Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Truth About Forever

Once again, I am pimping Sarah Dessen. After reading Along For the Ride, I borrowed the rest of the Sarah Dessen collection from my sister. My first pick?
This amazing gem:

This was a story about Macy, a teenager who is 'dealing' with the loss of her father with no help from her mother who seems content to pretend he never existed at all.
The story follows Macy through a pretty ignorant breakup email from her boyfriend Jason, and leads her to a waitressing job with a company named 'Wish'. It is here that she meets a group of people who show her how to let go and move on, how to be herself rather than the person she thinks people want her to be.
And, of course, she falls in love with Wes, an amazing guy that the reader can't help but fall in love with.

This book really touched me because I only recently lost my own father and dealing with it has been no easy feat. As each day passes, I prove to myself over and over that I am not the person I thought I was, that my thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams, run much deeper than they used to. It's amazing the way a person changes when they lose something, or someone, close to them. In my case, it's the distance I had between my father and me that inspires me to be a better person than I was the day before.
I miss him more than I thought, but in losing him, I gained something else: my extraordinary passion for writing, something I've always loved to do, but never pushed as hard to do it as I do now.

In this book, Sarah Dessen managed to capture my exact feelings about my own loss, and I am grateful that I had a chance to read it. She is definitely a huge inspiration to me, and I hope that one day I get to say it to her.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Writer's Block....Name Block??

Perhaps I spend too much time on the small details.
Before beginning the writing process, I come up with the main and secondary characters, as every writer does, I'm sure.
When it comes to my main characters, I need to be able to visualize them perfectly in my head so that I can know them better while I write their story.

The first step, before I even decide what color hair or eyes they will have, is coming up with the perfect name.
What makes the perfect name? I'm really not sure. But usually, when I hear it, I know it.
But right now I'm at a standstill. I have my male lead, and because I have his name set in stone, I know that he will have shaggy blonde hair and deep green eyes with a crooked smile that sets my female lead's heart aflutter(of course!).
But that female lead...she is an empty face, a headless body, until I can name her.

Is this strange?
I'm not sure.

I feel that if I do not love the name, then I will not be able to portray a character that readers will love. She has to be as familiar to me as my own reflection in a mirror, from the length of her eyelashes down to the beauty mark on her earlobe.
I must know my main characters as much as, if not more than, myself.

For the story I'm set to begin, I have a main character, a female, who is quiet and shy, studious with her feet planted firmly on the ground. She is not boy crazy, except for one, and she doesn't even realize it right away. Her world is turned upside down very near the beginning of the story and she must rise above her current situation to come out on top at the end.
This character is kind and caring, and I want my readers to love her as I already do even without fully understanding her or knowing who she is.
I just need a name...
Perhaps a quiet night at home will do the trick? We'll see.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I finished my short story!
This is a huge accomplishment for me since it's so difficult to fit everything in 3500 words or less! I always have so much to say.

And even better...this is the first time EVER that I have entered a writing contest of any kind. A huge step for me. And it will be read by Jodi Picoult! How amazing is that?
Of course, my work does not even compare to the masterpieces she comes up with. And I'm almost embarrassed to think that she's going to read what I wrote. It's not nearly as deep as her work, but I hope the theme sticks with her.
I finally came up with an idea about three days ago for my short story, keeping it personal but not too revealing.
I chose to write about a woman on the morning(or middle of the night)of her wedding, a sleepless night during which she wonders if she's making the right decision in getting married.
It's mostly inner monologue, her fears of marriage and what she will be come once she 'loses her identity'.
She ends up staying up all night, analyzing the what ifs to death, and at the very last second, right before she walks down the aisle, realizes that her marriage will only be as great as she makes it.
Having just got married myself, I felt this was something I could relate to and write about, and I know that every woman who has been married has had some kind of doubt, even if it is fleeting.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


As in, 'in the road'.

I've always written chick lit. Well, I can't say that. When I was a teenager, I wrote about teenagers. I didn't care about 'old' people, people in their twenties or so.
But after the age of, oh, nineteen or so, I began writing more adult novels, mainly because I was entering adulthood myself and could understand more what they went through.
And now I'm twenty-eight and I want to be sixteen again. Don't get me wrong, I still love my chick lit and I like writing about people my age.
But I've started reading more and more YA and I've gotta say, I'm in love.
I love the innocence of them, the firsts of everything. First kiss, first day of school, first time behind the wheel...there's something so magical about being a teenager.
So I'm going to follow the road less traveled in my writing and give it a shot!
My inspiration?

