Unpublished Writing Process

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

may you always write and be happy

Once upon a time there was a writer who went crazy because she couldn’t share her story with enough people…

Just kidding!  But seriously people, what do people want?  Immortality.  Some people search for it by having lots of children to carry on their genetics, some people try to aquire it by doing something amazing and being remembered, and some people (mostly my kind of people) gain their immortality through the beautiful art of writing.

Am I searching for immortality?  The world may never know, but I am searching for readers.  I want others to have full access to the worlds inside my head, to the people I know there, to the magic that can be tapped easily by turning the page.

I feel that I am getting older, and in my newfound old age I have driven myself to the point of advice-giving.  Yes, just like Grandpa Francis I am spewing my wisdom forth unto you.  Now take it and like it.

The Unpublished Writing Process

Jenni Darby

The writing process is seldom shared between unpublished authors because we generally feel like newborns in a large and daunting world.  Who are we to give each other advice?  But I feel that, like students, we should compare notes and lead each other to success.  The following are my notes on my own writing process that I hope can help guide you through this wonderful world of words.

  1. 1.      Obsess

I know.  Once you get a story idea in your head you just want to write, write, write!  Slow down.  Like wine, you need your story to ferment and mature before you pop the cork.  How do you do that?  Obsession.  Go through your story idea over and over again.  Obsessing over it will help you take your story from a wisp of an awesome idea into a nearly solid tale ready for the next step.

  1. 2.      Get Organized

You may think that now your story is ready to be written, but you are wrong.  Before I let myself even begin a rough draft I buy a notebook and write down all of my thoughts and ideas.  I sketch possible plot lines, character descriptions, and all the pertinent research I’ve acquired.  Depending on how much research is needed for your story- and how much time you have on your hands- this process so far could take around a month.  For short stories, this will probably take less time but feel free to take longer.  That may sound a little drawn out but trust me when I say the more mentally prepared you are for your story the better the outcome will be and the easier the road ahead of you is.

  1. 3.      Ready, Set, Write!

Congratulations!  You’ve now spent a good chunk of time nurturing your little sprig of a story.  Now it has grown inside you from an idea into a viable tale.  This is the time to sit down in front of the keyboard and let your fingers fly.  I can’t tell you how to write, I’m not as arrogant as that yet.  Everyone is unique and every story is an individual.  I’ve written three full novels and each one has walked down a different road.  I only follow the formula I give you now.  The one piece of advice that I can give you about your writing is this: Don’t stop.  Once you write that first sentence, the first word, you cannot let yourself take breaks.  Don’t hold off for a week or even a few days.  The rough draft will take who-knows-how-long but that doesn’t matter.  While you are writing the task should be priority number one.

  1. 4.      Editing

The word itself is tedious and weary.  Honestly, I am a huge nerd and love to edit, but many writers hate this part.  For this step your rough draft should be complete and now you think you’ve got it.  You’re in the home stretch.  Sorry to break it to you but you aren’t even close.  You’ve written a rough draft and that is exactly what it is: Rough.  I know the feeling.  The pages are complete, you’ve put in so much time and effort, and you want to hold your manuscript up and shout “I’ve done it!”  But it isn’t ready yet.  There is a lot of work to be done.  This is the time to look at the big picture.  You need to go through your story several times, moving paragraphs, cutting scenes, adding scenes, fixing errors.  This is where you take your baby and grow it into a toddler.  Once you are done cutting and adding, chopping and shaping, you should end up with a story that makes sense and flows.  This is also the time to heighten the action, amp up the volume, and push the boundaries.  Do all the things you couldn’t do before because you were looking far too closely.  A fellow writer (published, so he has credit) calls this the B.S.T. stage (blood, sweat, and tears) because that is what should go into your story.  Once you’ve put in the B.S.T. you’ll have the B.E.S.T. story! (I added the E, aren’t I clever?)

  1. 5.      Polish

You wouldn’t buy a car without a paint job, so an editor/literary agent/publishing company won’t buy your novel without a thick coat of polish.  What I mean is, do not think that after editing you are done.  This is the time to tweak and pick.  Be persnickety, be fastidious, and annoy yourself with your fussiness.  Every grammatical error must be found and fixed; every out of place comma, every accidental misspelled word must be corrected.  Your novel will need to shine and be professional.  You need to treat it as though you’ve been selling them for years.  Why?  Because if you are like me, unpublished, you need to impress.  This novel needs to be treated as all novels should be; like your Big One.  The one shining star that will shoot you straight to the top.  The masterpiece that teachers assign in classrooms, that people fall asleep to, that stressed-out parents read in the bathtub when they want to get away.  You need to re-read it a million times, fixing everything you can, in order to feel like it is even partially ready.  Take this seriously and put all your focus into it.  It is so very worth it.

  1. 6.      Break

This next step is crucial.  Songwriters live by a code called the 24 hour rule.  If they write something they love, they leave it alone for twenty-four hours, completely ignoring it, before returning to it.  If they still love it when they come back, they know they are on to something.  We, as novelists and short story writers, can follow a similar rule.  If you are allotted the time, step away from your novel now for at least a month.  Put it out of your mind.  That may sound hard, but you’ve dedicated so much work to this the break will be good for you.  Catch up on your reading, learn to paint, watch movies, go on a crash diet.  Take your focus away from your novel.  Trust me.

