Friday Funny with Paint, Chocolate, and Wallow

There isn’t much to say except:

Well everyone, this week was a doozy on the writing front. In a nutshell, I felt like this:

So, last weekend I sent my beta reader my latest two chapters. She liked them, but she wasn’t crazy about their setting. “I wasn’t wowed,” she explained. “This is a big moment, and you nailed the emotions and the action, but the actual location wasn’t thrilling. I wanted…more.”

Always more, Mrs. Beta Reader. That’s all you ever want. More, more, more

Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re all thinking: “It’s good your beta reader pushes you to do better–to give a reader more. That’s their job.” I know, I know. But, still. Grrrrr.

The problem is–and I know you’ll find this bizarre considering I’m passionate about novel writing–I’m not a fan of painting a setting. The sky, the clouds, the house, the trees…blah, blah, blah. If I could, I’d literally say, “There’s an old house that’s creepy and scary. Get it? Got it? Good. Let’s move on.”

Horrible, I know. But, unfortunately, true.

And these chapters my beta reader wanted “more” from are all about painting a setting. So, rewriting them this week has. Been. Pure. Torture! Compared to writing dialogue and action sequences, describing a location is hell for me. Going from blank page to vivid scene is a rough and frustrating process. There’s lots of writing, deleting, crying, screaming, writing, deleting, groaning, kicking, writing, deleting…

…punching my computer in the face. Apologizing to my computer for punching it in the face. Punching it again. Apologizing again…

Seriously, by the time I finished revising these chapters last night, I felt like this:

Okay, Okay, I wasn’t that bad. But I really wanted to curl up with a big bag of peanut M&M’s and wallow. Maybe chow down on some cookie dough ice cream, a slab of fudge, and an entire chocolate cake.

What? Every writer is allowed to gorge on chocolate once in awhile, right?

Right?

Fingers crossed my beta reader gives me the thumbs up on the new location I painted for her. If she doesn’t, then I will be buying a GIANT bag of peanut M&M’s and I will be wallowing….And then, after my pity-poor-me party, I will roll up my sleeves, gnash my teeth, and try again. Because, as the saying goes, “You fail only if you stop writing”.

Right?

Anyway, in honor of my rough writing week, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

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How was your week? Wallow worthy? Or full of rainbows and glitter and blah blah blah? 😉

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Love The Way You Lie – Eminem and Rihanna

You Know You’re a Writer When…Alter Ego

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Photo credits:

http://stevencee.com/author/stevencee/

http://giphy.com/gifs/b55x0VFpFKm7S

http://www.gifwave.com/3kSL/reaction-cameron-diaz-the-holiday-grrrr-gif

http://giphy.com/gifs/obG1fKl754GZ2

http://fivefootattack.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-five-foots-top-five-christmas-movies/

http://itsbetterblonde.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/hey-guys-learn-your-manners/

http://rebloggy.com/post/funny-humor-book-write-epic-fail-writting-distractions-to-write-writing-humor-st/32599840340

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Today’s gem, courtesy of freelance literary editor, Heather Jacquemin, tackles eight specific words all writers should consider slashing axing killing deleting from their manuscript. Although these words might seem necessary, the truth is, they’re not. In fact, they tend to weaken our stories and steal their punch.

shutterstock_RedPencilBIGPersonally, I’m guilty of using over half the words on this list, particularly three of them: “start”, “like”, and “suddenly”. So, when I go back to edit and polish up my manuscript, I know I’ll need to hunt them down and chop them out–hiyah!

I encourage you to review this list as well, and find out if you’re using unnecessary words in your writing.

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

“Like”

I’m not just saying that, like, you shouldn’t, like, talk like a valley girl (though that too). Here’s the problem: “Like” is used to show uncertainty. And you. Should. Not. Be. Uncertain.

Be bold. When making a comparison, use force. Use metaphor over simile. Don’t let yourself cop out by coming up with a halfway description.

“My eyes rested on the gun for a sliver of a moment. I snapped forward, grabbed it, and it was like the chill metal flowed from the gun into my veins.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Heather Jacquemin on Twitter!

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Photo credit: 

http://www.theopennotebook.com/2013/01/16/are-you-an-editor-or-a-writer-part-ii-the-editors/

You Know You’re a Writer When…Alter Ego

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Friday Funny with Snow and Awkwardness

Happy Friday! Well, sorta. I woke up to an unwelcoming sight this morning: SNOW!

