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I received an opportunity, and I’ve been worried about mentioning too much about it, in case it doesn’t turn out. At the same time, I really want to talk about it because I know it will help not only motivate me, but maybe I can get some suggestions. Without saying too much, I have a chance to write an essay that might end up being published in an actual book. It’s exciting, but since I’ve never written anything academic for publishing before, it’s new to me. I want to take up this opportunity, but I’m not really sure exactly how. First, I do have an outline (as you can see a bit of it on the photograph above) which helps me have an idea of what I’ll do. The big issue is that I need to read several books, so that way I can complete the essay. There are some aspects of the essay that I’ve already have, and all I need to do is revise it, and/or write it out. So I figure if I do those parts first, it would make me feel like I’ve already got part of the draft done. The tricky part is that I’m busy with graduate school. So I have to make sure that I get everything done for my classes, which is my first priority, and then work on this project. So far, I know that I need to schedule time to make sure I get stuff done that way I don’t rush on this project (even though it’s due some time in June). There is a bit of research that I still need to find that will add to the essay. I realize that mostly what I really need to do is read, and write till the draft is complete. Then there will be editing, and revising, but that’s later. Is there any other suggestions? I would really appreciate it.
Besides this, there hasn’t been much excitement. I haven’t written much creatively, besides a very short unpublished fanfic. I think it would be nice to get back into writing a bit more poetry. That way I can still get my creative juices flowing, in the meantime. Most of the writing so far, this year for me is academically, which makes sense right? I’m a bit stressed out with my classes, but trying my best to take them one step at a time. Plus I remind myself that this is where I’m suppose to be. There has been some reading for class that I’ve found interesting, and made me realize some aspects of my life that I hadn’t thought of before, which defines the life of an English major at least in my perspective. Relating to this month, series 3 of Sherlock ended (but luckily I have fanfiction and the cool Sherlock: The Network app [which is worth it’s price] to keep me at bay till the new series comes out some time in likely 2016), a few shows that I like have come back, so those are nice breaks for me in between the stresses of classes. Valentine’s Day was actually really enjoyable this year, even though I was single. This will make me sound like a dork, but I had a good time sharing Valentine’s Day images online, sending messages to friends of mine, listening to some poetry through The Love Book App, and hanging out with my best friend for a little while, in between all that was homework (which wasn’t as fun). I tried to remind myself, as well as others, that the day was about love, all kinds of love. It made me feel so much better to just enjoy the day. Plus I’m okay with not being in a relationship right now, it’s much easier and less drama. Sure it would be nice to have someone, especially when I get stressed out about classes, but I’ve got my friends and family so far they have been there for me always that means more to me than anything.
As many students might be already, I’m really looking forward to Spring Break (March 7-16). It sounds like my professors will actually give us a true break. So that should help, relating to the project that I’m working on, plus give me some time off from my classes. Nothing really exciting planned, but that’s all right. Some times it’s best to just relax, and enjoy what you have.
Additionally, I hope you can support my friends Caitlin and Liz on their great unique Kickstarter projects. Caitlin’s will be finishing in less than a day, so make sure you check it out as soon as you can. If you can’t donate, please share about it. You can find Caitlin’s Kickstarter here. My friend Liz’s Kickstarter (which you can find here) still has 23 days left to go, but I recommend sharing about it as much as you can, so she can get to her goal. They appreciate any support you can provide. I also would recommend checking out this awesome book trailer for the book, GILDED (written by Christina Farley). The book will be officially released March 1st, and I’m really excited for my friend Christina as well as her book.
Don’t forget that you’re loved always by God. Keep writing, and reading, and enjoying life.
Ah, fan-fiction… It’s something that I’m sure a lot of writers know about. How many actually admit to read, or even writing some of it? If you don’t know what it is, basically it is fiction written about characters already existing in some kind of media. It’s always interesting to imagine what stories we could come up with our favorite characters. Though I feel some times it can be seen as amateur. Some question the value of fan-fiction, especially since it’s not original work. Though I believe that it is important.
Fan-fiction might seem like a recent developement, but it isn’t. It has been done long before the invention of the internet, and some of it has been published. For an example, there are a lot of stories based on the character Sherlock Holmes, though the author who penned him originally has already passed way. Also how many Pride and Prejudice related books are published right now? I won’t even try to count. Plus there are tie-in novels for certain television shows, which could be like published fan-fiction as well.
