Old Writing

Yay, another week down! But pushing that aside…

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a horrible Pack rat, especially when it comes to things like old writing (heck I even kept some old math homework). I cringe whenever I stumble upon something I’ve written in middle school or high school, but I never seem to throw it away.

It just sits there collecting dust either in boxes or digital storage. I guess one of the reasons I keep them to remind myself I am not the writer I was yesterday, each new day brings new perspectives and new ideas.

That was one of the issues I faced when I was younger, I never finished anything because I would write something one day, and then wake up the next morning wanting to scrap it and go down a different path. Now that I’m older, it’s still a challenge to the finish things, it feels like I’m a dog walker, and each idea is a dog and they are pulling me in different directions.

However, I’m working on sticking to one idea and following it until the end. It might not be where I thought we were going, it might be frustrating to release control to that idea, but that doesn’t make the discovery of this path and any branching off paths any less fun.

This little dust bunny is almost five years old, from my first writing class. I loved that class, the students, and the professor. They all encouraged me to continue my writing (though I’ve struggled with embracing it until recently).


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Detour in Brazil

They were falling, that much he knew. The right wing was ablaze, its turbines spewing out plumes of smoke. Andrew Greene stumbled towards the cockpit. Overhead bags were falling from their compartments and spilling their contents on the floor. He stepped over bathing suits and makeup kits. His two passengers were strapped to their seats with oxygen masks dangling and slapping them in the face.

“Tell the damn pilot to keep this thing straight!” The male passenger, Thomas Wells, shrieked. Liquor burned Greene’s nostrils; the man’s drink had spilled all over his Hawaiian shirt, the glass still clutched in his hand. His wife had her eyes closed, her lips pressed so tightly they were nonexistent. Greene entered the cockpit and held onto his seat for balance.

“Greene! We’re losing altitude!” Louis fumbled over the ND, which put their current location somewhere above the Amazon. Greene’s eyes shifted to the PFD, the numbers rapidly dropping. He slid into his seat and took his yoke. He yanked it towards him, his face strained with effort. The plane tottered, barely slowing down. The men struggled to hold the plane steady. Greene could feel the rumbling of the yoke in his teeth as the pilots pulled them hard against their chests. The dense foliage was closer and branches scratched at the hull.

Louis began muttering under his breath. Greene caught the words: “Please forgive me Father.” Metal screeched as the wings were ripped off. Sparks flew from their flight instruments. Louis withdrew his hands to protect his face. The plane shuddered as it ripped through the trees like ice-cream running through a child’s fingers. Greene’s hold on the yoke was all that kept him from being tossed around like a deranged puppet. Vines and branches slapped at the glass, growing thicker and obscuring their view. The small aircraft gave a final jolt and smoked to a stop.

Greene let out a shaky breath, “Last time I let you drive.” He gave Louis a wan smile. The younger man grimaced when the screaming began. The cabin was in flames and their wealthy passenger and his wife were still strapped in. “Louis!” The man responded by reaching for the fire extinguisher tucked behind his seat. The spray of white rain did nothing to quell the raging fire.

“I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!” She cried.

“No one’s dying today.” Greene helped them out while Louis cleared a path to the hatch. They leapt and the four lay sprawled on the damp earth, the heat of the fire at their backs. The fire crept slowly, slithering along the leaf littered earth. The pillar like trees encircled their clearing like bars of a cage. The woman knelt in the mud, eyes transfixed on the smothering wreck. Her mouth hung open, and a wordless cry of grief racked her thin frame.

“My Prada! My Gucci!” Her fingers dug into the earth. She leapt towards the giant bonfire with a mother’s arms open for a wayward son or a lost lover. Her husband held her back. Her fists beat against his meaty back. “My clothes! Stop! Release me!” She cried harder. “Give them back.” She sobbed into his chest.

“There, there, Dear.” Thomas patted her on the head. “I’ll buy you better things once we reach the city.” Her eyes shone in the light of the fire.

“Sorry to break up your tender moment,” Greene cocked a thumb at the burning wreck. “But I suggest we get as far as possible before that baby blows.” The woman turned raged filled eyes at him. Miranda pushed against her husband’s chest, causing him to stumble backwards.

“You…this is your entire fault!” A perfectly manicured hand slapped Greene leaving trails of mud on his cheek. “You were supposed to get us there safely. Now we’re stuck in this godforsaken place and while all I ever loved is dead on that plane.”

“Miranda sweetheart—”

“Don’t Miranda me. This man must pay for his crimes.”

“Sorry I didn’t know bathroom breaks were illegal.” Greene watched as she stalked away behind some trees.

“Miranda! Wait!” Thomas waddled after her, his Hawaiian flowers blending with the forest.

“Well?” Louis asked.

“Well what?” Greene reached into his pocket and pulled out a carton of Marlboros. He shook one out into his palm. He showed the box to Louis who shook his head.

“We’re lost. The plane is a wreck, and we have no way to communicate with civilization.” He stared as Greene lit and took a slow drag from his cigarette. A quick snap of rope and a short scream scattered the parrots from their nests. “Oh God, oh God.” He glanced between the direction of the sounds and at his pilot, indecision and fear etched upon his face.

