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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Some Music for the Masses

So, it's been a while, eh?  I've been busy with school, and friends, and writing.  Plus, and I'm not really going to go into detail on this, due to people things, I've kind of gone into an emotional withdrawal, and I haven't really felt any desire to talk to anyone.  Ever.  For any length of time.*

*EDITOR'S NOTE:  This is hyperbole.  She is not a complete hermit.  Yet.

But all this emotional recovery time builds up some stuff that needs to be said.  Deep, emotional stuff.   Stuff that would change your perception of me as a person.  Stuff so dramatic and life-changing that I can say, quite seriously, that I will literally never be the same.  Stuff that you have to chew on for a little bit in order to fully understand the effects of it.

Naturally, I've opted out of talking about any of that stuff, and am instead choosing to share some songs with y'all.

Some of these songs you will probably know.  Hopefully at least a few will be new and likable additions to your listening list.

Desperado - Rihanna

I found this song while looking for songs about running away, for the book I'm currently writing about a girl who runs away.  I liked the song because it's got a fairly distinctive feel that pulls you into its dark and moody, yet rhythmic, atmosphere.  It ain't the Eagles.

Love is a Wild Thing - Kacey Musgraves

What really caught my attention about this song is not the pretty singing, and the mild tempo, but the fact that in the chorus the melody really gives a voice to the wildness this song talks about.  Not in an out of control, chaotic way, but in a natural, beautiful way.  Like wildflowers.  That's what this song reminds me of.

Runnin' Just in Case - Miranda Lambert

It's another song about running, only in this case, she's tired of running, but she'll keep doing it anyway.  I'm a fan of that kind of raw, painful honesty.  I like how the sound of the song echoes the words, but what really sold me on this song are the closing lines: I carried him around with me, I don't mind having scars / Happiness ain't prison, but there's freedom in a broken heart.  

There is.

Teach Me How to Dance with You - Causes

The first song I heard by this band was Sinking Ship, which I liked a lot, but is much more of a downer.  I'm okay with downers.  Sad music is good for the soul.  But I find "Teach Me How to Dance with You" very interesting, if a little repetitive.  It's sung from the perspective of someone who's not fantastically great at love, and doesn't really know how to feel.  But they'd like to learn.  Just listen to the song, I'm terrible at explaining this.

Alcohol - Shannon LaBrie

It's pretty dark.  It's about a woman whose husband is an alcoholic, and he just slowly drags them both down.  But as far as composition and music quality go, this song is pretty up there.

Take What I Can Get - Matthew Mayfield

The songwriting is good.  It's creative, and it conveys a lot of depth and character.  But what I absolutely love is how Mayfield's singing carries with it both a loneliness and a grit, and just makes the words that much more effective.  It's a fairly short, simple song, but it's definitely worth a few listens.

Just my Soul Responding - Amber Run

I love Amber Run.  I think the lead singer's hair is cool, and I like his voice too.  Also, he has pretty eyes.  This song is a little complicated for me.  It shows a lot of conflict.  His want to be there, and to love her; and the problem that for some reason they're just not working out.  But he can't stop reacting to the fact that he loves her.  Also, the song is kind of upbeat and fun to listen to.  

Corners - Dalton Domino

Now look, I'm not going to say that this song is totally correct in everything that it may say or imply.  But it's an honest insight from a man who's made a lot of mistakes.  I have a hard time describing the effect "Corners" has on me.  It  reminds me of me a little bit.  It leaves the mistakes in the past, but doesn't deny that they happened, and that bridges were burned.  Overall, it makes me...content, which is the purest form of happiness that I know.



Have a listen to these, and please, tell me what you liked and didn't like, which songs you knew before reading this and which you didn't, and just how terrible I was at describing them.

So long,
Anna

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas, Wenches



So it's Christmas for most of y'all.

Yes, most of y'all.  As in, not me.

Due to a very important family member working today, we are not celebrating until the 27th.  But, oddly enough, I don't really mind.  Obviously, I look forward to Christmas; getting up early, seeing all the presents, finding mine, etc.  But I'm starting to realize that the "looking forward," the anticipation, is part of the joy of Christmas.  And for me, that has been extended for two more days; longer than most people, but not so long that I despair.  As an added bonus, Walmart is open on my Christmas.