  1. 7.      Super-Ultra-Mega Polish

Welcome back.  I hope your break was awesome because now it’s over.  This is the step where I tell you to polish again!  Many more times, if needed.  Your brain has been given the break necessary to go back to your story and view it with a fresh eye.  Now you can see what is silly, what won’t work, and what needs to be fixed.  Every time you go back and change something, wait a few days and go back to make sure it is truly better.  I can almost speak my first few pages word for word because of the many times I’ve gone through it.  That can seem extreme, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

  1. 8.      Happy Hunting

So, now is your work done?  No, but I’m happy to tell you that is a good thing.  Your writing will never be complete and that should bring you joy.  Every step of my writing process is incredibly exciting and rewarding, and I hope you’ve found it to be so.  Now it is time for you to realize your next move.  Do you want a literary agent, publisher, self-publisher, or what?  Because now is the time to decide and go for it!  Your next step will be changing your status from writer to author!  Good luck!

Advertisements

Oops! I’M AN EXASPERATED STUDENT!!!! Chapter one

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hello World!  Welcome back to my lovely literary blog.  Lately, a new reader of mine (one of my firsts, actually) has planted a seed of an idea inside my head that kept me up for two nights in a row writing with a sense of fun and satisfaction I had been lacking for the past few months.  First off, I have to say I’m pretty gosh darn flattered I’m starting to develop a reader base.  If you’re reading this (which, obviously you are) then you are just freaking swell!  The seed of the idea is the basis for my new blog segment.  It will be based on my experiences as a college student.  I have properly named this:  Oops!  I’M AN EXASPERATED STUDENT (ta-daaa!)

Keep in mind this is a literary blog and I will be throwing on the fiction rather heavily so just go ahead and assume it is all fiction.  Especially the really embarrassing parts, as they are bound to be abundant.  So here you are, the first scoop on the doop of the life of an exasperated student.

Chapter One: Ah, yes.  Victory.

            I sat in the chair of victory.  Let me give that a few capitals.  This was the Chair of Victory!  I, Jenni Darby, had made it.  Out of nearly one-hundred people, I- and fourteen others- had been accepted into the Radiography Program at Heartland Community College.  Best of the best.  Not that it hadn’t taken me three years to achieve such a feat, but I was feeling pretty proud of myself.  At long last I had begun the final journey of my college career.

            Yes, community college.  I’m going to throw some facts about myself at you.  This isn’t my first time in college.  After high school I spent a year in Los Angeles chasing a very, very expensive dream.  I was going to be in the movies.  Well, after that dream deflated and became harsh reality, I tucked tail and returned to my hometown in Illinois.  So now I’m a drop out, a lot broke, and a little bit of a loser.

            But now, glorious triumphant success, I had a chance to be a winner again!  I had worked hard for three years between my first college and the RAD program.  I had become an EMT, a CNA, and had sat through several other miserable classes in order to be accepted into the program.  All the while, I toiled in the retail store known as Hell-Mart.  But I traded that crappy job for a position as a nursing assistant which I was beginning to feel pretty good about.  I was doing something meaningful and worthwhile.  I was helping people, and just a few more steps away from the grand prize; Radiology.

            To be honest, becoming an X-ray tech was not my life-long goal.  Obviously writing is and always had been.  But the whole starving artist thing doesn’t appeal to me.  I’d rather have a nice job and support a family while working on my writing ambitions.

            So after three years of busting my ass I was now in the winner’s seat.  I had just spent the very last of my spending money on a few new clothes and new school supplies.  I had a few goals for my last two years in college.  First, I was going to give everything my all.  No wimping out, no holding back.  I was going to finish the program with distinction.  Second, I was going to have fun doing it.

            Both of those goals turned to shit before I even realized it.

            That first day was like a dream.  I wore new clothes, had my new school supplies, and sat with a fresh notebook and pen at the front of the class, eagerly awaiting instructions.  I was the very first student to arrive.  I’ll always remember that.  I felt so good being the first to walk in.  The teacher, Alice, a young Apostolic Christian, smiled at me and we exchanged a few comments of small talk.  I really liked her right away.  She had such a sweet demeanor.  Her dark hair was tied up loosely and pinned down by a woven veil reminiscent of a doily.  She wore a blue jean skirt that nearly touched the floor, only revealing the toes of her shoes.  I think what I liked most about her was how, even though she wore no make-up and sported acne worse than my senior photos, she shone with an inner radiance I’ve never seen.  She was a woman I could trust and count on.

            I watched my classmates walk into the room that we would be learning in for the next two years.  Some looked mentally disheveled, as though they hadn’t expected eight in the morning to suck so bad.  All of them were very well dressed, even the ones in yoga pants.  They were expensive yoga pants that showed off the many hours they obviously spent at the gym.  The majority of my new classmates were very young and appeared thoroughly bored.  I was twenty-four.  In my older age I was already foolishly silly because I had expected to see at least one other eager face.

            The one eager face I did see was one that belonged to Nick Flush.  Nick and I had been Hell-Mart co-workers.  He was a good thirty years older than me, already gray and weathered.  He had worked at the store nearly his entire adult life but thought a change in careers fifteen years before retirement sounded like a good idea.  I believe he got the idea to apply for the RAD program from me, not that it was of my conscious desire.  He was a man fond of bull-shitting and laughing loudly at any joke whether it came from himself or a nine-year old.  I’ll admit it; I was annoyed that he had joined the program the same year as me.  I had worked for three years to get in, and he had only worked for two.  I thought it seemed a little unfair, but I couldn’t deny that it was nice seeing a friendly face.  He sat next to me and we exchanged a few whispers before Alice started the class.

