Thursday, June 9, 2011

Now What?

     I have written about writers block, how I became a self published author, my literary hero and  why I write. So what is left? I am secretly envious of those of you who can whip out a blog post once a week even with busy schedules. Me on the other hand I am lucky to make one every two to three months.  When I can I frequent these blogs and post comments to show my support. A while back I entered a contest on http://thetruebookaddict.blogspot.com/ where the winning comment got 100 personal writing prompts from Bryan Cohen of http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com  an author of many books on self writing help and writing ideas all of which are very informative and available on amazon here . By some strange bit of chance I was randomly selected as the winner. Now I have 100 blog posts without having to do anything but answer his 100 questions. So here is the deal right now money is tight because those pesky bills are due so I have limited if any computer time but as soon as I can I plan to try and make one blog post for each of his questions If I can I want to make them at least 100-1,000 words.  Here are the questions so far:

Trauma

1. What are some of the ways you’ve dealt with having a traumatic upbringing? What are some of the things you would suggest to someone who has gone through similar past experiences to get on with his or her life?

2. How do you feel toward the people who acted in such a negative way toward you when you were growing up? Have you forgiven them?

3. Imagine that you were put into a room with your step-mother and step-brother. What do you think you would say to them? Detail the conversation from beginning to end.

4. What do you think you would tell the third-grade version of yourself if you had a chance to send a message back to her? What would the message say and how do you think it would have affected you to see such a message?

5. Imagine that the imaginary girl who helped you to cope with your traumatic experiences came back today to help you in your current life. What would you say to this imaginary girl and do you think you would still need her in your life right now?

6. What are some of the things you are careful to do with your children as a result of your childhood experiences? How do you teach them things like manners and cleaning when those two areas were so awful during your upbringing?

7. What do you think it was about your step mother that appealed to your father? Why do you think he was willing to let her have her way with you without assertively stopping the punishment? What would you say to a man in love with such a mean-spirited person to convince the man to stay away?

8. Do you think that your childhood situation would have been different in a different era, like 50 years earlier or 30 years later? How would it be different? Would it have stopped sooner or kept going longer?

9. Imagine that you had the opportunity for revenge on the people who wronged you during your childhood. Would you take it? If so, what would you do? If not, what would hold you back?

10. What do you think your step mother’s reaction was to you being taken away to live with your uncle and aunt? Imagine a conversation between her and your father after they learned of your fate.

Family

11. Talk a little bit about your relationship with your husband. How did you meet and how did you two come to fall in love?

12. What is it like working with your husband on his business? Do you enjoy doing this work?  Is it a good way to be in close contact with someone you love? Describe a day in the life working to ship his items.

13. In what ways is your husband similar to your father and in what ways is he different? Have the two of them ever met each other? If so, what was it like, if not, create a hypothetical situation in which they met and chatted.

14. When you described your traumatic childhood to your husband, what was his reaction? How do you think his perspective on you changed or grew after you talked about it?  

15. What is your husband like as a father? How does he interact with your children? What are some of the ways in which he shows them love and respect?

16. What do your children think of you? Imagine that they had to write a story about the things they like and know about you. What would they write?

17. Write about a day in the life of homeschooling your children. What do you do to prepare for each lesson? How does a typical lesson go? Do you supplement your school with multiple field trips or other things you wouldn’t normally find in public school?

18. Write a little bit about your children and what they mean to you.

19. If you had to guess right now what your children would do for a living when they grow up, what would you guess and why? How would they excel in those particular professions?

20. Describe your extended family and your relationships with them. How well do you get along and how often do you see each other? What do they think of you and the way you run your household? Go into extreme detail.

Your Writing

21. Which of your stories are you the most proud of? Which of your stories do you think needs the most work and why?

22. What is your goal as a writer? What do you want to have accomplished as a writer in 5 years? 10 years? 25 years? How do you want your writing to be remembered?

23. How do you think that self-publishing has changed your expectations of what you can do as a writer? Do you think that you will eventually self-publish all of your work or just a few selections? What do you think is the secret to selling books on the Kindle?

24. If you could meet any writer to pick his or her brain for an afternoon who would it be and why? What questions would you ask and how do you think it could help your writing?

25. What kind of messages do you feel like you convey in your writing? Do you think that someone could read your writing and get something out if it? What do you hope that someone walks away from your writing thinking?

