Writing: The Power Behind Words

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This month’s question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

 

This was a difficult question.  I couldn’t think of any one thing specifically but just the knowing that writing in of itself has been incredibly valuable for me.  Without it, I don’t think I’d be as “put-together” emotionally and mentally as I am.

Even though I’ve been writing for a number of years now, and have several of my short works published,  I’m not famous or rich.

In fact, most people have no clue who I am.

I suppose that’s okay.

What matters to me is that the words I write impact people in some way.

So, yeah, I write for myself first but I also write to give voice (or try to) to those who cannot speak.

For me, writing is therapeutic.

Which means words matter.

And I want it to matter to the reader as well.

In the end, I can think of a particular lesson that writing has taught me.

Compassion for others.

And empathy.

Writing offers a way to let others know that they are not alone in feeling the way they’re feeling.

And for that one reader, the writer’s words can make all the difference in the world.

Writing: Should I Find a Niche?

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For this month’s IWSG Blog Hop, my question is this: As a writer, should I settle with a “niche”?

I discovered writing by “accident” at the age of eleven, and been writing on and off ever since.  In 2007, my first (short) story was published.  Now that I’m a full-time homemaker, I write almost every day.

Yet, I haven’t decided which form or genre or niche to settle on.

I’ve dabbled in poetry,  screenwriting, essays, journaling/memoir, serial fiction, flash and short stories and have written in almost every genre (except for historical fiction).

What’s my problem?

I enjoy writing all of them.

I’ve been told that I should write whatever my heart and soul desire.

So, why am I so conflicted?

Although I have published many forms of writing but they’ve all been “short” (meaning under 10,000 words), I still have hope to publish a novel one day and that’s my dilemma.

If I write and publish a book in a particular genre, does that mean I’m stuck with that genre in the foreseeable future?  Or, can I jump around from one genre to another? My main concern is confusing my readers especially if they enjoy reading only that particular genre and not the others.

Or, perhaps I’m making a huge mountain out of a molehill?

 

 

Writing: How Short Is “Too” Short?

Here’s a question I posed on Twitter the other day:

“Thinking out loud. Is it possible to write bite-sized and still make the kinds of impacts as the longer ones?

I tend to get myself into trouble when I think too much.  🙂

So, is it possible to write short-short stories (for instance, less than 100 words) that can be just as satisfying to read as the longer ones?

 

Blogs and Blogging (What attracts you to them?)

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For a while now, I’ve been debating on starting a new blog (aside from this one) but am trying to figure out which side(s) of me to portray in it.  Hence, this poll.

I’m considering showing more of the “real” me; but, would this be attractive to readers?  Would they be interested in what I have to say?  Hmm…

What about you?  What draws you to some blogs more than others?

 

Writing: How Do You Keep the Readers Coming Back For More? (Poll)

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How do you keep your readers coming back for more?   Is it the main protagonist/antagonist?  Or perhaps it’s the thrilling storytelling?  Better yet, maybe it’s a combination of interesting characters and edge-of-your-seat story line.  So…in your experience, what have you noticed readers enjoy most about the stories you write?

Hmm?

By voting (you’ll have to let me know that you voted) or commenting, you’ll have an opportunity to either guest blog or be interviewed here (your choice!).

 

Writers and Experiences

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“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

 

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

 

 

As a writer, do you believe that every new experience added to your life’s resume can add value to your writing?

A new perspective.  A new sensation.

An added dimension.  A new layer.

New…everything.

Isn’t it amazing how much of our experiences actually end up in our stories?  How each new experience changes us however minute?

Life can be so rich and enriching…if we allow it to be.

As writers, new experiences are what make our stories come alive.   For some readers, these may be the only ways they can experience new things.  New places.  Meet new people.

Our writing can also heal.  Unite.  End wars and disputes.

So, if you’d ever questioned whether or not your experiences aren’t important…

Think again.

Our roles as writers in civilization are crucial.

Don’t hold back.  Get out there and experience life with an open mind.

The world may depend on it.