It's 10:21 PM right now, and I'm too tired to make this post good.  Or long.  I just wanted to say, Merry Christmas.

I hope it was a good one.

Mine sure will be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reading is Not Your Enemy

Once upon a time, I had this friend.

Let me reprase that:

Once upon a time, I have this friend.  I talk to him sometimes, as is common between friends, and even recommended.  A few days ago I was talking about Socrates and how he didn't like writing, because he thought it made you forgetful and some other reason that I forget.

Oh my.  I didn't even think about that before I typed it.  But I guess it doesn't apply, since I never wrote down the other reason.

Anyhow, my friend made this horrific statement: Thats also why I don't read, cuz if you read then you stop thinking for yourself

Really.

REALLY.

The Danger of Reading

Suppose you're reading along in your little book, and you come across something that isn't true.  And you realize, not only is it not true, but it's false!  It's a lie!  The world shakes beneath your feet.  You swoon onto your Victorian era chaise lounge.

But that's not the fear, is it?  The fear is that you won't realize that the untruth is, indeed, an untruth.  The fear is that it will slip into your mind and take over it like a cancer, and you won't be able to go back to your former correctness.  The fear is that it will change you for the worse, and you won't even know it.

But what I find interesting is that my friend has no problem with movies, video games, the internet, or interaction with other people.  And I think that even he would agree with me that just as much untruth can be found in those things as in a book.  So what makes a book more dangerous?

I find three options for his thinking here.

1.  A book's message is somehow more subtle and subversive.

Of course, saying "a book" is incredibly vague.  But the fact remains that no matter the genre or topic of a book, some authors have an incredible ability to capture the reader's attention and hold it hostage, all by their words.  But at the end of the day, they're just words, and the more we see them, the more we see them for what they are.  It occurs to me that perhaps my friend is intimidated by books.  This is unflattering, but aren't there unflattering possibilities with us all?  Perhaps he sees the written word as something beyond his ability to discern clearly.  But the more reading we do, and the more GOOD reading we do, measuring books against Scripture, and getting advice from trusted individuals, the easier it is to see where the truth is, and where it isn't.

2.  More truth can be found in books in general, and thus, it's harder to tell the truth from the untruth.

Like...what?  Where did I pull this out of?  Unfortunately, though it looks like complete and utter rubbish, it's an option.  People don't think clearly, especially when emotions get involved, and it's possible this is an emotion-linked issue for my friend.  They usually are in some way.  But the response to this one is the same as in the one above.  Good reading, judged by Scripture.  Know the straight line so you can spot the crooked one.

3.  He merely dislikes reading and wants to find a way to justify that dislike.

We're not trying to be logical at this point.  This is a purely emotional response.  People, though they'll do things that they know aren't logical, will always try to convince themselves and others that they have good reason for their thoughts, words, and actions.  Because we're created in God's image, we yearn for things to be logical, and because we have been corrupted, we aren't logical.

Benefits of Reading

1.  Ya learn duff.

What do you learn from reading?  Well, anything that you can put into words.  Language, philosophy, culture, how to tell a story, how it feels to crash a bike into your ex-uncle-in-law's too-fancy-for-life son, different kinds of cats, the works.

2.  Pleasure

Reading stories is fun.  Stretching your imagination is much like stretching your muscles: it feels good.  It also expands the mind, and can increase sympathy for others.  But finding a book that talks about something you've been searching for, reading the ideas of someone who died years ago, but you hold a piece of them in your hands, it's strange and wonderful and enjoyable.  And while watching a movie may give your brain things to feed your imagination, more things to envision and see as reality, it's like eating a ton of junk food and never exercising.  It's not healthy.  Sugar is good if you need energy, but if you don't, it'll only hurt you.  (I don't know if I'm totally correct here, but you get the point.)

The Point

Of course, if you paid attention, you'll notice that I never actually addressed the concern.  My friend didn't say, "You start to believe untruths."  He said "You stop thinking for yourself."

