I am an emerging fiction writer living in Chicago. While I am a Luddite, I am using the forum because I love to meet new people, especially fellow artists, and learn new things.

Anyone interested in reading my published work can access it through the link under the My Web Site header on this blog. My short story "Life Goes on Without Me" recently won an honorable mention from Conclave: A Journal of Chracter's 2009 Fiction Contest. I am currently working on a novel, new short stories, and a creative non-fiction essay. My friend T.E. Russell has encouraged me to write a screenplay.

And as always, I am still submitting, submitting, submitting.

I look forward to meeting and reading from you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Outlining a novel.

After my best friend, who is also an amazing writer and honest critic, got on my back about finally writing my novel several years ago, I have embarked on this genre. So far I have struggled with my efforts. I wrote to just write. There was no structure. No story. To quote Janet Desaulniers, my graduate school adviser, I was telling myself the story.

In 2005 I attended an amazing week-long seminar called The Art of the Story led by Tom Jenks. Tom is the editor of Narrative and a former fiction editor at The Paris Review, Esquire, GQ, and Scribners. Through his teaching, I am now outlining and am finding it very helpful as well as laborious.

Back in June I attended the Printer's Row Book Fair with my friend Vesna. One of the writers we saw was Joyce Carol Oates. Oates said that the first six weeks of planning a novel is the hardest, and I agree. Tom did tell me that it makes the writing of it more fruitful. Perhaps that is another reason she is so prolific.

I am curious how many of you writers outline your work?

Agent and Author

My friend Tami sent me this. Oh so true - and not only with a literary agent.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Spiritual Evictions

Funny. I don't remember any of this taught in the Beatitudes or the Catechism.

A recent Associated Press article revealed that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is evicting nuns from its convent. Despite many of the nuns having lived there for forty years, the Archdiocese plans to sell their home regardless what they think about the Archdiocese's decision to sell. The reason for this? The monies will be put toward its recent settlement for sexual abuse. The vicar general even wrote a letter to the nuns saying that if they left before their December 31 deadline, it "would be acceptable as well."

But I guess we can't be too hard on the L.A. Archdiocese. After all, there were no pay raises for their employees this year. Who, as far as I know, still have a home.

I have a huge suspicion that Jesus and His Father wouldn't look favorably on an action such as this.

And it's our, the lay people's, misdirected morals that have driven most of us away from the Catholic Church?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Alleviating Writing Anxiety: Relax Before You Do It

I offer these to my undergraduate writing students. They could also be used with any art genre. Here's the first one.

Breathing and Relaxation: Take ten to fifteen minutes before you write. Close your eyes and sit up in your chair or recline on your bed. Inhale and exhale deep breaths. This aids in relaxation. The medical community also recommends this for those suffering from insomnia. After you have relaxed, tighten your entire body. After you tighten your body, relax each section of your body starting with your head then moving on to your neck, shoulders, arms, torso, legs, and feet. Take your time while doing this. A creative writing instructor I had at the University of Chicago’s Graham School started the second half of her class with this exercise. After you have finished relaxing, begin writing and revising.