Greene flicked the cigarette onto the ground and crushed it with his heel. “Time to head out.” He dug out a compass from his pocket and held it to the sky.  He used his hand to protect the glass face from the glare of the flame. “To the east my friend. The river is not far from here.”

“What about…?”

“Those two?” Green waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “I’m sure the locals are taking good care of Mr. and Mrs. Wells. If we’re lucky, they’ll let us partake in the festivities.”


So what do you guys do with old writing? Toss it aside and keep looking towards the future or save it?

One down, fifty-one more to go

So…this week has been interesting, to say the least. I’ve started the short story challenge and finished my first one. It’s not where I would like it to be, it’s not polished enough, but a new week begins today and with it must come another story. I went over my story ideas (my little plot bunnies), and I have about nine that can be short stories…Hopefully, I won’t find myself stranded after these next few weeks.

One odd thing to note is, I started this story in the past tense, like most of what  I write. Yet, when I changed the scene, it was suddenly in the present tense. So, I was like “that’s weird but fine, whatever, let’s see where this goes”. Isn’t it funny we use the past tense more than the present tense?

Anyways, it was kinda weird at first but it fit the scene nicely, like a snapshot.

Then, bam! back into the past tense…

The following scenes didn’t flow as well as that middle scene, so here came the dilemma: change everything to follow that one scene in the present tense or change that scene to past tense?

It’s unsettling that I had this issue, I felt like a grade-schooler just learning how to write. Or maybe I just could’t decided whether or not the story should be in present or past tense? (Yea, let’s go with this scenario)

(Eventually I went back and changed everything to past tense)

So, the question for this week is, which tense do you prefer to write in: present or past? Or does it depend on the story?

Do you dare?

Happy Wednesday!

ray-bradbury-614x256I’m here to issue y’all a challenge! Well, it was Ray Bradbury’s challenge. He said, “write one short story a week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad stories in a row.”

So, how about it? Ready to test his theory, can we really not have successive failures? Does anyone else want to embark on this journey? I already roped in one of my best friends. I’m still trying to get her to finish her stories so maybe this is the push she needs.

Here is the article I found on Ray Bradbury’s advice: http://www.openculture.com/2012/04/ray_bradbury_gives_12_pieces_of_writing_advice_to_young_authors_2001.html

I guess I went backwards and did the novel first but I feel like short stories and fiction in general aren’t so scary to finish now. I’m going to go stuff my head now (and maybe get around to study for finals T_T)

I can’t wait to hear what y’all think and let me know which piece of advice was your favorite.

And!

If you do decide to come along with us on this challenge, post the link to your stories in the comments, I would love to read them ^_^

As always, happy writing!

P.S. I find it funny that one of professors says “accountants don’t use exclamation points. We’re not that exciting. Maybe we are, or maybe it’s the second cup of coffee that has me bouncing.” Whatever! Writing is something to be excited about! mokona__coffee_break_by_ginitachi

 

 

It is finished!

NaNoWrimo is over! (yay!)untitled

(I’m feeling just like Mokona over there). This was my second attempt and I’m so happy to report that I actually finished this time (last time I only made it to about 16k). But this year taught me a lot. There were so many days I would sit in front of the screen, the agonizing blinking of the cursor taunting me, and that’s when I had to fight myself.

It didn’t have to be perfect the first time, I know that, but I didn’t know how to stop myself from hitting the backspace button after each sentence, deleting paragraphs, or whole sections of dialogue. Finally, I told myself to just shut up and write. This was sort of my mantra this last November and it worked (surprisingly, I never listen to myself).

Are there dreadfully written parts, parts so awful I don’t want to even look at them, to shove them in a box, chained and locked, and toss into the ocean. Of course!

Will I do that?

No, ocean pollution is bad enough without adding my refuse to the pile.

Shannon Hale said, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles”. That’s something I had to constantly remind myself.

So I showed up every day with my shovel and piled heap after heap. There were a few ideas that pleasantly surprised me, will they stay, who knows. My novel still isn’t done, maybe another 20k or so, but now I know what my job is. Just show up, I’ll fix it when I have all the pieces in place.

My friend asked me how it felt to finish, and I told her, yea it’s great that I wrote 50k but I’m not finished, heck I’m probably only 2/3 of the way through. I know the mess I’m making and revision is that awful cloud hanging over my head. Is anything that I’ve written even salvageable? Will I have to start from scratch again?

Revision is waiting right around the corner and it makes me cringe, there is a reason I never finished stories before. I would write something, abandon it, and that was that. I have so many stories taking up space and collecting digital cobwebs. The most intensive rewriting went into my novelette, Mine, which was funny because it started off as a short story.

My first novel (last year’s failed NaNoWriMo project) is being read by my wonderful beta, Rocio, so when I get that back, more revisions!

But I’m actually excited (only for that one). At the end of NaNoWrimo, I watched James Patterson’s video on editing, he talked about rewriting as polishing the story, finding the true heart of it. I understood that at a fundamental level, but it just clicked when he said it.

So, while my novels seem like daunting tasks, I just have to remember, rewriting isn’t about beating myself up for ugly writing or making mistakes, because this process is to bring stories to their ideal form.

To everyone, I just wanna say, we’re all in this together, let’s take each story one scene at a time and let’s not lose the joy or sight of why we write.

Happy Writing!tsubasa_mokona

(now maybe I can get back to updating consistently ^_^)