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Friday, November 25, 2011

My entry for Jamie's contest: Upon a Dream


This is my entry for Jamie's contest. I really hope you like it!

This is what she says to do:
Sign up on the widget below and leave a comment. Then from today until Dec. 9th, write a 1000 words or less flash fiction that includes all of the gifts from the 12 Days of Christmas! It doesn't have to follow the song, just have them in there however you like. Then hop around to each other's blog and critique or comment. Along with some special judges, I will be hopping around reading and picking out our favorites and on Dec. 10th, we will post our 3 winners!

Here goes.

Upon a Dream


It starts with a dream.
I close my eyes and I dream a dream that would start out sweet to anyone who didn’t know it.
It’s snowing. I used to love snow, but it’s become a part of my haunted mind. This snow doesn’t dissolve into small puddles. It crunches beneath my feet but never leaves a print, never a track. I wonder if this is so that I will be lost in this miserable wonderland forever.
It never changes, but it startles me just the same. The same pear tree with a fat bird. The same pond with the very same swans swimming in circles, their long necks reaching to the white-as-snow sky.
I come to a village with a bottled surprise. There’s the same unmelting snow resting on the wooden fences. There are several women in long dresses and bonnets milking cows. They kneel beside their cows with tin buckets in front of their knees, and they purr names that are horribly stereotypical. “Shh, Bessie,” one says. “Good, Bluebell,” another adds. They are a chorus of murmurs. I walk past a girl who’s carrying a hen in a cage. No one ever seems to notice me. I have never even seen them move other than when they were milking cows or carrying hens. They are robotic. They are not alive.
I walk past the village. The sky is an odd shade of blue. It’s almost white, but has a strange tint to it, like gathered glass. I pass the geese at the very edge of their fences and the turtle doves and the colly birds, their beady eyes watching me as I shuffle my way through the snow.
There’s what I assume to be a parade. They always appear just after I look at the rings on my hands. I count them twice. There are five of them in total, all gold and gleaming in the nonexistent sunlight. Two on my right hand. Three on my left. I’ve tried, in the past times that this happens, to look at the rings at a different times, but I’ve never been able to really bring my gaze to them before I pass the village.
The parade is a wild beast, feral. It lashes out at me and tries to grip me in its claws. The ladies in shining and glittering fabrics of different colors - though I notice that the colors silver, gold, red, and green are always more prominent in these swarms of movement - sway and shimmy past me. Men leap around me, all happy faces and joyous laughter. I feel so out of place. These people too never seem to stray from their spot.
I push them out of my way. I carry on. I have to.
When I finally break away from the pipers and the drummers, I run. I have no clue where I’m going, just that I must get there.
I see the slightest shine on nothing and I sprint at it. My heart beats loudly throughout my body. I can feel it in my limbs. This glimmer of nothing, it must be what I’m after. I know it is. It must be. And so I run until my palms hit something hard and I feel smooth glass under my hand. I pound my fist against it.
The world shakes. I’m tossed back to the beginning of my journey, before the swans moving in perfect circles and before the village. This never-melting snow floats so slowly though the air. It shimmers in the light, but there is no Sun. It reminds me of glitter.
I’m tired of the journey, but I feel my feet moving. The swans round their pond again and again. The women milk their cows with a measured precision. I see the girl carrying what appears to be the exact same hen. The birds never move from their perches.
They are not alive.

Spaced between paragraphs for ease of reading.
Hope you liked it, guys.



Friday, November 4, 2011

Challenge accepted.

I am curious to see how much progress I can make in a day. With some healthy competition. *coughs* Inspired by this and this.

We're trying to get to 2K more words by midnight. It's 10:05 PM right now. Here goes.

10:05: I must not listen to Brendon Urie and his very nice voice. It's too distracting. No matter how much I like it. *changes to Regina Spektor.* Okay. Working. Now.

10:12: I meant now. Obviously.

10:31: Must google stuff. GOOGLE AWAY.

10:42: Finished the googling. Wrote for a bit. At 539. I hate you, research. HATE YOU.

10:45: AHHH NO WHY ORANGE SODA, WHY?!

10:47: Ahem. Back to work.

10:57: Informed that I am still beating my opponent. Yay? I think. Still not to 1K. Will do this. *turns up music* 748 words.

