G is for Grammar

Today is the last day of week one of the A to Z blogging challenge and I honestly can’t say if I’m relieved or not. This has been a tough week, as I am not used to blogging every day, but it has been really fulfilling as well. I’ve gotten to read some incredible posts, meet some inspiring bloggers, and put myself out there for the world to see (that was the absolutely most terrifying aspect of the whole thing).

For the last post of the week, I decided to change things up. My theme is Everything I Love about Writing. However, no matter how much you love something, life is not perfect. There will always be aspects that drive you nuts, ones that make you lose your mind. For me and writing, it is grammar.

 

grammar correct

 

Here’s the ugly truth. I hate grammar and it’s a mutual thing, grammar hates me right back. During school, having to slog through grammar could reduce me to tears. I loved to write as a child, but until I was about ten or so, it was really hard to read any of my stories because they were basically one long run-on sentence.

Of a necessity, I learned grammar. But I hated it, hated having to curtail my imagination and stories because of grammar. I was like a bird in a cage, futilely battering myself against the bars. There were many tears, meltdowns, and loud arguments with my mother (who was also my teacher and a bit of a grammar cop) about grammar and its place in the world. Still, with much angst and fighting, I slowly mastered grammar and my writing improved.

 

grammar police

 

Today, things have improved. I acknowledge grammar (and editing) as a necessary part of writing. After all, if you love something you have to accept all parts of it. Grammar and I have a neutral relationship, the anger and angst are gone but we will never be best friends. When I write, I ignore the grammar check (I often turn it off entirely). Then, when time for editing rolls around, I sigh and groan a little bit, but I ultimately use grammar to check it over and make my novel a better one.

Still, I maintain that learning grammar for the English language is a job and half. Because America is a melting pot, we have snippets from languages all over the world. I’m glad that I’m a native speaker, because I wouldn’t have mastered it otherwise. I’m including a poem below that shows how crazy it can be at times.

 

So what do you hate, or love, about grammar?

 

http://www.icaltefl.com/dearest-creature-in-creation  (I dare you to try and read it out loud all the way to the end)

A is for Authors

Now, I know that my theme for this challenge is Everything I Love about Writing. Well, the truth is, I couldn’t possibly do that without mentioning one of my favorite aspects: Authors

I can sense some confusion on your part. What do authors have to do with anything? Well, actually, they have everything to do with my love of writing. Reading and writing have always come easily for me, I can’t even remember learning how to read. Books have always been some of my closest companions, the library a veritable wonderland for me. I could go anywhere and be anything I chose, learn anything I desired. In short, the library was my gateway into a magical world of endless worlds.

treasure-planet-6

When I first started, I won’t lie. It was absolutely terrible. Grammar was a foreign notion and the storylines were both childish and at times, heavily plagiarized. However, even as a child, I knew that I wanted to be able to capture and share the magic that was the written word. So, despite being the Queen of Run-on Sentences, I persevered. I knew that someday, I too could create the magic of the written word.

When I was fifteen, I completed my first novel. It was worlds away from my first attempts and I was justifiably proud. Looking back now, I know that I still had miles to go on my literary journey. However, I will always remain fond of that first book. Having completed it and with the brash faith that only teenagers possess, I sent my poor little manuscript out into the world. Unfortunately, I go snagged by a vanity publishing company. After waiting months to hear back from them, they told me that they’d be willing to publish my book… for a whopping $4,000. I was shattered. This shelved my writing ambitions for several years.

However, I couldn’t stay away from the magic that is the written word. I completed college and went to work as a librarian. I still wrote, but I never shared my writing with anyone, not even my family. Working as a librarian was both wonderful and taxing. I was surrounded by books, but I still had to work, lol. Still, when I was off work, I read voraciously. And even though I didn’t realize it, I was growing as an author because of it as well, learning my likes and dislikes. For example, I love J.K. Rowling and her world of Harry Potter, but in the last 3 books, I found that I really disliked how many characters she killed, which led to my discovery of how attached I am to all of my characters and debating necessary/unnecessary character dispatchment. On the other hand, The Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara had me captivated by the main character, Kaylin Neya. She was flawed and human, but she still managed to pull me and allow me to journey beside her. I learned that characters don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable, but they have to allow the reader to journey alongside them.

So what persuaded me to take the leap from reader to author? People had told me repeatedly that I wrote well (writing outside of my stories, those were kept under lock and key) and the dream of writing had been with me since I was a small girl. I’d never quite been able to squash my dream of publishing a book. So I gave myself a challenge. I would write a mystery and publish it for Halloween on Amazon. Did I mention that it was the end of September when I decided this? So imagine my surprise when I sat down to write and Aletta and Lirim were there as if they had been waiting for me. And not only one book, but the outline and plots for a series of six books. I was flabbergasted but excited and willingly set to writing.

book cover

My first novel in The Seeker Files, In Search of Justice, was written in just under a month and I was so exhausted by the end. It was an experience, but one that I shall endeavor to never do again. When I published it, I had a major panic attack. It was out there now and I couldn’t take it back. People would actually read my writing and could freely like it or absolutely hate it. I was terrified and in knots. However, I have only received positive feedback so far, which has been amazing to me. Let me add, that I don’t mind criticism. If someone who reads it has feedback that can be used to improve it, then I welcome it. But the thought of someone loathing my writing just because makes me break out in a cold sweat.

