Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Books I'm Reading 2

The first book I’m reading is I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza. Even though, Tony Danza only taught for ten weeks, his experiences in the teaching field ring familiar bells. It is one of those careers in which the teacher has to master many roles and is expected to accomplish so much with so little.

The second book I’m reading is Do Dogs Dream? by Stanley Coren. This book is packed with information about dogs. The author brings in research and cases to illustrate the different points which include dog’s senses, communication, learning, and ancestry.

The third book I’m reading is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Book Proposals and Query Letters by Mary Allen and Colleen O’Shea. Since I’m in the process of preparing my manuscript for (eventual) submission, it’s good to start researching how to do it. It lists online resources for writers and includes a ton of tips about getting the reader’s attention by including sample letters.

The fourth book I’m reading is Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. This book is written in prose poetry form. It’s about a teenage girl named Lupita who struggles to deal with her mother’s battle with cancer through high school.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Short Stories & Such: Fortune Cookie prompt

I took a writing workshop where the instructor suggested using fortune cookies for prompts. What a great idea!
The phrase in the message was: You will never need to worry about a steady income
The following are two attempts at the phrase found in the cookie:

          “You will never need to worry about a steady income, Joe.”

          “How do you know?”

          “The numbers don’t lie,” Ryan’s fingers tap danced on the keys, “look for yourself.”

          The computer screen showed the stock projections, but Joe wasn’t convinced it would help his future. Joe wasn’t a thief or hacker. Ryan was a good friend, and his intentions meant well, but Joe had seen the numbers last week. They couldn’t have gone up this quick.

        “Someone’s pulling one on us.”

        “Don’t be ridiculous,” Ryan inserted a few codes, “We’ve got it made.”


        “You’ll never need to worry about a steady income now, Joe.”

        Danny opened the bag and pulled out a roll of cash.

        “Whoo! Look at all that green.”

        “Did you see their faces?”

        “Yeah, one of them peed in their pants when the bullet hit.”

        Outside the motel room, footsteps and the rustling of slacks made both Joe and Danny stop breathing.

        “Let’s bail.”

         They threw all their cash back into the gym bag, some dollar bills stuck to Joe’s forearms when the door flew open.

         “Put your hands where I can see them!”

         “No way!” Joe flipped over the bed cushion.

          The police officers fired their shots and both Joe and Danny jumped out the window. Their bodies smacked against the top of a red coupe.

Next time you come across a fortune cookie, take the message home with you and use it to springboard a poem, short story, or novel. As for me, I think I can combine the two scenarios, hmm...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Writing Endeavors 3: Is it Me or are there more of You?

I’ve been working on a Young Adult novel about father and son. This story was written in less than three months. This was a big deal for me. I had no idea I could churn so many words in one day. My first real attempt at being an author had arrived, but there’s a catch.

You see, getting the story down is the first step to writing, you still have to go back a couple of days later and revise the novel by reading the whole thing with fresh eyes, changing bits here and there. After, you set it aside again and think about how the plot is and check the consistency of the characters, scenes, and words.

I found it helpful to print out a copy of the whole manuscript and make those necessary changes on the actual pages where my brain could see the mistakes. Then, I added those revisions, making sure to save the previous renditions, onto the computer.

Wait, there’s more to this writing a novel bit: I set the manuscript aside (yes, again) and have now begun the process of editing the novel. This is the hardest part because you are looking at grammar, sentence structure, style, word choice, places to cut and add, etc. but it’s all worth the work.

I’ve gotten through nine chapters and I like the transformation even more, but there’s another catch.

I started writing another novel during the time I set the manuscript aside. The question was: Should I stop the editing process and continue the new story? or Stop the creative process on the new story and proceed the editing?

It was a tough decision, and maybe you find yourself there too. If you’ve got a deadline, proceed with the edits, but if you don’t, maybe you can do like I did and stop editing. The manuscript is done, finished, complete. The edits will go smoother after you set the manuscript aside anyway and had taken the time to focus on those preliminary revisions.

As for me, I felt that the new story deserved to be told and finished. Yes, it’s taking me longer to write this second novel. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy story in which the story is told by two main characters: a dragon and a boy. But I feel my future readers will thank me for taking the time to write a good novel.

My goal is not to write novels and jump into publishing them the minute they’re done. My goal is to write stories in which readers will enjoy because I took the time to share the best story I could dish out as the author I aspire to be.

So if you find yourself with many projects, ask yourself: what’s important in the long run, the story or the finish line?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Death as Metaphor

Death is an important metaphor authors use to explore the deepest emotions possible in a way that touches the reader on different levels through imagery.

When I reflect on my poetry, I have found that I continuously use death to represent some aspect of my life. Some are not pertinent to my own life, but the lives of others or things around me, including dreams.

I discovered that I do not mean to use death per se, but the metaphors abound to create images that portray the feeling in the poem. At other times, I am completely immersed in providing a picture of what I am trying to communicate.

Death is a constant theme in my poetry because it is part of everyday life. It is a window into the deepest thoughts and emotions we have. Death is a symbol for something much greater than its literal meaning because it constitutes the end of something important. It could be a friendship, a love, a feeling, a change of one’s identity such as a rebirth, and much more.

For a taste to what I mean, check out my poem:
Witness 2011’s Massacre at http://11-11-11poetry.blogspot.com/
(Scroll down until you find my name)


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What Month is it?

This is Poetry Month, Autism Awareness Month, and Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month.
(I forget what else month, but I’m sure there’s more.)
And to keep up with these themes, here are a few websites to start off from:

This is also a good time to take a look at my new poem, “Grandfather’s Dream,” posted today on the Blue Hour Magazine website- a great place to get lost in poetry for the month dedicated for it.