It was worth my time, hopefully it’s worth yours.
Ok Kamala, he already called you Nasty.
Go ahead Girl…Game on!
Janet Jackson – Nasty – 1986
Often the illusion is that the easier path for dealing with problems is to run away from them, avoid them or ignore them.
In my experience avoidance is my default. I have found that I must remind myself daily that the true easier path is to acknowledge my problem, feel that emotions surrounding my problem and then to face the problem and walk through it. Not all problems are easily resolved. However I’ve found that the only way they are ever resolved is to deal with them head on. No matter how hard issues appear, resolution is always easier and better than running away.
Lil Nas X , Fearsome’s favorite out and proud rapper, dropped this new tune this morning. I found it’s message helpful in many ways.
Lil Nas X – Panini – Official Video – 2019
Visualize what you want. Say what you want. Move toward what you want.
Todays read pages 220-231, sections 12 & 13 of chapter On Writing.
Tonight I’ll be short and brief. Short and brief because it’s late and I’m jonesing to get some sleep and short because this part talks about pace.
During the first draft, with the door closed, pace may not have been of concern as that was when the story was being unearthed. Now with a chance to revise and refine through a second draft one should be aware of pace. Look for a happy medium. Too fast and readers will get lost or worn out. Too slow and they will become bored or worse yet put it down. Be careful not to underexplain nor overexplain.
A good rule of thumb is second draft equals first draft minus 10%.
While one needs back story for character definition and motivation, the back story is just that, back. Get through it as quickly as possible while still doing it with grace. Everyone has a history, most of it isn’t interesting. Stick with the interesting.
Research is sometimes necessary when one writes into areas where one might not know much. Research is back story, keep it there. Remember you are writing a novel, not a research paper.
The story always comes first.
Todays read pages 208-220, section 11 of chapter On Writing.
How many drafts?
For Stephen King two plus a polish. For a beginner he recommends at least two drafts. The first draft with the study door closed (you the author only just getting the story out unaffected by outside input, interference or opinion), and at least one other draft with the study door open, sharing that first draft with trusted readers.
Upon completion of the very first writing you, the author, who has spent many months and unending hours unearthing this story onto the pages and need time away. Focus on another project or write a short story or go on an adventure…get away from the book. Rest.
Then sit down and go back though that first draft making notes where you see errors or holes. Do not get down on yourself, screw ups happen and can be fixed. Use this to not only fix mistakes but clear out the unnecessary and add clarity. Ask yourself about coherence and about elements, theme, resonance, meaning. After this stage then let a few trusted readers see this first full draft and read it.
Be careful not to be overbearing on your first readers. We writers can be needy. Resist the temptation.
Today’s read: pages 200-208, section 9 chapter On Writing.
Theme is really no big deal.
When writing a book one is identifying trees. Once done, step back and look at the forest. Every book worth reading is about something. During or just after the first draft decide what it’s about. In the second draft make that something more clear.
Good fiction begins with the story and progresses to theme.
Once story is on paper think about what it means, then enrich following drafts with conclusions. This makes each tale written uniquely your own.
With today’s read I realize that some of this will need to be bit off in small doses. As I’ve confessed before I never made it past high school English. I also confessed that I was the teacher’s pet my senior year. If you are capable of reading between those lines I hope you understand that to be 11th grade. I think I squeaked a C out of that 11th grade English class.
Todays read pages 173-180, section 6 of the chapter On Writing.
“Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story.” It’s important to remember that it’s not only ‘how to’ describe but of ‘how much to’. One can only learn by doing. Reading helps this skill.
Begin with a visualization. End by translation what you see to the page. The trick is finding the happy medium. It’s also important to know what to describe. Remember the writer’s main job is telling the story.
Description begins with the writer’s imagination and finishes with the reader’s.
A writer needs to be able to open all of his senses. A writer then needs to remember it’s all about the story.
Stephen then gives us an example of a description that is just enough to help the reader sense the scene to before getting to the story. It was at this point my lack of further English education slowed me down to realize I need only bite off what I can chew. He introduced me to the simile. In other words he mentioned it and I had enough wits to know I needed to stop and find out what one was.
Simile? Thank goodness for google. A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced with like or as. Examples being ‘cheeks like roses’ or ‘expression as cold as ice’.
While reading up on similes I realized that they are similar to metaphors. Oh shit…time (at age 54) I finally found out what one of those is, so I google on. A metaphor is a direct comparison between two seemingly unrelated subjects. For example ‘all the world’s a stage’ or ‘drowning in money’.
Ok so what is the difference in a way this yearning mind can understand?
