Who are your characters in real life?

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Well, I got my rejection email from the James Jones First Novel Competition yesterday –

“Thank you for sending us “Biomalware.”  We appreciated the chance to read it. Unfortunately, your manuscript has not been selected for the final round.”

A little disappointed but not devastated.  Onward.

I still have plans to research and do a complete re-write of Biomalware, at a more leisurely pace, this summer.  I want to do some serious in depth research into the issue of GMO’s.  I know how I feel about them based on the information I have seen but I want to make sure that the feeling is supported by all the information available.  More research might prove me wrong, bolster my opinion, or just make me more confused.

First comes the short story collection though.  In that vein, I’ve got some that I’ve written that I want to edit and some that I’ve been working on for a while.  I also wanted to write something completely new.  I felt there was a gap in my collection.  I’ve got re-writes of fairy tales, ghost stories and vampire stories.  Basically, it’s a paranormal collection.  What I do not have, is a superhero story.

Then I met the perfect person to base my main character for the missing story on.

Now, we all take aspects of people we know and have known and work them into our characters.  I long ago realized that my perception of who a person is doesn’t necessarily conform to who they think they are or who they really are, which can also be two different things.  I figure I’m creating a character of most people based on my own perceptions and imaginings.  Why not use that in my fiction?

I like to take an actual person that I’ve met but don’t really know and imagine everything else about them.  I’m making up a character based on just a few traits and perhaps a physical description then fleshing that character out in my mind.

Does anybody else do that?

It’s a lot of fun.  Give it a try.  It might just liven up your weekend.

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Stalled Writing Mind Needs a Jump Start

carabandoned

Writer’s write.  Right?

Except, sometimes we don’t.

My mind has stalled.  That doesn’t mean it’s ready for the junkyard.

I had the bright idea to take a vacation day today.  I was going to go hide somewhere and finish editing those next fifty pages of Biomalware and write one of the short stories I have started.

Then I remembered that I have an appointment with a budding author today to talk about how to publish an ebook and the desk shifts at work got rearranged so I am scheduled on the desk today after all.

*sigh*

The truth is that I just can’t clear my schedule of life to write.  Writing is going to have to happen around my schedule.

And I’m not like those authors who are capable of staying up late writing into the wee hours of the morning and going to work on coffee and a couple hours sleep, or getting up a couple hours early to write before work after going to bed at midnight, once the munchkin is taken care of.  I need more sleep than I get now.

I’m going to have to grab my time to write and edit when I can, whenever I see a few minutes to do so, on a daily basis.

There may be times when I have a chunk of time to devote to it, but that isn’t my daily life.

Sometimes exhaustion or sadness over events of the world keeps me from feeling creative, my body gets overwhelmed or, like last night, I worry about the coming weather and find myself restlessly flipping back and forth between weather.com and Facebook.

These things serve to distract me.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to turn a car that’s lost its power steering back on course.  You can do it but it takes some real muscle.

So, I’m curious, my question is – how do you fit writing into your life?  Is it daily, weekly or just whenever you can?  And what do you do when you feel like you’ve gotten off track to get yourself back on?

(Please join me on my Facebook page, where I will be posting a daily note on something interesting or inspiring about writing or life in general. Just click here -> Melora Johnson’s Facebook page.)

Creativity, Deadlines and NYFA Source for Artists

450px-Old_Faithful_Geyser,_Calistoga,_California

I was at home yesterday with my daughter and managed to write… one whole sentence.  So much for the font of creativity.

It was a really good sentence though.  Actually, it was even dialogue.  It seemed to fit in with one of the five stories I am working on so I opened the document and typed it in.

That’s how it’s been going lately, drips and drabs.  I think my font may have frozen over.  One of these days something will capture my imagination and I’ll get something done.  I think I may need a deadline though.  Deadlines just help me focus and accomplish.  That brings me to what I wanted to share today, NYFA Source, because it’s a place to look for fellowships, scholarships, grants and other competitions which can provide the needed deadline.

Now, this is through the New York Foundation for the Arts BUT it does cover resources across the country.

The New York Foundation for the Arts (nyfa.org)

“The New York Foundation for the Arts’ mission is to empower artists at critical stages in their creative lives.”

NYFA Source is the nation’s most extensive database of awards, services and publications for artists of all disciplines including dance, folk, traditional, media, performance, interdisciplinary, visual, music, literature, theater, and arts management.

What do they mean by “awards, services and publications?”  Awards include the usual – grants, fellowships, scholarships, emergency funds, and even space to work in.  Services may include legal, education, financial, insurance and more.  Publications are geared towards your specific discipline, including newsletters, online publications, magazines and even books.

Go to www.nyfa.org then hover your mouse cursor over “for artists” and select the third item down, “NYFA Source the resource for artists.”

Now you have 8 different tabs and you can fill out criteria in one or more of them to search.

  1. Awards
  2. Discipline
  3. Location
  4. Deadline
  5. Services
  6. Organization
  7. Keyword
  8. Other Criteria

Give it a look sometime.  Oh, and don’t forget to stop by Facebook and like my page for a daily message of inspiration or information, depending on how I’m feeling.

Happy writing!

The Power of “Could” Over “Should” For a Writer

Monkey-typing

This past week I’ve been on vacation, at home, but I’ve got diddley squat to show for it in terms of writing and editing. 

My plan was to edit the first fifty pages of Biomalware then go back and start a total re-write.

Then I got an idea for a new short story. 

Then the short story turned into a novel idea.

Then I made a list of all the short stories that I’ve started on my computer and never finished.

Then I made peanut butter chocolate chip muffins with my daughter.  (She did the stirring.  Well, some of it.  She’s only 2 1/2.)

And did a few Soduko puzzles.

There were other things in there but you get the idea.  Not much writing or editing.  Part of the problem is that I think about what I “should” do and my brain balks like a mule.

So, I’m going back to an old idea I learned years ago, turning “should” into “could.”  Instead of telling myself I should be editing Biomalware or working on a short story, I tell myself I could edit or pick a story to work on.  For some reason my brain just hears it differently and I don’t get the malaise that I get when I tell myself I “should” do something.  Hopefully that will help me getting some writing or editing done over the next three days, before I go back to work.

I did manage to post a new short story to Yahoo!, Memories and Choices.  I originally submitted it to the Writer’s Digest short short story contest but it didn’t win so I’ve put it out there for the reading.  It’s a bit of science fiction, magical realism and fan fic.

I understand there’s a Camp NaNoWriMo running this month.  They can be great for motivation but I won’t be participating this month.  I’m trying to focus on quality over quantity right now.

Happy Writing!