“The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” -Albert Camus

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An Opportunity To Be Published

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Some of you may know that I’ve been writing a serial fiction over at Juke Pop Serials called Tomorrow Falls.  I entered TF in to the SWP16 (Summer Writing Project) contest sponsored by both Juke Pop Serials and 1888 Center, and on July 1st, TF was among the top 25 selected as finalists for the next round!

What does this mean?

Throughout the month of July, the top 25 writers selected will be participating in a series of events, essays, and podcast episodes as well as workshopping and promoting our stories.  On August 1st, the story with the highest participation by its readers (how many hits the story generates, the time spent reading each chapter, etc.) will be selected to be published.

Exciting, huh?

Throughout this month, please share this link with your readers to help me promote Tomorrow Falls.  I will be posting some of the items I’m participating in throughout the month as well (interview, essays, etc.).

 

(*Note: For all 25 of us, our stories are WIP meaning we will also be tasked with editing/revising over the course of the month as well.)

 

 

 

tomorrow falls

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow Falls

In the END there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love. 

In a matter of days, Tess’ world became nightmarish.  Something was unleashed that turned people into hideous, blood-thirsty creatures. She soon became the hunted as she fled the only home she ever knew in search of a safe haven.

Beck has always been running from something.  Until he met Tess.  He knew if she ever found out about some of his past sins, he feared she would never forgive him.  

Can they survive what’s to come, together?  Or, will they be ripped apart by past secrets that could ultimately doomed mankind?

 

 

Okay, You Discovered Your Writing Superpower-What’s Your Kryptonite?

weakness turns to strength

 

In an earlier post (Every Writer Has a Superpower!), there’s a quiz you could take to find what your storytelling superpower is.  However, there is a dark side to this.  Each writer has something, a weakness, that tends to drain his or her superpower or make it useless (if we let it).

Not a very pleasant thought, huh?

What’s the key to overcoming this?

Acknowledging that yes, there is something that’s holding you back from achieving that next level as a writer.

Now, you must take action.

Find out what this Kryptonite is, and then work through it.  Instead of just accepting it, find ways to improve this area of weakness in your writing.

“Our strength grows out of our weakness.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Adversity tends to make a person stronger- if faced head-on.

A lot of times, one’s Kryptonite is related closely to one’s superpower.

For instance, my storytelling superpower is Survivor:

“You’ve got a penchant for characters who will do whatever it takes to survive….regardless of their situation, you’re drawn to creating characters your readers will admire for their pluck, determination, and sheer creative willpower.”

This is spot on for me.  My characters will do whatever necessary to survive; however, in doing so, they tend to be so focused on survival, they forget the human-side of things like feeling emotions.   They’re so busy reacting, moving from one crisis to the next like some kind of a robot, they don’t try to stop for a split moment to deal with the emotional trauma they’re experiencing.

I’m great at creating suspense in my stories; but they lack the human-element: emotions.  The one thing that grabs a reader, and hook him or her throughout the entire story.  The one thing that breathes life into characters.  The one and same that gives any given story that special uniqueness.  Otherwise, it falls short of greatness, always missing its true potential.

The same is true in my own life.  I’ve gone through several periods where I endured losses and painful changes that in order to get through them, I’d completely shut off my emotions.

My main focus was to survive.  Adding my feelings to the mix was too much for me to deal with.  I figured that I’d deal with them later.

Only I never did.

Now, I’m faced with worsening anxiety issues and becoming more of a recluse.

My family is starting to suffer because of this Kryptonite.  And so is my writing.

I’m just now acknowledging that this is my Kryptonite.

Next, I must take action.  To find ways of injecting emotions back in to my characters, my stories.

But first-I need to allow those emotions to flow through me.  To re-open the door of my heart, and allow it to breathe.

I need to live again.

Only then will my stories come to life.

What about you?  Have you identified your Kryptonite yet?  What kinds of action will you take to address it?

*Do you have that desire to get to the next level as a writer?  Here’s a book that may help you!

