Posts Tagged ‘Writers Guild’

At Writer’s Guild tonight we talked about the authors and people who had inspired us and our early days as writers. As we sat outside at Paddy Murphy’s it was interesting to hear the diverse reasonings behind our stories and our intentions for our futures. Our pasts are vastly different.  Some of us were inspired by distinct events or authors; others simply fell into writing. As for our futures, most of us don’t anticipate solely being authors. We figure we will keep writing, but it may not be our main job. Whether this is because we understand the financial difficulties of budding authors or because we long to do more than just write novels is indistinguishable.

After guild and a rather lengthy and comprehensive conversation with my mother, I played guitar for a while until well after my wrist grew tired of hitting the ‘F’ chord. Then I read chapters 20 and 21 of Revelations. My Bible has been around since I was very young. It is interesting to see what I underlined then compared to what I would underline now.

In the past I had underlined Revelation 22:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” This is a truly exciting verse, but I had not marked the more important and more exciting verse before it: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” Wow. God will be with us!

As a kid in pain I get why verse four excited me. As a young adult verse four still excites me. But how could I miss that God would be with us? How could that seem not important enough to underline? Isn’t that day when God dwells with us what I’m pressing on towards? So I underlined verse three tonight and I am so excited for that day!

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Tonight’s visit to Paddy Murphy’s was nothing like last night’s…

My brother-in-law, Seth, and I have been friends for a long time so he comes to Bangor occasionally and hangs with me and our nephews. Yesterday was one of those days. When it came time for dinner, we went to Paddy Murphy’s in Downtown Bangor, where my writers’ guild met tonight. As Seth and I sat at the table waiting for our food, a guy came over. He would have sat down if my purse was not in the way. He looked straight at me, completely ignoring Seth, and started telling me how he appreciated how put together I was and thanked me for my nice makeup (which I wasn’t even wearing). I glanced at Seth with a ‘can you believe he’s doing this in front of you?’ look and he made the slightest movement. It was only then that the guy noticed Seth and began to thank him repeatedly for how lucky he was to have a girl like me. I saw the thought flash across Seth’s eyes to tell him he was my brother. I’m not sure whether it was my pleading eyes or the man’s one bloodshot eye pointed down and the other bloodshot eye pointed up, but Seth remained (thankfully) silent and the man went on his way. When we got back to my house, I called my parents into the living room and made sure they knew how lucky a man Seth was. It filled us all with laughter.

Tonight’s trip to Paddy Murphy’s was more sedate. The writers’ guild met again, with our seemingly core three of Seth, Katie and myself. It is still good to discuss our writing, our past, our futures, our ideas, our beliefs and on. It grows more interesting as we begin to learn more and more about each other. Since we skipped dinner tonight (and I skipped breakfast) I must go grab something to quench my hungry stomach, than finish packing for my trip tomorrow to VA. Goodbye Maine for a week!

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Work ran late last night, so despite a mad dash home and through the shower I figured I was going to be late for Writers’ Guild. I passed up the opportunity for my mom’s specialty chicken, waiting in the frying pan for me, and hurried to Paddy Murphy’s. I was the first one there.

The night was beautiful, so I stood outside, slowing my mind to a steady hum… I had hoped to finish my edit of Xsardis yesterday, but sudden bursts of customers made finding my rhythm difficult. At guild, my brain seemed to be processing everything super slowly. It worked out well. One of our members who missed the initial two meetings (so he missed the ‘talk about your current writing project’ night) got to share with us about his story. It was very interesting, a very nice blend of a variety of genres. I can’t wait to read it someday!

One of our members is going back to college on Wednesday. Last night took on more of an air of a goodbye party than an official meeting. I think that is good. Flowing in and out of our topics makes the guild feel less like a weekly requirement and more like a desired opportunity.

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Here is the picture of the purple phone I mentioned. You cannot really appreciate just how purple it is in a picture, but I have to admit that it is growing on me…

I was a writer again today and it felt good. I fell in and out of projects. From reading the Orson Scott Card book on characters, to re-reading Asandra to try to figure out exactly what I did with that story, to figuring out timeline issues in Xsardis, I have tackled a variety of important things. And I am learning from them all.

