I forgot all about it. I have a Writer’s Cafe account. I was looking through old emails and I found the creation profile email. I returned to the webpage and good news I remembered my username and password. I was met with a friend request and someone gave me helpful criticism on a poem I had posted 2 years ago. It was six months ago I got this review and I’m only answering back now but now I have a renewed curiosity in the site. I have been writing more often the last few months and since leaving school I don’t have the outside creative criticism on hand I think I need. This is now looking like the next step I’ll need to help my writing take shape into full body stories others will understand and love.
If anyone reading this has a Writer’s Cafe account feel free to friend me. If you have never heard of this website check it out. It is a free online writing community writers can meet other writers, post work, get constructive criticism and even enter contests. I love finding a renewed interest in something once forgotten. There is that instinct to protect my writing and my own self-esteem but I have to get over my fears and move forward.
That is what I remember writing in pink chalk on my drive way. Of course the dream didn’t go smoothly so I’m going to try my best to explain the story.
It started out in my yard, which was a garden. I was growing tomatoes and cucumbers. When I walked into a shed it had some bell jars of pickles. I was thinking about the trade I would have to do with one of my neighbors. I think this apocalyptic world view is from some of the books I’ve been reading lately.
I’m outside again and there is someone standing there and it is me or my family (but they don’t look like my actual family). I don’t know what this figure looks like now. Not even sure if I knew what this person looked like then. So I agree to go.
Next I am standing in an old pub. I know I have escaped but I don’t look the same as I did. I am in a different body from the one I left. When I try to talk my family won’t listen to me. The woman starts saying it is me and I have been corrupted by the devil. They disappear and I’m outside writing on the driveway with the chalk, “I escaped the devil” while all the writing on the ground around what I wrote is “She’s the devil” or “she’s possessed” and such.
Today is a writing/publishing lesson I learned the hard way. Four years ago I was working as an intern for The Celebrity Cafe. I wrote book, movie, and music reviews, interviewed a few celebs and wrote TV recaps. Mostly, I wrote celebrity news. When I sent my work in most articles would stay when published. Only once or twice was I emailed to rewrite an article because it was not up to the standard the cafe was looking for. But one time an article was published that I was and still not happy with. It was my first writing gig but sometimes I think I should have known better. I was interning and working part time as a casher. I think the TV recaps where the hard part of the internship. I’m not a committed TV watcher but it was a job and I agreed to recap Project Runway. This was around the time they were on Thursday at 9pm and started to air for an hour and half. By 10:30pm I was tired but I would write the article (about 500 to 800 words) and send it straight in. I had work the next morning and I knew there was no time to write Friday and get it on time. Tired is no way to edit your own work. I figured the editors on the other end would catch any inaccuracy, until one recap was published and the article was covered with errors. When I saw it posted up I cringed at all the mistakes I missed the night before and the comment from a stranger talking about the poorly written piece. After that I would write at night and edit it in the morning. I tired to wake up early or just skip breakfast. I never trusted another person to make sure is was blunder free. That Project Runway piece will haunt my mind because I know I’m a better writer than what’s presented in that article. I worry that piece will stop me from getting a dream job one day.
My next internship was a writer/editor for the website, Joonbug. Perspective. If you are writing in any field be aware everyone has limited timetables, and over flowing back-ends. As an editor, even with time crunches, I always read over the articles sent by “my” writers even if I’m sure I still missed mistakes. There could be an article with slip-ups even if it looked like the requirements were covered. I’ve heard of articles being published without being proofread. If an author consistently writes well and they need to post that article that second, editors will post it with not even glance.
Doesn’t matter if it is for print or digital, if you are just starting out and you are sending in articles make sure you send the best piece you can created.
I find query letters frustrating. They seem so simple until the writing begins. So many tips out there but only one real template. I don’t want it to sound like very other but queries seem to have such specific sound. Over the years I have submitted a few short stories to writing contests and I have been rejected but none of them needed a query letter to enter.
This is my first query letter. I wrote a children’s picture book (without art). I have found a few places to send the book. The agent/publishing research is easy. It’s the writing. There are not a lot of examples or templates for writing children’s picture book query letters. I don’t think I’m worried about rejection. I expect it. My writing and or story may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t want a bad query letter holding back my book from a future. Most likely this concern and frustration is all from my focus on detail, which I will have to learn to overcome.
I’ve been trying to write and edit a few novels and I have come across a useful tool to help visualize characters, places, and things. What I was normally doing for my character’s description was trying to write everything I envisioned down in a notebook. Each character would get a page. The page would list physical appearances, personality, and motive. It wasn’t until I saw a post by blogger Shannon A. Thompson called, “Writing Tips: Picture Book” I realized how much detail I was missing by not using this useful tool. Pictures.
I never thought of using pictures to help inspire and build images of characters, places, or objects. I’ve had a Pinterest account for years. When I first signed up I used it a few times but it wasn’t long that I left it having found no use for it. Now I can’t help but think, here was a writing instrument at my fingertips and I have left it idle. Well, no longer, I have started to use it to help with my novel’s vision. Pinterest has an a great number of pictures, easy access for pinning from other websites, and a board privacy setting (so the world doesn’t have to know what you’re planning). Also, saves on paper and ink, which helps me, keep my limited budget from going over. Also, it adds a bit more of creative fun to the process. I find creating a character board or looking at a few photos can be all the pop I need for a shot of inspiration. Even on days writing is slow I can get a daily writing exercise from a few pinned pictures.
If there is anyone out there who is struggling to write a novel, I hope this helps. It has sure has helped me. If you would like to see Shannon A. Thomas’s examples I have linked to her website and her “Picture Book” blog above.