My Passion's Pen

Helping to polish what your passion pens.

Archive for the tag “Ramblings of My Overstuffed Mind”

SOAPBOX WARNING!! School Board Bans Ellison

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/18/north-carolina-school-board-bans-ralph-ellisons-invisible-man/?utm_content=buffer05817&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

I’ve always thought erring on the side of political correctness was a massive blunder. Here again, if this story is true (it probably is), we’re letting the few dictate what is best for the masses, thus alienating many, which, ironically is one of key points of the book this NC school district has removed from its curriculum. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man was probably the book that touched me the most in my AP English class way back when.

It’s sad to see so many great works, that I quite honestly would have never been exposed to had I not read them in school, be pushed aside because it makes some people uncomfortable. Well, here’s a news flash: the issues in Invisible Man, Black Like Me, The Bluest Eye, The Middle Passage, etc., are all very real and relevant, even in the 21st century.

I’m in favor of being respectful and inclusive of all cultures, and think it would be beneficial to add to this this list, rotate some works with those of others. However, don’t lose sight of the fact that students enrolled in these challenging courses are seeking “hard reads.” Parents made the decision to move to that community because of the school’s rigor.

It’s an assigned reading, so read it. Be uncomfortable. To me, that means you’re thinking, which is what the assignment set out to achieve. These helicopter parents drive me nuts. They’re stifling their child’s ability to problem solve and deal with adversity. Not that reading a book that doesn’t interest them is a real hardship…It’s real life. They’ll be the same ones calling college professors, making pleas on their child’s behalf to move the exam or some other nonsense. 

I believe a Board member said Ellison’s work lacked literary merit and was insensitive of other cultures and religions…It was written in a different era. That statement is culturally insensitive.

I write this, as not just a lover of books, but as a mother, the wife of an educator, and a black woman. My heart hurts to read this article and see, yet again, how we are devalued in favor of the ethnicity du jour. A lot if it is our own fault. We allowed this to happen. We’ve lost our zeal. Our leaders are out of touch and, in many cases, embarrassing. We’re only relevant in times of violence and tragedy.

The passive-aggressive racism that we’re experiencing now is so much more damaging than somebody calling me the “N” word. Why? Because we don’t even realize we’re being discriminated against. We accept the pat on the shoulder and whatever else is offered. We don’t challenge ourselves as individuals, which will change the collective. We have our “Talented Tenth” who reach high heights, but what about the other ninety percent?

Overwhelmingly, we don’t read. How many black kids were actually assigned that school’s reading list? Probably not many. I know I was the sole student of color in my AP classes, and although I live in a culturally diverse community where black kids are doing great things, my daughters are oftentimes one of just a few black students in their AP and honors courses.

Education is the great equalizer. READ.

I’m stepping down from my SOAPBOX now. Have a great Friday

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Featured Article: Containing Your Write Life (via http://writedivas.com)

I recently came across an article on CNN about the phenomenon of extreme work culture, and it caught my interest because I’ve been there—worked to the bone, tired, sick, and apathetic. And while the article focused on traditional industry, I immediately…

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9 Tips for Giving Better Editorial Feedback

http://yeahwriters.tumblr.com/post/61550031626/9-tips-for-giving-better-editorial-feedback

Arguing with myself

Writer vs Editor
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/279293614364733141/
For more visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/hyphenmancom/492753717463693

Yet I somehow manage to do both with some proficiency. This explains why I’m always carrying on conversations with myself.

The Four Agreements

Simple, yet so profound. LOVE!

The Four Agreements.

Wearing my editor’s hat today

I’ve been wearing my editor’s hat today while working on a number of projects. In my search for a concise, and not condescending, rationale for self-editing before shipping your work off to a beta and pre-reader, I came across this little beauty of a checklist.

http://www.rainyofthedark.com/2013/03/30/the-editing-checklist-11-ways-to-self-edit/

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The Secret To Creating Story Structure

The Secret To Creating Story Structure

Confessions of a Plotting Pantser

I don’t know about you, but when I write I enlist a variety of methods to get my thoughts on the proverbial paper. I found this article in my in-box which rather clearly outlines why *ahem* outlines are integral parts of the writing process (bad pun, I know). I also read this nice piece this morning, so I’ve had outlines on the brain pretty much all day. http://jamigold.com/2013/08/writing-rule-1-there-is-no-one-right-way/

Some folks might extol the virtues of pantsing over having a detailed structure to their story, but I challenge that. Any writer already has a clear picture of how their project will play out. They just might not take the time to map it all out in an outline. There are so many ways to get to the finish line. I wager that even the most devout plotter has a few moments where they deviate from their outline and fly by the seat of their pants. No one way is right or wrong.

