Writing Challenge Turned Q&A

Hello again!  It’s that time of year again, where people start posting those weird “30 Day Writing Challenge” things.  They always sound like a fun idea and every time I see one, I say that I should do it, but then I read the “challenges.”  Honestly, they’re rarely creative and most often read as a list of Q&A topics.  So, since I’m running low on things to ramble about, I thought I’d post one of these challenges here and let you guys pick a number between 1 and 30 (only one number per person, so choose wisely)!  Each week, I’ll do one of the challenges you guys pick.  I can think of a few people who will participate, so this should keep me busy for a few weeks at least.

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It was the first list Google came up with.  Pick a number and I’ll do the corresponding exercise!

 

To start this off randomly, I asked a friend to pick a number, but to be fair she had no idea why I asked and hadn’t seen the list, so she gets another number if she wants.  Anyway, she chose 29.  I suppose that means that I’m talking about my goals for next month!

Honestly, I don’t really plan that far ahead.  I have trouble making up weekly goals, let alone monthly.  I have my writing goals (which I’ve been struggling with).  I’m trying to write at least 4,500 words a week, so I’m aiming for around 18,000 words for April.  Otherwise, I want to post consistently on my author pages and of course do the weekly blog.  I also want to finish the book I’m reading in the next couple of weeks.  That’s about it, really.

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Maybe I should use a Daruma doll for my goals.  I have a blank one somewhere.

 

If you’ve been stalking me, you know that I’m also trying to be better about keeping in touch with people.  It’s not an easy thing, but I’m going to keep working at it.  I did talk to someone last week about creating a daily goal calendar, though, so socializing does help!  I already keep track of my word count, but it hasn’t been a big motivator lately.  The daily goal calendar involves using stickers to denote certain achievements depending on what you want to accomplish and creating a key  (example: gold star = 500 words, blue dot = half an hour of reading, purple heart = an hour of family time, etc.), then marking down what you do each day.  I’m going to try to create a computer version for April to see if something visual like that helps me.

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The example my friend sent me.

 

Anyway, my goals are basically the same as usual, but with a new way to keep track.  That’s all I really have to say on that.

What do you guys think about the whole picking a number thing?  If you’d like to choose one, comment here or find me on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or G+).  I’m looking forward to seeing who chooses what!

See if you next week!

Writing Prompts: Useful or a Time Suck?

Hello there!  In my attempts to get back to a steady writing schedule, I’ve been lurking (and occasionally conversing) in some writing forums.  I figured the advice from the writers I’m normally in touch with wasn’t working, so why not see if I could find different advice in new places?  Unfortunately, I haven’t found much in the way of new tricks to try, but one constant I noticed was the encouragement to use writing prompts.  So, today I want to chat about how useful writing prompts actually are in the grand scheme of things.  Feel free to chime in at any time!

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My favorite prompts tend to have a visual aspect.

 

In all honesty, I don’t have much luck with prompts.  Of the hundreds I’ve tried over the years (everything from the ones at the end of each chapter in pretty much every craft book to random ones I find online), I’ve produced something readable from maybe three of them.  I’ve written a lot of crap I’ve never looked at again because of them!  But overall, I’m not entirely sure prompts are worth it for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them immensely, especially when I just want to get words on the page, but the majority of them never go beyond a rough sketch.

My favorites always seem to have images attached or encourage you to go forth and find an image to write about.  It’s actually kind of weird.  I think in words and I’ve never really considered myself a visual type of person, but over the years I’ve come to accept that photos and paintings and all kinds of sights inspire me (even more than eavesdropping on conversations does).  On the other hand, the writing prompt that I had the most success with was a poetry prompt encouraging a conversation with God.  It was pretty much the most angry thing I’ve ever written and I still secretly love it to this day.  So, I guess I gravitate toward anything visual or encouraging a dialogue.

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This one saved a project I had planned on never looking at again!

 

Sometimes, I’ll look at a prompt (like the one above) and never actually do anything about it, but it’ll get me thinking about something I haven’t thought about in years.  For instance, I had a story about a host club (please don’t make me explain what that is), but it honestly sucked and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it three years ago, so I scrapped it.  But this prompt made me think about it and now I know how to fix it!  I just have to decide if I want to keep it as a novella or if I want to try my hand at a graphic novel.

