Reading & Writing & Surviving

It’s October! I keep promising to keep up with this blog more, but I always end up crushed under a pile of other responsibilities that this ends up being the first casualty. So. I’m back! Maybe!

So I was recently accepted in Sierra Nevada College’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

It’s a mouthful, I know.

I was so nervous submitting my applications to any grad programs. I’ve always felt like I was a terrible student–at least academically speaking. But I got accepted to both programs I applied for! (But ultimately went with SNC due to the fact that it’s low residency and I can just work from home.)

So these past few months I’ve been reading & writing & surviving. Somehow. I’ve got plenty of books to read each month and plenty to write and revise too. It’s a lot, but I get individual attention to my work so that’s been incredibly helpful. Though I do prefer to just draft straight out before going back to revise.

It’s pretty fun stuff, getting to work with so many talented people (and incredibly smart people too!) and getting to see how I can grow with my craft. I know a lot of people don’t like MFA programs for a lot of reasons. Money being one of them. Trust me. I’ve pretty much doubled my student loans in just one year’s worth of grad tuition than I had with four and a half years of undergrad tuition.

But it’s been a great experience so far, and I can’t wait to see where it’ll take me next.

Mother Nature Will Never Decide

Remember how I said that spring was coming? Yeah–Mother Nature made a liar out of me!

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It’s not much, but it’s enough to miss the few days we had of 50+ degree weather. I’m perfectly ready for winter to be done. While I love sitting at home, watching the snow fall and curling up with a good book, I still have to go to Day Job, and driving in the snow is my least favorite experience.

On the plus side, since it’s March, one of my favorite people in the writing community, Ava Jae, released her debut novel, Beyond the Red, wp-1457115705727.jpgon the 1st! My pre-order came in the
mail yesterday afternoon, and I’m very excited to read it. Once I can’t up with my ever growing TBR pile, that is.

Those are just a few of the books I’ve picked up recently! I think I’ll do a book haul post sometime in the near future, maybe when I get my new bookshelves. Which I hope is soon, I’ve run out of shelf space!

Back to Beyond the Red, I’m pretty sure I’ve gushed about Ava Jae in a prior post, but she offers some amazing writing advice, and is a staple in the writing community. I highly recommend reading through her blog, Writabilty, and grabbing a copy of Beyond the Red! You can even enter to win a signed copy, plus some swag and other fun stuff, in her Twitter giveaway. So yay, fun and free book stuff!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything. I finished a draft of my most recent YA story, and I put it aside to marinate for a while, and I’m finding it hard to go back to either that or to start a new story in the meantime. Part of it is, I’m sure, my depression, and another part is procrastination and fear of failure.

I’ve been debating quitting my Day Job, but with impending student loan repayments just on the horizon, and an incredible (and expensive) train trip I’m taking with my best friend JM Tuckerman, I just don’t think it’s feasible for me to quit right now. Working there drains so much out of me that when I come home, all I want to do is collapse on my bed, curl up with my puppy and sleep for 10 hours.

If only I had someone in my life to pay for a year’s worth of expenses just so that I could write all day long, sort of how Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.

But that’s unlikely. So, back to the work grind!

New Year’s Resolutions

Okay, so maybe it’s a little late for New Year’s Resolutions, since you’re typically supposed to make them on the first day of the new year, and not three weeks into the new year, but I’m an adult and I do what I want.

I’m always complaining about how I never have any personal blog posts up, and how I don’t have much to blog about since I usually don’t do much anyway, but I’m going to change that.

So, my New Year’s Resolutions this year includes:

• Blogging more (At least once a week, minimum three times a month, not including book review posts)

• Post more photography (which comes with a prerequisite of actually fixing my external hard drive, that broke while I was on vaca in Canada. In August.)

• Finish at least two drafts of my manuscript this year.

Those seem like do-able  goals, right?

I’ve also got to take some administrative control over at Round Robin, since my good friend JM Tuckerman is currently doing her internship at Quirkbook Productions until May, so she’ll be sparse over there. But let’s be real here, she can’t stop doing what she loves to do over at RRW.

I’ll also try to post some designs as I try to build up a portfolio to submit to Rosemont, where I’ll hopefully be getting my MFAs.

Yes. Plural. Two MFAs. Yes, I want to bury myself in more debt.

Round Robin Writes is expanding their nests!

Other than taking every opportunity I can to make silly bird puns about it, Round Robin Writes is accepting applications for new writers! The Robinettes and I are ready to expand the site and bring on a new team of writers so that we can have more stories, more often.

We’re accepting writers who are either college students or have finished school and are ready to expand their portfolio. It’s a great opportunity to start writing collaboratively and it’s always great to have a team of friends at your side to encourage you!

To apply, follow the link here and fill out the form on the site! It’s super easy! Get your applications in early and hopefully we’ll see you in August!

On Minor Characters

Your main characters are important; they tell the story. Without them, there wouldn’t be a story. But what about minor characters? Secondary characters that are only there in a passing scene or two? They exist for two possible reasons: one, to progress the story and two, to progress the main character’s characterization.

So what happens when a minor character doesn’t fulfill either of those reasons?

Continue reading “On Minor Characters”

Writing Diversity (Writing Tip Tuesday)

 

Diversity in literature, especially Young Adult literature, had been exploding over social media lately. That’s not to say diversity in fiction hasn’t been an issue prior to Twitter getting its hands on it, it’s just now openly available to everyone.

If there is one point I plan to make in this post, that you can take away from it, is this: diversity is important. If the world is diverse, your writing needs to be diverse. 

I’m not just talking about slapping on a “foreign sounding name” to a background character, or changing the description of a minor character’s skin to read “dark” or “ebony”. Write a story featuring a person of color (POC); make the main character POC, make the love interest POC, make everyone POC if you really want. But include more than just white and black.

Continue reading “Writing Diversity (Writing Tip Tuesday)”