Well, I’m finally finished with my short story writing course. It went well, so I’m happy about that. I’m even happier with the fact that I can spend the rest of my summer reading and writing.
I decided to join Trees of Reverie Read-A-Thon – I’ve got plenty of books for that, what with my books of Tolkien criticism, a stack of books from my sister, and a BAG from Emma (mostly fantasy there). Of course, I’m also planning to read The Lord of the Rings to decide whether I am really willing to devote my capstone project to my favourite trilogy.
As for writing, I’ve got a thick portfolio from my short stories course. I passed the 20,000 word count last night. I feel like I need some kind of reward for that (I’ve never written that much on one project before), although I’m not sure what. I’m also considering on making a book of short stories, all having something to do with Greek mythology. I already did a retelling of the Icarus myth for my short story course, which I really enjoyed.
As an aside, my friend Gina’s boyfriend Vincent Frankini did a really neat interview which I thought I’d share. Here.
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For some reason, I find myself very intrigued with a suburbia aesthetic ever since reading The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic – which has definitely been on my mind and becoming a part of the novel I’m working on. Characters sit on flat rooftops and watch the sun going down. The main character, Alice, works in a little corner store in a bit of a risky area. The people are on the poorer side… and yet, they’re the kinder people. They’re the type of people who would invite you in for dinner even if you are almost a stranger and they barely have enough for themselves. It’s the rich families, like that of Alice’s best friend, who wouldn’t give you a cup of water if you were on fire. I feel like I’ve always been interested in this side of humanity – the dichotomy between the rich and the poor. Living in a middle-class family myself, it’s definitely going to take some research… but I’m excited to work on this project.
Here are some songs that are in the back of my mind as I’m working on Curiouser and Curiouser (my WIP name – at the moment, at least): spotify playlist
I found this neat tag/questionnaire about writing, and I thought it would be helpful (for myself as well as others), to answer them.
A. What do you write? Fanfiction, original fiction, nonfiction, articles, songs, poems, essays, plays, what?
My chronological progression of writing has sort of went from original fiction -> articles -> fanfiction -> poems -> original fiction. (That is ignoring the essays I write for school, which goes all through the cycle.) I mean, I still have my Supernatural fanfiction blog that I share with a friend (which we really need to update because our followers most likely think we have been decapitated or something along those lines) and I write book reviews/articles from time to time on this blog… but original fiction is what I find the most fulfilling to write. I am more inclined to writing novels, but I enjoy dabbling in short story writing as well.
B. How often do you write?
Heh. The answer of this question varies – from once a week to an hour or two every day. I’ve been more recently sticking to the latter, and I am hoping it is a good habit that will continue.
C. Who is your favourite character of your own? Who is your favourite character created by someone else? Why?
As an author who views all characters as her children, I find this question unfair. However, I can give a few favourites and explain my reasonings behind my choices.
For my own characters, the ones that come to mind as being delightful to write are Benny from my Great Depression/WW2 short story (which I intend on expanding into a novel someday) and… oh my goodness, I believe her name was Rowena – from that book I started when I was 14. (I have just realized I don’t have a draft of that book on this computer – cue the mad scramble to go through my old computer, which is now my sister’s, and my laptop.) I love Benny because he’s one of those characters who seems so laid back and The Coolest™ on the outside – but on the inside, he’s so conflicted and has so many secrets that he can tell no one, not even his best friend Sean. Rowena was really fun to write because she is a proud girl who is positive that she is better than everyone else (unfortunately, this is only enhanced when she finds out that she is royalty) – but along the way, life starts humbling her. But she still remains a snarky sassy thing, which is probably my favourite character to write. Secrets and Snark. Those are Anna’s top character ingredients.
I’ve got a bad cold, so it looks like it’s going to be a lazy day. Perfect time for a blog post, eh? I thought so, too.
I just finished reading The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. It’s a book that teaches writing by showing examples of writing, a technique of which I most heartily approve. I put this book on hold at the library because after reading The Raven Cycle, I am absolutely spellbound by Maggie Stiefvater. Her writing has such magic to it, and she makes me fall in love with writing in a way that only my friend Gina (author of the recent The Rose and the Sword) has been able to do before.
This was such a great read not only because I got writing advice from my beloved Maggie (
if I was born in the time of Homer, I’d probably offer sacrifices to beg her to be my Muse), but because I discovered a new favourite – Brenna Yovanoff (now I have to go look for books she’s written). Not only was her story right up my alley (modern YA with a twist of the Gothic), but she showed her writing process in a very different way from Maggie and Tessa (just the short story with comments here and there). Brenna first told a story from her childhood of a drowning that stuck with her the rest of her life before showing the short story as well as a very different earlier draft. While I wasn’t a big fan of Tessa and her world-building, her story at least kept my interest. The book also had a few sections of words from the author s – for example, how to gain ideas and the overwhelming doubt that plagues readers.
Anna’s rating: 5 stars (note to self: need to buy a copy of this book to have forever)
I felt in a reflective mood this evening, so I decided to bring my laptop up to my room, play Mumford & Sons and Halsey, and throw words the computer screen until something started to make sense.
I’m taking a short story writing class this spring, taught by Eugene Stickland. So far it’s more discussing thoughts about writing than learning much about improving my writing, but it has made me think.
For me, and for many of the people in the room, writing came to us at a time when we needed an answer, a hope, something. Eugene’s brother had died when he was eleven and he started writing. One of the students, Josh, told us how his mother had died and that is why he searches for comedy in fiction – ‘why does everyone have to take it [life, I suppose] so damn seriously?’ seems to be his motto. I find it interesting how tragedy can move people in different ways – some go down a dark road, some search for the light. I admire Josh for how earnestly he strives for light, but that isn’t quite the road I went down.
I suppose I should speak a little bit about my own journey. Much of this is going to be details about my life not many know, still much will be left unspoken – either because I can’t find the words, or it’s not my place to tell of it.