For me, I’m a plotter and a pantser. When inspiration strikes, usually in the form of a scene, I immediately write down everything that I can. That then turns into character bios, which then turns into some sort of rough draft for a chapter or two. When I’m in my writing vein, I oftentimes scratch out some semblance of an outline for each chapter. I know what I want to happen, so I map out key points that I’d like to hit before I move on.

I don’t know about most writers, but I oftentimes see the end from the beginning (makes writing a linear story a real challenge, lemme tell ya). Because I’m developing an idea based upon something that hasn’t yet happened to my characters, I’m left to unravel the mystery of the story. I have no idea if my efforts are successful. The few wonderfully faithful readers that I have seem to think so. Yay me!

My first fic, Pure Perfection, was completely written on the fly. I plotted out later chapters, and then my goals for the sequel, however, doing so seemed to stifle the flow of creativity for those projects. The sequel was a sonofagun to get started and finish.

Although I like to have a plan of action, once I’m really in my writing groove I let the words flow and take me wherever they want. Most times what I end up with bears little resemblance to what I started with.

There is no one, absolute route to take to get your brilliance out of your head and into the hands of the masses.

Happy writing!

Watch “Sara Bareilles – Brave” on YouTube

I woke up this morning and was compelled to do some Tumblr diving. One of the first posts I came across was this video. Everyone needs to watch this–listen closely to the words, look at the dancers, look at the passersby. Warning — prepare to be assaulted in the feels. I am crying right now because I feel remorse, joy, determination, pride…I just feel so much, and it feels damn good. Please watch, you’ll watch more than once, I just know it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction

This article is a must read — my blog post, not so much…

Six Easy Tips for Self-Editing Your Fiction.

Oh my goodness! I wish I had this article when I started writing about a year ago. Hell, I wish I found this article last week. I recently re-read my first fic and it is chock full of these types of things (I’ll chalk it up to rookie mistakes). Even my second, third, and fourth fics are wrought with over inflated prose (I’m so embarrassed, not really. I’m proud to say that I’ve matured as a writer).

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading contest entries, and boy oh boy have most of them been afflicted with “Purple Prose.” The condition is so prevalent that I found myself yawning through juicy lemons and supposedly emotional scenes. I read one this morning where the character’s dialogue ended with an exclamation point, yet the dialogue tag said it was a whisper.*rolls eyes and groans* Okay, that’s not an example of “Purple Prose,” but that, unfortunately not uncommon, error is addressed in the post I’m sharing.

Many fanfiction authors that I’ve been reading lately happen to be relatively new to the game, so I’ll give them a pass and pass along some tips. Every day there is a new member to this dynamic fandom world; let’s put out our best work and strive to improve as individuals and as a collective. Don’t take for granted why you have a new reader. What I tell people who ask me to critique their work is that I expect them to reintroduce me to my favorite characters. Help me understand the author’s vision of them. I want to feel what they feel, not be fluffed to nauseating levels. I want the fics I read to stay with me for a long time after I click on the last page. I would love to write something that has that same effect on the reader.

I admit that I have high standards for how I spend my time, which is why I stick to my tried and true authors, but I do believe in giving the new guy a shot. Sure, I might end up being the most hated woman around after this post, but if I’ve given you something to think about, then I’ve achieved my goal.

Be breezy — Daph

A nice piece to help writers show and not tell.

I’m always on the lookout for easy to digest writing tips and came across this one:


Writing Exercise: Using Your Senses (via http://writedivas.com)

Today’s writing exercise is about using your senses. It ties into Tuesday’s writing prompt, which asked you to imagine the smell of freshly cut grass and then let that scent take hold of your imagination. Instead of a prompt, the exercise today…

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