Monday, March 31, 2014

Reclaiming Dreams



Whenever I get a new story idea, I feel like I’m in a dream. Everything feels so real, so alive, and I want to soak up every single moment of it. I want to capture it all into words before I wake up. Because, I always wake up. And, when I do, it all just slips away, as always happens when one leaves a dream. I can still remember everything, but the passion I felt, the life, it’s gone. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to reclaim it.

It’s gotten so that now, when I get an idea, it becomes a race against the clock. As if I need to get it all written before I wake up. Much like Cinderella needing to leave the ball before midnight, it’s as if I need to write each new idea before my enchantment ends. For, if I wake before the tale is told, it will go unfinished for all eternity. And, there’s nothing sadder than an unfinished story.

Which means my computer is actually a very sad place. You can ask any one of my family members and they will tell you I am notorious for starting books and never finishing them. But, the thing they don’t understand is that I don’t quit because I want to. I quit because I have no other choice.

Or, that’s how I feel, anyway.

I’ve been working on the sequel to the book I plan on publishing next. I’ve even made a vow to myself that I’m not going to publish book one until book two is complete. It’s a big goal for me because I’ve never actually written a sequel before. And, this last month I’ve been so excited about it.

And then, at the beginning of this week, I woke up. I didn’t even realize it at first, but I just sort of stopped even thinking about this story. All of the emotions and effort that had gone into it before just disappeared. I went from being so excited about it to not even really caring. I want to finish this story because I made a vow, because I want to publish book one. But, I don’t want to finish this story because I love it anymore. I’m awake now. And, I don’t know how to fall asleep again and dream the same dream.

I spent Friday night trying to write anyway because any professional writer knows that “just write” is the greatest cure to writer’s block known to man. And, it worked- for 85 words. That’s when I started crying. I cut off midsentence and everything. So, I set the book aside and decided to work on it the next day- because everything always looks brighter in the morning, right? After all, none of the great writers ever worked at night- they always worked in the morning.

Well, morning came and inspiration didn’t. I still feel nothing about this book. I still have only one reason for wanting to write it. I now have a new story idea begging me for attention. But, I’m still going to finish what I started.

Because, living in a dream is no way to live at all. Waiting for passion and inspiration is no way to become professional, no way to get a job done. So, I started a document of ideas for my new story and I’m locking it away until my sequel is done. And, tomorrow, I’m starting Camp NaNoWriMo (https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in) where I intend to get this baby finished if it’s the last thing I do. I’m going to write like there’s no tomorrow even if what I write doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t know how well my story is going to turn out, but a finished flop is better than an unfinished bestseller. Because, a book can’t sell if it isn’t written. And, unlike the real world, dreams don’t come from lying around, from relaxing. They come from hard work and determination. The only way to rediscover passion is to look for it by dedicating myself into the thing I want to be passionate about.

I’m going to finish this book because I am tired of feeling like a quitter. It is so easy for me to feel uninspired, to grow distant from my work and just give up. But, every time I do, I feel like a piece of me dies. Like, something precious is stolen away from me, only there’s no way to apprehend the thief because the thief is me. Giving up is the best way to cheat yourself. Because, it’s so easy to lie to your heart and tell yourself you’re making the right choice. It’s easy to say that you can’t do something. But, as one of my dearest friends is always saying, “The man who says he can and the man who says he can’t are both right.”

I may have woken up from my beautiful dream. I may never get my passion and fire for this book back. But, I doubt that’s true. I think, all that it takes to reclaim a dream is to pretend you never woke up. To keep going until you’ve fooled your heart into thinking you’re asleep again. Because, if we can fool ourselves into quitting why can’t we fool ourselves into winning too?

I don’t know how this book is going to turn out. But I’m going to finish it. And, I’m going to keep safe that piece of me that dies when I quit. Because, there’s only so much of me and I really want to live. Because, as Peter Pan once put it, “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”

And, what writer isn’t looking for a grand adventure?

How about you? Do you have a dream you’re trying to reclaim? Do you have any special method for regaining inspiration once it’s gone?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review- Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe

Greetings!

I have spent the last several days trying to decide what I wanted to do for my first real post. And then the book I read last night decided for me. It was so good that I wanted to write a review about it. And, since I was writing the review, I figured I might as well post it here.




I started reading Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell last night because I was sick and unable to sleep. I planned to read a few chapters and then turn out the lights. I didn’t end up going to sleep until after one when I finished reading this.

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home. ~Inside Cover Synopsis

I knew nothing about radio stations before I started reading this book. Now, it’s a subject I’m definitely interested in reading more about. The characters are realistic, believable, and three-dimensional. The plot well-fleshed out with enough conflict to keep the story moving. The pacing is good and makes for an easy read. I will definitely be checking out future books by this author.

