My heart grieves! The New Year is coming and the old one is so like it was in the days of depression, dare I say freaking similar ‘yes’ in the fact that people are being evicted from their homes and apartments. What makes it so gosh awful is that you have major corporations standing in Washington with their hands out and getting billions of dollars, and no one gives a hoot about a woman and her daughter living in a car, because they have no where else to go.
I am writing a story about older man reliving his experience through the great depression as a young boy, and this morning—so very early—I came across a blog with the story of these two. And the young girl is writing a daily event of what they are going through, and I ask myself what can I do to help, I live thousands of miles away from these two poor souls. All I can do is tell you of their plight.
Visit Blinky St. James Blog and experience what I am experiencing reading after reading about their situation and that sense of hopelessness. Not that they are hopeless, for I am sure that some good fortune will bless them, what I feel hopeless about is our government not extending a helping hand to these two. Blinky’s mom says in her blog that… http://we-need-a-new-beginning.blogspot.com/
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2008 Charities don't really treat the homeless or the needy with dignity unless there is a newscamera there. Every charity that we have been to has treated us like dirt. Like we are part of the drug addicts and alcholics. We are not. I am just a fifty two year old woman with a sixteen year old daughter who wants a job and a place to live. Unless the media is in front of most of these charities they really won't help you. Most people will only donate for tax write offs anyway. All the people we know have more or less distanced themselves from us because they act like being poor is contagious. They won't even offer us their couch to sleep on.
I came across this article on Best Selling Author Brandilyn Collins Blog. She will keep the public updated on their plight and has emailed Liz the mother of the young girl information on where to get funds. Pray for these two and visit Blinky’s and Liz’s blogs with tips, encouragement, anything you can do that might help them get back on their feet.
I’ve started today’s entry several times in my fruitless attempt of posting something that would seem well structure and stylish. Fortunately, reality woke me before I made some goofball statement of ignorance, as I pound the keys in hopes of presenting something of intelligence, and know now that cleverness comes only from those well versed. In my quest as both an aspiring writer and blogger, it is my hope to add something of benefit here, for those who also aspire to be more than what they are, be it writer, or poet. I came across several blogs that I thought would be of interest to those writing and hoping (like myself) to be published one day. Through one of the blogs I follow, I came across Michael Haytt’s “Advice to the First-Time Authors” here is a link to his blog:
During my quest, I came across Brandilyn Collins blog and her article/discussion on Voice Part 1: http://forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/2007/01/voice-part-1.html I created a link also shown under Part 2 below on this blog. Her archives list a multitude of articles on the craft of writing, and I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy Writing!
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This is week 8 and I’ve meandered the internet halls wasting a good portion of the morning, when I should have been writing, but seriously, that is what happens when we avoid what we should be doing.
This coming week, Sweet Hearts of The Rodeo will be active once again having taken off the week of Christmas, oh, by the way our dear co-leader (who is a sweetheart but a serious taskmaster) has set a rigorous schedule. Our quest is to listen to lectures 3 and 4 of Robert Olen Butler’s session, then comment on what we have gained as he continues to write a short story online. I have yet to listen to the Butler’s lecture, but I have chosen a few historic postcards to write my thousand-word story or rather the beginnings of one. Out of my historic postcard search, I have chosen five possibilities the first is four young ladies resting on a mountainous ravine and the caption reads, “Have just heard the news (? I leave a question mark for I’m not sure what the word is but will call it news,) Accept congratulations from the girls you left behind.” The second image is a mental institution or rather as stated the west wing of Bryce’s Hospital for the Insane, the hospital is vast, so undoubtedly at the turn of the twentieth of century there was a multitude of insane people, no captions, but an imposing looking place just the same. The third is a Negro Shack and as I stare at the images of the man in his Bowler hat looking quite the dandy and she in her white dress to the ankles and the round brimmed hat upon her head along with a ribbon tied around it, I can’t help but wonder how they stayed warm, the shack is of log and presumably quite breezy considering the large caps between each. I’ll not mention the other two for they are simple images in comparisons of a house and a train station with little flare.
Questions that come to mind, as I stare at the postcards deciding which one I should choose is what is on the people mind as they stared into the camera? The young girls are saddened perhaps; maybe it’s that a fifth girl should have been part of the group sitting there with them, but she is on her honeymoon with the beau they didn’t capture.
Now my quest is choose one postcard and enter the dream state, the zone as Butler calls it to write from the unconscious, and never willing the words to come. I have a choice of using a story that I am already working or start the beginnings of a new story. I don’t think I’ll use the one in process, for I hope it to be either the beginnings of a novel or a very long short story.
