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Posts Tagged ‘L.M. Montgomery’

Some people are upset when fall days are not crisp and cool, befitting the colors on the trees. But days like this, with the sun shining down as though it were spring filled with hope rather than an upcoming, cold and dark winter, fill me with such joy. You cannot beat the feel of the sun coming down and gracing your skin with its presence, as though a constant reminder that God loves you, nor the slightly cool breeze that occasionally floats by to give you just enough relief to let you enjoy the sun all that much more. I could sit outside for hours on a day like this.

I am sitting here on the balcony now, re-reading Pat of Silver Bush and reveling in the descriptions of scenery and joy that the little girl has in her house, her fields, and days, whether summer or winter. There is a magic in the words that L.M. Montgomery weaves – a magic that I desperately would love to capture in my own writing. I suppose experienced writers would tell me it takes experience, while savvy writers would tell me such things don’t sell anymore. But if it still thrills my soul at 30, surely there are still some girls out there looking for books that weave magic.

Days like this I can almost believe I can do it myself. Days like this remind me of flower fairies, wood elves, and God’s love surrounding every one of us.

I went to a literary festival yesterday with workshops to improve your writing and the one on revision had me actually hand a stranger the first five pages of my book and ask him to critique it. What a stretch that was! Far more stretching than I think I would have been brave enough for, had I known ahead of time. But it ended up good! He, being completely unbiased and not a huge fan of Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery type books, was able to offer straightforward and much needed advice. I finally understand what the books mean when you say you need to trust your reader. He pointed out the areas where I felt like I had to describe in detail what was happening because I was afraid the reader wouldn’t understand it. More than that, he explained I also had to trust myself – trust that I was conveying the information I needed to without explaining it in three different ways. It seriously was the most helpful advice I think I’ve ever received – which is reasonable since I almost never show anyone my writing. I also critiqued the first pages of his book, which didn’t need a lot of changes – we have probably as opposite styles as you could possibly think of, but it was good, because I could see his short and to the point sentences, where mine ramble on.

It was my first time going to such a thing, and it was really inspiring – and I got to hear from other people who actually are writers or trying to be writers, who know the difficulties and don’t just vaguely say, “Oh, I want to write a book too!” There is something inspiring about knowing you are not the only one having struggles. Speaking of which, all I need to struggle with right now is whether to sit in the sun and read or keep editing my book. I think I might read and just soak in the success of one of my all-time favorite authors in hopes it will inspire me for the upcoming National Novel Writing Month.

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So, I officially got my first rejection letter this summer. As well as my first rejection “damned with faint praise”, which was made slightly less painful by my association of that with Emily of New Moon. Slightly. You can read all the magazines and books in the world “prepping” you for rejections by the hundreds, but there is still nothing like casting your eyes over those words, trying to gently tell you that your work sucks via a – well, what would have been a typewritten slip at one point and is now a generalized email.

This means I have officially reached a new status, though, right? That I have submitted to “official” enough places to actually get a rejection? Anyway. I have had more than one person tell me this story is good, so I am going to try again. . . only, I realized I am probably not trying for the right audience. I was pitching it as a literary piece, but it has definite Christian undertones (being, after all, a Christian) and, further to its condemnation in the eyes of the world right now, it ends happily. You know that everyone likes the dark pieces right now that give you shivers and make you feel kind of ugly inside and like you can never look at humans the same way again. I don’t get that trend at all. I like to feel uplifted after reading, even bittersweet if it is a sad ending. But I digress. So I realized I should be submitting it to Christian short story magazines.

Want to know something I didn’t know until this week? THERE ARE NO CHRISTIAN FICTION SHORT STORY MAGAZINES! At least, none that I can find. There are tons of Christian or spiritual blogs and magazines in general – but they all want inspirational articles of true stories, devotionals, or whatnot. Fiction? Psh. Apparently they think it is  a waste of time. So I am a little at a loss and mildly considering starting my own Christian fiction magazine.

