This will never become a book.

2014 December 14 Sunday

Another Anthology Announcement

Filed under: writing — Tags: , — KDeFlane @ 16:24

Hello again! A year ago, I popped in to tell you about Scripting Change and my first published short story. Hard to believe, now an entire year has passed, and I have a new story appearing in another edition.

BEYOND THE WORDS

BeyondTheWords

“Beyond the Words”, the latest book from Scripting Change BEYOND THE WORDS

The community writing project Scripting Change is incredibly excited to announce the release of their second anthology: Beyond the Words! Writers, artists, and editors have donated their talents to create this project for charity. Proceeds from sales of this book will benefit three regional literacy organizations:

  • Read for Literacy, in Northwestern Ohio, provides learning opportunities for readers of all ages and backgrounds, with three tailored programs: Creating Young Readers, for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade; Adult Basic Education; and English Language Learners, for non-native English speakers.
  • Literacy Action, in Atlanta, Georgia, offers an incredibly wide array of literacy programs for adults — from literal reading assistance, to workplace literacy, family literacy & education, and much more, this organization provides its community with crucial support, enhancing so many lives!
  • Page Ahead, in Seattle, Washington, focuses its literacy efforts on children, allowing elementary-school children to browse book fairs at the end of the school year & choose their own books for the summer — which are then provided to them by Page Ahead! They bolster this program by also working with parents, helping them engage their young readers.

You can support literacy outreach by buying this e-book at any of the following links:

For more information, visit:
http://scriptingchange.blogspot.com/p/our-projects.html
Scripting Change anthologies
Find them on Facebook or on Twitter @ScriptingChange

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2013 November 5 Tuesday

Published!

Filed under: writing — Tags: — KDeFlane @ 15:21

Hello, I am the pen name of this blog’s owner.  And “we” have been published!

A friend from my writer’s group recently started Scripting Change for writers to contribute their work towards charitable causes. Their first project has just been published and is now available online. Volunteers donated their time and the contents in order to direct all proceeds to charity. Sales of this inaugural book will benefit the MSTR Scholarship Foundation and its students. This ebook contains my first ever published story (not counting my middle school newspaper).

book cover

“Seeing Past Sickness”, the first book from Scripting Change

SEEING PAST SICKNESS

On November 4, 2013, the Scripting Change ebook title “Seeing Past Sickness” goes on sale. Proceeds go to the MSTR Scholarship Foundation, which provides financial support for students pursuing an education, despite the difficulties and costs associated with chronic illness.

For more information, visit:
Scripting Change

2013 October 29 Tuesday

Plot Recipe

Filed under: writing — Tags: — kdefg @ 14:09

I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for years.  My first year, I began the month with a blank page and no plan, and I generated characters and scenes out of thin air.  It was awesome! But it was not a book.  My second year, I began the month with a theme and some vague ideas, and I stalled very quickly.  I don’t even remember much of what I produced back then.  Even after reaching my 50K word goal two summers ago, I still have not produced a novel.

I finally joined a local group of writers who meet monthly to discuss The Craft.  I started to see the wisdom of making an outline and thinking about the importance of plot and structure in building a story.  I found books and articles and blogs that all presented their own spin on the idea that a story must have a structure.  Some of the focus was on movies or television episodes, so the templates might not work ideally for a novel, but the concepts are all there.  A story has ingredients, and they come together in a fairly common mixture.  I was afraid at first that my outline would restrict me, like a template or a formula which produces the same bland thing each time. Now I like to think of it as a recipe, and the results can vary with the cooks.

One benefit of being part of the NaNoWriMo community is in being exposed to more resources.  The @NaNoWriMo twitter feed gave me this gem today:

Our #NaNoCoach this week, @teribrownwrites, mentioned a post about feeding the muse by @KristenLambTX. Find it here: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/fueling-the-muse-for-nanowrimo-part-one/

And with that link, I was off on an adventure.  I discovered more info about plot points, much of what I’ve read elsewhere, but it is finally starting to sink in.  The rest of the blog is full of similar inspiration. I now have a synopsis of my story and a list of scenes ready to tackle.

