Saturday, December 24, 2011

Of Future Writing Projects and Inspirations

Hello all! I hope your Holiday and New Year's Celebrations went well. Here's a post on my review of 2011 in terms of writing, albeit a few days late.

While 2011 was a brilliant year in terms of academics, my writing projects were left mostly untouched. In fact, one of the projects I was working on, was completely revamped and stolen by somebody else. It was a really good idea based on my grocery store experiences, plus some surrealism put in. It was a series of short stories, focused on a small number of characters who worked at the store. Each story focused on a particular experience or situation with a bizarre touch to make it interesting overall. I happened to only finish one of those short stories and that was where I made my mistake...

...sharing it with the wrong person. The same person took the concept and revamped to fit his own thoughts this past summer. While I did work with him on it, I became pessimistic in my own say since not only were my ideas barely considered, but he also revamped it in a way I didn't like. First thing was that it had way too many characters to focus on and I felt he was trying to be way too realistic with the story. An example being the movement of the characters in and out of his chapter book, instead of the whole short story concept I had in place. With the number of his 'key characters', I found it difficult to see how character development could occur properly; for the record he had about 32 'key characters'. Also many of those characters had the same personality. This was an issue in writing I previously had a problem with two years ago, but in my own writing. I was told then that a piece I presented to a writing workshop had 'Tarantino-like' dialogue; which explained the uniformed (same-voice) concept, mentioned eariler.

Sadly, he never took the advice given about this or other suggestions regarding writing. He did say that he was not much of a reader, unlike the bookworm that I am. However, the fact that he did not listen and the fact that he took an idea for himself left me without new ideas and a lack of confidence.

That could be true, but only until now. Along with looking back at the stories I wrote in high school, I also found the Write 1 Sub 1 challenge; via Tim Sevenhuysen who writes 50 Word-Stories and other writing projects*. Not only that, but recent conversations (between November and December) have given me inspiration to come up with other projects, or at least thinking about them anyway. I'm still making the revamping of the story from high school top priority in major writing projects.

Looking ahead into 2012, I see my writing improving through the Write 1 Sub 1 challenge exercises. I've also been doing some work on my past projects and seeing where I can take the story. If I can remember the lessons of last year, I will definitely come back from a writing slump.

*Along with 50-Word Stories, Tim also does other writing projects such as Special People and the Year of Stories for 2012, both of them are ongoing projects. Give them a read, especially if you're into science fiction.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

End of Semester Reflection

Another semester finished! I'm quite proud of how this one went overall. There really isn't much to say other than the fact I'm more confident in my academic abilities. There once was a time where I thought it was about the professor's satisfaction where everything in a paper or an assignment had to be perfect. Now, I find that to be less the case because I don't fear failure as much as I used to. The whole concept of fearing and rethinking on failure came from a blog post, from Jon Mott my English 101 professor shared last year.

On this, there were certain assignments, exam papers and all, with parameters to be met. Some of those parameters seemed extensive and I felt that a point of my paper could be explained if those parameters were lessened. This was not as much of a page number ordeal, but I kept a straight back and went on anyway. Those papers turned out fine according to the professors so the endgame on rethinking failure worked in my favor.

This semester also gave me a new-found love for libraries in general. What happened was that the days I had class happened to be the college's busiest days. Everyone outside the library would be lively and it wasn't easy to get things done. While the library's atmosphere helped, it wasn't the only reason I embraced them now. For journalism class, my final story was about the impact of Books-A-Million's opening in Waterford (CT) and the impact on the region. I interviewed a few individuals for the project including local librarians and also independent bookstore owners. While I not going to quote them here, for respect of their privacy, I will say that the overall response allowed me to reexamine my relationship to libraries and independent bookstores. Looking back, those relationships were sorely undeveloped during my high school years because I didn't realize how flexible and customer/citizen friendly both places were. While the independent bookstores have better relationships with their customers, the libraries also have adapted to new technological advances and also serve as a community hub. With that in mind, it's time to renew my library card.

Overall, this year turned out brilliantly in the world of academics. Maybe I can stop procrastinating on blog posts now...