Writing Pet Peeves

treetops

Good morning from Northern Michigan!  I’m currently in Gaylord, MI on day two of a three day training session for work.  Actually, when this publishes I’ll be on day three… yay! It’s been a nice training, somewhat frustrating at times, but I miss my babies and my kitties and my bed!

Anywho… this week we’re talking about writing pet peeves. Considering that as I work on this I’m supposed to be doing homework for my training and it’s already 9:20 PM… I’m going to take the lazy way out and repost an oldie that pretty much sums up my writing pet peeves. :)

The Rules
May 25, 2012

Apparently when it comes to writing and getting published there’s this idea among writers that there’s a golden set of rules that one must follow.  Not ideas, or suggestions, but The Rules.  Some of which, to be totally honest, are beginning to bum me out.

I write because I love it.  I write because it’s fun and it’s a way for an otherwise really, really, really shy girl to share her words with the world.  Sure, I understand that in order to get published there are certain things I’ll have to do and ways that I’ll need to tweak.  I’ve been a fanfic writer for the past thirteen years so I’m well aware that transitioning to the published world is going to mean changing up my style a bit.

Writing fanfic is like writing for a soap opera that goes on and on, while writing for publishing is like condensing that soap opera into a movie.  Those slice of life chapters that really just serve as filler but aren’t really needed for the plot will have to be cut.  That, I can handle.

But when I talk about The Rules, I mean those things that every writer who blogs seems to talk about when giving advice about writing.  Those things that while although true for some simply aren’t true for all and yet somehow continue to be The Rules.

A blog post I read recently basically said that only the well known big name famous writers are “allowed” to write in first person.  Everyone else has to write in third person if they have any true desire to be published.  I call bullshit on that.  I truly don’t understand why some people hate first person so much.  I’ve heard people call it the “easy” and “lazy” way of writing (ridiculously untrue, IMHO).  People say that unless you’re writing for Young Adults you can’t possibly sell a first person book.  I read a lot of books, and I can tell you that not every first person book I read is YA or was written by one of the big names.  I personally enjoy reading and writing in first person.

It’s not that I’m opposed to third person; I just don’t have as much experience with it.  I’m still working on it, and have plans to keep building my skills.  But to say that the way that I happen to write is lazy, easy or flat out forbidden because it’s not the way that you write, isn’t cool.  Not at all. Not everyone likes to read the same things, so why the heck should writers all aim to write the same way just so it’s easier to get published?

I don’t like when a book starts out too fast; other people insist that there be absolutely no backstory in the beginning of your book at all.  I don’t enjoy overly wordy descriptions of settings; some people love to read about the tranquil way that the waves pounded on the sandy shore causing the heroine to fall into a hypnotic dream-like state as she watched the froth of the waves form miniature bubble baths for the crabs digging their way out of their sandy homes. ;)  We all like what we like!

To tell me that I’m not “allowed” to write how I want to because I’m not a big name basically isn’t going to work for me.  I’m the one writing the book.  I’m not saying that I’m closed to learning or growing.  I’m definitely not going to be like Susan Minot who likes to write in run on sentences,  leave out punctuation, and have extremely unclear narrators.  (I seriously couldn’t get through one chapter of her book Evening because of her writing style and yet she’s supposedly one of the great writers of our time.) But I just want to write what I love and if I get bogged down by too many rules that will suck all of the fun out of it for me.  I find it hard to think that everyone who has been published, whether by a big name publisher or something smaller, has followed The Rules to a T.  In fact, I know they haven’t!

Go walking through a book store and you’ll see all sorts of different books.  Sure, you’re going to find a slew of them that follow The Rules and many of them will feel like the same book with different characters and settings.  But you’re also going to find books that broke the mold in that bookstore.  You’ll find those writers who said, “Screw The Rules! I don’t want to write like that, I want to write like me.”

Did you know that Kathyn Stockett who wrote the book The Help had her manuscript rejected sixty times before it was published?  SIXTY TIMES!  But you know what?  She believed in her story and kept trying until it became a huge best seller and then an amazing movie that won Oscars.  By the way, it’s in first person and it was the first book she ever got published.  :)

So what’s my point?  Write what you love and how you love to write it!  If no one wants to publish it because you didn’t follow The Rules, you can always self publish now, right?

Happy Writing!

