January 31, 2011

Rewrite in Progress

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 10:23 pm

I don’t remember when I worked on it but I believe the day of my last post I got an idea I wanted to use in a short story I had written.  I believe it was two days after that when I wrote a new first and second page for it.  So, I had to write a blog about this bit of writing progress.

The Literary Living program is going well.  I have been keeping up with my first month’s habit of writing Morning Pages.  We are now getting ready to do phone interviews with a partner about our writing.  That will be interesting because the Introverts in the group do not like talking on the phone for some reason, so we will be trying to discover that and stretching beyond our comfort zones.

I will report how that goes.  Right now, the other lady I asked to be my partner because we seem to have a lot in common and are often commenting on each other’s posts and replies to other participant’s posts, is not ready and neither.  That is another thing we share.


January 26, 2011

Not Too Old for Improv

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 5:28 am

That is the name of the group I met with at the Renaissance Court senior center today.  It was not the first time I was at one, but I had missed the last one or two.  Before going down there though, I wrote in my journal and while I was on the bus heading downtown I began to have some new ideas for a short story I have written.  So, I felt I could blog about that, since it does relate to my writing.

Before the Improv group session, I went to a talk by a dietitian on eye health.  I had forgotten that I had signed up for it and it was today, but I got down there earlier to hear most of what she was sharing and to pick up her hand out.

The Improv group was fun.  One thing they did that was my favorite exercise was that we had a bag of objects and each of us took one and had to make up three other things that the object was.  Then we passed it around in a circle and each of us did one object from the bag and made up one use for the item.

After the Improv group ended, I had time to get something to eat, (I just got a snack) before one of my writing groups met.  This was Write Right, the one that meets every two weeks.  I had not made a not of the new schedule so I was not prepared for the meeting today, but I sat in and listened and commented on the work shared by the others.  There were others of us in the group who also did not bring any writing to share.  So, I had a very full and fun day today.

January 22, 2011

Literary Living

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 6:24 am

I have begun participating in an online program for writers, or those who desire to become writers, called Literary Living.  It is a four-month long process of helping us find our “voice” as it is referred to in the writing community, or our niche, or both.  The first week we were introducing ourselves to each other and choosing a habit we want to form and report about daily for the first month.

I chose doing “morning pages,” a suggestion from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.  That seems to work well for me, but I have not been consistent with it and having to report my progress, or admit when I miss, is going to help.  We also write encouragements to each other.  That is especially helpful because I think all of us are prone to be hard on ourselves when we don’t meet our expectations, and we need someone to tell us that it’s okay, keep trying.  Isn’t it interesting how easy it is to do that for someone else, but not for ourself!

We began the second week with a personality test.  When we learn our strengths and weaknesses we can determine why some things work for us and others don’t and find what will.  We have all found that we have not been able to practice advice for writers that we have read, or written like those we admire and have wondered why.  Now, we will know.

This is a good experience so far just getting to know these other writers, even though we are many miles apart and will probably never meet in person.  Some people in the group have had writing jobs doing non-fiction articles, but now want to try writing fiction.  Some have been published and others have started, but never finished novels.  We are not all in the same age range either, but I am glad that there is one other senior woman.

I will be eager to read something one of our group gets published and be able to say, I know that person.  I hope someone will say that about me some day when I become a well-known author.

January 13, 2011

SCBWI Retreat

Filed under: Uncategorized — ccassello @ 7:51 am

I know it has been a long time since I updated this blog.  As I said, I decided it was not worth doing every day if I had nothing to write about except what I did the day before or that day when little of it relates to writing.  It was, after all, my intention to use the blog to keep track of my writing progress, but there is not much of that going on now.

I did have a nice experience this past weekend.  I went to the first retreat the regional chapter of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  It was held at a retreat center on the north side of the city and went from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.  There was no real structure for the retreat.  It was decided to leave it open for what we wanted to do, stay in our rooms and write most of the time or socialize.

The group was limited to 15.  We had dinner on Friday night or Saturday, or for an extra $10.00 could have both, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  The food was fresh cooked and set up buffet style.  That was what I will miss most, it was so good and I didn’t have to cook it or wash the dishes.  I went out for dinner on Saturday though and that was just as well because I heard that the steak that was served that night was not well done.

On Friday, I was getting the impression that I would not have a chance to talk to and meet anyone as I had hoped to because everyone seemed to want to work on their writing in private.  I’m trying to come up with two plots for stories for the ICL (Institute of Children’s Literature) course I am taking and did get a little more of an idea for one, but nothing I can develop yet.

On Saturday night, we had access to a lounge that we could not use until then because another group had it, (there were four groups in the center and that was one reason we had to keep our group small).  A couple of ladies brought wine and we had some snacks.  Then we shared stories we had written, or were working on, and commented on each other’s work.  They all liked my story, so I am on the right track.  I have already submitted it to one book publisher, but it is too early to expect any response yet and if they are not interested I will not hear from them at all.  It makes it sort of hard to know when it is all right to submit it to another publisher, but I will have to go by the response time they give in their guidelines.  If they say they respond in three months and I have not heard from them by then it will be time to send it to someone else.  Our regional director made some suggestions that she feels will make the story better and if I do have to rewrite it because I get nothing but rejection, I will know what needs to be worked on to improve it.

Of our group only two were men.  One was more of an illustrator than writer and felt out-of-place because of that besides the gender, but he displayed art work for picture books he is working on and got some feed back.  He left on Saturday.  The other gentleman announced on Sunday at breakfast that he decided that he does not want to write for children.  He probably thought that would be easier than writing for adults or teens.  A lot of people do, until they find out how difficult it is to express ideas in very simple language when we are used to using a more extensive vocabulary.  Anyway, since he said he doesn’t want to write for children, we won’t be seeing him at other functions unless he changes his mind again.

I got pictures of our group and the director is going to make up a list of emails so we will be able to keep in touch with each other.  All of us agreed that we had a great time and we would like to do it again with a few changes and maybe have them more often.

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