11:14: Slightly distracted, but at 958 words. Will get to 2k. I must. MUST.

11:20: Six minutes opening a pickle jar. Like a boss.

11:30: CRAP CRAP CRAP WORK WORK. Bad Twitter. Bad cool author who was answering questions on Formspring (Not really. Just bad me for reading so many.).

12:00: So, I got 1,780. I am okay with this. It was pretty freaking close to 2K.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On underwriting

I've never been much of a plotter. I'm one of those people who hates figuring out the entire story and then writing it down. It gets boring. It feels repetitive and I despise it. So I half-plot, half-write as I go.

This has spelled some issues for me in the past. I've started four different drafts of the novel I'm editing now before I realized what was wrong with it. And trust me, it was way crazy wrong. And I'm now working on adding another major element to the aforementioned novel.

What I'm getting at with this would be that I am known to speedwrite. I finished this draft, the first semi-solid product I've gotten out of this idea, in around four months. I typically get obsessed with writing on an idea to the point that I do get things done.

But, along with being a speedwriter, I'm an underwriter.

I don't plot most of my novel out before I start writing it. Therefore, I spend a lot of time feeling my way around the plot, figuring out what needs to happen. I write quick, short books that need to be expanded upon.

The way I've always tried to describe this goes like this:

My first drafts are more like very long outlines than very short books. I go through and write what feels right for the story. Later, I'll expand on everything, add detail, rephrase things. Basically, I write semi-crappy books with pretty good ideas (I'm probably biased, but you know.) and then polish the hell out of them.

Yes, editing does take a while for me at the moment. I'm in school and I'm nothing but a teenager. I don't really plan on trying to get published anytime soon (That's another post for another day.), but I will continue to write. I've been writing for years now. Four years of being obsessed with writing are great, but I've not ever done much editing. So I'll start now and figure out how to do it before I try to make it a huge part of my life.

Underwriting is okay, I think, as long as you make sure to expand on everything later. If you're a pantser and an underwriter, know that your book has just as much potential as anyone else's.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go back to editing/expanding.

Happy writing.




Saturday, September 24, 2011

On feeling down:

I know how bad I want to be a writer, how I want it so much that I almost can't see myself doing anything else.

But I know that it's a dream that a lot of people share. I know that it's an unfulfilled dream that a lot of people share.

Sometimes it's hard. I love writing and I want nothing more than to share my stories with the world, but that's something that requires a lot of skill and talent and hard work and, also, maybe just a little bit of luck.

So sometimes I look at the things I've written and I'm hard on them. Too hard. Harsh thoughts are prominent in these little self-derogatory sessions.

"Your prose is too dreamy. The characters sound crazy."
"You'll never be as talented as ____! Look at how pitiful your work is compared to their books."

And I know I'm not the only one to do these things.

But it's hard.

One thing I know always helps is getting on YouTube or Formspring (or even blogs) and going to find some of the authors that really inspire me. There, I can find videos or things that really push me in the right direction.

So, I'm going to risk being a bit of a fangirl and linking some of my favorites.

Lauren DeStefano's Formspring
http://laurendestefano.tumblr.com/

http://bethrevis.tumblr.com/

http://taherehmafi.tumblr.com/
http://www.stiryourtea.blogspot.com/

http://hannahmosk.blogspot.com/
http://www.formspring.me/hannahmosk

http://veschwab.wordpress.com/

http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Editing.

Right now I'm like:


















But...I'm pretty sure that I'll eventually look more like this:

















Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've stuck with it.

I know that I'm not finished with this WIP. I'm far from finishing it. I still have to finish writing it and then I have to finish editing it and so on. But, I'm proud of myself.

Lately, I've been thinking about how this started.

And, quite literally, the inspiration was a car wash and my Zune. More specifically, water on the windows and Howl by Florence + The Machine. I got almost all of the basic plot with that.

And I remember telling a friend about it and her telling me not to give up on a plot that I wasn't in love with writing, to just write this idea as a short story.

And believe me, I tried to do that.

I still have the short story I wrote. I can't show it to you, because it's essentially the biggest part of the book. But, even after I wrote the short story, I didn't forget about it. I plotted in my head and tried to forget so I could  stay with the WIP I was working on.

I didn't. I actually started two more projects before even trying this one.

But I've waded my way through a lot of it. I've let people read it, people I don't know in real life. I've spent months on this one. I'm happy with writing it.

