Tag: little voice

When Fiction Mimics Reality

This morning, I finished reading one of the books for my American Women Writers class, The Coquette, by Hannah W. Foster.

the coquette
(I do not own this image.)

Have you read this book?  I had never even heard of it before seeing the reading list for this class. It was written in the very late 1700s, and is about a woman trying to choose between two men: a minister who wants to marry her, and a rake. She ends up alienating the minister, who marries someone else, and so does the rake. However, she ends up pregnant from an affair with him, and dies alone in childbirth. The tale is told in a series of letters between the characters, giving a good view of the characters true emotions.

And here’s where I had a problem with this story, because some of the letters are written from the rake’s point of view, and he’s a complete and total jerk, who refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.

He makes a concerted effort to come between Eliza and her other suitor. When that relationship goes down in flames, he marries a heiress, and says she can’t blame him for his actions, because she knew how he was. What? He pursues Eliza unmercifully, and when she eventually gives in, he blames her and loses all respect for her. The pregnancy is all her fault. When his wife finds out and leaves him, and he loses everything, still he doesn’t want to accept blame. He does seem remorseful after Eliza dies, but still doesn’t really own up to his faults.

I enjoyed the book somewhat, but this character drove me mad. Deliberately hurtful, selfish, greedy…everything was her fault, even though she repeatedly rebuffed him. When tragedy struck, he still wasn’t fully ready to accept blame. I found him entirely unlikable and criminal.

And to be honest, his attitude and behavior is quite reminiscent of some of the prevailing attitudes in society today.  That girl in the provocative clothing who was the victim of sexual harassment, abuse, and/or rape?  That was all her fault, for dressing like that.


Since when are people not responsible for their own actions, including hurting other people?

The Muse has been Blocking Me

I haven’t done any writing for the last couple of weeks, and yesterday I realized why:  I’m not happy with my setting/society in The Fall.  It’s a dystopian zombie story (although the zombies are more of a side note than anything), and my society seemed too bland and smooth. It’s been bothering me for a while–I have a few handwritten notes about it–but I read a couple of books last week that sort of solidified my feelings about it, so now I have a better grip on what needs to be changed before I get any further in. The setting is very important for this story, and the society is part of that, so I think that’s why I’ve been having problems writing lately:  The Muse wasn’t feeling it.

However, the Muse is quite happy with the stream-of-consciousness thoughts about the setting I’ve been getting down today, so I’m going to continue on with that.

Anyone have suggestions for naming a walled-city after the world ends?

Primary Concerns (Or What You Give Your Time To)

So, my writing has been slipping, as usual.  But I think I figured out why:  writing is a me thing. It’s something I do just for me.  That means that I feel like other things are more important than writing, because those other things have value to other people.  Make sense?  Example:  school is important to me, but other people also see it as important, therefore it takes precedence over writing, even when I’m caught up on school stuff and have the time to write. Obviously, I need to train my brain to view writing as a primary concern.

I didn’t come to this realization on my own.  I am taking Holly Lisle’s How to Motivate Yourself class, and this is the point of lesson one.  I’ve read through this lesson twice, and it’s just now starting to sink in.

So what am I going to do about this mindset of mine?  Change it.  The first way I’m going to do that is by putting writing first, literally. Instead of doing my homework first on my days off, I’m going to get in my page goals.  First part of the day = writing , writing = most important thing.

I’m not sleeping much, so I have plenty of time to put this plan into action.  And I’m going to continue to work through this class, too, and see what else I can overcome.

Write on.

Writing Inspiration: (Or Lack Thereof)

So, last week had its ups and downs.  Up:  Hit my (small) page goals and my blogging goals on Tuesday and Thursday.  Down:  A computer update resulted in me being unable to get online on my desktop computer on the weekend.  (And since using my laptop bugs me when it comes to most things, I didn’t get online.  The horror.)  Happily, through sheer luck, I have managed to get the issue fixed and am now happily using my desktop.  (Yay!)

This week is looking to be emotionally challenging, so we’ll see how it goes.  I haven’t finished my school stuff yet, so my page goals haven’t happened yet today.