Bronwyn | Kris | Leigh | Jess | Paige | Jessica | Gwen


Wordless Wednesday: Happiness


  
    

  
  

Bronwyn | KrisPaige | Gwen | Jessica


Promptly Penned: Choices

One of the new features of the Wednesday posts this year will be what we’re calling “Promptly Penned.”  Basically, we get a prompt of some sort and then have to write something inspired by it. :)  Here’s our first prompt of the year:

Some choices are easy, like fudge ripple or
butter pecan, some choices aren’t. Can you guess which one this was?

Promptly Penned

 “Oh my god, can you please just make a decision?!” my brother said with a groan and dramatically dropped his head to the table. “It’s not that hard…” he then added in a muffled voice against the Formica surface.

I looked down at the choices before me and sighed.  “Yes it is.  It’s really hard and the more you bug me about it the longer it’s going to take. Why don’t you help me, loser?”

“I tried to help you, dweeb!” He lifted his head to look at me and rested his cheek on his hand as if it was seriously stressing him out to hold up his own head.  “You swatted down everything I said.”

I nodded without looking at him, “Because they were all stupid suggestions.”

He laughed, “I thought they were good.”

I tried not to smile but failed, “Going up to the old guy in the brown hoodie over there, calling him Obi Wan, and telling him that he’s my only hope won’t exactly help me decide. Nor would offering the girl behind the counter a lap dance.”

“No, but it would be funny.”

I ran my fingers through my hair in frustration, “Not helping…”

“Dude,” he said and took the photos to look at them.  “You like all of them, right?”

“Yeah.”

“So no matter what, you’ll be happy.”

“But what if I decide later that I didn’t really like the one I chose?”

“Listen.  We’ve been sitting here for over an hour.  You’ve got to choose.  The dude is starting to look at us like we’re crazy.”

I smiled and stage-whispered, “We are crazy.”

“If you don’t pick out something in the next three minutes I’m calling Mom and I’m telling her what you’re about to do.”

I watched as he took out his cell phone and set its timer for three minutes.  The added stress of a time limit didn’t help me at all.  In fact, it seemed to suck away what little decision making abilities I had.  I fake glared at my brother, “You wouldn’t tell Mom.  Because if you did, you’d risk turning her wrath on yourself.”

He shrugged and motioned to the timer that was now reading 2:10.  “Two-oh-nine, two-oh-eight, two-oh-seven… time’s ticking away, Dweeber.”

“You’re such a pain in my ass…” I sighed and took the photos back.  I’d looked at them so many times I’d lost count.  He was right, I really did like all of the choices laying on the table in front of me.  That was part of my problem, of course.  I’d looked at them all so much that I was starting to see flaws in everything that I’d originally loved about each of them.  Kind of like when you write a word over and over it starts to look like it’s spelled wrong even though you know it’s right.

“One-thirty…”

“How did you decide when you did it?”

“I opened up a book, pointed and said, ‘That’s what I want.'”

“You liar…”

He chuckled and nodded, “True, but I knew what I wanted before I got here and I only showed up with one option so I wouldn’t sit here like this fretting over what to pick.”  He glanced at his phone, “One minute…”

I was starting to feel nauseated. Contrary to my brother’s belief, this was a big deal and a big decision.  I ruled one photo out and put it in my bag with all of the other discarded choices.  The two left had ironically been my first two choices.  I took this as meaning that I was destined to choose one of them for sure.  Or something like that.

“Forty-five, forty-four…”

I shot him a look and resumed my choice making.  I considered doing eenie-meenie-miney-mo but I knew that with only two choices that it wouldn’t work.  Every little girl knew that when you were down to two, all you had to do to catch the tiger by the toe was to start the rhyme on the choice you didn’t want.  I tapped my fingers on the bottoms of the pictures.  It wasn’t like I was choosing which flavor of ice cream to get or something simple.  This was way bigger than that.

“Twenty, nineteen, eighteen, seventeen…”  I grabbed his phone and turned the timer off then stuck the phone into my bra where I knew he wouldn’t chase it.  Sister cooties and all that.  Just before he was able to get a whine out I pushed a picture across the table to him then put the other one in my bag.  “This is it?” he asked with a smile.

I nodded, “Go give it to him right now before I change my mind, or throw up.”

He stood up with the picture and paused, “Please don’t puke.  Seriously.  If you puke they’ll never let me come back.”