I am now in the process of writing the second novel in the series, In Search of Healing. Even as I write on it, it is hard for me to make the mental switch, that I am now an author as well. Maybe someday, if my writing continues to improve, I will inspire a child to follow their dream of sharing their stories with the world. I can only hope so.

So who are some authors that inspire/captivate you?

NovelRama or 25k in 4 days

So on Friday afternoon, also known as day one of NovelRama, I found out about the event and decided to go ahead and jump in. After all, I’m a writer, so how hard could it really be? Of course, I’ve had writer’s block on my novel for three weeks, but no big deal, right?

novelrama

 

Day one: Because I joined late, I only reached 1,500 words. But that’s ok, because I had three more days to make it up. I’d be more prepared for the next day.

Day two: The morning was spent hanging with family, but I spent the afternoon and evening writing. There were hilarious llama memes and hourly sprints (where you type as much as you can as fast as you can and everyone posts their word count at the end of the hour). It was a good day and I managed to get about 8k words written. Woohoo, bye bye writer’s block!

Day three: This was a harder day for me as I had to get up earlier than normal for me for the second day in a row. I am one of those types of people that needs her eight hours of beauty sleep. So I hang with my family in the morning and then head for my computer in the afternoon. However, writing can be extremely mentally and emotionally tiring, so I called it a day after roughly 5k words. But hey, it’s better than nothing, right?

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Day four: I have 10.5k words left to do to reach my goal of 25k. I can do this! Right? At least I think I can. After warning my family not to disturb me or risk psycho writer wrath (We’re a strange kind of people, especially when abruptly pulled from our train of thought). However, alas and alack, it was not to be. Due to multiple interruptions due to animals and family members in true need as well as technical problems, my day did not go to plan. Add in a man hunt in our area for a man considered armed and dangerous and all of my finger joints aching from all the typing I was doing, it just wasn’t meant to be. The event ended at midnight MDT, but I called the end of NovelRama at 10 p.m. with a word count of a little over 23k total (8.5k for the day) and I was truly ecstatic. Did I hit 25k? Not quite. But I made such incredible progress on my novel over four days as well as getting to connect with several fabulous people. I truly do not regret a thing.

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Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is having another NovelRama in August. I seriously recommend if you are a writer that you check it out. It’s free and no matter if you do 2 words or 25k words, the experience is extraordinary.
So what is the craziest challenge that you’ve ever done spur of the moment?

 

Harbingers of Spring

Every year, I always eagerly await the arrival of the swallows. They usually arrive in April and settle under the bridges first. It’s always a joy to be driving and see the first flock of swallows setting up shop, making sure everything is ship shape for the coming summer. They swoop and dive, darting in and out, an intricate dance. The most amazing part? I’ve never seen a collision, their flight perfectly choreographed to down to the last bird.

A few weeks later, the barn swallow arrive, letting us know that winter is truly over. Barns are suddenly filled with chaos and activity, unsuspecting cats often get dive bombed at this point, the swallows furious scolding filling the air. Although a few cats try to swipe back and take out their attackers, success is almost non-existent. In fact, most felines slink of in ignominious defeat, off to sulk for a few hours and repair their tattered dignity.

Every year, we wait for the swallows.

Swallow

Sadness

Well, the 7 pm deadline has arrived and I have not reached my goal of 25 followers, so no bonus content this week. However, many thanks to everyone who has already followed me. Happy weekend and I’ll see you next week!

Saturday

Ah Saturday, the day of the week were you are off work, can kick back and relax. These are the lazy days of the week, especially now that spring is making its appearance and we can do more fun outdoorsy things. However, I find myself fully booked this weekend.

First off, today I get to go with my niece and nephews (all of them 6 and under) to an Easter egg drop. I have never been to one of them before, so I have no idea what to expect. But I know that whatever happens, it’s going to be fun!

easter egg drop

Next, I decided spur of the moment (I only found out about it mid-day on Friday) to participate in the NovelRama. This is a fun challenge to write 25,000 words in four days. As I only wrote 1500 words yesterday, that means that I need to write 8,000 minimum today to stay on track. My fingers are going to be flying, but it’s exhilarating and so much fun to do challenges like this with other people. So cheer me on to reach my goal of 25k words in 4 (3 and a half) days.

novelrama

Lastly, I want to check in on my exclusive content/followers challenge. I am so excited to announce that I have 11 followers, but that still leaves me 14 followers short of my goal. I am leaving this challenge open until 7 pm MDT in the hopes of achieving this goal so I can share the bonus material. I know that we can do this guys! I’ll post again tonight on whether or not we hit the goal. Happy Saturday everyone!

tickets

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