April Activities

I have had a very crazy month, and now that we have reached the end of it, I would love to catch you up on some of the things I have either been participating in, doing, reading or learning in the month of April.  While my March around the Web post last month was more random wanderings than anything else, this month’s is much more about what I, personally, have been up to.  Enjoy!

  • As of today’s word count, I have completed Camp NaNoWriMo, with 55,997 words, which is just insane.  This month was different than my first adventure with NaNo as there was also the battle of the illnesses going on at my house, family and friends in the hospital (all of whom are doing well and recovering, by the way) and life just getting in the way at every turn.  But I did it!  I won NaNoWriMo!  Again!   I’m contemplating whether or not I will participate in the next camp in July.  I’m not sure if I can handle doing it again so soon especially with my wedding anniversary falling in that month and my son Logan’s birthday on August 1st.  We will see.
  • Also contributing to this month’s “How the hell am I going to WriMo?” question has been the fact that I have a cool new side gig!  I’m working as a reader for Sucker Literary as they go through entries for the 3rd issue of their Young Adult Literary Magazine and I have been having a great time doing it.  If you want to learn more about Sucker Literary, you can either visit their page on WordPress (linked above), like their Facebook pagefollow their Tumblr blog, follow @SuckerLitMag on twitter, or, you know, do them all!
  • By the way, if you have a twitter and want to check out my account, which includes  quotes from my works in progress, writing information, fangirl things and everyday life stuff, you can follow my twitter account @justine_manzano.
  • As an unabashed feminist, this article brought up a bit of an odd feeling within me.  Can somebody learn to write in another gender by following these rules?  What do you think?  I feel like the idea that “Women tend to sympathize and share experiences rather than give advice,” seems like a ridiculous generalization to me, and statements like those abound in this Writer’s Digest article.
  • In this vein, check out my mini-rant entitled “On Daycare and Gender Roles” that can be found on the blog where I post the non-writing related stuff that I participate in (such as fandom things or political and social observations) on Tumblr.
  • Do you know how to write a synopsis of your novel for submission to agents and publishers?  This article at Writer Unboxed has some great tips that got me excited to start working on mine.
  • Ever read through a literary magazine and start to snore?  J. Robert Lennon thinks he knows why.

And finally,

  • Every day, the flow of a story dies due to word repetition.  Writer’s Digest tells you how you can help, here.

I hope you enjoyed my mixture of news and cool things from around the web.  I’ll be back in two weeks to discuss why it’s not so bad to be a little jealous of the success of others.  Until then, keep writing, keep reading and keep being!

9 thoughts on “April Activities

  1. Interesting article from Writers Digest….and yeah sorry, I tend to agree with it. Although there are always exceptions. I think men who are in the “soft sciences” like say Daniel are going to be more descriptive about things and bring more empathy to their interactions with other people simply because it’s part of their jobs. In relation to themselves personally though I think these guidelines are going to be true. Think of how “off” it feels when a young fanfiction writer has Daniel, or even worse Jack, spilling their guts at the drop of a hat.
    I doubt that folloiwng these guidelines are going to automatically make one’s writing the opposite sex gender dialogue spot on everytime…it more comes down to knowing the character, but I think they are pretty good guidelines to keep in mind. When I’m. describing something tangible from a guy’s point of view I try to keep in mind that a guy(depending on the guy of course) isn’t likely to understand what a “tea-length dress” means…so I’ll describe the dress as being mid-calf.
    Likewise for colours I won’t use exact names…like I would describe something as dark blue-green, not as teal. You ask a random guy and chances are very good that he won’t understand ‘teal’…and before you say anything like “my husband would”…he probably does but then he writes and being able to describe something is part of that…like I said there are exceptions to these guidelines.

    1. Yeah, but think of how strange it would be to have Sam or Vala spilling their guts? It’s, as you say, really about knowing a character. I feel like I, personally, know many people to whom many of these do not apply. For one, I am WAY more likely to give advice than to just say “I’m sorry” or “I understand.” I know this about myself because it drives many of my friends crazy. My husband, is the empathy-guy. I am solution-girl. I also know many couples that are the opposite or have two of one. Pretty much every one of the things on this list, I can disagree with and have a few examples that I know personally that refute this. I can also do the same and find something that agrees with the principal.

