Writing Notes by Today, I Wrote…

Passionate prose is my PARAMOUR.

March 7

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My Lonely Blog and Heart-Bursting Fear

by Ann-Kat

I know I should blog for myself (at least, here) and for the most part I do. But I’ve slacked off on updating because I just assumed no one read my posts. Well, I received a comment the other day which served as a little wake-up call…people (at least one) read and (I hope) enjoy this blog, so in that spirit, I want to update it a lot more than I do now.

Lately my time has been spent reading or catching up on my Netflix queue. It seems that I’m procrastinating. I’m not sure why exactly. A few weeks ago I started writing this story that ignited such passion in me and then a few days ago I just stalled out. It’s like this fear reached into my chest and squeezed my heart until it felt like it would burst. Not sure why or where it came from, all I know is that I want it gone.

OK, that’s not entirely true. I do know what the fear is: Not getting it right. I’m so in love with my story that I’m afraid I won’t do it justice, like I’m not the person who should be writing it. When I think about it—really think about it—I know it’s silly. That doesn’t make it go away though. And my solution is to distract myself (by reading and catching up on my Netflix queue).

So, at this late hour when the world is still asleep, I’m awake and making a promise to myself. I’m going to power through my fears. I’m going to blog here more. (Apologies in advance if some of the entries sound like random crap spewing from my head.)

I really enjoyed posting my shitty first paragraphs while I was doing NaNo (which I eventually won, by the way), so I think I’ll continue in that vein. Instead of the shitty first paragraph, though, I’ll probably start posting up shitty first pages. I also plan to transcribe some of my hard copy writing journal entries (yes, I have an actual writing journal). I also want to publish some of my short stories here as well.

The goal, ultimately, is to get back on track with my writing.

September 29

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JetPens vs. Tropical Storm

by Ann-Kat

It’s coming down hard outside, but when I saw that my JetPens package had indeed arrived I pulled on my clothes and battled the rain. I cradled the package gently inside the warmth and dryness of my coat until it was safely inside.

And that, folks, is when you know you’re officially an addict and should seek help.


I’m still in love with the index stickers and picked up a couple more packages (I’ll publish a post detailing how I use them for my writing organization). This time I also picked up a couple packs of the tabs—they’re like Post-It flags, except a bit longer and cuter—which I figure I could use for marking important information during my reading.

The other items I ordered include:

One of these days I’ll take a picture that doesn’t display the goodies in less glory than they deserve.

September 29

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Dear Author, Grow an Organic Story Please.

by Ann-Kat

Grow I’ve read a lot of stories lately that felt off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I’d read a story that was magical in its telling. I couldn’t put my finger on that either.

After I read a book on writing called ‘Movies in the Mind: How to Build a Short Story’ by Colleen Mariah Rae the epiphany struck.

The majority of stories I’d been reading felt unnatural. The prose was adequate and the idea was interesting, but the stories lacked passion.

All emotion has an ebb and flow, a certain rhythm. We subconsciously pick up on this rhythm when we read. Just read an angry break up letter or a mushy love letter written in the height of emotion and as you tumble through the words you begin to feel them.

As a reader, that’s what I ultimately want. I want to feel the story being told. I want my emotions to shift as the emotions of the characters shift. I want it to feel natural. It transcends simply finding the right words and getting the words in the proper order, it’s about finding the story’s pulse and gluing my fingers to it.

That’s why I loved Rae’s book. It broke down how to tap into that pulse. And when I finished reading her book, I wanted to find her other books on writing. When my search yielded nothing, I tried something else: I sent her an email.

To my surprise she responded and was super nice to boot. Although her others books weren’t published, she was kind enough to send along some of her previous articles (and is allowing me to provide them here for download—all are in PDF format).

One of the articles is actually a modified version of a chapter from her book, so even if you’re unable to get a copy (it’s now out of print) you can still get a taste of her teaching.

I certainly hope she does finish her Movies of the Mind series, even if she only publishes them as ebooks, because her style is one with which I mesh.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, just visit her website: http://www.colleenmariahrae.com/.

April 2

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Writing Journal Day 2(ish)

by Ann-Kat

Today I didn’t do much writing on either of my short stories, but I did have a chance to transcribe them into LSBXE and printed out a couple typed hard copies to make initial edits.

Before the edits, I read what I had to my beta reader to gauge how interesting they would be and received some good feedback, so I do believe I shall continue moving forward with them both. (Although one was described as being “scary” when that wasn’t my intention at all. Here’s hoping I can steer it in the right direction.)

I also spent a good deal of time reading and summarizing what I read, which actually helped me in the grand scheme of things understand crafting a good story treatment (focusing on character and story arcs).

So, the word counts on The Romans and The Angel and the Porcelain Doll remain unchanged, but I did hone their individual story treatments.

March 31

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Writing Journal Day ???

by Ann-Kat

Writing Sample

I’ve been bad about keeping up a writing journal. I’ve been bad about writing, period. But I’m resolving to update here with my thoughts on the writing process, and at very least my word counts. And since I have no idea which day it would be, I’ll just start my next entry as Day 2.

Today (the past few days actually) I’ve been working on a couple short stories. One is more involved than the other and I’ve hit a point of stagnation. When it comes to that, I’ve learned to just wait it out. In the meantime, I’ve been working on the other story, which is a bit lighter in tone and concept and a bit more fun. (It’s a fantasy whereas the former is sci-fi.)