Sarah Dessen

This was the first book I'd ever read by her and I literally fell in love. Not only did it make me want to buy a house on the beach in a beach town, but it made me want to redo my teenage years with these people. With 'that boy'.

And it also made me want to sit down and write and write and write until my first young adult novel is completed.

Of course, I will have to take a stab at it AFTER my short story is complete. It's due on September 15th and I am no closer to having a great idea than I was the day I found out about the contest!
I actually think I'm going to start over completely. Find something better to say. Because even though I'm all for the revealing 'dad' story I had going, I could not figure out how to relate it to women! At all. It was a defining point in my life, I am, of course, familiar with the situation, but not every woman has had to deal with a homeless alcoholic father their whole lives. Not every woman can relate to my unique situation.
I have an idea...let's just hope it pans out and becomes the great one.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I've been thinking lately of the things that inspire me to write...as a writer, I know how important it is to write consistently rather than when inspiration strikes. And even if I write nothing as far as my novel goes, I always try to write something, just to keep up a flow, whether it be my blog, on writers market, a simple journal entry or a detailed email to a close friend(this is how they usually end up with pages to read rather than a simple how are you...my emails are always full of my musings!).
But sometimes I find that when something truly inspires me, there's no telling how much real writing I can get done!
In the car, I have a habit of carrying with me the CDs that lift me up and help me realize that I have something to give, something to say. And it's always easier to write after I listen to them.
An example? Sure.
My favorite is Josh Groban. Here's a video, to give you an idea:

I also find myself engrossed in reading blogs on all sorts of subjects, usually while I'm supposed to be working! And simply reading a great book will put me on the right track.
Everytime I find something that inspires me, I think to myself, 'someday that will be me. Someday I'll be able to do what I love for a living'. All about positive thinking, right?
Still working on that one. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What I Know

I've heard it time and time again. 'Write What You Know'.

My life hasn't exactly been book-worthy. I can't pick up a pen and come up with three hundred pages of how my life has given me so much experience, turned me into a success, inspired me to push forward, giving my dreams all I have.

Or can I? I was raised by two loving parents who taught me how to be the person I am today. I grew up quickly when I realized I had to help care for my little sister during a very difficult time in our lives...the loss of the man who was 'Daddy' and the birth of a perfect stranger, one who chose a life of selfishness and addiction over his own family.
From then on, I have strived to become who I am. I learned from my mother's example...and also my father's. I knew that I wanted to be warm, loving, and open to all people and ideas. I knew that I did not want to disappear into a liquor bottle, lost in the mistakes of my past and the choices made by my father.

Because of this...I believe in being open to all sorts of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual preference, or religious beliefs. I donate to charities(although I'd love to donate my time as well)and am one of those people who will hand over some money, whether I have it or not, if I can see that you are struggling. I find that I am taken advantage of because of this, but it doesn't matter. In the end, I know that I helped someone and that is important to me.

I learned from the mistakes of the people I love, and even people I don't know, and to this day strive to be a better person than I was yesterday.

Although my life was never full of drama, I have seen a lot and dealt with a lot more. I have been the shoulder more often than I've needed a shoulder. I'm not an extremely religious person, but I do believe in following the example set for us so many years ago. There is a reason why I am here, and I intend to do something about it.

Why is this important, you ask?
I am writing a short story for a contest...I've never written a short story before now, and I don't know how to go about it. I don't know how to find my voice in my story. I'm supposed to base the story on women of today, what they deal with, things of that nature.
After much agonizing, reading endless 'how-tos', and asking everyone in the world for ideas, I came up with a gleaming turd. Single motherhood. Plenty of women deal with this, and while it can be a huge struggle, it is also something that can be a blessing.
So I wrote 3500 words of crap. Why was it crap? Because I am not a single mom. I know single moms, I was raised by one for part of my life....but I know nothing about being a mom at all, much less a single one.
So how could I find my voice when I have no words for it?

But I do have a past, and that past includes finding myself and who I am as a woman. And the person who helped define me more than anyone else was my father. In working to make myself his polar opposite, I found exactly who I am and who I want to be. My mother raised me and I want to be most like her, but without my father, I would probably still be looking for myself amongst a sea of familiarity, never risking anything to learn about yours truly.
So my short story, I have decided, will be about him...not his story, of course, but my own, how I came to terms with his addiction and his death. How the rest of my life will be affected by the fact that he is not here, was not at my wedding, will not meet my children.
Women deal with regret and with defining themselves based on their own terms and not anyone else's. The risks they take are usually greater than that of men because they are expected to fail. They fight to stand out.
This won't be an autobiography. Just 3500 words about a girl missing her father, using my voice.
I will write what I know, and I will do it well.