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It’s kind of like that.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that writing prompts are mostly a time suck for me, but they’re fun and randomly useful.  I definitely encourage trying them, especially if you just want to get some words out.  You never know when they’ll lead to something good.  However, don’t rely on them because (if you are anything like me) the good can be rare.  What’s your stance on prompts?  Have they been a valuable asset to you, something for fun, completely useless, or something else?  Leave me a comment on here or hit me up on social media!

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Hello, hello!  Thanksgiving is over (though leftovers still remain), so it’s officially time to get into the holiday spirit.  In fact, just this past Monday, my minion (he knows who he is) posted on Facebook that people were talking to him and smiling at his job (apparently this is unusual behavior).  Our exchange went something like this:

Me: “It’s called the holiday spirit. You’re in for about a month of it.
Him: “Ack! Does it wash off???
Me: “No. And it’s highly contagious.

Later that evening, he and his family were supposed to join Dad and I for SMU’s Celebration of Lights.  The minion ended up having to work, so we kidnapped his kids and girlfriend and took them anyway.  ^__^

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Forgot the camera, so all of these pictures are stolen from the link above.

The Celebration of Lights was one of very few events I actually enjoyed attending as a student (and still enjoy as an alumna).  It takes place on the front steps of Dallas Hall.  People gather in the quad and sing along to Christmas carols.  President Turner reads the Christmas story (which I still think Linus does better).  And they light up the tree for the first time.  It’s just a really nice way to start off the season.  The free cocoa and cookies are a bonus.

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The performances all change a little each year.  Students and student groups volunteer to sing different carols, so things rotate as people graduate and new people enroll.  Some are better than others, but SMU has a decent music program, so everyone is (usually) pretty good.

However, I suppose my favorite part of the celebration is the fact that something always goes wrong.  Little things.  One year, the microphones kept cutting off.  This year, they were supposed to the flip the lights on after the first verse of Silent Night (like usual), but apparently the switch flipper wasn’t paying attention or they had technical difficulties, because the lights didn’t come on until the song was almost over.  Not to mention the fact that they always run just a couple of minutes late (it wouldn’t be SMU if things started on time).

Don’t get me wrong, all of that was entirely serious.  I go to this thing knowing that there will be something worth laughing about each year.  That’s why I enjoy it.  That sounds kind of mean now that I think about it, but it’s true.  The hiccups make it exciting, even though I’m sure all of the people who are “back stage,” so to speak, are freaking out about this stuff.

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All in all, it’s a nice way to open the holiday season.  Plus, the kids seem to have a good time.  It’s open to the community, so if you’re in the Dallas area next year, consider checking it out (or drive by some time between now and January 3rd while you’re out oohing and ahhing at all the lights to get a look).

I hope the holiday cheer finds you soon, if it hasn’t already!  See you next week.

Growing Up Cripple: Halloween Edition

Hi all!  I had no idea what to talk about today, so I was chatting with a friend when she asked what my first Halloween costume was.  Honestly, I have no idea what my first one was, but I have had some pretty cool ones since then!  Thus, since it’s October, today I will ramble a little about costumes/Halloween and how the whole crippleness thing plays into that (or doesn’t).

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How about both?

Personally, I love the idea of dressing up as someone you’re not and getting to be a superhero or a ghoul or whatever for a little while.  I always have.  It’s fun.  And it’s probably the reason why I like cosplayers so much.  What’s not to love?  Plus, on Halloween, free candy is involved!

Some people might wonder how Halloween is different for people in wheelchairs.  Does the chair affect the costume choice?  Does it inhibit where you do your trick or treating?  What about haunted houses?  For me, the general reply is that it doesn’t make much of a difference to me.  Depending on what I wanted to be any particular year, I chose whether or not to include the chair in the costume.  Yeah, I couldn’t get up some driveways, but that’s what siblings and friends are for (someone to lug your bag of loot up to the door and point you out so you get candy regardless).  I’ve never been a fan of haunted houses, but you can usually find accessible ones if you look hard enough.  It’s all about what the cripple person is willing to try.

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Sister, Mom, and I.

My favorite part of Halloween was always the costumes (though the candy was a definite close second).  When I was really little (like five and under), I could walk holding onto things and I could be carried, so for the first few years, a chair didn’t play too much of a role in choosing what to dress up as.  In fact, even once I was wheelchair bound, it took me a while to realize the chair could be part of the costume!  I honestly don’t recall many of the non-chair outfits aside from the tiger above (I was freakin’ adorable once upon a time) and being the pink Power Ranger (yes, I was one of those children).

