Plethora of Promising Projects

write and ideas

Last night, I started having the desire to write something new… a new story. I had an idea of one I’d thought of several months ago in which I wrote a couple pages of notes. I actually wrote an opening, full page, but since then, it’s sunk to the bottom of the trash bin of writing ideas and mediocre beginnings that have turned into dust bunnies.

Then I told myself I have so many stories I’ve written that needed to be revised, rewritten, strengthened, tightened, and polished, so I don’t need to worry about another story at this time. Truly, I have several stories written from 2014 to 2019 that I believe have the potential to be transformed into real gems.

Two novels:

Passage of Promise — Took me four and a half years to write, revise, rewrite, and edit. It’s still in the hands of the publisher I queried. Waiting to see if they accept my manuscript.

What She Didn’t Know — my most recent finished draft as of the summer of 2019. Took me a year and a half to write it. It is the longest novel I’ve ever written. At present, it is going through my online critique group. It’s my most complex and profound book I’ve written so far–three broken sisters, their encounters with relationships and life events.

Novella:

Mourning Dove — I ran it through my critique group a year or so ago. After running it through, I made the suggested changes, and I also added new scenes to make the story more comprehensive and complete. Gabby, a young widow, tries to help her deceased husband’s homeless cousin back on his feet, but a messy run in with another homeless man brings violent retaliatory behavior upon the cousin and envelopes Gabby into the vortex of that violence. I plan to run it back through my group after What She Didn’t Know is finished in the critique queue.

Novelette:

The Rocky Retreat — I’ve only run this story halfway through my critique group a couple of years ago. It’s a controversial piece having to do with contention between environmentalists and 2nd Amendment activists set in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is satire and supposed to be more humor than reality. I have some questions on its plot–if it’s strong enough. Even though it’s supposed to be fun and entertaining, the plot needs to be there and concrete. Therefore, I’ll be running the whole story through the critique queue probably after Mourning Dove.

Short Stories:

Incident at Coral Canyon — a middle school/children’s book on bullying encountering mysticism. It was the first story I picked up a pencil and wrote on paper in 2014 after nearly eighteen years of treading in the writing desert. Last month, I worked on revising this from third person omniscient to close third person point of view, as well as overall revising, cleaning up some of the syntax and word usages. This is further back on the shelf of works to complete and introduce to my critique group.

Remember the Daisies — A touching story of an elderly woman’s memories and loss. This story was inspired by a real-life event in my neighborhood back in Lancaster, PA, that I used loosely to create a unique story for my fiction writing class in college at the time. I ran it through my critique group after I’d written up the first draft and got great responses, most of which were how touching it was and how much they liked the story, more than critiques on anything regarding plot, character, or tightening of sentences. I will run this back through my critique group sometime after the others.

 

As you can see, I really have no reason to start another story at this time. I’m thinking, when the time is right, a new, brilliant idea and storyline will come to me, and I think it’ll be after a few of the projects I mentioned above are done and published. God willing!

A whole stack of stories to work on. What could be better? Life is good.

What writing projects are you working on?

 

 

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Finding Meaning in Silenced Voices

colonialism cartoon

Postcolonial theory emerged after WWII, in which it studied the colonizer and the colonized, meaning those people from imperialistic nations, such as England, France, Denmark, and America, and the people from the countries the former ones colonized.

The postcolonial theorist, Edward Said, used poststructuralist tools by deconstructing the West and East through binary opposition.  The West was given the center or privilege, while the East was given the marginalized or “other.”

The postcolonial critic, Homi Bhabha, focused on the interactions of the colonizer with the colonized and how each group was affected by the others’ cultures.

Lastly, Gayarti Chakravorty Spivak, an Indian-born Western academic studied the difference in the cultures of the colonizer and the colonized and paid close attention to both class and the effects of colonialism on the colonized women.

The critics analyzed literature for these aspects and also had to figure out how to categorize postcolonial literature from writers who were geographically not part of Europe or other colonial powers (Bertens).  This was done through using the term, “literatures in English” (Bertens).

The writers’ works under the oppression of the colonizers were still viewed and critiqued through the center, which were the English academics and critics.  Later, in the 1970s through today, this has changed and opened up to more autonomy for those postcolonial writers that were victims of colonization (Bertens).

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows the Western postcolonial view through an American wealthy, caucasian family.

yellow wallpaper book cover 2

Gilman, an American writer and feminist, wrote this in the late nineteenth century when colonialism was quite active.