So here are some writerly pins I found (and appreciated) on Pinterest:

(Ah, yes.  If only it were that easy...)
(Ah, yes. If only it were that easy…)
(Sometimes I feel like this is the most evocative thing I am capable of writing.)
(Sometimes I feel like this is the most evocative thing I am capable of writing.)
(Yes.  This.)
(Yes. This.)


(Mine are currently only semi-ignoring me.)
(Mine are currently only semi-ignoring me.)

Any writing words of wisdom and/or inspiration today?

Happiness Is…Words on Paper

You know what’s awesome?  Writing.

Do you know how long it’s been since I wrote anything besides random emails and interminable school papers?  At least three months.

Do you know how happy writing again makes me?  Extremely.

Granted, I didn’t write much.  But school started again this week, and I decided that, in addition to my piles of school work ( I feel like a fifth year at Hogwarts), I would make time for writing.  And blogging.  No exceptions.  No more procrastinating.  Just me and my characters and heaps of trouble.

And you know what?  Once I made myself start, it felt fantastic!  I’ve missed writing so much.  I can never not write this long again.  It’s unacceptable.

How else am I going to capture the magic around me, if I don’t write?  Besides, I have to keep my characters safe from the zombies.


Writing Inspiration: Bits and Pieces

Sometimes, inspiration is easy to find.  It falls out of the sky like a bolt of lightning.

(I do not own this picture.  Image by Bo Insogna.)
(I do not own this picture. Image by Bo Insogna.)

Other times, it is much more elusive, like chasing a will-o-‘the-wisp

(I do not own this picture.  Photo by Buie.)
(I do not own this picture. Photo by Buie.)

I’ve found inspiration both ways.  (Or, really, it has found me.)  Usually, though, it’s a bit more…mundane.  A random thought, picture, name, or word will settle in my brain and I’ll hear an almost-audible click, and I know the Muse has snatched up whatever tiny piece just arrived and ran off into the darkness with it, giggling.  (My Muse is a bit terrifying at times.)  That little bit will be fitted together with other random bits to form a somewhat-complete idea.  When the Muse is finished with an idea, she’ll give it to me.  Or I’ll have to pry it from her greedy little fingers.  One of the two.

But reading inspires me.  Fiction.  Creative non-fiction.  Classics.  Blog posts.

That being said, here are a few interesting, inspiring links I’ve come across lately:

Letting go vs holding on, by Cristian Mihai.

A year-old post on Writing Inspiration, by Rucy Ban.

Another post on Writing Inspiration, on H. Squires Novels.

Writing Inspiration, on the ramblings of a literature nerd  (Isn’t that the greatest name?  Fellow literature nerds unite!)

On Writing, on Hello Alle.

Go.  Be inspired.  Write.

NaNo Wishes

It’s November.  Not a news flash, I know.  But if you’re a writer, you might know this month better as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo.  If you don’t know, NaNo is all about writing a complete, 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

The first novel I ever completed was my first year doing NaNo.  I’ll never forget the rush, the thrill of knowing I was writing alongside thousands of other writers all over the world.  That alone was inspiration enough, but if my motivation ever flagged or I had questions, the forums were a fantastic place to go find it again or find answers.  I didn’t finish that novel in November, but I finished it just a few weeks later.  Since then, I’ve honestly forgotten how many times I’ve done–and “won”–NaNo, but I think it’s at least four (For the record, at least twice I wrote 100,000 words during NaNo.  Yes, I’m a masochist.  And clearly insane.  I have papers.)  I was even wearing my NaNo shirt when I met Laurell K. Hamilton, and she asked me about it because she’d never heard of it.

I haven’t done NaNo for the last…um, four years, I think.  Because of school mainly.  I can only juggle so much, and what amounts to two full-time jobs keeps me pretty busy.  I haven’t even found time to write a single page in weeks, much less around 1,700 words a day.  (There isn’t enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake for all that.)  But in early October, when I remembered it was almost time for NaNo, I was tempted.  Oh, so very tempted.  Fortunately, common sense prevailed.  I have a little.  And, in the face of working 3 11-16-hour days a week, plus 2 8-or-so-hour days doing homework, and crazy busy weekends filled with half-marathon training…Yeah, common sense sucks, but it was right.