            I had been in college for longer than most people, so I was used to the way first-days go.  There was always bad news and exciting news.  Alice gave us the rundown of what we were to expect throughout the year.  I was shocked to see I purchased the wrong books, annoyed to learn that I wasn’t even close to finishing with my expenses for the semester, and given the cold foreboding dread that I always feel when I learn of how much I’ll have to travel to complete the class.  Radiography programs, like all healthcare schools, require students to spend many long hours in different hospitals and prompt care facilities.  Clinical sites were all over the crazy city that I did not live in, and I’d have to figure out how to get there and how to afford the gas.

            So the misty fog of blissful ignorance had been lifted a little by the first-day bad news session, but my excitement and sheer appreciation for the opportune situation I had worked myself into had not waned at all.

            Over the course of the next few weeks, I began to look forward to my clinical experience.  Class work was tedious and difficult when unable to put it into context.  I had never once been given an X-ray and had no clue what it was all about.  My unusual lab teacher didn’t make it any easier, either.  By unusual I mean she was younger than me and was about as brilliant as a freshman cheerleader who just got a negative pregnancy test.  She was maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet, and appeared as though she had more money than she knew what to do with.  As a totally broke and slightly overweight student, I found right away I did not like my lab teacher.

            Her hair, always neatly done up and primped, was perfectly colored and healthy.  She always smelled like a clean salon, and her nails were manicured differently every week.  Everything she wore was designer and totally in style for the week.  Her voice, though she reminded me of my prior college roommate, was a bit annoying with how chipper she made it.  She was a woman who had never known hardship or failed in the face of a challenge.  Yup.  I was freaking jealous.

            Just to instill a solid reason in your mind why my lab teacher was an idiot, I will demonstrate an actual conversation we had one day while in class.

            We sat in the chilly lab room, which was actually pretty impressive for a community college.  There was a working X-ray tube, phantom body parts that we could shoot, and an accurate and new-looking control panel.  We sat in the lab practicing one at a time mock exams.  I can’t really remember how we got on the subject, but my lab teacher and two of the more popular girls in my class got on the subject of shitting their pants.

            “I totally have the best story,” Tyler, a pretty farm girl who every day had a silly story to share during lab.

            The lab teacher’s eyes lit up and she sat on top of the exam table and tucked one dainty foot under a pencil-thin thigh.  The look of entertainment was only genuine on her pampered countenance while wasting class time with one of Tyler’s stories.

            “My boyfriend, Jonathan, can only go to the bathroom at home, like number two,” she began.  “And he plays baseball, and he did while in high school.  While at practice one day he held his poop in for so long that while running the bases a little came out and he had a brown stain on the back of his pants!  I was hanging out at his house later that day and his mom like held up the pants and yelled through the house ‘Jonathan, did you shit your pants?’”

            The girls just erupted in giggles and laughter.  Okay, so it is a little funny.  Bare in mind I’ve only known these girls for a few weeks, and I’m not really acquainted with them very well.  But that didn’t seem to hinder them at all.  The other little popular girl decided to throw her poop story in, as well.

            “I visit my dad in Springfield every few weeks,” she said.  “One time I was holding in a load like no other but I didn’t want to stop because I was making good time.  Well, I hit a pothole and it just bounced it out of me!  I full on let it all out.  I had to pull over at the next gas station and change into my pajama pants.  I wonder what the clerk was thinking?”

            I don’t consider myself a stick in the mud.  But holy crap, these girls are seriously going to sit around and talk about… crap?  My I.Q. dropped like three points just by listening to those stories.  I suppose I’m a little condescending to think myself superior to them just because I don’t have shit-myself stories like them.  I don’t flaunt that kind of thing.  Maybe with my friends, but not with strangers.  Of course, being stuck in the presence of my perky lab teacher put a damper on my good humor.

            I guess I really got to know my classmates in lab.  One girl, Beth, who turned out to be five years older than me, took a shine to me right away.  She was smarter than me, I felt.  Not book-smart, but intuitive and self-assertive.  If I got stuck in the wrong part of town I would like to have her with me.  She was smaller than me, as were all the girls in my class, and also better off financially, just like all the others.  But she had one quality that all the other girls didn’t; Beth didn’t pass judgment on me.  She would be the first to say if someone was a bitch or a skank, but Beth looked at me and completely accepted me for all that I was without a blink of the eye.  For the first year of my experience at school, Beth was my only friend.

            I liked all the other girls, no doubt.  But I was more mature and a hell of a lot weirder than they were.  Most of them came from well-to-do families.  The one’s who didn’t, like Beth, were engaged to or dating a very well-to-do man.  I wasn’t like them because I had been self-sufficient, independent, and the descendent of a long line of below-the-poverty-line people.  I had walked a very different life than they, and our differences were like vast crevices separating me from them.

            Don’t feel sorry for me or anything.  I promise this story has a happy ending.  Eventually.

            After the first month of classes, the teachers unleashed us upon the hospitals to begin working as interns.  I was assigned to St. Joe’s hospital.  It was my preference.  I drove the entire way that first morning of clinical so nervous I had to listen to Eminem in order to sack up.  I gave myself a pep-talk in the car about confidence and being positive no matter what.  I was determined to stand out amongst my peers and really shine.