Once I started wanting to include the chair in my costumes, things got a little weird.  I remember being a zombie truck driver one year (before zombies were cool) and having the cab of an eighteen wheeler built around my chair.  I don’t have any pictures of that one.  Another year, I was a hippie in a VW Bug (seen below).  I’m sure I was a lot of other great stuff, but I can’t remember what.

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Hippie, not hipster.

Anyway, being cripple doesn’t have to make something like Halloween difficult.  Especially if you’re surrounded by creative people, which both of my parents were.  Mom was the artist and Dad is the craftsman.  Hell, even to this day, I plot out costumes and different things the chair could be!  The only reason I don’t pester Dad with the technical parts is because I don’t know any seamstresses to help me with the outfit parts.  I’m sorry, a steampunk chair needs a matching outfit or there’s no point to it.

So, what are you doing for Halloween?

Let the Colors Shine

Hello once again!  Recently, a friend of mine released an adult coloring book (Enigmatic Mind, Vol. 1 by Shiraishi Art).  I totally encourage you to purchase it and a set of markers or colored pencils, and get to coloring!  Aside from making me want to shamelessly promote a wonderful artist, the release of this book got me thinking about other facets of my creative side (yes, I occasionally do more than write).  I used to cross-stitch, draw, paint, color, and do all kinds of artsy craftsy things before my hands decided to be evil and lose a lot of their range of motion.  It was all very relaxing.  So, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s post to alternative  passions, namely coloring and drawing.

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“Fishing” (Acrylic, 38¼” x 31”) by 6-year-old me for MDA.

When I was younger, I used to do a lot of paintings for MDA.  They used them to make gifts and thank yous for big donors and stuff like that.  But as I got older and my hands started screwing up, my mom started helping (read as: started doing most of the work).  I still draw sometimes, but if it’s anything more complicated than my usual flower design, I use my tablet (do they even call them that anymore, what with all these half-phone/half-computer tablet things?).  I haven’t even done that in a while since I’m too lazy to ask anyone to hook it up to my computer.  Honestly, the only reasons I draw anymore are either to design clothes or because I want to color.

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A gift I made for a friend. It says Lunar with Cyn below it (our nicknames).

One of my favorite types of drawing has always been to scribble random lines and color in the spaces between them.  It requires zero talent and gets you into the coloring portion of drawing pretty quickly (which is why I enjoy it so much).  Granted, my earlier pieces were simplistic and boring, but as I kept trying to make them more interesting, I discovered shading and even started hiding messages in them.  The piece above is one of my favorites.

On the rare occasion that I do try to draw people, I tend to focus on the clothes (I suck at faces and hair and hands and things), I always have.  Even then, I start with a line and work my way out from there with the end goal of being able to color.  No idea why.  I think it’s mostly because of that random love of designing clothes that I mentioned (I don’t usually wear fancy things, but it’s fun to imagine them).

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Something drawn out of boredom. The dress is an oddly simple design.

It is an oddly refreshing experience to control something down to its very color.  You control the light, the texture, everything.  It’s very much like writing in that way, only more visual.  A lot of people equate creativity with freedom, but for me, it’s more about control.  I have complete control over the worlds I create, whether writing or drawing.  It’s kind of a relief when compared to living in the real world.

Growing Up Cripple

Hi all!  I really had no idea what to blog about, so I procrastinated for a while with the help of social media, and that’s when I noticed something strange.  I’ve seen a lot of “growing up” hashtags on Twitter (growing up a girl, growing up black, etc.), but there isn’t a hashtag for growing up cripple.  Yeah, you can find growing up disabled and growing up in a wheelchair, but they’re few and far between (plus, they’re mostly depressing).  Since I’m not all that Twitter adept (140 characters just isn’t enough), I decided to blog about it.

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It’s me! According to the copywrite date, I was four. I used to be so cute. What happened?

People act like growing up anything but a straight, white, able, cis, male puts you at some kind of disadvantage (cue the “privileged” arguments), but I disagree.  Growing up, I never really felt like my crippleness put me at a real disadvantage or made me any less of a person.  Don’t get me wrong, back then and to this day I’ve encountered people who seem to think I’m invisible, people who actually cross the street when they see me (I’m not contagious, I swear!  Though, I do bite.), people who say or ask less than intelligent things, and the like, but I learned quickly that that was their problem, not mine.  Just because some people are idiots doesn’t mean their behavior is in any way my fault.

