Writing From Memory

One of the new things I’ve read about, in my CW book so far, is writing from memory, short and long term. Writing from your own thoughts, and memories, can allow you to speak from your own voice and avoid the foreign ‘writerly tone’ some use to meet a reader’s expectations.

One prompt, in the book, said to take a very small memory (nothing extravagant or life altering) and write it down. Start with the words: “I don’t know why I remember…” and just let the words flow. Below is my first attempt at the writing prompt. Enjoy!

 

I Don’t Know Why I Remember

I don’t know why I remember the car ride Tony and I took back when he lived in Davenport. We were in the old, rust red Camry, pulling over at a gas station smack in the middle of nowhere. Half afraid to get out of the car and half excited to just be. Despite his complaints, I bought a bag of sunflower seeds. One empty cup, that hung out with the rest of the rubbish at our feet, worked as a spit cup and clutched companion. The weather is perfect. Florida weather. Weather we moved here for.

A thick breeze blows by and I dangle one hand out the window, wrist bent backwards, fingers flapping like a rubber glove. Our inside joke. I giggle and he looks over with a special shine to his eyes. He gaffs, and laughs at the sight, before his eyes briefly meet mine. It’s happy here, in this place of in between. The jilt of the car, sweetness of new love and the crack of the seed’s shell between my teeth.

It feels like home.

 

Submitting Phoenix to PitchWars

So…I did it.

I actually did it.

Here’s a blurb from the actual site that tells you a little about what PitchWars is:
What is Pitch Wars?

Is it another contest? Oh, no, it’s so much better.

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents. Mentors can participate solo or pair up and co-mentor.

During the agent showcase, each mentee is featured on a post that includes their pitch and the first page of their manuscript. Last year, we had nearly sixty agents participate in the showcase. Participating agents view the posts and make requests. With the help of Pitch Wars 2016, more than 50 authors were offered representation with many snagging book deals shortly after the contest!

So now you know what it is! So, my writer friends, if you would like to participate in PitchWars you have the rest of today and allllll of tomorrow to do so! Here’s the link!

Anyway, so I’ve finished Phoenix and, my, doesn’t it feel good to finally type The End…again. When I revised it the first time, I added a few scenes and took out some things. The second time, when I finished this weekend, I added the new scenes.

I’m really proud of them. Proud of myself. Proud of what I’ve done.

I’ve hit the submit button. It’s out of my hands. The fear is there. So is the excitement.

Let’s get this journey going!!

 

 

First Revision Complete!

I’m officially done with the first round of revisions for Phoenix.

I can’t even believe it.

Not too long ago I was posting about procrastination, issues with editing and my desire to not look at any of the ‘bad writing’ I’d done. I’ve decided to add a few more scenes to Phoenix, as she’s looking a little thin and a tad flat. I actually love what I’ve written so far.

I love Phoenix.

I love her emotional rollercoaster.

I love her want to protect the world.

I love that the suffering is all at her feet. I also, hee hee, love the sex scenes and passionate kisses because…what’s a romantic fantasy without good ole loving. I love it all.

The thing I love most about Phoenix is our relationship. Writer and written. Creator and creation. Drunken dictionary and word vomit.

I only have a few weeks left until I pitch and it’s glorious. I’m moving on to the second round of revisions after I write these scenes and, despite what’s going on in my life, I am write on track to finish before the deadline.

So watch out world! Phoenix is rising.

And rise she will.

 

Good Readdance,

Jade

 

 

P.S. A lot of my writing and hard work was done at a coffee shop. In that same vein, here’s a photo I took at a new coffeeshop. My friend bought me an antique book and made some banana bread. Both were amazing!

colleens present

Discouraging Doubts of Editing

I am a Writer…not an editor. I don’t pretend to be one. I don’t allude to being one.

I spend a lot of my time writing from the heart and getting the creative juices flowing. I’m a conversational writer and that structure doesn’t sit well with everyone. That’s fine! I’ve found my voice and I will use it. Unfortunately, that means mistakes will be made and therefore will need to be corrected.

They say to not worry about the editing or the grammar, initially.
JUST GET THE WORDS OUT! They say.

YOU CAN’T EDIT A BLANK PAGE! They yell.