If you plan to publish a novel or a short story one day, then be prepared, there is always the possibility of a negative review, the “real world” can be very critical. Critics are everywhere, your family, and your friends and your next-door neighbor the list is endless, but what do they know about writing? Most of the time they will not tell you the truth about your writing, they don’t want to hurt your feelings and then have you mad at them for the rest of your life. Pray tell, no. This is where a writing group comes in. First let’s get to what can be considered the down side; you posted your very best story to the group, or an online group like the one I belong too, for an honest critique. You sit back and wait for the results, and you think this is the best of the best they’re going to fall all over themselves praising it…then reality hits you upside the head. It isn’t the best they have ever read, you’ve got potential, but your story lacks substance, the pacing is to slow, there isn’t enough subtext or description in the story. You are flabbergasted, all the hours you spent on the story, all of your hopes and dreams of being published on the onset just got flushed down the drain. That’s reality.
Don’t go getting stressed out and thinking the world of writing has just ended for you, it hasn’t. There is nothing to say that you won’t get a positive review, but as upcoming and a wanna-be writer, I’d say the odds of getting a good review right off the bat is almost next to none. You have to study the craft of writing, for some like me it’s been a long haul down a never-ending road, and I doubt the learning process will ever end. As far as a negative review is concern, there is always value that can be gained from one. Trust me, you wouldn’t want your group gushing over every little thing you write, and if they do, you can bet your sweet-bippy something is definitely wrong, for in the real world it doesn’t happen like that.
Just recently, my group The Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo reviewed an interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx and she said that she is still learning the craft and that she takes a scalpel to her own work in rewriting and she writes as many as 20 to 30 drafts of each story. “And I thought, thank God there is hope for me after all.”
As I mentioned previously that is the benefit of a writing group, is studying the craft, for there are many rules for the beginner to learn. There is much knowledge to gain through discussion, reviewing each other’s work, writing prompts and exercises.
Let’s say you going to post a short story or the beginning of a novel to the group and you want the group to critique what you have, first off know what it is you want from the group. Do you want them to do a LBL (line-by-line) or do you have specific details you want answers to, list those questions at the top of the page or ask the group, if it’s not online. In my humble opinion, a good critique whether it has some negative comments or not can give you valuable insight into your writing.
I’ll end my comments here for the time being and give you a link to Donald Maass Literary Agency and a novel he is giving away titled “The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success” you can download it from his website in PDF form. http://www.maassagency.com/books.html
And another author friend that emerged from Persist and Publish is Sylvia Dickey Smith and you can read and interview with her at Why Writer’s Should Blog or go to her blog at http://sylviadickeysmith.blogspot.com/
Ah, you would think I would be published lingering with such noted authors as these and one day I shall along with their help and others like them at Writers University…come join us.
I’d like to take you on a visit to our group in words and what value you get from belonging to a writers group.
Over the last 7 weeks, the group has actively studied the written words of famous Short Story writers as…
Robert Olen Butler: “The Ironworkers Hayride,” “The Grotto,” “The Twins”
Ann Proulx: “The Half-Skinned Steer”
ArynKyle: “Nine,” “Foaling Season,” “Allegiance”
In the process, our group’s moderator (co-leader) has developed exercises for the group to write, post, and review each other’s work.
What I have gained from studying, participating in this group is a strengthening in my writing. As you, learn to analyze theme, setting, and characterization of such notables and how they utilize the events they write about, you are able to intensive your own characters perspective. During the first week, we followed Robert Olen Butler’s lecture at Florida State University his “Inside Creative Writing” site, as he writes a first person narrative from a postcard. What struck most of the group’s thought and what we found interesting was how Butler reviews his work as it develops (revising his works he goes) and I too have found this useful and added it to my own writing thereby making the process easier for me.
Afterward during the next week group session, our co-leader posted an exercise for the group to write a 1,000-word story from a postcard or picture. It gave this member a completely new out look, for I look at a postcard/ picture with a different set of eyes now and see what possibilities there maybe for a story.
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I belong to this fantastic writer’s group called Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo and the group can be found at Writers University, which I have been a lifelong member since the late 90’s.
This is an intense study group that involves the reading and discussion of short stories as well as articles and books on craft. It is not for beginners. The focus is on literary and mainstream short stories, and the work requires a commitment of many hours a week. Word count is 1,500 to 6,500.