And that's a crazy thought to me, because, while I've been writing for a long time (given that I'm younger than most writers, so long for someone my age, I suppose.), I haven't ever stuck with anything this long. I've never been to ten-thousand words, let alone twenty-thousand and up.

It's crazy to me to think that I may not have even started this one without going with my dad to wash our car, if I hadn't brought my zune, if I had listened when people told me not to write it. I wonder if I would've aimlessly continued my cycle of getting distracted by new book ideas. I hope not.

So, here's to a crazy coincidence. I have no clue what else to thank.

And I apologize for the crazily cheesy post. It's getting late and I'm tired.

Friday, August 5, 2011

On doubting yourself.





    So often, I wonder about habits that a large portion of people have. And I can't think of one thing more commonly experienced throughout the writing community than doubt. I like picking things apart, seeing how they work, why they're even there.
    And this is what I've come up with on self doubt.

    Personally, I think writing is one of the most vulnerable things a person can do and share. Yes, you usually are writing from the confines of another person's mind, but I think you pour a lot of yourself into your characters. Not necessarily traits, but thoughts, things close to your heart and mind.
    Sharing your writing, whether it's a short story or a novel, is a leap of faith. It's a brave thing to do. You're sharing so much of your mind and soul with someone who doesn't even realize it. It's a story, but you're part of it. The characters are your friends. Their home becomes a second home. You know their world like the back of your hand. It's all highly personal.
    But this isn't a post about why it's hard to share your work.
    My point is, your novel is intertwined with your mind, all of your personal thoughts and emotions and, occasionally, actual experiences are laid out for all to see. And that's a hard thing to share for a lot of people.
    If someone judges your shoes, that'll likely feel bad. However, if someone were to judge your mind, your deepest thoughts, and didn't like what they saw, you'd probably feel a lot worse than if someone had called your shoes ugly.
    People have this undying urge to fit in, to be accepted. A lot of people hide a lot of their thoughts from others for that reason. No one wants to be the kid who has no friends.
    When you write a novel, you're sharing a large portion of something that's highly personal and it's scary for other people to be able to see it and judge it as they want to. You're letting someone into your brain. You're just letting them look around, roam and rummage, and they can slap a label on every one of your thoughts and call it stupid or cliche or weird. 
   And that's a scary thing.
   So, if you're letting anybody read what you've written, know that you're incredibly brave, even though it may not sound like it.

   To me, doubting your writing is nothing but being afraid to share your thoughts with the world. A lot of people compare themselves to other writers, doubt their skill, but that's just comparing your brain to another writer's brain. It's all hard.
   But you can do it.
   I believe in you.





Saturday, July 16, 2011

I am that mother.

I am the mother who constantly gushes about her children, saying how lovely they are, how well-behaved and polite. I am the shouting mother that sits in the bleachers, waving like a madman at my kid, screaming words of encouragement. I am the mom who buys all of the bumper stickers for her car, with cheeky slogans like, "My kid is on the honor roll!" and "Question authority, but never question your mother."

I'm sure at least one person that reads this post will be confused at that statement. I'm a fourteen year old girl. Surely I don't have kids.

Of course I don't. *Shakes head* Let me finish.

Recently, I've realized that I can find my characters in nearly everything. I find myself thinking, "Oh, this song really reminds me of Laina and her problem with that and how she need to do this," and "I bet Aaron would've loved this book. I bet he would've really, really adored it."

Am I the only one who does this? I'm genuinely curious. Every time I so much as mention my characters or book, before the words roll off my tongue, I wonder, "Am I seriously talking about this again? I bet it bugs this person."

I can't decide if this is normal or if I'm conceited when it comes to my books. I'm fairly sure it's not the latter, because, and you can ask people who know how I am when I write, really fond of deleting things and not having backups, because I honestly think it won't matter later. I'm not overly confident when it comes to my writing, so is this normal?

Is this good or bad? Honestly, I can see both ways.

If it's good, then I'm making progress. I can easily be inspired and there's nearly always something to inspire me.

If it's bad, then maybe music and books and TV and all of the things that inspire me will have too much influence on me.

Guys. I don't know. I honestly don't know how these things work. I'm just weird. Ahhhh.





Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A quote (and a question)

I have no clue who you people are, that are following this blog, but I kind of adore you. Just wanted to say that. :)

But, along with that, I have a question. Most of the time, when people have blogs dedicated to writing, they include small excerpts of their writing. I'm not stupid, and I know that putting your work online isn't always a good idea, but I don't plan on just putting entire chapters on here. A few sentences that I like, maybe. I'll do it today and if you guys don't care, just leave a comment and say that you don't want to read anything. I'll stop doing it if none of you want to see it.

So, here we go.

"A weak breeze pushes a few strands of my hair into the air and the contrast nearly makes me smile, looking like spilled ink over purple paper. I imagine, for a moment, that it's why the sky looks like darkened lavender, that someone spilled ink across it and now it's mixing and fading into it."

Alright, guys. Let me know if you guys want me to keep doing this or not.





Monday, July 11, 2011

An announcement...

If you follow me on twitter and were around yesterday night, you probably already know about this, but I wanted to share it here, too.

I hit 10,000 words on my first draft.



I.
AM.
DYING.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On Being Stuck (Or: In which I show you how crazy I am.)

Last night, I had a conversation with my friend Ali, who's having some problems with being stuck. I decided to do a post on that, today.

Being stuck's not one of those things I'm unfamiliar with. I never outline as deeply as some writers do. I write as I go. I do, of course, have some ideas stored away for future writing. But mainly I just sit down and let the characters tell me what to type. Sometimes I don't like what they're saying, but I totally have permission to change some of the stuff. ;)

But I started thinking, "what did I do when I was stuck?" What did I do when I was stuck? When the characters refused to speak? When the plot refuses to budge?

I feel like, in those situations, the characters have realized how little we know each other. You wouldn't tell your life story to a complete stranger, would you? So get to know them, figure things out.

Now, before someone says, "Brielle, these people are in my head. How do I get to know them. They aren't even real!" I have to say...

Not yet.

Even though you have to decide what kind of car they drive and what color their eyes are and how they like their coffee (or if they like it at all!), you still need to get to know them. It's like learning about people you want to be friends with, except this is probably a bit more on the stalkerish side.

The thing I've learned is that you don't have to use all the info you get. It's just there if you need it. But just because you know that she has a scar on her knee from falling when she played soccer, you don't have to add that to the story. Because, honestly, people don't care. If it's not important to the story, then they won't be interested. No fluff!

So, get together some forms and questionnaires and character profiling sheets, and interview your character. Write everything down in a notebook, so you'll have it later.

After that, maybe you'll understand your characters more. While doing this, I always end up weaving together ideas and writing down things like, "Lost necklace" just so I can do something with that later. With all of this new information, I find it hard not to get to a computer and WRITE. The characters are usually pretty happy to oblige and run their mouths.

If that doesn't work, then I take a few days off to mull over the plot in my head. What's wrong with it? What needs to be changed? What could I make different so that this will be a stronger story?

Usually, after that, I'll find a plot hole, which is fairly important. In my current WIP, I got about seven chapters in before I started over. I had only sent 4 chapters off to my critique partner, and the next three were too horrible to send.

A sign that the story isn't going so well: The first chapter(s) are over a thousand words, and they slowly dwindle. Now, a slight difference in word counts per chapter isn't bad. It's when your word count end up looking like this that it becomes a problem:

1724
1097
973
844
610
320

So, guys, what do you do when you're stuck? Tell me in the comments!








Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On inspiration

Inspiration. It's something that comes easily to some and harder for others. It's a fickle beast. It's nice to have.

BUT it's not necessary.

I'm going to start this argument off by making a point. And to make that point, I'm going to have to tell you a little story.

My current WIP? It's probably the best thing I've ever written. I'm not going to reveal the entire plot here, because I'm not an idiot. I know people steal. But I will say that I'm the most easy person to get inspiration, ever. I came up with the main plot idea for this project while listening to Florence + The Machine and going through a car wash. It's that simple.

People who struggle with coming up with ideas ask me one thing, repeatedly. "Where do you get your ideas?"

The best answer that I can come up with is: Everywhere.

It's not as if I walk past the corner, waltz into the inspiration store, and buy out all of their ideas. The thing is, ideas and inspiration aren't that important. What's important is your thoughts. I know some will argue that those are close enough to be called the same thing, but not in my book.