A simile compares two subjects, compares as to describe. Take ‘cheeks like roses’ which helps me to picture rosey, or pink, cheeks. It doesn’t make me actaullly picture roses in place of cheeks. The cheeks stay cheeks, just pink in color.
A metaphor equates two subjects. The example ‘all the world’s a stage’ helps me see the world’s as a stage. The two are equated and I can see one as the other. Or onto the other ‘drowning in money’ where money isn’t being described, but is equated with drowning in a way I can see the money actually swallowing or overtaking.
There I may not have these two down perfectly, but at least I may now grasp a basic understanding.
Today’s read pages 141-155, new chapter “On Writing “ sections 1-2
I’ve never been a stranger to clairvoyance. It seems my choice to bite this little learning challenge into 10 page bites was just that. When writing Mr. King writes 2000 words a day or about 10 pages. You have my permission to call me Carnac if you wish.
However Stephen King reads much more than 10 pages of other people’s works a day. He considers himself a slow reader. He averages 70-80 books a year. He reads mostly fiction. He believes that if one doesn’t have time to read, then one doesn’t have time to write. Reading others prose “creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing.” I take that to mean reading can refine one’s style, sharpen one’s skills and strengthen one’s passion.
Read daily, write daily. It must be your passion, your playtime.
Turn off your TV.
Back from the brink of stomach flu hell, we surface by merely sticking our toe into the water. Amidst queasy gurgles of bloating gas with now only intermittent runs to the toilet, I possibly feel good enough to actually concentrate. I open the book and start my read only to realize I was but two pages from the beginning of its next chapter when I last stopped. I’ll take this as a suggestion from above as a testing of the waters and only report back on my two page read as to keep each chapter separated.
Today’s read: pages 135-137, section 5 of Toolbox.
Words create sentences and sentences create paragraphs. Like a carpenter building a mansion, the writer builds one paragraph at a time. Stephen encourages me to construct out of my own volcabulary, my own knowledge of grammar and of my own basic style. I must stay level on level and shave even every door and I can build whatever I like – whole mansions if I wish.
Let us not forget we are discussing a learned skill but sometimes we can agree that the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations. Stephen says I’d do well to remember that we are also taking about magic.
As the day progressed I’ve been struck with a stomach flu and major headache.
Not a good reading, learning and blogging moment.
I’ll be back as soon as I feel better.
Todays read: pages 122-135, Toolbox sections 3&4.
English fundamentals are not my area of extpertise. I completed high school English as my Senior English class teachers pet. In other words, I skated through. I flunked out of my expensive liberal arts college after only one semester, including an F in English. I graduated with an associates degree in applied health sciences for Respiratory Care for which English was not a required subject. When I read anything referring to grammar my eyes glaze over and my mind begins to wonder.
Why in the world would I want to read a book about writing? Much less blog about it?
I read to learn. I read to grow. I blog to reinforce my learning and document what if any growth I obtain. Fortunately Stephen King is making it interesting, easy and entertaining.
Here is my take from today’s read:
Verbs come in two types, active and passive. Passive verbs are for timid writers, avoid them. The passive voice is safe, don’t be safe.
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. The adverb is not your friend. Adverbs seem to have been created, like the passive voice, with the timid writer in mind. Mr. King believes the road to hell is paved with adverbs.
Mr. King also believes fear is at the root of most bad writing. He advises to engergize one’s writing with active verbs.
When forming possessives always add ‘s, even when the word being modified ends in s -always write Thomas’s bike and never Thomas’ bike.
Expository prose (yes I googled to see what this means) can and should have neat and utilitarian paragraphs. In fiction the paragraph is less structured. Let nature take its corse when writing, the rewrite is when we can adjust or fix structure.
The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader feel welcome. Writing is seduction. Stephen King belives the paragraph, not the sentence, is the basic unit of writing. Paragraphs can be from a single word or run on for pages. One must learn to use the paragraph well if one is to write well.
Today’s read pages 103-107, divider/chapter/section “What Writing Is”
…yeah I know it’s less than my 10 pages a day but, yes I said but, it’s one to chew on.
I write this evening in a corner of a bedroom just after dusk in San Diego California. Looking out the window I catch a glimpse of the lights of the downtown skyline around the San Diego bay. Across the bay I can see Coronado island which divides San Diego bay from the mighty Pacific Ocean. Light dances off the water as my eyes linger enjoying the view. A cool breeze lifts the sea air off the water, through my window screen and to the sensory receptors of my nostrils. A ship’s horn interrupts the silence.
