I’ve been stuck with a blank mind on BOTH of my works in progress for about the last three months.
And NOW I’m at the point where it’s almost intimidating to go back: what if everything I’ve done is terrible? Or, if it’s good, what if I’ve totally lost the ability to write like that?? Or what if it’s terrible AND I’ve lost the ability to do it?!?!?
Obviously this is brain-weasels running amok but it’s still giving me a hard time.
So, I tried some “not-writing,” per Turbo Monkey’s Sarah McGuire (and added her book Valiant to my TBR pile while I was at it). That… didn’t get me unstuck. I’ve had great success with that approach in the past (especially during college, where my roommates would all watch me playing Snood and ask tentatively how the essay was going) but unfortunately my mental landscape just looked like
Then I tripped over Tess Hilmo’s “Best Plot Help Ever,” a little paper foldable that sounded cute and fun and sort of like those MASH things or a ‘flapdoodle’ (srs education term for a folded-up/cut paper study aid) and I decided I would try one of those for each WIP and see if any gears started turning.
I wanted to post a response to the Tweetstorm happening surrounding #TheContinent (a YA book with some serious “White Savior Narrative” stuff going on, click that link for a summary) and Jenny Trout’s response (in which she calls out her own use of racist tropes in some of her older books).
But I also want to watch election returns, so I’m probably going to go do that.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts about how I know #WeNeedDiverseBooks but also: I am a white lady.
Hopefully having survived watching the election returns (rather than posting as some sort of post-election zombie).
So, having spent the requisite half-hour noodling around with web design (I have definitely not kept up with advances in coding since the late 90s/early 2000s, y’all), I am now ready to stare blankly at a “New Post” window for a while before I knock out today’s blog post.
I happened to be putting around on Twitter earlier and saw some tweets from Cleolinda Jones, which took me waaaay back. I read her LiveJournal (remember LIVEJOURNAL??) obsessively in college and just loved her writing. In fact, that got me to thinking about how much I love recaps, because I actually… follow a lot of recappers pop-culture analysis blogs.
Last weekend, my husband and I hosted our annual Valentine’s Day party. This was the first year when my darling son could attend (him being currently nine months old) and even though he went to bed before the party had hit its apex, I think it’s safe to say everybody had a good time.
I started throwing these parties as small dinner parties the year we had my “fake kid” living with us, because I wanted to do some family-style activities and she had recently been through a breakup. My parents had always made sure to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day about everyone you love–not just romantic partners–and even after I graduated from college I would occasionally get a package of conversation hearts in the mail from them. Continue reading All You Need Is Love→
Today at Janet Reid’s blog, they’re talking about pseudonyms. The discussion was brought on by a particular case in which a man published poetry under a pseudonym that was deliberately chosen to sound Asian (the man is white). Sherman Alexie, one of my faves, writes about the situation here, in case you’re interested in more info.
So, the commentariat at Janet’s place are now discussing the issue, but from the perspective of writers seeking representation: should you use a pseudonym? If so, should you tell your agent?
We’re reading The Picture of Dorian Gray in Novels this semester, and since we’ve been reading about how well Basil captures Dorian’s essence in his portrait, our first creative project is to annotate selfies (or photos of ourselves, for the student who says he refuses to ever take a selfie on moral grounds) to show what our appearances reveal about our true natures*.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young (Wo)man – click to see larger!
One of the things that was mentioned in multiple MWW workshops this year was the idea that–to the dismay of Victorians–phrenology has been disproven; that is, there are much more important things about your character than details of appearance. At her MWW one-day intensive session, The Writer’s Survival Kit, Martha Brockenbrough begged us, “Please don’t start with your protagonist waking up in bed and catching sight of herself in the mirror. Isn’t there a whole lot of stuff that’s more important to know about your character than that she has green eyes?” Continue reading She Hath a Lovely Face: Characterization & Beauty→
The third and final of my Lilly-grant-funded adventures this year was the Midwest Writers Workshop (#42, certainly an auspicious sign!).
This workshop was AMAZING! I got a ton out of it and it really had the most breadth in terms of a writing conference that could meet the needs of people at all levels, from novices just starting their novels to published authors looking for networking opportunities. Continue reading Midwest Writers Workshop 2015→