Blog Titles and Other Thoughts

Dandelion clock

Random picture. We can pretend it means that time is ephemeral and fleeting, like dandelion fluff held aloft in the breeze. But really, I just thought it looked cool.

Do you ever wonder what meaning or story a blog title may have? Most titles I guess are straightforward, like “So and So Writes!” or “Books Books Books!” or “How To ___.” But, there are those other ones (you know what I mean, I’m sure) that are either titled or domain-named (can that be a verb?) kinda randomly. Or, am I the only one that wonders about these things? Like I’m reaching to find a story where none really exists.

At any rate, I started thinking about bloggery things, and inevitably, blog titles/names since I chatted with a group of lovely writer friends last night about blogs.*

Previously, my blog title was simply, “Reading Makes Me Happy.” (In fact, some wordpress correspondence still shows up that way, which kinda throws me.) Obviously, I love books, I love reading, so BAM! Easy title! (My focus quote was: “I read to find a ladder to heaven.” W. Strieber.)

Well, sometime last year I had an epiphany, and I won’t go into details about it here (feel free to click on that link, though :)), but I realized that my unacknowledged dreams of writing a book and being a published author was in fact attainable, and it was only seemingly unattainable because I made it so. I did nothing to get me toward writing a novel, so why was I surprised that “gasp! I didn’t have a written novel, and I never will, and this will never happen for me.” *wonk, wonk*

All I needed to do was break down my dream (published author) into a more manageable goal (write novels), and break down the action steps to get me to that goal (develop and hone my writing skills, find a feedback/support group, read a lot, etc). With a paythebills job (sometimes, two!), balancing my goals was sometimes tricky, but I never let the “I have no TIME!” be an excuse for me to fall back on. (I have the same 24-hours that Edison, Einstein, and all those guys had! Surely I can “find the time” to write a book!)

“Find solutions, not excuses” is a mantra I embrace, and I’m also someone who responds well to accountability exercises and goal setting. (It’s the Achiever in me.) I wanted to make the most of the time that I have been given, and not just impulsively do things in the moment. I wanted to really create value in the now that I have. Thus the title, “Redeeming the Time.” (Also, it sounds pretty.) 🙂

“Redeeming the time” reminds me to focus on the things that I do control, like working on the craft of novel writing, so that I can eventually see my dream realized. It also reminds me to simplify and let go of those things that distract me from my goals. Sometimes it’s tough, but I don’t count it as a sacrifice. At this point, I find I feel freer because I’m not owned by other time-wasters. I have more ownership and control of my time, and guard that time zealously.

With all that said, I really want to incorporate reading back into my writing schedule, and even though I’ve said that I don’t really do book reviews, I at least want to put a few in rotation. (I plan on posting a book review page soon). Now, the reviews won’t be as fancy or engaging as most out there, but like this blog, it’s mainly just to keep me accountable to reading all the beautiful stories that find themselves in my mailbox or inbox. If my love for a book inspires someone to go out and read it, well, I’ll look at it as a bonus!

Plus, it’s a shame to get ARCs or egalleys and not give at least a little pre-release blurb about the book. Heck, even sharing a “new to me” title would be delightful. Great stories are meant to be shared and loved. The writers who wrote those stories should know that their sweat, tears, and sleepless nights have created worlds for readers to live in.

For a little while, both the reader and writer share the same dreamspace, and that is an experience worth cultivating.

So Tell Me: Any story behind your blog title? Do you like or care when someone blogs (non-spoiler-y) book reviews?

*The other friends I chatted with were:

Are There Methods in the Madness of Writing?

Cup

My favorite writing accessories: coffee and moleskine

I’ve been in a business/management environment for the better part of a decade and I can’t help but think in terms of following best practices, finding strengths and opportunities, and creating action plans to leverage found strengths against any opportunities (aka, areas of weakness, but no one likes to say “weakness”). I do this unconsciously, and constantly analyze and re-analyze various scenarios in order to arrive at the results I want, hopefully becoming more efficient, more effective with each project.

I’ve been thinking recently about how to finish my story in the most effective manner possible. Of course, I am familiar with the stayinyourseatandtype writing method, and the don’tlookatbrightandshinyfacebooktwitteryoutube avoidance techniques. Those address the problems of discipline, work ethic and focus: all very important, but not necessarily what I’m thinking about at the moment. It’s more like I want to know best practices, methods and techniques that other writers have employed to get them from one scene to another, eventually stringing all the pretties together into a finished story.

I’ve mentioned before that I have completed my plot outline of the major points of the novel. So, here I am plodding along, filling in the blanks between the points of that plot outline. But, I have been wondering recently: should I keep writing straight through the story as it is laid out chronologically (per my plot outline), or would it be more effective (or at least equally effective?) to write out some of those “fun” scenes, those major plot points, and then write in the transition scenes later on?

I’ve read that “writing to” something helps to iron out what those little, in-between scenes need to be, especially important if I need to hide clues or throw red herrings in along the way (though I’m not to that point in the story yet). I know for me, I had a glimpse of another chapter of my character’s life (basically the beginning of a potential other book, though I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, so I’ve chosen to call it “chapter”), and it looked like so much fun, that it helped me to outline and plot the novel toward that point. Plus, it just made sense to see how the BIG picture ends.

But, I still have a nagging little voice in my head that tells me if I touch those big scenes first, then I will lose the motivation/fire/passion to write the rest of the scenes. I know it’s silly, and I’ve come a long way from that mindset, but it’s still there.

cute cuddly with the potential for scary...yup, that's my muse

I know there’s no right way to go about this per se, and that the best method is the one that keeps me writing. So, let’s just call this inquiry my overwhelming, insatiable need to know things, and you get to help me learn more about the creative process. What method do you use in your madness, and why do you like it? The jittery, caffeine addicted gremlin that is my muse would like to know.


Plodding Along, Plotting My Novel

Unbelievably, and against all odds, I finished a rough outline of my story.  Tons of paper, both notebook and plain computer, collaborated together to create my story in visual.  Well, more like a plot timeline, with major scenes as the heading.  Looks kind of like a police detective white board.  At least, as portrayed by Detective Beckett on Castle.

I was trying to figure out how to get from one scene to the other, and I found that minor plotting only helped me so far.  Now that I made writing a serious goal in my life, I felt the need to employ any and every method to help set me up for success.  And, even though in the past, outlining only helped to fizzle out my passion for my story, I decided to get over it, and write anyway.

Oh, and I would also like to add, that the story that I am currently working on was a story that I had originally plotted almost in full last year, but ended up pushing it aside by the end of last summer.  But, with my new dedication to focus on my priorities in life, came new perspectives and plots that I didn’t think about earlier, and I was able to capture the whole story this time without losing the “creative spark.”  I will keep fanning that flame, and working toward my goal even if the spark of the moment fizzles out.  I know it will only be a temporary set back.

Plotting through the whole book was a minor step in the grand scheme of finishing a novel, but still a step in the right direction, and I will take it.

Next up, writing a synopsis scene by scene, through each of my POV characters, interspersed with writing out actual scenes.  I’m still debating on whether to use first-person perspective, third person single perspective, or third person multiple perspective.  I will report back on which I used, but in the meanwhile, am open to opinions on which is preferable to use in a high-concept, YA fantasy.