See?

Yes, that’s all fine and dandy until you finally finish your WIP and you start the editing process and BAM! It’s riddled with creative run on sentences and misplaced commas.

People often think that being a writer is synonymous with having perfect grammar. It is not.

Honore De Balzac was an amazing storyteller. He was a French playwright and novelist. He spun relationships so well you thought these people were apart of your own family. As it stands, he was horrible at grammar and sentence structure. That was even after it’d been edited and translated to English.

That’s just one example.

Enter…procrastination. I finished Phoenix a few weeks ago. I wanted to give it a breather even though I knew I need to start editing and revising. I haven’t started either.

I know that apart of it is fear. As a writer who has been crafting stories since I was a young child, I always knew I would eventually publish. It was never a matter of if but when. That being said, writing a book knowing it would be published, for the entire world to see, is completely different than writing something because I’m obsessed with the story and it wouldn’t let me go.

I’ve written several books. Finished several books. However, Phoenix will be the first book, other than a previous college endeavor, that I will be officially publishing. Phoenix will be under J.B. Jemison. It will be the start of a very long and healthy career as an Author and that is daunting. Very. I can almost taste the fear and anticipate the heat of embarrassment. Not that it will happen, not that I want it to happen…that’s just what my brain does. So, my mind has translated it to heavy procrastination.

Fortunately, I am more than my fear. I am more than failure. I will succeed. The only way I can do that is to revise and edit Phoenix so it is ready to pitch. That is what I will be doing with my weekend, to start.

 

Happy Readdance,

Jade

Writing on Holidays!

The great thing for people that don’t really celebrate holidays, so…me, is that we can do whatever we want.

Yes, this may often times be the same exact thing that we do on our normal days off and that’s ok. For me, holidays are days off work that I can enjoy not feeling guilty. I mean, I wouldn’t anyway but this is a special case. I stopped celebrating holidays when I stopped really having an excuse to do so. I had no one to share them with and I enjoyed that time and a half pay that you get. Fortunately, I have found a job that still pays us for gov’t holidays. So I can enjoy an extra day off with no stress. Therefore, I shouldn’t have any excuse as to why I can’t write, right?

Wrong.

white sweater

The reason why I started the DWC was because I knew that I could count on myself to procrastinate. No more. I have distractions on holidays. I live far away from my old family and I don’t have a ton of friends that could guilt trip me into doing things or getting out of the house. My one writing friend actually came over so that we could go to Starbucks and write together. It was great. The fantastic thing is that I showed up a little late, sat my butt in the chair and started a 30 minute word sprint right away. I knew what I wanted to write and a new chapter was a fantastic place to start.

1530 words later, about 4 pages, and my creative writing juices were flowing freely. I felt very excited. I like days that I don’t have to write. I like to be able to get my keyboard up and running and do it because my mind whispers ‘hey, you, it’s time to write’.

Anyway, so here I am, on the cusp of the new Bachelorette episode and I’m writing another blog post. Now, I told you that I am trying to write more posts, and not just book reviews, and I’m delivering on that.

*Finger wiggles*

Happy Writtance!
Jade

P.S. What do you like to do on holidays? Do you spend the time with family? If you are a writer, do you carve out time to write? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

DWC: Daily Writing Challenge

I am freaking excited!

I am ecstatic!

Alright, so I spent the majority of my life…procrastinating. I know it. I’ve always known it. I think it stems from when I was a child and I would read like crazy and I would put everything off. I didn’t mind not getting anything done. I just wanted to escape the woes of the world and read the rest of my life away. I believe that this greatly instilled in me an sense of timelessness. Around me, I built a wall of  ‘I can do it later, right now I’m reading‘ and no one corrected me.

Now, as an adult, I find that I can be productive and do this. I often times put off things that aren’t as important to do things that are. This is funny because recently I watched a TedTalk (I believe) that said productive procrastinators are a thing!

One thing that I’ve found I do is write very spontaneously. I get the urge to write and I can bang out 10,000 words in one sitting. Then, I wouldn’t write for days, sometimes even weeks. That’s just crazy to me.

