Tag Archives: writecampaign
The #writecampaign is barely two months old and here we go with writing challenge number two. The prompt was a little different this time:
Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
· include the word "imago" in the title
· include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post. For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
I’m not usually a fan of this particular type of prompt, but I found that the nature of the words chosen dictated the tone of my flash fiction. I sort of had to do flash fiction; a two hundred word blog post felt like a waste, and besides that I couldn’t see that coming together without going meta and making fun of the prompt.
The result surprised me. I actually enjoyed it. I actually got an element of fantasy into it. I hit the optional challenges as well, adding a reference to a mirror and hitting two hundred words exactly. It turns out that twitter is great practice for how to shrink your post to exactly N characters or words.
I had to look a few of these up, so for the benefit of those who didn’t also do the challenge, here are the definitions of the words.
- Oscitate – to gape, to yawn
- Lacuna – An empty space or a missing part; a gap. A cavity, space, or depression, especially in a bone, containing cartilage or bone cells
- Miasma – A noxious atmosphere or influence. A poisonous atmosphere formerly thought to rise from swamps and putrid matter and cause disease. A thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation.
- Imago – An insect in its sexually mature adult stage after metamorphosis. An often idealized image of a person, usually a parent, formed in childhood and persisting unconsciously into adulthood.
- Synchronicity – The state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism. Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related.
Without further ado, my second entry (#124 in the list for those interested):
Now was the time and this was the place. An entire world waited for him. Its body was fragile, held together by weakened sinews and tendons, its great lacuna begging to be filled. And filled it would be. They were waiting. They were wanting. For far too long he had stood in the shadows, letting the masses oscitate in the miasma of their own desperation. That had been her idea. Mother had been right, of course. She always was.
He could hear them now, just beyond the stage. Screaming. Begging for someone. For something. He smiled, letting the moment fill him up.
His whole life, he had trained for this. He had been timed for this. The date of his ascendance had been planned for decades, set for perfect synchronicity with the attack. It was carefully crafted destiny. Too bad Mother hadn’t lived to see her plan through.
All that was left to do was step up. He opened the door to let the people’s cries in from the stage. The jewel on his necklace glowed faintly as he kissed it before dropping it down his shirt. He checked the mirror to make sure it didn’t show. It’s time, Mother.
According to Liza: “I’m a full time reader, writer, dreamer, though I pay the bills as a store manager. One day, my passion for words will eventually pay the bills.”
Michael: Liza, you have a very involved and interesting blog. I highly suggest that anyone who hasn’t already done so go check it out.
Liza: Thank you so much. Really. I appreciate it, since I blog mainly to keep myself accountable to my goals. So the fact that anyone else finds my blog interesting in any way is awesome to me.
Michael: What keeps you involved and interested to keep posting, tweeting, and reviewing away?
Liza: Ah, I love The Twitter. I’ve met so many friends through twitter and my blog – and they are positive reinforcements to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I enjoy all the feedback, the support, and the sense of community. Even before the outcropping of hash tags, such as #amwriting and #mywana, I found other writers that I connected with really well (and are now great friends with).
For example, I met one of my crit partners (@melissaiswrite) through a #Mockingjay chat. Mockingjay had just been released (I’m talking literally the day before), and there was a general “holy crap amazing” outcry among all the fans. Melissa was one of the readers that I tweeted with about the level of amazing that book was. Melissa also happens to have a WordPress blog, which strengthened our solidarity, since many bloggers seem to have blogspot blogs.
Speaking of blogs, originally I started my blog because I wanted (read: needed) to keep myself accountable to my writing goals. When I turned 30, I was at a high point with my pay the bills job and my physical fitness goals. I experienced success in other aspects of my life, but they weren’t my dreams. I finally acknowledged my dream of writing a novel, and told myself that it’s OK for me to pursue it!