“If you don’t go right now I’ll make myself puke on purpose like I did when we were seven and I didn’t want to be at Misty Robinson’s birthday party but mom made us go.”

“I’m going!” he practically yelled and then literally jogged across the room with my fate in his hand.

I chuckled at his retreat and tried doing some deep breathing to fight off the nerves.  My knees were bouncing up and down under the table like I had to seriously pee, but I knew it was all nerves.  He may have been my twin, but we were so incredibly different at times it was funny.  I over-analyzed absolutely everything while he could make a decision, big or small, in a heartbeat and be totally okay with it.  To be honest, I loved that about him, even envied it at times.  He may have whined and set timers and given me ultimatums to get me to make a choice, but I knew it was all out of love.  There was no way he’d let me make a bad decision.

He returned to our table with a huge grin, “He’s getting ready. You should probably pee.”

“I don’t have to pee.”

“Then stop with the pee pee dance or you’re going to make me have to go.”

I couldn’t help but giggle and then tried really hard to stop my legs from trembling.  “Tell me I made the right decision.”

“You did.”

I looked him in the eyes, “Swear you’re not lying just to shut me up.”

He reached across the table and grabbed my hand, “I promise.”

Despite being a twin, he wasn’t a touchy feely kind of guy.  He blamed our eight and a half months in the womb together as his reason for not liking to cuddle.  To him, that was all of the snuggling he needed.  The fact that he was holding my hand on his own was enough to let me know that he was being one hundred percent honest.  I squeezed his hand and smiled, “Okay…”

“I’m gunna need you to take my phone out of your boobs so I can take pictures.”

I giggled and gave him his phone back.  “If I cry and you post it to Instagram you will regret it.”

“Oh come on… you know me better than that.  I wouldn’t post that to Instagram.”  The guy called my name and motioned for us to make our way over.  I stood up wrapped my arm around my brother’s waist.  He gave me a one armed hug and smiled, “You’ve got this…”

I nodded, totally not sure of myself, “Yeah.”

“Afterward we can go get ice cream, and I’ll make all of the decisions for you.”

I giggled, “Deal.”

____

That’s all you get! :)  The State of Union address has started so I’ve gotta run. :)

Don’t forget to check out what the rest of the girls came up with for the prompt!

Bronwyn | Kris | Jessica | Jess | Paige | Leigh


2015 Year in Review

Ahh… 2015 in review.  Hmm… Yeah, I can’t barely remember what I wore to work yesterday, but let’s see what I can come up with as a review of the past year.  LOL  I would love to do a month to month recap but let’s be serious… that’s not going to happen.  I change planners like a crazy woman (although I’ve had my current planner since July! Go me!) so I don’t even know where a planner from last January is, let alone which one I was using at the time. :)  So, let’s just do some bullets, shall we?

In 2015…

  • I turned 39. It wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.  I’m not thinking much about the big 40 for this year yet though. :)
  • I moved back to civilization and away from flying rodent bastards. A year later I can say that my panic attacks are not nightly anymore but they still creep up pretty regularly.  I’m still afraid to watch the new Dracula movie despite my boyfriend being in it because of how many bats are in the film. It’s on my DVR but I’m scared that watching it will lead me into PTSD flashbacks.
  • I left the job of doom. :D
  • I celebrated the passing of marriage equality while in a city called Gay, MI with my writer friends!
  • I still didn’t finish my Hue Shift Afghan nor the sweater I started knitting in 2014.
  • I still didn’t learn to crochet.
  • I reached my heaviest weight ever. Ugh.
  • I got a new iPhone after having hand me downs for years!
  • I went to see New Kids on the Block, Nelly and TLC in concert and it was amazing.
  • I contemplated booking the Backstreet Boys European Cruise but sadly had to back out because I hadn’t yet gotten my new job and wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep the commitment.
  • I read 21 books.
  • I did not get as much writing done as I would’ve liked, but I did start the still untitled Jensen story and I’m kind of loving it.
  • I successfully recruited Doodlebutt as a Four Seasons and Jersey Boys fan. We saw the play (with Drew Seeley!!!) too. :)
  • I didn’t travel enough. In fact, I don’t know if I even left the state in 2015. :(
  • I went to too many funerals.
  • I sucked at meeting blog deadlines.
  • I was introduced to the world of infant mental health and I’m really interested in learning more and possibly getting endorsed in it.
  • I finally went to Painting with a Twist (three times!) and loved it!
  • I watched a whole lot of Disney Junior.
  • I began reading and fell in love with the Outlander series. Currently I’m on book three. :D
  • I finally got back to the Detroit Zoo after not having been there in over thirty years.

