Thursday, August 18, 2011

Lightning Strikes!

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that every writer has had at least one Eureka moment - the epiphany that strikes out of nowhere and ultimately presents you with the kind of opportunity that makes you want to sing and cry at the same time. You know, the one that makes you wonder if this is why you became a writer in the first place - your higher calling, if you will.

I had that moment today. I won't go into it because, I mean, c'mon...I only just thought of it:) I've gotta let it simmer a bit. But if this works out the way I'm hoping it will, it'll be brilliant! Gorgeous! A symphony of a reading experience!

That is, if I can get it right...

Wish me luck:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I don't suck at blogging, just at getting to my blogging. (I think...)

Okay, so I'm back from lazy-land an unofficial hiatus from the blogosphere with updates on me and my writing self. FYI, this is where I pretend you care and you just roll your eyes and read on:)

So, what have I been up to aside from mothering the 5 4 hooligans and keeping up with the 9-to-5?

Well, for starters, I've shown my script to a producer/writer/director on his offer to give feedback to help with the rewrite! Awesome, right??

That was 2 months ago. I haven't heard back. But just so you know, I'm taking that as 'I'm simply too busy with actual film work to waste my time helping any aspirant bold enough to compete with me in this rat race'. It doesn't mean my script sucks. Because...y'know...it doesn't suck. I think. Probably.

Possibly.

On the more productive side, I've been working on that script that I'm writing for a guy in New Jersey. Yeah, we have a contract. *Cue nail buffing on the shoulder...* :) Okay, it's a contract that I drew up myself and there's no money involved at the moment. And admittedly, I really only went into this project for the experience of it and not with any expectations of it being a huge success (though believe me, I'll be utterly ecstatic if anything does happen with it!). But I am really enjoying the writing of this script so much more than I expected I would. I mean, it is a great story (the details of which, unfortunately, I can't share), but it's such a different story from anything I ever would've written on my own. But I think the thing that has really surprised me about this script is how much my own creativity is kicking in. The script is based on a true story, and I started out thinking that I'd be writing a screenplay version of the events as they happened. Of course, that was before I realised that a lot of things needed to be fictionalised to actually make a script out of it.

So now, I'm cutting things that happened, adding things that didn't and toying with these characters (some old, some new) as if they're my own little puppets that somehow already had a life of their own before I ever came along. And it's wonderful!!

Aside from that, it's just the same old, same old. (Except, of course, for the fact that I met Jan Sardi!!! Star-struck much??) I'm picking up freelance editing work wherever I can get it, toying with the idea of entering a few short story contests, whining to my husband that I'm tired and need more chocolate and getting comfy-cozy on the train each morning to write.

In other words, I'm still alive and well and trying every day to do something, anything for my passion. And you know what? I really hope you are, too. Because I'm constantly re-discovering that as hectic as life can be, there's always plenty of fulfillment to be found in the activities we love the most:)

Hey, Hallmark...Boosh!! :p

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to make a year fly

We all have those moments where you just sit back and wonder "where the time went". "This week has flown by," we say. Or, "Is it that time already?"

But I've never been amazed by the rush of a year. Until now.

Was it really a year ago that I detailed my goals for 2010? Is it already time to make new goals for '11? All I can say is...wow! What a rush!!

Okay, so this time last year, I had four goals. Let's see how I did:

1. Finish my novel - semi-check (first draft is done, edits are...meh)
2. Write a book for my sister-in-law - again, semi-check (I used the idea for my screenplay which is 2/3 finished)
3. Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing - check, definitely:)
4. Write lyrics - eh, no check...at all.

Not bad, I think. The certificate kicked my butt harder than I expected, so the semi-checks are totally fine with me:)

So, new goals, people!

In 2011, I will:
1. Finish my screenplay, Lagi (see number 2 above),
2. Finish my screenplay, Not as Nations (a collaboration project),
3. Complete an editing internship (already accepted!), and
4. Find and complete new editing projects to fund my writing habit.

Totally do-able, right? I'm so excited about my current projects! Now let's see how fast we can make 2011 fly by!

Happy New Year:)

Friday, November 19, 2010

A beautiful poem

So the year is coming to a close and that means lots of school assignments are due, and the one that I'm enjoying the most is the poetry analysis. Somehow, I stumbled on a beautiful poem and one that's full of technical quirks for me to work with, so it's perfect for what I need to do.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:)

√Čtude R√©aliste
by Algernon Charles Swinburne

I.