In the story, we can see that John, the main character’s husband, represents the colonizer, or from Said’s point of view, the West, whereas the main character represents the East.  John is a doctor and wealthy.  His character aligns with the traits of the Western colonizer or “masculine pole” (Bertens) Said describes as “enlightened, rational, entrepreneurial, and disciplined” (Bertens).  The main character shows John to exhibit the traits of rational and enlightened when she says, “John is practical to the extreme.  He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures” (Gilman).  This also reflects the West’s or colonizer’s view of the East’s or colonized’s practices, beliefs, and cultures.

The main character reflects the postcolonial view of the colonized that helps or aids in the colonizer’s power when she says in regard to John, “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction.”  This also shows the trait of passiveness that Said mentions in his list of the “feminine pole” (Bertens).  These traits Said mentions that are displayed by the main character in this short story are “irrational, passive, undisciplined, and sensual” (Bertens).  The main character displays irrationality when she says, “I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time” (Gilman).  Her passivity is apparent when she says, “I tried to have a real earnest talk with him the other day and tell him I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia.  But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor to stand it after I got there; I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished” (Gilman).

Using the methods of Bhabha, the interaction between the main character and her husband reveal that the main character’s perceived madness from being cooped up in the room affect John at the end of the story.  After the main character has torn up nearly all the rest of the yellow wallpaper in the room to try and release her alter ego from the prison she imagines in the paper, John comes to the room and finds it locked, for which she tells him where the key is.  In obtaining the key, John opens the door and asks in astonishment, “For God’s sake, what are you doing?” (Gilman), and the main character says, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane.  And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gilman).  John proceeds to faint in reaction to this.  But this also depicts resistance by the main character/colonized against the colonizer.

The symbols of West and East and the colonizer and the colonized through the main character and her husband in the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” provide a good example of a postcolonial theory’s analysis through its lens.

 

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Works Cited
Bertens, Hans.  Literary Theory:  The Basics.  3rd ed.  London and New York:  Routledge, 2014.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins.  “The Yellow Wallpaper.”  Gutenberg.org.  5 November 2012.
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1952/1952-h/1952-h.htm.  Accessed 10 August 2017.

 

Do You Have Confidence in Yourself as an Author?

silhouette woman looking out golden city window

From junior high school on–with the exception of playing sports in my local neighborhoods and at recess–I had little confidence in myself and didn’t have much self-worth.

But… a couple of years ago, I realized I haven’t lacked confidence in my writing abilities.

Okay, I must admit there was that one time my writing confidence did take a nosedive the first year I was in my online critique group because I didn’t understand how to take certain criticism or discern which feedback was apt to what I was trying to write and what wasn’t.

After a year or so away from the critique world and still working on my college courses, I somehow gained those important aspects of both knowing what critiques worked for my stories and learning how to critique others’ works much more effectively that benefited my fellow writers, as well.

So, after dragging you through my ramblings of my past writing adventures, I’m getting to the point of my blog post. Haha!

Today, I read an interesting article by a fellow woman writer about how she’s struggled discussing her writing work with people she doesn’t know. She would brush off the work she’d done, minimizing it as if it weren’t worth all the sweat and tears she put into it. Her experience saddened me.

love the work you do

It also made me realize that I’ve not felt hesitant about telling people what I do, or filling out my job as “author” on forms for anything from medical forms to school papers for my younger son. I’m happy to share that I write fiction works. Frankly, it’s really the only job I’ve ever had I’ve felt totally good about.

I know some writers don’t feel like they can say assertively, coupled with a knowing smile, that they are truly authors, that that is their job, not just a hobby. I’ve written on this subject before. Nevertheless, this article spurred me to write about it again.

Writing stories is in my blood. It’s part of who I am. It’s my talent God has given me. Sure, there are times I write something, set it aside, only to pick it up a couple weeks later, and think, “What is this crap?” But, thankfully, that doesn’t last.

start to be great

My editor loved my changes/revisions to my novel, Passage of Promise, for which I added around 25,000 words. She did the last proofreading, editing, and formatting for my novel in many different forms for future publishing.

I then sent out a query letter to a publisher that takes Orthodox Christian fiction.

In April 2018, the editor of this publishing company said the story had promise (no pun intended!) and resubmit it at a later time.  So, I have and am waiting to get an email back, asking me for the first three chapters and synopsis of my story, or that they aren’t interested. If the latter happens, my editor said she’d publish my novel for me. So, it’s a win-win either way for me!

may your ideas and novels be accepted

What it comes down to is I love to create stories, characters, and immerse myself in their worlds. I would love for people to read my works and get something profound, joyful, moving, and satisfying out of them.

The future of what happens with my stories is unknown. But what I do know is that I’m happy just to have created and finished writing a fantastic novel and have two more waiting in the wings for future publishing, and that already makes me a success.

triumphant woman facing the sun

What is success to you in your writing endeavors?

 

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