In 2016:

  • I realized after writing this whole post that it was supposed to be a list of the best things in 2015, not a recap of all things.  LOL

That’s all I can think of for now.  Not too bad, eh?

Here’s to a great year!  Happy New Year!

Bronwyn | Kris | Jessica | Leigh | Jess | Gwen | Paige


Wednesday Words: 5 or less

My Past:

Difficult but full of love.

My Present:

Feeling more like me again.

My Future:

Will my body play nice?

~~~~~

Bronwyn | Kris | Jessica | Paige | Jess


Wednesday Words – What’s in a name?

Hidey ho, Ranger Joe! :)

This week we’re supposed to be writing about how we choose our character’s names and what some of our favorites are.  To be honest though, I’m really pretty lame with names.  I name my characters names that I like. If I don’t like a name or know someone who drives me nuts with that name, I don’t use it. Sometimes if I know I want a name to have a particular meaning I’ll do a reverse search, but most of the time it’s like, “Ooh I love the name Nick…” 

When I was naming Miklos in my Jensen fic I knew for some reason that I wanted him to be Greek, so I searched for Greek names and then looked at their meanings. It turns out that Miklos is actually Hungarian so it shouldn’t have shown up in my Greek search… But here’s a funny one, Miklos is a Hungarian version of the Greek name for name Nicholas. LOL so I inadvertently named him Nick anyway. 

As for favorite character names? Other than Nick? Hehe… Yeah I don’t know. I had a character named Cate, I enjoyed that one because it wasn’t Kate and I have a non-traditional spelling to my name too.  I use names from TV, movies, music, books, restaraunt waitstaff… Basically if I like it, I use it. The hospital in my Jensen fic is named Riley Children’s hospital because of a friend who has that last name, and because after giving Elle the last name Jensen I kept thinking of the character Riley Jensen.  Faith, in my story Double Exposure was named after Faith Hill because I was listening to her when I introduced the character and needed a name. LOL Bobby, the big cuddly black father figure in Shades of Grey was named after an adorable skinny white kid named Bobby who waited on me at Bob Evans the day I wrote the prologue. :)  Uncle Phil, in the same story… Totally a Fresh Prince reference.  LOL There really is no method to my madness. I sometimes read the credits of movies and look for cool names too. 

Could this post be more lame? LOL sorry. I agreed to do this week’s topic before realizing how dorky my answer would be. Bet hey, I blogged! LOL

Let’s see how the other girls name their characters, shall we?

Jessica | Bronwyn | Jess


“And I thank you…”

Well hello there!

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I was just too busy and kept missing the blogging deadlines. :) But one of the reasons I’ve been so busy is something that I’m super thankful for, so I wanted to make sure that I got my blogging done on time this week since that’s what we’re sharing this week!

If you’ve been reading my blog for any part of the past seven years you’ll know that I had a pretty rough job in social work. My job required me to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round to my clients. I used my personal cell phone, personal car, and was expected to be ready and available at all times in case a client had an emergency. Although I learned a lot from the job, it was all kinds of awful. The job itself was set up to benefit the clients with the least bit of support for the workers. We were often put into dangerous situations with little to no backup, asked to perform miracles without the appropriate training, and put our own needs and the needs of our families on hold for clients.

But guess what?

I got a new job!!

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As I’m writing this, I’m in my third week at a new job that is frankly a whole new world.

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Before, I was working for a religious non-profit. For the most part, the religious stuff didn’t get in the way, but there were certainly some things that I wasn’t “allowed” to do because of the agency’s beliefs. And well, it was never real comfortable working for a religious agency who at any time could legally fire me based on my sexual preferences. Now, I work for a school district so there isn’t any religious stuff hanging over my head.  It’s still legal to fire me for sexual preferences but I worry about it a little less now.

Before, I was on call 24/7, now I work 8:30 – 4:30 most days, don’t work weekends, don’t work holidays, and am not expected to answer my phone in non-traditional hours. Before, the focus was always on Utilization (aka how many families we could serve each month and keep our numbers up), now the focus is quality of service. Numbers are still important here, but so are the workers.

At my old job, eight case workers shared four desks, had no storage place in the office for things, and our office was the size of a medium bathroom. Here, I have my own desk, my own bookshelf, my own filing cabinet, and four workers share an old elementary school classroom. (We even have the little in-room bathroom, but we don’t use it. LOL)