Book reviewing on my blog is new to me, and I’m still on the fence about it, to be honest with you. I’ve resisted for so long. I think I’m still “over” writing about books from my English Lit major days. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about books, but there’s a difference between analyzing books for a literary theory class versus reviewing books in such a way to keep it spoiler-free and also inspire others to read the book. I’m still finding my groove there, but what keeps me wanting to review the books would be an obligation to the publishers who give away ARCs and e-galleys. Also, if I LOVE a book, I want to share it with the rest of the world. I know how important word of mouth is for any business, and I want to support the writing community as much as possible. After all, they’ve provided me with my first
addiction love, BOOKS, so I want to pay it back/forward as best as I can!
So, all in all, I blog and tweet because I like doing them, and I’ve been lucky to find similarly minded writing friends, several of whom are now my crit partners!
Michael: Does any one part of the social media push feel more like a chore than the rest?
Liza: Hmm… I don’t think so, but mainly because I do what I want. I love blogging, so I blog, and I blog in my own random way. I don’t have a specific agenda in mind when it comes to that. Same with Twitter. I LOVED getting instant responses from my heroes, like @Shawn_Phillips to @MargaretAtwood, and getting that type of access is really amazing.
I can see that if pushing a business or product were my main “work,” then it may feel like work. For now, though, blogging and tweeting are my fun activities, something that I do because I want to, so, I don’t feel like any part of it is a chore, really.
Michael: I noticed you have a schedule of books to read that is pretty long, and you plan to have it done by the end of the year. How do you find time to write when you read so much?
Liza: Actually, that schedule is tied to the ARC/e-galley thing that I mentioned above. Those books haven’t been released yet, and I’m currently reading through them so that I can post about them around their release date (spread the word, and all that!)
So, I actually read a whole heckuvalot more than that (I use GoodReads to keep track, though I’m still kind of behind there), and my simple answer to “finding the time” is I make the time to read. I love it, so I do it. A running theme on my blog is “Find solutions, not excuses.”
My easiest solution is prioritization. Like, I need to pay the bills, so I need to go to my job. And, my husband kinda likes to spend time with me, too. But, I don’t necessarily need sleep, so I choose not to sleep, especially when my reading marathon bug hits me.
Side note: my last marathon was the first week of August when my paythebills job was at its most intense. I already preplanned a writing hiatus that week, but was swept away with a need to read. Like, for reals, yo. I read eight books in less than a week, one of those books being The Passage by Justin Cronin. That was an 800-page monster of a book, and I’m proud to have crossed that off my to-read list in that crazy, hectic week!
Michael: According to your author bio, you have moved around a lot in your life. How does that affect your writing?
Liza: I think moving around has affected my overall outlook on life, which of course, influenced my writing life.
Moving so much created a weird dichotomy within me, part dreamer, part ridiculously practical/independent, and I choose to think of this dichotomy as a good thing.
I didn’t really attach myself to one place, so I don’t necessarily have a single place I think of as "home." New York would be the closest. I didn’t live on Maui, but the few times I’ve visited I’ve always felt like I was returning home. Similarly, I don’t necessarily identify with a specific people group, much to the chagrin of my thoroughly Filipino parents and extended family. But that’s OK, since my experiences inspired me to dream up strange and distant worlds or to make the familiar unfamiliar (or vice versa).
Overall, moving so often has made me thankful for anything I have, and made me cherish the relationships I can build (probably why I embraced social networking tools like Twitter, since I’m able to connect with those who are far, far away!). It’s made me appreciate the little things in life, and not put too much stock in things. Believe me, the less you need to pack and unpack, the better!
It has also given me a need for change, a restlessness that drives me to be better everyday of my life. I’ve had to rely on my own ideas and opinions, and trust my gut instincts to make business decisions, and I thank God everyday that so far, my instincts have led me well. It’s that relentlessness that keeps me going, and I hope it will keep me going as I pursue a career as a novelist.
Michael: Speaking of your writing, where and when can we buy your books? Do you plan to epublish or go the traditional route?
Liza: Alas, my books are hardly finished, let alone available for purchase! But, I want to say they’ll be available wherever books are sold, I just don’t know when!
And, I am planning on the traditional publishing route.
Michael: Your second novel is a YA Sci Fi piece. What attracts you to YA? And Sci Fi? Do you think you’ll ever expand into other genres?
Liza: WIP2 is YA Sci Fi because the story lends itself to that category.
In terms of “writing YA,” I think CS Lewis says it best:
"A children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last."
