Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Wednesday Inspiration

So, I will continue to apologize for not being a good blogger-buddy.  By the end of September, my life should settle down some, and I will be able to return to the blogging world more fully.

My writing class is going well, sort of.  I have a nice idea for my first story submission, that's due on the 1st. But every time I try to sit and write it, I just stare at white. It's evading me and haunting me at the same time.  And, well, I have about 10 days now to whip out 10-15 decent pages, so we can add stress to the writer's-block equation.

As I was reading for class just now, I ran across this quote.  It comes from Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern—a lively book, mostly written in crafted vignettes on how to improve your writing.  I would highly recommend it.
Trust Your Material
You are interesting. Your experiences, your imagination, your perceptions, your emotions are interesting.  What is closest to you is valuable for your art. Believe that. Your honesty and your talent are inseparable. Don't falsify by conventionalizing. Your uniqueness lies not in fulfilling cultural stereotypes but in expressing what you really uncover, like it or not. (246-247)
This passage—only the beginning to this section—was not assigned reading for class today, but I needed to read it, anyway.  I've been needing the push, I think, to believe in the story I want to write and allow myself to do so.  Keep your fingers crossed.

What inspiration have you found lately to help you in your writing?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Results are IN!

Happy Monday to my awesome followers!  Thanks to everyone for making this a super successful contest.  I've been excited all weekend to share the results with you.

So, using the number of entries each person received in conjunction with Random.org, the following people are hereby designated the WINNERS of my contest.

Our first prize is for randomly-generated #30 is


Second prize, for number 26, is:


Third was 62, winner of a chapter critique:


Fourth, 9, winner of a query critique:


And, finally, number 45, who will enjoy some awesome chocolate:


Thank you EVERYONE for playing.  If I've listed you here, please email me at rlconnolly01[at]gmail[dot]com with your address (if I'm mailing you something) so I can get your prizes out to you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Emotions Recap

Thanks to everyone for participating in my forum earlier this week, and my apologies for not getting results up sooner.  The week slipped away from me again.  Pesky days!

The question was: as writers, where do we mine our emotions?  From ourselves? From others?  If from others, why don't we work with our own?

You gave me lots of good responses, a number of which said that emotions came from inside and outside of themselves.  This makes sense, of course.  I think it would be impossible for someone to write completely outside of their own emotional experiences.  Of course, some of the physical experiences are beyond us (as Hart said, she's never randomly found a dead body even though she's writing her cozy), but that doesn't prevent the emotions from being real.  They just come from somewhere else.

One of the things I tend to worry about in my writing is that people will automatically assume it's autobiographical in some form.  (Random connection:  Has anyone read "The Young Painters" by Nicole Krauss in the 20 under 40 issue of The New Yorker?)  So I tend to try pulling from other experiences so that I can be more assured when fighting against those comments. 

Beyond outside criticism, using our own experiences does mean dealing with those feelings and emotions.  As j.leigh pointed out, that can be extremely difficult for us, throwing our real pain into our writing.  If I did more of that myself, I don't think I would ever finish a piece because I would be too angry or crying too much to get the words onto the page!  It doesn't make the emotions we use any less real, but it gives us more of an external position from which to approach them.  And as Amanda said, with time, using our own emotions and experiences can become less frightening.

Finding emotion everywhere is vital, since we've only lived in our small worlds.  But we shouldn't be afraid of using our own.

Any other thoughts?  Did I miss anything?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Contest Reminder

Man, am I being pushy with my 100 Followers #contest or what? :)

Just a reminder that you have until tomorrow—Friday, 17 Sept—at midnight EST (GMT–5) to enter.  Really, you just need to be a follower and leave a comment.  Everything else is icing on the icing on the beautifully decorated ginormous cookie!

Over the weekend I'll use a random number generator to determine the winners and post results on Monday.

And while it's just a bonus, I've only received one story from the prompt.  It was totally amazing, and I did a little jig when it come over.  If anyone else wants to use the prompt, go for it.  I may write a short myself for y'all, just cuz.  We'll see what time I have over the weekend.

Happy Thursday, Folks!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Awards and Wins!

DON'T FORGET! There's still time to enter my 100 Followers #Contest.  Even if you're new to the blog, feel free!  I'm glad you're here :)

Also, stop back in at the end of the week for a wrap up of Monday's forum question.
Man, the writing praise keeps pouring in!  I'm not gonna be able to fit into my hat by the end of the week. :)

First, I found out earlier in the week that I was the Grand Prize winner of Rebecca's half of the Super Sister Celebration at Sonshine Thoughts.  Here's a link to my story, if you're interested.  Honestly, it's hard to lose with a prompt like "Be happy that... your new neighbors aren't cannibals."

