Time flies when you’re having fun!

Oh dear me, has it been over year since I graced my blog? I have an excuse, flimsy as it may be. Since I last graced this site with my novice words, I have completed quite a number of classes. I’ve finished up all the writing workshops offered, and I’m actually working on my final year! I can’t believe how fast time has flown.

I have learned SO much. I cannot even express how much my awareness of my own writing has improved. I see many things that I did not before, structural and syntactical devices that are much more apparent. I have grown as a writer, there is no doubt about it.

Currently I’m working on an upper-level grammar class which is kicking my ass. Seriously, it’s a toughie. Not because the material is hard. It’s not too bad, really. It’s just that there is way more technical stuff about sentence and word structure that I was unaware of. Way more. I’m currently writing a paper about the history of the semicolon. Totally serious. The Semicolon. While I do find it entertaining, in a way, writing a paper about such a thing is almost too much for my delicate brain to handle. Still, it’s all part of this life I am seeking, so no real complaints.

I have started a novel, and a novella. The novel is based on the Lawbringer story I’ve mentioned in an earlier post. The world, plot, characters, and overall structure is quite good, in my opinion, and I cannot wait to show you guys. Additionally, my novella idea is rocking, and I’m even more excited for it. I don’t to share details just yet, but I’m applying not only my refined writing ability to it, but also my newly-acquired education from other classes I’ve enjoyed. I feel so excited about being original, and just knowing that I’m working on something so good.

That’s it for now, folks. Got a paper on semicolons to finish! Talk to you guys again soon.

Oren

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Bigger fish.

So, working the fifth module this week, I’m reading and practicing short story techniques. I learned a lot, actually. I have to write a short story for this week’s assignment, 300 words for the length. I’m sure I’ll do alright on it, I have some good ideas. I’m trying to stay away from fantasy, try to make up something creative and original.

As the title says, I do have bigger fish I’m working on at the moment. A contest on WritingDotCom opened up, and it’s for a novella. Now, a novella is a story that is longer than a short story, but shorter than a full novel. The requirements are a minimum of 20k words, and a maximum of 35k words. When I first started writing, I pumped out 60k words pretty quickly. Admittedly, they were trash, but it was the halfway point of my baby novel. Now that I’ve learned and adjusted to actually having a style, I can apply all my practice to a respectable length. I’m pretty excited about it. I’m even going sci-fi with it, although it could be argued that there’s a bit of mythology thrown in there, to appease my fantasy inclination. It’s a wonderful concept, and I can’t wait to show the world.

In other news, I’ve submitted my most recent short story, Crux of Madness, to some magazines. The first one was Clarkesworld, and they responded rather quickly with a big fat no. I wasn’t expecting them to accept it, but it’s officially my first denial and it took some getting used to. I’ve submitted to another popular site, although I won’t mention the name yet, as I’m not sure it’s allowed. I would love for others to read this story, as I think it’s pretty dang good, but I can’t have it displayed publically. I’m sure if it’s accepted and I find out what’s allowed, I’ll advertise the snot outta it, with much gusto.

Once I feel that novella is successful, and perhaps after this Crux submission is figured out, I just may tackle the novel again. I’ve kept the gist of the story the same, but I’ve incorporated a much needed magic system. The poor story was so bland and naive before, and now that I’ve created a real problem, real motivations, and some dynamics to an already good story, it’ll be pretty cool. I’m hoping the world will think so too.

Okay, back to writing, and here’s to bigger fish!

Oren


Poetry was…interesting.

Well, the first two weeks of English 226 are done. Hardest couple of weeks for me. Not because of the particular lesson’s points, which were about voice and imagery, but writing a poem.

Now, I have no problems with poetry. None at all. I respect the ability for an artist to use words to create an image using sometimes very specific and rigid forms. I think it’s amazing, really. However, it really was a struggle to write something.

I think most of it is the first-time jitters. In a class with 100% creative writing and English majors, coming up with something creative to be displayed for peer review filled me with terror. I mean, I’m pretty sure I can write decent, but some of these folks have been writing for years. Some of them write poetry as their main creative outlet, and their submissions were amazing.

Hopefully, when we get to the short story segment, I can redeem myself.

I did get a good grade for the poem, a 74 of 75. The professor felt one particular word choice didn’t fit, but commended me on solid imagery. I’ll post the poem for your perusal, highlighting the word the professor disapproved of.

Cold Front 

The cerulean blanket overhead teases

me with an assurance of warmth.

The sly glint of the amber eye above

lends no comfort to my frozen skin.

