Posts Tagged ‘writing’
Back in 1998 I first read a book titled Star Wars, X-Wing: Wraith Squadron by a – new to me – author named Aaron Allston. Not only did I devour the book (figuratively), but I absolutely loved it & read it multiple times over my life. Little did I know that 6 years later I would meet the author himself at a convention (Stellarcon – and yes, that is a picture of us out our first meeting, and yes I am dressed as a Jedi) and that, over time we would become friends, and that he would eventually become a mentor to me as well (though I still am, and forever will be, one of his many many fangirls).
So imagine my delight when he agreed to write a guest blogpost for my website. If only I could go back and tell teenage Janine now… she’d never believe me.
Janine is the co-host of, and Bryan Young is a regular participant in, an annual writers’ workshop I attend. This is the sort of workshop where participants perform peer review on one another’s manuscripts — the literary equivalent of each person handing his or her young child to the person to the left and saying, “Please tell me how ugly my baby is. Don’t hold back.”
I’m sometimes asked if such workshops are a necessary tool of the writer, either of new writerss or of veterans. I always give some variation of the same answer:
(Janine and Bryan are now looking at me and sharpening their knives. But, hey, I often have that effect on people.)
To be more specific, workshops aren’t necessary — but the benefits they bring are. There are other ways to obtain those benefits. So I’m not arguing in favor of or against worishops, I’m here to talk about the benefits themselves.
Many years ago when I was WAY into costumes (I still love costuming, but in 2005 I was obsessed) I stumbled across the website Padawansguide.com while researching a Star Wars costume I was working on. The owner/manager/creator/content EVERYTHING person was Maggie Allen and I sent her an email which she promptly answered. We went back and forth a few times and found we had a lot of common interests outside of Star Wars & costumes (like a love for the Beatles & flying). I was immediately struck with how multi-talented and intelligent Maggie was (and still is), but more importantly how genuine a person she was. She was (and still is) truly one of the kindest, nicest people I’d ever met, and I can honestly say that she has made me a better person just by knowing her. Oh, and I learned how to play guitar because of her.
So it’s with great excitement that introduce all of you to one of my very best friends, Maggie Allen.
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Music and Writing
A big thanks to Janine for letting me take over her blog for a guest post. Janine and I became friends because we both liked Star Wars, but the things that really bonded us after that were music (especially The Beatles) and writing.
We’ve both come a long way since we started writing silly stories and playing guitar together. It’s been really awesome for me to hear Janine say she was going to write a novel, and then watch her actually do it. And now, not only has she written a novel, she’s written several of them. And lots of short stories.
I’ve only just started taking my first forays into professional publishing. I’ve got a short story coming out in an anthology this summer and a few others coming out through Silence in the Library Publishing, LLC’s future anthologies that I’m really excited about.
Writing songs is not dissimilar to writing stories. Actually, it might be more similar to writing a specific type of poetry, like a sonnet. Though not as strict in form, a song has a specific form of verses and choruses that ultimately tell a story or evoke an emotion. And stories and songs also often start with a scary blank page that needs to be filled with words. Like stories, songs have meaning, sometimes more than one. They’re open for interpretation. And they’re transformed by the listener’s own unique point of view. Of course, unlike stories, sometimes the lyrics of a song are put together the way they are simply because they rhyme. That’s part of the challenge in a way, getting the words put together to have the rhythm you want, while still containing a meaning, even if it’s not the one you originally intended.
Songs are often taken literally, and I’ve had people actually ask me why I write the lyrics I do. The truth is I’m happily married, so any so-called “unhappy relationship” songs aren’t drawn from my present – they’re either inspired by past experiences, or friend’s experiences, or even have hidden meanings. I went through a period where I was unhappy at my job, and I wrote a number of songs that I disguised as being about relationships. And frankly, I think it’s easier to write songs about being insecure than it is about being happy. But ultimately even the most confessional song can be a work of fiction. Which really doesn’t make writing one terribly different than telling a made-up story! It’s just a different form of story-telling!
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Bio: About the author: Maggie Allen is new to the publishing world, but not new to writing. By day, Maggie writes about non-fictional topics in astronomy and astrophysics – and at night, she spends time in other creative pursuits. These include running her popular costume websites (The Padawan’s Guide to Star Wars Costumes, The Costumer’s Guide to Movie Costumes), writing short stories, sewing 18th century gowns, and playing guitar in a rock band, which just came out with its first album of original music.
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Lastly, need a copy of my books? As it happens you can buy them here.
I just wrote the climax to book 3 in the War of the Seasons series and I find I am both relieved and extremely sad.
Like I want to cry.
I don’t know if I can fully explain this properly.