If any of you all can help me find a place to submit my short stories, I would be quite grateful.

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Writing Hopes

So I discovered an incredibly encouraging fact! I may be far older than Emily of New Moon in any of her books, but guess what? I am YOUNGER than L.M. Montgomery was when she published Anne of Green Gables and jumpstarted her writing career! You know what that means?? My heart finally believes what my mind said! IT’S NOT TOO LATE! This excites me, in case you couldn’t tell.

So, I started a new blog. This one is on blogger, and I have decided to use it solely for writing samples/clips. It is still under construction and I haven’t posted in it yet, but the link is: storyidyls.blogspot.com. So, if you are only interested in reading my random writing pieces, go there. If you want all my nonsensical chatter, come here! 😛

Writing quotes

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Do you mind if I ramble a bit? Well, if so, go ahead and leave now, because I am going to do it anyway. In fact, I am going to intersperse my WHOLE workday with rambling on this post. Or, at least until I am tired of it or feel I have said everything on my mind and heart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (for those who don’t know it, when someone says everything on their heart, it is bound to be filled with nonsensical emotion.)

As I have mentioned multiple times, so I am sure everyone is sick of hearing it, I am struggling to find the inspiration I once had for my stories. I go about this the way I go about pretty much all my goals in life. I try one thing, then, after I don’t get immediate results, I try another the next week (or day, depending on how patient I am feeling). I tried buying a whiteboard (like the one Castle uses?) to plot my books. After writing an initial outline of a story, realizing I didn’t feel passionate about the story at all, and leaving it on there for weeks, I wiped it and the huge whiteboard sits empty. Then I tried forcing myself to write 15 minutes a day, no matter what. That worked for almost a week. I forced myself to sit and write for 15 minutes, hated everything my pen put out, and then, one day, I was just too busy. Can you guess how often I have done that since? I tried researching subjects I wanted to write about. I read about writing books. I started an outline for yet another story. Finally, last weekend, I picked up an old favorite book I haven’t touched in years. Emily of New Moon. As I read, I felt my soul thrilling as it hadn’t done in years. As this girl wrote about her stories, or “flashes”, the Wind Woman, I felt drawn back to my childhood, back when everything was new and exciting and I, too, thought everything I wrote was beautiful. But, most importantly, I was drawn back to when I could pick up a piece of paper and write. About anything, about a sunset, about a sunrise, about a song, anything that gave me that thrill from head to foot, I would write about. Yes, I thought, this is it! I just need to read my favorite books and remember why I love writing! And then, as I read further, suddenly the effect the book was having on me . . . reversed. Oh, I still loved reading over the old, beloved words, and feeling thrills along with Emily, but, I realized how – old I was. Back when I used to read the books, I used to be Emily’s age. Whether it was the first, second, or third book, at some point, I was still her age, with similar dreams and ambitions. Now – I am significantly older than she was in any of her books. And I have this dreadful feeling that it means it is too late for me. I know I wrote about this in an earlier post not long ago, but though my brain knows it isn’t too late, my heart hasn’t caught up yet, and I have been struggling to fight off a singularly depressed feeling.

The thing is, I have this feeling that I want to go back to my childhood and recapture the innocent dream that all I have to do is love what I do and I will succeed – and my complete lack of doubt in my ability to write and that if I just kept going, it would all turn out. But maybe that is part of the trouble. One, part of me knows I can never go back to my childhood and I need to move forward from where I am right now – but I am terribly resistant. I want to go back to the stories I was writing at 13 and still write them, instead of finding new stories. And two, I didn’t keep going. Whether I want to admit it or not, I essentially stopped writing in college for four years. Well, I was writing essays and presentations, but, that hardly counts. Which brings me to this scary thought: What if I was wrong? What if writing isn’t really my passion and I just superimposed it on myself because of all the books I read nonstop? I mean, there has to be something wrong if I can just stop writing for four years, doesn’t there? And then I got all confused. I was so sure that God designed me to write.