Grrrrr…It’s still summer, darn it. I’m not ready for this. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not! Okay, moving on…

*big, deep breath*

So, it’s probably a good thing the majority of you don’t interact with me in real life, because I lost the ability to speak properly this week. All of my words came out jumbled, stilted, and just plain lame. I was walking-talking Awkwardness. For example:

Me: Hi, Mr. Coworker, how was your vacation?
Mr. Coworker: Good, thanks for asking.
Me: Where’d you go again?
Mr. Coworker: Oregon.
Me: Why? For fun?
Mr. Coworker: A football game.
Me: So, for fun?
Mr. Coworker: Uh, no, for a football game.
Me: Yeah, but that’s for fun, right?
Mr. Coworker: Yeah… [Stares at me like I’m crazy]
Me: Cool. [Awkward pause] Sounds…fun.

By yesterday, I finally gave up and shut my trap to save myself and others from uncomfortable, confusing, and embarrassing chit-chat.

I’m going to go ahead and blame my manuscript for my lack of eloquence this week. I poured all of my words and articulation into it…which, I suppose, isn’t a horrible thing, right? Better to get a lot of work done than look/sound cool…Right? Well, I’m gonna go with it. And I’m going to pray this week of gibberish will be forgotten, and the words I wrote will live on and on…Or, ya know, be chopped up and used for firewood in this absurd weather!

Okay, sorry. Early winter rage is still boiling over here 😉

Besides the snow and the charming words I uttered, my week was low key. There was a ridiculous spider incident I’ll skip over, and I thoroughly embarrassed myself while filming footage for my friend’s next film for round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge. This time, I had to use my prompts from round one as inspiration (truck stop, diamond ring). I decided to dress up like a trucker, slap a diamond ring on, and dance around to Beyonce’s “Put a Ring On It”.

Yeah, I totally looked like Justin Timberlake while attempting to mimic Beyonce’s dance moves. I’m soooo cool 😉

Anyway, in honor of my bumbling, idiotic-filled week, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

10696284_283107871881768_4706964337960351450_nHow was your week? Did you stutter through it, like me? Or was it smooth sailing?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – I’m Shipping Up To Boston – Dropkick Murphys

You Know You’re A Writer When…Empty Fridge

Into Paradise – Never Forget

I Will Never Forget – My September 11th Story

Photo credits:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/tonykennick/7-things-you-only-know-if-you-are-jon-snow-toi8

http://twixx13.tumblr.com/post/54369542119/face-palm-disney-level

http://ididntdoit.wikia.com/wiki/User:Perfectdisasters

http://gif-giz.tumblr.com/page/2

http://milesdeplumasgastadas.blogspot.com/2014_01_01_archive.html

You Know You’re A Writer When…Empty Fridge

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Friday Funny and a Return to Crazy Writer Status

Happy Friday, everyone! Wait, it is Friday, right? Hold on…

Okay, I double checked. It is. Phew!

Well, besides being totally out of whack since the long Labor Day Weekend, my week went well. It started off on a high note with a trip to Aspen for the JAS music festival, and it has ended on a high note with a revival of my manuscript. It appears I’ve finally broken free of the swarm of butterflies that have been distracting me since round one of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.

Woot-woot!

I can always tell when I’m back on a roll when I turn into a “crazy writer”. Basically, I get irritated, impatient, and grumpy. All I want to do is write. Write, write, write! I don’t want to exercise, or do chores, or eat food, or watch TV, or hang out with friends…In a nutshell, if it doesn’t revolve around my story, I just don’t want to deal with it.
Yeah, I’m total a wackadoodle when my creative engine starts running at full steam…But don’t worry, I don’t ever succumb to complete hermit-ville. I do my best to find a balance between reality and la-la land. Try 😉

I know part of my “crazy” resurgence comes from the knowledge that my schedule for September is going to be–overall–calm. There are no imminent threats of butterfly swarms on the horizon. Which means I’ll be able to put all of my focus into my book. Which means I’ve got no excuses not to get a lot of work done. Which means I should probably stop rambling here and get to writing, huh?

So, in honor of my return to “crazy writer” status, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!
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How was your week? Anyone else thrown off after the long Labor Day Weekend? How about your manuscript? Is it on track? Or are you still being swarmed by the evil butterflies?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Somethin’ Bad – Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Book of the Month – The Maze Runner – James Dashner

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound

Photo Credits: 

http://www.reactiongifs.com/crazy/

http://www.teen.com/2013/12/11/celebrities/emma-stone-wingwoman-funny-gifs/

http://www.teen.com/2014/08/12/random-stuff/skinny-girl-problems/attachment/gossip-girl-blair-stop-talking/

http://www.yourtango.com/2014207592/tv-love-23-things-make-no-sense-pretty-little-liars-episodes-season-4-finale

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! So, as I perused Twitter this week, I noticed a common trend: Character development. Everyone seemed to be talking about it. Tips, quotes, pictures, articles…I’ve never found so many gems about this vital writing topic. It was hard to decide which one to share with you. After much debate, I finally decided to go with Kristen Lamb’s:

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound.

scarsThere are so many aspects to consider when developing our characters. In this awesome article, Kristen Lamb examines one of the most important: WHY? Why do our characters act the way they do? Why are they a control freak, or a know-it-all, or a shy mouse, or an arrogant butthead? It isn’t “just because”. There must be a reason–a why.