So it's individuality that's at stake?  Freedom of the mind?

Perhaps if you only ever read one author, that would be a problem.  Perhaps.  I'm not convinced.  But if you read many authors, if you keep being influenced by many things, you find out what you want at your core, and what you can push to the peripheral, where it can more easily be traded in and out.  Through reading you may find something you'd like to have; and if you see something you don't like, it's simple enough to set the book down.  

Personally, I look at this, and I think, what is that freedom of the mind really worth if you're afraid to put it up against all that can be found in a book?  And what if in fear of losing individuality you willingly cloak yourself in ignorance?  Is that freedom?

We all need discernment, whether we're reading, watching a movie, or talking with friends.  The point is, there's so much to be gained from reading, and it seems foolish to pass all that up because you are so dedicated to your thinking staying the same.  It's a hopeless, impossible goal, and you hurt yourself if you don't take the advantages of reading.


Well, looking back on that note, he never said anything about books.  Whatever.  It still applies.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Systematic Outline of my Life

Let me tell you ALL ABOUT my life right now, folks.

Well, not all of it.  I don't have the time or the finger strength for that.  But I'll lay out some highlights.

First of all, through Anatomy class, which we're going through very systematically, as is right, I have learned how to take notes in outline format.  At first I was like, "Hmph, in my day we just wrote paragraphs, and I think I turned out fine, thank you very much, grumblegrumblegrumble..." but I now see the beauty and the mystique that is: outlining.  Shout out to Musser, who will probably never ever read this blog.  You da best, ma'am.

In fact...I've got a special surprise, just for y'all, because I love you muy mucho.  I'm going to write this post in outline form for a bit!  I may mess up some, but if you ask me about it, I will be happy to tell you just how little I care.


  1. Important happenings in my life right now
    1. School
      1. History
        1. Pros
          1. Nice teacher
          2. Some nice classmates
          3. Interesting material
          4. Easy to get good grades
        2. Cons
          1. Textbook doesn't mention the naval stores industry in NC
          2. Classroom lighting is weird and depressing
          3. Nobody laughs at my jokes
          4. Nobody does ANYTHING
      2. Anatomy
        1. Pros
          1. Fab teacher
          2. Really interesting material
          3. Dog in classroom
          4. Joshua
            1. Quote: "I was born as a burrito.  Nathaniel wasn't born as a burrito.  Nathaniel was born as a chicken sandwich."
          5. Nathaniel
            1. Nice and helpful
            2. Says "bless you" when I cough
          6. Nate
            1. Takes tae kwon do with my best friend
              1. Can be our messenger boy
        2. Cons
          1. My mother thought I wanted to take it because of the section on reproduction.  Nuff said.
      3. Great Books
        1. Pros
          1. Fantastic teacher
            1. Really knows what he's talking about
            2. Super enthusiastic about his subject
            3. Nice
            4. Tells dad jokes
            5. Always wears the same black outfit
            6. Goes off on really cool rabbit trails a lot
          2. Fascinating material
          3. Some cool classmates
          4. Class discussion is always good and super interesting
        2. Cons
          1. It doesn't start until tomorrow
          2. I haven't done the week's worth of reading, watching lectures, and anwering questions that's due tomorrow
      4. Spanish
        1. WHERE DO I EVEN START
        2. Pros
          1. I'm good at it
          2. Small class
          3. Some awesome classmates
          4. A lot of interaction in class
          5. Practical subject to learn
          6. Interesting teacher
        3. Cons
          1. Can have some drama (I do NOT need to go into this)
          2. Interesting teacher
    2. Social life
      1. Hahahahahahahahahaha

And there you have it, folks!  Now, onto other things.

........................

Nah, I got nothing.

Good day.

The Homework Adventures of Anna Groover

This was written a week and a day before the date it was posted.  Procrastination, yo.


And dinner has been eaten.
I'm frantically doing the homework for tomorrow that I was supposed to have spent the past week doing.
Haha!  Everything is fine.
I think it would help if I wrote a blog post WHILE doing homework.
That makes sense, right?


