"Writing can be messy; full of pointless breakdowns, yelling at the computer, banging your forehead against the keyboard, and hiding under the table."
-Rachel Sammons

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Squeeter And I

No, no, this was not my own signing. I had you thinking it was, didn't I?

I went to see Shannon Hale at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL!  This was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. Honestly. I would recommend her books to anyone so if you haven't read them, go do that now.

My sister, Morgan, is a fellow Shannon-fan:

Aw. This was before Shannon came out to talk.

So it started off with questions.  Shannon is such a cool, sweet person and I am so glad I got to meet her. She talked about her books, writing in general, and the process involved with Graphic Novels, of which she has two. I have read everything by Shannon Hale and own almost every book of hers except for two. She signed the four that I brought, Book Of A Thousand Days, River Secrets, Forest Born, and The Actor and the Housewife. I could never pick a favorite book of hers, but these were the ones she signed.

Honestly, when it was my turn to have my books signed, I was freaked. She is such a cool person, and she has been a great inspiration to me, as well as to my writing. So I really didn't want to make a fool of myself, which I know I should probably be used to. But I managed to tell her that I wanted to be a writer. I seriously cannot get over just how cool she is.

That is me with Shannon and my sister.

Now, she didn't put a limit on how many books she would sign, which is what I would do when I may ever have a book signing. And, yet another very-cool-person thing she did (that I hope to be able to do when I'm an author!) is when she signed the book, she didn't just say For So-and-So From Shannon Hale. She wrote messages in with it! That was just so cool to me. They either related back to the book, or something you had talked to her about. Very amazing.

I just can't get over this. This woman was just so mind-blowing. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had, honestly.

She is just so pretty.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Slam Of Great Words, Cool People, and A Whole Lot Of Fun

So, today was the Poetry Slam! It was SO fun. I just had to come here and talk about it!

It started off with three poets, (Yes! Actual Poets!) and the first lady told us a little bit about herself. Her name was Mary Fons, and she was so cool! My friend was sitting with me, and after Mary recited her poem (which was AWESOME) my friend turned to me and said "She is my new role model!"

Then there were two other poets Marc Smith and Dan Sullivan. I think that's their names, but I'd have to double check to be positive. So it started off with the three poets telling us about themselves, how they got started in writing, and they performed a poem. They're what are called Performance Poets and they memorize their pieces and use the body and gestures to go along with what they're saying, which was UNBELIEVABLE!

Then, all the students were broken into three groups and went with a poet for their workshop. In my first workshop, with Marc Smith, we worked on projecting our voices and showing the differences and how it affects a poem. Then we had a break where we got to eat Chex Mix (!)

After that, we had another workshop, with Mary Fons who gave us a list of things to do and not do during a Poetry Slam and Open Mic. (Side-Note: Marc Smith, was actually the person who invented Poetry Slams. I did not even know that a "Slam" meant competing with poetry until today!) But it was SO cool. She is such a cool person in general.

Then (surprise!) another break! Then our last workshop with Dan Sullivan, where we had to write a poem about our name and I used ideas of the Amber gemstone in mine.

Lunch. Then we had the Slam Overview, where we had to go to our "Home Poet" (our first poet in the first workshop) and discuss how our team would compete in the Slam. Then we had the slam, which was so much fun! Our teams finale piece was about a break up, and we had couples arguing in the audience. Then, when she got to the powerful last line, they all stopped. She went to read the poem again, and this time everyone in our group was supposed to argue with another person in our group. This was insanely fun to do! The two poets that had not been coaching our group even joined in arguing together! Once again, on the last line, we were all silent.

After that, the poets did two more poems and we had Open Mic. Honestly, I couldn't and I didn't do it. I was too scared. I really need to get over this if I want to do something like writing, where every once in a while you have to talk to someone! Whoa!

There were a lot of funny poems, sad poems, poems about love, but I was moved by every single one of them.

All in all, it was a VERY good and enjoyable experience and I am SO happy I went! I had a lot of laughs, and I got teary at many poems, and I LOVED it! This definitely gave me some much-needed exposure and I am much more confidant in going forth with my writing.

P.S. In looking over this blog, I realize I have a lot parenthesis. Sorry about that. I just had so much I wanted to say!

P.P.S. This is also National Library Week! So yay libraries!

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Dates That Come With Being A Writer

So, April is turning out to be a very busy month for me and my writing! First off, it is National Poetry Month and my library is having a young adult poetry contest! Last year, I was one of the winners in this contest and I got it published and a prize and all that jazz. I can't wait to turn in my poem for this one and see where that goes!

Also, my school is having a Poetry Slam/Writing Workshop next week. You had to fill out a whole application form to get into it and everything. Basically, we just go to our first period and then spend the rest of the day in the library. I've never been to one, but it seems like it's reading other's writing as well as letting others read your own so you can get feedback. And, I'm guessing from the Slash-Writing-Workshop part that we can do some writing as well. Two poets are also going to be there, so I'm all excited.

Going back to my library, they are also having a presentation this month called 10 Steps to Getting Your Book Published. I've already registered to go to this event and I'm eagerly anticipating! There is also going to be yet another author and his agent at this event! I feel like I'm finally starting to really pursue writing on a whole other level.

Now this isn't a writing event for just the month of April, like the past couple have been. This is more of a story that ends with an epiphany. Not really, but go with it. So I was in the car with my aunt from Georgia (which is a beautiful state, by the way and I really recommend you visit) and we were talking about books. She took a book out of her bag to show me what she had just bought at Borders and I recognized the authors name because her picture is all over my local Borders advertising her signing there soon.

This made me start to think... I'm going to be an author, right? Well, I have never really been to an author signing. As in, I have no idea how those things work. And that irked me. If I'm going to be a writer, I should know all about those, right? So. I decided (and my mom thinks this is a wonderful idea) that when I see a local book store starting to advertise an author for a signing, I will buy one of their books and read it. Then, I'll go to their signing! This way, if I do this with enough authors, I will know how this works! Genius, I know. But I am rather excited.

Have a good day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Faithful Fan Before A Finished Book

So, I haven't updated this in forever. Honestly, I really didn't think anyone read my blog. But I found out my sister faithfully goes here all the time looking to see if I've updated. So I'll continue with this silly blog even with just one faithful reader that I know of. Plus, it is a very nice place for me to vent about my writing.

In other news, I finished the first draft of my first book. Ever. This is a big thing for me! I know I was pursuing being a writer as if I was one, but I have never finished an entire draft of something nearly as lengthy as a book. And I am ridiculously pleased with myself.

Of course, there are a ton of rewrites of certain chapters and parts that I want to do. And loads of editing not only the story, but grammar and spelling and such. Before I do that, however, I really need to do some reading. I have a list of books to read. Being in school, it's hard enough to read but then writing a book on top of that is quite a lot. But I'm going to read some books that look really good and have been waiting for my attention. Also, I think I should read some classics such as Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights before I continue with my book. Oh! And along with things to read, Stephenie Meyer has a new book coming out! That is definitely on my list. I think I may even pre-order it.

Speaking of things I need to read before continuing in the writing process, I was looking in Borders the other day at books about writing and writing well. Perhaps I should have looked into those earlier, but to be completely honest, it would have caused me to be overwhelmed and freaked out and never pursue writing. So, it's better this way.