3 Ways Blogging Helps Keep Your Dream Alive

  1. Blogging allows you to share your hopes and dreams with readers.  By sharing them with others, in essence, you are keeping your dreams alive.  It can also allow your readers to reciprocate by sharing theirs with you.  This brings me to the next point…
  2. Blogging helps build a support system.  When you connect with other like-minded individuals who are also struggling to realize their dreams, you form a support system to help encourage one another in hope of achieving them.  Isn’t it nice knowing that you’re not alone?  
  3. Blogging can help keep you accountable.  When you announce a particular goal to your readers,  don’t be surprised if they hold you accountable to fulfilling it!

 

Blogging and dreams

 

What about you?  Can you think of other ways blogging can help keep dreams alive?

 

The Power of Spoken Words

I have a confession that I need to make:

I haven’t read a book in well over a year.

Am I proud of this fact?

Heck no!

Do I have a valid excuse for this?

Perhaps.

How can a writer be a true “writer” without reading books?

Probably still a writer, but not a very good one.

What I have been doing is reading lots of online magazine/news articles, and blog posts.

Would these count as productive reading?

I believe so; especially if one of my goals is to be a citizen journalist.  Oh, and a blogger as well.

But

I still consider myself a short-story writer, and a poet.  I also desire to complete a novel. Here’s where I run into difficulties.  With my waning vision, it’s a growing challenge to read books.  For some reason, I don’t have as much problem reading online than I do on paper.  It’s the lack of the right lighting.  The words seem to waver in print and after a few pages, my eyes are too exhausted to continue.

Out of frustration, I stopped reading books altogether.

As a result, I felt like I was short-changing myself and my readers.

Then I read a post on a particular blog aptly titled- Like to write but don’t like to read? Help is here.  After reading this, I was filled with hope and excitement.  The author, Lisa, talks about two types of writers: reader-writer, and writer-writer.  One writer reads lots and lots of books; while the other one does not.  Lisa considers herself to be a writer-writer. Her reason?

“I love words but have trouble reading them.”

What did she do?  She began to listen to audiobooks.

    “I find that hearing the words read aloud and visualizing them in my mind actually helps me to     find new ways to put my own thoughts together.”

So, I’m going to experiment with audiobooks on my own.  I recently discovered (and have signed up for) a program called Talking Books where audio books are provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

Talking Books

In the near future, I will provide my own feedback on this.  Stay tuned!

What about you?  Do you think audiobooks can benefit writers?

 

Further readings:

Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading?

Are Audiobooks the Key to Better Writing?

5 Reasons Why Writers Should Listen to Audiobooks

 

There Are Just Too Many Writers!

Honestly, do you really believe that?

“Writers are a courageous lot”

I came across a passage written by Anthony J.W. Benson  that I like to share with my fellow readers.  It talks about writers and their struggles.

“Writers are a courageous lot. Often embattled by confusion, distraction and persistent dissatisfaction, they fight through pain, sweat and tears, as well as the unforgiving blinding glare of the blank page, to bring their thoughts forth.  As the internal war rages, they are capable of great victories, and great defeats. Yet, in the face of creative adversity those who choose to break free and follow the beacon of truth, emotion and passion have the indefensible power to emancipate themselves, and thus the reader, with their bravery and well-chosen words—a  singular, yet shared, freedom of being truly beholden to no one, and nothing, except their soul that calls to them.”

Did his words speak to you, move you as a writer?

 

Juke Pop Serials and Chronicles of the Claus (making a case for writing web serials)

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JukePop

For those who write web serials, you’re probably familiar with Juke Pope Serials.   If not, read on.

“Reinventing the Book Publishing Model” (taken directly from the Juke Pop’s website:

“JukePop was formed to help publishers better locate new emerging talent by nurturing talented writers that are often uneconomical for major publishing houses to handle. JukePop serves as a content incubator, allowing publishers, to glean the “right” books from its trove. The platform pro-actively and constantly tests readers of a specific demographic to gauge the acceptance (or not) of individual books. JukePop also provides the individual writer with access to publishing channels for his/her work. Unlike conventional and other ePublishers, JukePop’s distribution begins as soon as a writer completes his first chapter. In terms of literary content, JukePop is rejuvenating the lost art of the serial pioneered at the dawn of publishing, when authors such Charles Dickens reached mass audiences by serializing novels a chapter at a time in newspapers that nearly everyone could afford.”