Is it November yet?

 

 

2013 July 8 Monday

fiction sprint – Circus

Filed under: writing — Tags: — kdefg @ 14:32

“Mommy, what do those words say?”

Allison held her daughter’s hand as they walked past the storefront displays inside the mall. There were banners and signs everywhere, covered with logos and photographs of products, splashes of colors and sprinkles of numbers, and occasionally a word or two.

Lily was five years old now, and only recently discovered the joy of reading. She understood that books contained stories which were made of words which were made of letters. She was forming the connections between letters and sounds, but still wanted someone to tell her how to say the words she saw in unfamiliar forms.

“That one says ‘Sale Today’,” said Allison.

“It looks like ‘toe day’,” Lily insisted, pronouncing the first syllable with a long ‘Oh’ sound. “Maybe it’s spelled wrong.”

“No, that’s the way ‘today’ is spelled, trust me.” Allison pointed at a sign in the next window. “Can you find the word ‘sale’ on that one?”

They continued exploring the sights for the length of the entire mall. Sometimes Lily would pull her mother forward to the next store if Allison paused too long to gaze at the pretty dresses in the windows. Sometimes Allison would guide Lily away from stores with provocative images or inappropriate words on the signs.

They reached an art store, and they both came to a halt in front of a large poster hanging in the window.

“Mommy, what’s that big word?”

“Circus.”

Lily protested, saying something about the word starting with C instead of S, but Allison was no longer paying attention to her daughter. Her eyes were fixed on the faded image of the poster. It was a montage of classic circus sights: a clown juggling balls, an elephant with one foot on a pedestal, a lion roaring at a tamer, a woman standing on the back of a trotting horse.

A tug on her hand brought Allison back to the mall.

“Mommy, I see my name there! See? It says ‘Lily’ next to the horse lady. Right? That’s my name!”

Allison blinked away the memory of her former life, her former stage name, her former lover.

“That’s right, Lily. That’s what your name looks like.”

Lily clasped her mother’s hands with both of her own. “Can we go to the circus? When is it?”

“Oh, this circus isn’t here anymore. This is an old poster. The store just keeps it for the artwork.”

“Is there another circus? Can we find another circus and go there? I want to see a circus! I want to see the animals and the clown and the lady with my name.”

“Not every circus lady will have your name, Lily.”

“That’s okay. Will they still have a clown?”

“Every circus has a clown,” Allison said, looking at the poster with a sad smile, “but there will never be another one like him.”

2013 June 19 Wednesday

Wiped Out

Filed under: life, writing — kdefg @ 14:16

I am tired, so very tired. Exhausted. Who knew that standing at a cash register for eight hours could wear a body down? My feet hurt, especially my heels, and my knees ache, especially the “pits” where the tendons stretch behind the knee-joint, probably because I hyper-extend my legs and lock them into a standing position. I come home and want to do nothing but recline on the sofa and watch television with my legs sprawled out on the padded cushions.

I still find time to sit at the computer, but my legs grow restless in that position.  I have no room under my desk to stretch them out or prop them up.  I find myself reading fewer online articles and following fewer random links these days, sticking to my core list of bookmarked sites to visit daily.  This is not necessarily a bad thing. While my body may be rebelling against the Internet, my mind has sought out other sources of input.  My job has kept me away from technology on my lunch breaks, and this has given me time to read more novels.

For a while, I tried to use my time between customers to think about my own novel. I would let my mind wander, and I jotted down ideas on scraps of paper tucked into my back pockets.  I now have a small pile of scraps which I have not gone back to read, and I’m feeling no better about my novel than I did when I stopped working on it months ago. I think I need a break from thinking about it altogether.