These are the messages I just sent my friend.  So you understand my frame of mind.  I’m not exactly rational, but I’ve got this nervous energy running through my veins.  I can’t stop shaking, and that makes some sort of sense considering the circumstances.


It is 8:19 on a Monday night, and I am doing homework.  “Ha!” you scoff.  “What’s so special about that?”


Nothing, actually.  Nothing a’tall.  It’s only that I have to leave for class tomorrow at 10:00, which isn’t that late, and I’ve been feeling odd and feverish much of today, and I have to read thirty pages of Anatomy, memorize approximately five thousand two hundred and forty-seven terms*, and I also have a cough.  Still.


*EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is not an exact number.  I’m not sure where she pulled this out of.


Can we talk about this cough?  I don’t even remember when I got it, but it’s been sticking with me for several weeks.  It’s probably getting time to name it.  It obviously really loves me, but to be totally honest, if cruel and heartless, I have no desire to keep it in my life.


“But still,” you say, “that doesn’t sound so bad.”


Well, no.  Not really.  For it to make sense to you, I’d have to lay out the whole emotional background to this panic running through all of me right now, but I’m doing homework right--


Who am I kidding?  That’s never stopped me before.


And that’s the problem right there.  I procrastinate, because I always view other things as more important than my school.  Last year I took Chemistry from the same teacher I’m taking Anatomy from this year.  I always ended up doing my homework last minute, which works for most subjects, but not for Chemistry.  I did not fail, but it was a near thing.  Near the end, I really got behind, and I never quite caught up.  I still have a panicky feeling when I think about it.


I’m afraid that I’m still tempted to make that mistake.  So making this mistake a week after the first class really, really scares me.  I don’t want this to be a habit pattern of mine.  


I will recover!  I will rise up and rebel against my own laziness!  I will do better next week!


But isn’t that what I always say?  It’s always next week.  It’s always, I’ll try harder.  But do I ever?


Heyyy!  There’s a song by the Dutch rock band Kensington called Do I Ever.  I love that song, but I didn’t realize until that last paragraph that some parts of it really apply to me, at least right now.  You should all listen to it (hello, my one reader!), but for all those who won’t, here is the chorus written out all neatly:


I let it throw me off my feet,
I let it put me on my knees,
What do I know?
I ought to grow,
But do I ever?


Seriously, though, listen to it.  Your life will be forever changed.


Now is the part of this blog post where I stop trying to impart my stress to you, and I start trying to impart the remedy.  Because the truth is, even though I’m tired and guilty and scared, God is sovereign.  And He sent His only Son to save me.


That’s pretty crazy.  I’m a sixteen-year-old girl, sitting here frazzled and fuzzy-brained, doing something I put off until the last minute, and the King of kings, Creator of the universe, died.  For me.


So really, all this is pretty small.  It’s true: it’s late.  I have a lot to do tonight.  I have a lot to do tomorrow, and the next day after that, and for the rest of my life, there will always be stuff I should be doing.


But God has always sustained me, and He has promised to always sustain me.  So I think I’ve actually got it pretty good.  Who I really feel sorry for are the people who don’t know God, and don’t think they need to.  Who think that everything in life is fine and okay, when really they have no legitimate hope.  I feel sorry for the unbelievers whom God has not blessed with discomfort, with the feeling that something is wrong and needs to be fixed.


So as much as I’ll pray for peace and time for myself, tonight and throughout the school year, my prayers will go out so much more for those lost souls feeling at home in a sinful world that will one day be destroyed.


And now I really must do my school.  But hey, thank the Lord that I even have opportunity to learn these things.


So long,

Anna

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Clara 1

Hello, all you fabulous readers of Anna's blog!

I'm afraid you're gonna be stuck with me instead today.  Anna has very kindly decided to leave you all at my mercy this month, and me at yours; the prospect of which is infinitely more daunting to me.

But that's not much of an introduction, is it?

Let's start again.

Hello, all you fabulous readers of Anna's blog!