            Halfway across the parking lot I realized I forgot to bring my name tag, image markers, and my radiation badge.  Jerry, my other teacher and clinical instructor, had made it a point to tell us we weren’t allowed to go to the hospitals without radiation badges.  They sensed the radiation dose we received throughout our work.  I knew what I had to do.  I had to call Jerry.  He was an older guy, close to retiring, and truly loved Radiography to his core.  He was kind of quiet, always holding back a possible well of humor that I couldn’t quite be sure of.  I knew he was either going to freaking kill me, reprimand me, or worse.  I knew the worst was to come.  I was going to get kicked out of the program.  On my first day of clinicals!  I was mortified.

            My voice shook as I left him a voicemail at seven-thirty in the morning.  I explained where I was and what I had done and that I knew how important all that stuff was.  I told him I would stay at the hospital and if he wanted me to leave he could call me.  I waited for the knife to drop for four hours.

            When Jerry walked up I saw the quiet smile in his eyes and his rosy cheeks behind his beard.  I was safe.  He handed me a new radiation badge, said the other stuff wouldn’t matter, and called me a knuckle-head.  I was okay with him.  Whew!

            Being okay with my teacher was a relief, but most important to me was impressing the X-ray techs who worked in the radiology department.  Looking back as a survivor, I would describe the techs to be one large mass of angry bees.  I was the dumb kid who threw a rock at their hive, and now they were buzzing around furiously, giving as many little stings as they could but unable to actually kill me or get rid of me.  And I stood there and was forced to take all those stings.

            Hospital staff eat their young.

            At the time, however, I felt as though they were welcoming, sweet, and slightly funny group of co-workers.  A few of the women were returning from maternity leave, others were on the verge of a wedding, and the guys seemed laid-back and cheerful.  They blew around all day, busy in their work, trying to spare moments to get to know their new students.  There were six of us at the hospital that semester, a full house.  I was glad to have Beth at my side.  She really was a pillar of strength for me.

            There’s no such thing as routine in the hospital.  And those who work there have completely forgotten that outsiders don’t know what they know.  We students stumbled through our first exams, not knowing exactly what to do but trying to pretend otherwise.  The staff was light hearted, smiling, laughing sometimes.  I was doing my first exams totally alone my first day.  My nerves were causing me to shake.

            The thrill was indescribable.  I was so joyous, invigorated, alive with the knowledge that I really, truly enjoyed Radiography.  Thank God, because I was sticking to it no matter what.

            After a few short days, the mood of the techs slowly shifted.  Jerry and Alice weren’t coming to the clinical sites as often and we were unguarded.  We began to relax a little more, and by ‘we’ I mean ‘them.’  I was still striving to be a shining star amongst the others.  I respectfully stood the entire time.  I made sure to do homework on down time, I always kept a vigil eye on my assigned room.  I cleaned consistently.  I always responded to any request with energy and enthusiasm.  I was shocking myself with the positive attitude I was mustering.

            But all the techs wanted to do was fawn over the tall guy in our class, Douche.  I don’t like him very much so that is his name for the purposes of my story.  Douche liked to make jokes about women’s anatomy and then make suggestive comments to the pretty girls all day.  He was in his thirties with a daughter he never sees or talks about, while in school he lived off the government with some roommates and didn’t have a job.  That’s Douche McGee!  But the techs freaking loved him.  They laughed and followed him around and showed him the best stuff.

            When he was busy flirting with someone else or slacking off out of sight, they talked to my classmates about Big Brother, Jersey Shore, and what the hell is that other one…  Bachelor something.  Ugh.  I would ask a question about X-ray stuff and they’d look at me like I had down syndrome and they hadn’t noticed it until recently.  That kind of stuff I could put up with.  I could deal with them not liking me, making catty comments, rolling their eyes, trying to degrade me and make me feel dumb in their subtle and whispering way.  That was manageable.  But one day…

            Toward the end of the semester, I was starting to get my groove.  I was doing chest X-rays alone and feeling good about that.  But babies were another story altogether.  They weren’t common, and I have no children of my own.  I’m not comfortable manhandling someone else’s something-month old.  Eek.  But it’s all apart of the job so whatever.

            The parents come in and I ask the sweetest of the catty techs to assist me as I was nervous.  There is a dreadful device called a Pig-o-Stat that babies are strapped to for X-rays.  We strap the baby in, I show the parents where to stand safely away from the radiation, and the baby starts to cry.  Well, of course he’s crying.  He’s unable to see Mom and he’s cold and in pain and immobilized.  I might’ve cried, too.  But the tech flips a lid, acts like a baby crying is the worst thing that could happen and starts to scream at me.

            “Turn the knob!  Set it to two point five!  No, on the chart!  Just shoot the picture, alright, just shoot it!”

            Yeah.  Professional.  Well after the patient is done and the parents take him away, the tech gathers all the students into the room.

            “I need to explain how to do chest X-rays since I’ve noticed it’s troubling some of you,” she says.

            Little sting.  Manageable.  Since there’s six of us, only two can fit in the control room she’s demonstrating.  Being one of six, I was not in the control room with three other people.  The tech leans over and says, “Jenni, you need to get in here and watch this since you are the one who can’t work this thing.”

