Thursday, December 20, 2012

Something Missing In My Writing

I've had no formal training in creative writing. I can tell when I sit to create that I'm missing something. I feel the knowledge gap as I type. I lack certain tools and knowledge on how to use them. I've decided what I need is a back-to-school moment.

I've order a highly recommended textbook on creative writing. It's used in a lot of creative writing classes at universities. I'll be spending my next couple of months self-educating and learning some aspects of the craft. It is something I know I need to do.

I heard it said that one can learn to bake. If you do it regularly your baking will improve. You learn from your own mistakes. But there's something to be said about learning tricks of the trade. Sure you may stumble on them yourself and your skills would develop. But there are tools and methods that cannot be stumbled upon. If you know you want to make muffins, you need a muffin pan. It's also good to know that spraying the pan with non-stick spray helps. That's what I'm missing. I don't have certain tools, nor do I know how to use them.

Currently, my writing is coming along slowly, but it's coming along. I need more self-discipline. I suffer from random distractions such as the election, football season, fantasy football, television. The world is screaming at me. Aside from time with my family, the instances where I feel like time wasn't wasted come after  a productive writing session.

I'm knee deep in what started as a short story. The plot thickened and it became a novelette. On my second run through it, I had to add a few more scenes. Now it's ballooned into a novella. There are some aspects of the plot which I need to tighten up. Ultimately, it's a side story to my bigger novel, which I hope to get back to when my writing improves.

One of my favorite distractions is making cover art for my stories. I would say this is wasted time, but it helps me visualize characters and settings. Here's a cover for the novella I'm currently working on. Let me know what you think. What works? What doesn't work? What does the cover say to you?

Meet Kolka (more about her later).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Finishing (Inspirational Wednesday?)

My inspiration for this month is FINISHING. I missed my own Inspirational Monday post. (Many thanks to BRIAN WILKERSON for throwing me a reminder via twitter). I was in a zone and didn't want to break my concentration.

I printed out and am in the process of fixing typos and minor errors for a 2500 word short story contest. It's from a periodical in my town. I plan on printing out the final draft and putting it in the mail tomorrow.

Last year they received over 500 entries from in and out of state. If you have an unpublished 2500 word short story sitting around, Why not enter? Stories just have to be postmarked by Monday the 10th of December.

I had fun reading some of the winners from prior years. Whether or not it gets past any hurdles in the competition, I'm happy with the story and I can tell I learned about writing and learned even more about the human condition. I may publish it on this blog on a later date.

I started my story about a week ago and have been working on it since then. I've found that my creativity comes in streaks. Streaks that are often sparked by deadlines. My goal for December is to do final edits on a 12,000 word novelette I finished in October. I did one quick edit in early November and then let sit for a month.

So here's to FINISHING.