This past year, I’ve made some connections that have really made me think about my goals as a writer. I knew that if I ever wanted to achieve my dreams, especially within my time line, I would have to start taking things seriously. I know that I want to pitch my current WIP during PitchWars this August. In order to do that, I need to make some changes over the next few months and also for the future. I came up with DWC, logically named, the Daily Writing Challenge. Heehee.

I planned to do it for 30 days, to start. I’m currently in day 17. I am not just counting words written for my current WIP, Phoenix, though. I am also counting things that I write that are not so creative. Speeches, reviews, reports for school, etc. If I am using my brain to write, at all, I am counting the words.

To me, this helps keep the momentum going, especially on days that I can’t write creatively. It’s worked beautifully. Using Google Sheets, I’ve created a worksheet grid that shows how much I am writing every day. I have it filtered to add the sum of words everyday and also the average. I have written 20,805 words (that I’ve logged) so far and I have an average of 1,300 words a day. I know that to a seasoned writer, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but to me it’s amazing. Without NaNoWriMo in November (wrote 50k+) and CampNaNo in April (Wrote 15k+), I don’t usually get in that many words in a month.

So yes, I plan to write every single day and let the majority of words be on my current WIP. I plan to update more, write reviews more and to also update you all on DWC!

Good Writtance,

Jade

Modernizing Required Readings for Students

Heya!

So I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to achieve in the world of literature. My want to go back to college and finish my degree was more about accomplishing my own goals and learning new things. I hadn’t yet figured out what I wanted to do with my degree, specifically, besides writing bestsellers. I’ve even played with the idea of getting my Master’s or becoming a Professor but those are ideas that I have romanticized since I was a child. Things that I hoped I could achieve under the label of personal success. I’ve been reading, writing books and creating new stories since I was a young child, since before I could remember. Despite my detours in life, I always knew this is where I would land.

To translate that into academics, I want to delve deeper into the literary requirements of our youth. I remember being a young girl, inspired by big works like Shakespeare and George Orwell and also the smaller works like Summer of my German Soldier (Bette Greene) and Melusine. I always found it fascinating to read works by authors who lived long ago but realized that my fellow classmates did not. They were disinterested, flighty and annoyed. This made me really think about the works that were required and what I could do to make reading more appealing to those who would balk at the idea normally.

So I’ve realized the best way to go about this, as so far thought, is to modernize our required readings. I am a firm believer that the best writers weren’t only born 200 plus years ago. Yes, we can learn great things from our past but we can also learn a multitude of things from the present. We have hundreds of amazing writers here in this century and we need to recognize them. Do not take this as I am wanting to replace the genius works of the past. I want to give an alternative modernized literary option for teaching those students who squirm and fuss at the thought of reading outside of a text message. These are students who naturally hate reading. I want them to be able to pick up a book they can relate to and learn the same skills of tension, mystery and cultural appreciation.

Once I embark on this journey I am going to compile a list of required readings and find comparisons in the modern world of literature. I want to develop a list of books that will still teach life lessons, broaden horizons and open the minds of our youth. I will be blogging my path with this and will eventually make a static post of the comparisons that I’ve done so that you guys are updated!

I would really like some suggestions that could help me on this journey. I found a really great list on GoodReads but it’s 500 books long! That’s a great start and I will be breaking them apart, following a specific criteria, and choosing the ones I think can really transform literature. If you’ve read a modern or contemporary book that you think could rival the literature of old please feel free to let me know! Also, tell me the book that you think it parallels. This is going to be a great journey!

P.S. To make a clear distinction, I am talking about new and original stories; plays and novels written now, not revisions or rewrites of old ones.

Good Readance,

Jade

Book Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.
Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.
Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I really loved this book! It took me a little longer to read it because I am going through midterms right now but I’m excited to say that I am a big fan of Andy Weir. Jazz is relatable, intelligent, unassuming and daring. I love the characters ability to think quick on her feet and to be ready for anything that comes her way. I definitely love this ‘living on the moon’ theme that Andy Weir has started. It gives you a sense of hope for humanity and inspiration for the future of science.