I had been thinking for some time now that my experiment with NaNoWriMo had reached its conclusion. I tested myself, I learned about my strengths and weaknesses, I accomplished my goals — because I did not set my goals very high.  I wanted to give it a try, and I did try for several years in a row.  Now the organization is running NaNo events several times each year, and the novelty (no real pun there) has worn off for me.  It is no longer a special occasion.

There is a show here on ABC called “Wipeout” which also used to be a special occasion, airing for only a few months out of the year.  It was escapist television, summer fluff, and my family enjoyed it together when it was something new and different.  Then ABC created “Winter Wipeout”, which was somewhat different but came on when we didn’t need the diversion.  Then a year later, they started airing new episodes twice each week, and that’s when we reached saturation point.  The more they produced, the less we wanted to watch.  We were exhausted.  We now skip it, even when there is nothing else to watch.

That was how I was beginning to think of NaNoWriMo.  I am not obligated to participate in every event. Maybe I should skip starting something new until I put some serious effort into working on a second draft of my last project.  I’ve heard others in my own writing group say that they’ve gotten all they needed from past NaNoWriMo events and would not return in November.

So why did I just sign up to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo next month?  To be honest, it was their new feature which allows me to set a smaller goal. My seasonal job will still be taking up my time at least through the first week of July, and my body will still not want to be sitting at a keyboard for hours.  I think I will do better by aiming for only 500 words per day, something more in line with the size of a blog post.  In fact, I’ve decided to structure my project more like a series of blog posts rather than a novel.  Camp NaNo lets me get away with being such a rebel.

The main characters from my last novel have haunted me long enough.  It is time to wipe them from my mind and start fresh. I am putting away my scraps of paper, for now.

2013 May 3 Friday

Units

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 21:29

I got a reminder when I logged in here today, that I have reached my one-year anniversary with WordPress.  One year of blogging.  I feel an obligation to comment on this.  To blog about it.

One year sounds like a long chunk of time, but it has been an inconsistent span.  I have made 98 posts, which sounds like big number (and today’s post will be number 99), but spread out over 365 days it is less impressive.

In comparison, I pulled up my tumblr stats.  (I run a tumblr just for the daily television listings — it’s a personal thing just for my friends, so I do not publicize it.)  I have made 798 posts there.  SEVEN HUNDRED and 98 posts!  It is a habit that has been a priority of mine for over two years now, and I have never skipped a day.  That fact alone tells you a lot about my hobbies and my passions.

I have been a dabbler in this world of blogs and writing, fiction and NaNoWriMo.  I still think about my novel(s), but I rarely put any work into it.  I still have dreams, but I rarely write them down in my journal, and I haven’t felt compelled to blog about them.  I still read about altered states of consciousness, synchronicity and reality, but I have nothing new to add to what I have already written.  This blog has lost its focus and has grown stale.

My stats here tell me I have 45 followers.  I have no idea how most of you found me, nor whether I have lived up to your expectations.  Would you like to read more “fiction sprints” or mind-trippy musings about the nature of reality?  Shall I tell you about my work day?

I found a text file on my computer where I had been jotting down ideas for topics to blog about.  It was supposed to be my bucket to dip into when I lacked inspiration, back when my goal was to write *something* every day.  Some of the entries are simply a few cryptic words, and I no longer remember what the phrases were supposed to remind me to write about.  I have not added to that text file in many months.

After this past NaNoWriMo, a few of us in my local region decided to form a writers’ group, meeting one Saturday out of every month.  Has it really been five months since NaNo ended?  Has the group met only five times so far?  I had attended every one until this month, when my new job scheduled me to work on that Saturday.  In that span of time, I think I’ve added only a few paragraphs to my work-in-progress.  It turns out that I enjoy talking about writing more than I do actual writing.

Then I let myself get away with another blog post of rambling and call it a day.

 

2013 January 4 Friday

fiction sprint – Figures and Landscapes

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 18:22

“Mom? Where is our family photo album?”

