Tag Archives: about writing

Letters from Camp: Definitions

Camp-Participant-2015-Twitter-ProfileWell my friends, it being camp and all, and knowing that I am supposed to be doing that writing thing, it leads me to thinking about words.  Of course, over on WORDSMAIDEN I was having an interesting conversation with Alexandra.  She had posted the most amazing vlog, which I of course promptly shared with you, my intrepid readers, but it got me thinking even more.

As many of you have probably guessed by now, I have a deep love for etymology!  I love looking at how words change over time and the new words that we create!  At any rate it got us to talking about what success is.  Which of course got us talking about the meanings of words and how dictionaries can’t really define what they mean to each one of us.

So, I pose this question to you, my wonderful friends, does the dictionary give us the meaning of words?  Or do we ourselves define things by our very perceptions of the world around us?  How do you define things? What to you, could the dictionary never truly define?

Beat Sheets and Writing Helpers

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The writer’s toolbox is a varied thing.  Each and every writer has different ideas of what to put in one.  That is a topic for another time however.  What I wanna talk about today is beat sheets.  You know, those worksheets one can use to help know where your story is going, help create an outline.  Not that I use one of those… I am a pantser, but I do like to have a bit of knowledge of my story, a bit of structure.

I have been doing a ton of looking around the web lately for those wonderful little helpers.  Of course I never find what I like, what I think is the best, but I do take the best of what I find and create my perfect worksheets.

 

 

What about you?  Do you use any prefab worksheets to learn things about your up and coming novel?  Do you use them after you have your WIP up and running?  Or do you create your own outline?  Or pants the heck out of it?  What is your process?

The Power in Words

Yesterdays thoughts lead me to something we don’t always think about, and yet when we do we are always astounded all over again, and that is this:

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I think that as writers we really need to remember this simple, and yet profoundly complex idea! It gives us a power. When people read our words and they have strong reactions, in any way, it just goes to prove that power all over again.

Along with that I believe there comes a certain responsibility. We have this great ability to create a reaction, a feeling, a thought, in others and we should use that. That is where the responsibility comes in. How we provoke people, the emotions we stir, I think that matters. As a reader, I know that when my emotions have been evoked, I want something out of it by the end of the book, article, ect that I am reading.

I think along with all of this is where some of that “writing for the audience” comes into play. While I don’t believe that anyone should just write for the audience, I think their thoughts and feelings should be kept in mind.

 

What do you think? Please, share your thoughts and feelings on this subject! Do you think there is truly a power in words? Do you think we, as writers have a responsibility to use that power? If we should use it, how should we use it?

Words, Their Meanings and Influences

Recently in surfing through blogs I stumbled upon yet another idea that ties in with my definition and interpretation thoughts. There is yet another element to it all. It is those things that are completely unrelated that pop into our minds when we hear a word. Like those inkblot image tests. Words can evoke the same kind of response.
Now I am not saying that all words will do this to us, but I am finding more and more they do. We often like to use word trees to explore ideas, well this is similar to that. Think of it as a word tree. Take those words that mean something more to you than just their base definition and start thinking of the things that are unrelated, or maybe unrelated to others, of that word.

I will do this with Imagination. For me that word has more meaning than just the physical. The dictionary tells us that Imagination is:
Imaginationdefinition

 

To me Imagination is what gives us the creative process and ability to create in our minds. Now I will add the unrelated things that pop in my head when I hear or think of Imagination. Firstly I think of flying. I think because Imagination reminds me of Peter Pan. Now for how I think this affects my view of the word. To me, I think that it really makes me see imagination as flying high and giving the ability to create anything! It is freeing, in believing that anything is possible.

 

Now for your thoughts and opinions! Please share, what are some thoughts on words that you have completely unrelated words you associate with them? What are some words that you find you interpret differently than the definition?

NaNo Countdown Begins!

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And so it begins for me! The NaNoWriMo countdown! Any who have followed my blog for a while know that I LIVE for NaNo in all its marvelous forms. From Camp NaNo in the summer to full fledged NaNo in November! So please bear with me as I will am planning to write much the next couple months and take you on this journey with me. That said, I am rather excited for NaNo this year. I am once again ML and as I have been struggling with my writing I am hoping that this give it a kick start, and get me back fully in my writing groove. I have to make my 50k with my role as ML, so here is to an exciting idea, and a productive NaNo!!!

