Nothing Motivates Me To Write More Than Mortality

The past few days have not been particularly kind to me.  But it takes a big scare to remind you what’s really important.

Over the past three days I have:

  • had my lawn chairs stolen off of my patio
  • sold my books to afford to pay the bills
  • taped a garbage bag over a window that won’t roll up in my car
  • been rejected for a job I thought for sure I would get
  • had a relationship-changing fight with my boyfriend

Suffice it to say, I was equals parts angry and disheartened.  Then my mom texted me, saying that my dad is in the hospital…again.

And suddenly, none of that other stuff mattered.

The lawn chairs were mildewy and moldy anyways.  I was never going to re-read those books.  It’s supposed to be sunny the next few days, so no rain will get in my open window.  I have a different job interview next week.  And if anything, my boyfriend and I have grown closer since then.

But my dad suffered a stroke a while back.  And he’s been having bad chest pains, so my mom took him to the ER.

As bad as I thought everything was before, it is nothing compared to a mortality check.  I can sit and stress over things that, honestly, won’t have a huge affect on me.  Or, I can deal with them as best I can, then move on and use my energy more productively.

In this case, my writing has been kick-started with a singular thought:  What if my Dad (or another loved one) isn’t around to see my first novel finished?  

Motivation to write, indeed.

So when life gets difficult, and all the bad things pile up, just think of what’s really important.  It’s okay to take a day or two to recharge, to cry, to deal with everything, but don’t let it stop you completely.  And remember, you WILL make it through!  (And blog readers make great cheerleaders!)

All the best,

Stories Within Stories

I have quite the addiction to stories.  Which is probably why I love movies, books, or plays that are centered around storytelling.

The most recent of these treasures came rather unexpectedly.  I was meandering through the lines of movies on Netflix, looking for something to entertain me while I ate lunch.  A rather surrealist movie cover caught my attention.

The FallDescription via IMDB:

In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.

What I love about this type of plot, is the blending of fantasy and reality.  These stories especially capture my attention when in the form of film.  The visual aspects of blending realities is much easier to follow than in books.  Although I must say I haven’t read too many books like this.  Inkspell by Cornelia Funke, being the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

As far as movies go I can think of  The Fall, Big Fish, The Science of Sleep, Pan’s Labyrinth, MirrorMask, The Wizard of Oz, The Pagemaster, and Alice in Wonderland, as well as many others I’m sure I’m missing/haven’t watched.

I think what draws me in most to these stories, is that when I was little I so wished I could become a part of a story.  I wanted all the fantastical things to be true, and happen to me.  So when I see a film where the characters have become a part of a story or another fantasy world, I can’t help but enjoy it.

What kind of stories draw you in?

 

How to Get More Likes on Facebook

While I’m working on a new blog post or two, I thought I’d share this awesome graphic by The Oatmeal called How to Get more Likes on Facebook.   And as funny as it is, it’s actually very true and honest. So to all the writers out there testing out the social media waters, be sure to check this out.  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/facebook_likes

The Oatmeal is Seattle based webcomic artist.  Sometimes vulgar and alarming, but rather hilarious.  He also has a few comics/posters about common grammar mistakes such as: How to use a semicolon, and When to use i.e. in a sentence.

Okay, enough promoting my favorite webcomic artist!  I promise I’ll have a new, original post up soon!

In the meantime: Happy writing, everyone!

A Guest Post and An Update

I am thrilled to announce that my very first Guest Post has gone live today!  I am deeply honored to be hosted by Rebecca T. Dickinson on A Word or More.   Be sure to check out her warm & welcoming blog, as well as my guest post, Our Personal Lenses.

Fantastic news aside, my writing, blogging, and twittering has taken a seat on the back burner for the past few days.  (I promise I’ll get to everyone’s comments on my previous post in the near future!)  Mostly this is due to a little thing called Life.  Of which, I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say, I’m busy.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before I’ll be back in the swing of things in regards to my blog.  At least I plan on it in time for the Sunday Versus.   But in the meantime, here are a few noteworthy things:

  • Sara Flower(who is currently doing a blog tour for her book By the Sword) is hosting an Amazon Gift Card Give-away here.  Submissions are free and they close April 8th, so there’s still time left to enter!
  • I’m considering updating my layout to something…more welcoming.  I love this layout because it’s very clean and easy to navigate.   I like the grey scale because it reminds me of the grey, cloud covered, rainy, dreary place I used to call home.  But I wonder if it seems too “cold” and unwelcoming.  Thoughts?
  • Also, I’ve seen a few people with ‘signatures’ at the bottom of their posts, and I thought it was really fun.  A great way to leave a more lasting/unique impression.  So here I am, trying it out.  What do you guys think?  Is it too cheesy, or just cheesy enough? 🙂

Happy writing, everyone!

Classic vs Updated Novels

I’ve never been crafty or witty enough to pull off April Fool’s jokes.  So this will be just another Sunday Vs.  Sorry to disappoint!

The topic of the week is Classic Novels vs. their Updated counterparts.

Example:  Pride and Prejudice vs. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is a re-telling of sorts, with some zombies thrown in.  Another example would be The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy, which is an updated version setting it in the 21st century.   Or Pride and Popularity giving the story a modern high school twist.

