More than just Volocio out here…

Other Creative Outlets

On Where I’ve Been….

Oh my! It has certainly been a while! I apologize for being MIA for so
long but don’t worry, I’ve been writing.

First off – I moved to Germany! Yup!  I met a wonderful guy and moved
here to be closer and here I am!  It was a very crazy and hectic
process and I documented everything in my travel blog:
Be sure to visit – it’s quite entertaining!  I had started it back in
2011 when I attempted a trip to the UK by myself (note: it was a
success)  It was a way for my family back home to keep an eye on me.
Now that I have moved, this blog is the perfect communication key by
enabling me to reach as many people at one time.  At first I was
blogging everyday up until I moved here but now I only update on
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

As a result, I have been able to get back to work on Tas’und’eash.
However, since coming to Germany I have suddenly inundated with ideas.
It’s great but there is a tiny hitch at the moment.  For my first two
months here in Deutschland, I am living in this small room:

IMG_5285As you can see, there is no desk.  I know what are must be thinking:
you’re in Europe! Go to a cafe!  I don’t really do the sit in a cafe
and write bit.  I will do it if a fellow writer wants to try some
place new or nice but I prefer to work from home with little
distraction.  My boyfriend and I should be getting an apartment soon
so I will then be focused on getting a desk.  Yay!

So what other projects am I working on?  Well, I will have to save
that for another post.  There is so much to do!  But in the meantime,
I should also get back to writing this blog.  It’s a good way to
document where I am going with this (hopefully) getting published

Until Next Time,

On Names…

So for this week’s writing challenge, we were asked to delve into the power of a name.  This reminds me of Elizabeth Haydon’s Symphony of Ages.  This saga is about a woman named Rhapsody who is a Singer who wants to reach the status of a Namer.  A Namer knows the true name of every plant, animal, and being in their world.  Knowing these names means power.

So whose name shall I delve into? I decided to talk about the name that gains the most compliments:

My dog Abner.

Abner at the Vet

Abner at the Vet

Several years ago I was looking at names for the guinea pig I had at the time.  Her name was Cuy (little side note: Cuy means male guinea pig…..but it also means the dish of cooked Guinea Pig.  It was a joke in my family that I got her, but she was never eaten).

Anyway….I was looking at names and I saw the name Abner.  I was immediately taken back to my childhood.  I loved the Indiana Jones movies and it’s the mark of a good fan who knew the correlation between Abner and our favorite archeologist:

Abner Ravenwood (Marion’s father from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’) was Indiana’s mentor.

As soon as I saw that name I had a light bulb moment: if I ever had a boy pug, I would name him Abner.  It then became my goal: I wanted to own a pug and name him Abner.  It is a name you never hear anymore and even when you do (or at least I do) you would imagine a feeble old man with his cane.  Of course a pug has the face of a little old man so the name just seemed to click together.  All I needed now was the dog.

Several months later, I was in a Delilah’s Pet Shop in Bloomington, Indiana (a store that only deals with breeders) and I met this adorable little baby:

Baby Abner - I was in love.

Baby Abner – I was in love.

He’ll be five in May and he’s the love of my life.

On Perspective…

So I decided as a writing exercise that I would challenge myself to the weekly writing challenge.  What better way to work on my writing than to write on a subject that does not come from my own cranium.

For the current week, this was the challenge: to write about perspective…..

  • For our fiction writers, cultivate a character. Through your imagination, pinpoint a common theme in his or her life, and show us how your character’s perspective changes as he or she grows older.

What actually came to mind was my first real fleshed out character: Rei Ettowa.

She is one of the main characters from The Rebirth Trilogy.  She is the reincarnation of a Micaela Roya.  Both women have very rich and unique back stories but one thing I touch on in Rebirth is that while one is the reincarnation of another, that does not mean they are the same person.

But this is not what I want to talk about.

I first came up with Rei when I was about twelve or thirteen; I also made her the same age.  I have always stuck with the old addage: write what you know.  I knew what went through a thirteen-year-old’s head because I was thirteen.  When I did my second re-write in college not only did I grow up but so did Rei.  I increased her age to twenty where she remains even though I am twenty-seven now.

As I was growing up, I realized that I needed Rei to grow up as well.  In order for her to realistically face the hardships she will face in her adventures I needed her to be more mature.  I still have her to be young and naive thus twenty being a great age for the first book.