26. Which do you enjoy writing more: poems or short stories? What do you like about writing each form and what other forms of writing might you be interested in trying?

27. Imagine that you have been given $50,000 to write and promote a book. What would you write about and how would you get the word out about it?

28. If you could write a book that you think your husband you would enjoy thoroughly what would it be and why? Do you think that other people would enjoy it or just him?

29. How do you think that technology has changed writing? Would you have written as much if blogging and posting your material online was not available? How do you think writing will change for your children and future grandchildren?

30. How would life change for you if you wrote a bestselling novel? How do you think your friends and family would react? What do you think you would do to celebrate the achievement?


He is still working on the next 70 this is the first time he has ever made 100 personal writing prompts and I am as complicated as I am simple.  I will post the rest as soon as he is done. I will then start my quest with question one and work my way down. So my few followers keep your eyes peeled for some serious writing going on on my end. Thank you so much Bryan Cohen, The True Book Addict and anyone who happens to read this humble blog.

Next up:


31. Do you enjoy your line of work as a part of your husband's business? What are the five best things about it and why? What are five things about the business that could you some improvement and how could you add those positive aspects to the business?

32. There are many video game enthusiasts in the world and it would not surprise me if more than a few of them have ordered from your business. Tell a story about one of the strangest people you've ever had order from your business. If you don't have a direct story, imagine that one of the biggest video game nerds found your business and bought everything you had to offer and write a story about it.

33. What are some of the things you think about during a long day of packing and shipping in your business? Does your emotion run wild or do you usually think about more practical matters? Write a stream of consciousness of what you might think about during a typical packing session.

34. Have you ever thought about the story of one of these old video game systems and the stories they might be able to tell? Write the personification of one of these video game systems and detail its life from the original factory, to its original owner, the long journey to your house, and the way out to its new, appreciative buyer.

35. If you had the skill and the resources to create a video game what do you think it would be about and why? How have your experiences of the video game business affected your opinions about what would be effective in a video game?

36. What would your dream job be and why? What are some of the things you might miss about your current line of work? What would your husband's dream job be and why?

37. Do you think that you might someday be able to live almost completely based off of your writing like some authors in the world? How would you feel if hundreds of readers were purchasing your books every single day?

38. What would be the best thing that could possibly happen to you and your husband's business? If that did happen, what would you do with all of your success? Expand the business? Start something new?

39. What would you and your husband do for money if the current business no longer worked for you two? Talk about a "back-up" plan and how it would keep you and your family both afloat and prosperous.

40. What is the best job that you've ever had? What was so great about it? What do you think you learned from working in that particular place?


Books, Books, Books

41. Of all the books you've ever reviewed, which is the one you think that changed you the most as a person? Why would you recommend this book to other people?

42. In contrast, what is the worst book you've ever reviewed? If you had a personal conversation with the author, what do you think you would say to him or her to convey what could be done better in a future revision of the book?

43. What is a book that you would read over and over again if you could? Do you think your husband and children would enjoy the book as much as you? Why or why not?

44. What is the best book you've ever read by a relatively unknown author? Why do you think this author's name deserves to be famous and read by as many people as possible?

45. Which character in a book do you most relate to personally? Which character best embodies your husband? Your kids? The rest of your family?

46. What would be your dream book to write? What would the title be and what would the book be about? What type of person would be the most likely to read this book?

47. If you could live in the world of any book, which book would it be and why? What do you think the world of that book has to offer that your current life doesn't offer you? What is one way you could make your life more like the world of the book?

48. What is it about books that are more effective as escape and relaxation than television, radio, video games or movies for you? Does the rest of your family feel the same way? If not, how do you think you might be able to convince them?

49. What is your personal opinion about the big shift from paper books to digital books for the Kindle and Nook? Do you think digital books will ever replace paper books? What is your personal preference?

50. What part do the books you like play in your home schooling efforts? Have you successfully recommended some books for your kids to read? Do they have a similar taste in books as you or a completely different one?


More Family

51. If you had the chance to repair your relationship with your aunt and uncle and their children, would you? What do you think would have to happen to fix the issues you have with them? How do you think your children would react to connecting with them for the first time?

52. What do you think your dad would say about you and your family if he was alive today? Do you think he would be proud of you? Do you think he would be happy with the woman and strong mother that you are today?