When I am super busy I do not have time to develop my craft as I would like to. I rarely try short stories because there is not time. I would never have dared to attempt a poem. But the more I write, the more I want to expand my horizons. I think I can blame the Writers’ Guild for my attempt today at a poem. Though, when I say ‘blame’ I really mean ‘thank.’ I was inspired by something today and I was able to take the time to write a poem about it. My fellow guild members had given me the courage (or maybe the shove) to attempt it. I cannot even begin to guess if it’s any good. And the big problem with poems and me is that they are so personal that I don’t want to share them. But even if no other soul ever discovers it, it was so freeing and exciting to write.

When I am working out an issue, I usually pull out my guitar and sing it out. It is cool to watch myself begin to sort things out through writing. Although this was not an issue but an appreciation of great beauty. My heart feels alive in a very new way and my poem was an attempt to capture that.

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At Writers’ Guild Tuesday night we walked around downtown. I was wearing flats. I should have been fine. But my coordination has been lacking since I was a child. (At kids’ camp one year, the nurse took my mother aside and said, “Your child falls a lot. And you should find out why…” At least, that was the long and short of it. Ear infections were the most of the cause, but I have just accepted falling as part of my life. Though I’m much, much better than I was then, I can always count on crashing to the ground when I least expect it.)

As I stepped up a curb in the dark of the evening, I underestimated its height. Though I tried to catch myself I knew I was going down. That couple of seconds was slow motion for me and I quickly judged how I would do the least damage to myself and my possessions. My purse was over my right shoulder bearing my laptop. That had to be protected. I could have saved my torso if I had sacrificed my knees and my wrists–but neither of those would have been very pleased with me for that choice. So I fell with my waist and threw my right shoulder forward so that my purse would swing backward. It worked, to a certain extent. The damage was incredibly minimal. The laptop was fine. Most of me was too.

As I rose to my feet, my fellow writers asked me if I was okay. I did not even know that my toe and my arm were bleeding or that my phone had snapped in half. We continued through downtown, though I quickly noticed how wet the ground had been and how wet I was. By the time I got back to my car I had realized that running past my elbow was a very large and very long scrape, slick with blood. It was not until I got into the light of my house that I spotted the injury to my stinging toe or the phone. And it was today that I realized how sore my shoulder was. The whole arm aches as if it is bruised inside.

The phone… the entire top part with the screen is gone. Thankfully the speaker-phone part still worked so as long as I could guess what I was dialing or where a person was in my contact list I could still communicate. Today my new phone came in. And it is Barney purple. I just have to laugh. That is not my personality at all!

Well, it could have been worse. Honestly, the fall was comical and I was with a good group of people to be a fool with. But every time my father’s arm bumped mine in the movie theater tonight I winced and realized more and more how damaged I was. (The gash seems like a burn, with its constant heat and stinging nature.) That is pretty much how I am. I don’t stop when I’m in the moment to feel pain or hesitancy, I just push ahead. I’m not scared or susceptible to pain. But afterwards, in the lull, I crawl back inside my shell and am the petrified little girl I have always been.

Like the fact that I am short over a thousand dollars for the publication of Xsardis. As that reality comes closer and closer I feel the air sucked from my body. But despite my fears my God is still my God and He is still strong enough to figure out any problems I might face. He’s already got the plan worked out. I just have to keep on. And I will! I may crash and burn, but God is in control. Kiash and hallelujah!

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“Every story choice you make arises out of who you are, at the deepest level of your soul… (It) reveals more about you, in fact, than you know about yourself… The moment you use a technique that doesn’t belong in your story, solely for the sake of appealing to some imagined reader… your story dies a little…” from Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card.

With the Borders in my hometown closing I set out to use the sales to enhance my library of books in my field. I picked up Characters and Viewpoint not just because of the tone that was easy to follow or because the content was relevant, but also because Card recognizes early on that the book is not a formula for a cake or a checklist for perfection, but construction tools to dig out of the author the important traits. Too often, works on literature try to coddle the author with familiar do’s and don’t’s. This doesn’t work for creative authors!

