Tag Archives: writers

Oops!

I am sorry this post is late today. Life has gotten in the way, but in a good way. 🙂 I had a fantastically lazy and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. I didn’t worry about very much (for a change) except reading my book and getting caught up on some chilled out family time. With all that laid back time, I just didn’t get my post done this weekend.

Then last night I went to see a production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, starring Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench, broadcast from the Garrick theatre in London’s West End through a Fathom Events Live special showing at a local movie theater. It is a treat to see something like this, or NT Live’s Coriolanus, which I have seen a few times in local movie theaters. I have seen a few others and am also thinking I will HAVE to check out the Fathom Events Live broadcast of Sherlock – The Abominable Bride that will be here in the US in January.  With all the excitement of seeing the play, I didn’t manage to get anything written by the time the play was over at almost 10:30.

So even though this is late, I wanted to share a story with you from my super relaxing long weekend. Before we go to sleep at night, we take turns reading to the kids. They can read on their own, but there is something about having that time, reading aloud to the kids to get them to sleep. I have one book I’m reading to the twins and I had another I was reading for quite awhile to my oldest. He had gotten the book, The One and Only Ivan, on his school librarian’s recommendation, at the last book fair at school. We always end up spending a boatload at those book fairs by the way. 🙂

We read this book for a little while, though it is a children’s book with very short chapters. (I love short chapters for night time reading sessions!) The story is basically about this gorilla, Ivan, who has lived his life in a small cage, not in a zoo or in the wild, but doesn’t seem to mind too much until he meets a baby elephant named Ruby who needs his help. He makes a promise to his friend Stella the elephant to help save Ruby.

It’s a sweet and easy read, which I’d recommend reading, regardless of your age. What I wanted to share with you, though, was that I had one of those ugly cry moments (as Oprah might say) reading it to my son. I thought he was asleep so I’m just all choked up and unable to get any words out, then I look over and see he is waiting patiently for me to continue. It took me a few minutes to get myself under control enough to finish reading it to him.

I admire writers who can tell a story that makes a reader feel so strongly as to break into an ugly cry. I admire writers who can make a reader feel sad, or happy, or even angry reading their stories. The book I was reading myself over the weekend wasn’t the Great American Novel, but rather a feel good romance novel I knew exactly what to expect from the author as soon as I checked it out from the library.  This author may not give me much that is unexpected, but she manages to stir the emotions up from time to time in each book of hers I read.

I like reading books that make me feel and hope to be the writer that manages that for my readers someday.

Thanks for stopping by and for your forgiveness for the lateness.

Have a great week!

~CJS

A Juggling Act

**Disclaimer, this post has not been proofread for any grammatical or spelling errors, so please read any errors that you come across and pretend that they are not really there. **

Wednesday. Today is Wednesday. It is just a day in the middle of the week for a lot of people, or also known as hump day.

Wednesdays are also the day I have a class scheduled and get my youngest to soccer practice and my oldest to church for bible study, after I have put in 9 hours at the office, made dinner and… and… I am forgetting something…

Oh right. It is also the day that I post here at TW.

I have a juggling act going on right now and I might’ve let a few of the balls drop lately, including remembering that I post on Wednesdays. Well, I cannot say that I have completely forgotten. I do remember – right as I lay down for sleep and go through my “to do” list in my head. That’s when I go “crap!”

But why dwell on what cannot be undone. Let us move forward…

Last night was my first class in English. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, the professor hadn’t posted his semester syllabus nor had he sent any pre-class emails giving us a heads up. Yes, I know this can be the norm, but my other professors already had made contact and I have been a complete mess of nerves about going back to school, so I really wanted something.

In class he explained the reason for the lack of a syllabus, of course system issues – we’ve all been there right? – And gave us a break down of what our next 16 weeks will look like. At this point I was both relieved and back to being freaked out. It occurred to me in the middle of this room, with 20 other bodies, that I will now be graded on my writing.

GRADED!

Graded, as in scored for pass or fail. (What in the hell was I thinking?)

This week’s assignment, we watched a video and have to give a thesis on the debate of the “Homeless Homed” project. It is less for a grade and more to show the professor my writing style. We need to give the argument vs argument concept; the argument being the claim plus the justification in the situation.

Claim + Justification = Argument

Then how the use of the “Art of Persuasion” and how a person can use techniques to coerce their audience. It is an interesting concept. And something as writers we all try to do. We use our voice and techniques or the “Art of Persuasion” to show/coerce the reader into feeling for our characters even if/when they are flawed.