 

A sarcastic bluster pushes against me,

chilling, stinging, nipping the tender

parts of me that can feel the winter’s trick.

The crisp quip of tawny bermuda under

 

my boot goads me to walk faster. I am

close to true warmth, nestled behind

plaster and windows, the spirit in the

hearth a more attainable thawing than

 

the mockery of fire up high. A quick dash

inside, an indiscriminate toss of wrappings.

The blaze greets me with its coveted arms.

At last, I can feel the cordiality I crave.

 

So there’s that bugger of a poem. I’m not sure how I should feel about it. Literally, my first poem ever. Well, an A’s an A.

Moving on, I won with my latest item, Crux of Madness, for the contest it was submitted to. I’m proud of it, as is my mentor and other’s in my writing group. Per their suggestions, I’ve decided to take a big leap of faith and submit it to a magazine. We’ll see what happens, and I’ll be sure to talk about it in detail once I get more information about how it is received.

Very exciting! In just one year from having never written creatively, and now I’m seeking publication for an item. I have this…anticipation…this buzzing deep inside that makes me feel like I’m right on the edge of the Grand Canyon. I’m sure a big part of it is fear, and I hope it’s not a feeling that is scoffed at by more experienced authors and writers. I have this hope, this desire, to be successful at writing fantasy, and having peers tell me that I can be is overwhelming.

Or, it could just be after-spasms from writing poetry. We’ll see.

Oren

 

 

 


Poetry Assignment: A Blog?

This is one of my assignments this week: There are too many forms of poetry for us to begin to address them all here. Though we are looking at a few forms for experience, many more exist. Some forms can be found here. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the forms. Choose one or two that seem to draw you to write in that form. In your blog, identify the poetic form and explain what it is about the form that is especially interesting.

This is my response to the professor:

I have no prior experience with poetry before this course beyond casual encounters, and I don’t recall what I had to do in High School so long ago. The limerick and haiku, sonnet and ballad seem to be the most familiar to me. The haiku especially is intriguing, because I think the trick with that is not the simplicity of the poem, but the intensity and word choice.

However, the haiku, and the others, were not the forms that spoke to me. There were many rigid poem structures I looked at, like the villanelle (Dylan Thomas’ poem I have heard before, and our discussion topic “One Art”), and that rigidity intimidates me. I have an analytical mind, and I like to approach dissection of a piece of work with that analytical approach. I don’t think I could create a piece of art with that rigid of a form, however. Well, I think I am capable, but I’m not sure I would enjoy it. So, I avoided any styles of poetry with a strict structure.

There were two types of poems that piqued my interest: the prose poem, and the dramatic monologue. I think I could attempt to write the first with some success. I liked that I could focus on word choice, meter, rhythm, but not limited by line breaks. I think I would enjoy that. I am going to try to write something and keep to a poetic style, but not worry about making it look like a poem. I bought a cheap college rule notebook from Target to try to do this on my own. I think I can write something poetic with a pen better than I could on a screen. I type much faster than I write, and I think I can focus on the words and what I am trying to say in a poem if I write by hand. I’ve never done this before, poems or writing-by-hand, so this is unfamiliar territory!

The dramatic monologue didn’t interest me as much until I read “Falling” by James Dickey. It’s not in first person but the poem was amazing, I was captivated by it. It was very freeing, and I really liked that. It was a very unique style, and I noticed the extra spaces the poet used to help accent the poem. I don’t presume to understand poetry or the reasons why a poet would do something, but the way he laid the poem out as I read it was very intense. I don’t know if I can be that brilliant, but I am adding the dramatic monologue to this because I think a poem pushing the reader into a character they may not necessarily like is really intriguing.

I have developed an interest in poetry, but I’m still sure it’s not for me to do professionally. I think if I can break up my short story writing with some poetry that interests me, then maybe I can be more flexible as a writer. Who knows, maybe the poetry I write will mean something to someone. I definitely have read more poetry in the last week than I can recall from my life, and it’s not as scary as I originally thought.

Oren

 


The new year.

Been a busy month, ole December. I saw my last post was November 30th, right after my midterm. December was certainly a long month with the holidays.

So, I finished off Psychology 108. Finishing with a 97 and getting my first A, in my first class back into college. It’s a great feeling. I wasn’t particularly challenged by the class, content-wise, and I think my main complications at any time were from time management. I felt I learned a lot, both about Psychology in general, and college as well. Hopefully I can keep up this GPA!

