writing

Summer 2017 Quarterly Goals

Hello again friends, it’s certainly been a while. This past quarter has been especially rough for me, and I’ll tell you right now I did not ‘win’ this quarter. I had a rough end of the school year, and now things are still tough as I’m just into limbo trying to get a job unsure of what my next chapter in life is. It’s made it really difficult for me to be productive or write with the stress and anxiety of it all.

I’m hoping having a new set of quarterly goals will help.

But first for the heck of it let’s go over how I did last quarter:

  1. Write 10,000 words of novel- not even close.
  2. Have 5 critique partners- this was a bad goal- wait til done w/ first draft self!
  3. Finish Beta reading- there was a whole issue where she forgot to send me more
  4. Have 200 twitter followers– Boom! More than doubled this!
  5. Start youtube channel with Daniela!-We’re doing this very soon! Look out!
  6. Take promotional photos for said channelWe did this!
  7. Do more makeup art for instagram-didn’t do 😦
  8. GRADUATE COLLEGE D:yup
  9. Talk to someone at career center-lol nah
  10. Apply to 50+ jobs– definitely did more than this haha
  11. Get a job… –sadly no 😦 plz hire me
  12. Read 5 books- only read 3 :/
  13. Start doing something physical for health- I’m not gonna count it
  14.  Go on a dateyup! Still no bf though…
  15. Make treasurer survival guide for next treasurer– did the thing

So that’s 6/15- 2 shy of completing half the goals. Some of these were unrealistic so I’ll try to correct that for this quarter.

And now, my summer 2017 goals:

  1. Write 10,000 words
  2. Start youtube channel with Daniela!
  3. Post regularly to this blog
  4. Have 700 twitter followers
  5. Get a job!
  6. Keep being vegetarian!
  7. Learn some new vegan and vegetarian recipes
  8. Do something physical for health
  9. Finish setting up author website
  10. Do some sort of creative project
  11. Go on some sort of outing once a week
  12. Apply to 50 more jobs
  13. Get someone to write music for Wizard of Cloz
  14. Finish Wizard of Cloz

Thank you all for being so understanding and wish me luck on my goals!

Advertisements
writing

Adventures in Beta Reading

Hello again readers and writers, I’ve been away from the blog for a while because it’s my last semester as an undergrad and my focus needs to be with school right now, but also I’ve taken up the commitment of being a beta reader!

Beta readers are readers who give you feedback on your novel before you publish it so you can make sure readers are reacting to it as intended.

Why beta read if I should be focusing on my novel? Well once I finish my first few drafts, I’m going to send it out to beta readers, and I figured, what better way to learn about the process than to become one myself?

I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience, and I’ll definitely have more sympathy towards my future betas as a result.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

•Make sure you only choose betas who like the genre you are writing in

If a beta reader doesn’t like what they’re reading, it’s going to be a slow and grueling process to read your material, and even more so to answer questions about it. Make sure your betas are invested when selecting!

•Busy schedules don’t make for good betas

I fall into this category. I’m not always the best beta reader because my weeks are always hectic, and I often don’t feel like answering questions in my free time because it feels like work. Make sure your betas have open enough schedules to commit to this- beta reading is more work than just reading.

•Keep your questions concise and clear

After a beta finishes a chapter, authors have questions prepared for them to answer. Make sure these allow for the beta to write a lot of feedback, but don’t give them super long questions or too many! This will make them stress and not look forward to reading the next chapter and doing it all over again. Ask what you need to know, no more.

•Make sure you expectations are clear

Whether it’s time limits to read, or how you want them to answer questions, make sure the expectations you give are clear. A lot of people don’t know what beta reading entails. ESPECIALLY make clear that you want them to be completely honest. If they didn’t like the chapter, it’s far more harmful for you to lie about it than to just tell the truth. You are giving the writer an opportunity to correct their mistakes, which is what they wanted you for!

 

Overall I have enjoyed beta reading, but I can appreciate the amount of work it is now and hopefully this will help me to create a better relationship with my future betas.

