Irony

Sometimes you just have to laugh at life.

No sooner did I (finally) accept the reality that I am a writer, but within a week my professional writing job with InRetro came to an unexpected end.  A business decision that I totally understand, but nonetheless the loss after just celebrating my two year anniversary is difficult.

“Waiter!  Pity Party, table for one…”

No, seriously…it’s tough, but it’s not the end of the world. It is what it is, and just all the more reason to dive into my creative endeavours with renewed vigour.

And to that effect, I formally submitted my first short story to Daily Science Fiction which will take about three or four weeks before I hear back, and just the other night I was commissioned online for a (secret) crochet project which I’m really very excited about!

I don’t consider myself an eternal optimist, but I can’t deny that there’s an upside to everything, the key is not to wallow; just gather what you’ve learned and accept that it’s time to move on to new opportunities.

Advertisements

An Anniversary with a Touch of Enlightenment

All's_well_that_inks_wellSo, yesterday I started getting some notifications from people commenting on my LinkedIn profile.  I had no idea why people were saying “congratulations” to me, as far I know I really haven’t done anything to achieve any sort of praise.

It turns out that yesterday was my two year anniversary writing my column for InRetro Magazine/InRetro Radio.

It got me to thinking.  When I first started writing the column, I was so unsure of myself.  For the first ten submissions I had my husband review, critique and advise because I was so insecure about the format, flow and presentation.  I hadn’t written anything in the previous two years so, let me tell you, I did have some difficulties, especially in writing something longer than a sound bite.

But over the course of the last two years, I took my husband’s criticism to heart (in a very positive way) and have worked to make my writing better.  I may not be a great writer, but I now know I am a ‘good enough’ writer.

When I first moved to the States – almost 5 years ago – my biggest trouble was finding personal worth.  I had left a job I loved and entered into the realm of unemployment.  So, when I started my column it was a struggle when people asked me ‘what do you do?’  For so long I said that I’m looking for ‘meaningful’ work (my less depressing way of saying unemployed).  Even after I started writing, I never felt like I could say I was a writer.  I kept trying it out as my answer, but I felt like a liar even thinking it.  How dare I presume to call myself a writer?

But the truth is I’ve always been a writer.

A big part of my job in politics and in government was writing.  I wrote what to say, I revised and re-worked speeches, press releases, letters; I wrote policy proposals, reports, not to mention thousands of emails…just about everything I did was writing.

And after all this time, I find I’ve been selling myself short…

So I will keep at it, and keep getting better, knowing that this is what I’ve always done and will continue to do.

That being said – as I enter into the realm of science fiction/fantasy – I just wrote my first short story (well, first since it was required in school), and after another round or two of edits, I will submit it to Daily Science Fiction and see what happens.

It’s time to truly dive in.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Photo Credit: All’s well that inks well (modified) via (CC BY 2.0)

 

Serendipity & Writing

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe other night I was having a random conversation with my husband and I said something that was only meant to be silly, but then POOF – it became a fantastic story world idea!

So, all of the other stories I’m working on (all of which were put aside for more reflection anyway) are on hold while I develop the new world I’ve envisioned.

In other words –SQUIRREL!

I’ve even got a couple of characters already dancing around in my head.  The basic story world has a definite Terry Pratchett-esque feel to it, but I’m okay with that because it’s plenty far from being the same.  And there is, incidentally, a great potential for a series in it, too!  I’m pretty psyched!

One of the best feelings for me when developing a story are the points of serendipity that occur that reinforce the idea that you are on the ‘right track’.

With that in mind I came across – via social media – some sage advice from the late, great Ray Bradbury:

It’s the lack of pretension that draws me to authors like him.  For me, a true artist just follows their dreams.  Too often wannabe artists try to attach deep meaning to everything they do and as soon as they’ve done that I’m turned off.

So, what better advice for an aspiring author than to just enjoy what you do and to follow the road where your writing takes you because you will always be surprised.


Photo Credit: Ko Chang Long Beach Road (modified) via (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 

 

Making Characters Real

world-227747_1280_editLately I’ve been reading Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction: How to Create Out-of-This World Novels and Short Stories to help get my creative juices flowing.

There’s some useful information in there for anyone who is interested, sometimes to the point of completely taking the mystery out some books or shows.  Which, on the one hand, is helpful for the budding author, but on the other makes me feel like I’ve been totally oblivious in my watching / reading.

(Another link that does that to me is the Fantasy Name Generator – clearly a number of the authors I like use it.  I guess since I like playing with it, too, I must at least be on right track).

Back to the book.

One piece of advice was with regard to character building.  Now, one of my biggest concerns with my own writing is creating characters who are too one-dimensional, and therefore not “real” enough.  How do I make a multi-dimensional character, how do I make a real person?

The answer: Horoscopes.

Apparently, other authors have been known to use astrological charts to help develop their characters.  I have no idea why this didn’t immediately occur to me.  It’s not like I didn’t spend a lot of my teenage years vainly reading up on astrology (well – let’s be honest – compatibility…and, well into my twenties…anyway…).  And now I find it wasn’t a complete waste of time after all!?

Clearly, others have figured this out already.  But for me it was one of those fish-slap in the face moments – what you might call an epiphany in others…but since I felt really stupid for not figuring it out on my own, I’m going to stick with fish-slap.

Just goes to show you that everything you’ve ever read or done – no matter how silly – could actually provide the keys to a great story.

Happy Writing!


Photo Credit: geralt (modified) via (CC0 1.0)