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Archive for January, 2015

Organizing a Novel (That is Half-Written)

January 25, 2015 Leave a comment

As part of the generation that uses online search engines for many things, I took to the internet in search of some help.

Help doing what, you ask?

You see, I have this half-written novel that I have been working on and dreaming about for a while now. My dad took a pass through recently to find any bugs (misspellings, inconsistencies, etc). He was also supposed to offer advice on where characters need to grow, how to advance the plot to the ultimate ending, etc.

My dad is a voracious writer and he has read many a novel, so I expected plenty of criticism. Criticism did not come. Instead he told me he enjoyed it and got hooked.

Ego boost, truly.

What about the missing scenes? The poor transitions? Where do I need to add? Where do I need to take away?

We discussed several of these issues prior to him reading the draft because I am well aware there are missing scenes and missing transitions to make the story coherent.

Alas, here I am with a half-written novel and no idea on how to organize it.

Here is the issue: I started the novel as a short story.

The short story became a small novelette.

Trusted readers (friends, family) read it and suggested it was too “big” to stay a short story or novelette.

I agreed…I enjoyed the story too much and it had grown into more than a small idea. So, I wrote more.

Unfortunately, when I write fiction, planning is my detriment (writer’s block seizes me hard when a plan is in place). Oddly enough, I do not have this problem with non-fiction (academic or otherwise).

Anyhow, I do not have an outline. I have half a novel haphazardly pieced together, scene next to scene in a somewhat sensible order.

The hardest part? The internet has nothing to give me.

Most of the articles i could find pertained to organizing and planning a novel BEFORE it is partially written.

The most promising I could find was the first option when I put it in the search engine: an article from Writers Digest. Even this assumes that the end result be an outline.

Some of the tips are useful, however. Especially the parts about filling in the gaps (of which I have many).

Any help the world of writers can provide would be more than appreciated.

I am going to try anyway, without much direction as it is.

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Why Aren’t Short Stories More Popular?

January 22, 2015 Leave a comment

My writing thought of the day.

Short stories are enjoyable to write. However, good guides on writing short stories are hard to find. I did a quick search online and didn’t find any “how to” or “tip” pages that I found worth sharing. Part of this stems from the seemingly difficult way of explaining how short stories are, in fact, different from novels. (And boy, are they different).

I suppose the best way to figure out “how to” write a short story is to continue to read them. Only recently did I become interested in reading short stories from my preferred fiction genre (science fiction). Previous to that, I read plenty of short stories. I am a strong believer that the best American literature can be found in short story form. I believe it so much that I have more short story collections in my room than American classics in novel form. I even gifted my brother’s foreign girlfriend two short story collections after she told me she did not like American literature.

However, short stories are no longer as popular as novels. At least, it appears that way to me. When I ask people what they are reading, they never tell me they are reading a short story collection or they recently read a great short story by so-and-so. No! It is always about novel-length works.

Why aren’t short stories more popular?

I love them. A short story by Tolstoy is what introduced me to the fantastic world of Russian literature (and now I am addicted to Dostoevsky). A short story by Raymond Carver inspired me to put more into my short story writing during college.

Short stories are excellent, neatly packaged pieces of prose.

Why aren’t they more popular?

Rest in Peace, Dear Freya

January 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Losing a four-legged love crushes the heart, but the memories of a life shared lift the chin to the stars.

Categories: health, life Tags: , , ,

Freelancing Mistakes

January 19, 2015 3 comments

Since deciding I want to get into freelance writing at least part-time, I have been reading everything I can land my eyes on about freelancing. I have joined a couple freelance websites. I have worked on being more present online (something that meant little to me before I realized I needed to market myself in some way).

I have not landed a job yet, but I am working on figuring out my niche. When I found the below article on FlexJobs, it reminds me that not every job should be accepted, so matter how eager I am. So, with that, I will keep my eye out for jobs that interest me, and, when the time comes, I will accept those that make the most sense for me.

Here is the article: 11 Mistakes All First-Time Freelancers Make – FlexJobs

I would love to hear other people’s freelancing experiences: the good, the bad, the downright confusing. Anything.

Closing Your Eyes = Better Recall?

January 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Interesting article from Daily Science about whether or not closing your eyes helps you recall information.

I have never been one to close my eyes to think and try to remember (except during hard tests!), but I do remember a mentor of mine who did it pretty often. I always wondered why he did it during conversations, but now I understand! He held so much knowledge up there and what better way to recall it than relax, close your eyes, and “see” visuals, be it something you read or something you saw, etc.

Maybe next time I am struggling to recall something “on the tip of my tongue,” I will close my eyes and see what comes of it.

SciFi Short of the Day: 01/17/15

January 17, 2015 Leave a comment

From Clarkeworld come a funny SciFi short brought to us from the POV of an AI contemplating human ethics and his role in helping. “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer is available to both read and listen to. Check it out. If you are in the mood for something both science fiction and humor, this is the short story to read.

One of my favorite lines: “Fortunately, I already knew that humans violate their own ethical codes on an hourly basis.” Too true.

Biosecurity: As Seen from Inside a Plant

January 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Fascinating article about research done to figure out what exactly goes on inside a plant when it is under attack (by bugs, disease, etc.) Yet another example of the wonderful ways genetics shapes our world.