Real humans have wounds that drive our wants, needs, perceptions, and reactions and so should all our characters (even the Big Boss Troublemaker-Antagonist). Recently, I was helping a student of my Antag-Gold class plot her novel. She had a good protagonist who was a control freak. My question: WHY?

Yes, genetics will have a role in forging our personality, but genes do not a good story make. Having a character be a certain way simply because we need them to be or act that way will work, but so will a heart with damaged valves.

Wounds drive how we perceive our world, what we believe we want, and how we will (or won’t) interact with others. This is critical for generating story tension and character arc.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Kristen Lamb on Twitter!

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Photo credit: 

http://deniedself.com/battle-scars/

Friday Funny with Butterflies and a Weekend Getaway

Hear ye, hear ye! It’s…Friday!

Well, I hate to say this, but the evil butterflies are back. I’ve been swarmed!

Ahhhhhh!

butterfly-distractionBlast those distracting, Look at me! Look at me! butterflies! I can’t get away from them. No matter how determined I start each day, and no matter how firmly I tell myself, “You will work on your manuscript now–you will!”, I lose my focus immediately and turn to something else that’s not my book. And when I do manage to sit down and write, my brain refuses to cooperate. It says, “Oh, look! This sentence stinks. Let’s fix it for two hours.”

On a positive note, I did squeak out one full chapter. It’s not great, and it needs a lot of editing, but it’s something. And something is better than nothing, right?…Right? Well, I’m hoping by this weekend I’ll get my booty whipped into shape and–

No, wait. I forgot. It’s Labor Day Weekend, and I’m going out of town.

GAH!

Fine, fine. I’ll admit, I’m more excited than frustrated about this upcoming weekend with all of its distractions. I’ve been looking forward to it for months. My mom, sister, and I are driving up to “a little place called Assspen“.

We’re leaving on Sunday to go watch Carrie Underwood perform at the JAS Aspen Snowmass Experience. It should be blast, especially since I get to spend quality time with my mom and sister. With life being as crazy as it is, and my sister having three little boys (all under the age of 4), the three of us rarely get to hang out together. I can’t wait to just relax and enjoy a day in the mountains with them.

And who knows? Maybe this small excursion is just what the creative doctor ordered? Maybe I’ll get back to town on Monday refreshed and ready to roll my sleeves up and get to work?

Yeah? Hopefully?

Okay, I have to. I won’t have a choice. I need to pull it together already!

With that said, it’s time for me to stop blabbing and get to writing! So, here you go. In honor of my butterfly-filled writing week, I present to you today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!

phd072814sHow about you? How’s your writing coming along? Have any fun plans for the weekend?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go!

Music Monday – Human – Christina Perri

Confession: I Fear Sharing My Stories

Avoid These 25 Newbie Writer Mistakes

Photo credits:

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1734

http://www.theamas.com/2013/06/10-reasons-why-katy-perry-makes-katy-cats-feel-like-a-firework/

http://wifflegif.com/gifs/263167-dumb-and-dumber-lloyd-christmas-gif

http://howdyyal.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/soap-operas-arent-this-melodramatic-vivian-divine-is-dead-by-lauren-sabel/

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Avoid These 25 Newbie Writer Mistakes

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! I think it’s fair to say that all of us are at different levels with our writing. Some of us have been at it for years, while others of us are just beginning. In my opinion, today’s Twitter gem is a great source for everyone (despite its “newbie” title).

apa-guidelines-for-writing3Even if you know the general do’s and don’ts of writing, it never hurts to brush up on “the rules”. And yes, I put “the rules” in quotations because there’s no right or wrong way to do any of this. But there are basic ways that should be considered. So check out this article by author and speaker, Jody Hedlund:

Avoid These 25 Newbie Writer Mistakes

1. Starts the opening paragraph with flowery, verbose, or elaborate descriptions. (A seasoned writer will try to start with a hook, usually a life-altering situation or action.)

2. Stops the story/plot/action to describe a room or person or scene. (A seasoned writer will try to weave those descriptions in small pieces as the story unfolds.)

3. Describes any and/or everything. (A seasoned writer will pick strategic “props” to bring on “stage” that help convey a deeper meaning, theme, mood, or contribute to the plot.)

