Friday, March 25, 2011

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Writing.

     Life, as any writer will tell you balancing life and writing is a high wire act that is a difficult art to master. My life consists, of being a mother of four children whom I home school. On top of that I work from home packing the media items that my husband sells. We live in a five bedroom house with one acre of land. To top it all off I must not forget the six dogs, two cats, and several fish all who need maintenance. . This all takes a considerable amount of time it is a wonder that I get to write at all but I do my best to write whenever I can fit it in. I have eight children stories, one bio, and seven others that I am not sure what genre they fit in.
      Which brings us to liberty. My greatest weakness as a writer if you have not guessed by now is, punctuation, grammar and spelling. I wish that I had the freedom to write what ever comes into my head without having to worry about spelling, punctuation, and other such things that could make or break me as an author like word count. I am extreemly confused by word count and what the rules are regarding the size of the story. Here is what I know about the average word counts for the different types.
  • Flash Fiction 100 - 1,000 words,
  • Short Story 1,000 - 7,500 words,
  • Novellette 7,500 - 20,000 words,
  • Novella 20,000 - 55,000 words,
  • Novel 55,000 -110,000.
  • Baby Books -- (under 300 words) Books are short (12 pages is average)
  • Picture books -- Traditionally, picture books (also called "picture story books") are 32-page books Manuscripts are up to 1500 words, with 1000 words being the average length.
  • Early picture books -- contain under 1000 words.
  • Easy readers -- Also called "easy-to-read", 32-64 pages long, with 200-1500 words of text, occasionally going up to 2000 words.
  • Transition books -- Sometimes called "early chapter books" For ages 6-9 Written like easy readers in style, transition books are longer (manuscripts are about 30 pages long, broken into 2-3 page chapters), For ages 7-10, these books are 45-60 manuscript pages long, broken into 3-4 page chapters.(2-4 sentences is average).
  • Middle grade -- 8-12. (100-150 pages),
  • Young adult -- For ages 12 and up, these manuscripts are 130 to about 200 pages long.

Finally there is the pursuit of writing. Now I know some what about the numbers what do I do with them? I don't even know what genre my stories fit.

Here are a list of my stories and what their word counts are

David and The Magic Cat: words 14,672 pages 30
Clean it up (unfinished): Words 5,270 pages 7
Let's Talk to the animals: Words 513 pages 1
Let's See the New Baby: Words 373 Pages 1
Lets Go to the city: Words 315 Pages 1
Let's Find Opposites 1,042 pages 2

For Adults
To Sleep with out a Dream Words 1,166 pages 2
My childhood story Words 3,685 pages 4
The Chase words 2,076 pages 5
Eye of the Storm: (Unfinished) words 4,314 pages 4
The Closet: Words 1,225 pages 3
Take me out to the ball game. Words 1,022 pages 2

     This is what I have written to date. I am not sure what to do with them all other than share them with my friends and family. I have not found anyone who would be willing to read and correct my stuff so I cannot submit it to a publisher or publish it myself on a portable reader device. In order for me to be published I need to be able to have the fallowing, someone correct my work, a place to publish for free to start, and the ability to publish under my alias Sally A Wolf. I would eventually love to get paid for what I write as every writer does but I am currently stuck in a rut of just filling up my own webpage.
If you have any ideas please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why do you write?

Why do I write? Well for one thing it is a lot less messy then my other hobbies like sculpting. Shh, don't tell my children that I am the one who stole their play dough. The real reason I write is because I HAVE TO!  It is like a drug if I don't spend some quality time writing at least once a day It gets all bottled up inside me and I become irritable or depressed. I need to write for my own sanity as well as others.
      Why do I write what I do? Well I write children's stories like this for the entertainment of my kids who seem to be the only individuals who want to read my work. I write poems to express my feelings. I write thrillers like this because I secretly want to be like Dean Koontz. I wrote this vampire story for a flash fiction contest boy that was hard.
I ghost write a blog for my basset hound. Matilda the Sock Monkey I keep track of books that I have read by writing book reviews. I write true stories like this about my past to help me cope with it. I FaceBook and Twitter for fun.
            One day when I am published I want to have people read my books to feel emotion. I want to invoke in them the power to feel whatever they like. I want to do this because when I was little one of my stepmother's favorite mind games was to confuse you about witch emotion was the right one to have for a situation. If you were suppose to be happy then she yelled at you for not being sad. If you were sad then you were in trouble for not being happy. This all happened during my developmental stages creating a paradox of miss labeled feelings. Now feelings are very important for me to understand and to share with others.
             So what does all of this babbling mean? Not much other than I needed my writing fix for the day and my children are guarding their play dough.

Why do I write? It boils down to the simple fact that I write because I like to.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Who is your literary Hero?

