Friday, February 14, 2014

Confession: I'm Lost

Lately I've been working on character interviews, what POV Untitled Fantasy should be written in, and part one's main plot points. In addition to this, I've been browsing writing articles a bit more regularly. These articles help but sometimes, I get a little intimidated. Okay, so it was only one article and it happened to be about word counts.

I know Untitled Fantasy will be whatever length it needs to be but that doesn't mean I don't wonder if I have enough plot points for half a book, let alone an entire one. This article is really just a list of novel lengths to give you an idea. When I read it, my first reaction was relief. Then I was working on Untitled Fantasy, just putting down some basic events in writing, and I had this, "oh crap" moment. Then I started wondering if I had enough material to do what I want. Can my brain support the story I want to tell? How am I going to meet my word count goal?

But I obediently stopped thinking about that and continued working. I don't have worry about that at this second. I'm still brainstorming and figuring stuff out. I'm not drafting yet. Then something else hit me. I have no idea how to really outline this novel. I know what it needs but I have no idea how to give it that. I am treading new ground. I've never invested so much work in a story before drafting it. This is all alien to me.

Sometimes I'm excited and sometimes I psyche myself out and panic with all of my self-doubts surrounding me. I love this story and that's why I worry. What if the actual thing doesn't measure up to my hopes and dreams?

Now I find myself sitting here, honestly admitting that I have no idea what I'm doing. But you know what? That's okay. I have time. There aren't any deadlines ahead of me. Plus, it's never too late to start learning or to keep learning.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Heart of Hearts

I've been thinking about high fantasy a lot lately. When I was younger, I had it pegged as my favorite genre of all time. Then I kept reading and I wasn't so sure, especially this last year since I've started blogging. I thought maybe that I didn't really have a favorite genre. Sure, I preferred some more than others but I didn't think I had a favorite anymore.

But then I read Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight last year and I picked up The Winner's Curse  and Defy a few weeks ago. Plus, I have everlasting ties to The Ranger's Apprentice series and The Lord of the Rings as well as The Sword of Shannara trilogy. These stories have something special that make them different from dystopian, contemporary, and most urban fantasy and science fiction. I'd forgotten this until recently, but there was a very big reason why high fantasy grabbed my heart as a child.

When I read the books listed above, I marvel at the worlds there. I feel transported into the story in an entirely different way. I adore those novels in a different way than I do books in the other genres. They capture my imagination on an entirely different level. The adventures are more epically cool than those I've found in other genres. The character's thoughts and personalities are wonderfully real yet so different from the real world. These novels are the type of master pieces I hope to write someday. They are the type of work I aspire to accomplish.

Don't get me wrong, I love The Lunar Chronicles (science fiction), A.G. Howard's Splintered series (urban fantasy), and The Dispossessed series (historical fiction - GARGOYLES PEOPLE). Trust me when I say, that I love them hard. And it doesn't mean that I don't think they aren't better than some high fantasy I've read.

High fantasy just happens to speak to me much more personally for some reason. I've always loved it. Always. Is there any one genre that you find steals your heart of hearts?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Writing Books

I'm no expert on writing and that's why I've taken it upon myself to acquire a few novels to help me. I've only read two out of the three I own and really enjoyed both of them.
It's been a few years since I've read No Plot? No Problem! but from what I remember, this is a great introductory novel. It's not something I'd reference for in-depth planning, but it has some handy advice and it's pretty fun to read too. If you're afraid of how-to novels like this, No Plot? No Problem! will help take some of that fear away.
I just finished Outlining Your Novel yesterday, and wow! I have yet to put any of this advice into action but I'm definitely going to try it out. This quite possibly may be the thing that changes my writing more than anything else.
Since Untitled Fantasy has turned into something wild with a whole lot of potential, I've been trying to figure out the best way to tackle it. My good friend, Hannah, at Book Haven Extraordinaire (book blog) and Ink Incorporated (writing blog) recently received this novel herself and brought it to my attention. I will thank her forever. Amazing, wonderful book.
I can't wait to try out all of the advice. I have so many notes in it and I'm sure I'll end up rereading most of again while I'm outlining.

I'm sure I'll be reading some more great stuff on writing, so I'll be sure to share whatever that stuff is periodically. For now though, if you decide to try either of these out (the second one is highly recommended), I hope they help!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's Education Time

Instead of continuing to puke my excited guts all over twitter, I decided I would put all of my excitement and thoughts here. But first, here's a little back story. I'll keep it short.

In high school, I was one of those people who knew what they wanted to go to college for pretty much the entire time. I chose English. Then senior year came and I had the hardest time picking a school that fit my budget. When I finally found one, I was accepted and was even awarded the non-resident scholarship! Happy day!

To my supreme disappointment, I later learned that the school had admitted me as a day student instead of an online student (which was what I had applied for). Needless to say, the college was only affordable if I went online. On top of this, when I called to straighten things out, I was told that I needed an associates degree or a certain amount of credits before I could do a bachelor degree online with this school.

I cancelled my enrollment and fell off the horse. I looked at other schools but it was already February. There were a few deadlines still open but I never applied. I loved this college because it had one of the best English programs I'd seen in all of my research. In short, I was crushed.

So I kept working and haven't done much. I signed up for a Writing Children's Book program but that isn't going to help me get a job anywhere. I've agonized over what to do education-wise for the past year, and I've often felt like I was going nowhere. I kept busy blogging and reading and working part time, but I knew this wasn't what I wanted out of life. I wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something.

I always thought I would be the person who got out of high school and went straight into college for that bachelor's degrees. If you had asked me whether or not I thought I'd be signing up for an associate degree in early childhood education, I'd say no. I don't want to teach. I don't really want to work professionally with kids. But as time has gone on, things at work have changed. (For those of you who don't know, I work at a daycare.) My room is left without a lead teacher and I'm going to see if my boss will give me the job. I have a vision for the class that I'd love to put into action. If you'd asked me a few months ago whether or not I wanted this, I would have said no.

But things change and I've realized that often times, the road isn't straight. You have to take detours sometimes to get to what you want.

It took my dad eight years to get to where he is today. After realizing he wanted to work with computers, he still ended up getting that business degree (which he loathed) first. But that business degree got him a job that led to another, which led to another, which eventually led to the one he has today. It took him years to get the degree he wanted and longer still to get to the job he wanted.

All this time, I told myself I would go to college when I found one that I liked and that was affordable. But after listening to my dad talk the other day, I realized that his fear as a 21 year-old-guy was also mine. At that time, he didn't know what he wanted to do career wise, but he signed up for college anyway because he was afraid he wouldn't go if he didn't. I know I'd regret not going to school, so I've chosen something that's going to help me get to where I want to be. My dad's business degree is like my associates in early childhood education. I don't want it all that much. But it's going to help me, so I'll do it. It's something I can live with for the time being.

I was admitted into a good and very reasonably priced college today and will be starting as soon as my books arrive. And I'm oddly excited. I feel like I've begun to pull myself out limbo. And I'll be accomplishing something really meaningful. I'm so glad I didn't give up.