            Ouch.  That wasn’t just a bee sting, that was a freaking bullet.  Just call me out, why don’t you?  Make me look like an idiot in front of people who already don’t know what to do with me.  She had no right to talk to me that way.  Who was she, the most perfect queen of perfectness?  She must have forgotten that once she was just like me.  Just a student with no clue.

            I’d like to take this moment to step on the low road and call her a bitch.  Ah, that feels good.

            I drove home that night with frayed nerves and no self-esteem.  Yeah, I cried.  I wondered what the hell I was doing.  One of fifteen, but I didn’t belong with them.  I was so unlike them, so much worse.  I felt this immense dread, this terrible looming despair that I had once again joined a college for the wrong thing.  I had wasted even more time and money pursuing a career I had no right engaging.

            The last day of the semester I sat in the chair like a woman defeated.  I listened to the ridiculous joke Nick Flush was trying to tell me and only gave him a polite smile.  I had next semester to look forward to, but the thought was more threatening than hopeful.  I’d be going to a new hospital.  I’d be dealing with a whole new clan of bitches and snarling cats and buzzing bees.  I didn’t know how much more I could take.

            I had gone from this bubbly, excited, eager girl to this slumpy and bee-stung hag.  My face still grinned and my grades still soared, but inside I was definitely not shining.  Ah, yes.  Victory.

Hello?  Is this thing on?  So what’s the deal with self-publishing?  I remember a time not too long ago when that was considered “VANITY publishing.”  As in, look at that woman who has a couple thousand dollars she can just thrust into a publisher’s outstretched hands.  Folks, I am not that woman.  I don’t break even with my bills anymore, let alone PAY someone to make money off of MY novel!

Are self-publishing companies becoming the Wal-Marts of the writing world?

Their slogans should be:  Hey!  You!  Random person who may have a decent book or may just have a stack of papers that aren’t even coherent or thought-out.  Yeah, you, random person.  Give us a crap-ton of money and we will make your novel available to ereaders and a few other people!

What, do you think that’s too long of a slogan?  Because it’s really what they do from what I know.  But what could I really know from being a total amature?

I’m not writing this blog to blast self-publishing companies.  In fact, I seriously considered doing it myself.  I still am, really.  I can get a loan and buy a small publishing package.  But my goal isn’t to see my name in print and have a few other people read my book.  I want to sell at LEAST 5,000 copies of my debut novel and I want it on the shelves in book stores and I want the huge audience that it was made for to be able to go out and buy it.  And, yes, I want to make money off of it.  It’s work that I am really in love with doing and it would be amazing to get paid for it.  But seriously, I’m not up for PAYING someone else to make me do all the work and then not even meet my goals.  DEPRESSING.

But it would be a sure-fire way for me to get my book out there.  I have been turned down over and over and over and over again.  I’m about half-crazy.  I want to go to a writer’s conference and run around with copies of my novel and scream “It’s good, I SWEAR!” just to get the attention of a literary agent.

I want to go the traditional route.  I don’t know enough about the business and I can’t market very well (obviously, look how many ppl read my damn blog) so I definitely don’t want to have all the rights and be the one to make all the decisions in the publishing process.  That’s for the pros.  I want to go traditional because it just seems less… commercial and more of an accomplishment.  I could be proud to say that a literary agent and a publishing company think my book is so awesome they are dedicating their lovely time and money to make it a success!

So torn!  So needing advice, thoughts, opinions!  Please, world!  Please tell me what you think!  I’m begging ya!

Facebook Is Evil, and I’m Signing Up!

  I wanted to title this blog OMGI’MSOFREAKINGBUSYI’MGOINGTOYAK! simply because I really am so F-ing busy, that I may yak.  I have school four days a week for eight hours, then I go to work for six hours, then I go to bed.  I have Fridays off which I use for cleaning (because my wonderful boyfriend whom I love very much works hard, too, and there is a spell on him that keeps him from cleaning or picking up after himself).  After I clean I usually try to work out, write, study, study, study and then I spend eight hours at work.  Then I spend all weekend working.

This is the life of a girl who works her way through college.

But, hey!  I only have a little over a year left!  Then I will be a graduate!  Do you know what this means, world?  This means in a few months I can start looking for literary agents to publish my novel “Daisy Gale” (title pending)!  EEK!  I love it, and I’m afraid of it.

Also, this means I’m going to have to freaking get another Facebook page to try to surround myself with a fan base.  To all the people who know me, I’ve tried FB twice already.  I pretty much hate it.  No, I don’t want to buy a cow.  I don’t farm online.  I don’t fish tank online.  No, I don’t comment on your page every day not just because I’m BUSY but because I talk to you every day.  Why do I have to check your status to know what’s up?  I’d rather text or talk.  *****SINCE WHEN DOES FACEBOOK TRUMP REAL LIFE?????????*****

Thanks, I just had to get that off my chest.

However, I think FB will be good for me and my future writing career.  I need fans and I’m not getting them with Twitter and my blog site alone.  In fact, if you are reading this, odds are you are one of the first people in the entire world!  Congrats, here’s a cookie  O    Sorry.  I only have oatmeal ones left.

This marks a new era!  Jenni Darby is going all out online!  Please bare with me, though, I have no internet at home.  What I do online happens in the school library between classes.