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Jody Hedlund on Twitter!

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Confession: I Fear Sharing My Stories

Ever since I posted my first round story for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2014, I’ve been a bit of a mess–anxious, queasy, stressed. Perhaps you find this reaction surprising–maybe even a little unbelievable–because I’ve always acted like sharing my work with you is no big deal. But, to be honest, it terrifies me.

Last week, when I hit the “publish” button on my blog to post Inevitable, I had a moment of pure panic. A million “what if” questions flew through my mind: What if people hate it? What if people laugh at me? What if this is the stupidest story I’ve ever written? What if I didn’t push myself hard enough? What if I offend someone by accident? What if. What if. What if…

 It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m sharing my story with a friend, a beta reader, or a complete stranger, I’m always petrified I’ll be judged, ridiculed, and/or ripped apart. The minute I put a story on my blog, or I hand chapters of my manuscript over to a beta reader, I experience a sharp twinge of anxiety, and my heart does a pitter-patter–stutter–halt!–boom-boom-boom! dance.

You’d think this fear would go away after years of sharing my work with others, but it hasn’t. I always experience a sickening sensation, followed by a silent chant of, “Oh God, oh God, oh God…”

Part of my fear stems from the worry people will read my work and think I’m someone I’m not. Let’s face it, many of my stories are on the darker side: Tragic. Morbid. Whacked out! I’m so scared people will read them and think, “Wowza, this chick is messed up!” Or, “Poor thing, she must have a terrible life.” Or, “Yeesh, this writer scares me.”

And, who knows? Maybe people do think those things about me? Maybe people see me as this:

When, in reality, I’m like this:

The only thing I can do to manage this particular fear is to explain to people my writing process. I like to tell them, “When I write, I’m not there. I’m pushed into a cage and locked up while my characters hijack the story. They’re the ones writing it, not me.”

Hmm, maybe I am a little crazy–ha!

But it’s the truth. When I sit down to write, I check “Jenna” at the door and let my characters orchestrate the plot. They tell me how the story is “supposed to go”. I do my best not to interfere as the outsider.

For example, when I started writing my short story, Chasing Monsters, I planned on telling a story about a little boy who’d witnessed a murder in the forest. But when I arrived at the murder scene, my characters said, “Um, no. That’s not going to happen. This is!” And they yanked the plot out of my hands and twisted it into something completely different and unexpected…It was horrible and beyond terrifying, and I did not want to write it.

I think I almost threw up when I posted Chasing Monsters on my blog. If there was ever a story people were going to judge me for, it was that one. Thankfully, nobody did–at least not to my face.

Truthfully, I’ve never been outright slammed for any of my stories. Of course, that’s not to say I’ve never had negative reviews, or had my feelings hurt by less than tactful individuals. Just this past weekend, I had someone send me feedback for Inevitable. They point blank said, “I didn’t like it at all.”

Yeah, that one hurt. But it’s okay. One of the things I’ve learned from sharing my work is not everyone will be a fan. Even if I have pure gold on my hands, someone out there will think it stinks. The best thing I can do is move on and let it go.

…Easier said than done, right?

The bottom line is I will always be afraid of sharing my work. Even if I become a New York Times bestselling author, I’ll struggle with the knowledge there are people out there reading my work and judging me in one way or another. And there will always be critics and, well, insensitive meanies who will tell me, “I didn’t like it at all.”.

But you know what? I can’t let my fears stop me. Even if I have an anxiety attack every time I press the “publish” button on my blog, or sit and stare at my email until my beta readers return with their feedback about my manuscript, I need to be willing to share my work. I need to suck it up and take the terrifying plunge.

If I don’t, how else will I discover my strengths and weaknesses? How else will I become the best writer I can be? There’s only so much I can learn on my own. Without constructive criticism from a variety of sources (friends, family, strangers, bloggers, other writers, etc.) I’ll never reach the next level.

And, really, I need to get used to people reading my stories if I want to be a published author. That’s kind of the point of all of this, isn’t it?

So, how about you? Do you fear others reading your stories? If so, why?

Related Articles:

What are you afraid of, dear writer?

Purging Your Writing Fear

Fear of Writing – 3 secrets of writer’s block

Photo Credits:

http://gifbuffet.tumblr.com/post/9431389021

http://imgfave.com/view/1351342

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20629796-fighting-for-you

http://seeyouinaporridge.blogspot.com/2014/07/confessions_30.html

http://silverscreenings.org/2014/04/25/day-6-the-great-villain-blogathon/

http://setsunajikan.blogspot.com/2012/08/34-ways-that-you-can-be-remarkable.html

http://borg-princess.livejournal.com/95677.html?thread=1791677