So why would we feel that fan-fiction is amateur? I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s because we’re piggybacking on someone elses characters, and/or ideas? Though what is really original work? Since we’re part of the human condition, there really isn’t anything that is completely original. They are just shades of something that has been done before. Either way, authors have been split over what to do about fan-fiction since it multiplied with the internet. Some authors have tried to defend their copyright such as Anne Rice, while others like J.K. Rowling and Douglas Adams encourage fan-fiction writing. According to the Guardian, “Douglas Adams claimed that fanfic expanded his understanding of the parallel universes he’d created in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and that they increased his sales.” The Guardian mentioned in 2003, J.K. Rowling was “flattered people wanted to write their own stories” based on her characters, but on one condition – that they did not try to make money from their creations. Her stance was tested when fan/author George Lippert, wrote a continuation fic, James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing, based on the fictional son of Harry. According to the Guardian, “Rowling threatened legal action for infringement, but after much adverse press from fans she relented and allowed the publication to go ahead. Check out what Naomi Novik says about Fan-fiction being part of literary history in this video. She is a published author who has a passion for preserving fan-fiction online. Novik has worked with the Organization for Transformative Works to create an online archive for fanfic called An Archive of Our Own.
Though for fandoms, fan-fiction gives fans a way to explore the what ifs. It’s part of the community. As a fan of Harry Potter, I know how much the fandom really is important to keep the stories alive even after the last page of the book series. Though I’ve tried to write Harry Potter fan-fiction. I just couldn’t do it, but I liked looking around at other stories to see what fans would think up, especially now that the series is over. I have written more fan-fiction related to TV shows. It’s likely because that’s the fanfiction I read the most of. I try to write my own stories, as well as fan-fiction. With both, I’ve learned how to write, and how to improve in my writing. I can really see how much I’ve improved when I look at what I’ve written. I’ve always been interested in writing stories. I feel that fan-fiction helped bring an interest in writing a story, because I knew I could instantly publish and get feedback. It was something different from what had seen in school. I wish I had teachers who did the NaNoWriMo Young Writer Program when I was younger. I might have improved dramatically in my creative writing, as well as academically. Though I still had some great English teachers who inspired me to write, and recently some English professors too.
So what’s the point? Well, I believe that fan-fiction is a great way to experiment with writing. The world is already built, the characters are already introduced, and all you have to do is imagine the possiblies and write. There are plenty of writers willing to give feedback (especially on Fanfiction.net & An Archive of Our Own). Though don’t worry if you don’t get much feedback. A lot of people just like to read, but not comment. Be thankful for the comments you do receive, and the stats of how many people are reading your fan-fic. Though no matter what you do, original or fan fiction, it’s important to write, and have fun writing. That is the only way we can have a chance to explore, and let our voice be heard.
Another reason why I’m mentioning about this topic is because of my plans for Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I’ve tried to write an original novel last year in November. I completed an original novella in April during the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo. This time, I want to write a Doctor Who novella. There are so many BBC books published on the show. I’ve really fallen for the Doctor since 2011. Though I don’t believe that I’ll ever get a chance to write a script for the show, or write an official BBC published book. I thought I would would still try, for Camp NaNoWriMo, and in honor of the 50th Anniversary in November. Since I won’t be able to write much creatively in the fall, since I’ll be going to Grad School. I thought July would be a good time. Plus I want to do something fun before I start school up again. Though I love being an English major, I don’t really enjoy the stress of essays and papers. Anyways, I’m a bit nervous and excited about my Doctor Who story idea. I’m trying my best to plan ahead. I’ve even tried out the 30-day free trial of the writing program, Scrivener. So far, I think it’s amazing, especially with the help of some tutorial videos on YouTube. I hope I can receive it for my birthday (July 3rd), or some time soon. I believe it will be useful for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, as well as my writing for Grad School. This program has helped me so far figure out a basic outline of what I’ll be writing, and create character sketches.
What do you think of fan-fiction? Have any tips, advice, or suggestions about writing my Doctor Who story? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
Now who wouldn’t want to write about this adorable man, who loves to travel in a blue Police box (aka the TARDIS) through time and space?