Were things ever more difficult than they should’ve been?  Yeah, of course!  I mean, when stairs and curbs are your mortal enemies, you’re going to run into problems.  Luckily, I was raised in a family where finding ways around obstacles was a challenge readily accepted.  Can’t reach your mouth with that fork?  Let’s tape a plastic one to a skewer!  Can’t reach the keyboard with your right hand?  Try this backscratcher!  Keep getting stuck in the mud out back?  Let’s build a deck!  And the list goes on and on.

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Prom. I designed the dress and Mom made it.
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High school graduation. Most of the immediate family.

Granted, the whole stuck in a chair thing also makes outings much more annoying (no, it’s not just something that affects home life), but it doesn’t stop me.  That’s one thing Dallas has going for it, most places are accessible at least to a point (SMU, I’m looking at you when I say “to a point”), so I go to clubs and concerts and out to eat and to cons and renfests and all of that delightful stuff.  You want to talk about privilege?  Try being a cripple at clubs and cons and such.  I was raised never to expect special treatment, but you’d be surprised how often places offer front of the line privileges among other stuff (and who am I to turn such thoughtfulness down?).  Let’s see the straight, white, able, cis dude get that kind of treatment on a regular basis… I think not.

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I miss my purple hair. And the red hair. And the teal. You get the idea.

Anyway, I guess my point is that life is what you make of it.  Yes, my crippleness makes life a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s the hand I was dealt.  I’m not inspirational (though I kindly thank those who think I am, because they’re being nice when they say that kind of stuff).  I’m simply living my life.  Life is hard, but do you want to know a secret?  Everyone has problems (even that privileged white guy).  You can either deal with your own issues and try to live happily for the most part, or you can focus on all the bad and be miserable forever.  It’s your battle.  No one can fight it for you.

My Heroes (Part Two)

Konnichiwa (Ohayou? Konbanwa?)!  I suppose it all depends on when you’re reading this.  Anyway, I’ve decided to continue with my hero chat.  You can see the previous installment here if you missed it.  This week, I’ll be focusing more on my anime and manga heroes and heroines.  Like I said before, most of my favorite female role models came from anime and manga, so I suppose this should be called “My Heroines” instead.  Ah well.  Too late now.

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Who’s your favorite Sailor Scout?

First up (of course) is Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon.  Now, my first experience with this show was the horrible dub where they tried change all the things they thought our little brains couldn’t handle (remember when Neptune and Uranus were “cousins?”), but I still fell in love with it.  Imagine my delight a few years later when I was first exposed to its pure awesomeness in fansubs, when everything actually started making sense!

Much like with X-Men, I never really had a reason for liking the show beyond the fact that I adored all of the characters and had a huge crush on Prince Demando (Diamond if you prefer).  My favorite Scouts were Mercury (super smart and kind of a loner) and Saturn (a sickly girl with the power to destroy the world).  Nowadays, I could argue that it was my first experience where an eclectic group of girls kicked monster ass (yeah, Tuxedo Kamen helped, but the girls did the hard part) while working through personal issues and differences.  It’s something that I quickly found out wasn’t an unusual thing in the magical girl genre.

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Sakura is another favorite.

Just look at Cardcaptor Sakura.  I admit my love for this show wasn’t solidified until after I read the manga and saw a fansub.  The dub tried to give Li a bigger role to appeal to a male audience, plus they tried (and failed miserably) to gloss over the shounen-ai (boy love) aspects of the story.  Aside from that, I always liked that Sakura was a major klutz who tried her best at everything she did.  Yeah, she got discouraged, but she worked through it.   That’s what the whole magical girl thing always seemed to be about and it was something I needed to be exposed to when I was a kid.

As I grew older, I moved away from things like Sailor Moon and Digimon and the like to things like Fullmetal Alchemist (still my favorite dub to this day!) and Neon Genesis Evangelion and Trigun.  All of which are favorites in some way or another, but I think my last mention will be Angel Sanctuary.  That manga is all kinds of screwed up, which is why I love it.  Some of my favorite characters are Alexiel (an angel who is punished for taking actions against the other angels who are slaughtering demons for the fun of it), Kira Sakuya (I can’t tell you much about him unless you like spoilers, but he is greatness), and Kurai (one of the demons Alexiel saved).  It’s all about angels who are worse than devils and demons who just want to survive and a bunch of other deeply disturbing things.