Hmm, wonder what I will come up with.

So my question for you, do you know your writing style? And if so, are you comfortable enough with it to be graded on? Let me know in the comments.

Till next time,
~AJP

Branding Your Brand

Branding

There are people (who don’t write) that see writing being a solitary career. At one time I was one of these people. I’ll be honest, it was the idea of it being a solitary career path that pushed me to really focus on making writing a future career choice ad not just a mental hobby.

I thought that I would be able to write, edit, rewrite, and start sending things by mail/email and that be it. Done. Now I was not naïve enough to think getting published would ever be that easy, but the actual writing part, yes, yes I did.

Boy how wrong I was.

As writers we have to write, edit, rewrite, find beta readers, maybe a writing group, look for an agent (if you are going traditional)/ or figure out the whole publishing process (if you are self-publishing), AND brand yourself.

That’s right, I said we have to brand ourselves. When I first learned this, I was “What the (explicit)!”. Then I was, “What the (beep) is branding?” The initial mental image when hearing of this branding business was of a cow getting branded – like on a ranch with a red-hot metal Alpha poker. It wasn’t pretty.

To bad I do not know anyone in PR, like the individual who came up with the Frosted Flakes cereal logo with Tony the Tiger saying “They’re Grrrrreat!”. Yeah, I definitely need that person in my contacts list. I don’t even have a regular brand/style in my wardrobe; one day I will be wearing my cowboy boots with a dress, the next in a jeans with 5 inch heels, followed up by yoga pants day.

So along with everything else, I had/have to figure out how to brand myself. It truly sounds painful, and I have to do it all on my own. Hmm, I am thinking that cow thing isn’t sounding so bad after all. Quick and done by someone else…

Instead, us writers, we are on our own for the most part. So what do we need to do to get ourselves out there?

Luckily for us in today’s society we have the easily approachable social media. Anyone and everyone can be accessible with just a few keystrokes on our phones/tablets/laptops/desktops. Easy as one, two, three. Sort of. There are so many different outlets out there, it is overwhelming to choose what is right for you. But wait. There’s more. You also have to figure out what to say to a screen that conveys who YOU are, on a regular basis.

This can be difficult for some of us, easier for others, but really, we are writers so at the end of the day we are just awesome!

Have you thought about how you are going to brand yourself? Share with us down in the comments, we’d love to hear what you have to say. 

~AJP

 

Why do you do what you do?

Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Early on in grade school we learned the importance of the 5 W’s and how to apply them in our story telling. Twenty years later and I still use a 5 W’s quick outline for all of my stories. I find it helps me focus when I get lost in the chaos of a novel.

I am sitting here listening to the torrential rain pummel my house and beat up my herb garden, I find myself asking a multitude of questions starting with Why? 

Why do I keep leaving my posts until the last minute, where unforeseen circumstances always threaten to delay my words?

Why do I torture myself on a weekly basis trying to come up with a topic to type out in the hopes that someone will like what I have to say?

Why didn’t I think to write that character’s point of view in a time line sequence instead of a diary?

Why do I think I can write something different enough that somebody will give two cents to what I have to say?

Then finally the big one, Why do I write?

These are the questions that have been rolling around in the back (front, side, other lobes) of my head all day.

That last question had me going back mentally in time to a post that Charli did a few weeks (months?) ago that I loved. As a writer we are always having to think about and figure out our branding. Almost as though we have to pimp out our words in the hopes that someone will like us enough to get noticed one day.

Maybe thinking of it as pimping out is a bad choice of words.

See! Branding is stressful, now I will be known as the writer who considers what she does as pimping.

Branding is a big part of what we have to do, being a writer is not just about writing. (Ha, that is what Amanda just said in her last post!) One thinks that writing is the perfect career choice for a hermit/recluse. And that is still the case… as long as you do not care if anyone reads your work. As in ever.

A writer has to not only imagine the story, write the words, edit the words, re-edit the words, but then sale the words. By doing so, one must brand themselves.

Seems easy. Let’s see how I do…

Who am I? AJ Prince, a writer

What am I? Human… Ha! ok seriously, What do I write? Realistic fiction, contemporary fiction, family; YA (Young Adult)/NA (New Adult)

When do I write? Always, when I am not physically writing, I am thinking about writing/ story lines/ plot lines. Or When did I become a writer? When I learned to spell. 🙂

Where do I write? In the U.S., but never at a desk.