 

I have once again found my excitement for writing, now I just have to manage to get back in the habit of writing. With that in mind, I have been neglecting my blog a little as I am trying to plan for my novel this year. I think I have finally decided on what story I am going to write, but now is the hard part of planning some base characters, having them tell me their names, setting up some of the back story so I know a bit about the world they will be taking me to.

 

Now, I am more of a pantser, so this whole planning thing is a little hard. I no longer find it constricting as I have learned much from a few helpful websites and my own trial and error. Every year I participate in NaNo I have learned more about my writing style than I could have ever learned from any amount of books! I have also been reading through my newest copy of Writer’s Digest. It is one of the most helpful things I have found for inspiring my thought process and helping to learn new things for my writing craft. This months copy has been most helpful indeed.

 

 

So with that, what have you found to be helpful? What resources have taught you the most? What has been the most helpful to your writing? Are there websites you return to again and again? Are there books that are full of little flags and notes in the margin? Please share! I love learning of new resources.

Up and Coming

I am currently working on several posts for my blog, but as my thoughts seem to be scattered on the breeze it is not coming easy.  Also, NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and I am working at settling on an idea and getting some outlines fleshed out for that as well.  As ML again this year I need to work hard to make the goal of 50k, something that has never been a problem for me in the past, but lately, the wind is too busy scattering my thoughts.

I have the ideas, just lack the ability to make sense of the words I am getting on the paper, so please bare with me as I work on multiple projects at once.  Also, since I am missing my usual writing partners it seems the drive to write has also gone on hiatus… *grins* no worries, I am sure that will come back in full force soon.

 

What of you?  Anyone else gearing up for NaNo?  Do you try to plan out some base ideas to help keep the ball rolling?  And do you ever feel like the words are there, you just can’t make sense of them?

Please, as always share your thoughts!  Also as a side note, if anyone is looking for writing partners, I am always looking for more like minded individuals for the online writing group, more on that in a future posting.

More Definitions

So, I have come to realize in exploring the definitions of words and my inner interpretations I started with the wrong words, or at least skipped two very important ones! So with that, I am going to take a look at the two most important words, when looking at all others: Definition and Interpretation.

Definition literally means:

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This is a word I have never really thought of before. Never really thought about the distinct meaning and what it is to me. But when looking at it, well, I think of it as how we explain words on a broader scale. So that we as people can speak the same language and have a basis of what we mean. It is what gives tangibility to the words we use.

To me though, words can not be defined without some Interpretation, so here is a look at that word as well.

The dictionary tells us that Interpretation means:

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To me, interpretation is how an individual defines a word. It is how we as individuals see everything around us. Through the lens that is our view of the world. Every word, everything we see, everything we think and feel, it is all touched by interpretation. From ourself, others, everything around us. In some ways interpretation is a form of judgement.

Through the use of these two words, one really starts to realize how each and every one of us speaks our own language. There is common factors that help us to understand one another, and by being aware of our own definitions, our own interpretations I think it can help us grow as people and is something especially important for writers to look at. So I encourage you, if you have not before looked at the words you use, the world around you and how you view it, take a moment… what do the words mean to you?!?

As always I look forward to hearing from you all! Please share, your thoughts, your definitions for the words we use!

A Look at Some Vocabulary

I have been struggling lately to really be able to write. I have taken some time for introspection and while doing so have really focused on my dreams and goals in life. With that in mind I thought it a perfect thing to post about.
So today I am going to focus on some meanings of a few words that everyone looks at a little differently, feels a little differently about, and yet everyone uses.

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First lets start with Inspire.
The dictionary tells us that Inspire is:

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When I hear the word Inspire, or find something inspiring it is more than that. It encompasses an emotion that floods through me. To me, it is more of an emotion itself! I often share things on my blog that I find inspiring in the hopes that others can be flooded with this feeling…

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Now let us turn our minds to Encourage. A word that could be considered very similar to Inspire.
The dictionary shares the word Encourage to be:

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To Encourage is such a selfless act in my mind. It is to help another reach towards something that they desire in some manner or another. I would like to think that I encourage others from time to time with my perseverance.

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Lastly I am looking at the word Goals. Now I am not talking about something you shoot for in Soccer, no I mean what we work towards in our lives.
The dictionary sums this one up pretty good:

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Goals, something we work towards. Struggling ever onward. Sometimes we give them up only to find new ones. (Hmm, that may become a new post in and of itself…) I find goals goes hand in hand with dreams. They are not the same mind you, but yet they can be exchanged for one another. Dreams can become and be goals, but goals can not be dreams as they are more tangible, something we are actually moving towards.

