like that before and I know it’s probably not done correctly, I squeezed a lot of info on some post it notes. Over the course of November, I have a feeling notes will be added and changed and moved around (and by the end, set fire to the board itself). I guess I would be considered a plantser, I’m half planning, half winging it. For the most part, there is a plan (lol me with a  plan). There’s definitely some wiggle room here also. It was an interesting way to spend an afternoon. I ordered some Chinese food, sat on my bedroom floor and inked up my hands writing all those notes (I was feeling permanent ink marker today).


Side Note, today, while was enjoying a nice vegetable fried rice and trying to organizing my scattered ideas, I got a fortune cookie fortune that felt very fitting to the NaNoWriMo season. I wanted to share…

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My boyfriend thinks it’s a sign of good luck. How perfectly does that embody the National Novel Writing Month experience? It’s about writing quantity not quality, right? So how are you guys planning for NaNoWriMo? Any last-minute tips? Are you ready to go? Because I’m slightly petrified and mildly excited. Good luck to everyone participating!


Write With Heart,
Lady Jabberwocky

When your brain feels like a house party.

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve been dealing with trials of being an unemployed writer. With disappointments and drama as the whip cream and cherry on top, it’s been a dismal couple days.

But something kinda hit me last night. I laid awake in bed, pondering the universe (Another thing that comes with being an unemployed writer, I suppose). I wasn’t thinking about the story I plan to write during NaNoWriMo, which is detective fiction, I was thinking about how wonderful a fantasy story sounded. It could just be my indecisiveness, I am notorious for not making up my mind. It’s that feeling of uncertainty, what story am I meant to pursue?

Sometimes my brain feels like a house party.

Stay with me, I know it’s a weird metaphor. Like seriously, picture like an ordinary get together, with light music playing and snacks on the table (like chips and homemade salsa… Ooh, that sounds good right now.)

I’m the host and the guests are all these characters from different possible stories, from different genres entirely. In attendance, there is a 1920’s detective, a princess from fantasy land and a young super powered vigilante, to name a few. And I have no idea who I want to have a conversation with at this party first, they all look interesting to me. I’m not insane, I promise.

What I mean is, I don’t know what I want to focus on when it comes to writing. Guess I always felt like I had to pick one genre to write in if I ever became a “successful writer”. Like I had to be married to one for the rest of my writing career.

It was a feeling I got right after I graduated. With no essays or projects to worry about, I was finally able to focus on my own project. Endless possibilities, right? Honestly, I thought going to college to study English would help me discover and hone in on what I truly loved to write about. The opposite happened.  If anything, it expanded my horizon, in a literary sense.

Can I help it? There have always been multiple genres I’ve been interested in. Real classic mysteries intrigue me and fantasies make my heart flutter and myths are like magic and sci-fi can be cool and those real life dramas are just plain honest. (This sentence = My friggin’ entire life)

I want to know what you guys think about this. Am I crazy?  You guys ever feel like that? Like you have so many ideas that are pulling you in completely different directions? Or are you happy with writing one genre forever? Maybe, as writers, we are allowed to dabble in every kind of story (like at an international buffet, and your plate is confused because you got like tacos and dumplings next to each other).

Maybe I’m an indecisive dabbler.

Indecisive dabbler and unemployed writer, what a combo.

Write about what you love, guys, even if it’s everything.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Looking back at my old (cringe-worthy) writing.

Hey everyone!

Today, I thought I’d show you guys a little snippet from my past writing. Now keep in mind, we all had to start somewhere. And that I am putting myself in an embarrassing  situation on purpose.

Let me set the scene. This was written in 2011 (practically 100 years ago) in a time when I thought writing was a fun little thing to do and not an actual craft. All I knew was that I loved storytelling, but I don’t think I considered myself a serious writer yet. I believe I was a senior in high school (or possibly a junior) when I got this piece of paper with a list of all the college majors. I was to choose one, a decision that would impact my future (because you know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life at 17). Checking off the ‘Creative Writing’ box seemed most appealing to me, at the time. Who knew it would be so important to me today?

This also dictated how I was to go about my senior project, which is sorta like a test drive for the field a student is interested in. Basically, for my project, I worked with an English teacher after school and I wrote a couple of short (horrible) stories that she critiqued and gave me notes on. I love super heroes and comics, even back then when I was young and impressionable. So I created my own super hero…. Kinda. The character’s name was Joey, he had some supernatural abilities, and was a guy juggling his masked vigilante life with his love life.

Don’t judge me, I didn’t know any better.  Here is a snippet of one of those stories.

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Wow, Majorly cringing. 

Like I said, we all had to start somewhere. Looking back at old stories, I really can learn from my past mistakes.  Here’s just a few I can pick out. (Translation: Me about to vent about how terrible this was)

  1. Fudge, look at that giant chunk of an intro paragraph.
  2. What a grabber of a first line. “The city was dark and gloomy” Really hooks in the reader right off the bat.
  3. I don’t think I knew about the ‘Show, Don’t tell’ rule at the time. That whole first paragraph could probably be condensed into like three sentences.
  4. It sounds how I would normally talk, not how someone else would. Big narration problem there.
  5. Are we watching Powerpuff girls? “Forces of evil” Seriously?
  6. “I want you to break up with me” Who was I? Trying to be so dramatic. Damn.
  7. Did my younger self actually think this was good writing?

Well, there you guys have it, an embarrassing look back at my old work. Don’t worry, I have no problem critiquing and making fun of my writing. Let me know what you guys think, and maybe take a look at your old cringe worthy stuff. I always love hearing from you.

Write with heart,
Lady Jabberwocky