1000 Days to Master-hood

So, this week while pecking away at the rag-bag of quilt pieces that is pretending to be my manuscript, I decided, much out of the blue, that next year I did NOT want to do this anymore.

Oh, I’ll still be writing, but next year I want a break from Novelling.

Plus, I’m sure that I’ll still have a lot to edit on this project next year. So. What to do? I’m looking at another 9 months of pushing this baby novel down the hill and hoping I roll it into a readable shape by then. (To all my veteran authors who can poop out a clean first draft on their first 90 days, I both hate you and want to come live in your pocket, ok.)

Anyway, I’m going to take on the Ray Bradbury Challenge this year AND start on the 52 short stories in 52 weeks in 2017.

(But April, It’s still March. Isn’t it a little early to come up with a New Years Resolution?)

Well parenthesized reader, this is true, it is early. But part of my growth as a writer has been to begin outlining a project before I start it and 52 plots are a lot of work. So I’ve been pre-planning this year between poking my book forward.

ALSO, the reason this is relevant now instead of later is that I’m also going to be doing the 1000 Short Story, Poems and Essay Challenge in a public way to continue improving my brain for future scribbling.

I’ve been trying to figure out the best method to talk about these things and for now, I’m going to put out blog posts on different works that I like a lot, however with Periscope being a new medium in the world, I’m also probably going to schedule some of those as well because I think it’ll be faster.

I’m working on creating a page that will be a current documentation of my progress. Right now I’m working my way through the following:
Poems.com has a daily poem on their website, so I’ll be just reading that daily.

Essays are currently coming from The Book of My Lives by Aleksandar Hemon

Short stories are coming from A Manuel for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin

On Day 1 I read “Carousel” by Zachary Schomburg as my poem, Essay was Hemon’s “The Story of Others” and my short story was “Angel’s Laundromat” by Berlin.

Poetry V. Prose

Saturday, at my writer’s group, one of our member read a fantastic poem that dealt with the metaphor of child abuse and catching mice. The images were striking, poignant and brought chills to my arms. After we went over her work though, she stated with frustration that she ‘didn’t want to be a poet’ because she was actually working on her novel right now.

Well, to her and to all I say, there is no reason you can’t be both.

The form of Poetry is usually pretty different from prose, yet without the beautiful language that we develop IN poetry, how are we going to give our prose those moments of emotional engagement that they need to survive? Kristine Katheryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith both are fond of pointing out that readers are going to like what they like and the only thing us writers can do is to make what we’re putting out available to them. Yet I find that I want when I am looking for a new book IS that emotional connection, that moment of self-identification in another character. When I read a book, I want to be the one who feels what they are feeling. To write that out, we must communicate the images. What better way to achieve that than to boil it all down in a few sentences and produce the essence of the emotion.

When you cook, you have to add flavoring, or your food will not taste bland. Whether you marinade the food before you cook it or season as you go, there should be some flavor element to the dish or you’ll forget it. The most delicious steak I had this weekend had been seasoned well and cooked to a tender perfection. My favorite chocolate experience was a cake that had been properly iced. I had a potato casserole that was infused with cheesy goodness and without that, the dish would be lacking.

Poetry is how we develop our flavor palettes in writing. It’s how we find our seasonings and how we make those scenes memorable. Don’t be afraid of the poetry and don’t be afraid to use it to make your prose even stronger.