Poetry Overlords

Not too long ago, I attended a poetry reading in my city. I’ve attended many over the years, but one thing had always made me cringe: the way some poets read out loud.

Stopping Here

My feelings towards this are entirely subjective and based on the fact that I am completely insane.

There are a few poets who do drone on monotonously when they speak. I do enjoy that when droning is actually part of the poetry they are performing (more on that soon). But other times, it simply does not work and whittles me down to nothingness (I’m over-dramatic).

I’ll touch upon this image later. But first,

I Gotta Backtrack

In my first year of University, I attended and performed at a poetry reading. I remember “covering” Robert Herrick’s famous “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time” (aka, “Gather ye rosebuds”), and gave it my own personal meaning. I had not known the poem was so popular (and to this day, I still haven’t seen Dead Poets Society).

Anyway, I explained to the audience what the poem meant to me. I read it how I felt it should have been heard given my explanation to why I chose the poem.

Fast Forwarding to the Now

When I attended the poetry reading the other day, as I said above – the way some poets read make me cringe.

I feel as if the words being read could have an entirely different presence or meaning had only the poet changed the tonality of their voice or had someone else read their story for them.

As some people may already know, I’m a musician. I enjoy lots of stuff, ranging from ambient noise, to death metal, to classical, to jazz. I’m all over the map, really.

While writing the other night, it occurred to me how writing poetry is similar to writing music. You need the right words or “notes” to make everything flow together properly. But it was the idea performing poetry which struck me. I ended up writing out something about jazz and poetry. As an aside, I should add there were no poets the other night that did drone on at all. My ideas just came to me as I wrote my own dribble.

Poetry & Jazz?

From my notes:

Performing poetry is much like performing jazz.

As with music written down on paper, there is no sound when reading poetry. The poet is left to be a slave to the words on the page in front of them. It is up to the poet – or musician – to emote what is on the page.

When read out loud, poets will interpret the sounds like how a jazz musician performs a song when they feel it out loud. It transcends the page.

Like jazz, poetry has an infinite amount of emotions and relies heavily on the performer.

In a way, one would not be reading poetry out loud, but rather singing it.

“Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny.” – Frank Zappa

Whoop-de-do

Big whoop, right? So what I’m saying is when reading poetry out loud, one should approach it like a jazz musician – add their own feel and emotions into it. When I read Herrick’s poem out loud many years ago, I gave a rationality to why I performed it the way I did. I made it more than just words.

While I said how monotonous droning does work for some poets, others just do it because it may just be “words” to them. Now that is one big assumption on my part (see image above), and poetry can be entirely subjective. But I’m sure it would not hurt for someone to add extra feel to their performance. After all, I, for one, do not welcome our new poetry overlords.

Don’t forget to yell at me over on Twitter.

DoneMoWriMo

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this, I know. I apologise. I’ll be getting back on track ASAP.

That’s probably a lie, but I’ll try my best.

To get you all caught up though: I’m done editing and my novel has been handed out to a few close friends to start peer editing it. I figure having them edit my novel it is either a great decision, or the perfect set up to end my friendships with them when they critique it too harshly. . . .

. . . Honestly though, I’m thankful for having close friends that I trust enough to hand over my year(s) of work to. It’s going to be one helluva ride.

The Plan

Aside from trying to kill The Batman, my plan is to have my peer editors finish editing in by the end of May/early-June. During that time, I’ll research whether I’ll self-publish or go to a publisher. Given the content of my novel, I really have opened it to a variety of different publishers. But we’ll see.

Once the peer editing is done, I’ll make one more massive edit, then either get it edited one more time, or go to publishing. Oh, the chaos of it all.

That being said, I’m sure a lot of you are still wondering what my story is about. I have not really revealed much about it. Perhaps with my “down-time” I’ll finally come up with a decent synopsis?

That’s also probably a lie, but I’ll try my best!

Also, aren’t you following me on Twitter yet?

Until next time, folks!

NotDeadNoWriMo

I’ll admit that I’m struggling to make these titles still work.

Anyway, Happy New Year! It’s been a bit, I know. As with the holidays, things become needlessly hectic and out of control. I unfortunately got zero editing done in the month of December. It felt as if it was the busiest month of 2013 for me – next to February (when I moved).

As of last week though, I got back on track. I’ve edited about an eighth* of my story and am still plugging along. I definitely plan on having it completely finished with edits by the end of February. From there I’ll be passing the story off to a few English Literature friends of mine to do a once-over.

From there I’ll be making the necessary changes to either send it to a professional editor, or head right to publishing!

Now whether I’m going to self-publish or go through a publisher has yet to be seen. I also am debating whether I should self-fund or Kickstart the novel. For one thing, Kickstarter definitely offers awesome publicity.

On the other hand, I have no idea what I’m doing.

We’ll see what happens next! I’ll keep you posted!

*I am awful with fractions.

EditNoWriMo

“EditNoWriMo?” Why do I keep coming up with this garbage?

Today was the first day I sat down and began to re-read my story from the beginning. I’m pleased to say, while my writing did not change, I did add a lot more detail early on in the novel.

When I originally started thinking and writing. . .

. . . I continued to describe things – how people looked, the environments, and what-not. I found I was focusing too much on the “image” of things and not the actual story. So not even a sixth (maybe an eighth? I was never good with fractions) into the book, I started leaving out those details in order to get the plot done. It turned out great for me because hey – I finished writing my novel!

Now I am going back to add in the little details I skipped over before. It’s really interesting because it’s like going through a novel you have read in the past, then adding your own flair to it.

But it’s also a bit strange going back to the beginning. Obviously I know how it all ends, but you know, it’s hard to explain. The fact that I can see the book from it’s conception? Is this how parents feel looking at baby photos? I sure hope they don’t always think of their child’s conception when they look at them. . .

I digress.

When I tell people I still have to edit my novel, I am continually asked: “How long will that take?” Since I have began the edits today, and keeping in mind I’m adding new things as I go along, it took me about an hour to get through two pages. And I also added another six hundred words! Hooray!

So yes, I’m rocking it so far!

In sum: I cannot answer the question because I still have my work cut out for me. And damn, is it ever fun!

Until next time, folks!

PlaNoWriMo

Already at day three, eh?

It’s funny. I never actually participated in NaNoWriMo during the month of November. Instead, I ended up doing my own sporadically throughout the year. I called them “Thirty Day Challenges.” It was the same idea, only in like, January or something.

When I did my challenges, I found that spending thirty days (or more) before the actual challenge just “setting up” to be tremendously helpful.

What’s the point in trying to write a novel if you don’t have anything planned for it?

Sitting down and preparing yourself for storytelling is quite possibly more important than writing the story itself. Why? Because there is so much depth involved within a novel, it would be ridiculous just to go in blindly (especially if you plan on publishing).

It takes practice! Kind of like this guy with his horse:

But not really. . .

When I planned my novel – a science-fiction (and I’ll get a synopsis up here soon, folks) – I had to come up with so much depth: what worlds are used? What’s the technology? Politics? Religion?

But even further: who are these characters and what do they look like? What’s their age? What’s their story? Do they know each other? What’s their history with Character X or Y? Do they drive? Fly a car? How’s their parents? How were they brought up?

Delving even deeper: when Event X happens, how will it affect Character Y? How would Character Z approach Character Y afterwards?

Of course when writing, you’ll invent new ideas along the way complicating things more.

If you have it all written out – or pre-planned – new revelations won’t “shatter” the story as dramatically as you may expect.

While NaNoWriMo is awesome to get the ball rolling with writing your story, planning for it is something not to overlook.

As for me with my recently completed novel, I’m currently going through the first edit. I have lots of work ahead of me still.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo, folks!

Novel: Completed!

I’ve been off of here for the past while because I’ve been a bit busy! As the title suggests, yes! I’ve finished my novel!

After multiple versions with my own “NaNoWriMo,” many of cups of tea, hundreds of albums listened to, and pumping over 15,000 words in the past two days, I finally completed the story last night around 11:30pm.

It seemed like a long journey, but it really was not all that bad. I was able to say what I had to say in the story and hit all of my plot points with ease.

Was it relieving to type “The End?”

Yes and no. I was grinning wildly when I finished the book, but I had just done over ten hours of writing that day. I was pretty tired.

What’s next?

Well, I’ve never published a book before, so I’ll have to really work on studying how that system all operates.

I definitely need to take the time and hard edit the entire story. There’s a lot of little things I knew about when writing that I had to go back and fix, but I left it until the end. I wanted the skeleton of the story done first, followed by my editing to fix up the rest.

Then I’ll need test readers. I have a lot of friends who I went to University with for English. They’ll be the first on the docket to get the story. I’ll pass the early draft on to some friends and family of varying ages as well to see how the different audiences like it.

Once completed, I’ll go back to editing!

When the corrections are made, I’ll probably send it off to an editor to get looked at – maybe that would be the last edit? I don’t know!

And finally, I’ll move on to publishing.

I still have a long while ahead of me, but I’ll definitely get it sorted all out. I do not have a deadline exactly in mind yet, but I’m sure I’ll find one when I figure out how the publishing aspect works.

Thanks you kindly for reading and your many words of support over the past year. I’ll be back soon with some updates on how editing works!

Ah, the joys of being a writer.

And Happy Halloween!

The Inevitable Death Scene

As a writer, I just had my first experience with killing off a main character.

I hadn’t expected it to go as smoothly as it did. I had planned on this particular characters death since first planning the novel – so it wasn’t unexpected. However, I thought it’d be a bit more dramatic, at least for me.

Why?

Well, I’ve spent countless hours building and creating a world with these characters to live and relate in. . . only for a main character to die. It’s like watching Return of the Jedi, knowing Yoda’s about to kick it. Or watching The Land Before Time and waiting on the inevitable death of Littlefoot’s mother. (I’m sorry I brought that one up! It still gets to me as well!)

I figured it’d be a lot more difficult writing the death scene. Saying “goodbye” to someone I’ve spent the past year having run around in my head. As it turns out, it wasn’t a big deal at all!

I’ll ask again: why?


I wonder if Yoda’s death scene was hard to write? It probably wasn’t! He was only a puppet! I wrote about a real, fictional human!

Damned if I know! Maybe authors aren’t supposed to feel so attached to their characters? Was I a lucky one? Perhaps I became desensitized to knowing the death was going to happen? Maybe I’m happy the character is dead?

Or maybe I wrote the death so poorly it wasn’t emotional enough?

. . . Oh, crap! What if my whole story was written poorly?! WHAT IF IT ALL SUCKS?!

BRB. Gotta re-organize my life.