Children ask the most difficult questions, Donna thought to herself.  She went to the kitchen to greet her son, where he always headed after coming home from school.

“We don’t have one as such,” she replied hesitantly. “Did you want to see something in particular?”

Tommy poured himself a glass of milk and reached for the cookie jar. “It’s for a school project.  We’re supposed to bring in a picture of ourself when we were little.”

His mother handed him a plate and a paper napkin, hoping he would agree to use at least one of the two.  “I keep some photos in a box in the hall closet.  We can dig through there together.  I’m sure we can find something you can use.” She knew exactly how few pictures she had of him as a child, but she could stretch the search into a few extra minutes with her son.

After cleaning up the cookie crumbs and drops of milk that missed both the plate and the napkin, they opened the linen closet and pulled out a cardboard box. It was overflowing with many small envelopes, each stuffed full of loose photographs.

“Some of these go back to when I was a child myself,” she told him.  She peeked inside an envelope to check its contents, then set it aside.  “Yours should be near the top here, somewhere.” She let him check another envelope.

“These are pictures of our old house,” said Tommy, “but I don’t see any of us in them.” He closely inspected several of the photos, then scanned through the rest of the stack. “I don’t see any people in them at all. Is this all we have?”

Donna pretended to be surprised by the contents in the next envelope, assuming it would end their expedition.  “Oh, here you go.  Look what I found.  All of your school portraits.”  She handed him the packet, hoping it would end his questions.

Tommy looked for something suitable for his class project. “These are all taken by a photographer, and I’m all dressed up in them.  They don’t show who I really am, or who I was when I was a little kid.  The teacher said we should bring in something… I forget the word, but less staged and more personal.”

“Casual? Candid?” suggested his mother.  “I think we could get copies of some shots taken at your friend’s birthday party last year.  Would you like me to ask his parents for those?”

He looked at the rest of the box, with many more envelopes yet to be opened. “Can I keep looking through these with you?”

She nodded, but without enthusiasm.  “I don’t think you’ll find much else in there.  We really didn’t take very many pictures over the years.”

Tommy flipped past scenes of neighborhoods and mountains, buildings and parks.  One picture showed a table in a restaurant set for a fancy feast, but no one was seated at the place settings. “Where are all the people?” he asked.

“Oh, they hadn’t yet arrived,” she lied to him.  “I took that one before the dinner we had when I graduated from college.  People started arriving and I put down the camera and forgot all about taking a picture of the group.”

“But they’re all like this!”  He started to spread the photos out on the floor, there in the hall in front of the linen closet. “Here’s one of the playground across from our old house, but there’s no kids in it.  Why would you take a picture of an empty playground?”

I didn’t, Donna thought to herself.  I remember you hanging from the monkey bars in that one, and I remember all my friends being around that dinner table when I snapped that photo.  The people always disappear when I have the film developed.

“I guess I just don’t have good luck with cameras,” she told him.

 

(updated:  I altered a few lines for clarity — I hope it’s an improvement.  Feedback is always welcome, thank you.)

 

2012 December 3 Monday

Chronology is not Narrative

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 14:39

Catching up with the weekly “Pop Culture Happy Hour” podcast on NPR, I listened to the latest episode today. In the midst of a discussion about the recent “Liz & Dick” and other biographical movies, Glen Weldon made the comment that “Chronology is not Narrative” and how it is a feature of bad student writing.  Ouch.

Painful but true, it does address an issue I faced — am still facing — with writing my own fiction.  The backdrop to writing a story must include some sort of timeline, but the telling of the story might benefit from revealing details in something other than chronological order.  Can a writer write the story or the plot before working out the timeline?  I’ve encountered a few scenes which feel like they could have some enjoyable dramatic tension and end with a reveal, but the content of what is said or revealed will depend upon where in the timeline the scene will occur. It’s the “who knows what when” question, which applies to the characters as much as the audience.