      For instance, in your example of “tea-length dresses” and “teal”, I don’t have to say my husband would – because he would most likely ask me or research it before he’d have a clue. However, I do have a friend with a male friend who works in design, and he knows all of these things.

      I guess my point is, if something is going to be thrown up as a guideline, I shouldn’t be able to see a million reasons why it can go in another direction. Guidelines are supposed to be helpful in the way that they lead you along a certain path, not limiting by creating cookie-cutter figures. And that is my problem with that kind of advice.

      1. well guidelines are just suggestions, not hard and fast rules and I think where they might be useful is to get writers to think outside of how they perceive life. I can’t number the young fanfic writers I have pointed out to that Daniel does not think like a teenage girl,lol

        1. Yes, of course, and I see your point. I think the danger is in the idea that girls think a certain way. To me, the issue is more with the idea that, if you know Daniel, you know he is reserved and broken and withholds. So, having him spill his guts is not having him act like a teenage girl, rather, it’s having him act out of character, which is a much larger problem.

          I think the idea that people behave in a certain matter based solely on gender is simply an incorrect ideology, and what we should be trying to do for new writers is to get them to see each character as individuals wholly to themselves.

          1. Oh I wasn’t actually referring to Daniel spilling his guts…I’ve read pieces that had him doing stuff like doodling his and Vala initials in hearts on his journal and then hiding it in his desk drawer when someone came in… I’m pretty sure that’s a teenage girl thing to do…now maybe teenage boys do that too, but not that I’ve even seen….and I pretty sure it’s not even something grown up woman do either,
            Anyway we’re going to disagree on this topic….men and women are different…we think about things differently and we do things differently..and besides knowing the underlying personas of the characters being written about there are some behaviours that are gender driven.

            1. We can totally agree to disagree. I love having discussions with people who have differing viewpoints. However, the idea of Daniel drawing his and Vala’s names in hearts in his journal? That is easily the funniest thing I’ve heard in days. I’m cracking up over here.

  2. WriMos. LOL One day I’ll lack enough sanity to participate in one.

    Your WiP Tweets aren’t porny enough. Very disappointing.

    That gender-specific dialog article. FAIL. If you write characters who are North American gender stereotypes, UR DOIN IT WRONG. Considering a character’s age, experience, education, self-awareness, and mental health are far more responsible to character development than conforming to superficial societal norms (unless of course you’re subverting clichés & tropes MUAHAHA).

    Now I don’t feel bad for NOT reading “literary” fiction mags.

    I find that word repetition is most noticeable among writers for whom English isn’t their primary language. English is such a vast, sprawling whore that it has common synonyms for common words, unlike the more focused vocabularies of other languages, where “repetition” isn’t awkward.

    1. Yes, WriMos…they make me write faster, but by the end I’m an emotionally disturbed hermit-like wreck.

      My WiP tweets aren’t porny enough FOR YOU. Which would take something impressive. Besides, it’s not that I don’t write anything porny, it’s that I don’t share that stuff (because I’m a prude/baby who blushes when she writes a kissing scene) because you have to pay for the good stuff. 😉

      As far as the gender-specific dialog article, I totally agree with you. My issue is, there are going to be characters that are typical. I’m currently working with two female leads in different stories. Leah has had all the self-esteem verbally beaten out of her, and she doesn’t fight for herself, shows little to no aggression and looks for approval all the time. Jacklyn is kick ass, is nothing but aggression to the point of not thinking and is a snark-tastic verbal wordsmith who would rather the men in her life sit down and take note. These things are created by the conditions that bred them, and not by the fact that they are women. There are so many more important things to consider.

      Some lit mags are amazing. Others encourage little more than stale paint-by-numbers fiction, with little to no variation. No, I won’t say which. One day, one of those stale ones may publish me. 😉

      Interesting, Campy. I never thought about it that way. I also feel like it wouldn’t be you posting if there weren’t phrases like “vast, sprawling whore” in the comment, and this is why I love you.

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