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A Different Side to My Life

Well, Camp NaNoWriMo is over, which actually means a lot of things. First of all, I made my goal for my story, which is technically not much of an accomplishment. I had to reduce the word count by 10,000 because I wasn’t going to make it (in other words I cheated) and I didn’t finish my story (not a first-time). Hopefully I’ll go on with it too, because I was enjoying it, even if it’s a pretty tough exercise. I write science-fiction, that’s where I’m comfortable. So, I decided to write a fairy tale, and I’m really enjoying it, but- wow- it is a change!

Now, the significance of Camp NaNo ending is that writing is a big part of my life and, I hope, some day, it will be a career, which is why I was not working on a different side of my life until April was over. Now, I will be concentrating on the other side of my life for a while, and hopefully that won’t let me stop my writing of Ion’s Way– my latest story.

Now, I’ve already given a slight introduction to the other side of my life- that is my Etsy shop. I’m taking my sewing career very seriously- really, I am, even if there are only about 4 things on my shop!

One of the things I’ve had to put off until now is a blog that I am co-writing with my sisters, who also have Etsy shops. This blog, entitled Ribbons in Our Hair, will be focusing more upon our Etsy life, our creative endeavors and probably everything else. I’m definitely hoping to be able to get to know some of the people I hope to sell to, and talk more in detail about what I make!

So please go ahead and check it out! And, especially if you know anyone who’s interested, tell them about it!

Here’s a link to our blog: https://ribbonsinourhair.wordpress.com/

And, just in case anyone is interested in checking out our individual Etsy shops, here is my elder sister (Abigail’s) Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRaisinFairy

My other sister (Hannah) Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Annavania

And my own Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SallySewing

Have fun looking around!

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777 Challenge and Life

Life has been crazy lately. Okay, I think I’ve probably said that- or thought about starting a blog post that way- several times before. I guess it’s my overly-apologetic nature coming through and I’m pretending it’s not coming through- because it’s not a good idea to be overly-apologetic. Also, life being crazy is such a good excuse for the fact that I haven’t posted here, nor have I written much pretty much since November. And, of course, saying life is crazy is such a good excuse- no, an explanation- for what happens to your plans.

I remember clearly thinking I might get something published and going full throttle into my writing career. Well, I am not going to give up my plans for writing, but I can’t go full throttle at the moment- the moment being a few months. And actually it humiliates me to have to admit it, because I thought I might get somewhere, but I’ve come to realize I can’t go full throttle until I know what I’m doing.

However, as I’ve said, I’m going to keep writing- the best thing I can do- in between sewing and trying to sell on Etsy. So far I haven’t been able to do much, or really divide my mind to be able to write and sew, publish and sell at the same time. However, today I received an e-mail from a fellow writer (here’s a link to her blog: http://lynettenoni.com/) that kind of helped remind me of the happy writer life’s existence.

Apparently there’s a challenge going around to go to the 7th page of your current story, find the 7th line and post the next 7 lines in a blog post, as well as share this challenge with 7 other bloggers (which will be interesting because I’m so horrible at any kind of socializing). I don’t have a work-in-progress technically (okay, I guess I haven’t edited it yet) but I will share it here and I hope it makes sense:

“Team,” Jeremy muttered stupidly, “No, I’m not on any kind of team. I came here to see if you’d headed out. There’s a way out we know of that’s pretty secretive. I think we’d be able to get away safely.”

The man glanced Mark and Fanny’s way, evidently still confused by Jeremy’s appearance, but there was a relieved look on his face. He carefully edged to the door and asked, “Is it quick? Is it close to here?”

Apparently taking that as an indication that the man would take his suggestion, Jeremy simply nodded- now fully appreciating the need for silence and speed- turned and left.

February in Review

Well, I said I would do a review of what I’ve done in the past month, and I’m going to keep to it. However, I am extremely sorry to admit that I really haven’t done much. In fact the whole thing has dwindled so much in so many respects that it’s almost pointless to have any sort of review of February. However, I said I would do it for this very reason: to be sure I would do something along my career as an author, while being completely aware that just such a post as this one would have to be done.

Instead of talking about what I didn’t do in February, sense that would make a very dull post, I’ll talk about other things. For instance, my natural reaction is to try to give some sort of explanation as to why I haven’t done anything, knowing- or feeling- fully that I should’ve had some novel published already. But I won’t bore anyone with explanations, because it would take a very, very long time.

Most of the damage is done to myself. I feel that, sense I’ve started a blog all about writing, that means I have some sort of a certificate that I need to use right away, without giving any thought to it. However, I have to realize that, not only Felicity Prose, but also my whole writing career is more of a driver’s license- where I can go and do what I want, for a long term thing. So, I am slowly realizing I’m just the personality that needs to slow down and figure things out slowly.

