Jennifer Deese first officially joined the writing world and became a published author in 2013 with her inaugural novella, The Orchid Keeper. Miss Deese is fond of writing shorter stories versus full sized novels. Her first book will eventually be the prequel novella to a series of short books called The Osipian Chronicles. From childhood her mother has foster her imagination and love of reading…which Deese sees as the roots of her love for writing, especially fantasy. As a lover of nature it is not surprising that it tends to play a part in many of her writings. A mother and a Nana, Jennifer Deese looks forward to spending time with her loved ones. She resides in Pennsylvania with her two dogs and boyfriend James and his son.
Stories drive everything. One of my day job goals is to do more, and more effective storytelling. Something I feel is lacking in my stories is plot. Just not enough of it. I tend to drive away from conflict personally, so sometimes I do too much of that in my stories. So one of my writing goals is to conflict more. (In my stories…not in my life.)
Stories and Pixar!
Pixar has a class on storytelling at Khan Academy. You can get a free class on stories from Pixar. It’s got a few activities, some videos, I highly recommend it so far. The one for storytelling is out already. There is more on characters coming up.
But there were creatures with mouths far more frightening than that of any shark. They lived at a time before fish, even before backbones, and they fed on their neighbors with a nightmare apparatus of moving mouthparts.
This is actually one of my favorite written Scientific American articles and I’ve been saving it, go read the whole thing. Here’s another tidbit…
Pamdelurion could push their creepy mouth cone outward into a kind of pyramid before flinging open to present their spikes and close around smaller, softer prey.
Stories at work
Not just our day jobs. Writing is work too. And it is interesting because I think that, at least from what I see, sometimes authors (especially myself!) forget to tell the story to convince someone to buy the story. It’s sort of like how you wouldn’t want a resume from a proofreader littered with errors. That’s literally the tool they are using to sell themselves. Well authors should be amazing at telling the stories to sell our stories.
I feel like I just got too meta.
More from Harvard. (I promise this is the last one for a while! I’m almost at my limit, though I think I could get more through the library!)
I’ve been thinking a bit about hard work and failure being opposite sides of the same coin.
When you do something that requires zero effort, like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and wishing for something and then you don’t get that thing? It’s not a big deal (or it shouldn’t be). It can suck that you didn’t get it, it can be something you desperately needed, but then it won’t be, damn it wishing just doesn’t work. Because you’re not putting in any effort.
Failure (and I’ve heard more than once, and said myself that the only failure is the one you don’t learn from, but setting that aside though I’ll come back to it I think) is a result of trying. Trying to write a book is something you can fail at. Wishing you wrote a book isn’t something you fail at. Sitting down and writing a few hundred, or a few thousand, or a hundred thousand and not quite having a book, that might be a failure. But it is hard work. It only is something that we’d call failure because you worked hard at it.
What have you learned?
What was your last failure? Did you stop and think about what happened? What was your last success? Did you stop to think about what went wrong? These are great questions to ask. (HBR not just for business!)
I’ve failed a lot of stuff and I really do try to stop and learn. Sometimes it is little things (my to-do lists are better if broken down by time of day and with bonus tasks listed that I can knock off quickly/when I’m frustrated), sometimes it is bigger things (Halloween month for the podcast was just a bust, good episodes but not much traction, it is really a month when people are looking for horror so it just wasn’t a good fit). I think I can do better at trying to learn from both success and failure. Why are some things I’m surprised by succeeding? Why are there some things that are failing? Or even not succeeding as much?
But it’s all about hard work. Some things I just don’t feel bad about failing because I put so little effort into them. (I way overbought for christmas dinner, I put very little effort into figuring out what the correct amount of food was for the number of people we were having, I knew that the food wouldn’t go to waste. I failed to get it right, I didn’t care.)
Mostly? Failure means you tried. The solution is to stop, ask what happened, assess the situation, and try again. Keep trying.
M L Moos writes YA fantasy and is currently working on a magical trilogy featuring three young heroines and an undersea treasure hunt adventure. To learn more, go to her Facebook page.
She lives in Washington with her husband, two boys and one country cat with a cougar alter ego. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either baking, volunteering at her church or watching Jane Austen movies to make up for the overabundance of testosterone. On the rare occasion she makes it out into public, though, she’s always sure to be glamorous in her mom hair and yoga pants.
I was actually surprised to find that at 61%, The Sex Lives of Potato Men is actually more popular than Trump.
Pornhub statistics are endlessly fascinating. They do serious numbers. Somewhere working at pornhub is a giant stats nerd who has been let loose on the database.
Then something amazing happened — the Patriots began one of the largest turnarounds in football history. As word quickly got around to Bay Staters, traffic plummeted to -53% below average at 10pm, about the same time as it began to increase in Georgia.
Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire all dropped more than 40%, while some Southern states like Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi only dropped by 17% to 18% during the game.
Speaking of bad charts? These are phenomenal.
Also, I over-scrolled and got down to the comments. You think the comments are full of sex comments? One of the top comments was asking what was used to plot, Python or R? Giant stats nerds.
This is a hilarious and awesome video about Venus.
I was trying to figure out what to post about, I have one that I’ve been working on about unconditional love and my rant about it, that’s not ready yet. But while I was doing it a few things happened. I got a notification that a book I’d been wanting to check out was available, I found a couple of resources I’d been wanting some more information on (audio mixing, I’m trying to get better and faster, and website security), and I looked up and checked out another book.
Libraries are awesome!
Seriously, have you checked out what your local public library offers lately? Oh, you think it’s just books and a dusty card catalog? HA! Get with the times, because libraries sure as heck have!
