Thursday, September 22, 2011

Not Quite an Epiphany

Today, I realized something.

I've mentioned before that from March until the beginning of August, I sat at my computer and I wrote 2000 words before I went to bed, if it killed me and made me absolutely exhausted (minus one day where I could not even sit up because I was so dizzy, let alone think about writing). And during that time period, I better understood the thought behind actually assisting the creative process by doing this, because it actually did work. I was able to sit down, almost whenever I wanted to, up to a point, and basically put down 2000 words of a story, any story. I got so good at this, that I started writing short stories in 1-3 sittings, depending on how tired I was, or how far the story wanted to go.

The think was, while I wrote a lot during this time period (from March 1 to August 10, I put down around 370,000 [yes, I kept a record of it], which to put it in perspective, is about eight NaNoWriMos), I did not complete a lot. I was thinking about that today, when I realized that, "Hey, maybe I don't need to concentrate so much on my word count anymore. I've proven that I can sit down for months on end and write everyday. Maybe now I need to concentrate on getting things done."

Therefore, this is the direction I will now be heading in. I'm not sure what project I'm going to be working on for the next month and eight days I'm going to be working on before NaNoWriMo starts. I might just focus on getting back into the writing habit, but not with the strictness I was at it before. I might do a collection of short works, just to prove to myself that I can complete a larger body of work. But I have a lot of ideas, which I think is good, because if you don't even have an idea, nothing can grow inside your head. So, that's where I'm at right now, and I even did some writing on Sunday. So I'm getting back into it. I promise.

Monday, September 12, 2011

I just realized something... PART 2

In reflecting on this blog, along with a lot of other things recently, I came to remember something. I went back and read my mission statement and my about me to really confirm this. This blog is about my foray into writing, and what I think, not just specifically about topic I pick out and schedule that make me completely crash and burn when i realize I have no idea what I'm doing/ or I feel as if I know kind of what I'm doing, but by that token, are not well enough read and researched to do all of that.

This is about me and my writing experience. I really need to get over not knowing everything and just keep going.

Le sigh. Being a little existential can be kind of liberating, but also kind of sad in the fact that you realize you'll never really blog about something "cool." (Oh, yeah and if you search Writer's Smithy in an engine, I garuntee you, there are other people using this name.) So I really need to get over never getting famous and be okay with being me and all. Besides, I know I'm going to be fantastic, and that I always seek to accomplish something better than simply, "my best." It makes me wonder though, "Why am I so worried about playing the fame game?"

I think that scholarship I mentioned a few posts back had something to do with it. I wanted to have a really cool, well written, well organized blog to show off to the judges. And I thought I could do that (and here's hoping for next year). But there's also the Christopher Paolinis of the world, who not only finished a novel (cheers to NaNoWriMo for telling people they could do that no matter what age they are and then helping them prove it) but so thoroughly marketed and advertised it, it got picked up by a major publishing company. And I think it comes back to my own need to feel recognized for doing something good, that pat on the head I needed at the end of the day from my teachers, because none of the other kids would play with me. In a way I really need recognition for doing good.

I think another thing that brought me back to this blog was how much I loved feeling some sense of accomplishment during the months of March, April, May and June where I, without fail, if it kills me, unless I was too dizy to sit up and think let alone write, wrote 2000 words every single day. I not only felt good for getting out there and doing it, but my prose grew a lot during that time. I managed to get out stories on a first draft and go the distance for many of them, instead of just leaving them hanging.

Stuff all of my internal pretensions. I'm doing this for myself and I'm going to like it!

Speaking of that whole writing thing: it's come to a grinding halt. I'm working on it.

Much love, luck and pixie-dust.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I just realized something...

You know, I don't think I'm nearly well read enough to do what I want to do here. I don't really think I know what I'm talking about yet...More on that later. I can't say when, but yeah...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

September Schedule

SO! Schedule of the next month! We're going to see how this goes, but usually if I have a schedule, that gives me a deadline, and I'm very good about my deadlines. 