I’ve had so much training in the past few weeks, that I feel like I’m back in college again (which I love… I loooove training and learning new things). I’m also learning how much my old job just didn’t do. This job will pay $100 a year for professional memberships and contribute $400 per year to education outside of required training. This job has something called Reflective Supervision which is an opportunity for us to talk about the job with a licensed counselor once a month. In my old job, when I was pretty sure I was suffering from Secondary Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue I was told to “take a long weekend to refresh.” If we talked about professional development in my old job, it was pretty much up to us to figure out how we’d get that training and if it didn’t have to do specifically with the job or wasn’t already offered by the State, there was no chance the agency was going to put any money into it. Now, I’m learning about Infant Mental Health which is fascinating, and about how I could get an endorsement in it too!

I honestly can’t explain how different this job is and how much stress has been lifted from my shoulders. Granted, I don’t have any clients yet and won’t for a while because I can’t get into my first big training until January, but just the environment alone is amazingly different. I already feel like I’m part of the team, I feel valued, and I feel like I’m in the right place. Oh and well there’s the pay… The money I was making while being expected to basically have my job be my main focus in life was ridiculous. I’m getting paid so much more a year to still help families, still do home visiting, but not be on call, not work nights, weekends, and holidays, and have actual structure and guidance to what I’m doing. The mileage reimbursement over the past seven years ranged from 28 cents per mile to 41 cents per mile depending on gas prices. Here, we go by the federal rate which is currently 57 cents per mile.

I’m still getting used to things, obviously. My body hasn’t had to work a normal work schedule in a long time, and it’s fighting me for sure. My tendonitis is like “Let’s flare up every single tendon right now! That’ll be awesome! Woo!”

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I’m learning to walk away from my phone when I’m not working. I literally used to have to take my phone with me throughout the house at all times because I had a certain amount of time in which to respond to clients. If I were at a movie, I had to put my screen on super dark and turn off the sound so that if I got a call or text I could still check it without disturbing anyone. Last Thursday I went to see the last Hunger Games movie and put my phone on Airplane Mode. It was amazing! Oh and there’s this super cool thing called Google Voice! OMG… I now have a separate phone number that I can give to clients that will ring on my cell phone. 

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So yeah, I’m pretty damn thankful right now. J Thankful for this job, and this new opportunity to do what I love to do (help children and families) without it totally sucking my soul away day by day. I’m thankful for the friends and family members who didn’t give up on me like so, so, so many others did. Those who didn’t assume that because I had one awful job in social work that I just needed to quit social work all together. Those who didn’t condemn me when I was totally burnt out and wasn’t able to just “put on a happy face” and think my way into happiness.

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Thankful for the opportunity to get back to what I feel the real me is. I wasn’t myself when I was in my other job. I knew it, and hated it, but there was also really not much I could do about it. A lot of people didn’t, and still don’t, understand how a job could reach in and take over my life. I got a lot of “if you hate it so much, just leave” comments. I don’t know about you, but I have bills to pay. I also didn’t necessarily want to just give up on my field of study, although I was very close to doing so. But now, I don’t have to. :)

I’m sure that once I get into the actual job and have a bunch of families to see every week I’ll be overwhelmed and it’ll take some getting used to. But I’m so thankful to be in a new environment! Plus my age group with this job is 0 – 5 but most of our clients are 0 – 3. Babies!!

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So yeah, lots to be thankful for this Turkey Day in addition to all of the regular stuff like my awesome family, friends, and blog readers!

Have a wonderful holiday, if you celebrate, and if you don’t celebrate, just have a great day!! :)

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 Don’t forget to check out what the other girls are thankful for this year. :)

Bronwyn | Kris | Jess | Jessica | Leigh | Paige | Gwen


Thoughts Off the Top of My Head

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Kris Norris

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Paige Prince

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Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Tess Grant

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Marj's Musings

.....is this all there is?

Trout Nation

Your One Stop Procrastination Shop

JennieKnits

my life with knitting

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