Thursday, March 29, 2012

Opening Day!

Ready for another season of hot dogs and garlic fries? Can’t wait to see the best pitchers, fielders, and hitters in the world compete? Me too.

Major League Baseball kicked off opening day yesterday in Japan, in an effort to promote camaraderie between North American and Japanese baseball amidst the ever growing popularity of the sport. My team, the Giants, won’t start their first game until next week, but I must admit I breathe a little easier and walk with a little more spring in my step once baseball season begins. So many, many great games to look forward to in the coming months.

So how are you getting pumped up for the season? Maybe you’re not as into baseball as me, but I bet you’ve got some baseball literature or movies you’re into. After all, who doesn’t love The Sandlot?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First-Person or Third-Person…Benefits and Drawbacks

First-person perspective or third? Which do you prefer to read? Which do you prefer to write?  

I’ve always considered myself a mostly third-person type of writer, but lately I’ve been experimenting a lot more with first-person in my short-stories and am enjoying it. Third-person has many great sweeping qualities, but first-person allows a lot of great introspection into a character’s mind. Depending on the style, third-person narratives can distance us a bit more from the characters, but at the same time first-person plots can get overwhelmed with the word “I” if an author isn’t careful.

Honestly, I think most people will read either so long as it’s good. So what makes you write one way or another in your own work? What qualities of the third-person and first-person styles sway you the most?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Writing in Multiple Genres

Do you like to read multiple genres? Who doesn’t? But do you know any published authors who write multiple genres?

Inevitably agents and publishers emphasize that an author should stick to one genre. However, as artists, writers often chafe under any restrictions to their art. Oftentimes, well established authors will write under a pseudonym when they publish in other genres, although their fans may know it’s them anyways. I often try to balance historical fiction in my novels, with contemporary themes in my short-stories, but I admit I really love toying with just about any genre.

So what genres do you like to write? How do you balance one type of writing with another in your great scheme? What makes you devote yourself to one genre over another?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting Walden-ish…

Ever want to retreat to the woods to commune with nature and write in peace? The bustle and hustle of modern life not quite as charming amidst all the phone calls, computers, and honking car horns? But you need to make a living, so how do you remedy the needs of your soul and the needs of your pocketbook?

With spring approaching tomorrow I’ve begun preparing my garden in the backyard. It takes a lot of work, but I’ve found the digging in the dirt and listening to the sparrows to be quite refreshing. No matter how hectic my workday, I can retreat to my yard for the last hour of sunlight each afternoon and take in the things that really matter. Sunsets. Tree blossoms. Birdcalls. Green, growing things. Earthworms.

You may think me a bit odd for getting Thoreau or Walden-ish, but I find my little patch of earth in the back yard to be a liberating piece of heaven each afternoon. Perhaps a few of you have a Walden inside you that you’re waiting to discover this spring? How do you compromise between the demands of modern life and the call of your outdoor soul?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To MFA or Not To MFA?

At a writer’s conference I recently attended, an employee in the publishing industry confided in me that agents and publishers rarely sign new authors who don’t have an MFA. I was very much taken aback by such a statement, especially when he added that agents typically don’t take a writer seriously unless they have an MFA. Seriously?

I certainly have nothing against MFA programs, but after finishing my Masters in English along with concentrations in Creative Writing I felt I already had enough literary education. Not to mention, plenty of my favorite authors never had MFAs. I also talked to disillusioned friends coming out of MFA programs where they claimed it started to make every student’s writing sound the same regardless of who wrote a piece of fiction.

Since several of my fellow bloggers are published or will be someday soon, I was curious on your thoughts. Is this guy just spouting tripe or is there some truth to what he claims? What are your thoughts on the necessity of having an MFA and being a working author?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spicing Up Your Writing Schedule

Training to be a writer is kind of like training for a triathlon. You need to spend hours every day writing, editing, reading, and then actually experiencing life to make sure you continue to be inspired. It’s easy to turn your favorite pastime into something that feels like work. So how do you get around this?

One thing I like to do is change up projects for a while and write something different. If you’re on your tenth rewrite of a novel, go try starting another manuscript you had in mind. Maybe just write a chapter or two. Or perhaps you’re tiring of a specific genre…try some short-stories in something you typically don’t write. It’s fun, inspiring, and risk-free!

So how do you spice up your writing schedule? What tricks keep you writing, but also fresh? How do you keep it fun?  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Insecure Writer’s Day

I’ve been getting lots of helpful feedback from both critique partners and professional editors I’ve met. I actually have found the feedback from my critique partners in the blog-o-sphere more helpful at times than some of the suggested changes from professional editors.  My dilemma stems from some of the suggestions I’ve received from professional editors who want to create some pretty sweeping changes to my storyline.

I want to make my story the best it can be, and have no qualms about changing it to make it better, which I’ve done many times and will continue to do. Nonetheless, I find myself doubting some of the suggestions from a few editors I’ve spoken with, mainly because the things they want to change take away something of the spirit of what makes my work unique. After all, if I can’t write the story I want, it takes away the purpose of me crafting it in the first place.

Ever get bogged down in seemingly endless rewrites? How do you decide which feedback to accept and which to ignore? When do you compromise on a point and when do you stick to your guns?