A Baby's feet, like sea-shells pink,
Might tempt, should heaven see meet,
An angel's lips to kiss, we think,
A baby's feet.

Like rose-hued sea-flowers toward the heat
They stretch and spread and wink
Their ten soft buds that part and meet.

No flower-bells that expand and shrink
Gleam half so heavenly sweet
As shine on life's untrodden brink
A baby's feet.

II.

A baby's hands, like rosebuds furled
Whence yet no leaf expands,
Ope if you touch, though close upcurled,
A baby's hands.

Then, fast as warriors grip their brands
When battle's bolt is hurled,
They close, clenched hard like tightening bands.

No rosebuds yet by dawn impearled
Match, even in loveliest lands,
The sweetest flowers in all the world -
A baby's hands.

III.

A baby's eyes, ere speech begin,
Ere lips learn words or sighs,
Bless all things bright enough to win
A baby's eyes.

Love, while the sweet thing laughs and lies,
And sleep flows out and in,
Sees perfect in them Paradise.

Their glance might cast out pain and sin,
Their speech make dumb the wise,
By mute glad godhead felt within
A baby's eyes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ah, Spring, the perfect time for a short short! (Even if it is a bit of a downer...)

Okay, I have succumbed to the stress of having too much going on. Until last week, I was running on fumes, with nary a finish line in sight. So what did I do? I got rid of one of them. Totally annihilated it:)

After a long talk with the hubby, I've decided to skip NaNoWriMo this year, for a few reasons. First, the novel idea that I'd settled on wasn't inspiring me the way a NaNo idea should. I mean, if you're going to run a marathon, you'd better be hugely excited about your motive, right? But this idea just wasn't cutting it for me. It was...okay. And that's it.

Second, I'd assumed a personal goal of 80,000 words in November as opposed to the standard 50,000. The theory there was that I'd get the entire first draft finished in November and avoid the post-NaNo slump that hindered me last year.

And third, like last year, I signed on for a Writing.com prep challenge for October that was beating me down instead of gearing me up. And honestly, if I can't develop a 15 minute writing routine, how on earth could I plan to commit to 80,000 words (or even 50,000 words if I allowed myself to 'slip')?

So, I'm marking NaNo off my list of goals for this year, focussing instead on finishing my Certificate on a high note, practicing my toosh off for the editing accreditation exam in May and writing for peace and pleasure as I so love to do:)

Now, all that said, I've got a short short that I wrote for the WDC NaNo prep that, if I'm being honest, will probably never see the light of day. But I love it, even though it's still a bit rough around the edges and not far removed from the first draft at all. So I thought I'd share it here for your reading enjoyment. Feel free to comment or not. And if you hate it, then by all means, write something better and share it with the world:)

Seen and Heard
© Rebekah D. Hay 2010

The three porch steps are a blur under my feet. My heart is a wrecking ball in my chest. And then I hear the baby’s cry.

I was born in 1972 to a vacant shell of a mother and a drunk father who followed the stereotype to the letter. I saw red, swollen faces across from my Cheerios, and I learned the exact position to hold inside the closet with my baby brother so as to be unseen and unheard. And I knew the cry of a beaten child by heart.

This is one of those cries.

The door is already open and the police I am with try to hold me back on the porch. I understand where they’re coming from – this is a dangerous situation for all of us. But when that baby’s voice cuts off, nothing can restrain me.

I barge into the small house and am assaulted by the odor of infection and vomit. A skeletal boy cowers behind the sofa, out of his father’s sight, and I wish I could’ve shared my closet with him.

The baby gasps and readies for the next scream as the man raises his arm back up over his head.

The roar that escapes me is carnal, ferocious. ‘No!’

He spins to me, doesn’t pause to see the pistols aimed at him and punches me in my left jaw. My body flies across the tiny room, crunches against the wall. Dust and bits of sheetrock flutter down over me and I hear two shots ring out.

The man shouts over the baby’s cries as the police move to apprehend him, not caring to be gentle with his limp and bloody arm. I move toward the baby and feel soft crackles vibrate through my shoulder, the broken bones numbed or overshadowed by the need to calm and caress.

I lift the baby to my chest. He is soiled and hot as the sun. I hold him closer, gently as I can, and coo into his ear. I sing the song that used to calm my brother in the late hours of eternal nights. The baby screams louder, but I continue to sing, my voice breaking and tears streaming down my face.

Something touches my leg and I look to see the boy from behind the sofa clutching himself to me, watching his father being dragged out of the house in a violent burst of profanities. He looks up to me and his large, terrified eyes are a silent ‘thank you’.

