Monthly Archives: May 2010

Waves talk to me

I was sitting on Agrari beach in Mykonos, Greece and my mind became clear. I was struggling with the possibility of an upcoming job opportunity that has absolutely nothing to do with publishing and still pursuing a career in the industry. My traveling companion told me, “You are all over the place, girl!”

Upon the comment, I set the thoughts aside and didn’t revisit until I was on the beach. I talked to the waves and said, “Speak to me. Tell me what to do.” In times of indecision, I listen to the universe because when you ask, you receive a response.

As the waves pulled and tugged their way to me, calmly and smoothly they said, “Go with the flow. If you get this job, take it and continue on your MFA tract. If you don’t get the job, continue seeking vacancies in publishing. Either road works for you.”

After that, my worries and concerns dissolved; it was as if I put my indecision in a bottle and threw them out to the Aegean Sea.

I am much more calmer and peaceful. This trip has been amazing and has made me more introspective than usual.

When I get back to the states, I have so much to do but with excitement and gusto!

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Stephen King – my man

Upon writing notes on the new story I’m working on, I thought about my inspiration. Where did I get that fire to write about imaginary things?

My brother was into many genres because I read every book in the house (mostly his). Then he suggested a book I would enjoy – Stephen King’s Firestarter. The beginning had me hooked – Andy’s “Push” and Charlie’s pyrokinetic ability was one of the first novels I read with supernatural elements. I loved the idea of mental abilities and how powerful and/or dangerous these could be. It was kool and different to me which had me interested in reading more stories like that.

After I devoured this book, I picked up every novel penned by King. I even joined the Stephen King Library soon after. I now own every book he’s written (apart from books I didn’t like that I gave away to the library or lent out but never got back) and now I receive every new addition conveniently in the mail.

The next book I read was Carrie. It was clever how he wrote the story via news clippings and articles. He did a great job at capturing Carrie’s psyche and painting her so realistically. Although I wasn’t ostracized the way she was, I empathized with her. In hindsight, I found myself drawn to stories about high school, the underdog, and revenge.

When I first started writing, I pegged myself as the female Stephen King but realized, this was unrealistic. I read his biographies and his influences. I even tried to read H.P. Lovecraft but I couldn’t read his work; I liked King’s work better even though Lovecraft inspired him. I will never be this man, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t write in my own style.

King introduced me to fantasy, horror, the real, the unreal, and everything in between. He took something real like a domestic violence story and turned it into something bigger and dynamic. I thought to myself, “If he could do that, so can I.”

I love the man’s work and I love his old fiction better because it’s raw; his new fiction is more polished which doesn’t have the same effect on me. When I read IT, I couldn’t read anything for the next weeks because I was so affected. That book was in-frakking-tense! What a story!

I have to thank Stephen King for my passion; he writes because he has to. There’s nothing else he’d rather do in the world and that’s me as well. I won’t be like him and my writing doesn’t even closely resemble his but it doesn’t have to. At the end of the day, he is my inspiration. Thank you, Stephen King, for your existence!

Nonfiction versus Fiction

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!

Informational Interview with Production Editor

Friday afternoon, I had a conversation with a production editor at Simon and Schuster. She was pleasant, helpful, and very sweet. I forget that people in publishing can be nice despite the competitive and cutthroat nature of the business.

I asked her about her journey to her current position which started after her college degree (don’t know what year and i didn’t ask because some people are touchy about age) in which she obtained her first job as a production assistant at John Wiley and Sons. From there, she excelled into different positions and landed employment at Simon and Schuster where she has been for a decade.

From this informational interview, I culled the necessary pieces missing from my applications. First, attitude. I know I can rock any job I get. I’m a damn good worker and why shouldn’t someone hire me? I’m quick on my feet, I love being utilized, and I love learning new skills all the time. I was a rock star on every film production set I worked on which is why I was always getting phone calls to work; I was great! As for office jobs, I was able to focus that same energy and make things happen by giving it my 150% all the time, even when my colleagues weren’t doing the same.

Second, skills on paper. Since I’ve worked in different industries, I’ve managed to acquire different skills including coordinating, scheduling, editing, quality control, and everything in between. I’m like the Jack of all trades here. And the best way to sell everything I’ve done is in my cover letter which, funny enough, is the hardest thing I ever have to write when applying to publishing vacancies. I don’t know how to frakking sell myself in the best way. I can’t write like this, because it’s too informal but when it’s too formal, I come across as having no personality (which is totally false). I wish I could write my cover letter here and have potential employers read this and go from there. Well, employers may end up reading this so I should keep it classy. 🙂

All in all, the interview went well and I will put her advice to good use. I am a writer and I need to work with what I got.

MFA submission

It’s May and I have no idea what I’m going to submit for my applications!! I have the beginning of my NaNoWriMo novel, a story I wrote in my creative writing class during college, and also something memoir like from my recent class. I have no idea which one to work on because I’ve been caught up doing too many activities.

Well, next week, I will be in Greece where I’ll be enjoying the sun, food, environment, and everything else in between. I won’t be thinking about the applications but I will have to worry about them when I get back.

Oh me, oh my – the things I do!

Last Copyediting Class

Monday night, our instructor went over the homework assignment which was primarily about subject and verb agreements. I had to look up what the subject for a sentence was because I hadn’t studied this since junior high school.

Upon reviewing the homework, I did well – better than I expected. Where I was lacking was in changing subject/verb agreements in sentences.

Then we did an in-class exercise which consisted of rearranging sentences, subject/verb agreement and a long article about Black Jazz Vocalists with crazy errors to remedy.

At the end of the class, I realized I’m not cut out to be a Copyeditor. I thought I’d enjoy this but knowing myself, I would get bored. I think if I had a job like say, Production Editor, where I oversaw edits on manuscripts and did other things other than only copyedit, I would be happy. Freelance Copyeditor? Me? I don’t see it.

For those interested in looking for Copyediting jobs, I have conveniently provided the websites referred to me by my instructor. Enjoy.

Copyeditor Job Board: http://jobs.copyeditor.com

The Slot: http://www.theslot.com/howto.html

Freelance Mailing List: http://www.comteck.com/~tanuki/

Editorial Freelancers Association: http://www.the-efa.org/

Copyediting Job Resources: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/copyXediting/eresources.html#job

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

Author: Judy Blume

Published by: Random House (1970)

Margaret Ann Simon is eleven going to twelve. Brought up on the Upper West Side, moving to the suburbs of New Jersey was new to her. She meets Nancy Wheeler, the girl who is dying to be grown up and becomes part of the PTS’s – The Pre-teen Sensations along with Gretchen and Janie. The girls have meetings once a week to discuss boys, school, and getting their period. Throughout this time, Margaret talks to God sometimes and is questioning her faith. Not being brought up with any religious affiliation has her questioning and researching. At the end, we see her finally becoming a “woman” and talking to God. Continue reading