Terrytown's Library

Terrytown's Library
Raised in Terrytown, Louisiana

Monday, October 13, 2014

Each draft allows you to see things in the story that you didn't see in the previous drafts. This is the experience I'm having with the short story that I'm writing now. I feel like I've been rewriting it for ages. I can't believe that when I was younger I hated the process of rewriting. I'm re-visioning the story, which is pretty cool.

I've thought of rewriting stories I've written as an undergraduate. Everyone has that one story that they can't get away from. I had two stories,one written in my undergraduate years and the second written before I went to graduate school two years ago. The second one I was able to rewrite and use it for my thesis and improve upon it. I will continue to improve upon it. But the first story is a little more difficult for some reason. I might try to rewrite it.

I'm excited to be doing all of this writing, almost as much as I did when I was in graduate school meeting the monthly deadlines.

While I'm writing and rewriting short stories, I have a novel that I've started to write. I'm a little fearful of the novel while a lot of people are fearful of the short story. The novel has been bugging me to write it just like a character who continues to haunt you until you write her or his story. Right now my novel is a collection of connected short stories, but I hope to turn those stories into chapters. I'm so excited that I'm finally writing my Hurricane Katrina story.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reading Oates and Writing and rewriting My Stories

I've been reading and enjoying Joyce Carol Oates' short stories. Her stories are so diverse. The short story that has stayed with me is Heat. I like the way she continued to mention heat in her story. I like that she didn't tell the story straightforward. The narrator was a child who didn't know exactly what happened, but she imagined what happened to the twins, the subject of the short story. I always feel a connection with the characters in her short stories. Even with the husband in Panic. The husband felt jealous when his wife jumped into the backseat to shield their baby from possible gunfire from two boys on a bus waving a gun. I had to read it two times because it was hard to have sympathy for this guy. I'm glad I finished reading Panic. 

When I read Joyce Carol Oates I wonder how I can write stories that cause me to think about them long after I've finished reading them. My goal is always to be a better fiction writer. I am so glad that I have finally been able to write. I am in the process of rewriting my thesis and writing new stories for my thesis. There might be some stories that just won't be included in the completed form, but we'll see. I am excited about this idea for a novel that I have that I can't wait to start writing.

On my Facebook Writing Community Page I came up with the prompt; job search and or where we are right now in life. Job searching in the city. I think a good prompt is one that challenges you into coming up with new stories, new thoughts. Writing prompts allow you to get out of your own head and try new things in your writing. I have been told you should write stories about your life, but I believe that it's okay to stretch yourself to new lands. Research is a way of knowing.

Joyce Carol Oates is one of my writing heroes, especially in short stories. When I read a short story, I want to write my stories. I think, how can I write a story that's good, that can one day be published. And then I think how can I keep getting published once it happens. My only answer is to write as much as possible. Write everyday. Do writing practice. Write short story drafts. Writing chapter drafts. Write, read, write, read, write, read. That's the only way to get better, to go beyond what you thought your talents were. And get people to write and comment on your writing. I haven't done that in a while but I will, soon. It's all about finding trusted readers and doing the same for them.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I didn't expect writing to be harder when I graduated from the University of Tampa's Master of Fine Arts program. There were deadlines. Short stories and annotations had to be turned in at a certain time every month. It actually shouldn't have been a surprised. In December, when all of my assignments had been turned in, I found that I didn't write the way I did when I was trying to get assignments done. It's weird. I remember being able to write a draft in one day. But I'm glad that I'm finally working on a story and I'm learning to step back and figure out what's keeping the story from dragging.

One thing I have done is to write everyday, even if it's just in my journal. Even if I just brainstorm titles, characters, and first sentences. Though, I will admit that I usually only consider writing a draft an accomplishment. I have also decided to use the deadlines of literary magazines and short stories. But, I probably need to give myself deadlines. When do I want this draft done? When do I want the final draft done? Reading has helped a lot, along with keeping my eyes and ears open. I didn't think it was going to be that big of a transition going from writing stories for assignments and writing stories on my own for possible publication.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's been too long of a hiatus. It's July 2014 and I haven't posted anything since 2012 of July, that's going to change. I've been hooded and I will get my Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing this August from the University of Tampa. Second class to graduate from this MFA program. Awesome. I'm trying to keep writing without deadlines. I'm working on a few first drafts. We'll see how those go. I'm realizing how important that social media is. I'm going to continue talking about writing and reading. And I will continue to give writing prompts. I love writing prompts. I think they are the best way to get away from writer's block. I need to start promoting my blog.

I recently finished reading a teen book called Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy. The books is fast paced, the main character Nikki will infuriate you so much that you'll want to smack her and ask her what her problem is, but it's a great read. The question is, what do you do when you're so in love with a boy, (you eat, sleep, and dream him) that you can't even see that he's a criminal who is turning you into a criminal. That's this novel.

As a short story writer and reader, I'm usually promoting short stories, but every once in a while, I will read a novel. And this was a great read. Though, I'm not sure how I feel about the author making jail sound and look like summer camp for young adults who were a party to someone's death. I expected there to be some gloom in this part of the story. Almost like entering a dark room and not knowing how to get out.

The characters in this book felt like characters I'd like to get to know, especially the supporting characters. Sometimes I think they were the main reasons why I kept reading the book. I enjoyed the interaction between the main character and her friends. I liked the contrast when she had to go back home. Her mom didn't want her there, except as someone to entertain her friends.

I am so excited to be blogging again. I will be back with another writing prompt and possibly another review. Back to writing.