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So much awesome.

I suppose my real attraction to the heroes and heroines of Angel Sanctuary (you can decide which characters you consider heroic for yourself) is because of the fact that they’re all deeply flawed.  Whether they’re humans or angels or demons, they are seriously screwed up and they all (even the bad ones) believe what they’re doing is in the best interest of some group of beings.

I mean, yeah, I love a lot of the obvious “heroes,” but sometimes it’s good to see  a hero who falls on a spectrum of good to evil, rather than fitting into a specific mold.  What about you?  Do you like your heroes clear cut or more of a mix?

Knowing when to Stop and Breathe

Hi everyone!  So, I’m not really the best person to talk about stopping and smelling the roses, mostly because I’ve never been really good at that when I have specific goals to achieve.  In fact, if I have goals, chances are that nothing else in the world will exist for me, especially roses.  But when that happens, I have a tendency to burn myself out and end up overcompensating in the other direction (a.k.a. goals suck, let’s just veg in front of Netflix forever).  It’s an annoying balancing act that I can never really get… well, balanced.

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I traced a photo of a rose, then colored it in Photoshop a long time ago.

Is this a common problem among writers?  Honestly, I don’t know.  A lot of the people I talk to seem to have more problems meeting goals rather than being obsessed with them, so of course I feel like the odd man (woman?) out.  I guess my biggest problem is knowing when to let goals slide.  Granted, I’m more apt to look at my list of goals and push reading off to make time for writing, but it makes me feel super guilty.  I also push the things on my list that are for other people higher than things like my word count.  I can always make up my word count tomorrow, right?  Like that ever happens.  It actually usually means not taking that second day off.  *eye-twitch*

And, of course, when I do find a nice balance, I have to start changing things.  I recently decided to try upping my word count from 900 words five days a week to 1500 words.  Throw some new obligations on top of that, and I end up spending all my time doing everything except having a life.  It got a little rough this past week, which is what brought on this ramble.

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A random thing I made a long time ago. I like structure.

I needed to stop and take a breath, which I did.  I’ve proven to myself that, under normal circumstances, I can do 1500 words five days a week with no problem.  Right now, I can’t.  As much as it ticks me off to say that, I just can’t do 1500 words AND everything else I need to do AND have time to relax.  It’s impossible.  Thus, my new plan for balance!

I will continue with the new obligations for as long as they last (three to six months at the moment), because I made a promise, I enjoy what I’m doing, and I’m gaining a lot of experience should I decide to teach at some point in the future.  That’s my first priority.  Second, instead of worrying about words for a while, I’m going to work on revising my first novel again (surprisingly not as time consuming or stressful as writing all the words!).  When I do get back to writing toward a word count, I’ve decided 1000 words are good enough until I have fewer things to worry about.  And apparently I have to add a goal to my list that boils down to “have fun away from the computer, or  GO OUTSIDE, IDIOT!”

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I should probably add “draw something” to that list.

It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but balance is necessary.  We can’t always focus on work (that’s a fast-track to insanity), just like we can’t always focus on fun (unless you’re a billionaire, then yeah).  Remember to stop and take a breath, or smell the roses, or whatever.  Just don’t kill yourself to achieve all the things on a list that doesn’t account for spontaneous interruptions or miscalculated times (we all have those things we say will take half an hour, then three hours later it’s still not done).  Take some time and go outside!  Or whatever.

Word Count? Who Needs That?

Hello, hello!  It’s that time again.  Today, I want to talk a bit about word count.  It’s a subject that Lew Andrada suggested when I asked for questions and comments and all that.  It’s also a subject I struggle with, because it’s pretty arbitrary.  Anyone you ask seems to have a different answer when it comes to the correct lengths of things.

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We’ve all encountered a scenario like this one.  I actually kind of think that’s where the concepts of word counts really help (me at least).  It gives me a firm goal to keep in mind and work toward, that way I can have a more realistic idea of how long a project will take me to finish.

So, how do I approach word count?  I keep it simple!  I basically follow SFWA’s counts for the Nebula awards.  In other words, these rules:

Short Story: less than 7,500 words.
 Novelette: 7,500 words to 17,500 words.
 Novella: 17,500 words to 40,000 words.
 Novel: 40,000 words or more.