So, next term starts two 8-week classes, Introduction to Creative Writing, and Introduction to Information Technology. I anticipate no problems with the IT class; I’ve spent a lot of my life fiddling around with computers and software. While I am certainly not anything other than amateur, I look forward to an actual college-level refresher to fill in any gaps in my own experiences.

Intro to Creative Writing, however…

It’s my first course of my Major, and according to the syllabus posted, it’s just a broad class on creative writing as a whole, so easy enough. The first two weeks, however, seem to jump right into Poetry. Now, I’m not doggin’ poetry at all, however I have little interest in poetry in any form. There are certain aspects to poetry like form and imagery that I’m going to try hard to master, and anything I learn is going to help me as a whole. I need to look at the entire picture of my education, and not just the little pieces I don’t like.

I’m not going to lie, I’m intimidated by the workload. Oh, I’ll do just fine, I know, but I’m just putting it out there. Wish me luck!

Now that the New Year is here, it’s that time to make resolutions. I’m not going to jump on the “lose weight” bandwagon and declare a year-long campaign into combating excessive poundage,  but I do want to try to get healthier. Healthy body means healthy brain, thusly, a healthy education, right? I also would like to try to publish something, anything, doesn’t matter what. I think if I can get something paid and published, it’ll boost my self-esteem and make me work that much a harder. I’m after the respect, so I can start publishing while still going to school.

So, New Year’s Resolutions: get healthier, get published. Those are reasonable, right?

Oren

Copyright © 2013 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Still making progress…

Week five just about done in Psychology 108. Last week was Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and this week is Theory of Emotion. Great stuff! As this is an accelerated course, I’ve just completed my midterm – ACED IT. Quite literally took me about two hours to complete it, despite it being open book. I thought when a test was multiple-choice and open book, it’d be easy. Well, it wasn’t horrible, but I actually had to work for my answers. The questions were phrased in such a way that I couldn’t just look for something verbatim…I had to actually process the question and make sure I comprehended what was being asked. I missed one question, but it was tricky anyways, so I’m fine with a 97.5%.

There’s been quite a few developments since my last blog post. In my personal dramatic story called life, my parents have split up after 37 years of marriage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mutually consenting split, as my dad apparently had a girlfriend, approximately my age. Of course this is all a blow, but much more so for my mother. It’ll be alright, as I’m doing my best to help my mom out, but it is just crazy how quickly things can turn around. It’ll get resolved, these things always do, but the only thing I can really do is take notes and try to learn something from it.

It may sound callous, but I’ve been really trying hard to see how I can take any experience and apply it to writing. Since I am the oldest child of three, I have a duty to do certain things to help my mom and family in times of need; it’s like a code. Maybe I can keep track of this process and apply the emotions and reactions of the real people to future characters. I’m trying to get into the mindset of making everything a potential story, and I hope it isn’t selfish of me. I already analyze things I see on the way to work, trying to find details about yards, cars, buildings, etc and how I can use the little things I see to make settings more plausible in future stories.

I finished a short story just recently, that I’m now editing. It’s called The Seventh Lawbringer. I wrote it as a prequel to another short story I wrote earlier this year, called The Law and the Fist. I enjoyed the world and concept of the Lawbringers, and I wanted to show a little of the main character Sebastian’s history. The Law and the Fist received very positive reviews, and it won First Place in the contest it was submitted to. Both need work, but I think if you read The Seventh Lawbringer, especially after I edit it, you’ll see an improvement in my writing ability. TLATF was written in early August. Be warned, though, if you check TSL out right this instant, it’s just a rough draft! I am going to develop a plot line and develop this world much, much further, so keep your eyes out for continued adventures of Sebastian, Lin, & the Lawbringers of Lastearth.

On a related note, namely writing.com updates, I found out this morning I was voted Best New Reviewer for October in the Rising Star writing group. I’m pleased that I was considered, although I don’t think I did anything amazing besides review other Rising Star members and tell them very honestly how I felt about their story. I would make a few grammatical comments, but I’m super-leery of correcting grammar when I know I’m not perfect. Regardless, it’s still an honor, and I’m happy to be doing well on this big writing website.

Anyways, that’s it for a progress update. I think I’m do for a story posting soon, so I’ll see which story was next in my development this year and talk about it soon.

‘Til then!

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved


Playing God

So week two finished of Psychology 108. Very interesting stuff, indeed. I aced my paper, which pleased me greatly, as I have not written a formal paper since well, high school. I see a ‘College Composition’ on my transfer credits, but that was easily sixteen years ago, and probably MLA style anyways. This paper was APA style, and I pretty much just made sure every rule was followed and I didn’t directly plagiarize or misquote anything. Since my general grammar is pretty good, it came out amazing (at least to me).