Also, I like my friend Carol Miller’s tagline: “I write YA Paranormal because every time I try to write cathartic, literary fiction, my characters end up weaving magic with one hand while flipping me off with the other.”
Though I write YA, I don’t consider myself a YA writer. Especially at this stage of my writing career, I prefer to think of myself as a writer of stories, and leave the genre labeling for later. I enjoy my freedom of being able to write what I want and not think about marketability and audience.
But, in terms of writing other genres, I already know that I will. As of this moment, I have two other WIPs burning a hole in my brain, waiting to be written, not to mention the ridiculous ideas that flit through my mind on a daily basis. All four of my WIPs are in different genres (dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary), and one of them is adult.
Michael: I notice you have a widget tracking your progress at 20000 out of 50000 words. How did you pick 50K as a target word length?
Liza: 50K is the magical NaNoWriMo word count length for novels. I have that up there more for “mindset” issues rather than thinking that my novel will be finished at 50K words. You know what I mean by mindset, right?
Michael: Kind of…
Liza: Like, a project may seem ridiculously huge and daunting, and where am I going to start, but when broken down into manageable chunks, it’s really not that bad? Well, 50K is really not that bad.
Realistically, the rough draft of this novel will probably land me closer to 80K words. It’s a rough estimate, but in considering how long my scene/chapters are, where I am in the actual story, all I need to get me to The End, I’m thinking 80K is the shorter end of the estimation.
Michael: Are there any indie writers out there that have really blown you away? Any that you’ve met through this or a previous #writecampaign?
Liza: Well, so many come to mind when I think of indie writers on Twitter. But the one stand-out whose online presence, career, and writing style has impressed me the most? Hands down, Rebecca Rasmussen. She’s an absolute treasure, and her book The Bird Sisters is beautifully written. She is an author role model for me.
Michael: Have you ever met or gone to a talk by an established writer? What did you take away from that meeting?
Liza: The one that comes to mind is John Green. I write about some of my takeaways in this post.
Green spoke a lot about putting aside works in progress that weren’t really ready for him to write – even though one of those works eventually morphed to become The Fault in Our Stars. He recognized that writing something more worthwhile, that would add more beauty into the world, was more important to him than writing something and publishing it because he could. That encouraged me to set aside WIP1 (for now), and gave me “permission” to work on WIP2. I’m so happy I did. WIP2 is SO much fun to write! WIP1 is still very important to me, but I recognize that it’s not time for me to work on it now, and that’s OK.
Michael: Do you write much flash fiction? What makes for good flash fiction, in your mind?
Liza: Ha, NO! I’m definitely a novel-length writer! However, I enjoyed writing the flash pieces that I have written because it made me understand my writing process a little bit more. Plus, it’s sometimes fun to think about a small distraction like a flash piece if my WIP gets too confusing. Writing flash fiction gives me a more economical view of words, and even in longer fiction, I make sure that every word has a purpose in that sentence. I’m not so much concerned about it now as I’m drafting, but in revising the little bit that I have, I know that word choice will definitely be a major concern of mine.
Michael: Are there any entries in the first #writecampaign challenge that you’d recommend?
Liza: Well, the winners have already been chosen, so I don’t want to seem repetitive but I definitely loved and voted for Jessica Therrien’s Soulless, which won the “People’s Choice” and fourth place for the judging round. I also really enjoyed and voted for MC Rogerson’s Infinite Doors, and that won first place in the judging round.
Michael: What advice do you have for a fellow indie author just getting started creating an online presence?
Liza: Definitely be interactive with your followers/fans. I can only speak from the receiving end of awesome authors out there, but I truly appreciate the time that authors give to answering emails, replying via twitter, sending out signed book plates, setting up chats, etc. I think it’s because I value time so much myself, that I am honestly grateful for any time spent on my behalf.
In terms of actual steps, or the idea of community at all, I would recommend Kristen Lamb’s website, along with her book, We Are Not Alone. I haven’t read her book, but it’s highly recommended by many, many writers.