To read more on how Juke Pop Serials work, check out the link: How It Works

Writing web serials isn’t for every writer.  I write them as a way of creating a book one chapter at a time while receiving feedback from readers as to what works or what doesn’t work.  It’s also a good way of testing certain ideas or story-lines  ahead of  time to gauge the readers’ readiness to embrace them.  There are several formats to have your web serial presented to the public (aka readers).  You can post the chapters on a blog, or go through sites such as Wattpad.  You can submit to Web Fiction Guide to have your serial listed to make it easier for readers to find your story.  You can also use Juke Pop Serials which I’ve decided to give it a try with my current web serial, Chronicles of the Claus.

The challenge?  Like televised series, a serial on Juke Pop needs to receive enough votes from the readers in order for it to continue.  And for those serials whose stories are hot, Juke Pop will reward the authors.

I submitted the first chapter for Chronicles of the Claus to Juke Pop a few weeks ago, and it was accepted.  The first two chapters have been published on their website and I’m looking for readers’ votes to help keep my serial alive 🙂

To read the first chapter, here’s the link: The Last Normal Day

If you’re a writer and would like to give this a try: About Juke Pop Serials

Spread the word!

 

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Why You’re Not A Successful Writer (Yet)

Note: I posted this on my other blog, Artistic Crossroads on 2/5/14.  Enjoy!

 

There are many writers out there who are feeling discouraged.  Why can’t their work be recognized by others?  No one’s buying or reading; or, they have only a few buyers/readers.  Rejection after rejection keeps hitting the email box.  What are they doing wrong?  What aren’t they doing right?

Realistically, you can’t (although it does happen) expect fame/stardom over-night or instant recognition for a work well-done.  Like Rowling or King, success didn’t just come.  It took several years.  Hundreds of rejections.  Eventually, it came to pass.  For these two, they made millions (both in dollars and in fans); but for the rest of us, success comes in various sizes.

So, why aren’t you successful?   Hmm…success means different things to each writer.  It could mean selling 1,000 copies of your memoir.  It could mean earning more than $3,000 each month through various copywriting projects.  For another, it could mean having thousands of followers/subscribers on a blog.

Here are some general reasons that I’ve come up with (feel free to add your input!):

1. Your craft/niche may not be developed enough. Write. Write.  And, then write some more. Learn what your weaknesses and strengths are, and how to play them up or down.  Find your voice.  This will set you a-part from the others.

2. People may not know you’re out there.  Start a blog and write about the things you’re passionate about.  Check out other writers’ blogs and web sites, and comment on their posts/articles.  Many of them will return the favor.  Seek out guest blogging and interview opportunities.  In a nutshell, this is called networking.  Marketing.  The more you put yourself out there, the more people will take notice.

3. The world isn’t ready for you (yet).

4. You may need to start at the “bottom” and work your way “up.”   You have a science-fiction novel that you love to have published, but no one and I mean no one is looking at you or your manuscript.  So, you really enjoy writing science fiction.  Try writing a few short stories in this genre, and then find small magazines/ezines to publish them. Get your name out there with a few minor publishing credits.  This will help improve your credibility as a serious writer.

I’m sure there are many other reasons, but these are probably some of the major ones.

Almost Camp Time!

I’ve decided to become a first-time participant in the Camp NaNoWriMo this year which will start in a few short days.

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Are there any of my fellow readers/writers who will also be participating?  If so, here’s my camper’s profile if you like to add (and I like to add yours too!): http://www.campnanowrimo.org/campers/carrie-ann-golden

My goal for April is to write 10k towards my web serial, Redemption, in an effort to try to complete part one of the Underverse series by the end of this year.