         When I was a little girl I was abused physically, mentally and emotionally by my stepmother, and sexually by her son. As soon as I was able to read I escaped from them by following my imagination into books.
Books have always been part of what makes me who I am. When I found out I could write my own books, I decided that was the path for me. I wanted a chance to give some of the same help I got from books. Unaware of how to start I sought guidance from the very people who started me on this quest in the first place, the authors of the very books I had been reading, which brings me to the point of all of this rambling about my past. When asked; Who is your Literary Hero? I would, with-out hesitation, reply Dean Koontz.
         Why? Well, when I was eleven years old I was taken out of my stepmothers care and one of my new friends saw I was feeling sad so she, loaned me her copy of Phantoms. From page one I was hooked and instantly compelled to read all of his work. This continued into high school. I was ecstatic when one day my English teacher asked us to give a brief history of our favorite author and then write a short story in their style.  I,  of course, had no trouble deciding who it would be and went right to work. I did all my research and tried to find out as much as I could about him. In those days the internet was in its infancy and there were not many ways to get to know someone famous. Unlike today there was no .My teacher suggested I write to his publisher and see if they could forward a letter to him.  I did this but did not receive any reply. Disappointed but not deterred, I did the best bio that I could with what little information I could find. Then I wrote the first chapter of my story in his style. I even wrote it on a legal pad with a number 2 pencil just like he does.  You can read what I came up with here!
      This story of hero worship does not end there ,though. Two weeks before graduation I received a strange package in the mail. To my surprise two years after my original letter was sent I got a signed copy of a Dean Koontz Companion and a news letter with a really nice note stating that I did not specify who the letter was for so it got lost in the shuffle of the other mail. To a girl who thought that no one cared for her having her hero write  her and tell her to keep the faith was like a hand up out of a deep dark hole. Now that I am all grown up and have a family of my own I still love Dean Koontz much to the teasing of my family. When we go to book stores they always pick up one of his books and say "Hey isn't this the guy you like?" I have a collection of his hardback books that take up a whole bookshelf. There is currently one on the back of the toilet I am in the middle of reading. I also listen to an audio book when I am busy doing other things. So hands if asked who is my literary hero. I would most definitely say it is and will always be Dean Koontz.
            That said however, I think that my new friend and author Devin O'Branagan is a close second. I met her in a Basset Hound forum where she came to do research on a new novel. Since then I have reviewed two pre-reader copies of her novels and we are friends on Facebook, and twitter. She has been very encouraging telling me to keep writing when I felt down and untalented.  I have even signed up on her website and  have found myself drawn to her flash fiction contests. Even when I don't think I could possibly write anything about the current topic for some reason I am compelled to please her and I find that I can write almost anything. Devin has an understanding of faith that makes you believe anything could be possible. So Dean Koontz will always be my first love but he will have to share a bit of my heart with Devin.
             There other authors who have inspired and thrilled me over the years to, name a few  Cynthia Voigt, Nicholas Sparks, Johnny Gruelle, Richard J. Margolis,and James Patterson.
I just hope that one day I could be half as good as the above people I have mentioned so that I can fulfill my dream of helping some other child who needs an escape.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writers Block

When I was asked to write about how to write I was ecstatic. I got right down to work determined to do a good job. I immediately opened up a new document in my word program did a little stretch and place my fingers on home row ready to write something profound about this great art. After a good minute of starring at a blank page counting the cursor blinks, I realized that I wasn't getting anywhere. So I decided to give my mind a chance to process the request. I went to file and clicked "save as". When the popup menu asked me what I wanted to name my file I found myself once again transfixed. What do you name nothing? Time was of the essence so I wrote writers block in the blank and clicked save.  I went away and came back later with the will to accomplish my task. I opened the file and was disheartened by the utter whiteness of the page. So much for my writing ability. I was about to click close when I noticed the title and had a brainstorm.
            What is the one thing that every writer has in common no matter what they write?  At one point or another they all have had writers block. So what do you do about it?
Well there are several was to approach this problem. The First thing we need to do is established what the problems is. Writers Block is a condition that causes an author to lose his or her ability to create new work. This issue can be created by many factors. Including but not limited  to insecurity, outside distractions, malnutrition, and stress. Now that we have identified the problem and possible causes lets discuss some solutions. Keep in mind that everyone is different and what works for some may not work for everyone. The fist and foremost thing to remember though is not to give up no matter how long it takes.
Which brings us to our first cause for writers block, insecurity.
Problem: Have you found yourself saying? Why am I writing this? I am no good at this! Or Who would want to read this junk anyway?
Solutions: You are your own worst enemy. Start by not dwelling on who is going to read your work or what you are going to do with it when you are finished. Try to remember why it is you started writing in the first place.   When you first picked up a pen it wasn't because you wanted a bunch of money or fame. It is because you felt the itch. This itch is an uncontrollable urge to write something anything just to put your emotions into words. What it all boils down to is the simple fact that you need to stop dwelling on the "what if factor" and write because you love to do so not for the end results.
Next we have outside distractions. Lets face it we live in a digital age filled with computers, cell phones, TV, and music. On top of that we have non electronic distractions like family, friends, emotions, and deadlines. All of these things can cause us to clam up and neglect our writing.
Solutions: First, write something creative every day that is not part of your big project just to keep your creative juices flowing even if it is as simple as an interesting status update. Second set time limits for yourself for playing on the Internet or talking on the phone. Take a little time for yourself to write everyday even if it means getting up early or going to bed a little late. You will be surprised to find that a few minuets a day add up to a lot. This will results in reducing the daunting task of completing it all at once.           
            Next just because you are under a deadline or you are on a streak doesn't mean that you can neglect the basic human needs such as food and rest. There is nothing that will stop you in your tracks faster than an unbalanced chemistry make sure you stop periodically to replenish yourself.
            Finally the most severe problem is stress because it can be both the cause and the result of the all the other factors regarding writers block.
Solutions: Take a break for a while and think of anything at all but writing. Do something you love to do such as gardening, taking a walk, or baking. Try to mentally isolate yourself from stressful issues in you life when you sit down to write. In other words you must leave your problems at the office door so to speak. Finally take care of your bodies needs stress can be aggravated by low levels of the basic essentials.
            In conclusion you cannot avoid  writers block but you can lesson its severity by following these simple rules.
Rule one: You must always write for yourself.
            Rule two: Minimize your external distractions.
            Rule thee: Always take care of your bodies needs first.
            Rule Four: When you sit down to write. Relax and take a deep breath and think about rule number one. Then separate your life from your work. Instead of worrying about your problems channel your extra emotions into what you are writing. If you do this you will find you write better and when you are done you might find that your mind is freer to deal with other things.

Thanks for reading this! I hope this helps you to enjoy your writing.