Why do I write? ………………………………….

No one wants to hear “Because I have to.” or “Because the voices talk to me.” or “It’s just a part of who I am.”, because yeah, you and every other writer in the world. To answer the Why, you need to dig deeper than that. Remember, you are branding yourself, trying to stand out in the pool of words/authors.

You have to think of the Why as in a motivation term. Why is your story any different from the next person’s? Why should I spend my time/money reading your book? Why are you special?

So why do I write? Because I have something to say. In this infinite sea of writers, I am the only me and the only person who can tell my characters stories the way that they need to be told. They are as real to me as you are to me, maybe more so because I can see what they look like in my head where as I only know what a handful of you look like on the other side of this screen.

Now here’s the hard question, Why do YOU write? If you aren’t a writer, why do you do what you do? Let me know in the comments below.  

Till next time,

AJP

start-with-why

Monogamy vs. Polygamy, What works for you?

Polygamy

 

There are three types of people in this world – monogamists, polygamists and those others. (No, no, not bigamy. Sheesh. Non-literary people, those who do not read OR write. They do exist.)

I have seen these terms used in regards to a reader for years.

The monogamist reader who reads only one book at a time, from beginning to end, giving each book its undivided attention.

The polygamist reader who can juggle their book reading as though they have a spotlight in the literary circus – right after the fire breathing typewriters of course. These readers can read a multitude of books at a time, never getting the stories confused with one another.

When I received the  picture above recently, I started thinking about how the terms also work for writers as well.

You have the monogamy group – a person who writes only on one project at a time from start to finish. They do not stray onto other projects for fear of losing focus or voice.

Then you have the polygamy group – a person who has the ability to work on multiple stories/projects at any given time. They can wake up one day writing out a much anticipated fight scene only to end the next day in the head of the niece with a crazy talking dead aunt. Ahem. Not mentioning any names here. Cough. Amanda. 

Personally, I am a mix of both worlds.

As far as when I write, I am a  tried and true monogamist. I do not have the talent to really jump stories or my voices tend to be weaker. No, not the voices in my head, but the voice of the story itself. But then when I read, I break all of the monogamy rules. Currently I am reading four different book, and love three of them! (You can see what I am reading here.)

So what type of people are you? Let me know in the comments.

Till next time,

~AJP

Dusting off the Trash

Last night I had a dinner meeting with Amanda, and right before we parted ways, I made the confession that I had absolutely nothing ready to blog about today. Nothing.

She advised me to just write a stream of consciousness, I think that is what she said to do, but basically just start writing whatever comes to mind, just go with it.

Great advice, except for one small thing, I just can’t do it. My stream of consciousness usually revolves around the kids, the grocery list or other mundane crap that I am pretty sure you do not want to read about. Instead, I picked up the book that I am in the middle of and began my procrastination regimen.

Currently I am reading Stephen Kings On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. This is not one of those “How to become a Writer” sort of book, it is basically a biography of his storytelling and language and I am loving it.

Anyways, back to my procrastinating, tonight’s chapter was about the making of Carrie. Now I’ve heard the story of how he had thrown away his first draft of Carrie and his wife dug his manuscript out of the garbage and told him that it was worth his time. What I didn’t know was Stephen King never liked Carrie White. She only started out as a three page first draft before he trashed it.

In the middle of this chapter, he states that he made the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it is difficult, whether emotionally or creatively, is not a good idea.That sometimes you have to keep going even if you don’t feel up to it and sometimes you’re doing good work when it really feels like all you are managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position. (Ha, love that!)

That was my spark. Both for this blog post and so much more.

I started writing, really writing, when I was 21 years old. I am fixing to be 31 and I have published absolutely nothing. Want to know why? In all of my years as a writer, I quit 90% of what I am working on. Why? Because it feels like I am writing a big pile of crap. Or I become emotionally detached from my characters. Or I get a new, prettier, shinier idea to play around with. Or it just became too hard. It’s not that I am a bad writer, I just walk away too quickly.

Last year I made a resolution to finish something. Anything. As long as I finished whatever I started. True to my promise, in July I finished the first draft of my novel. And it felt good. Really good. Then in November, I participated in NaNoWriMo with the idea of doing a FanFiction piece of an old Fairy Tale. Then on Day one, I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the characters in my finished draft from over the summer so I knew what I had to do.