Can you see it? Feel it? Smell it? Hear it?
You might be reading this from some other San Diego location the moment I publish it or from a small town in Germany 3 years later. My writing brought us together for an experience we just shared. We weren’t ever in the same room at the same time sharing the same experience, yet we shared it. Writing did that. What other proof might one need to prove the existence of telepathy?
Writing is not to be taken lightly.
Today’s read pages 92-101, sections 33-38. Part 1 of Stephen King’s On Writing is now complete.
Today’s take certainly resonates with my own sobriety.
“Telling an alcoholic to control his drinking is like telling a guy suffering the world’s most cataclysmic case of diarrhea to control his shitting.”
Life isn’t a support system for art, it’s the other way around.
Todays Read was from page 31-44 ending at section 18.
There is no magical story place, good story ideas come from literally nowhere. My job is only to recognize ideas as they show up.
Stephen King was rejected. He was rejected a lot. He didn’t stop simply because someone said no.
Capture encouragement, even when it’s received with rejection, and run with it.
The time has come. Mom is ready to move out of my childhood home. She’s lived there since 1957 and raised 3 boys there. Dad passed more than 2 years ago. She finally retired in December. Her last dog passed at the new year. The house is too much work for a little 86 year old lady.
It’s her decision. She is ready. She has decided that she wants to live with us in San Diego rather than with my brother in our hometown. She hates winter and loves dogs.
I’ve spent the last two weeks back east helping her sort, clean, decide, pack, throw out and donate. Her ticket has been purchased. I fly back Mother’s day weekend. We spend the week finalizing. She flys back with me, first class, to her new home in San Diego on May 18, 2018. Her new home is the first floor bedroom of our house.
Fearsome has been a big part of it all. From getting stuck on packing tape to literally getting himself caught in the recycle bin when the lid fell shut. He’s there all the way.
So now you know. We’ve been beyond work distraction to major life changes. We need to reflect on this more. We will post more about aging, emotions, family, changes, life, blessings and gratitude.
Gratitude for the opportunity and ability to support the one who once supported me into her final phase.
I’ll call it what it is.
Leaders don’t sit idly by and allow opportunity to pass them up. They step into opportunities that not only improve their lives but society as a whole.
Leaders lead societies toward betterment. They do not allow society to grow stagnant and then fall into decline by accepting substandard ideology or promoting only self serving interests.
Leaders have passion. Leaders value honesty. Leaders inspire. Leaders serve.
These are leaders:
We just supported these leaders. We just donated to their cause.
Their cause? March For Our Lives
You can learn about t and support their cause by going to: https://www.marchforourlives.com
Yes it is a worthy cause to support young people. To inspire them by getting behind them. The time is now to allow the youth to be the adults in the room since our elected officials obviously are not.
We’d like to Thank Blobby for his post and Anne Marie for her comment that motivated us toward doing something today.
In life we have a choice.
1) Sit around, bitch and blame others.
2) Pick ourselves up and do something.
Hamilton – “Wrote My Way Out” ( Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc )
You? You get to choose.
Words are things.
Words get into you.
Words are powerful.
Be careful of the words you say. Be careful of the words you allow into you, your home and around those you love.
Write only good words, speak only good words, allow only good words and share only good words.
I am not perfect, may I strive toward good whenever I possibly can.
Good starts with me. Good starts right here, right where I am.
Today I find that a familiar tune from the past is ringing in my ears. A year ago who would have ever thunk that this fabulous Jimmy Somerville diddy would suddenly become relevant.
Well Juanita it has.
This musical inspiration has suddenly become relevant again. It is a tune of inspiration out of oppression. Thus we are getting it down from the shelf, dusting it off and shaking our cute little tushy about the house. We are warming ourself up to get up, get out and stand up. Stand up for honest human values.
You go Jimmy. Get us up, get us going!
Don’t ever let us forget.
Read My Lips
Jimmy Somerville 1990
When one of us is oppressed we are all oppressed.
We’ve stood up for what was right before …and Juanita we ain’t forgot how!
Enough is enough is enough is enough.
When I sit at home alone I feel powerless.
When I focus only on myself I am powerless.
When I worry I reinforce being powerless.
When I give I find purpose.
When I get involved I gain power.
When I work for others outside myself I have power.
I have the power to change things for others, myself and my world for the better.
The only way to better my community, my country and my world is to act, to care and to share.
I have abilities. I have talents. I have knowledge. It’s my duty to use these assets to help my community and everyone in it for betterment. By helping out, I help not only the world at large, I help myself as well.
Be strong. Stand up. Give. Share. Love. Help. Work.