Inspiration is an excuse, a reason to put off working on something. It's a pretty good one, too. A lot of people with sympathize with you if you tell them that you can't write because the ideas are coming out stale and utterly wrong. But some, writers who have gone through quitting things because they were shiny and new anymore, will know inside themselves that you are making excuses, even if it's subconsciously.  

People tend to make excuses, sometimes for others, sometimes for themselves. They need to be able to say, "I can do this because of that." and "This keeps me from doing that." 

In a conversation I had with a good friend, Jamie, she compared inspiration to a faucet. I'm paraphrasing, because this was a while back, but I remember this, for the most part.

"Sometimes it's a flowing faucet, sometimes it's a weaker trickle." "And sometimes it's as if someone has stuck their gum onto the faucet and it's stuck completely."

I don't think that could be any truer. When people say that they are not inspired to write something any longer, I get so confused. I just can't think of it as logical. I can understand someone putting something down, because it's holding them back. But they aren't inspired?

Look around you, my friends! Between music and books and photography and art, I don't see how the world could be any more inspiring. Look in the simplest things. Your surroundings are much more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Take the quilt that your grandmother made for you. It's a bit old and it smells of mothballs, but really, truely look at it. Can you see the stitching and the texture of the fabric? Look for the tiny things. It's always the tiny details that make a work of art, the brushstrokes, the look in someone's eyes that lasted for a few moments.

If you're interested in getting a small look into what inspires me, you can check out the tumblr blog I set up for things that inspire me here. It's a compiled list of pictures that I adore, have stumbled upon across the internet, and have inspired me. Look for the little things.

Here's a challenge. I'm going to include a few pictures below. I want you to examine them and find something beautiful, but small. Don't say things like "I love this picture!" Here's an example:

I love that she has freckles, and that there's one that's slightly darker than the rest.
The small hole in the dandelion is interesting.
I like that her pinky is sticking out, like people supposedly do with tea. It makes me thing of tea parties.



Here are your images!




Good luck! I look forward to hearing what you notice about the pictures. Remember, it doesn't have to be something that you like. Just something interesting.





Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Music

I find that a lot of people who write seem to have this ongoing obsession with sharing/hoarding the music that they listen to while writing. I see people on twitter, swapping links to songs that they adore, that has helped shape their work for a few days. Everyone appears to be convinced that you must write to music.

While I love music, and I both enjoy reading and writing while listening to it, I feel silence is important. There's so much beauty in silence, sometimes. I almost always write to music, because I tend to try to focus on background sounds, and music just adds a better backdrop for me. However, before I write, I turn off the TV and the music, and just listen. When you have silence, there's nothing preventing you from hearing your mind speak. You hear your characters' voices instead of a singer's. You think about your story instead of the one that's currently being presented on TV.

There's something enchanting about silence before you write. Many people read before they write, to get a feel for the written word. Lots of others watch movies or crank up the volume. I lie down and stare at the ceiling, collecting my thoughts.

I'll say this:

There's power in music.

But I'll also say this:

For me, there's more in silence.



Hello, world!

So, this is going to be that slightly awkward post where I'm trying to introduce myself, but, instead, I just end up throwing too many random things at you. Shall we begin?

My name is Brielle. I enjoy being random and I've always enjoyed being different, relishing in being strange, embracing the weird. Perhaps this is why I enjoy writing. Maybe I don't get all of my weird out in real life. Maybe I have to spread my weirdness into someplace else, where I can shape the places and events, and make them embrace their oddity as well.

I'm a teenager, fourteen. I like converse and music, though, don't you dare call me "emo." I'm slightly addicted to nail polish. I'm COMPLETELY obsessed with Twitter. Today I might've started a dependency on coffee.

With this blog, I'll be posting thoughts that relate to writing and inspiration and other things that I like. I have another blog, if you'd like to check that out. You can find it here. I do book reviews and other bookish things.

This blog will be changing a bit, but I do hope you like it. It still needs some work, obviously, but that'll all come later. Posting might not be frequent, but I will post as I have relevant thoughts about writing. As I said above, this isn't my main blog, therefore, the main one is my priority.

If you're a writer, or a reader, or a teen who kind of likes what I've talked about here, then feel free to leave me a comment. What do you guys want to hear me talk about?

I understand that I am obviously not a published author. I don't work in publishing or editing. These are only my thoughts.