As far back as I can remember, all I have wanted to do when I grew up was be a writer. Heck, I remember being 8 years old and reading the beginnings of my first novel to my older sister. Wanting nothing more than to write for like 15 years has to mean something, right?

Well, I am still trying to figure it all out. But, I have decided on yet another method to get my confidence and inspiration back. This time, I AM going to go back to my childhood. I have stacks and stacks of stories or portions of stories from before I went to college. So, my newest idea is to pull out one page from those stacks at a time, and rewrite it. I have this hope that if I can just get my creative juices flowing again, I will be able to look at everything around me as a story the way I used to. Or maybe God will use it to show me what it is He wants me to do – where He wants me to go from here. Or maybe pulling out the old pages from my younger years will remind me of why I started writing in the first place and help open my brain to new paths – new stories that fit where I am emotionally now, instead of the dramatic, tragic stories I used to write.

I have this horrible fear that I have wasted too many years and now I will die before I accomplish all my dreams. And my brain knows that the longer i am paralyzed by this fear, the more time I will waste, but my heart hasn’t caught up to that yet, and I have this hopeless feeling that it doesn’t matter anymore. I know, I know – that isn’t true. But since when does that help soulfulness?

If anyone has ever gone through this type of identity crisis, I would appreciate advice or scriptures on getting through it and how to move forward instead of looking backwards.

motivational inspirational love life quotes sayings poems poetry pic picture photo image friendship famous quotations proverbs

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Just thoughts

So, I have been looking at some old favorites lately – Emily of New Moon, to be exact. In case you couldn’t tell, considering my previous post. But tonight, I was sitting at a bar, having some wine – Daniel is off on a camping trip, so I had to find a way to entertain myself – and I began reading it again. Yes, while sitting at the bar. And somehow, I still found myself completely lost in its pages. L.M. Montgomery has such a way of pulling one into her pages. I was lost in the magic of her words – they completely wove a spell about me. And reminded me of why I had such a passion for writing when I was young. And now. But, I just have to rediscover it. Perhaps the trick is reading the books that make me feel young and romantic again. You know, the other day, when I was reading quotes from Anne of Green Gables, I had this sudden, sad feeling that I was too old to dream anymore, that it was too late, that the way in which Anne thought and dreamed – it was too late for me. But, surely not. Surely, if L.M. Montgomery’s short stories teach us anything, it is that you are never too old to dream. How many of her stories contain middle aged women who dream and act like young women? Perhaps, then, I am not yet too old, and I can yet find my way, and wrap people in my stories the way she wraps me in hers.

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As is the case of with many L.M. Montgomery fans, one of my favorite quotes comes from Emily of New Moon. I had no idea, however, that it was drawn from an actual poem that L.M. Montgomery used as her own inspirational motto! The entire poem is just lovely.

The Fringed Gentian
Unknown

Lift up, thy dewy fringed eyes,
Oh, little Alpine flower,
The tear that trembling on them lies
Has sympathetic power
To move my own, for I, too, dream
With thee of distant heights
Whose lofty peaks are all agleam
With rosy dazzling lights.

Who dreams of wider spheres revealed
Up higher near the sky
Within the valley’s narrow field
Cannot contented lie.
Who longs for mountain breezes rare
Is restless down below
Like me for stronger purer air
Thou pinest, too, I know.

Where aspirations, hopes, desires
Combining fondly dwell,
Where burn the never-dying flowers
Of Genius’ wondrous spell.
Such towering summits would I reach
Who climb and grope in vain,
Oh, little flower, the secret teach
The weary way make plain.

When whisper blossom in thy sleep
How I may upward climb
The Alpine path, so hard, so steep
That leads to heights sublime.
How I may reach that far-off goal
Of true and honored fame
And write upon its shining scroll
A woman’s humble name.

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