This grade was vindicated further by the long announcement the professor gave regarding the lack of grammar skills and effort from other submissions, although she didn’t phrase it that way. She provided a list of the common errors, and then limited the length of subsequent papers to speed up her grading times. Except I had made none of these errors, and a 100 of 100 on the paper. Made me feel pretty good knowing I did something well without relevant prior experience.

This most recent week required a PowerPoint presentation, although not one actually presented.  I’ve never used PowerPoint before, but it was pretty straightforward. I prepared 5 slides, with an intro slide and a reference slide, 7 total. Dark background, light easy-to-ready numbers, no fancy stuff at all except a clean and neat appearance, with some clipart for a bit of contrast. I was happy, but we’ll see when she grades it.

Already I can see development in my education. I work harder, concentrate harder, and research & read more. Next term begins the first writing class, Intro to Creative Writing. It seems to cover a broad range of creative writing, which means I will have to do poetry. I have literally zero interest in poetry, however I will dive right in, as anything creative is progress forward. I shall embarrass myself willingly by posting everything I write, both here and at Writing.com.

Following that term, I’ve registered for the first Fiction Writing Workshop. This really excites me. I will be actively writing and learning, and I can’t wait.  I’m confident I will do well, and actually I have been filling some of my free time with some grammar exercises at Owl Purdue, just to freshen up. I know HOW to do something things, but the terms themselves fail me. If I am to have any credibility, I need to know EVERYTHING. 🙂

You know, I read somewhere that writers tend to be egotistical. I’ve been trying hard not to be, as I know full well that ten whole months of writing experience puts me just about the bottom of the barrel. However, I keep getting praised, even from strangers smarter than me, sent anonymously, so it’s hard not to swell up a little. I’m dreading the inevitable negativity that will come, as of course “the harder I’ll fall” and all that. My critical reviews were still more than positive, just mainly letting me know I need grammar work.

I probably should talk about that, actually, about my writing history mainly, sparse it may be. Way back in my first iteration of college, I had a dear friend who was an English major. I was a Music major, as at the time I thought I really wanted to teach Music. We spent a lot of time together, and my love for Fantasy fiction came out to her at some point. We brainstormed a book, creating a world with characters based on people we know. The notes were not very long, but the idea and concept latched on to me and I held on to it. However, life happened, and I never wrote anything. In fact, I never wrote at all, with my total writing experience being the required papers for classes. So really, any chance I had to gain the interest or experience to write was squashed a long time ago.

However, something happened.

See, I have another friend, a very dear one (not the same from college, to clarify) since grade school that I talked to quite a bit. We had always stayed in touch, of varying amounts of the years. I had told her about that prior project so long ago and how I always wanted to write it. She informed me that I was wasting my potential, on more than one occasion. During a different discussion, she asked me, “Write me a story.”

So I did.

I used the only reference I had at the time to any sort of plan or plot, and wrote out a couple of chapters off the top of my head, based on the premise from my original pet project so long ago. She liked it so much that she encouraged me to continue the characters. 60k words and 3 months later I had Part One of this grandiose story. Admittedly, my writing was trash. It was horrid really, full of telling-not-showing, adverbs, and myriad other grammatical travesties. The CONCEPT was pretty original, the world was well defined, and the characters (at least in my head, since I knew the whole story) were memorable. It just sucked so bad.

Regardless of how bad it was, I still found a writing website, www.writing.com, and placed the first two chapters up on their free account provided to me. They got great reviews. While I plugged away at this “epic”, I noticed writing.com had some contests. I entered a few, and won. Then I kept entering…and winning. I developed a fan base, got accepted into a higher-level writing group on writing.com, and now with massive amounts of encouragement, I am plodding away at a degree.

A complete turnaround. I was going to go back to school, sure, but for engineering, or information technology. Perhaps I should have, for practical reasons, as I imagine the median salary for those degrees will blast a novelist’s paycheck out of the water. I can still write a novel while dropping six figures, right? However, I don’t really think of it like that. Why make so much money if I still hate it, why make so much money when I already do alright and getting a degree that’ll wear me out from work overload. I still get the doubts, though, of how stupid I am not going for the big bucks. Nevertheless, writing is fun. I can still do it when I retire. I can create anything, do anything, make anyone do anything I want, I just use words instead of pictures.

Not to sound pretentious, but it’s almost God-like. How’s that for egotistical? 😀

Oren

Copyright © 2012 – Oren’s Realm – All Rights Reserved