I’m going to keep writing, sense that is one of the secrets to success- and I just love to write. However, one of the reasons why I have not done much in writing lately is that I need to focus on my Etsy career (more on that at some later post) and, without getting into it too much, life is too crazy for me at the moment. I am constantly amazed at the people who seem to have unpleasantly hectic lives and still manage to pursue crazy careers. It’s amazing, but I am not one of those people.

February was not completely writing-less, however. I have continued to edit a science-fiction and am nearer to fixing it’s fascinating plot holes (again, more on that later) and in a way I think this is the most important part about writing. I really need to find out more about publishing and all that, but- who knows, maybe some day it will be out there, and I’ve just taken one big step in getting it to being published.

Excerpt for a Story I Hope Doesn’t Get Published

With a sudden lack of imagination for what to say here- as well as getting over a flu- I am now kind of desperate to find a subject that won’t sound like I’m rambling, or else nonsensical. (I hope that sentence made sense)

In my last post I mentioned that I took a webinar on self-publishing. And one of the things they said was to keep writing, all the time. That seems pretty obvious (and possible). So I’ll be trying to work on some of these writing exercises I hear about.

Today I happened to glance at our messy bookshelf and misread the name of one our books. Well, as I said, I’m desperate to find something to talk about, and I came up with an idea. I’d write excerpts for the idea that came to mind when I misread the book. An exercise in imagination!

Also, as always, it’s an experiment to see how people react to my writing. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this, but my writing is notorious (in my own small circle) for being confusing and hard to follow, and my humor quite peculiar, so if anyone ever sees something that needs help, please speak up.

The original title was More Work for the Undertaker by Margery Allingham. It’s an amusing title, I suppose, but I never quite understood it and it doesn’t really roll off the tongue, which is probably why I misread it. So I read instead: More Work for the Undead and I see 2 possible storylines here. One of them is for the horror/fantasy genre and the other for comedy. Unfortunately comedy isn’t natural, so I don’t think I can come up with anything more than an image of a lazy zombie being told by his wife to clean up the basement.

Here’s the excerpt:

“Aaron stood up quickly, looking around. He’d definitely seen something- but it had been just far enough so that he couldn’t be sure of what it was.

There was no sound. No movement. There hadn’t been for so long…

Still. If there was something there- in the same room with him- he couldn’t afford to let it go. There was danger, constant danger, and he couldn’t let a threat- of any kind- through.

His whole life- the whole world- had changed only a few years ago. Maybe it had been twenty years ago. One day was much like the last- survival, fear, hunger. Especially hunger. There were some things essential to life: shelter and food. Shelter could easily come in the form of some overturned car. Food- that was entirely different.

Aaron prided himself in being dangerous. Give him chance to chase down prey and he’d be off without a second thought- and so, that’s why, with only a leaf-shifting amount of movement to go on, he immediately stood up to find out more.

But the years had been long. His joints were stiff, it was only a blind, raging determination that kept him going. His mind wandered off, even with this new possible danger- or meal- in mind, and he saw visions before his eyes.

Years before, when the world was large, before the change, Aaron had been here before. He remembered with almost enough amazement to waken his deadened thoughts that the rotting clothes on the rotting, half eaten mannequin had once been fashionable. He wondered vaguely what had happened to fashion, or clothes for that matter. Then he wondered why some idiot had eaten the mannequin- he knew it was a person, sense the remains looked too much like the remains of a real person. He soon realized it must have been an exceptionally desperate undead person- and with that realization, Aaron was brought back to the possible danger.

Desperate people, whether or not they were alive, were dangerous. It would be better if he just left this shelter, look for food elsewhere- which would be unlikely- rather than risk anyone desperate. Fortunately, anyone that dangerous would be easy to find.

Aaron looked around, every nerve as awake as the last few, wearying years would allow. Every sense in his weakened mind worked on their own, even after days and weeks and months of having nothing to do. He turned slowly around and around again, searching for any sign of danger.

There was nothing. There was such silence that…

He wished that there had been something now. At least some sign of life. Some movement. Any movement. But there was only complete silence, as there had been, as there always would be. Little wonder the mannequin was half eaten.

There!

Aaron turned again. He had seen something definite! A slight but definite movement. A part of the wall seemed to move- upwards, and with it was a strange creaking.