Write what happened next. In that month, I completed what will either be a Part Two of my first novel, or a second book to the first one. Either way, I have two finished first drafts that I have been working on. I am no where near full completion, but I am still hacking away at it.

It hasn’t been easy. There are days that I think what I have written is complete crap. (Guys, no matter how much you tell you me what I’ve got is good, we still have our inner demons that kick us while we are down, but thank you though.)  Some of my characters are painful to be in, physically painful, but I have kept going. Even when a critiquer informed me that my favorite character was a piece of crap low life. Even when my hardest character to write turned out to be one of the favorites in my group.  Even when I knew I had to write that gut wrenching scene that left me in tears, I will persevere.

When this book is completed, I have full intentions to dust off an old half written first draft and complete it. I will keep going. I will finish. I am a writer and it is what I will continue to do.

Do you have any unfinished projects that need dusting off? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Till next time,

~AJP

The Rule Of Three

the sentence

Yes…everybody is a critic. But you have to have a thick skin. Especially if you are a new writer, like me. I don’t have enough experience under my belt to tell somebody that they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. “What do you mean, I can’t write? I have one short story published!” doesn’t sound all that impressive. And besides, they might be right!

But just because Saint Peter tells me that I should change that love scene in chapter six, should I run home and rewrite? If it means the difference between getting into and NOT getting into Heaven, I probably should. But I don’t really have to worry about that, just yet. So how do I know who I should listen to and who I should just give a nod of my head and a polite smile?

For this puzzling dilemma our twisted little writing group uses the rule of three. It’s simple. If only one person has a problem with your main character exposing himself to a group of nuns in the opening paragraph, don’t get all bent out of shape and delete it. But if at least three readers say it that they don’t think it should be there, you might want to take a good look at it. I’m just using this scene as an example, of course. I actually can’t imagine anyone having a problem with it. As a matter of fact, the more I think about it the more I love the idea of one of my characters exposing himself to a group of nuns. Maybe not in the first paragraph, but very soon after that. I know there’s that whole Saint Peter’s thing to worry about but I’m a, “cross that bridge when I come to it,” kind of guy.

In the end, though, it’s still up to the writer to decide whether he or she wants to change something. After all, it’s your baby and you’re going to love it no matter what. But if you want the rest of the world to come over and pinch its little cheeks you might want to think about changing that diaper.

And really, don’t we all want other people to feel as warm and fuzzy about what we’ve written as we do? I know I do. I want them to enjoy it. And yes, I want them to buy it, too. Now the question is, will they buy a novel where the main character exposes himself to a group of nuns? In the first paragraph? I’ve just got to work this scene into a story.

The Grymm Story of How Twisted Writers Was Born

A More Or Less (Mostly Less) True Story

Once upon a time there was a group of writers who became friends. They were a motley crew being made up of a historic romance writer (who also wrote science fiction and was a damned good cartoonist as well), a spy thriller writer (who the rest of the group secretly thought could have be an actual spy since he was rarely seen in a car), a science fiction/paranormal romance writer (who was also ultimately the ringleader of the group), a shy but pushy young adult writer (who was, in fact, the actual ringleader of the group), a soft-spoken gentle-looking romance writer (who could write the hottest, steamiest love scene without a single stitch of clothing coming off), and a noveling poet (who called herself a lunatic poet, whatever that means).

One day The Ultimate Ringleader suggested they all get together for a meeting to discuss the future of The Grymm Story. The Grymm Story was as bad a story as could be. It sucked the very life out of any and all who read it. It went on and on and on forever. There had been casualties.

“What are we going to do about The Grymm Story?” asked The Ultimate Ringleader.

“Can’t we just kill it?” asked The Damned Good Cartoonist. The Ultimate Ringleader shook her head.

“We could, but then we’d have to clean up the blood and that stuff’s hard to get out of the carpet.”

“What if we wrote it out of existence?” asked The Actual Ringleader. “Then there wouldn’t be any mess to clean up, or if there is it’d just be ink and Lunatic Poet over there could clean it up. She’s good with commas.” Lunatic Poet stuck her tongue out and began thinking of other ways to use the spilled ink, including writing The Actual Ringleader into an embarrassingly naughty poem and making The Actual Ringleader read it out loud in front of The Group.

“What if we just told it the truth? It’s not like it doesn’t know it’s a bad story,” suggested Secret Spy.