April is over, and I was able to complete my goal. Not only did I complete my goal of writing 30,000 words in April during the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo, but I also finished writing my novella. It still needs revision, and editing, but at least I was able to write the beginning, middle and end. For me this is a great accomplishment. I’ve written short stories, and poems. I tried to write a novel last year in November, but I didn’t reach my goal in finishing the story, though hopefully some day I will. So what’s next? Well, it didn’t help that I got sick recently. I have sent my novella to some of my friends so I could get some feedback about it. I’m sure it will help me figure out what I need to work on to improve the story. I am planning to participate in the second session of Camp NaNoWriMo in July. Now through June, I will have to figure out what I’ll do then. I’m leaning towards writing a sequel novella, but I might try to write short stories, or another novella. I’m not trying to rule out trying to write a novel, but I want to make sure I have an idea that I can write as a novel. I’ve realized that it’s important to have a story that will fit the size, otherwise you’ll work too hard on writing to write more than what the story holds. Or it might mean that you need more research to write more. Every time you write, you learn more about writing, just as much as reading. It’s the process of writing that we are able to improve.
While writing a novella in April, I figured out a few things. It felt more comfortable writing with familiar setting. I’ve heard that it’s better to write stories from where you live, than trying to write a setting from a popular location, especially if you might not know it well. This goes well with writing what you know. Sure, it’s good to learn to find out things that you didn’t know. Which adds more to your stories. That’s why it’s important to read, non-fiction as well as fiction, to improve in your writing. I decided to write my novella with the literary genres of Mystery, and Romance. Which are genres I love reading, and watching, so it’s familiar to me as well. Though I didn’t know the end of the story at first, I was able to create a basic outline of where the story was going before I started, as well as while writing the novella. It kept me focused on where I wanted to go, but it wasn’t too outlined so I was still open to other possibilities that the story could go. Close to the end of the month of April, I figured out a basic outline for the end of the novella which helped tremendously because it reassured me that I could get to the end. I believe having the writing goal be a novella size, that I knew I could do, gave me an reassurance that I could do it. I was able to write a bit over 30,000 words in November last year. So I knew I could write at least 30,000 words again in a month. Plus it helps when you have the motivation from Camp NaNoWriMo, and writing buddies. I’m so glad that I had such great support for my writing.
Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I’ve gotten a chance to explore writing in a completely new way. I’m sure it’s just a snapshot of how authors feel every day when they write. I’ve decided writing is about being determined to tell a story. Inspiration helps, but we have to work on trying to read, and write as much as possible. If we don’t, then our skill begin to fade away. Only by keeping up with our skills, and learning, do we progress forward. I know that these learning experiences will help me not only in my writing in the future, but also during Grad School (which I’ll start in September).
Life is about stories, and that’s how we remember most of life. Those who write stories have many reasons why they do so, but we all want to tell stories. As long as we keep on writing, we can keep on exploring the great things about life, and complete the circle. After you win, you can’t stop. You have to keep going, growing, and never stop.
P.S. I recommend checking out the blog of The Office of Letters and Light (who organizes NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo) for great writing and revising advice.
It seems like most of my life, I’ve felt like I had a plan for every thing. Though not everything turned out as planned. So when I finally graduated college, I freaked out because I wasn’t ready, but most of all, I didn’t have a plan. Last year gave me a chance to explore finding a job, dealing with that job without having the additional pressure of classes at the same time, and as well as personally learning. I learned more about my Catholic faith, and about writing (especially experiencing for the first time NaNoWriMo). All this just seemed to happen, throughout the year without me planning or planning to much about it. I felt the only thing that I really planned was going to Ascendio, a Harry Potter conference, which was amazing but even that experience was nothing like I had expected, it was better. So I’ve wondered if it’s a good thing to plan or not. Society kind of expect us to plan, especially for the future. You can’t just decide to go to Grad School and go right away. You have to plan ahead of time to apply and make sure that all the requirements are ready before the due date. As Camp NaNoWriMo is arriving soon, the April session and later the July session, I’ve begun to try to plan out an idea of what I’ll do.
I’ve decided to write a detective style novella. Normally NaNoWriMo in November the word goal is 50, 000, but for Camp NaNoWriMo writers can choose their own writing goals below or above 50,000. You don’t even have to do a novel. It can be a script, poetry, blogging, or a set of short stories. I thought a novella, which is around and possibly above 30,000 words, would be a good option for me. For NaNoWriMo, last year, I was able to reach 37,042 words in 30 days. Then later I continued to write a bit more, and revise my story in the new year. Even though I haven’t finished my novel, especially revising, I still want to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo for both months… even more so because I won’t have much time to do NaNoWriMo in November, if I get accepted to Grad School in the Fall. I know I need to still work on my first novel, and I still will. Anyways, I feel that a novella would be a good goal for April. Then I’ll figure after what I’ll do for July.
