Notes From A Lifetime of Literary Privilege by Kelly Lauer

Reflections of a Book Addict

Guest posting on the blog today is my super bestest reading friend Kelly, from Reading With Analysis.  I was supposed to post this last month for Banned Books Week, but with the move, Vegas trip, and everything in between it got lost in the shuffle! SO! Do me a favor, and please welcome Kelly back to the blog!

As a reader, I have always been lucky.  Not only was I born in a comparatively prosperous, middle-class neighborhood in southern California (and thus privileged in so many ways, including weather and proximity to delicious Mexican food and rather diverse culture), I was born to a reader who likes to own books and who has a deep-seated hatred of being told what to do.  I was always surrounded by books, and they weren’t always the anesthetized, “family friendly” books so popular among other conservative, religious folk in the eighties.  If my…

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Not on Writing, but on Being a Writer

Ashley Jillian

Self-identity nouns should be given great weight. Like more weight than those things our grandparents used to keep papers from flying away on a desk of whichever mid-century school of design was their preference.

One of my generation’s most gratuitous self-identity nouns is “foodie.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the following Twitter bios:

Writer, Dog-Lover, Foodie

Packers Fan, Aspiring Cellist, Foodie

Stripper, Pop Star, Foodie

Died last Tuesday, Foodie

You know that really intense almost physical reaction you have to seeing a cute kitten or puppy? The opposite of that

I feel like one needs to reach a certain level of commitment and experience to something before using it as a self-identity word. I’m not saying you need to publish a best-selling novel or land an internship at an easy beach-read mag like The Economist, but if writing is what your soul breathes, you are a…

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On Resumes and Job Interviews

Confession time. I have never had an actual job. I volunteer for a lot of things, and I have been paid for a devotion that is going to be published next month but I have never had a legitimate job. Needless to say that when my latest project turned out to be either answers for job interview questions or a cover letter and resume, I felt a little bit out of my comfort zone. I chose the first option because I could write it in essay form which I understood and can work.I mean, it only had to be two pages double spaced, how hard could it be? Now for the sake of applicability, I had to find an open job that I would actually want to apply for to use as a template for these questions. After I finish college, I want to be a writer. In order to avoid living broke in a ditch somewhere when that time comes, I should acquire some professional experience. I found a freelance writing job on Elance.com to use. The person was willing to pay a penny a word for the first 3,000-5,000 words and, depending on reviews and such, get paid on a 40% royalty basis. Since then, it has been awarded to some incredibly lucky person, but when I saw it it practically screamed my name. It was exactly the job I wanted. It is a tad bit difficult to answer things like what do you know and like about our organization when the person did not give out much. Just like novels, you have to be creative when faced with certain types of issues. Focus on values that you have in common etc. All in all, it was good practice for when I actually do apply for a job.
So what were y’all’s first jobs or dream jobs? Any suggestions for a newbie?

On Collaborative Projects and Bioweapons

I just finished a project on Bioterrorism and Bioweapons. It was a group project, which I usually hate, that I actually enjoyed. We had to pick a controversial topic to write a persuasive essay about. The one I wanted to do was off limits, so we decided to research bioweapons.
It took us a while to find a topic to work on. Most of the things we saw were either related to the topics we were not allowed to do or boring topics that are incredibly overdone. The reason we decided to do bioweapons is because I have honestly watched too many movies and thought it looked interesting. She was flexible.
Our project ended up being more about fear than actual weaponry however. Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator. I recently got Netflix and started watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the episodes in the first season explores what happens when our worst fears come true. It was a very interesting thing to think about and I thought about it a lot during the project. We figured out from extensive research that there is much more fear around this issue than their actually should be. There has not been a major attack really since the anthrax scare of 2001. Even then, only a few people died. Terrorists aren’t really organized or rich to pull off a majorly destructive attack.
This was was one of the only times I have actually enjoyed a group project. My partner was helpful and cooperative and I did not have to do all the work. We were able to get it done in two three hour segments at the library. So, what have y’all’s experiences been with collaborative project? Curious about my project? I now have extensive knowledge of what toxins do what, how fast, and how effectively, so if you have questions I would love to answer them.

Thickening The Plot

Live to Write - Write to Live

I’ve heard some writers are blessed with the ability to spill their brains on the page and have the premise, rising action and resolution come out in the flow of words. This happens to you all the time right?

Yeah, me neither.

That leaves us to write and revise until we get it right. Sometimes, having a structure to hang your story on can help you flesh it out in advance of writing or a structure can help fill in the holes on revision. Every writer has their own way of working through the process, but there are a few methodologies out there to make organizing your story easier. Here is a non-exhaustive list of plotting methodologies.

The Snowflake Method

This ten step plotting method has you start out at the broadest level possible for describing your story (one summary sentence) and expand the level of detail at each level…

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