My goal here is to get fans for my writing, so if you are interested in seeing what I got this is what you can do:

                        * COMMENT ON MY BLOG!  PLEASE I will love you forever!!!!

                        *JOIN AUTHORSTAND.COM

(it’s free, promise, and totally painless).  Once you’ve joined, you can search my name (Jenni Darby) in the search box and all my stories will pop up.  I’ll warn you, some aren’t that awesome.  But that is why I NEED you to write reviews to me on this site!  Tell me why they aren’t so good, it is very difficult for a writer to self-edit sometimes!  If you don’t know how to describe it, just say, “I didn’t really like it, not sure why.  Keep working on it!”

I need this to be done, know why???  One day in the near future when a literary agent sees me and thinks they might want to look me up and check me out, if they see a bunch of comments from other people who have read my stuff and (hopefully) enjoyed it or want to read more, the agent will sign me!  It’s a good goal and my life-long ambition.  Please help me out with it!

Thanks, all y’all!

Inspiration: What Inspires You?

World!  Is that a new shirt?  Well, it looks great on you.  Maybe you’ve lost some weight.

So, anywho (don’t you hate it when people say that?) world, you inspire me daily.  Today I feel like writing about inspiration.

Inspiration: the act or quality that influences or arouses the mind, creative imagination, or emotions.

Isn’t that lovely?  Let me tell you, my mind is easily aroused 😉  I find inspiration almost every day for things.  I’ll see something on television, listen to my classmates, or simply space out the window in class and BOOM!  Inspiration.  Yes.  My inspiration booms.  But I have some wandering thoughts about it.  As an author, we must be careful where we take our inspiration.  Sometimes, it leads us into Copyright Land, a place full of dark crevices with man-eating lions and giant, rabid lobsters.

I feel it is okay to let yourself be inspired by something you love.  You can absorb it, stew it in your mind, take it into yourself.  Treasure it.  You let that lovely thing grow and blossom into something wonderful and totally your own.  Sure, its roots began as something else, but the flower of the idea itself belongs to you.

For instance, those who have read my book claim they feel it has a Harry Potter-ish feel.  This makes total sense because when I was eleven I knew in my heart I wanted to become a writer.  Also, when I was eleven I started reading the Harry Potter series.  I also was really into Lord of the Rings (books and movies; freaking fantastic) and I suppose when I grew up a little and wrote my first major novel, “I Will Arise,” the influences of both stories were clear.  If you look at the bare bones of my story there is a girl who lives in a terrible household, she discovers magical powers, then a man finds her and takes her to a wonderful mansion.  She learns how to control her powers there.  That is the very bare bones of my story, and when you look at it that way you would have to be blind or have never read/seen Harry Potter to see the similarities.  But, there are so many differences in the story.  My girl is from a broken rural home in the middle of nowhere.  She almost kills people with powers she can’t control.  A sorcerer finds her and tells her she has no choice but to leave and go with him or be thrown into sorcerer prison.  The mansion he takes her to isn’t that great, either.  She is forced to stay there with unreasonable rules and consequences.  She is oppressed and victimized over and over again.  She’s almost raped and witnesses a murder.  Then she rises up and gets thrown in prison and is tortured.  I won’t spill the ending here, because it’s awesome and sometime in the near future you may buy this book.

My point is, I was inspired by Harry Potter, no doubt about it.  Any writer can’t help but be swept up and stirred up by other writers’ great works.  But I stewed my inspiration.  I let it grow and blossom into my own flower.  I’ve always had a fascination with witches and the supernatural, and those were the soil to feed my idea.  I wrote my story while a struggling college student, and that was the basis of the oppressive mansion.  The events that happened to me in my life gave my idea-flower light.  I wrote the story and it is mine.  I was inspired by others and it grew into something wonderful and different.

Tell me, world, what inspires you?  What creative things that you do and how do you get the ideas for it?  Do you think using other people’s stories to give you ideas is wrong?  Where should story tellers get their inspiration from?  And, do you think the scary “orc” monsters that originated in JRR Tolkein’s stories but pop up everywhere in video games and movies have been copied flat out, or what?  Cuz seeing orcs everywhere just feels like straight up idea-snatching to me.

Aside

I Will Arise

 

Daisy's power comes to her in the form of lightning.

Hello, wonderful world!

This section of my blog (the “Incredible Tale” section) will be full of pieces of my novel and some of my favorite short stories.  This yummy chunk of awesomeness is from my novel that I have recently renamed to “I Will Arise.”  It is a story of Daisy Gale, a young woman who discovers she has magical powers.  She is taken away from her miserable home life to Sterling Manor where she is to stay until she becomes a sorcerer.  Unfortunately, Sterling is a place of pure freaking evil, and Daisy leads a rebellion to stop the cruelty within Sterling’s walls.  She is, of course, caught and thrown into sorcerer prison called Deviant Row.  Here is one of the many things that happen to her there:

Please be another hallucination, I prayed.  Please let me just be crazy.

Sitting in front of me on metal chairs were Troy, Scarlett, Pepper, and Katie.  Their eyes were wide as they stared at me.  Their fear beaded off of them in sweat.  Katie was shaking.  Mascara had run down her cheeks in huge lines.

            “Daisy?” Troy asked, his voice barely a whisper.  “Is that you?”

            I know I had changed much in my time in Deviant Row.  They, however, hadn’t changed a single bit.  Their hair was even the same length.