Rei lost her parents when she was young and was raised by a woman called Hotara.  Rei may not have had biological parents but she was never lacking in parental figures.  She did have an older brother, Niklaryn.  She loved him dearly but rarely got to see him because he had become a knight and was off in the civil war.  He also died when she was thirteen and she never completely recovered from that.  By twenty, she had worked in the family bar and dealt with ruffians and bedouins in her travels a cross the desert.  She will also dabble in what will be the great love of her life but (like myself) she does not truly understand the seriousness of it all until she grows older.

In the second book, I let age a few more years pass to where she is 24.  When I look back at how I was at ages 20 and 24, I was completely different people.  At twenty, I had just reached adulthood and I was in my second year of college.  I was more mature than a freshman but I had never quiet experienced love but I knew how to have fun.  But by twenty four, I had had my heart broken a few times and faced difficult stresses in life of finishing college (as long as I didn’t fail genetics) and finding a job and living on my own for the first time.

There is a chance that I may make her older still but while I am not working on that book I am nothing thinking about it.   As a twenty seven year old, I have gained even more wisdom than when I was twenty four.  I have gained more experience living on my own and have finally experienced a great love; such experiences will help my writing.  Again, I still write what I know.

On Small Writing Groups….

Hello world,

This has been a long time coming post.  I have spent the last several weeks in Germany (for both work and play) and with the holidays crashing over us, it has been constantly keeping me away from posting.  So here I am wanting to talk about a very VERY useful tool while writing:

Writing Groups.

A few years ago when I still lived in Bloomington, IN I was part of a writing group with a few other writer friends.  We would get together once a week to discuss the sample we chose for that time.  It was great! I really missed that.  It took me time before I finally got around to finding a group (or two) here in Chicago.  I will say that it has reminded me of the benefit of having more than just one pair of eyes looking at my work.

I really enjoyed working with a group of people to look over some of my work.  When looking for a group, it’s important to find people who are kind and supportive.  Fortunately, most people looking for such groups are such people.  The people I have met ask the necessary questions about my work, they are supportive of my ideas but still give great suggestions that are worth considering.  When writing, it’s always a great idea to have someone outside of your own head to look at what you have done.  This will help you see outside of the box.  This does not necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your own stories or overall idea because someone may not see or agree with your overal vision.  But the right group of people can really help.  They may see something in your story that you may not have noticed before.  They may ask questions about your world that will make you delve deeper and discover more than your anticipated.

And being part of such a group can enable you to be that sort of help and support to fellow writers.  You too can ask questions and be as supportive as they are to you.

Whne you find the right grou, the process will be symbiotic: you help them and they help you.  I think being around sch creative is better than any creative writing class I have taken.  These people don’t necessarily have to be writers of your own genre.  In fact, it may be better that they write different.  They may not be restricted to the confines of your genre.  Again, this means thinking outside the box.

That being said – if being in a creative writing class does help you then great! Keep going.  But I still supplement it with a writing group.

What about the rest of you?  Have you found writing groups to also be helpful? Let me know your thoughts.

On a Shameless Plug…..

So while reading and writing consume my life, I just want to take a few moments, as well as a few words, to put in a shameless plug for a friend’s podcast.  Why not? We creative types need to stick together and help promote each other’s works!

I will admit that the most shameless part is that I take part a few episodes.  But what is the podcast you ask? It’s called Van Damme That’s Good.  I have also attached the official website which includes my friend’s fantastic posters for each episode.

But what are these episodes for?  Well, are you familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000 or MST3K? If are not, either click the link to a short YouTube video or just know that essentially has a man, a robot, and an alien who sit in a theatre watching terrible movies and make fun of them.  I use to do this sort game in college.  We called it Bad Movie Night.  Netflix has a goldmine of these kinds of movies.  I highly recommend if you do this sort of thing with a group of friends because doing it alone is just kind of sad.  However, if you really must try this and find yourself alone…well, that’s what this podcast is for.  Each episode consists of our hosts: Zach and Chris as well as a third guest host who picks a well loved but terrible movie for them to make fun of.  The episode I am in is for the movie Legend.  I just finished another episode this last Monday for Ninja III: The Domination

How the podcast works is simple, simply start the podcost and listen for the introductions as well as an anecdote about why this movie was chosen.  Then start the movie as the hosts do (you’ll hear the movie) and just listen to the hilarity.  It’s fun, I promise.

Did I also mention that these episodes are free?

Give it a shot when you have a chance.  I enjoy partaking in Bad Movie because it involves being witty on your feet.  It’s not writing, but it is a creative outlet.

To all you writers out there… you have other creative outlets besides writing that help fulfill your creative needs?