It's Clara, from The Danger of Dreams (dangerofdreams.blogspot.com), a relatively new blog which I've mostly devoted to unpacking the writing process.  My biggest accomplishment so far has got to be how I've duped Anna into thinking I know enough about writing and organizing to be of some help to those of you who write.

Good grief.  How terrible can an introduction get?

It's this dratted "honesty" thing, I swear.  Interferes with all my good intentions.

Because honestly, I'm quite new at this whole writing thing myself, and my own process could definitely use some improvement.  I have yet to publish a major work, I procrastinate on drafting stories to read assorted and sundry fan fiction, and I was caught in the misery that is writer's block with my main story up until a few weeks ago.

So I invite you to join me as I basically improvise my way through this first post, and we'll see what happens!  If my words aren't enlightening or inspiring, I can guarantee that at least they'll be entertaining.  And really, what could be better than being entertained at somebody else's expense?  

Anna suggested that I take y'all "behind-the-scenes", so to speak, with a piece of my writing, revealing the backstory on how I got it how it is, and how I plan to get it where I want it to go.  Anna has brilliant suggestions.

The following excerpt I'm providing is from the first-person point of view of my character James, in a story I'm currently working on.  It's a little of a mundane beginning, but I think it introduces the characters of James and Miles well.

Below the excerpt, I'll criticize my work and sketch out how I organized it.  I'm going to leave off writing more specifically about organization until a later post, since I think it's more helpful at this point to give examples of organization rather than try to present it as an abstract concept.


I remember that the day everything fell apart started like any other.

The ear-splitting wail of the alarm clock in Miles' office woke me up at 5:30 a.m. and I groaned as I sat up in my sleeping bag.  I could see Miles' faint outline in the sleeping bag on the other side of the room, and I smiled at the way he could sleep through any noise.  I stood and tiptoed my way past the short stacks of papers that Miles had arranged around his side of the room, and lifted our empty mugs from his cluttered desk.  It was time to make coffee.

Our morning ritual was always coffee together before I left for school.  Ever since Miles and I moved out from Georgia to New York City for his work, we’d had to scrimp and pinch wherever we could to make ends meet. We lived out of Miles’ tiny law office in Manhattan, hiding the sleeping bags inside the closet during business hours. Coffee in the mornings seemed to be Miles’ way of reminding me that we could still feel at home in New York, even if only for a few minutes each day.

I filled our mugs from the sink in the adjoining bathroom, and then placed them inside the microwave on Miles’ desk, setting the timer for two minutes. During the day, the microwave was kept under the desk and out of sight; but at the moment, it was mine to command. I took the sack of ground coffee from inside the desk’s top drawer and inhaled deeply, savoring the aroma of the rich, dark powder. Coffee was, and still is, the best-smelling substance I know. 

As soon as the microwave’s timer dinged, I removed the mugs and measured a level spoonful of ground coffee into each one. We never used coffee filters; since neither of us much minded a few coffee grounds, a little extra caffeine at the bottom of our mugs. Looking back on it, I don’t know how I would have survived a day of high school without my morning jolt of caffeine-induced energy.

Miles woke up then, as always, to the smell of coffee. He blinked the sleep from his tired eyes and smiled at me before fumbling around his sleeping bag for his glasses. I smiled back in amusement.

“They’re on your other side,” I told him, “Right next to the amicus brief you were highlighting last night.”

He nodded his thanks as he found his thick, black-framed glasses, and then placed them carefully on his face. Then he peered intently into my face. 

“Ah, now I can see you. Good grief, James, you must’ve had an interesting dream.”

“Why’s that?” I asked as I handed him his mug and sat down cross-legged next to his sleeping bag.

“Your hair”, he answered with a half-smile, “Your hair seems to have been battling dragons all night long.”

He reached out with his free hand and absently ruffled my unruly brown mop.

“There”, he nodded, satisfied.

“That neatened it up?” I asked with a grin, which he returned.

“Not at all. I merely distributed the mess a little more evenly.”

“Sounds about normal, then”, I sighed, resigned to my fate.

I had given up on my hair a long time ago. As long as I could cover it with a hat, I looked decent enough for school. It wasn’t like girls were going to look at me twice anyway. 