Thank you, Rebecca!

Okay, and some awards! 

First, from Jessica at Smile, Feel Good, Pass It On sent me two awards.  Thank you, Jessica!

I've received both of these already, which does nothing to diminish the awesomeness of getting them again.  If you'd like to read seven things about me, check here and here.  I'm also going to defer on passing these on for now.  I reserve the right to do so in the future :)

And Jules at Trying to Get Over the Rainbow also passed this on to me :)  Thanks, Jules!!

The strings with this award (as Jules put it :) ) are that I have to list ten things that I like (not love) and pass it on to ten people.  Well, let's see.

I like... blogging and meeting awesome people online.

I like... walking through the woods on campus every morning on my way to class/work.

I like... Snapea Crisps.  You must eat these!  They're flipping addictive.

I like... wearing flip flops and sandals.  A lot!  Mainly because I kinda hate things that cover my toes and feet.  Yup, I'm weird like that.

I like... almost every vegetable I've ever encountered, including Brussel sprouts and okra.  Maybe I'll think of one I don't like, but I can't right now.

I like... picking ripe cherry tomatoes from our plants and eating them like candy.  Yum! :)

I like... summer.  While I complain about the stifling heat periodically, I will take it over snow any day.

I like... knitting, even if I don't do it enough.

I like... vampires.  Yup, I admit it.  And I liked them well before the current hype, and I will continue to like them later.

I like... fairy tales.  No, not like Disney, watered-down versions, but the ones with teeth and nails and grit that don't have happy endings.  And I really like giving these a modern spin.

And for passing it on...

Summer at My Inner Fairy
Rebecca at Sonshine Thoughts
Mia at My Literary Jam and Toast
Vatche at The Student Writer's Mind
Lynda at .W.I.P. It
Tara at Aléatoire
Jan at Crazy Jane
Sangu at Echoes of a Wayward Mind
Jemi at Just Jemi
Erica at Elevator Musings

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where Do Your Emotions Come From?

Okay, so I was inspired by a comment from Amanda on my Real World Writing post from last week.  She wrote:

It's impossible to create a compelling piece of fiction without the real world. Even with fantasy, one HAS to write in real emotions and human issues. Too often, though, people look to other people's issues instead of their own.

Everything she wrote is 100% true (imho).  But the last sentence made me pause.  Why is it that people look so much beyond themselves to find emotions and stories and don't look inside?

I open this question up as a forum.  I have my own ideas, but I'm going to save them until later in the week.  Do you agree with Amanda?  Or do you think writers use more of themselves and less of everything around them?  Or do you think writers pull their ideas from thin air?

Inquiring minds and all that....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back from... Somewhere

Look at me, hosting my 100 Followers #contest, and then I disappear for days.  Bad Rosie!

Welcome to my newer followers!  Thanks for coming by to check out the blog.  And a big thank you to my old followers for staying interested and putting up with my time-lapses :/

Don't forget! You have until Friday to enter!

It's been a difficult week, and I'm not sure where it went, to be honest.  I remember Tuesday, and then all of a sudden it was Saturday.  I think I must have hit a temporal flux somewhere along the line.

My sincerest apologies, folks.  Here I am, attempting to rejoin regular blogging society.

Update: the write-up from my interview... well, it happened.  I turned it in on Wednesday.  After we'd passed them back, during the course of discussion I realized I hadn't entirely followed the directions of the assignment.  Ack!  Plus I didn't like the characterization (though there's very little one can do in 400 words), and many other things about it.  I suppose as writers, we're always highly self-critical, right?

On Friday, I was chatting with another student from the class outside the building when our instructor came up.  She started chatting with us, talking about how much she loved everyone's story from class so much, and that she planned to read a few during class.  Well, she started with *mine*.  Dumbstruck = me!  She had a lot of great things to say about it, including that, with some minor tweaks, I could get it published. 

Say what???

Oh, so giddy am I.  Later that day, I got a lovely compliment from someone in my critique group, too.  Since I wasn't feeling well, the two of those things really lifted my spirits and made my day so much better.

Otherwise, my last three days have been spent in a haze from which I am only beginning to recover.  While I've gotten some writing done, I'm terrified as to the quality I will find when I go back to edit it.  But the positive comments from this week also make me feel a bit more confident about what I'll find.  Editing will be necessary (when is it ever not??), but maybe it won't be quite as bad.

It all got me thinking about the advice and criticism we all crave.  For months, since joining the online blogosphere of the writing world, I've desperately wanted hard-nailed constructive criticism.  And I've gotten it in many forms.  Each time I've welcomed it (mostly) openly, and appreciated each piece.  In my desire for the constructive to improve my craft, I think I lost sight of the need for positive reinforcement and how much that's necessary as well.  While I feel a little head-swelly from Friday's compliments, I also remembered that, yeah, it's good to hear that people like my work.  There's only so much self-flagellation a girl can take without caring for her wounds, too, right? Or eventually it gets to be too much and she has to stop.

