Category Archives: story telling

Would You Want To Know?

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Lately, I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been wondering about my writing career, asking myself if I really think all the dreams I have had for the last decade or so will ever really come true. Most days I’m an optimist, but there are those few days that I sit questioning everything and anything.
I got to thinking, What if someone who sees the future told you they can tell you with absolute certainty if you will ever break through? Would you want to know? Would it make a difference?
What if the answer was no, would you keep writing?
Let’s face it, writers are filled with dreams of the future. The possibilities of what can be are great motivators. Sure, we all write because it’s our passion, our love, our sanity, but a great amount of us write hoping that someday our words will be read by thousands maybe even millions of people.
It would be nice to know for sure if that moment we are waiting for will eventually come. However, I’m not sure I’d want to know for sure.
I write because my soul feels complete when I am putting the pen to the paper. I’m hopeful that my perseverance will pay off. If someone told me my dreams will never come true it would crush me. On the reverse, if they said I will one day be a best-selling author, I might write more furiously so I can get to that point quicker, but still it wouldn’t be the same.
As much as I hate not knowing what will become of me and my words, it’s the not knowing that pushes me forward, keeps me going, and drives me to produce more.
So, if someone with a crystal ball said, “I can tell you if you will find success.” It’s a possibility that I’d say, “Okay, tell me.” but then I might find myself regretting finding out.
How about you? Would you want to know?

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Filed under meme, novel, random, rejections, story telling, Uncategorized, writer's life, writers, Writing

Chicken Soup For My Soul

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On June 8th 2005 my father died. On September 15th 2005 I, along with my sisters went to see a world renowned medium. My father connected with us and it became an experience that will remain with me for the rest of my life. On January 1rst 2009 while browsing through writer sites, I stumbled upon a call for submissions. Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for submissions regarding miraculous messages from heaven. I remember sitting at my kitchen table feeling excited and thinking, this is meant to be. I typed my story and sent it on its way. I was so confident that my story was meant to be a part of this book that I wrote down the day in my journal.
After a few months went by I chalked it up to another rejection. After a few years went by I forgot I sent the story.
Long before I started blogging here at Writing Like Crazy, I blogged on Moments to Memories(my first blog). Moments to Memories was all about occurrences in life. My most favorite thing about that blog was that my father often commented. When I want to hear his voice through his words I go back to my original blog and read his comments. When I was writing posts for Moments to Memories, it wasn’t uncommon to be alerted of a comment someone left but as I stopped posting the comments stopped coming.
So, this week when I received an e-mail stating there was a new comment on Moments to Memories I thought for sure it was a spam comment. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the comment…We are looking for a Maribeth Graham who submitted a story to Chicken Soup for The Soul. I immediately thought it was some type of mistake, I sent that story four years ago.
I was excited but hesitantly so. But sure enough when I contacted the woman, it was me they were looking for.M my story was selected to be part of the new Chicken Soup for Soul book coming out this October.
I was at a low point. I was thinking that my dreams were probably never going to come true. That e-mail was exactly what I needed to keep moving forward. It was as if God heard my doubts and said I better throw her a bone so she doesn’t give up. There is a plan for me. Sometimes when we think there is nothing to come an undeniable sign bursts onto the scene.
We don’t know what will be but if we don’t keep trying it won’t be what it could be.

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Filed under story telling, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

10 THINGS NOVELIST DREAM ABOUT

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1. Seeing their name in Print

2. Signing their autograph

3. An offer from an agent

4. Selling their book

5. Their book cover

6. Making The New York Times Best Sellers List

7. Great Reviews

8. Writing full time

9. A book store filled with their books

10. Their Next Book

What did I miss?

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Filed under books, dreaming, life, novel, random, story telling, story writing, writer's life, writers

Could You, Would You, Be Anonymous?

Back when I was a young girl in elementary school a teacher read a story to our class. I can’t tell you what the name of the story was or the title, but I never forgot the author. “The author of this story is Anonymous,” she said. “Does anyone know what anonymous means?” she asked as she wrote the word in big letters across the chalkboard.

I sat there trying to properly pronounce the word in my mind, curious of whom this Anonymous person was. It was a peculiar name, one I’d never heard, or could barely pronounce. “Anonymous, means unknown,” she explained.

My heart sunk as I tried to process the explanation. How can’t they know who wrote this? I wondered. I had so many questions that I didn’t ask. Like, how was the story found? Did the person regret not letting the world know their name? Why is their identity a secret?

I still find myself asking those same questions every time I see the author listed as Anonymous. This past summer, I read the book Go Ask Alice. I think the fact that the author was Anonymous had a lot to do with the purchase.
I always wanted to come across one of these anonymous authors and pick their brains. In an industry where most of us collect rejections, it seems impossible that a nameless, faceless author would become published, but yet they do. And what is their process? Do they submit just like us? Does someone stumble upon their work, and then take the time to query work that isn’t even theirs? Who gets paid?