Personally, participating in social media outlets that you enjoy is important. If you like blogging, but hate facebook or twitter, then just blog! If you prefer facebook to twitter, then good for you (though, I don’t think we can be friends…)
Life is too short to do something because you feel you need to do it (but would rather be doing something else…like write your book). Creating an online presence seems the logical thing to do, but I think that writers get so caught up on creating that presence that they neglect writing and working on their book (you know, the reason behind all the work in the first place). I would even venture so far to say that writing a beautiful novel, and continuing to write beautiful novels is the best and only thing you really need to do to help you build your presence. Everything else is icing on the cake.
You can catch Liza all the time on her Twitter feed or at her blog.
This is probably the eighth time I’ve mentioned Rachael Harrie’s Writer’s Platform-Building Campaign in the last four posts, but I’m doing what I can to expand my community of writers and show some #authorlove of my own. What is #authorlove? I’m glad you asked, because for this post I got a chance to ask some questions of Sarah Ketley, the originator of the delightfully hashtaggable idea and fellow indie author (sounds so much better than “emerging artist”) from Brisbane, Australia.
Sarah, though I want to talk more about you and your writing, I have to start with what really stands out in all of your posts and why I hear so much from you online – I saw your posts on #authorlove and your contest [disclosure - I have entered her contest]. I think that’s a great way to further connections and really fits in with the model of the #writecampaign. What inspired you to start this, and how quickly did you see it start to pick up?
I started #authorlove and the idea of helping other authors after I realized that some people do not show this attitude. I really believe that if we want the writing industry to continue to grow, we actually need good competition. We need authors to continue to strive and produce top quality work. The best way to do this is to help foster and support authors.
I started #authorlove so I could show my appreciation to new (and some established) authors and help them move along the path to publication and producing great quality work. I believe in Karma, so hopefully one day people will help me. I don’t mean buying substandard work either, I mean by helping me produce great quality work through offering support, advice and encouragement.
I only started #authorlove a couple of months ago. So it really has only just started to pick up, so to speak. However I notice a few people using the hash tag on Twitter and more people doing positive thing on-line for other authors.
What do you see happening in the future with #authorlove?
I hope to take this one step further and start a competition about it in the near future. I hope that I can get other authors to basically pick 5-10 developing/established authors that they love and spend a week creating a bit of hype for that author. Share the love so to speak. We all love recommendations and sometimes books that are awesome get a bit lost. I’ll keep you posted when the webpage is up and running.
Are there books that you found from trying out fellow emerging writers that still stand out in your mind?
I certainly have these. I must admit that I found my new favourite author through my investigations for #authorlove. I offered to help India Drummond promote her first book “Ordinary Angels”. I really loved her work. Her next book was even better: “Blood Faerie”.
Blood Faerie would have to go onto my top 5 books I have read all year. Perhaps even in the second spot. First goes to Cassandra Clare’s book Clockwork Angel.
What inspired you to start writing?
My inspiration to actually do this properly came from a childhood friend, Nicole McDonald who I found was just about to publish her first book. I jumped on the bandwagon and have been actively involved in the online writing community ever since.
Was there a moment in time when you realized you could do this – that your words were worth sharing with the world?
That would have to be when I read a piece from my manuscript and I started bawling my eyes out. It was just so sad. I can hardly read that chapter now without a tissue. (It is the moment when my 17 year old MC finds out that she has a life-threatening Leukaemia.)
Have you met any famous authors? What did you take away from talking with / listening to them?
Traci Harding would be the only one. Her Ancient Future Trillogy was one of my favourites in the early university days. I have read them many times. We went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Brisbane with about 12 other groupies, perhaps I should say ‘fans’. lol
This was before I started writing and was simply because I admired her books.
In what genres do you prefer to write? Can you see yourself switching or branching out into others?
Well if you read this post, I am struggling with this at the moment. I have a great contemporary YA in progress and another up my sleave. However I just love historical or steampunk YA set in the late 1880’s. I have a fantastic project lined up to write during NaNoWriMo this November. If you havn’t signed up for this you should. Basically it’s a challenge to write a novel in a month.
I read the same some of genres that I write. Historical, steampunk, fantasy, some paranormal (not that I write this) and gutsy contemporary YA.
I noticed you have an interest in YA. What attracts you to that style/target audience?
