Working Titles.

I don’t know about you, but I never really feel settled about any writing project until I’ve found a suitable name for it; one that settles quickly into place; one that just feels right. Until then I’m all angsty and skin-crawly. So when I discovered this article on The Independent (by way of Tumblr) featuring an infographic which reveals the working titles of fifteen classics, it made me happy.

They’re not that great, to be honest. I mean, can you imagine your thoughts on seeing a newly published novel by the name of Trimalchio of West Egg? Or how about Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice?

“Oh, man, that sounds AMAZING!!! I have to buy it right now!”

No? Well, okay then…

Also, I have to mention: War and Peace originally shared a title with a Shakespeare play. What on earth?

Understanding > Irritation.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

– Carl Jung

This is important. Instead of allowing yourself to simply sit around being annoyed by somebody, try to put yourself into their shoes and understand where they’re coming from. I’ve been practicing this for a while, and I guarantee you, not only will you become more compassionate towards others, you will learn a heck of a lot about yourself. And you’ll even grow in compassion toward yourself.

Plus, as a writer it’s always important (ALWAYS) to try and understand other people. How else will you be able to write characters who ring true?

So try it: Next time you’re irritated with somebody, think about it. Why are you irritated? What does that say about your personal character? Why do you think they behave in this way? What does that say about their life?

High Rock.

Today is the day when I usually write about writing. But life can’t be all about writing all the time, can it? We’re going to take a break from writing for the day, because I want to show you some photos.

In my “other job” as a Young Life leader, I’ve been able to do some pretty incredible things, not the least of which was yesterday’s day trip with seven crazy kids. We drove up into the mountains, over nine miles of potholes (blasting music all the way), and then hiked up to an old fire lookout station perched on top of a rock.

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I took this photo from the parking lot. See that little white box on the tip of the rock? That was our destination.

The views on the way up were stunning.

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I mean, honestly.

Of course, scrambling 1.5 miles up the side of a mountain isn’t the easiest thing to do. Especially not for a sea level-dweller like me. I have strong ballerina legs, so muscle-wise I was fine. I just couldn’t breathe.

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I made it though. There’s me, sweaty and exhausted, standing on the edge of a freakin’ cliff. Such fun. (Side note: No, it’s not as dangerous as it looks. That does not mean, however, that I will be showing my mom this photo. Discretion is the better part of valor.)

The views from the lookout tower were ridiculous:

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Come on now, people. Is this real life?

 

 

Small Changes.

I figured out the theme statement for my current WIP yesterday. I’m sure plenty of people have said it much better than I can, but here it is, for what it’s worth:

A change to the whole requires a change in the individual.

If you’re trying to change something big, changes have to happen inside people first. And most likely those changes have to start with you.

That’s all.

Letting People Talk.

Well, just a quick update on where I’m at, writing-wise, because, hello, THE SUN FINALLY DECIDED TO SHOW ITSELF IN MY NECK OF THE WOODS!!! Time to get myself into a bikini and head down to the lake.

So basically, a couple of weeks ago I shared a piece of freewriting I did, and announced that I was doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

And I am. Just not officially.

Mainly because I really have no idea where I’m going with this project. So my goals are slightly undefined. Maybe my goal should simply be to come up with a plotline by the end of the month. Rather difficult to boil down to a word count.

What I’ve been doing is simply sitting down every day with a notebook and pen, and letting kooky characters say kooky things. Most of it is nonsense, but some of it is pretty interesting.

And I’m having So. Much. Fun.

Really, this is my favorite part of writing: Coming up with glorious new people and letting them chatter. So a whole month dedicated to that? Yes, please.

There’s something to be said for starting out on a journey before you know the destination.

Cinquain Warm-Ups.

We writers all have different ways of getting into the swing of putting words on paper. Some of us start with timed free-writes, some of us use prompts, some of us spend an hour or three on Twitter, and some of us (lucky ducks) may not need any warm-up at all. I happen to be the type of person who has a whole arsenal of warm-up methods, one of which was suggested to me by my resident poet:

I write cinquains. There’s a whole website dedicated to them, where you can delve deeply into their history and different forms, if you like. Personally, I’m to lazy for that. My brother simply described them to me as poems invented as an English-language answer to the Haiku. Because let’s be honest, haikus really don’t work all that well with our inelegant language. Basically, they are syllabic poems of 5 lines.

2 syllables
4 syllables
6 syllables
8 syllables
2 syllables

Simple as that. I find them useful to get my brain unstuck, since they are so simple and economical. Plus, they can teach a lot about using strong words, and packing as much meaning as you can into a tiny amount of space.

But here’s the thing: They’re just warm-ups. THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE TO BE ANY GOOD. In fact, I even titled my cinquain notebook “Horrible Cinquains.”

Whatever, it works for me.

Here’s a few of them, just to show you all how horrible they can be, and how fun:

Graveyard.
Warm summer night.
Two young people lying
Silent, not touching; too much left
Unsaid.

Freshness.
For this we pray
To our God of Plenty
From the depths of desolation.
Make new.

Chasing
Sunsets: Running
Wildly after beauty;
Fearing the screaming darkness at
Our backs.

^^
This last
Cinquain with my
Deepest apologies
For stealing words from Natalie
Goldburg.

Cinquains
Are a great place
To cobble all my thoughts
Into strange, lumpty things I call
Poems.

So there ya have it. If you get inspired to try a few of these, by all means share them with me in the comments section!

 

 

 

Music for Survival.

Well, here we are, five days into a new month. I hope all my American followers had a lovely Independence Day celebration, and I hope everybody else had a fairly tolerable Monday. I got to watch about 10 different fireworks shows across the water from a friend’s cliff-hanging deck. Not that I feel smug about it, or anything.

Now, on to business.

As you might be able to guess, if you’ve been following me for more than a month, it’s time to share another of Adam Young’s glorious “film scores.” This one is based off of the Andes Flight Disaster, and it’s absolutely perfect for writing those heavy scenes of dread, with a gloriously triumphant finale.

Edit: I completely forgot to mention that July 5, the day I posted this, was also Adam’s 30th birthday!