Want to watch movies? Like live music and drinks? Want to have a book club that talks about books? Want a chance to talk about your books? Yeah, they do all these things.
Has classes ongoing on urban homesteading. Want to learn about raising chickens, apartment gardening, or maple sugaring (no I’m not in Canada)? Show up and you can take classes on all of that and a whole lot more.
Things that are really common at libraries:
Need help doing your taxes?
Looking for a job?
Need homework help?
Trying to start a business?
Libraries want to help you!
You can, of course, check out books in person. BUT you can also check out books online at most libraries, ebooks, audiobooks, comic books. And movies, music, tv shows. All of these things can be done online. Seriously, your library might not have the same selection as Netflix, but they likely have movies you won’t find on Netflix either.
Your library also likely has tools to help you learn other stuff. My library has Lynda.com available to everyone online. I’m signed in and listening to a course on securing WordPress sites. I did a whole bunch, but I want to see what else I can do.
I also have access to a wide range of journals and magazines that I wouldn’t normally. I use these to research occasionally. (And if I was fancy and dealt better with humans, I’d haul myself in physically and get help from the fantastic librarians in person.)
Also, there’s so much more!, libraries are an amazing resource for understanding what is going on in the political realm. Not just our local libraries but the Library of Congress is a deeply important institution for cultural memory. They have some amazing resources online as well. It has always been important to support libraries, they are one of the best, and often more democratic ways to share information. You can walk down, get a library card, use it in the physical location, use it online, you don’t need all the money to access it. And we need to help make sure it stays that way. So support your local library. Your local library is hyper local politics that really matter. You might know your city council person or mayor, you might be friends, heck you might be related to them. Tell them that the library matters to you. Tell them that it is one of the most important cultural and democratic instiutuions and you value it. Tell them to put dollars into the library to continue to add value to your neighborhood. Keep it in your neighborhood.
And seriously. Go get a library card! It’s worth its weight in gold.
Lacy Lalonde has work published or is forthcoming at Five 2 One Magazine, The Blotter Magazine, Gravel Mag, Crab Fat Magazine, WOLVES Magazine, The Fem Lit Mag, The Maudlin House, and Little Fiction. She is an East Coaster who fosters cats and dogs, and sometimes writes fiction. She tweets @lacylalonde
I’ve been trying to do the #authorconfession hashtag questions from J M Sulivan every day this month. Take a few minutes and think about your work in progress. Think about it from a different angle, answer a different question. It’s good to keep my brain in the game rather than having it run off screaming which is what it wants to do.
Something I want to try to do more or be more transparent, or consistent about is …reviews. So my monthly review.
I wanted to try to get some stuff cleaned up, get back into writing more, and get sorted out what my next audiobook project was.
I did do more writing. I’ve been writing/rewriting/editing one of my Smoke Jumper novellas. It is actually going ok. Not perfect, but pretty well. I’m fading in and out on working on it, but I’m getting back into it. In a flash of rage I also wrote a flash fiction which is a phone call from the dystopian future to the present. Take the Call! (And make your own!)
Stuff cleaned up…eh. Not quite so good. I had delays here and there. Stress. Hiding. Too much news. Not enough news. Evenings writing to senators (thanks Amy and Al!) Then blog explosion. Then continued dealing with blog explosion. So basically? Excuses. I will buckle down on this again.
Next audiobook project. No. Frustratingly no. I’m holding out on picking up a project and waiting for the anthology pieces I’ve committed to to come in. I don’t want to be in the middle of something big and get those in. Plus I had 2 weekends that weren’t going to be good for recording. I do have a plan for the next few weekends on what I’ll be doing behind the mic (PODCAST! WOO! 600 Second Saga episodes!). But I still need to check in with people about other projects.
Other? Politics. News. End of the world. I keep bringing myself back to we are as humanity making progress, if we keep pulling toward the future we will keep making progress. Progress like longer life spans, fewer people dying in wars and murders, better health, better quality of life, etc. We are going the right direction, we just all need to keep moving toward the future which is awesome. Future good.
Clean up. I need to clean up my files. Now I need to clean up the website and the back-end structure. I need to clean up some stuff at home. Clean space, visually, physically, and digitally helps a lot. And things are hard so I need all the help pieces I can get.
Reach out to authors. Hi authors! If you’ve considered writing for 600 Second Saga, please do! Please contact me! Please ask questions, I’m happy to answer them. I don’t want anyone to hesitate because they think they can’t do it. I’m getting better (and growing well) reaching listeners but I still can do better, and want to do better reaching out to authors. So, you may see some of that coming up.
I’m also working on creating images to go with each of the podcast episodes. (And I’ll be trying to feature some of the highlights from season one with images too.) More visuals. Also to help me think more about doing a better job of getting onto “paper” what’s in my head as far as visuals go.
Write more! As usual, keep the momentum and build on it. Really dig into Stranded and hopefully finish it up, but even if I don’t, don’t stop working on it. I also plan to shift around when I do things to give myself the best time for writing rather than the best time for other things that don’t require my best brain. Restructuring time will be very good for writing and for helping keep my brain space clean too.
What is your review policy? When do you review what you do?
Mariah Avix is the creator of 600 Second Saga. A space for developing authors to explore the realms of science fiction and fantasy in 10 minutes or less every week.
Mariah writes magical tales of how technology will change our world, and technologically laced tales of magic, that probably isn’t real.
She is currently working on a series of novellas about shapeshifters who fight wildfires, a trilogy about a woman who refuses to admit that she has the M word (magic), and endless flash fiction.
When she’s not writing she walks along the rivers and parks throughout her city looking for inspiration.