Chloe Camden is an extremely likeable, extremely believable character. There is nothing form or cliché about her. She leaps off the page right from the first sentence and works her way into your heart until the very last page. She’s quirky, lovable, and the kind of girl you’d love to have for a friend. Everybody loves her. And, Ms. Coriell does a marvelous job making that both her strong suit and her weakness. Part of the reason Chloe stood out to me so much is the fact that she’s not any of the stereotype heroines. She’s not the nerdy girl trying to find her place in the world. She’s not the stuck-up rich girl who needs a good dose of humility. And, she’s not the plain, shy girl who bursts out of her bubble and suddenly “finds herself.” No, there’s nothing stereotypical about her. She’s a normal teenage girl with hopes and ideas, fears and insecurities. She has a lot of good qualities she portrays but also a lot of strong points. As Dunc tells her, she has the biggest heart of anyone he’s ever known. But, what she learns is sometimes using that heart takes effort.

Duncan is the perfect love interest. I will unashamedly admit that I spend time crushing on him last night. But, like Chloe, he’s far from the stereotypical boyfriend-to-be you find in teen fiction these days. In my experience, there are two kinds of YA guys- the jock and the nerd. Both start out stereotyped by their title until the heroine notices them- and how wonderful they are despite the confines of their place in school hierarchy. Dunc, on the other hand, is hard to fit into a category. He’s not really nerdy, but he’s not athletic either. He likes to fix things, like toasters and pencil sharpeners because people and situations can’t always be fixed. He’s quiet and shy, but not in a geeky short of way. He’s got real problems but he doesn’t advertise them like so many of his YA counterparts.

Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe also deals with a lot of real-life issues that people everywhere face. And, while Ms. Coriell doesn’t shy away from putting them into her book, she also does a wonderful job of discussing them without showing more than the reader needs to see or cluttering up the story with sermons on why this issue is bad. She shows us enough for us to make up our own minds about it by showing the people affected. In this 299 page book we see people affected by or dealing with everything from backstabbing friends, a feud between mother and grandmother, Parkinson’s Dieses, and outgrowing old friends while learning to make new ones to teen pregnancy, abusive boyfriends, and drug addiction. And, most importantly, the book sends a clear message that sometimes the best way to help someone is to just shut up and listen.

There are however, a few things people might find objectionable. There are several uses of language and one or two innuendoes. They aren’t necessary, but I don’t feel that there are enough of them to warrant passing this book up. However, if that is something you’re intolerant to, you might want to consider skipping this one. Also, God’s name is misused a few times (or, a variation… Clem’s favorite expression is “oh my gawwwwwwd”) A young girl is pregnant but we never even see the father, let alone anything that would lead to pregnancy. Someone suggests Chloe did something inappropriate but it’s only hinted at once and refuted, never to be mentioned again. Dunc and Chloe kiss a couple times but that’s all. Nothing inappropriate is shown or implied. Also, mention of drugs and one scene where several people are high. The scene is very brief in its descriptions and in no way portrays it in a good light. None of the main characters engage in any sort of behavior connected to alcohol or drugs.

Overall I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. The language, though nowhere near bad- especially compared to what is popular in YA fiction today- is enough to make me take off half a star. Otherwise, I’d give it 5. I would definitely recommend this book to a young adult looking for a fun, romantic read that isn’t afraid to deal with life issues.

How about you? Have you ever heard of or read this book? Or, do you know of any other books centered around a radio station?

Over and out!


~Jenni

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Short Introduction

Greetings!

You’re probably wondering what this blog is about, right? At least I hope you are. Otherwise, I have no idea why you’re here... Perhaps you just stumbled upon the page or a friend forced you to look at it. I hope that isn’t the case. Assuming you want an answer to the question, here it is: the purpose of this blog is for me to share with you what I know about writing, my thoughts on the books I read, and show off once in a while when I make something super cool. But, high emphasis on the writing and reading parts. I’ll also be posting snippets on my writing, some short stories, news about where I am on the road to publishing my next book.

I’ve never written a blog before but I’ve written a lot of essays and scores of fiction. And, I’ve read up as much as I can on writing tips and things. So, I’m delighted to have this chance to pass them along to you! I’m also really bad about “introductions” so, I’m running out of things to say right now… my future posts shall be longer, I assure you. I’ll have something exciting to talk about then… For now, I hope you stick around because I might actually say something profound later and you might want to hear it. I’ll try to make my posts as interesting and exciting as possible. I’m really excited to start this new chapter of my writing life. I hope you’ll join me. Because, I’d love to get to know you and your opinions on what I write about just as well as you get to know about me as I write.

I’d love to hear from you so if you have any comments or questions for me, drop them in the comments box and I’ll answer them the best to my ability!


See you around!