“I’m not sure that would work either. I don’t think it really knows it’s a bad story,” said The Ultimate Ringleader. She sighed.

 

“How can it know

When we won’t go

And tell it to its face

That it’s a horrible disgrace?” rhymed Lunatic Poet.

 

“I think Lunatic Poet is right. We should just tell The Grymm Story that it’s a really bad story,” said McSteamy the Writer.

“What? You mean just tell it the truth?” asked The Damned Good Cartoonist.

“Yes. Why not? What could it hurt?” said The Ultimate Ringleader.

“I agree, and I think Lunatic Poet should do it,” volunteered The Actual Ringleader, and she smiled very innocently at Lunatic Poet.

 

“Those who speak first

Should beware.

The messenger is cursed

In Truth’s snare,” intoned Lunatic Poet.

 

Everyone looked at her.

“Anyone understand what she just said?” asked The Damned Good Cartoonist.

“I’m pretty sure she just said she’s not going to be the one to do it,” said Secret Spy.

“Well, who’s going to go tell The Grymm Story then?” asked McSteamy the Writer.

“I think we all should,” decided The Ultimate Ringleader. “Strength in numbers.”

So it was decided that they should appear en masse to tell The Grymm Story that it was a very bad story and that it had to change its evil ways. Besides, they were all terribly afraid of The Grymm Story. They would rather face the Dementors from Harry Potter than be the only one to give it the bad news. Only one as in: all alone, as in: by themselves with the others running away laughing at the one who got caught.

However, The Grymm Story sidled up to them at their next meeting instead. It stood in front of the only door out of the room, effectively trapping them all in with it. Hearts began pounding, sweat broke out on foreheads, and everyone began calculating their own chance of survival. Who could they sacrifice first? Who would be able to keep their head? There could be only one.

“I have come to a difficult decision. This group is not working out for me and I am leaving. I am a Real Story, and the ones you write are not. I find them predictable from the first paragraph.” The disdainful wrinkle of The Grymm Story’s nose seemed an affectation and failed to portray its disgust. Each member of the group were excitedly executing a mental Happy Dance. They were going to live!

The Grymm Story began to slink away, but left with a parting shot. “I find all of your works inferior and wish not to be associated with them in any way.” And that was the last anyone saw of The Grymm Story.

“Well la-dee-da! Aren’t we the superior one?” remarked McSteamy the Writer, not with the least bit of sarcasm.

“Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on your way out,” said Damned Good Cartoonist quietly in case The Grymm Story heard and came back to take him out. He knew the others would give him up in a heartbeat.

“Well! I guess we don’t have to worry about that anymore,” said The Ultimate Ringleader.

“Thank God,” said The Actual Ringleader and McSteamy the Writer in unison.

“I have a feeling things are going to be much more peaceful now that Grymm is gone,” said Damned Good Cartoonist.

“I agree. But I think we ought to watch out for retaliation,” suggested Secret Spy.

“I don’t think Grymm Story will take revenge, but we’ll keep an eye out just in case,” said Ultimate Ringleader.

 

“Now that Grymm Story has come to an end

We’ll no more be mired in its bog.

Our future is brighter now than it was before

What say we begin a writing blog?” sang Lunatic Poet.

 

Everyone looked at each other. “Why didn’t we think of this before? What a great idea!” they all agreed.

And so it was that a new writing blog was born from the twisted tale of…

The Grymm Story.

 

The End

 

Welcome to Twisted Writers!

 

Hi. It’s nice to meet you. I am so glad you dropped by, and I hope you enjoyed my little story above. Twisted Writers is the brainchild of a group of people I am glad to call friends. All of us are writers of varying ages and experience, and we decided to get together and form a collective blog to talk about writing. Each of us has something different to offer you and we hope you will gain some insight into our writing journeys. Some of us are published while others will soon be published or are working on their first manuscripts. A few of us have our own separate blogs where you can view more of our writing, and you can visit those pages by clicking on the links in the Blogroll on the right. Each of us have a specific day we will be writing on each week, and Sundays are for snippets of stories, possible guest blog posts, or whoever gets something up there first. Check for my posts every Monday.

We have some big plans for Twisted Writers and are excited to begin putting them into action as soon as possible. So, check back often and see what is going on. We can’t wait to see what the future of Twisted Writers brings us.

 

Jesi Scott (The Lunatic Poet)

 

P.S. Please visit For Love Of Blog for interviews with each Twisted Writer every day this week!