53. How do you get along with your two older brothers? Do you have a stronger bond than most families because of the things that you all went through when you were younger? How often do you all see each other?

54. In your story you said that your aunt was disappointed in your during your time living with her. How do you make the effort to show your children that you are proud of the things they do so that they don't have to go through what you did? As they grow older, what do you think you will have to do to build their self-esteem and other positive qualities?

55. What advice would you give to a child who had to be placed into foster care or moved away from her mother and father? How do you think you would best convey that things would eventually be better?

56. What is your most positive memory of living with your aunt, uncle and cousins? Why was this moment so positive?

57. How would you describe your concept of a family? What responsibility do family members have for taking care of each other? How are you going to convey the concept of a family to your children and grandchildren to make sure they have a much more positive experience than you did?

58. How well do you get along with your husband's family? In what ways was his experience growing up different from yours? How do you think that experience shaped him as a person and a father?

59. Have you ever spoken with your mom's mother about your mother? Whether you have or not, discuss the ways in which you think you may be the same as your mother and ways in which you are different. What do you think your mother would say to you if you had the chance to speak about your family and life thus far?

60. Is there a family in a book, a movie or television series that you looked up to growing up as the example of a perfect family? Do you think that such a family could exist in reality or that a family like this could only exist in fiction? 


and the beat goes on
61. Of all the things that you lost in the Nashville floods of 2010, what do you think you’ll miss the most? In contrast, what do you think is something you are happy to be without? Perhaps a pile of papers you never wanted to sort, etc.

62. What do you think some of the positive qualities your children will inherit after having to go through an experience like the flood? Thriftiness? Resilience? Go into detail with each of your children.

63. What did you think would happen when you were originally forced to evacuate your home? Was the final result better or worse than your expectations? Who was more prepared for the outcome, you or your neighbors?

64. Describe a day in the life of your six months living with your mother in law. How were things different than they’d been living in your home?

65. Write a story from the perspective of one of your children during your time living with your mother in law. Go into your child’s thoughts, dreams and beliefs about the future.

66. What were your first thoughts upon receiving word you would officially be moving out of your mother in law’s condo? What the reaction of your husband? Your children?

67. What advice would you give to someone who just lost their home and possessions in a similar flooding situation? What are some of the things you would have done differently if you had a chance to deal with the flooding situation again?

68. What are some of the things you think people take for granted when they have freely running electricity? What are some of the ways you and your family coped without power for five days?

69. What are three things you like the best about your new house in the country? How is it different from previous houses that you have lived in? How is it better?

70. What do you think it means that in the midst of a power outage and a massive flood, that new life could be generated in the form of your Koi babies? Does it say something about life being a cycle or is it just random happenstance?


Creativity, Art, Etc.

71. Of all the stories that you’ve written specifically for your kids, which one do you think connects with them the most? Why do you think they like it so much?

72. Imagine that years down the line, you have had a book become so successful that you are actually on the Today Show promoting it. How would you want the hosts to introduce you to their audience members and the people at home?

73. Imagine that your basset hound gained the ability to talk and read your ghost blog, Matilda the Sold Monkey. What do you think your dog would say? Would your dog say you got it right or that you were way off about what it was thinking and feeling during certain situations?

74. What are some of the things you would flesh out if you could publish “The Chase” as a full-length novel as long as a typical Dean Koontz thriller? What characters would you have to create for this new longer version?

75. Why do you think there has been such a vampire-related craze in the world of fiction? How did it feel to write your own version of a vampire story? What would you do differently if you wrote a full-length version of your vampire tale?

76. Imagine that you were to write a memoir of all your painful tales throughout your childhood and through adulthood. How do you think you would structure it? Who would you market it to?

77. Why do you think that writing became one of your creative methods of expression? Do you think in another set of circumstances you could have been a painter or an architect or some other type of creative person? What is it that makes you a writer?

78. What do you enjoy the most about writing children’s stories that your kids will enjoy? If you got together with an illustrator do you think that you could write and publish a children’s book together? What would your kids think if they saw a published book with your name on it? What would you think?

79. What are five ways in which you could improve your skills at writing and spelling? Would you read a book? Take a class? Scientists are now saying that with enough practice, anyone can learn a new trick. How would you take advantage of this fact?

80. When your children are all grown up and moved out of the house, how do you think this will affect your time on the creative aspects of your life? Will you finally write that grand thriller or vampire novel?