Well I read YA. I love the style; it’s easy to read yet still full of guts and issues. That is why I write YA. Can’t write what you don’t love.
What projects are you working on right now? Anything close to finished?
Well obviously my Day Zero Manuscript is closing on its first draft, which has taken me some time to write. (Been a busy year)
I do also have a non-fiction book in second draft. This is a book to help new bloggers/authors like myself get into the writing blog-o-sphere. It is a collection of my experiences and hands on advice that I learnt the hard way. I would like to have it out by Christmas 2011.
Back to social media things – do you feel like the time you spend on things like #authorlove and #writecampaign intrudes on your writing? What is the hardest thing about putting yourself out there on social networks?
YES it intrudes on my writing. However. I have met some awesome writers on social media. I am MUCH more likely to buy books off people I know on social media. I have bought maybe 15-20 books this year simply because I have spoken to the author on-line in some way. I then felt that #authorlove moment and bought the book. 99% of the time I have been very impressed. There was only one book that I wasn’t soooo fond of.
Social media is very important to me and I will continue to use it. However sometimes I have to shut it off and “Just Write” – My motto for my blog. See here.
Do you find it easy to manage your blog?
Hmm well managing the blog isn’t the problem. More managing all the social media. However blog-wise, I have struggled a little finding the voice of the blog. I think I am nearly there. A blog is like a book; it needs a specific voice to attract long standing readers. Finding posts that match this ‘voice’ can be challenging, but I believe I am getting there.
As for the technical stuff. I have learned a lot along the way. I have switched to self-hosted WordPress so I need to know a lot about designing web pages, SEO, spam moderators and so on. I have enjoyed the process.
What advice would you give to emerging writers struggling to get noticed?
Buy my book when it comes out J. It’s all about finding your voice and muse in the writing blog-o-sphere. Otherwise, don’t promote yourself, try and support others. I much prefer to see support than promotion and I pay attention to this. Don’t get me wrong I promote my own posts and things as well. Sometimes a bit much, but I try and balance with supporting others as well.
I am doing a post series about this as well.
INTERACT and interaction will bring the rewards of being noticed.
You can see more from Sarah Ketley at her blog, www.sarahketleyauthor.com.
I mentioned earlier that I’m involved in the Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign. Well, part of that is to do periodic challenges with my fellow campaigners, and this post is my fulfillment of the first of those. The challenge was to write a 200-word flash fiction story beginning with the phrase “The door swung open.”
I should mention at this point that I’ve never really gotten into flash fiction. In fact, this is the first attempt at it I’ve ever done. It was interesting, but I think I have the same problem with flash fiction that I do with short stories – I always want to keep going. I just invented three new characters – they deserve more definition… and yet… it was sort of fun in a way. I’ll never see Leslie, Mr. Vargas, or Garcia again.
Anyhow, I’m rambling. Here’s my challenge entry – I maxed it out at 200 words precisely (according to MS Word’s count). I hope you enjoy it. (Incidentally, I wouldn’t ordinarily expect you to read an entire story in italics, but… it’s only 200 words).
The door swung open. Dammit; he was a tiger today. Leslie hated tiger days. Mr. Vargas’s wound-up little son, Garcia, sprinted into the room, orange plush tiger hat strapped around his head, streamers of red paper flowing from his arms. Last month Leslie had made the mistake of asking what the streamers were for.
“They’re blood from all the stuff I kill!” he’d said.
Leslie leaned over and caught a flower vase that tiger-Garcia flicked carelessly with his hand. She wobbled perilously on one of her two-inch heels as she set it back upright. Mr. Vargas refused to childproof his house. Why should he? A big-time Hollywood producer doesn’t need to bother with such trivialities; that’s what an assistant with a film school degree was for. Besides, he couldn’t have investors and directors over with padded corners on his tables, could he? Leslie had suggested that he childproof just one of his four houses and keep his family there. Vargas had said he’d think about it.
“Grrrr! I want Lucky Charms!” Garcia swatted the full napkin-holder to the floor.
Leslie sighed. She smoothed out her blazer and tugged the bottom of her skirt. She got the milk. Damn tiger days.