So, hurrah for the positive!

And here, I need to send a out a quick thanks to those who have given me the most positive feedback along the way and made me feel like I can really do this: Jose, Maria, Catalina, Nazarea, Carol, Auzy, Astra, and the rest of my crit group.  You're all awesome!  Thank you :)

What's some praise you've received recently?  Publication of a small/big work?  Partial/full request?  A friend saying how much they enjoy reading your chapters?

PS—I've recently received a few awards, too.  Yea for more praise!  I'll be posting them over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Real World Writing

No, this has nothing to do with MTV.

Yesterday my writing class took a field trip.  Our instructor told us nothing before our arrival in class as to what we were doing or where we were going or how it related to writing.  So we arrived, expectant, and waited for her announcement.

The assignment (and there was no choice regarding acceptance): (i) go to the Student Union and interview someone you've never met about a time when they got kicked out of somewhere, (ii) write up the details of said story, and (iii) fictionalize it into a story of 300-400 words.  And we only got one shot once the person agreed.  She forbade us from interviewing multiple people.

At the words "you've never met", my adrenaline kicked into overdrive.  I'm not an interviewer.  If I were, I'd be in journalism classes, not fiction.  I'm a lock-myself-up-and-write type, and... other people? What's that?  As we left the classroom, another woman from class and I started discussing, first, how this was crazy and we were already embarrassed :) and then strategies on how to find people who weren't trying to study and would therefore be more willing to talk to us.

I guess it worked—once I swallowed my pride and my fear.  The first person I asked not only was willing to talk to me (sitting in the food court with his half-eaten Pizza Hut bread stick), but he had a great story.  Due to confidentiality restrictions required by the assignment, I can't share it, but I will tell you that I laughed the entire time he relayed his story, and that it involved a Walmart and a ripstik.

Feel free to use your imaginations.

This exercise really emphasized the importance of using the real world (as opposed to the Real World) in writing.  Once I got over my initial apprehension, I realized what a fabulous assignment this is.  I'm still nervous about the writing part—even though the instructor assured us that we in no way had to stay true to the original story—but it's taken me beyond my comfort zone and asked me to do more.  That I sincerely appreciate.

What leaps do you take for your writing?  Have you ever been nervous about taking extra steps to make your work more authentic?  How do you push yourself to include the real world (or the Real World if you love MTV)?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whoot! It's my 100 Followers #Contest!!

If you've seen any of my posts since the momentous event, you know I have 100 followers.

Me = Giddy :)

So, I'm holding a little celebration at East For Green Eyes, and I hope you'll participate.  I'll make it worth your while, I promise.

Also, I have no idea what I'm doing. But you'll enjoy it nonetheless, no?

What Can You Win?

Indecisive me.  I have a few different things to offer, but I couldn't decide what was most valuable.  Plus, I have both reader followers and writer followers, each with different priorities.  So here are the possibilities.

A signed copy of The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone.

A signed copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

A chapter critique from me.  This does not have to be a first chapter as long as it is accompanied by a summary of the action thus far (which can be highly informal).

A 5-page or query critique from me.

Choice of two Vosges Chocolate Bars.  Subject to availability at my local grocer.  No promises the chocolate making it in one piece though international shipping.

The Rules
  • You must be a follower. +2 pts for old followers—i.e., you clicked the happy "follow" button before I published this post.  +1 pt for new followers. 
  • To participate, leave me a comment and tell me (briefly—max 20 words?) about the awesomeness that is YOU!
  • In your comment, rank what you would like 1st, 2nd, etc.  The first place winner will get their top choice, and then the top-most choice for the other winners.
  • This is not limited to US and Canadian residents.  You're all cool.  I can manage the postage :)
  • Tweet for extra points. 1pt per Tweet, maximum 3.  Please include @rosieanabelle in your Tweet, and leave me a link below.
  • Give my contest a shout-out in a blog post = +4 pts. (and leave me a link)
  • Side bar announcement about the contest = +2 pts. (and leave me a link)
  • Okay, folks, here's the kicker.  My blog doesn't have a very writerly title.  It doesn't include the word "write" or "edit" or my name.  It references a song lyric.  Chances are good that said song lyric has something to do with my writing (I'd say 99.99999% with a .00001% margin of error). I'm not asking you to guess, because that would take away the mystery, but for +10 extra points, you can write a short story (of no more than 500 words) that includes the phrase "east for green eyes" that is NOT from the song lyric.  Email your story to me at rlconnolly01(at)gmail(dot)com.  PLEASE include the story IN-LINE.  Attachments will NOT be read and you will not get the points for your beautiful creative efforts.