The last few days before November began, last year, I made a decision to participate in NaNoWriMo. I had a bit of an idea of a story that wanted to write into a novel, where I wanted to go with it, and a bit about the characters. I tried to outline a bit, and figure out a bit more about my characters before I started the journey the first of November. Now that I reflect back on it, I wonder if planning a bit more would have helped me while I was rushing to write a much as possible during NaNoWriMo. So I began to think in the beginning of this month what I would do for Camp NaNoWriMo. Through the month, I decided the word count goal, and then I decided what type of story I wanted to write. As soon as I had these two things set, I could figure out what my main characters would be, and start making an outline of some plot points. Though I haven’t done the outline yet. I have figure out a bit about my main characters. Soon I’ll try to have a basic outline of what I might do. Some times it helps to write it out on a word document, and I learned about using NovaMind (the free version) last year as way to plan and figure out my characters. I don’t want anything really detailed because I want it more as a guide that way I’m open to what ever comes to mind during the month. Like I said before, some things that aren’t completely planned some times turn out better. I think that’s kind of who I am as a writer. I need to plan out something a bit, and then I can work on figuring every thing else out down the road.
A detective story was something that I felt like doing for a while, but I haven’t done really. The fanfics (that I’ve done for Castle and one for Sherlock) don’t really count as a detective story because they don’t focus on a certain case. I’m a writer that enjoys writing about characters and their interactions with each other. Though I do love reading stories that have both really interesting characters and plot. Since the beginning of college, I’ve been seeing a lot of procedurals (such as Castle, Bones, Unforgettable, Fringe, and BBC’s Sherlock). As I mentioned last week, I’ve gotten the Sherlock bug. Now I’m re-watch the show and finally reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve read some other mysteries as well. So I feel like I could write one of my own. Yet today, I started to look through the internet about how to write a novella, and especially how to write a detective/mystery novel. As I was looking around at a few sites, I took some notes down to give me an idea of what I need to plan and remember when I’m writing. It gives me a bit of a guideline as well. Though I know there isn’t any exact rules. I have to learn most of it on my own. I have to figure it out, and I will. It just helps me to have something to go on ahead of time before I jump into writing a story. Kind of like a springboard to launch me towards my goal.
I believe that my experience in November has helped me to figure out so many things about writing. It will also help me as I participate for Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. Though even with a lot of planning, I know it still won’t completely prepare me for the difficult moments that I’ll very likely to have during those months, but it will reassure me a bit. Plus I’ll have pep talks to read in my inbox, and cabin mates that I can chat with, via their website. Also I’ll have the South Texas Scribes (the local writers group in my area), and my friends to help me… well, as much as they are able to anyways.
So are you planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, have you done it before? If you have, what would you suggest to me and those who are participating for the first time? If you are planning to, no matter if you’re new or returning are you planning a bit of your story before you start or as they say in NaNoWriMo land, “Pantsing” (which is basically writing without a plan)?
I will still continue to write on this blog, even during these two months but it might not be as long as I’ve been writing. I believe it will help me to write about my progress, and share what I’m struggling with during Camp NaNoWriMo. Before and inbetween, April and July, I’ll write a bit about revision and planning. So now you have a bit of an idea what I’ll be doing as well not only for Camp NaNoWriMo but also for my blog. I wish everyone luck on their writing adventures, especially those who will be part of Camp NaNoWriMo of either or both sessions. I’m sure not matter if we plan, or not, before hand I believe we can get to our goals as long as we focus and help each other as much as we can.
I’ve always been curious about the world around me, but also my family history. My mother was born in Mexico, and became an American. Her family roots come from Italy and France, from what we know. Even though my father was born here, his grandparents came from Mexico, Spain and Greece. By having a Greek last name, there was something that always made me curious about my Greek heritage. I’ve wanted to know about the history, the culture, and my great-grandfather as well as my ancestors. It wasn’t only Greek, but it was a stronger influence than my other family roots, possibly because of my Greek last name.
Last year I learned that March is Greek-American Heritage Month. If you walk around in the stores this month, you won’t see much about it. There is more focus of Irish-American Heritage Month. The main reason is the popular Irish national holiday that celebrates Ireland’s patron, St. Patrick (March 17th). Though both the Greeks and the Irish share this month, thanks to Former President George H.W. Bush and Congress in 1991. It gives honor to both cultures for their contributions and achievements to the US. They chose to have Greek-American Heritage Month in March as well because of Greek Independence Day is March 25th.