September 1 — Reinventing the Wheel (or the Dragon, or the Vampire)
September 6 — World Building
September 8 —  Epic Quests
September 10 —  How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
September 13 —  Good VS Evil
September 15 —  The Hero(ione)
September 20 —  Post-Apocolyptica
September 22 —  We're All Just Misunderstood (But We're Still Going to Fight Each Other Anyway)
September 24 —  On Writing by Stephen King
September 27 —  The Choosen One
September 29 —  Metropolis 

So, see you in a few days on the first!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

She's Not Dead Yet

Yes, the obligatory post in which I update you as the to the happenings in my life as an excuse as to why I have not updated in a while (a while, in this case, being nearly twenty days). My main excuse is this: on the twelfth, a week after my last post, my dad and I embarked on a journey to Roanoke, VA (my current place of residence) so that I could return to Hollins University and continue my post-secondary education. I went back early because I needed to begin training to become a residence assistant (RA). We spent two days driving, I then spent a day unpacking and then five days in training, which after the weekend break wrapped up this Monday, but I still had some stuff to complete yesterday and today, so I really feel like this is the first moment I have had to myself where I have not felt the need to completely veg out. I suppose one could argue that I did have seven days to post something, however, I was dog sitting then, also trying to finish up my self assigned summer reading list (sadly, not completed), and listing and packing the things I needed to take to school with me. So...

I do believe in the course of all this taking place I have yet to have a moment to say I'm basing one of my senior thesi off of this blog. (I'm double majoring and I actually want to undertake the effort of doing two thesi [theises? I think that one is correct, but both of them are not making it past spell check], but I'm starting and sticking with this one now, and I also have a fairly well outlined idea of what I want to do for my Communications Studies thesis as well.) Another thing to give me incentive to keep the blog running is this: I found a scholarship that will give me $10,000 to submit a blog about me or things I like (/to do). (And it should be noted that this is not the only reason I continue to write my speculative writing blog. This is really an exploration for me into speculative fiction, writing, and my own style and knowledge.)

Anyway. That schedule I mentioned a few posts back. Actually going to sit down and do that now. I'll post it here tonight or tomorrow to keep myself honest. See you then.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bird By Bird

This past semester in my creative writing class my professor brought in a book that she would read to us (hypothetically) at the beginning or end of each class. This was, of course, Bird By Bird: some Advice on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.It is probably the first instructional book on writing that I paid really close attention to, probably because I enjoy being read to. But also partly because of the way Lamott writes. The book does not particularly feel like a text book, which is good in my opinion. The way Lamott draws on her personal experiences really drives in the points she tries to make, because she knows what she's talking about.

Particularly because as far as writing instruction goes, a lot of what is said is repetition. Almost ever writer I've ever read who has said a thing or two about writing at the very least will tell you to sit down every day at the same time and write. Lamott tells you this too, but I like the way she says why you should do it, "you're training your brain to be creative at the same time everyday." So many times I think people leave a "because," off of their infinitive. But it doesn't really feel like Anne does that, she actually gives really good reason why you should do what every other writer in the world advises you do.

Plus I think she gives some really helpful advise and encouragement. For instance, she advises if you're not really into something to take a one inch picture frame and just write one inch of something. Just do one thing for the story. And she says the first draft is going to be shitty, just get through it and write it (another universal truth, but I kind of really like the way she puts it).

I'm doing a bad job a analyzing, forgive me, but the book was due back at the library. Yeah, I know right. Anyway, I think it's an especially good book for beginning writers. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Speculative Divide: Supernatural

Think about the word "supernatural," for a moment. Super- is a prefix meaning greater than, and natural means existing or formed by nature. When you put these two together, the word means something greater than what already exists. This is the reason why the genre is so hard to pin down as its own genre, and even as another genre's subgenre. All speculative fiction falls under the realms of things we do not find in natural today. Humans cannot do magic like the way it is presented in books, unicorns do not exist, and science fiction by definition falls out of the category, "things created by nature." The only exception that may be made to this are the parts of the horror genre which involve people as the things which terrify, because we tend to specify people who kill out of something that feels like necessity or pleasure unnatural (not natural, rather than greater than natural).

Furthermore, supernatural fictions tends to recreate ideas rather than generate new ones. After all, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, angels and demons (the major players of supernatural fiction) have all been written about and filmed before, in horror, fantasy and science fiction. What changes within the supernatural genre is the way a creature is presented. Where they once would have been called monster they are now called human. Supernatural writing not only humanizes the classic monster it romanticizes them.  Because supernatural takes old ideas and reinvents them in this way (which is not wholly a new idea itself, fiction does this quite naturally over time in any genre), it is equal parts horror, fantasy and science fiction, those these parts may ebb and flow in their involvement in a piece of literature.

I would like to further propose that supernatural is not even a subgenre, but rather a supplementary genre. It classifies things that fall under all three of the speculative genres, and most often you see it after other genre tags like: romance, action, adventure, thriller and mystery. I think that is why it really is not its own genre, because it supplements a genres that regularly have nothing to do with any other kind of speculative fiction.  In other words, it's an easier tag to place instead of writing all three speculative genres after another tag.

It leaves room for wonderment, though, why didn't they just place a speculative tag after the primary genre?