Okay, for the record, when you first enter these things, you haven't Tweeted and you haven't side-barred and you haven't blogged, and that's cool.  When/if you do, just come back and leave me another comment with your links.  If you just want to enter and not do any of the extras, that's cool, too.  Just leave me a comment.

The contest will close at midnight EST on Friday, 17 Sept.  Winners will be announced on Monday, 20 Sept.

Good luck! And thanks for following! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Contests and Tagging

Hey Everyone!  First, if you missed it, look over there ---------\/
(wow, that's a really horrible down arrow, isn't it?)

I have 100 followers! Come back on Monday to celebrate with me :)


Here are a few contests that need to be shared with the masses:

First, Jessica, a.k.a. The Alliterative Allomorph, is holding a contest in support of The Writing Show.  If you're a writer (you know who you are!) you should definitely be involved!  Deadline is September 13!

Steph at MaybeGenius is hosting the Mash-It Up blogfest with some awesome prizes.  Entries are due by October 1.

And, really, how can you resist with a graphic like that? Haha :)

Carol at Artzicarol Ramblings is offering signed copies of her book JUNCTION 2020.  Enter by September 7.

And, just to be a tad bit embarrassed of my own excitement, Talli Roland is having a contest to celebrate her 400 followers!  Super congrats to Talli.  Be a follower of Talli's by September 30th for an automatic entry. (Sorry, but I don't have a graphic for Talli :(

Rebecca at Sonshine Thoughts and Naomi at Writing: A Soul's Way of Breathing are having their SUPER SISTER CELEBRATION. Rebecca's deadline has been extended until September 7.

Have another contest that I didn't mention?  Let me know and I'll add you :)


Leigh over at That's Write has tagged me again with the handwriting game.  Please feel free to oooh and aaaah over my messy scrawl.

Write down (by hand!) on a piece of paper the following:
1. Name, Blog Name
2. Right handed, left handed, or both?
3. Favorite letters to write
4. Least favorite letters to write
5. Write out "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"
7. Favorite song lyrics (My two: "Starlight" by Muse and (duh!) "Pretty Bird" by Jenny Lewis.)
8. Tag 7 people
9. Whatever else strikes your fancy (Macedonian.  Translation: "I really don't like writing with Macedonian letters." Reason: They're messing up my fine Russian handwriting!)

I'm not sure who to tag with this.  Seems like so many people have already been tagged.  SO, if you haven't been tagged or would like to be tagged again, consider yourself tagged.  Otherwise, continue to oooh and aaaah :)

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Weekend....

ACK! It almost snuck (er, sneaked) up on me.  Guess what, folks!


The ideas for how to celebrate have been germinating in the back of my mind, but I haven't completely settled on anything.  I promise to have the situation settled by Monday.

So be sure to drop back in on Monday and find out how you can play and what you can win :)


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writing Prompts Gone Bad

What do you do when your writing prompt goes wrong? I mean, rebels, takes a gun, and robs a bank, bad.  Or Charles Manson bad.  Or passive-aggressive, why didn't my mother ever love me bad.

(Warning: Info Dump!)

As you know, I'm taking a writing class right now.  We have two pretty nice books: The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante and Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern.  They each have many good qualities, though I've read fewer than 100 pages total.

Okay, back to the point.

In Stern's book, there's an interlude entitled "Don't Do This: A Short Guide to What Not to Do" (65-76).  They're all obvious things (e.g., don't end you story with "And then the alarm woke me up."), but some of them stuck with me, and I want to force fun stories from them.  I have no intention of writing the typical story that the author is warning against, but twist it into something entertaining.

For example:

Hobos in Space.  This prompt has a lot of potential for a bad MST2K kind of story.  Stern wasn't literally suggesting take a hobo and put him/her in space, but instead discussed the abhorrent mimicking of Samuel Beckett.  That's not my plan.  (And I can't stop hearing the muppets yelling "Pigs In Spaaaaaaace" in my head.)

Bachelor party takes groom-to-be to brothel to find bride hard at work.  Yes, I intentionally used the word "hard".  The point Stern was making here was that many times this is the end of a story.  I really want to write this one from first-discovery on.  Do they still get married?  Does she get mad at him for invading her "office space"?

The Zero-to-Zero story. The MC who never learns anything. Yes, this is horrible and clichĂ© and a disservice to the reader.  But what about the Zero-to-Two story, where the MC kind of gets it, but not really, and inevitably gets it wrong but sort of tried?

Try any good writing prompts lately?  Or any ideas on how to expand upon the prompts above?
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