Miles raised an eyebrow at me in amusement, and then cupped both hands around his mug to warm them. He sighed as he sipped his coffee, closing his eyes to savor it and letting his shoulders drop as he relaxed. If I loved coffee, he worshipped it. I sipped some of my own and let him lose himself in silence for a few minutes, enjoying his company without really realizing it at the time. I never felt like I needed to say anything around Miles.

He looked up from his half-drained mug with a more focused gleam in his grey eyes.

“Good coffee, this”, he nodded approvingly.

I shrugged. He said it every morning, and would probably say it if I handed him a mug of coal tar one morning instead of coffee. When you drink the stuff black the way Miles does, I doubt there’s any real difference in flavor between the two. Approving the coffee was just his way of signaling that he was now awake enough for conversation.

“So how late are you opening, Miles?” I asked. 

Most days Miles kept office hours until 6:00 p.m. so that we could have dinner together, but he was in the middle of a big case, which usually meant interviewing a lot of witnesses, which usually meant closing shop at 7:00 or later.

“Not too late”, he reassured me. “It’s a big case, but a pretty straightforward one. The press will have a field day with this one either way it’s decided; but thankfully, we have our ways to avoid them.”

He grinned mischievously at me, his dark brows dancing on his pale face. I grinned back, knowing that Miles was nowhere near famous enough as a lawyer to gain the attention of reporters. He knew it too, but he found a certain wry humor in it.

He gazed at the empty coffee mug in his hands wistfully, and then stood up reluctantly from his warm sleeping bag.

“So what are your plans for today, James?” he asked in a more business-like tone.

I stood up with him and grimaced as I envisioned the day ahead at school. It was only February, but I’d been ready for the school year to end since Christmas.

“The usual”, I answered. “Sit through class and take the dumb quizzes to prove I actually know stuff, then get pounded by the jocks because I make them look bad by actually knowing stuff, then go change into my janitor’s uniform and muck around in a job where I don’t need to use the stuff I actually know.”

Miles had patiently listened to my complaining tirade, his left eyebrow raising a little. I was pretty good at complaining, and he was pretty good at listening. 

He took my empty mug as he shook his head at me.

“James, James, James. You do have quite a cynical view of the world for your age.”

“I’m seventeen, Miles”, I countered, “Old enough to know that it’s ugly out there, and young enough to be allowed to complain without doing anything to fix it.”

He fastened those grey eyes onto mine, amused but with a wariness behind them. Seeing the dark circles under them, harsh in the pale light of a winter morning, I remembered how hard he had it and how little he complained. I looked away and firmed my lip. If he could get through it, I could get through it. At least for today.


And now for a look behind the scenes.

This excerpt is actually from a work of fanfiction for the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series; which for those of you who haven’t heard of it, features the Greek gods and heroes translated into modern America and the ensuing hardships and hilarity for their half-mortal descendants, the demigods. I grew up with the series, and I loved it so much that I never wanted the books to end. So I decided to continue the story with this one.

James and Miles are not from the books, but are my original characters. James is purely mortal without any godly parentage, which makes him different from most major characters in the books. I thought that his unique perspective as a mortal would add an interesting dynamic when he encounters gods and demigods further on in the story, those parts which I have yet to write. This beginning excerpt was meant to introduce him and his relationship with his legal guardian, Miles. They carry the main action of the story, so I spent more time than I would normally use for a introduction scene, in an effort to make them both believable and relatable to the reader.

And now that the back story’s out of the way, it’s time to criticize my heart out—what fun.

The first five paragraphs are bothering me right now. Aside from the first sentence in the story, which I like since it sets up some dramatic tension for later on, they’re…boring. They use far too many words for far too little action. In the fourth and fifth paragraphs especially, James doesn’t have to record every little step in the coffee-making process for it to be convincing to the reader. When I revise this later, I’ll probably cut some description and combine the paragraphs mentioned so that I can move the action along a little faster. For now, though, it’s alright as is.

Moving on.

