Author: Anne Lamott
Publisher: Anchor Books (1994)
Seventeen years ago, Anne Lamott published a book about writing in which she weaved her life experiences (reminiscent of Stephen King’s On Writing but of course, Lamott came first) being published, the aftermath, the reactions to negative and positive reviews, as well as putting pen to paper.
I recently got my copy of The Creative Writing MFA Handbook by Tom Kealey back from a friend who borrowed it (and was accepted to Goddard College) and was transported back to two years ago when I was in the “MFA zone.” All I did was research, revise my story, research some more, talk to people, research some more, and prayed I’d get into an MFA program. When I was rejected by all seven schools, I took a break. But man, it was brutal to try to put yourself on the page, sell yourself, and want to study with other writers. Continue reading
My book club and the mountain of books in my room have me constantly reading. As ya’ll who read my blog regularly know, I completed three books in the past week! I’m on a roll and it feels so good!
I have to be careful though. I find myself rushing through the words like I’m in a race to finish as many books as I can this year. This is true but I’m reading like mad so I can enjoy the content and also be exposed to different writing styles; I don’t want this competition with myself to deter me from actually enjoying these books.
Recently, I read the short story, “Secretary,” written by Mary Gaitskill and at first read, I absolutely hated it. The character was completely unlikeable, she didn’t change at the end, and she stayed in the same place she was in the beginning – no arc, no nothing. After the story sat with me for a day, I was able to appreciate what Gaitskill painted in her tale. For one thing, the collection is titled Bad Behavior for a reason; I had an icky sensation after reading “Daisy’s Valentine” and “Secretary” which is why I hated this book for a full five minutes (maybe less, maybe more, I’m unsure) then this loathing went away. What place does the writer have to be in to create such depressing characters? I’m not hating on Gaitskill, I’m lauding her with the praise she’s received for her writing. The way she made me feel had me rushing to take a cleansing hot shower; now that’s deep. The reaction I had to her story was enough to show me this is what writers do – sometimes the stories stay with you and sometimes, they don’t.
Will I be able to create stories like her? I hope so.
As for writing styles, I’m reading memoirs, literary and contemporary fiction to get an idea of what I like and what I’d like to write. After reading King’s Blockade Billy, I realized how much his writing has affected my own work; the journey to find my voice has begun and I’m so excited to perfect it.
This is why reading like a maniac is absolutely amazing.
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by: Penguin (2006)
Elizabeth Gilbert is tired of being married because she’s in her thirties and her biological clock is not even close to ticking. After a devastating divorce, she takes pleasure in Italy for a few months, finds peace in India and falls in love in Indonesia. The last part was unexpected for her but she was ready for it after her heart had been broken.
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Published by: Crown Publishers (2010)
Henrietta Lacks, born in Virginia, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. She was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital where a sample of her cancer cells were taken for testing without her knowledge. After she died, her cancer cells multiplied and scientists were able to use her cells for curing diseases all over the world. Continue reading
This morning, I finished a short story for my writing workshop. I was enchanted and completely involved in my story like I’ve never been before. I was lost in the story, I liked what I was writing, and although I know the tale has many places where it can benefit from some description, the first draft is complete. The only place to go from here is the revision state.
I was in the revision zone last year with a piece I had workshopped in so many places and the result was a polished story lacking emotion. I read the manuscript myself a few days ago and was impressed with how I crafted my tale but as for impact, there was none.
With this story, I can build on it without making my message saccharine but truthful and honest. My goal is to put myself entirely on the page, which I was unable to do with my piece for MFA applications.
I have officially decided to put aside applying for an MFA degree this year; I’m having too much fun writing both creative non-fiction and fiction to worry about application deadlines. The good news is I can attend university open houses and start saving for school when I apply for 2012. Seems so far away but time will fly.
I’m focusing all my energy on my craft and also running, but that’s another entry (when I finish Marukami’s book) so I will be busy this fall.
How’s everyone about to apply this round doing? Psyched? Scared? Who’s taken the GRE? I’m so glad I never have to take that test again!
Last night I met up with my amazing writing group that I procured when I took my Memoir writing class at Gotham in the spring. It was the first time I put myself on the page, authentically and I was scared. I didn’t have any negative expectations but I didn’t know know what to expect. The support and feedback I did receive was absolutely what I needed. This group has fueled my decision to continue with my future memoir. When I’ll complete it is another story. Then it makes me wonder if I should be getting my MFA in memoir writing rather than fiction.
I think my fiction needs more work than my memoir writing. I’m more comfortable with memoir writing and still frigid with my fiction. I don’t know why my fiction suffers while my non-fiction flourishes. Is the universe telling me something? I don’t know.
Eventually, my fiction writing will grow with my creative non-fiction work. I just have to be honest with the material like my own material.
Author: Nicole Braddock Bromley
Published by Moody Publishers (2007)
The author of this book discusses her journey from the effects of her sexual abuse to healing through the love of God. Her stepfather sexually abused her and when confronted with the repercussions, commits suicide. Nicole starts junior high school with this on her mind but she gets through it with the support of her mother, new stepfather, and God. Continue reading
I bought The Writer Magazine once and fell in love with the articles and advice about writing. Did I subscribe to the magazine? No. I hadn’t taken myself seriously then. Will I subscribe now? Frak yes!
A friend of mine recently sent me a link on an article recently published titled, “50 simple rules for making it as a writer.” I don’t want to be sued by anyone so I’m posting the link here.
For writers confused about the self-publishing and the logistics about becoming published, this article should answer those questions.
I hope this article helps!
I started out in fiction and am thinking of indefinitely branching out to writing non-fiction. Here’s the thing: I have a warm place in my heart for fiction even though I rock the socks off when I compose a non-fiction piece. In my head, anyway.
I’ve been looking at low residency MFA programs and have been eliminating choices based on the lack of both genres, tuition, admission deadlines, and recommendations (one school wanted a rec from a published author!). I would love to have the opportunity to do both. Can I apply to both and see which program accepts me? It’ll be like double applications for me though.
What I love about fiction is taking something real and adding ingredients like personality, quirks, likes, dislikes, wants, conflict, plot, characters, and sometimes theme (but not in that order) to create a tale about anything in particular.
I wrote down subjects I’m obsessed with as well as I’m constantly thinking about to write a story. This exercise took a long time. What I culled from this exercise was a possible story surrounded by a bunch of notes about the plot, person, back story, and everything in between. I was excited. But did I sit down to write it? No. I spent ninety minutes writing these ideas down so I didn’t have any more time to start. The next time I sit down to write, it’ll be a first section or chapter of this story. Embarking on a new journey with a new character has me pumped and ready to take on the world. I don’t know how long I’ll be with this character but I’ll be living with her for a while. It’s my introduction to her.
Non-fiction doesn’t provide me with this thrill; I write about my life effortlessly as I do now without so much as the blink of an eye.
I guess I’ve made my decision in this entry. Fiction it is! Now I have to tweak the frak out of my stuff.
When I go away to Greece, I will create a game plan on admin stuff but not spend too much time on it (like last year). The good thing about last year was I created a functioning system and now it won’t be work.
On to writing fiction, I go!