When I teach in the classroom, I do NOT give students a lecture on how to follow in my footsteps or write the perfect novel. Instead, I teach them how to put emotion into their stories, how to turn a boring article into something they care about, and the like. This is a much more effective manner in the long run. Basics are for English class, not for the professional writer.

I am two chapters into Card’s book and I have already found it extremely helpful. I took the above quote to Writers’ Guild’s third meeting tonight to get their take on it. Unanimously and fervently they agreed that writing does come from your soul and you cannot cater to readers until you love the project yourself.

Writers’ Guild was held tonight at Paddy Murphy’s in downtown Bangor. We arrived at 6 and did not leave until the place closed at 9:30. Our largest group yet attended: 5 people. We talked for a long time about literature and passed around stories. Then we fell naturally into talking politics, movies, theology, life, college, family, memories… Our guild has a unique texture, one changing as the members grow. I look forward to seeing where it goes!

And for my avid fans: check out the new www.issym.com where you can now ‘like’ Issym and comment at the ‘about the books’ page!

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Last night was the second meeting of the Young Christian Writers’ Guild that I help start. Though we had only half our members, we had a really good time and it spurred some good discussion.

The guild is fairly low-key. Lots of talking. Little as far as an agenda. I think free-spirited writers like that more than a strict code of order. Our first meeting we spent two hours mostly getting to know each other and our main views on writing, some topics as old as writing itself and some very heated modern-day issues. This meeting we brought in samples of our writing and discussed more practical problems that writers face: like character development, descriptions and how  a guy can write about a girl and vice versa.

The gender problem of writing is, of course, a struggle. Guys and girls have problems understanding each other in real life, let alone a girl trying to write about a guy or a guy trying to write about a girl. We threw around comments such as girls will tend to look at the emotional side while guys will focus on the practical; and that girls need two paragraphs to say what a guy can say in a single sentence. But I think the thing we hit on most was this: when writing a character of the opposite sex, do not get caught up on the gender issue. Find their passions and focus on those. Once you get inside what the character believes in you will find his/her thought process already waiting for you to tap into. After all, some guys act emotional. Some girls act tough. Stereo-typing is not a good way to write. So make your characters as diverse as real life. Think of how people you know with the same passions as your characters interact and draw from that.

The guild is proving to be a very good tool to develop a skill that is usually very lonely. We are stretching each other. We are bringing different experiences and talents. And we are having fun doing it!

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The Energizer bunny in me was ticking last night, even though I knew we were leaving at four this morning for our fourteen hour drive home. When I awoke I could not have been more confused. Since I have been writing better at night, my mental clock has gradually shifted to going to bed later and getting up later. From waking at 9ish to waking at 4ish was a big jump.

Groggily I packed and made it to the car. It took us a while to figure out how to escape Pittsburgh since the bridge we wanted to use was closed down, but once we got on the highway I completely zoned out and awoke only when tempted by coffee. I have not had coffee in far too long! It tasted delicious. The drive was less arduous than I had expected. I was reading a new book that drew me in with a strange style and unique characters. I finished it a few moments ago. The first two hundred pages were wonderful and then… I cannot believe I wasted a day on that book.

Imagine you think you are reading a thrilling government conspiracy novel with incredibly self-sacrificing characters. Then at the end you discover that it was about aliens and that your heroes are selfish bimbos. That is how this book felt. It was pretty funny actually, but I don’t think I was supposed to be laughing. I try not to tear apart other authors work but I guess I am a critic.

By the time we got home, my brother’s family and my sister’s family were waiting with chinese food. It was really great to see my nephews, hang with my siblings (both the blood-related ones and their spouses), relax out of the car with my parents, and tell baseball stories to the three-year-old. Now my Red Sox hat lives atop the head of one of my first inspirations–Flibbert the frog. Countless tickets and maps await scrapbooking on my desk. My brain is teaming with new ideas for writing and business, new goals for school and the postponed (but not dead) book tour and high hopes for a Young Christian Writers’ Guild it looks like I will be helping to get started in the area.

I have come back from vacation refreshed and ready to go. Here’s hoping that my energy lasts!

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