            Regalwise was standing in the sanitarium, smiling brightly at the look on my face.  It was like seeing me in so much pain was fun for him.  It probably was.  It was definitely fun for Pigglewise, who stood next to his brother with his arms folded across his chest.  His proud stance looked to me to say ‘job well done.’  A horrible thought came to me as I looked from Regalwise, to Pigglewise.

            “Are you using my friends as a threat to get me to come to you?” I asked Regalwise.

            He laughed fully.  “Wow!  You really do have a brain for torture.  But, no, I want you to come begging for me, remember?  I can wait for a while longer for that sweet moment.  Daisy, your friends are here because they are trying to continue your legacy on.”

            I looked at them.  My poor, fearful friends.  They shook and stared.  They were so healthy and strong.  They didn’t belong here.

            “You got caught,” I accused them.  Fat tears slid down my cheeks.  “I can’t believe you guys are so stupid.  Do you have any idea what you’ve done to yourselves?”

            “They aren’t completely in the shitter, yet,” Regalwise informed me.  “There’s still hope for them.”

            “What?”  My head snapped back to Regalwise.  If this was a trick I’d break his face with my fist.

            “They were caught making plans to overthrow Pigglewise,” he explained.  “But my brother has found it in his heart to forgive them if they promise to never misbehave again.  He thought it might be important to bring them here, show them what its like.  Have them talk to someone here who knows what it is like, someone they trust.  Go ahead, Daisy, convince them it is better to behave.”

            Oh, God, don’t behave, I wanted to say.  Rise up and destroy them!  But I couldn’t stand to see them hurt.  I’d rather see them get another chance in Sterling.  They would die here in Deviant Row.

            I looked at Troy’s sweet face.  He was still so handsome, so strong.  His tan skin glimmered with his sweat.  His hair was spiked up just as it had been the last time I saw him.

            “Please,” I implored.  “Please, just stop it.”

            They were shocked.  They looked around at each other in silent confusion and looked back at me.

            “I don’t care what was said long ago, the movement is over,” I spat.  “You can’t do any good for yourself if you’re locked up here.  Trust me, you don’t ever want to be here.  There’s no sense of time.  There’s no sense of anything at all, you lose your mind.”

            “Tell them what you do here,” Regalwise told me.

            “I break rocks,” I said drearily.  “We break up rocks day in and day out.  Over and over again with hammers.  At first it is horrible because they weld these cuffs onto you.  These cuffs…  They choke the power right out of you!  They hurt you and squeeze your powers out like a vise.  There’s a place called the Pit, where you make tar non-stop.  They locked me there for three days.”

            “Tell them what you eat,” Regalwise instructed darkly, enjoying this in a demented way.

            “It’s nothing,” I answered.  “Gray paste once every several days.  Just enough to drag out our death.  I drink water from a leaky pipe.  I sleep on a metal floor!  Whenever I can sleep…  Sometimes it’s hard to sleep through the screams.”

            My words were working.  They all looked perfectly terrified.

            “So, guys,” Pigglewise asked them, eyebrows raised, face cheerful.  “Do you think you see it my way now?”

            Troy, Pepper, and Katie nodded enthusiastically, looking at me with guilt and shame.  Scarlett just frowned.

            “Letty, please,” I pleaded.  Just nod your head!

            She crossed her arms in front of her.  Pigglewise watched her with a warning etched in every wrinkle of his face.  Regalwise was looking at her with pleasant curiosity.

            “Scarlett?” Pigglewise asked.

            “Go to hell, Pigglewise,” she responded.  “To be perfectly honest with you, I hate your ugly guts.  If you send me back to Sterling, the first thing I’m going to do is take control.  I’m in touch with a lot of people who just turned sorcerer.  It would only take a couple of hours before Sterling is mine.”

            “Don’t be stupid!” I shouted.  I scrambled up to my weak legs and grabbed her shoulders, letting her smell how horrible my odor was, letting her see the filth that covered me, making her come to her senses.  “You’ll die here!”

            “I’m dying out there!” she shouted back.  “Dying to finish the rebellion we started!  I can’t take it anymore!  I hate you, Pigglewise!  You’re cruel, you’re ugly…”

            She continued to yell at him, but I missed out on the rest.  He was grabbing Troy, Pepper, and Katie and, with the help of the guards, was moving them out the door.  I watched them go, knowing I would never see them again.  Troy’s eyes never left mine until the door slammed shut between us.  I would always remember the terrible pain I saw in him.  I turned back to Scarlett.  Fear flooded her eyes, but her teeth were bared.  I’ve made that face before.  Like a trapped animal, she was trying to look scary enough to be unapproachable.  But she had drunk Pigglewise’s poison and her powers were gone.

            I watched as they stripped her down and showered her with the icy cold hose.  She was screaming angrily at them the whole time.  They threw powder on her and pushed her down while one guard got ready to weld her cuffs.  He lit the torch.  Scarlett knew what was about to happen to her.  She tried to fight them as they carried her over, but they hit her on the head until she stopped struggling.

 

Wow, isn’t that shitty?!  I mean, what happens to Daisy and her friend, not the story itself.

Anyway, let me know what you think!  Did you like it, or was it garbage?  Please, I’m strong.  I won’t cry.  Much.

Give me advice!  Rotten tomatoes or shimmering praises!  I need to know!  I’ll keep you posted on what my choice literary agents think (whenever they respond, silly busy-heads).

