Year 3: The air was heavy with the scent of jasmine and fried foods. There were brightly colored blocks in front of John, but he wasn’t playing with them. It was too quiet in the house. The man that was his father returned earlier in the week. He was a lump of a person with empty eyes and stained clothes. John didn’t like it when he touched his cheek with his callused hands and had flinched away from him the first time. That was the last time the man looked at him. There were things on the table where before there was nothing. Dishes that cluttered the sink. Trash that littered the floor. The only spark that remained in the man was found in the brilliance of his green eyes, a feature John had acquired before his first birthday. John was good at staying out of his way, watching from a safe distance. When his father cut himself on a rusty tool, it was three-year-old John that had brought the bandages. He held the towel with a pudgy, but determined hand as his father smiled at him.
What is October without a little writing challenge to spice it up a bit? This month I am participating in the October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge hosted by Jane Ann McLachlan. So, every day during the month of October for 25 days–that’s 25 posts, writing about years 1-25 of life. It can be my life, my MC’s life (backstory is always good to see where a character is headed and the reasons for it), or maybe even one of my kids. My kids are still little and I wouldn’t get very far with them…
Here is my YEAR 1 from the perspective of John Warren (one of my MCs)
John Warren was born on April 25, 1973 to Carole and Dan Warren. Carole was a stay at home mom and Dan was a soldier in the Vietnam War. Dan wasn’t around that first year of John’s life, but John was spoiled as an only child. He walked early and was moving around well before his first birthday. His mom often gave him treats like ice cream, pie, or cookies, and he developed a fondness for sweets.
Inspiration comes from the strangest places. A dream, a song, poetry…
My last bit of inspiration came from the song, “She talks to Angels,” by the Black Crowes. Since editing that manuscript to death, I haven’t thought much beyond what music I listen to while working at that project.
But today, inspiration struck and ideas are churning for the next one. Maybe NaNoWriMo will be just the thing to get me going on something new. And I haven’t given up on the “90 Day Novel” just yet either. Between GUTGAA and another RWA contest, my energies have been spent. But all of that is almost over…
What inspires you?
I waited a week to post this because, well to be honest: my feelings were just a little bruised. Anyway, I didn’t make it past Round 1. There were so many amazing entries, each of them unique and with such a well-crafted voice that I fell in love with many of them. I don’t know how the judges narrowed it down and most of them say that it was incredibly subjective, which as a reader, I know is true often enough. Still, it stung. I wanted my book to be read. I wanted some praise. I wanted some verification that I CAN DO THIS.
It was a learning experience and I got some feedback that I will take and hopefully make improvements. This blogging/writing community is much grander than I thought and I am a newbie. Anyway, I’d like to publicly thank Deana Barnhart and all of the other bloggers that helped her. They truly stepped up the game! Good job everyone!
I made it in!! It was a ridiculously long day and I had to structure teaching around it, but it was worth the effort. I’ve worked really hard on my query, completely changed the opening to my book and I’ve done what I can and I feel…okay. I missed the first deadline at 11am (8am my time) and suffered until 4pm when I could try again. I had pressed the send button at exactly 8am and then stared at my inbox all day. It was excruciating.
Anyways, I’m just getting my feet wet with this whole contest thing. I’ve never really put my writing out there to be judged, but I will hold the butterflies until Monday when everyone’s (200 of us) hard work will be up for judgement. Till then…
Where do you write? In a corner in my kitchen. It’s actually my husband’s desk. If I sit at my own, I get distracted and do other things.
Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? A stack of those yellow notepads, my money tree (I think it’s good luck), and a pencil sharpener.
Favorite time to write? Morning. I will have to switch back to night writing since I’m going back to work. It will take some getting used to.
Drink of choice while writing? Coffee. Then I switch to water with lots of ice.
When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? I prefer to listen to music. Right now, I’m listening to the theme song to My Little Pony along with the new Linkin Park album.
What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? When I first set out to write, it was a mess. I was all over the place and throwing everything into it. Then a song came on–She Talks to Angels, by the Black Crowes. The song itself has to do with drugs, but taking it a little more literally, it led to my main character. That one song gave my entire story a new direction.
What’s your most valuable writing tip? Read a lot. Then write a lot.
Thanks for reading!! See you all in the blog hop
Well, maybe you didn’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
I’m 34 years old as of last week, married with two kids, and I teach high school photography. I have had the summer off to enjoy my kids and to write, write, write. I go back to the grind tomorrow, but that’s okay, because it tends for lots of writing inspiration. I love to be alone, to let my thoughts wander, to read, dance, and sing (as long as the music is turned up and no one can actually hear me). I also love people, exploring new places, and trying new things.
I’m combining the two posts– (as heroine)
1. One thing you still need to know about me is…If I saw my sister right now, I would offer her my life.
2. I am beginning to question why I…am fighting so hard when everything I do seems to do more harm than good.
3. My parents think that I am…better than I have been. In reality, I’ve gotten better at hiding things from them.
4. The thing that people most admire in me is…they think I am strong. If only they knew that the opposite were true.
5. The characteristic I am least proud of in myself is…how easy it has gotten to lie to those I care about.
6. I pretend to have forgotten about the time that…my sister actively tried to kill me.
1. The answer to my problem I’ve been avoiding is…I have to get my sister out of my head.
2. If I could do one thing differently from my past, it would be…to listen to my sister without making fun of her.
3. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day I…disappeared from myself.
4. I tend to present the illusion that I…am normal.
5. The most defiant moment of my life was when I…threw everything away to save someone else.
6. The thing that I try to keep hidden from people is…my dual personalities.
My first novel took almost 2 years to write. During that time, I worked full time and had two children. To me, that was still way too long and the story changed whenever I got bored with it. Now, it hardly resembles what it was a year ago. It’s much better, but two years!??
I bought the “90 Day Novel”by Alan Watt in the hope that I can shorten that time and maybe even free up the creative process. I started reading it last night and so far I like it. I want to read it first and then go back and follow along. My plan is to start writing on Monday–almost the same time that I go back to work. This will be interesting. I will post my progress on this blog and maybe others will join in.
To publish in the “traditional” way or to follow the newest trend and self publish…
I would really love to hear what any of you have to say about this. I’ve finished my book (well, it’s written, and I’ve read/revised/edited it at least 20 times and could probably continue) and am now at the crossroads of what to do with it. I’ve written my query letter and shown it to my husband–his head didn’t explode, so that’s a good sign. But, is this what I really want?
I want people to read it! I want to be able to write more and more often. I’d like to make a little money. Hmmm…