Archive | January 2015

Etsy

I write, and that’s mostly what I do- besides the rest of life, of course. I’m exploring several different kinds of writing, actually, and that’s been interesting- short story, freelance writing, guest blogging, copywriting and fundraiser letter writing. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I had my first, official day of having too much of writing! I was actually tired out, and kind of bleh-ed for the rest of the week too, but it was satisfactory to be tired out by something I’ve basically picked as my career- as long as I stop getting mixed up about all the options!

But I also sew- a lot. I could go on for a while about how much I sew, and how much I enjoy it too, but I want to keep Felicity Prose focused on one thing more than getting messy. However, sense this is a good place to show some of what I do, and what’s available too, I’ll get into my hobby a little.

I’ve sewn a long time- what seems like all my life- and we did 4-H for a while, which I thought was only for sewing projects. I specialize in clothes, and I always mean to try making clothes for other people but for some reason I never get very far. Then I heard about Etsy and I’ve been working on making things to sell online. It took me a while, but my sisters and I have finally managed it!

I’ll especially do bags of various kinds, because I seem to be most comfortable with that. But I’ll experimenting with other things and I may as well mention that I’d be happy to make something specific for someone, if you’re in the United States. Also, if anyone else happens to be on Etsy I’d love to hear about it and find your shop! And, of course, if you know someone that’s on Etsy (or wants a red and white tote bag) then please tell me.

The bag here is one of the two things I’ve put up, and hopefully there will be more coming. Here is a link to my shop, which is called SallySewing: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SallySewing?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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The Best About Writing

I live in a house full of writers- apparently. My elder sister is the proper author, and somehow it always seemed natural that she would write. Then my other sister also writes, but her main interest is painting. And even my brother wants to write- which I had no idea he wanted to take it up, because he usually seems haphazard about it.

Anyway, the reason why I’m bringing this up is that, at some point someone in my household will have a story that will need to be edited. That’s what siblings are for- the first step of editing. Somehow or other it’s never got to that point- or rather, I haven’t pushed enough to make any of my siblings take a look at my stories.

One of the reasons why no one’s really pushed to do editing is because that would be weird! When I think of editing one of my sister’s stories- someone I know and I’ve lived with a long time- I shudder. I know her writing is very good and deserves to be published and read, I just don’t like the idea of reading. And I got to wondering today why that is. The simple answer is that it would be strange reading something she’s written, and that brings up another question: Why that?

I figured out the answer pretty quickly. That is: reading my sister’s story will be like stepping into her head, into worlds that she’s invented. And reading something written by someone I know well- not just my siblings- would be like going into a world I might almost know but not well enough. It will be very confusing.

But it still makes a point I’ve never exactly thought of. I’ve mentioned before how one imagines worlds and creates galaxies and all that. But I’ve never imagined how reading a book really is like stepping into someone’s head and something that they’ve imagined. You’re going into a secret area of their mind that’s so unlike anything that you’re likely to experience- it won’t be like getting them to talk about something personal; stories are an invention, or hearing about something they dreamt about; that’s subconscious, or getting them to babble out whatever comes into their head; that’s silly.

It’s something that they’ve literally come up with that may or may not have any connection to their own life or thoughts, that will reveal perspectives you’ve never imagined possible, that may have started off from some simple observation or experience or interest, or maybe showing a whole new personality you never knew existed.

Reading a story, especially reading one of my sibling’s story, will be interesting- because stories show just how amazing the human brain and imagination is. One forgets how much is needed to keep you going, not just in the brain itself, but writing- or painting- kind of shows a small glimpse of how well one’s brain can work, even when the finished product isn’t as good as it could be.

This sort of invention, which I attribute to writing in this post but can apply for several other things- though not many- is delicate. Writing is delicate. It’s been thought out, started off from something small- or possibly only a glimpse of something big, and it’s had to go through trials of the heart and soul and body, following that- well, I’m sure anyone who’s a writer, especially published, will know what your story has had to go through to finally become what it is.

So, I guess what I am trying to say here is, I really appreciate writing and books and everything that goes into it. Sometimes you have to stop and realize just how amazing it is, and what it signifies, from the thing you see on the shelves to all the workings behind it, all the people who have put their lives into something they’ve invented, and to the writer, showing a strange chamber of their minds to the world.

What’s so funny about it is that, as a writer, I’m doing exactly what I’ve described. With all my stories, I’m penning down a very different side to my thinking. But you just don’t think about it. I love to write. I don’t think about how I’m allowing a small portion of my mind and imagination to be put down into chapters and characters.

I just do it because I like it. And I guess that’s the best and strangest thing about it.

 

 

Show, Don’t Tell

Lynette Noni

This seriously awesome “cheat sheet” popped up in my Facebook and Twitter feed the other day and it’s simply too good not to share. It originated from a website called Writers Write:

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2015/01/img_6212.png As writers, we’re often told how important it is to “show, don’t tell” with our words. The funny thing is, it can be easier to write “tell” rather than “show”, but it’s waaaay better to READ “show” than it is to read “tell”. And really, as someone who spends a lot of time reading, I kinda hate it when I read writing that does more telling than showing, because it almost makes me feel dumb, you know? It sends the message that the writer thinks that to get their story across then they have to describe everything to the point that there’s no room left for my imagination to enjoy the creativity of filling in any gaps…

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Show, Don’t Tell

It’s really too bad I’m not a writer from the last century or so. I read a lot of older books and learned how to write from them, so I’m not aware of the new ‘rules’. For instance, it’s very popular to write from a point of view (first person, I think, though I always get them mixed up) which I find exceptionally uncomfortable, both to write and read. I know, in order to get anything published, I might have to compromise my preferences, but in that case I really don’t look forward to it, and rather, I hope to be the odd person out that writes in the other point of view.

