Monday, September 28, 2009

Left Meets Right- The Journey Begins

When I was working on my B.A. in Liberal Studies a few years back, we chose our senior projects. We were to research a subject and present it in both oral and written form. I decided my research would be on workplace spirituality, my written presentation a Novella. I did not know how I would present this to my group of cohorts.

My mentor advised that my presentation be on my creative process. I was instructed to keep a journal as well. I had approximately sixteen weeks to research my subject, keep a substantive journal of my research and write a novella. I started writing my novella about twelve weeks before the final project was due.

As I look over my journal on this creative process, I cannot believe how much I did in so little time. At the time, I was trying to find a way to bring my best self into an unhealthy work environment. I did not realize how much of my own self worth I put into my work. It was an interesting experience to see how my creative writing during this time helped me to work through some of my own work issues.

On March 6, 2005, I wrote this in my journal regarding my creative process:

I have written six pages and 1531 words on my story since last night- and it is not coming out at all the way I planned. My synopsis and character profiles are specific enough to where I thought I had a pretty good plot: arrogant associate attorney comes on the scene and doesn't want to be a team player but Ms. Spirituality-at-work-paralegal teaches him about looking within for work validation instead of grasping outside of himself. Ha! As I wrote, the story began to take on a life of its own, as if I, the writer, were not in control! How can this be? Well, it is what it is, and my protagonist is still Lana the paralegal but she is the corporate money hungry monger who does not realize she is walking into a spiritual environment. We will experience through her eyes what it is like to come from a corporate mindset to just the opposite. Thus, my title Left (corporate left-brain thinker) Meets Right (spiritual right brain thinker). Does this make sense? Yes Left Meets Right.

Meanwhile, I continue to work very hard on writing my novel. I have reached the 17,000 mile mark, which means I am approximately a quarter of the way into my story. My protagonist is acting and reacting in ways I never imagined. The story truly seems to have taken on a life of its own. Who is in control—my characters or me?

Over the next several weeks, or however long it takes, I plan to post journal entries on my creative process while writing my novella. Next time, I may share some insights about The Ant and the Elephant by Vincent Poscente, and how to apply those principles to writing!

Happy writing!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Trends in Publishing

I have heard it said that a writer should never include chapters of their novel on the web, especially at their website. I have also heard that self-publishing is the kiss of death for a novel. Many old school editors and writers profess that agents and editors will not consider that which has been published online or is self-published. Worse yet, self-published novels do not sell. Perhaps sometimes these things are true, but I am sure they are not true in all situations.

Seth Harwood recently spoke at the Redwood Writer’s Club on how to podcast your novel before it had reached publication. In other words, produce a chapter each week for others to download and listen to on their MP3 players. This way, your writing gets out there and you get an idea on how well your work is received. Mr. Harwood said that he actually sold his book by giving it away. You can read all about Seth here: http://sethharwood.com

J.A. Joshi is a self-published writer who I greatly admire. She participates in the Writer’s Digest online forum. Ms. Joshi also self-published Follow the Cowherd Boy through Trafford. In her mid twenties, she followed her own intuition about how to publish her book, went on a marketing spree across the country, and has shared many of her adventures with the writing forum. She now has a wonderful blog: http://jaijoshiz.blogspot.com/

As a writer, I think many of the rules to selling your work are timeless. Spelling and grammar should be impeccable, story should be well crafted and in line with what sells today. Read writer's guidelines and follow them to a tee. Read the type of stories we like to write. However, I think that the acceptable manner of publication is changing as the internet becomes more predominant in our lives. Change is important, and it is even more important to move with the changing times.

In my own writing life, I am proud to say I am working hard on my novel. I am on chapter 11 (no, it is not about bankruptcy). While I was on vacation a few weeks back, I wrote anywhere from two to four hours a day. My goals are to write one to two hours a day on my novel, as well as write and sell more short stories.

What are your writing goals?

Happy writing to all!

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...