Tag Archives: goodreads.com

Day 8: 12 Days of Blogmas

Merry Blogmas! First, check out this glorious Christmas photo. Isn’t it amazing?

christmas

Third Rule of Prompts:

Don’t always go stag. Trying taking a friend date to prompt.

This is a good rule for school dances, family events, and when writing a prompt. One of the first goals I had in this 12 Days of Blogmas series was to share the appeal and the justification for my love of prompts and hopefully inspire others to start using them as a tool to improve their writing.

It was once again with Janice that the aha moment reached me about the secret treasures of prompts. It was, I believe, the first or second workshop when we began the prompts. We were given 20 minutes to write as much as possible and then we would volunteer to share with the class.

For me, writing sprints are enjoyable and difficult. I enjoy the pressure and the force of being under the clock, but my brain doesn’t always catch up and I end up getting hung up on a word or phrase, or just completely blank out. However, the prompts help me to get past that. In several of the workshop prompts I managed to get whole pages written and while this was exciting enough for me, I was also thrilled at the idea of seeing the quality and personality of my new peers in the group.

And when it came time to share our newly minted pieces, I was struck by how diverse the ideas were. This is one of the biggest reasons to do prompts with others. You can see and enjoy the magic of the human brain and how each person brings something new and wonderful to the table.

Rion, who I have mentioned in many previous posts, easily brought me the most joy and surprise when doing the prompt sprints. They are so well-read and filled to the brim with creativity that it seems otherworldly to know they can develop 5 to 10 PAGES in that short 20 minute period.

Now this is drastically different, by comparison to my one to two paragraphs (maximum 1 PAGE) that I averaged per sprint. And while I may put a little too much time into each word, Rion’s brain is lightening fast and they are able to deliver magnificent quality work for a first draft. I mean, I couldn’t find anything even remotely bad about it.

But back to the point, it was even more thrilling to see how differently our stories had developed from a similar beginning. By the end of the semester I was convinced that I needed to start a group where my friends/writers could join we’d do a prompt a month and share it with one another. For privacy’s sake we made the group on Goodreads where we could post as much as we wanted and our unedited work wouldn’t be consumed by readers other than ourselves. It was somewhat necessary at the time because we were just getting started.

It ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made social media-wise. I loved the interaction, the togetherness built from the exercises, even though it lasted only three short months.

I challenge you minions to take a prompt from the interwebs (or my last post) and ask a friend to do one together (cowriting a story can be an interesting experiment) or do a small competition with one another to see who can get to a certain word count by a certain time using a prompt.

In other words, prompt together. Write together. Enjoy this festive time to write something new.

Happy Reading and writing!

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Getting Back to My Roots: Unicorn Style

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At one point in every writer’s life they have THE MOMENT. There is a novel or story you’ve read  in your past whether it be at age 7 or age 38 that ignites a spark in you to be more than just a casual reader. It is a hunger for stories–for faraway lands, technologically-advanced alien planets, and characters that seem more realistic than your own neighbor. The story can be from any genre or any time. Most importantly, it has affected you in a way nothing else has before. Sure there are books that you’ve enjoyed, but this one was different.

For me, it was Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, 2nd grade in Mrs. McClelland’s class. Now not every young girl is swept away by the idea of unicorns, but at 7-years-old there was nothing sweeter than a lonely, neglected girl finding her destiny with these beautiful, magical creatures. With Coville and McClelland’s help, I was fell in love with the limitless potential of storytelling. Although it wasn’t the first book I had ever read, it was and still is the most powerful.

Coville has a simple, straightforward style that works well with his 80+ children’s and young adult novels. It was my first real glimpse at world-building, and I was in love with the fantasy and of course the unicorns he brought to life. Later that school year, I attempted to write my first story, which at three pages long was a harrowing adventure of a fairy princess with a shape-shifting blob for a companion.

Before Coville and his Unicorn Chronicles, I had a satiable appetite for reading much like any other enthusiastic child. Not anymore. It was after journeying with Cara Hunter and her faithful new friends in Luster that I found my passion. My love of stories intensified from that moment on. Several years later I discovered the second book in the series and in my delight I fell into the world of Luster all over again. No matter how long I spend away from Coville’s world I came right back within the first few pages.