Think the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.  Or even the BBC show Sherlock, a modern take on Sherlock Holmes.  And contrary to the rest of this post, I cannot praise Sherlock enough!

I haven’t read many updated novels of classics.  Although I did read the graphic novel of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  (Which was really entertaining, but perhaps part of it was because I deeply enjoy graphic novels.)

Generally, I try to stay away from updated novels because there’s a stigma that goes along with them.  I suppose some of them can be likened to fan fiction, even, which trust me, will be a whole other post!  And to be honest, I rather like reading the originals, both for the style of writing, as well as an intricate look at another time in history.

However, I’m not against the occasional retelling of a story.  But I find that most of the ones I’m drawn to are fairy tales.  (I grew up re-reading Just Ella and Ella Enchanted, interesting takes on Cinderella.)  There’s something about their old, magical feel that I love. And yet, for some reason, it’s difficult for me to get through modern spins on classics.  Perhaps I feel that modern takes lose their historical or magical appeal, so I only really enjoy re-imaginings during the period in which they take place.   Or maybe I’m just really picky.

So what are your thoughts about updating classic stories?  Have you read any good (or terrible) re-tellings of a story?  Or do you do you avoid them like a plague?

Book Ratings and Censorship

I grew up in the nineties and my parents restricted what movies I could watch. However I was always more of a reader than a watcher, and not once did my paarents question me about the books I bought or read. I had free reign over my reading material which could have been subject to a whole lot more violence and romance than the movies I had to wait to see until I was older.

With the intense nature of The Hunger Games trilogy and all the bloodshed, many people have questioned the YA genre it has been placed in. Especially now that the movie has been released. There were some rather offending images left out of the movie that are present in the book. In order to appease the MPAA to get a PG-13 rating in the US they resorted to shaky camera action and only split second shots of deaths. In my mind this lessened the effect and importance of the deaths, as well as making it difficult to see what was actually going on anyways. I also hear that several seconds more were cut from the UK version of the film to get a more YA friendly rating.

Which begs the question : if we’re so focused on regulating movies to protect our youths ‘innocence ‘ then why isn’t there a formal rating system for books, which are often times more descriptive and mature than movies?

Perhaps there’s the assumption that if they’re reading then they’ll be more mature and able to handle it. Or that every parent will pre-read the books before their kids in order to monitor the material, which some do for many books. Or maybe they even assume if the material is too mature then the reader will simply put the book down. Who knows?

I personally don’t think there should be such a rating system for books, however I was raised making my own literary choices as no one else in my family actually read. My parents didn’t restrict it but they brought me up with certain standard in my everyday life that not only did they trust my maturity, but I did as well. But, as stated before, my movie selection was almost always restricted. Then again the ratings were a bit more lax then as to what was allowed in a PG rated movie(several swear words and smoking from what I recall).

So where exactly is the line drawn in the ratings game? It seems that movies are often more harshly judged but I can’t imagine why. Especially when I was reading books with war, violence, death, and swearing well before I could watch it on a screen. (I don’t know about you, but I was required to read Where the Red Fern Grows in middle school and all I can remember is a distinct visual of a mauled dog with guts hanging out of it. Again, required reading for me as a 10 year old.)

So I ask you all, perhaps especially with children, should there be an MPAA style of ratings for books as well? At the age of 21 I’m still carded for buying rated R movies from the store. Should I also be carded for buying books with enough graphic material to be an R rated movie? Please share your thoughts!

And Down Goes My Sinking Heart

As some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted much of my fiction lately, which is mostly due to me throwing myself headlong into a new novel concept. I’ve been so excited that I haven’t even talked about it to anyone!

The premise is that a daughter and her recently divorced mom move from Nebraska to Otter Rock, a small, unincorporated community on the Oregon Coast.  They buy and start to run a Bed and Breakfast there, in hopes of starting fresh.  It explores coming to terms with your past, and who you’ve become, as well as the intricacies of relationships, especially between a mother and daughter.  The oceanic setting weighs heavily within the book.  Tentatively titled “We Are The Tide”.

I was just browsing books on my kindle and came across an upcoming book that’s on pre-order called The Inn of Rose Harbor.  Here’s what the description says:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start.  Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast- the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn-ready to begin her life anew.  Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine…

There is more to the description on amazon, so I know our novels start to differ quite a bit after that. So I guess it is a bit comforting knowing that only the beginnings are similar.  Still, I had this moment of woe, and if my boyfriend wasn’t sleeping I’m sure I would have cried out, “SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!”

They’re both set in a small Pacific Northwest town on the coast, and a woman buys a B&B to try to get over her former husband, and start afresh.

I realize there are plenty of similar genre-books out there, and things like this just can’t be helped.  Characters, writing style, and the mood of the books will always be different and unique to the writer.  But it’s still so disheartening to see it for the first time when you’re completely gung-ho about the new project.

But you know what? I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.  I’m confidant in our differences, and if my gut tells me to write a story, then you can bet I’m going to damn well write that story!  I won’t even touch that other book until I finish my novel.  I would hate to see it influence me, or dissuade me from certain elements in my writing.

So tell me, have you guys ever encountered an eerily similar idea to yours?  How did you handle it, and did you end up tweaking your idea to differentiate yours?

 

%d bloggers like this: