Monday, February 18, 2019

DIY MFA 19 02 18
DIY MFA BookClub
12. Prompt: What was your zero moment?

As I understand it, according to the book DIY MFA, a zero moment is when you go from wanting and planning to do something to actually doing it. Zero is where you start. You have zero followers, zero fans, zero content. You start at zero and build from there. You're free to just create with little or no expectation from others.

My zero moment was sometime in 2005. I went in to my office after clearing up the kitchen, put the TV remote in a drawer and opened a new document on my computer. This is when I started writing seriously. I didn't let the fact that I didn't know a whole lot about writing fiction stop me. I had stories to tell. I didn't stop to study the craft of writing fiction. I just wrote. For a year. I completed one novel and started three more. 

A Daddy for Luke
The next year I wrote in the same way but added some community by joining a publisher-supported writer's forum. The third year I added on-line classes and workshops. The fourth year I joined sponsored on-line editorial pitches and critiques, while still writing. 

At this point I learned how long it can take to get published traditionally. Since I was already 55, I didn't want to spend my golden years waiting for "the call". I studied self-publishing. Since my day job was as a graphic artist I felt I had production and cover design covered, so I looked for an editor. 

In 2012 I published my first novel. I published my second novel in 2013. In 2014 I edited and produced a memoir written by Alec Noble. In 2015 I published my mother's memoir of the family's 200 mile hike on The John Muir Trail in 1959. My mom was 93 at the time of publication and it was a proud moment for her. It was probably the best gift I'd ever given her. She died two years later at 95. 
From 2015 until the present I concentrated on making my mother's last years comfortable, and since her death, redefining my own future. Joining the DIY MFA BookClub is my new zero moment. I want to go back to that first year where all I did was write. I have several nearly manuscripts that want to be freed and let out in to the world. 

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Friday, February 15, 2019

DIY MFA 19 02 15

11. Prompt: My writing space

Gabriela Pereira asked those in the DIY MFA BookClub Facebook group to share their writing spaces if they liked. Since I recently went through a January Room Declutter/Makeover, and my desk is relatively clean, I decided to share.

I'm lucky that my house was designed with a 12x24ft room behind the garage. This is my writing, art, and get-a-way room. 

 My writing space is in the middle facing a window with a view of my backyard including spruce, cottonwood trees and mountains that ring the rural valley I live in. 4750'. No fences. One of our state mottoes is: Don't fence me in. As I write this, big fluffy snow flakes are falling. But rain is expected, so it will be washed away. 

My desk is a large, oak, 1923 editor's desk, which I purchased from the newspaper where I worked when we moved to a new building with built in desks. My laptop is set up beside a larger monitor and I use an ergonomic keyboard. 

Behind me is a short bookcase with my printer, scanner, writing craft books, research books and office supplies. 
To the right of my desk are a green velvet love seat and a vintage green brocade easy chair with a faux cowhide pouf as a footstool. This is where I can sit and read my DIY MFA book! Or sneak a nap.

To my left is my art and craft table and left of that is a door with window and side lights that leads to the side yard.

 Because the room was built off the garage it has a cement floor and 9 ft. ceiling. It's a wonderful room and very conducive to writing and creating. It's only drawbacks are that it is a bit isolated from the rest of the house and I have to walk through a corner of the garage to get to it.  

Buddy likes to stay close and be my muse.

This blog contains affiliate links for your convenience. You pay no more when you follow the link and I earn a small commission. I only list items I think are helpful to others.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

DIY MFA 19 02 14

10. Prompt: What's on your reading list?

This topic is about "reading like a writer". Gabriela Pereira, author of DIY MFA and moderator of the DIY MFABookClub, asks in the Facebook group,

What's on your to-be-read (TBR) list? Which books are your essentials and what are your go-to "read like a writer" resources? Also, have you put together a reading list using the categories above? [see below] If so, which books have you included on that list?"

My TBR pile is kinda big and kinda neglected. I tend to find a new book to download on my iPad Mini and forget the paperbacks languishing on the shelf. I also tend to buy more than I can read. Go figure. This year I've decided to alternate between paperbacks and e-books, 2 to 1.

My Resources: (I include links in case you are interested)

Some resources for writing I turn to are: The thesauruses published by Angela Ackerman &Becca Puglisi, GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict The Building Blocks of Good Fiction by Debra Dixon, Random House Word Menu by Stephen Glazier. I also read books on human behavior, relationships, and interactions (see my previous blog for more details on these books). I enjoy memoirs because they show how other people live, what kind of situations they find themselves in, and the consequences of their decisions. These last books can spark situations for your story.

I have quite a few writers craft books on the shelf behind me. Sometimes it's easier to grab a book you're familiar with to find your answer, other times it's easier to Google.  
My DIY MFA category reading list: (I include links if you are interested, but I haven't read these books so I can't honestly recommend them)

Competitive (Comp) Titles:
Books in the same genre or age group category as your own. They could also be books in other genres/categories but that focus on a similar theme or subject matter as your book. Imagine a reader who loves your book asks a librarian for other books like it. Which books would those be?
Contextual Books:
Anything you read that helps to put your own writing into context. Contextual materials include books or articles you read for research, as well as any other multimedia materials such as films, music, magazine articles, etc. You may also want to look at books that use a similar storytelling technique to what you're using in your own work, like a particular point of view or literary device.
Contemporary Books:
You should have a working knowledge of whatever is new in your genre or category. By "new" I mean books published within the last three years. Given how quickly our industry changes, anything older than three years is not "contemporary" any more.
Yes, you also need to read the classics, but just because they are classic doesn't mean these books need to be boring... or old. Remember the art of DNF (Do Not Finish). If you're reading a book and it doesn't resonate with you, put it down. There are plenty of other wonderful classics out there and you will find one that you love. No need to waste time reading a book that drives you crazy.
  • The Best Short Stories of Jack London (Earliest copyright is 1900. In my TBR pile.)
  • The Red Pony by John Steinbeck (1937. In my TBR pile.)
  • Plays by Oscar Wilde (Earliest copyright is 1893. In my TBR pile.)
  • Essential Muir: A selection of John Muir's best writings (copyrights 1894-1916. In my TBR pile.)
The BookClub discussions will probably be done long before I read all these books, but that's not the point. We're just to make the list and work on it as we can. 

This blog contains affiliate links for your convenience. You pay no more when you follow the link and I earn a small commission. I only list items I think are helpful to others.  
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