This Is Why I Love Feedback

You know that website I talked about, “Author Stand”?  Well, I submitted my novel into their conest and this is what a very talented author said about my work!
 
“I’m in Awe 

My fellow authors beware: Jenni Darby is a literary powerhouse on the rise!  This exceptionally told tale is slightly reminisce of the Harry Potter series, but the similarities stop there.  The character development is second to none as the reader follows Daisy bloom from victim of circumstance into a powerful leader of her peers in a seamless storyline woven intricately with love, vile abuse, and oppression and support.   I have thoroughly enjoyed every last word written and highly recommend this reading to everyone, no matter what their favorite genre may be.  I simply cannot express how impressed I am with this work.  Outstanding job!”

From: James Conright | Created on: 6/30/2011 1:43:18 PM

OMFG

I am so happy to hear this from a total stranger!  Right now my ego level has gone through the roof and I wish I could meet Mr. James Conright and hug him and his awesomness!

So, yah, I totally just wanted to brag about this!

Tell me, world, what’s the best praise you’ve ever gotten?  How did it make you feel?  FYI, I’m sitting in my school library smiling like a loonie and the old librarian lady is asking me if I’m alright.  HA!  LOVE IT!

Talk to me!  Tale me all about it!

Curious Cat Tale

Hello, hello!

I am an author on a website called Author Stand (authorstand.com) and I’ve thrown some of my work up on there and am working on “liking” other’s people’s work.  Go check out my short stories and, if your curious, you can see what I like to read!  Maybe you can make me some recommendations!  It will be great, trust me.

Do it!

Curiousity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back!

Jenni

Priori-Tales

Being a writer is my favorite thing about myself.  I know that when I’m tired of whatever job I currently have I can move on from that and continue with the next lame occupation; but nothing will ever stem the flow of enthusiasm I get when I’m writing.  I will always have that, and I will never grow tired.

Also, a perk to being a writer is looking at other writers’ works and criticizing them in your head!  Come on, we all do it.  Seriously, I even find myself picking on poor little blog posts and tweets!  For example, I found another writer’s blog (she shall remain anonymous so lets call her Sally).  I was very excited about this blog because it was written by another unpublished gal who sounded very similar to me.  I love me, so I wanted to love Sally, too!  However, Sally was not me and it became apparent within the first paragraph of her first post.

It went something like this:  “I want to be a published author because I love creative writing!  I also want to make money doing it, of course” -at this point I like her and she’s pretty much on my page.  But then she goes on…  “I moved to this nice little town that is nothing but grass and corn fields.  Sounds horrible, I know, but I know it is also important to write while in a very boring place.”  Okay, folks, this is not a paraphrase anymore, I am going to copy her exact words (please don’t tell)  “IF WRITING IS NOT THE MOST BORING THING TO DO THEN YOU’LL NEVER WRITE A WORD.”

WTF

Excuse me, Sally, I think I just had a little moron in my ear.  What did you say?

Um, I’ve turned off my favorite program to write down an awesome book idea.  I’ve cancelled girls night because I wanted to write.  I’ve faked being sick so that my day would clear so I could write.  If writing is not the most interesting thing you do, then why on earth are you wasting your time?

Okay, maybe it doesn’t have to be the MOST interesting thing (it is for me, but I suppose I’m a nerd) but it has to be the top three!  I don’t have kids to put in the number one priority spot, and I do make sure I go to school and all that, but writing is my number one.  If I’m not in class I’m writing.  Sometimes I’m writing in my head or on my handouts in class because that’s what I want to do.  Above all else.  Even if I lived in fucking Disney Land, I would be writing my ass off.

So today this post is about priorities as a writer.  Tell me, world, what are your thoughts on this subject?  Does writing come first or do you know something I do not?  I love to hear from you; good, bad, and ugly!

Love ya, Smalls!

Jenni

Let Me See You Shake Your Tale Feathers

This is my first post in this brand new blog!  Ahhh… smells like new creativity.

Hello!  I get so carried away in front of a keyboard I usually forget the important stuff like introductions.  I’m Jenni, a writer breaking through the barriers and obsticles to get my stories printed.  I’m a radiology student and instead of spending my sunday morning before work studying, I’m creating a new blog!  Oh, the joys of irresposibility.

Currently, I have completed and super-duper-suptillion-times polished my AMAZING novel I might call “The Awakening of Daisy Gale” and my novel and I have been rejected about thirty times.  Word, yo.  It’s hard out here for a word pimp.  I am reading up as much as I can so that I can really pinpoint the problem.  Is my query letter shitty?  Am I falling in love with the wrong agents and building myself up for heartbreak?

My theory is most agents are bombarded with horrendous writing all day long by people who have the nerve to call themselves “upcoming authors” that they can’t trust real talent anymore.

I suppose I’m vering off course.  There will be plenty of agent talk in my blog later on.  This page will consist of me bragging about my writing ideas, bitching about my struggles, talking about other people whether they like it or not, and much much more!  So grab your favorite blankie, snuggle up with your kitty, puppy, or hot coffee and read up on me!  I also would love to hear back from everyone about everything!  If you want to critique me please do!  If you want to laugh at me that’s cool!  If you want to share some insight, info, opinions, or just type in some garbage like this: jalkdkw jde skalne   then go ahead!

Like always, love you world, you make me laugh.

Jenni