As far as word counts go I will be rounding off since I’ve been writing these stories longhand. (When I transcribe it, I’ll update with actual word counts.)

Sci-fi short story working title: The Romans
Word count: ~1,658

Fantasy short story working title: The Angel & The Porcelain Doll
Word count: ~476

Both of these stories are less than halfway finished, but I hope to have the first drafts done by this weekend so I can put some spit & polish on them.

March 28

Comments: 3

Feeding My JetPens Addiction

by Ann-Kat

I was down to my final Zebra Technoline ink refill which meant it was time for another JetPens order. This time (just like last time and the time before that) I think I went a little overboard. Not only did I get ink refills, I also snagged seven new pens (Zebra Sarasa Gel Ink Pen 0.4mm in blue-black, blue, and olive green; Pentel Sunburst Metallic Gel Ink Pen 0.7mm in violet, pink, and blue; and Pentel Hybrid Technica Gel Ink Pen 0.5mm in blue) and a couple packets of index tab stickers.

March 2010 JetPens Order

This time, however, is the first time I’m mildly disappointed with JetPens because one of the pens I received was used. It might seem nitpicky, but this pen was: a) a unique color (olive green) which would make finding the appropriate refill difficult; b) a gel pen which means the ink runs down relatively quickly; and c) not disclosed as being used. But I don’t plan to kick up much dirt because the pen was on sale, so I’m not out a lot of money, and I don’t care for the ink color anyway.

Jstory Index Tab Stickers

One product that I am in love with, though, is the Jstory Index Fun Sticker tabs (in bear and rabbit). The stickers are folded over the edge of the page to make a nice little tab. So far, I’m using them in my book summaries notebook to simplify access to the individual summaries.

Frankly, I’m wishing I’d bought a bunch more of them and something tells me I’ll be stockpiling these soon. (I also found some cute ones made by Jetoy on Etsy and I’ll probably get some of those, too.)

January 15

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News Bulletin: Characters Lie

by Ann-Kat

I’ve just discovered something interesting: characters lie.

I decided to test a theory provided in Movies of the Mind: How to Build a Short Story by Colleen Mariah Rae (a good book, btw–review forthcoming) and I was bewildered by the results.

Let me back up for a moment and say that I know that characters have the capacity to lie. But in this exercise, I discovered that the characters can lie to me.

Up until this point, I believed it was impossible because I had the notion that I was god in my characters’ world–knowing and seeing all. (And also because I probably had intrinsically honest characters–none of them had reason to lie.)

This stunning revelation came about when I asked the other characters in my WIP to tell me about Tristan. Somehow he just didn’t seem right, as though he were too stiff and dodgy, and I needed to get to the bottom of it.

After playing detective and threading together their observances, I realized Tristan had been lying to me all along. When I called him out* and asked why, he told me that if I knew the truth I’d paint him in a bad light and people would hate him; he wouldn’t have a shot at redeeming himself. Well, don’t that just beat all?

I empathized with him. Sometimes first impressions can be rough. And mistakes? We’ve all made them. Unfortunately, some mistakes haunt us longer than others and Tristan’s list is ten miles long and five miles wide. But I told him that he isn’t irredeemable–in fact, he is redeemed. (Sort of–hey, we can still lie to our characters too you know.)

Now that I have the full scoop on Tristan, I can go back to revisions with a bit more understanding. Hooray!

* My characters are like real people who’ve taken up residence in my head. We have conversations (and arguments) just like anyone else.

December 2

Comments: 3

NaNoWriMo 2009 is Over

by Ann-Kat

On November 30, 2009 sometime around 3pm EST, I was declared a NaNoWriMo winner. However, it’s a Pyrrhic victory in some ways.

I did not finish this novel. It was well mapped out, but as I wrote, new scenes kept popping into my head.  Looking over the mind map on my NaNo board, only about half of those little bubbles (which are scenes) have been completed. But for now, I’m going to set aside this work and let it marinate a while because something else happened during NaNoWriMo.

My mind kept floating back to another WIP. It’s been a work in progress for a long time and the characters have grown on me. In fact, they’ve become my imaginary friends (and some enemies). And during NaNo, they all started screaming so loud and talking about all the things they’ve been through and begged me to write about it.

Finally, I broke down. I took a day, sat down, and wrote the MC’s introduction. The one that he’s been pleading with me to write since I first conceived of him. That very introduction was then entered in the Young Adult Novel Discovery Contest. Here’s to crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

In the meantime, I’ll continue moving forward with it until the vicious roar of their voices settles back into a soft lull.

November 29

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Discovering Novel Writing Music

by Ann-Kat

I think I love Franz Liszt.

Actually, there is no think about it. I love Franz Liszt.

He needs to be resurrected from the dead so I can have his babies.

I’m being serious.


November 25

Comments: 2

More JetPens Booty (Whoohoo!)

by Ann-Kat

More JetPens Booty

Koi WaterBrush (#6 Medium); Zebra Mildliner Soft Color Highlighters (Cool & Refined); Kuretake 2 Way Flat Head Waterbrush; Zebra Techno Line 0.4mm Ballpoint Pen Refills (Black and Red); Zebra Techno Line 0.4mm Ballpoint Pen (Wine Red)


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