But I’d like to wish everyone doing NaNo lots of luck (and caffeine).  If you are so fortunate, I’d really like to hear about how well it’s going.

Decisions, Decisions

In my Creative Writing class, the reading assignment for next week is about Revision. Revision is not my favorite part of the writing process. It is, quite possibly, my least favorite. (Okay, perhaps tied with writing the first sentence, but that’s a whole other phobia…) Revising is hard work. Sometimes I can see what needs re-worked right away. Sometimes I might as well be trying to read it in Braille or Swahili, for all the sense it makes to me (I speak /read neither, by the way). I know revising is necessary, that it is essentially where the magic happens, but I don’t really enjoy it or anticipate it.

That being said, while I was reading about revising, all I could think about—all the Muse could think about—was the werewolf story. I love the characters in that story, the world, the conflict, everything about it. The writing is done. It’s even been revised (once). But it could use some more work, some fresh eyes. I’m wondering if the Muse is trying to tell me something. Perhaps I should put in a little bit of revision time on this story, as well as drafting The Fall? (And it would only be a little bit of time, because that’s all I have to give.)

I could do it. Maybe only an hour a week, but I could. Then I could start writing the next one…ah. Delusions of grandeur are on the agenda today, I see. Considering my weekly writing goal for The Fall is two measly pages, and I’m doing good to hit that, now I’m mentally gearing up to write something else. I really have to stop trying to do too much.

What do you think? Add a small bit of revision into the mix, or stick with just writing for now?

Is This “Working”?

So, I may not have instant Internet access (and probably won’t for several more months—UGH), but I do occasionally get the chance for perusal of blogs and writers’ sites. I’ve noticed something a few times lately, and it’s made me wonder: a Donation Button (i.e. a “please give me money” link).

I don’t recall having seen these before the past couple of months. It caught my eye, along with the number of people who seem to be making a living from blogging, which is intriguing to me. I’m not sure how I feel about asking for monetary support, even though saying “buy my book” is more or less the same thing, albeit you get something in return with that transaction.

I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, it’s not easy to make a living as a writer (or to make any kind of money at all). Writing is hard, and in the era of self-publishing, the market is crowded with everything from utter rubbish to absolute gems, with no way to sort through the dross. E-books are generally cheaper than “real” books, so a high price means just that many more cheaper books to take away the earning potential of your book. The phrase “starving writer” is probably just as true now—if not more so—than it ever has been. And writers need to eat. Just because we’re artists doesn’t mean we get to ignore the mundane in favor of the magic.

On the other hand, well…seriously? Asking people to give you money and get nothing in return? It seems like asking for a handout, and with the number of people undeservedly on government support (the ones who are totally capable of working but who are LAZY!), do we really need to encourage people to ask for handouts? We’re already fostering an attitude of entitlement. If people need help, we should give it to them. But if they’re merely asking for help in the interest of not working…I’m not a supporter of that. (and I’m not saying writing isn’t working, because it definitely is.)

What are your thoughts on this? Give, don’t give, do away with the “donate” button entirely?



The Muse is Awake

I haven’t talked about writing in a while. I haven’t written in something like 15 months. To be honest, I’ve barely managed to do anything besides work the day job, do school stuff, and try to rest and recuperate from both those things. Writing…has more than fallen by the wayside. It’s dropped completely off the radar.

I had started to wonder if the Muse inhabited that part of my brain that was damaged by my stroke. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t! Yesterday, I was at work, and walked by my boss’s office. He had Enya playing, and I felt the Muse sit up, take a deep breath, and stretch. It was like she’d been resting for a long time. (Apparently, she moonlights as Rip Van Winkle.) Now she’s awake, and ready to play. And all it took was some Enya to shake her up and get her moving again (I’ve written to Enya a lot in the past.)

Now I can feel her in there, tinkering with the edges of The Fall, teasing it with her tiny, ever-moving hands as she searches out the bits that no longer fit, so she can rip them to shreds and build something new and shiny. She likes shiny, and at this point, The Fall is pretty much new and pristine, so it counts. Plus, she knows we have a lot of work to do to get it into shape for our new vision of it. It’s no longer going to be the same old dystopian zombie tale. It will still have zombies and be dystopian. But now it will be more.

I’m glad the Muse is back. I’ve missed her.