I knew a bit about my Greek heritage through local annual Greek festivals in Texas. It’s a wonderful experience to go with family and enjoy the great food and music offered. They even have a little store where you can buy products from or about Greece. Though I love going with my family every year, it only has given me a glimpse of the culture that I really wanted to learn more about. When I was younger, I read myths from different cultures, but my focus was on the Greek. In my studies, I’ve read the great Greek epics like the Iliad and the Odyssey. Later, I read on my own the Percy Jackson series, that are based on the Greek myths. I knew that there were stories out there that focused more on the country than the myths, and those who immigrated to the US, but… where were they?
That began my search to see what I could find in literature, music, and in history. The first thing I found was two book lists, one from 2009-2011 and another from 2012. It gave me a starting point. I continued my search online and found the Greek American Foundation. I also found books in the public library, such as Corelli’s Mandolin and a history book on Greek-Americans. My search even went to finding songs on Spotify. I learned that my great-grandfather arrived in the US at Ellis Island, and even found the name of my great-great grandmother in the records from Ellis Island. We didn’t know if he had arrived at the port on Ellis Island, or another one, and when I found a book on searching through the Ellis Island Records online. I realized that I didn’t have to travel far to find out. Learning that he came to that port, made a difference because by searching the history of Ellis Island I could learn more about what my great-grandfather experience as an immigrant to the US. It was wonderful to do my own research just to learn and experience my heritage. It’s even made me want to pursue studying Greek-American literature in grad school.
Now it’s another March, now I’m wondering what can I learn and read relating to my Greek-American heritage. Though I’ve found some interesting fictional books (The Island by Victoria Hislop, Lipsi’s Daughter by Patty Apotolides, Falling in Love with Sophia by Robert Krantz, and The Green Shore by Natalie Bakopoulos). I’m sure there is more that I don’t even know about, that includes relating to history. It’s just a bit harder to find, unless you’ve studied it. I’ll keep searching this month, and explore what I find.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison
I’ve thought about traveling to Europe, especially Greece. To learn more, but also to give me another setting to write about in my stories. Though I can’t afford traveling right now, maybe doing a some research could help me start writing stories about Greek-Americans, and Greece. I’ve written a poem about my desire to learn and experience Greece. One of my former professors even suggested to me that I could write a story similar to my great-grandparents, and he was also the one that told me that if I truly wanted to go to Greece, what was stopping me from doing so. I kept telling him that it was the cost, and he insisted that wasn’t a good enough reason. He said I could save up enough money to travel to Greece. As much as I try to save up money, I don’t think I’ll be traveling to Greece any time soon. Though I realized last year that there were other ways to experience Greece, without spending a lot of money. I had it all near by… the festivals, books,music and food. It not a lot, but for now it’s enough. Plus who knows what stories I might write with Greece as a focus.
Is there something about your family past that makes you curious to learn more about? If this applies to you, I recommend doing your own research and learning everything you can. You may never know what you might find, and what stories or poems might appear.
It doesn’t have to be advice exactly. Listening is an important skill to have. It not only helps you, but others as well. By listening you give a chance to let others voice out their thoughts. It reassured them that someone is there for them. Listening can also give you an opportunity to learn things you wouldn’t expect.
I’m not telling you to eavesdrop on conversations. I just mean focusing on being a good listener when you do have a chance. Plus if you don’t listen, what if you miss something that is really important. Now you wonder what does listening have to do with writing. We use all our senses not only for every day occurrences but to give us a set of knowledge to describe to our readers. It can also help us bring inspiration to our writing.
Listening to others no matter who they are, can give you an advantage. Writers need to listen to their editors, and readers, to see what they can improve on and what works best. Writers also should listen to other writers. These writers can be part of a certain genre, location, age, etc. It’s not all about listening to feedback though that is very important. It can just be the conversation relating to writing, and their own experiences. This can be an even greater experience if the people are from a different age than you are, or write a different genre than you do. (more…)
I went through several classes today [Wednesday], and I wasn’t even a student. Or a teacher. I was actually a job shadow. It is when someone either a student, or non-student adult, wanting to experience a certain career opportunity. A shadower will follow someone in their field of interest and observe their daily work. Though could a shadower not only learn but receive inspiration? You’ll find out.
I decided to follow my friend Jennifer who teaches, at the local university, freshman seminar. The first day of classes started today. Tomorrow will be another first day for another set of classes. At first it was such an odd feeling because it was something new to me. I didn’t know what I would tell her classes when it was time to introduce myself. In each class period, it felt like I forgot a few things I wanted to mention, and remembered to say other things. So even though the class was almost the same, it still felt different. It was almost the same feeling for Jennifer as well. Though she was far more prepared than I was… which makes sense, right? No matter what happened, she seemed to keep going and figure out what to do. (more…)