But one of the ‘rules’ of more recent writing is to show someone’s emotion rather than simply say what that emotion is. (instead of: “He was furious” you say: “His face was contorted into a grimace similar to a gargoyle”)

I can certainly understand this rule. Interestingly enough I think I write both showing and telling. Sometimes I find that saying the emotion can give depth to a sentence, especially a sentence where the emphasis is somewhere else and the emotion is only a reaction. I always imagined it as a way of saying what that person was thinking, not as what his thoughts did to his physical appearance. However, as I said, I can understand this rule, and the reasons behind it. Showing an emotion rather than saying what it is might keep the reader in the mood, whereas saying it would be like a wobbly wall, a kind of irritating reminder that you’re only experiencing fiction.

Anyway, I’ve given it a try with a practically random paragraph from my Hadrell’s Region. I’ll go ahead and try it with a few other paragraphs. As I said earlier, I tend to do a bit of both showing and telling an emotion, but I found it surprisingly difficult to rearrange this paragraph. Here it is:

The Original: “The man, without paying attention to this sarcastic remark, pulled out a picture from the file in his hand and gave it to him. Arend looked at the picture without interest, only recognizing the Woman that he’d already seen twice before. The Woman he’d labelled in his mind as Danger.”

Reprised: “The man, without paying attention to this sarcastic remark, pulled out a picture from the file in his hand and gave it to him. The picture was of the Woman, whom he had seen twice before and only knew her as Danger. Arend merely glanced at it and handed it back.”

Okay, so that was actually a very small change, but it was the first in my attempt to write my story with these rules. From what I’ve heard there are a lot of other strange rules. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Getting Carried Away

I realized earlier that it’s been about a week since I last posted something. I think a lot of people can sympathize with me when I say: it’s annoying when life gets away with you. This last week happened to be especially crazy- but that’s just life! Crazy weeks are not those random, ugly items in stores that are never bought, and only when they’re piled up in the clearance section are they at all tempting. Crazy weeks- or days or whatever the case may be- is just life. And- essentially- life is something that barges in on your normal existence and drags you out to do it’s bidding.

At least that’s what it’s like to be a writer. I’m busy imagining new stories and creating worlds and separating characteristics. For me, I tend to think of my life as being whatever I’m writing (obviously with other exceptions) and so it’s quite confusing when normal life intrudes. It’s so easy being selfish!

So anyway- yes, I need to figure out how to balance normal life with my writing life. I wish I could come up with some brilliant solution to this problem, and I wish all those conferences and books and things that are supposed to help you balance your life with your career (whatever that may be) worked. But, frankly, the solution to this problem is clear and you don’t need books or conferences. Basically: you have to make sure you do normal life, and you have to push to do your career. As it so happens, this time I didn’t get to my blog until today- when it’s practically tomorrow and (no offence intended) I’d rather be editing my story. Ah, normal life.

Of course a part of the reason why I haven’t come here sooner is because I couldn’t figure out what to talk about. Now something has come up, and it conveniently has to do with the subject I’ve already covered- life.

As the title of this post implies, I can get carried away, and the subject is about being carried away. I’ve already talked about getting carried away by the craziness and confusion and weariness of normal life- it’s amazing what 2 days of babysitting will do, followed by financial disappointments and then a day when I can do whatever I want (meaning I more or less don’t do anything at all). Now I will talk about getting carried away with my writing life, which- as any writer can understand- is entirely possible. In fact it’s so easy to be carried away by writing life, on so many different levels, that it’s ridiculous!

In this case, I fell for the all too convincing notion that a few simple ideas for a story make up the story entirely. Often my case is that I have a scene or atmosphere or idea in my head, that eventually connect to other ideas or scenes or atmospheres, and they connect to other things and characters and names come up and then you think you’re ready for your next Camp NaNo story. That’s not true at all!

I have a storyline in my head. Yes, it’s gone as far as that. It’s not just an idea of scene anymore- it’s a storyline, a sketch. And in a way I feel that I’ve covered the most important ground. But I need a plot! If I start writing now, without a plot- at least without anything more than a typical, uninteresting plot- then this novel I have in mind won’t go anywhere.

So, that’s a problem I have to deal with. And suddenly it’s kind of scary. The story I have in mind so far is interesting enough, realizing I still need to add something to it that’s quite essential is a little frightening. I feel as though I’m working on a painting, just the basics, and it looks perfect. But I need to add stuff to it to make it the masterpiece it could be- it won’t be extraordinary until it’s not just perfect but also complete. But if I add the wrong things- it could be ruined, at least for me.

So I guess what I have to say is this: be careful of being carried away, whether it’s in normal life or in writing life. Admittedly it can be fun. There’s nothing so exciting as having new ideas connect to your theory and putting in some amazing revelation, and then coming up with interesting characters to experience all of this- all before you even come up with an actual plot!

I often get e-mails from Writer’s Digest offering various classes. Sometimes they have classes for creating plots. Unfortunately I have to admit I am foolish enough to wonder how anyone would need a class for such a thing, something that’s essential for writing. Right at the moment, I think I want to take one of those classes!

So… back to finding a plot…