The initial dialogue between James and Miles in the next few paragraphs is my favorite part of this excerpt. The familiarity and warmth between the two characters comes across nicely, and the detail about James’ unmanageable hair endears him to me. But maybe that’s just me. If I wanted to be really picky about it, I could rework parts of this exchange to make the pauses in conversation sound a little more natural, but they sound convincing enough for this draft.

The rest of my critique concerns nit-picky issues of word choice, character development, and style. Would James, a typical seventeen-year-old, use “tirade” to describe his complaining? Maybe not. Is there a surplus of adjectives in this draft that need to be replaced with stronger verbs? Maybe so. And is the dialogue towards the end adding to the reader’s knowledge of the characters enough for all of it to be kept? As much as I hate to admit it, probably not.

Also, a guy friend to whom I had sent this excerpt for feedback replied with an intriguing character-development-type-question as follows: “Is James more of a shy, in his own world guy or a kind of irreverant[sic], disenchanted with life kind of guy? I think that bears distinction as they're similar but they have a subtle warmness in the former vs coldness in the latter.” I really want to rework this section later to convey a more definite answer to his question. I think James likes to think he's all disenchanted with the world, but honestly, he's too young to really be all that cynical all the time. It'll be interesting trying to flesh out his character and get that across to readers.

In general, the organization of this excerpt is not as cut-and-dry as some of my other works. It is mostly organized in the order of events as they happened, but with some asides and explanations from James. But I’m not going to worry about it too much. Since it’s based off of James’ recollection, it’s okay if things are a little fuzzy around the edges and not as tightly structured as they could be. It could even feel more genuine this way. The main issue will be to keep the action moving while providing enough description to carry the reader through it without getting them bogged down in the details. It’s a delicate balancing act, so I’ll have to constantly reread and revise.

And that’s about it! I’m sure that I could find a thousand other little things to complain about, but this is a good starting (and stopping) point. I hope the comments I made were helpful in giving you a general idea of things to look for in your own writing as you revise and rework. And if they weren’t as helpful as you might have liked, don’t feel too discouraged. I plan to cover smaller, more specific issues related to the writing process in future posts; so I’ll be able to unpack each one more.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions below regarding the story, my remarks, or your own works. I’m always looking to improve my writing, and I love reading what other writers are working on!

Till next time,
Clara


Sunday, February 26, 2017

March Blog Swap with Clara from The Danger of Dreams!

Hey, would you look at that, I used an exclamation point in the blog post title.  It's taken three years and twenty-nine posts to reach this point, y'all.

Aaaaaand, I went back and looked to make sure.  Turns out I've actually used exclamation points in blog post titles at least four times before this.  So no, don't trust my memory, or my perception of myself.

But I'm not writing this post so I can talk about myself and punctuation.  I'm writing it so I can talk about my good friend Clara.  She has an awesome blog called The Danger of Dreams, which you should totally go to now.  She talks about a lot of cool topics, such as writing, organization, and trashing my sister's car!  Okay, so she hasn't actually talked about that on her blog, but I'm sure we all think she should.

In March she'll take over my blog, and I'll take over hers, and here's what will happen: 

On Girl with the Binder, you'll get some lovely--nay, fabulous--posts on writing and organization.  Let's face it, most of us could use help with that.  If you read my blog (which you probably do...) you know that I certainly could.  And no, I'm not going to put an exclamation point on that.  Clara is an awesome organizationist, and I'm so happy she'll be sharing some things with us.  I may post once or twice during the month on my home blog, but you know me.

Meanwhile, over on The Danger of Dreams, I'll be writing a few posts on writing and inspiration.  On her blog, Clara said: She'll be addressing the topic of Inspiration and taking her own unique spin on what it means and how we as writers harness it.  If truth be told, that itself inspires me, and I'm burning up with the desire to write out ALL THE THOUGHTS.  So yeah, I'm looking forward to that.

I'm sure y'all will enjoy this March, with all of its madness.  Clara will take very good care of you, and I'm sure I'll come back to find you all so much smarter and more organized than you used to be.  If you please though, do also come over to The Danger of Dreams and see what I'm doing over there.

Looking forward to it?  I know I am!  Be sure and give Clara a big welcome when she comes!