 

If you are interested in beta reading an adventure historical fiction about a gang of female pirates, let me know in the comments! It’ll be a while before it’s ready, but I’d love to know if some of you have interest.

Happy writing!

poetry, writing

Attempting a Slam Poem

I’ve been very inspired by slam poetry lately. Maybe it’s because I’m performing in The Vagina Monologues, but there’s something so beautiful about just getting your feelings out there without worrying about rhyming or sounding good, but saying what’s on your mind and getting a point across. So, here are some feelings:

Since the day we are born

Somehow it leaks into our heads

That we have a place

That we need to change

To be more like her, now her

But never her.

Never speak out of turn

Or your mind

Never put on weight

Never show how smart you are

Never outdo a man

His ego is too fragile

And somehow that’s my problem

Because his feelings, his pleasure

Will always come before mine

 

Well like Michael Jackson

All I want to say

Is that they don’t really care about us

They want us to take off

All of our hair that isn’t on our head

Put on uncomfortable lingerie

It’s not sexy if I don’t feel sexy

It’s not okay unless I say so

It’s my body, not yours, NEVER yours

You have the privilege to touch it if I say so

I am so much stronger than you will ever be

Because I have had to deal with this bullshit

Day in an day out

I have had to overcome a world that said I should hate my body

That I shouldn’t be me

Well I am me

I’m all I have

And slowly but surely

I am coming to love me

And finding people

Who love me for me

Because they’re the only ones who deserve

To have me in their lives

 

Uncategorized, writing

My Vagina Monologue

I recently had the opportunity to join a group of fantastic women and perform in The Vagina Monologues. As I read through the monologues for my audition, I am inspired to tell my own story. There is so much pressure on women to stay quiet and shut up about anything related to vaginas, so sometimes you just need to break the silence.

If you are squeamish about these things I suggest you stop reading, or get over it. Being a woman is an experience that differs for everyone, and it’s important for all genders to understand that.

~

When I reached puberty, my doctor told me “Boys are going to want to touch you now, don’t let them.” He then proceeded to poke and prod me, leaving bruises on my ten year old skin.

You told me that too. You told me your biggest regret was not waiting until marriage, and that I would regret it too. It would feel wrong unless it was with the right person.

But it didn’t.

The first time a boy massaged me there through my clothes he asked “Is this okay?” It felt good. I knew I was supposed to stay stop, but I said “Yes.” I could feel happiness melting through me with each moment. How could this be wrong?

After each encounter I would not feel guilt, but worry that you would somehow be able to tell what I had done. That you could smell it on my breath, like alcohol.

You never knew til I told you part of the truth, and you shamed me. You called me a tease for not going all the way. You said “Don’t you feel gross?” I didn’t. I don’t think I would have at all if not for those words.

Then one day, after you had lifted my ban on seeing him, it happened. His eyes were filled with lust as he thrust his fingers into me. More than usual. It began to hurt, and I tried to pull him hand away but he continued, not noticing the pain I was in. I was to embarrassed of my own body, not confident enough to assert myself to tell him to stop until the pain surpassed a level I could take. I went to the bathroom and bloody clumps on what looked like veins greeted me.

I don’t know what happened to me. I’ve never told this to anyone before. But since that day it doesn’t feel good anymore. His fingers felt uncomfortable. The next guy’s did too. There was little pleasure to be gained. I prayed it was him and not me, that I had not somehow lost that part of myself by not speaking up. I don’t know what has happened to me, but I wish I could talk to you about it. About anything at all. I shouldn’t be so afraid to speak my mind, to tell a man to stop touching MY body. I should love myself, all of myself. I want to love every part of me, the physical, the emotional, my desires, my everything. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. My daughter will know this. I’m going to make sure of that.

 

 

writing, writing advice

Why Raising the Stakes is so Important in Your Story

Ever been reading a story and had a thought like ‘where is this even going?’, ‘I’m so bored right now, when is it going to pick up?’, or ‘this plot is predictable’?