Adult

Now, I know that “novel” is an extremely broad category that can be broken down by genres or even target audience age.  In fact, the list above is just one example of many break downs you’ll find with a quick Google search.  No, none of them are the same.  Yes, it gets really confusing really fast.  On top of all that, you also have lists for middle grade, young adult, adult, and a relatively new category dubbed new adult.  It’s complicated.  I don’t like complicated things.

In other words, I don’t bother with all of that crap.  My goal is based on my story.  If I’m going for a flash fiction piece (<1000), I usually aim for 900 words.  A short story?  Around 5,000 words.  A novel?  It depends on what it feels like.  I tried for 70,000 to 75,000 for my first novel after tons of research on word count.  It is a supernatural YA, so on top of feeling like a good amount, it also turns out to be a fairly average count for that type of book.  The novel I’m currently working on is different.  I’m going more by my gut for this one.  My current aim is 80,000 to 90,000 just because that’s what it feels like it will need.  I’m sure my past research is playing some kind of unconscious role, but whatever.

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On the other hand, enforcing a word count can lead to fears of rambling.  Don’t worry!  You can fix all of that during edits.  That’s also another factor that goes into choosing my own word count.  I like to choose a middling number, just in case I need the wiggle room.  I have space to brutally cut out all of the nonsense if I need to, but I also have room to fix anything that’s not fleshy enough.

What I mean to say is that word counts are great tools, but don’t let them freak you out.  Let them help you establish a more concrete timeline for finishing your work, but don’t let them rule your work.  Keep it simple and fun, or it’s not worth doing.  At least that’s how I feel about it.  What are your thoughts on word count?

Is Reading Actually Work?

Hello, hello!  I recently asked people on my personal Facebook account for advice on what to ramble about on here, whether they had questions for me, etc.  So far, I’ve received four ideas, which I will address in this and future posts.  But first, I wanted to invite anyone who reads this to send me suggestions or questions or just random comments!  You can do it here on the blog or Facebook or Twitter or whatever.

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You have questions, yes? Art by Heise (Lian Yan Fang)

The topic I’m going to address today comes from my dad.  Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of my time reading instead of writing, and he randomly asked me if reading was part of my work.  I had to pause, and formulate a satisfactory answer.  He just wanted a yes or no.  Unfortunately, I had to re-convince myself.  It’s something I’ve thought of before and I consistently arrive at the same conclusion, but I always feel kind of weird saying yes, simply because I enjoy reading.  No one actually enjoys “work,” right?  So, how can reading be work?  It is.  I think.

The more I think about jobs, the more I realize that they’re constantly changing, and people have to study to keep on top of it all.  It’s not far-fetched for companies to keep an eye on the competition (also known as other companies).  Well, in the writing field, your “competition” is other writers!  What better way to keep track of what everyone else is doing than by reading their stuff?  At least that’s how I rationalize reading current authors.  It’s studying!  It’s not my fault that my studying involves zombies and werewolves and fun stuff like that.

And anime/manga. I get to study that too.

Actually, studying applies to basically all of my reading.  When I read the classics, I’m studying form or the craft or whatever you want to call it.  That pretty much goes along with any author, current or past.  I blame Stonecoast.  I used to read just for fun, but once I had to focus on certain aspects (characterization, pace, diction, the list goes on), it took over my entire reading life.  I can no longer open a book without noticing parts of the craft that the author excels at (or fails miserably at).  In that way, reading definitely gets tedious if I don’t enjoy the story enough to override all of that.  Those books are most certainly work, but I can’t forget that I get something from every book.  I learn things.  That sounds like good work to me.

One last reason that reading is work for a writer is actually the most obvious.  Writing often requires knowledge outside of the author’s wheel house.  This means they have to study those things, and if they can’t do so with a more hands on approach, they have to read about them.  For example, I write about serial killers every so often.  One way I prep for such stories is to brush up on psychology.  Granted, I studied the field in undergrad, but terms are always changing and I know very little compared to people who spent years studying it.  I do this because I get irked by authors who obviously have no idea what they’re talking about.  So, if you’re writing about something and only have a vague idea how it works, please go read up on it.  Google makes this fairly easy.

quote-Lawrence-Kasdan-being-a-writer-is-like-having-homework-21729
It’s not wrong.

So, what does all of this mean?  Basically, there’s more to writing than just the words you put on the page.  It requires studying, which means it requires reading.  It’s all part of a writer’s job.  At least that’s my take on it.  What do you think?