The urge to let the details unfold chronologically comes from a literal adherence to that old “show, don’t tell” rule, plus a fear of exposition.  When I reach a point in my narrative when a character might have some interesting bit of backstory to reveal, I hesitate to have them simply tell someone what happened.  Can the retelling of a memory be as good as showing that scene from the past unfolding in real-time?  Then, after fleshing out a memory with action, it is tempting to take that scene and move it to an earlier part of the book, into its chronological context. While this might give my character more substance up front, I lose my dramatic reveal.

I should already be familiar with the creative use of withholding a character’s backstory in service of building out a narrative.  I was a rabid fan of the television show LOST.  Famous for their use of flashbacks in its earliest episodes, through six seasons of flash-forwards and flash-sideways, LOST writers created stories which compelled me to go back and rewatch for their many layers of meaning.  (It also turned me into a raging spoiler-phobe, because I wanted to enjoy the surface reading of an episode on my initial pass without being tainted by knowledge of the twist at the end first.  I can enjoy endless repeat viewings with that insight later, but I can go in blind only once.)

Instead of working on my outline today, now I want to watch more television.  For research purposes, of course.  Thanks, NPR.

 

2012 November 30 Friday

approaching The End

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 23:32

The month of November has run its course.  NaNoWriMo is over, and I wrote more than 28,000 words of prose, adding to the 50K novel I produced in August.  I accumulated only 40 hours of actual writing time (not counting these blog posts), but probably spent at least as much time simply thinking about my story.  I did not finish my final chapter — yet.

Molly started to say something, but Samuel motioned for her to remain still.  He waited for Marcellus to disappear into the main building.  “We need to talk, but not here,” he whispered. “For the sake of our safety, mine as well as yours, act like you are cooperating.”  He sat back down, and indicated that she should do the same. “Do you trust me?”

She thought for a moment. “Do I have a choice?”

In mathematics there is a structure called an asymptote  from which we get the general concept of an asymptotic approach to a goal, meaning it gets closer and closer but the progress become incrementally smaller without ever reaching completion.  I feel that way about my final chapter.  I made great progress at first, but the closer I came to the conclusion, I slowed down.  I still want to reach that goal, but I am going to need to approach it from another angle of attack. I just bought a copy of Scrivener, and I am on a mailing list with a group of locals talking about forming a writing support group.

We are entering December, and the end of 2012.  I have always been fascinated by “end times” prophecies, so you can imagine how excited I am to see the Mayan calendar roll its odometer over to zero while the nutters panic the way they did for Y2K.  Assuming the world doesn’t end, the new year is slated to be full of changes.  I can’t wait to write about it.

2012 November 29 Thursday

home stretch

Filed under: writing — kdefg @ 12:01

I owe you a few entries.  To be honest, I have only written an average of 600 words per day over the past week (rather than that magical 1667 daily quota which NaNoWriMo encourages) and much of it isn’t really the kind of writing I want to share. I have pieces of scenes that are incomplete or need context for an excerpt to make sense.  I still write dialog which is really me thinking about the premise of my universe instead of driving the plot forward.

“When you have a particularly vivid dream, it can seem so real, but you still know it was a dream when you wake up.  Sometimes you can be in a dream and know that it is a dream, too.  It has its own properties, its own reality.  And you can retrieve the memory of that dream when you’re awake, but it somehow has a different quality.  The memory of a dream is never quite as real as the experience was inside the dream.”

I have no idea how to say what I’m thinking.  I’ll just keep writing the same ideas in different ways, and will probably cut it all from the final draft.  I thought I knew where this story was going, but the final chapter is still a mystery to me.

With only a few days left in the month, it is hard to remember why I started this challenge in the first place.  It is tempting to skip ahead to the “what have I learned” post, or quit writing for the sake of word count.  I want to take everything I have put into this novel so far and rework it with a proper outline, but today is not the day to start a new phase.  Today (and tomorrow) need to be about finishing the project at hand.  Prepare for padding.

 

 

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