Yeah, you want to avoid this at all costs in your story. And it all comes down to constantly raising the stakes. What do I mean by that? I mean adding more drama, more twists and setbacks, more for the character to lose should they fail. Let’s consider an example:

 Jane Doe searches for the hidden oasis to find herself and her beliefs.

Sounds okay, but needs some sprucing up (aka higher stakes) let’s try something else:

Jane Doe searches for the oasis, hoping to find her beliefs after her people were made slaves.

Backstory is better. Still needs more though.

Jane searches for the Oasis, a place that may hold the key to freeing her enslaved people and reconfirm her beliefs.

Now we’ve got a story. It could still be better though:

Jane escapes from a labor camp to find the Oasis, the one place that may hold the key to bargaining for the freedom of her people. But the king has sent talented assasins after her and the mythical oasis is said to vanish for years after appearing for a week.

Now we’ve got a deadline and enemies to fight, two key stakes that most stories should include. Every story can always use some raised stakes, consider where yours is lacking so it never drags!

writing, writing advice

Should White People Write POC Characters?

There are a lot of different opinions on this matter. There is the issue of white people not understanding what it’s like to be a person of color. How can they write a meaningful experience correctly if they haven’t experienced it themselves? And what about how some people will use diversity simply to attract a wider audience and gain approval?

Regardless, my answer to this question is yes. We NEED POC in stories, especially after recent events. Banning immigrants and prejudice against Muslims all comes from a lack of understanding. Perhaps if more people were telling their stories, their voices would be heard. As a white person, you have the privilege of being more likely to be listened to, so use that power to further the narrative of those who are not being heard.

As writers, it is our job to get our readers to understand a new point of view. The world is made up of a lot of different people. It is only realistic to include them all, and it is extremely unnecessary. There is so much underrepresentation in all forms of media, and this creates the idea that white people are more desirable and important. How many white guy meets white girl stories have you seen? Enough for it to get normalize in your head. Interracial romances or just a POC lead in general are so rare that works are applauded for ‘deciding to go in that direction’. There are so many interesting stories out there, why stick to just one small part of the population? Why ignore this whole history and turmoil when you could be actively making a difference? Some people may be upset at your portrayal of POC, it’s going to happen. But at least you are being more true to the real world and aren’t whitewashing your story.

If all your characters are white for no reason, check yourself. Think of how many people need to see someone like themselves being brave, and clever and finding the strength to make the world a better place. We have a multicolored world out there, let’s write about it.

writing, writing advice

Improve Your Writing With Acting Exercises

Being an actor has made me a better writer. Having to learn how to get into another person’s head and act like them physically is immensely helpful for trying to get into so many character’s heads when writing a story.

I’m going to share with you a visualization exercise that I do to help me. Close your eyes as you do each paragraph and imagine seeing everything through your character’s eyes.

Visualization:

You wake up. Are you in a bed? A make shift bed? The ground? If you reach your hand out what texture do you feel?

You sit up. Are you in a room? Outside? What sounds do you hear?

Now you stand up. Is this easy, or difficult? Are you excited for the day, nervous, uncaring? Why is that?

What sort of morning routine do you do now? If you have the option to change clothes, what will you wear? What do wish you had to wear?

Now you walk over to a mirror, or lake or some sort of reflective surface. What do you look like? How do you feel about the way you look? Is there something you want to change? How do you feel about yourself as a person?

Now what does your character have to do today? What are they looking forward to? What are they dreading? What do they wish they were doing?

You step outside of where ever you are- what does the world around you look like? What is the weather like? Are there people or animals nearby? What is your reaction to them? Is there anyone you hope to run into? Anyone you hope to avoid? What reaction do you have to this world-does it calm you, make you tense, afraid, determined, excited about life?

Let this all sink in and realize what in this moment you want more than anything. What if your goal in life, your dream for yourself? How are you going to accomplish it?

I hope this helps everyone- happy writing!