I would not mind at all seeing a movie adaption of this book. I’d like to see what city they would create, how they would form the hubs and what they would use as a basis for the Moon’s surface. I definitely recommend this book to anyone, even those who are not interested in science and discovery.

andy weir.png

 

I need to find other books written by Andy Weir, I have a feeling he might soon become one of my favorite authors. I was actually talking to a fellow reader the other day and they mentioned the comparisons with Artemis and The Martian. I hadn’t even noticed they were written by the same author, Artemis was recommended to me.

They actually said they didn’t like this book as much as they liked the other. I can say that the way the books are written is completely different. Jazz Bashara is very different than Mark Watney. First of all, she’s a criminal and he’s a genius who recognized his intelligence and used it. Jazz did not. She is very flippant and squirrely in comparison to Mark’s character. The pace of the book is different as in the Martian you spend most of the book following one character who is unable to talk to anyone else but himself. It’s a great comparison and I love to see writers switch up their voice and still draw the reader in.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

 

Good Readance,
Jade

Link to Book

Hearing From You! My favorite people!

Questions!
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below! Please answer any of the questions below or feel free to ask any of your own.

giphy

What do you like to read?
What’s your favorite genre?
Do you like to write? If so, what?
Have you read any of the books I’ve reviewed? New or older posts?
What books would you like to see reviewed?
Do you like the posts not related to reading and writing? If not, what would you like to see?

Jade

Reading Black Authors

I recently read a book by a black author and I loved it. It had nothing to do with the author’s race or our connection through ‘blackness’. I never really cared what race wrote what book, it’s never had any bearing on my thoughts of the book. I have never wanted to limit myself and I refuse to let anything stop me from reading. If it’s a great story, I’ll read a book by any race.

Recently, I joined a facebook group for black women that love to read and it’s really blown my mind. The camaraderie, the honesty, and the uplifting comments really made me feel like I belonged. As an introvert, that’s a huge deal. Members posts the books they are currently reading or their views on an upload. So I chose one book they suggested to me, and I will be doing a review on it, but I really liked it and in turn I picked up 3 other books I saw posted to the group. Once you gain my trust, I might just start listening to you.

Sometimes I’m not too sure about the suggestions I get. Before, when I was just randomly asking out to the world, I’d have people suggest political books, which I’m not very fond of (Am I going to read Fire and Fury? I have no idea). I’ve had someone suggest I read overly religious books, fire and brimstone types, and I’m usually iffy on those as well. I can be a stickler, with no real guidelines, but usually I will pick it up and crack it open.

Whenever I ask for suggestions people want to know what I’m looking for and I can’t really answer that question. I tell them to just give me their favorites, nothing political, nothing religious but people like to push their favorites so…eh.

I love to read different genres. As a kid I started with Julie Garwood’s The Wedding and fell in love with romance. I went through phases of Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie and wild wonders like James Patterson’s Angel Experiment series and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I didn’t move into non-fiction and biographies until I got older. On Writing by Stephen King, Steve Jobs, and Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran were a few that I loved.

I can’t really choose an ultimate favorite genre because I’ve read so many books and I’ve loved so many that fit different criteria. I’m a big fan of mystery, romance, and psychological thrillers but I’m also an avid reader of paranormal romance, futuristic science fiction and oddball humor. I like to hear about different walks of life but I love it to be in story form. I’m not a fan of the fifth grade history book biography theme.

I am African American and I write but I never thought it was a big deal. There was nothing in my upbringing that told me black people can’t be writers. No one, other than those who told me to choose a career that was going to make money, told me I couldn’t succeed at being an author. I’ve been reading adult novels since I was seven and it never crossed my mind that people thought this was incredulous. I’ve never pulled up the authors profiles to check and I’ve never seen a “Written by a Black Author” sticker on any covers in Barnes and Nobles. Have you?

That being said, I do want to support my own people. I do feel that it’s important that they know we are reading their novels and are behind them 100 percent. Since joining this facebook group, I’ve heard about more black authors than ever in my entire life.  As a bibliophile and book addict I’ve obviously added a ton of novels to my To Be Read file. I’m very excited. Hopefully I will find more gems like Allegedly, a book by Tiffany D. Jackson. I have a few more on my list, suggestions from the group, and will be doing reviews on them here. If you have any thoughts on this or if it’s a thought you’ve had let’s chat!

Good Readance,

Jade

 

P.S. If you have any suggestions send ’em right over! Don’t be afraid!