I understand someone may choose to be listed as anonymous if a book they are writing may stir up controversy, but what about a poem or a quote? How do these become known and then published. We as writers list quotes everyday on sites such as Twitter or Facebook. Is it possible that one day we will read a quote listed as Anonymous and know it was ours?
Having said all of that, I also want to make it known I always admired Anonymous writers and often asked myself this question, “Could you be Anonymous? Would you be Anonymous?” I never replied with a straight answer. I’d like to think I could but then I say nah probably not. But, I learned a long time ago never say never. Could you be anonymous? Would you be anonymous?

5 Famous Writings by Anonymous Authors
1. Beowulf
2. Arabian Nights: Tales From One Thousand and One Nights
3. (Quote) Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow
4. Go Ask Alice
5. The Book With No Name

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Filed under Fiction, story telling, writer's life, writing, Writing

Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

I am disappointed in myself. When I stumbled upon the a to z blog writing challenge, I was thrilled. It was exactly what I needed for my blog. Immediately I jotted down each post title in my journal. There was nothing going to stop me from completing this challenge. I should have known some bad luck was lurking ready to strike. It was the day of the F challenge. I flipped open my laptop and immediately panicked when all I saw was black. I jiggled the cord of the charger, hoping it was the culprit. Nothing. I pressed my ear to the screen. The motor was running. Remembering this happened to me once before, I turned the laptop upside down and took out the battery and waited. I was sure when I put back the battery everything would be fine. Once again, nothing happened. Hysteria was setting in when I thought about all my documents. I wasn’t sure if I backed them all up. Luckily, I e-mailed myself my middle-grade and Ya novel, the two that mean the absolute world to me.

My husband thought maybe he could connect my laptop to his and get the screen to come up on his computer but I had no such luck. During this time, I came down with Bronchitis (I am convinced I was a hair away from pneumonia). I failed the challenge. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t type every blog from my phone. It just wasn’t happening.

As of today, I am back up and running. I might not have completed every letter. I still might go back and blog the letters I did miss but for now I will continue from this point on.
I’m dusting myself off. I constantly feel like I am being tested. Like someone somewhere keeps throwing obstacles at me such as rejections, malfunctions, and responsibilities just to see if I will go back to writing. My reply is, throw it at me, no matter what comes my way, I will never stop writing. When I made the decision to write, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

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Filed under random, story telling, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

THE TEN D’S ALL WRITERS NEED

1. Diligence – You must push forward, even when you don’t want to.

2. Determination- Believe in yourself. Trust that others will see the beauty in your written word.

3. Dedication- Once you commit to becoming a writer set aside time each day to hone the craft.

4. Drive – A writer with drive and passion will eventually get noticed.

5. Desolation- Find solitude so you can create without interruptions.

6. Daily Routines- Writing should be done every day. If you set a routine, you will be less likely to break it.

7. Deadlines- Give yourself deadlines. Eg. Chapter one must be finished by Monday. The short story has to be completed by Saturday.

8. Dreams- Dream big. Never let anyone make you feel that your dreams are not possible.

9. Desire- You must want to write. If writing doesn’t feel like a necessity it might not be your passion.

10. Decision making abilities- Chapters need to be edited. Word counts need to be cut. Favorite sentences need to be chopped. It’s not always easy making decisions as a writer but it is required. Characters need to love, get hurt, evolve and occasionally die. You have to be able to make those decisions in order for your masterpiece to appear.

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Filed under character, editing, Inspirational, story telling, story writing, writer's life, writers, writing, Writing

COMING TOGETHER

There is something that happens when a writer writes that I like to call Coming Together. It’s the moments when our internal light bulbs click on. It’s the point where the unknown becomes the obvious. Have you ever had an idea but couldn’t imagine what it would become or what story it would end up telling?

You develop a plot, create characters and build settings, but the pieces to your writing puzzle are scattered. Eventually, somehow, they will all fit together.
In my middle-grade novel (it’s currently out on submission) I created a character who rode a bike with a horn. The character is not a child but an older man. At the time, I had no idea why he insisted on attaching a childlike horn to his bike and to be honest I didn’t care. I just knew he did. I don’t think I ever intended on exploring the reason behind it until the reason presented itself and suddenly I became giddy. It’s as if someone gave me a pertinent piece, I had no idea was missing. My story was coming together in a way I never imagined it would have.

I have learned to stop worrying about what will be and just let it be. When reading books, I find myself questioning whether I’m at a point in someone else’s book that was one of their aha moments. One that comes to mind is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (if you have not read it, be advised I’m about to reveal a spoiler). It’s the scene where Katniss and her squad are sharing a laugh at Mitchell’s attempt to show desperation-(they are supposed to be acting, and their lack of acting skills sends them into hysteria). I can still remember the smile on my face contorting into an opened gasp when a few sentences later Boggs steps back so he can find the best light for the Holo and triggers a bomb which ends up killing him). I remember thinking, did she know she was going to do this or is it something that in the midst of a fun scene just showed up? I’d probably have to ask Suzanne directly to find the answer but I imagined her tapping at a keyboard when the realization set in that this scene required tragedy.

Writing is an unraveling of the mind. Sometimes the idea never comes together they way we imagined. But, the times they do, make doing what we do worth every word.

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Filed under character, character building, constructing, story telling, writer's life, writers, Writing