Terrytown's Library

Terrytown's Library
Raised in Terrytown, Louisiana

Friday, July 20, 2012

Writing Day

Today I decided to treat myself with a writing day.  I'm at a Starbucks in Buckhead writing, though I started a story in Barnes and Nobles and I'm excited about the characters.  I believe that every artist should make time for a special all day retreat or even a half a day retreat.  A retreat allows you to retreat inside of your writing or your art where nothing can bother you or worry you.  I don't do these too often, but I do believe that they help inspire your art.

When I'm on a retreat I like to use writing prompts.  Sometimes they are prompts I find online, other times I'll search out books of prompts and sometimes I like to make up my own prompts.  When I plan   a writer's day, I try to come up with things to write about.  That never works.  I usually find things to write about while I'm writing.  I get my ides through writing.  It's a challenge for me to write from an idea, but I can write from writing prompts.  For some reason, visual writing prompts are challenging.  The point is that we all need to take a day or as much as we can and spend time with our art.  For me, writing fiction is why I'm in school to earn my MFA degree, to focus on my fiction writing career.

Today's prompt, which I posted on my facebook page, Writing Community, is to use this picture to inspire a short story or a scene.  Mostly, have fun with it.  Andy Rooney said, about how to get ideas for writing, you damn well sit down and decide to have an idea.  Ever since I read that, I've had ideas and I realize that it's not ideas that are hard to come by,  it's figure out how to shape them into something. Have fun writing.  I will. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Graduate Student: Post First Residency

As a graduate student, I'm learning exactly what is involved in rewriting and revising a short story.  It's not just rewriting and rewriting.  You have to figure out what your characters want, and what are they doing to achieve their deepest desire? Are they even working towards what they want? If not, why not? You need scenes to demonstrate what they want, what they're doing to achieve their goals.  Who are these people that want whatever they want.  And you rewrite and rewrite.

Before applying to graduate school, I didn't fully understand other writers, published ones, when they said they go through 10 to 20 or more drafts.  I thought they were exaggerating, but they weren't.  It is best to take a break between drafts and maybe work on something new.  It's a piece of advice I'm going to start taking.

Something else that I'm going to do is to take notes on each draft that I write.  I think taking notes will help me out a great deal.  My notes will allow me to see what is and isn't in my stories.

For me, graduate school has given me the confidence that I never would have gained had I not taken the chance and applied.  And I am so grateful that I got in.  I still can't believe that my stories were good enough to be excepted into two schools.  I'm at the University of Tampa and I'm doing my best to prove that I'm worthy to be a graduate student in the MFA program.  I am so excited.