 

What about you?  Have you ever taken a closer look at these words?  What they really mean to you as an individual?  Take a moment and share with me, I would love to hear what they say to you!

A Great Explanation: Show vs Tell

I have a busy week ahead of me, but I wanted to share this great post I found that talks about show vs tell!  As a writer we hear that alot, probably even say it ourselves, but how do we explain that?  How do we share that with others?  Writers In the Storm have Margie Lawson there sharing that.  It is amazing.

It boils down to paying attention to the words you put around your characters actions.  The words you use to describe the action itself.  By using power words, visuals and things that can make you “feel” the action, you will be showing.  Any time the action feels flat, like you are just hearing about it, or just know it was done that would be telling.

 

I took much from that short article and I hope it helps you as well!  What did it teach you?  Did you better understand show vs tell?  How do you see them now?  Happy writing!

Letters of Questioning: Flying a New Flag

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Sailing these waters may be mighty dangerous, after last week’s look at plotting and how we get there, we have sailed on to murkier waters yet.  Taking a closer look at the Writer’s Role…  and without further adieu, here is the latest installment:

 

Dearest Dreamland’s Insurgents,

Of course the journey is never ending. There are of course periods of rest, reflection and learning, but then you move on and make changes. Don’t you know by now I am all about change?!? I thought my name said it all! Not to mention, what about you? Aren’t you all about upsetting status quo? Your name, like mine suggests stepping out of the norm. Not getting boxed in. Becoming a bit of a rebel!
Besides, is it not our job as writers to enlighten the world? As a writer we shape worlds. We affect the minds of others… even in something as simple as a fiction novel that is read for enjoyment. Honestly I think especially in fiction.
I was imminently inspired when I read The Writer’s Role in Society. It is suggested that writers are teachers, they have lessons to share and craft an entire work of art to do so. That writers offer something unique to them, something no one else can. The recreation of worlds.
I think that might just be the tip of the iceberg though! More than just lessons to share, we writers start new ideas. Inspire thoughts, and those cognitive responses move into actions. Like our very thoughts on a new idea in writing being that there are more than just plotters and pantsers, there two could be something new, revolutionary as evolutionists! Those who build upon what has come before!
So, my friend, I entreat you, what do you see when you look at the Writer’s role in society? Teacher, companion, friend, lover, anarchist, rebel… so much more, or maybe less?!? Or is it just a story shared? Are writer’s the rebels that can not be quelled? What say you?

Proudly flying my new pirate flag,
Random

 

Dreamland’s reply:

Ahoy, Random,
Why, I would never dream of upsetting the status quo – why? Who have you been talking to? How much do they know?! *ahem* sorry… anyway….
If by “enlighten,” you mean “set fire,” then yes, I’m all for “enlightening” the world. (I kid, I kid … mostly.) The question of the writer’s position isn’t easy to answer, which is why I also enjoyed the Nicholas Conley’s post The Writer’s Role in Society. He emphasizes that writers are teachers, yet, but another line that spoke to me was this passage:

“The different fiction genres each demonstrate a unique facet of the writer’s society. A horror writer will memorialize the discomforts of his era. A science fiction writer will demonstrate that era’s views on technology. A literary writer, of course, will display what everyday life was really like.

By writing a novel, the writer acts to keep his/her era alive for future generations, so that our children and grandchildren can understand who we really were, and what we stood for.”

Archivist, teacher – and, arguably, mirror. No matter how revolutionary or original we fancy ourselves, we’re also the products of our environment, somehow. So maybe one of the tricks is to show what is familiar in a startling way, or make the unfamiliar accessible?
Lots of writers have been agents of change, for good or bad. We have to have some awareness but we also have to build and burn, or, as one of my favorite bloggers phrases it, “sort, sever, detangle, grasp.”
So my question for you is, what do we do now? As agents of change, as writers, as people comfortable with assuming roles as necessary, fighting where we stand, agitating for change… What do we target? What forms of rebellion do we take and tell? Where exactly should our stories go? Where are we needed most and what for and why?

All dressed up with nowhere to sail,
dreamland’s insurgents

Be sure to check out Nicholas Conley’s Writings, Readings and Coffee Addictions, he has some good stuff over there!

 

 

So… what is your figuring?  Do you have something to add to our letter?  Have either of us missed something?  What are your thoughts on a writer’s role in society?

Do you have some ideas that you would like to see discussed?  Feel free to drop them here as well!