Monthly Archives: June 2011

More from Victoria Hanley

To be quite frank, I really, really enjoyed listening and talking with Victoria Hanley. If I ever get a chance to attend another event with her, I’d do it in a heart beat. Even if it may not have seemed like I was paying attention, because I have a doodling issue, I was clinging to every word she said.

One of the other things she talked about that has really stuck with me, is a writing exercise. In the class she had us all write down our deepest secret. And then we shredded it. Then she asked us if we had told the complete truth, which to be honest, most of us hadn’t and for a variety of reasons. I know, my own reasoning being that I wanted to make it sound nicer than it was, because lets be honest, its a secret because its something I want to pretend isn’t real and if I had written out the whole truth, it would mean for that moment in time I would have to accept that reality and embrace it, even if grudgingly. And boy did I drag my feet with that first draft. But fear not! She made us write down our secret again and this time she said to write the whole truth and I did and as soon as I had placed the last period, I dashed to the shredder and disposed of that beastly thing.

But that wasn’t the end! Afterward she encouraged each of us to spend thirty days free-writing (one of my favorite writing exercises!). Whatever came to mind, our feelings, thoughts, anything, just write it all down on a piece of paper and then shred it. Write it completely and truthfully, because afterward it would be gone and no one else would need to ever see it. And though, the thought of throwing away something I had written, that might be good in a story later made me cringe, she said something to ease my mind. Because whatever we wrote down, if it was good, it would be even better when we rewrote it later.

And yesterday, I begin my first of thirty days of free-writing. Something which will probably be the only writing I will get done for at least the next two weeks as I continue to move into a new apartment and then fly off to the last frontier for my reunion. But it is an exercise I am already enjoying immensely.

What is your favorite writing exercise?

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Journeys

I’m blessed to live in a state with several local authors that come to the library and do events or go to bookstores and do book talks and signings.

This week I got to listen to Victoria Hanley, a local Colorado author who writes YA fantasy. She talked about writing novels and how to get started and a few key things that you should do and towards the end of the talk there is one thing she said that really stuck with me. And though I don’t know if other writers have said this same thing, I wanted to share it with you here.

Victoria Hanley said, “The great thing about writing is that you are on an exploratory journey.” And that is something I can definitely identify with. Reading is also the same way for me, especially when I go back and read things that I wrote years ago. Stories I’ve forgotten, even if in need of dire editing, will still bring me into a different world I experienced as I wrote them and it makes me want to spend time with that old story, fixing it up and making it into something that other people will be able to read and enjoy too.

Since finding my flash drive that I thought I had lost I’ve gotten to spend a fair amount of time going over things that I’ve written since I was in high school and I can’t wait to sit down with the stories that excited me the most as I wrote them and fix them up so that I can share them with others. And I hope that within the coming months that I can do just that.

Do you feel like writing and reading is an exploratory journey?

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Moving!

I hate it, loathe it. I don’t like boxing up my life and having it unavailable to me for the days and even weeks that it can take to move into a new place, even if it is just across town.

It also means I need to go through everything I own and downsize. Even if I end up in place the same size or bigger, the thought of moving all that stuff makes me cringe. And while I don’t think I’ve gained a huge amount of things in the nearly six years I’ve been in my current abode, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be moving into a much smaller space, which means stuff I probably should have gotten rid of in the last move, definitely have to go this time around.

What I dislike the most is having to go through my books. While I don’t buy as many as I used to since I started working in a library, they still have a tendency to gather on my shelves and in boxes.

I have to be honest, I’m not one for rereading books, except in the case of research material. I have only reread two books in my life, the first being Ender’s Game which I reread so I could write a paper on it for a college class on literary criticism and Across Five Aprils which I read in seventh and then again in eighth grade. It was the first repeated book report I did, but I had to reread the book because both teachers had different ways they wanted book reports done. Not to mention that at that age I was reading a good three or four books a week, so, a book I had read a year before wasn’t exactly fresh in my mind.

Another thing that I hate having to go through is stuff from my childhood. A lot of it has sentimental value, but the reality is that I don’t use it anymore and with no plans for having children (because that would generally require having at least a boyfriend and then hopefully getting married first), a lot of that stuff may never get used again. Admittedly, I’m also a bit of a pack-rat, so I have a lot of things with neither sentimental value or usefulness in my life.

All this means I’m going to have to sit down and really look at the things I’ve collected in my life with a critical eye. Much the same way I need to look at my writing when I edit. Do I really need this item/scene? Does it serve a purpose? Will I use this later? What can be removed without being missed?

These are just a few of the questions I have to ask myself. And more will come as I get deeper into my packing and sorting and as I learn more about editing.

What things do you ask yourself when you are getting ready to move or edit your writing?

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Summer Reading Program

Summer is almost here and most libraries around the country have started their sign-ups for summer reading programs. I love that my library not only has a program specifically designed for the various children’s age groups, but teens and adults as well.

Last year we got some super cool eco-friendly water bottles for signing up and though we aren’t getting anything special this year, I am glad that they changed the adult prizes so that people are more likely to win something now. Whereas the teens and kids always get something for reading, the adults only get a chance.

Our theme this year is Novel Destinations. And though I generally don’t read travel related books, I think I might just have to pick out one to try, even if its not a requirement of the program. It’s programs like this that make me step outside of my usual reading habits to try something new and I think its generally a good thing.

Do you have any favorite travel related books?

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