Thanks to the wonderful world of Google and Goodreads, I’ve come into the possession of the third installment of my beloved series rather recently. It’s been, I’d say, around 8-10 years since the second novel, Song of the Wanderer, and getting back to my roots is exactly what I needed to rekindle my creative mojo.

By the second chapter, the adorable and slightly annoying voice of the Squijum (part monkey/squirrel) threw me headlong into a heavy case déjà vu, which I was all to happy to allow. There is nothing more satisfying than characters who instill a sense of contentment in a reader as a youth AND an adult. I only wish I can do that with my Cassie for one person, and Coville is guaranteed hundreds if not thousands in the forty years he’s been publishing.

We finally reach the meat of my post with the fact that this book and this author being my moment of “revelation,” if you will. It was the moment I knew that I had it in me to escape whenever I wanted if the story came to me. I wouldn’t write again for many more years other than fan fiction, which is a good start anyways. And even when I revisited the most important book of my career, I still found the magic bubbling on the pages. Sometimes the books we remember as kids don’t always ring true when you’re older.

Coville’s books have been an integral part in my decision to become a writer, and following the 17 years apart from this particular reader-author relationship I had some catching up to do. So, I decided to take a trip over to Mr. Coville’s web site to re-acquaint myself with the man behind my inspiration. What did I find? Some of the greatest advice I have ever come across.

I encourage you to head on over to BruceCoville.com because he is both simple and coherent no matter what kind of stories you are writing. Hey, he even uses the same tag line that I use at the end of all of my blogs. Coincidence? Since this is the first time I’ve visited his website I’d say no. It’s a powerful feeling when a complete stranger guides you down the right path because it’s one you share with them. I am almost finished with Dark Whispers and Coville still gives me the chills in all of the right places. He gives me hope that I can someday give those chills to hopeful writers that their dreams are just like mine and they can come true if they believe.

Do you remember the first story/book/poem that made you want to be a writer. Share your “back to roots” story in the comments below. I’d love to hear them. And in the spirit of a lovely Sunday morning—-Happy reading and writing, my lovelies!

 

Oh and—-interwebz kitteh picture!

My close up Mister Main Coon!

My close up Mister Main Coon!

 

 

 

 

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The Online Book Lovers Community

Besides my blog, I really haven’t done a whole lot of networking online. It’s sad that as much time as I spend online I don’t network enough.  As I was browsing websites last night I came upon several websites of interest for writers or just book lovers in general.

Goodreads.com

It’s simple. You join the site. Invite your friends from other social sites.  You pick your favorite genres and they give you a list of books with their cover art. Then you can either click if you want to read the book or rate the book if you have read it. It adds to read list and a to-read list. You can then receive recommendations based off those books from the website or your friends. You can share the books you’ve read and suggest them to your friends on the site. I’ve already spend over an hour and only have 50 books on each list.  It’s a free easy way to document books you’ve already read and compile an ultimate wish list for reading. I suggest it to anyone who has a long reading list and wants to share their favorite books with their friends.

http://www.goodreads.com/

 

Anynewbooks.com

It is pretty self-explanatory by the title that it alerts you to new books being published and for sale. It sends you an update via e-mail each week in the genres you enjoy.  I’m so excited to see what my updates introduce me to, especially because I am always in search of new books in the genre I write in.  So, this is the perfect place to find new books all of the time.

http://www.anynewbooks.com/

 

Finally, a vital resource for unpublished writers beginning the craft comes from the website for Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. It has a special section related to a blog about scams and other topics for new writers to be aware.  It details everything from  literary agent fees (scams), lists of publishers/literary agents not to query, and other legal advice.  After reading just one section on the site, I have become familiar with the scams of inexperienced literary agents to avoid. It is definitely a place for unpublished and experienced authors to get up-to-date information about the ins and outs of the writing/publishing world.

 

http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/

 

So, these are my suggestions for book lovers and writers to join unique online communities and receive important information about the craft. Without waiting any longer, go sign up and see how much fun you can have. I know for a fact it will teach you some things and open a whole new world of books to you.

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