He slowly moved toward the wall, now curious. He studied it, waiting, but there was no other motion. But now he saw that it wasn’t a wall. It was- it was a flight of stairs of a kind. It used to move. It had moved. The last, wasted bit of electricity had trembled and fallen into its mechanics, taking years to do anything, and finally there was this slight movement, like the dwindling of a tune in a music box.

In an instant Aaron realized how stupid he’d been. He’d been in this old deserted place an hour or so- he should’ve realized sooner that there would be another level.

Aaron took another glance around, but he knew there was nothing here. That upper floor though…

He went up the escalator, being as quiet as possible. There was no telling what would be up there- it might be anything.

He reached the second floor and carefully walked along the wide hall, still careful of his surroundings, watching out for any movement. He studied everything, fascinated by the new shadows, the new possibilities.

This place felt different. It wasn’t still or dead. There was someone up here. He would search up here until he found them.

But he didn’t have to search for long. He turned a corner, went in to a dark enclosed area. And that’s when he saw it-

It was almost so good he would’ve smiled but those muscles had long been forgotten-

People. The fight wasn’t over yet. Here was something to do.”

January in Review

I am not the type of person who can look at a great expanse of the unknown, which generally separates me from some better field, and charge across to the other side. I like to think I can do that, that I’m a go-getter- but if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last strange year, it’s that I am really not the kind of person who can take hold of her future with a leaping, happy stride and go where I want with it, perfectly aware that it would help me and certainly be good for me to just go.

Now, in my comfort zone I am a go-getter. I can rush around happily where I know what I’m doing or what’s expected, and generally get something done. And fortunately my comfort zone has grown. I used to dislike-ish sewing, now I love to sew and can do it competently, and I am recently adding experimental sewing to what I do- including, most recently, embroidery (which I love) and beading (which I’m still not sure about). I also know how to play a few instruments, and want to learn more- and I’ve learned how I like to play and generally where I want to go. I’ve also learned that I like card-making, and don’t get me started on cooking!

The only reason why I brought up those ‘hobbies’, of course, is to reassure myself that I can actually do something well- or well enough. But when it comes to the future, the great expanse of the unknown- well, how in the world is that supposed to be a part of my comfort zone, when I don’t know what’s going to happen?! I mean- I love to write! That’s a part of my comfort zone, what I know– but when it comes to the great wide world of literary craziness, that’s such a different story, I don’t even recognize Writing anymore! It’s like someone dressed it up in impressive and impregnable armor!

So- the temptation is to just hide away again. Just let things be for a little while. Of course, there’s also the fact that life is hectic enough, and I’m getting so much information, I don’t think I should act until I’ve processed everything. But I really shouldn’t pretend the future isn’t there- and I have to do something about it. But one of the things I’m going to do to hopefully make sure I don’t get stuck in the mire of indecision is to do a month in review of my writing process.

So here’s a look at what I did in January: I’ve done some editing on a story I wrote in April last year, which is actually a longer time than I usually take to edit. I’ve started several times but unfortunately I will probably have to change a few plot twists, and I’m having trouble figuring that out.

I got a couple of books from the library, one about writing fundraising letters and the other about writing pitch letters. First of all, I’m not really interested in writing fundraising letters, but it was the closest I could find to copywriting, and of course now I will know about writing fundraising letters, in case the chance comes up. As to the pitch-writing book, I’ve found it helpful and both encouraging and daunting.

As to checking out copywriting possibilities, one of the important things about it is to have a portfolio, obviously. So I’ve made a list of the people I know who I may be able to help, and the most obvious one is my Mum, who has taken up Pampered Chef. While I still need to go a little farther on this possibility, I feel that I’ve made some headway, by taking lots of pictures of her products, and hopefully I’ll be able to start up a Facebook page and help her with advertising.

I listened- with my sister- to a webinar this Monday, which is technically February, but I felt like I may as well mention it. It was on Self-publishing, and provided by Writer’s Digest. I was going to mention who spoke, but I just deleted the e-mail and now I can’t find it. Among them was a lady who has been in the business for a while, and I felt rather naturally inclined toward her, sense she’s pretty much done what I am working toward. I was impressed by her because she seemed to be able to talk so easily, and that’s something that’s actually kind of important for a writer, to be able to talk, especially about your work. And I am really not good at talking!

I enjoyed the webinar a lot, and it seemed helpful, referencing things I should’ve known about. But it was a rather unpleasant reminder of how many steps it takes to get to publishing a story!

Anyway, that’s what I have done about writing in January. I would give a little outline of what I plan for February, but I’ve come to realize that it’s a bad idea for me to plan for something I have no control over. However, I will say that I will hopefully have gotten something done about the Pampered Chef project.

Here’s to hoping and praying February will go well for everyone!

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

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.