I wish I could lie to him, tell him that these things never happen, that his case is the worst I’ve seen. But I can’t.

I can only sing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This is the part where I collapse... (And a Mockingjay 'review', complete with spoiler)

Well, I'm following my old familiar cycle: get insanely excited about a new project, absolutely kill the first quarter's worth, plateau to a nice and steady pace at about half-way, and then screech to a halt long before the finish line. Okay, well maybe not a halt. A slog. A whiney, pitifully pathetic me slog.

Yes, the only thing more painful than not writing is the guilt of not writing. And yet, we (or at least I) endure it. Day after day after *bleeping* day. How do I make it stop???

What? Write?

Really??

Er...okay. How about a Rebekah-esque review? Yeah? Lovely:)

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

So I obviously had high hopes for Mockingjay. The first two books were excellent YA novels (a guilty pleasure of mine...if done right), and I was so totally excited to see how Collins would wrap up the trilogy and give me my YA fix at the same time.

Unfortunately, although I did look at the book as both a series finale and as a stand-alone, I was disappointed on both counts.

Characterisation: Lacking. In terms of the series, I felt like Katniss wasn't acting with the fire that had come to define her. Sure, she'd been through a bit of trauma, and she behaved as any normal human would. But that's the problem. She should have been more than any human, especially since the story itself was more than normal. In this kind of book, characters need to be relatable, but also extraordinary. And as a stand-alone, I doubt I'd have stuck by Katniss through her whining. I mean, who wants their heroine to be someone who (literally) runs and hides in a corner for days on end? And I have a hard time buying her animosity towards the strict food rationing considering that most of her life was spent in poverty.

Backstory: Good job. For the series, she gave just enough reminders to help the reader recall details from the previous books. And for the stand-alone, she didn't offer up the dreaded information dump, opting instead to work the crucial details into the story.

Narrative: No matter how you look at it, there were large sections of narrative that seemed to only gloss over the events. I get that Collins was aiming to cut down on the time that passed by simply telling the reader what happened. But I want to see it happening. Normally, I'd give the benefit of the doubt (especially for a finale) and say she probably wanted to take us through every detail, but just needed to cull pages (or even chapters) from her manuscript. But in this case, I think she took it too far. If it's important enough to mention, surely it warrants more detail than the token 'she did this and he said that'.

**Spoiler Alert**
Story/Ending: Okay, but not great. In terms of the series, Collins did a good job coming full circle (the whole story really starts when Katniss volunteers to take Prim's place in the Games, essentially saving her life, but then Prim dies anyway). And I did like that Katniss went on to have children, considering her previous aversion to the idea, because of the Games. But I don't think Collins gave enough attention to Katniss' other important relationships (with Gale and also with Peeta). The ending was heavy on the narrative with hardly any dialogue or direct action. And for this reason, I'd have felt pretty let down with the ending (and, therefore, with the entire book) if I hadn't read the first two in the series. Yes, tie up your story and get out, but don't shortchange the readers who have come this far with you. Give me meat, right up until the last page, and I'll love you forever.

Overall: Disappointing. Usually when I buy a book, it's because I know I will almost certainly want to read it again. And again and again. With Mockingjay, though, I'm seriously considering a donation to the local library...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Best-case scenario

Writers Festival. Brilliant authors everywhere. Amazing sessions with lots to learn. What's the best-case scenario you can think of with that?

Too hard to think of only one, right?

Well today, I got one of my best-case scenarios!

I was sitting in a session about fiction vs. non-fiction when someone in the row behind me made a comment. I turned to see it was none other than Mohezin Tejani, an author I had heard speak yesterday and was totally amazed by!

So, being the eager beaver that I am, I caught up with him after the session to get his thoughts on assimilation (he's lived all over the world and is, essentially, a world citizen), writing and, if I'm being honest, anything else I can think of on the spot:)

Sure enough, "Mo" did not disappoint. For the next half hour, we had what I thought was a very stimulating conversation. He listened to my questions and gave sincere answers, throwing in the intriguing anecdote here and there.

He had such wonderful words of wisdom that I went away wishing I'd had the nerve to ask if I could record our conversation. (Although, I did quickly write down notes of whatever I could possibly remember afterwards. That'll have to suffice.)

It was such an amazing experience, and I'm so grateful that he took the time to speak with me. Hopefully I'll hear from him soon, as he said he'll send me a piece he wrote (for both my consideration and feedback). But even if I never do, I'll have taken away some invaluable advice from a wonderful man and author!

Thanks, Mo!