Tuesday, February 14

The First Days of Being an Intern... (What I call Heaven)

So, I started my internship at InterVarsity Press yesterday. 
I was very nervous over the weekend, endlessly going over my mind how to say "Hello" and what small talk I can make that is intelligent as well. I spent hours going over what I would wear that first day, and making sure that I would look professional and still young. 
It took me until I was in the shower that morning before I was able to calm down and really relax. I had driven there twice already, so I wasn't worried about getting lost. 

Then, I was there. And they were saying hello, and glad to meet you, and happy to have you, etc. And after the tour and the setting up the computer and the meeting the Publisher and having lunch, I started on work. 

I had really no idea what I would be doing, although I knew it would be simple and not very important, I haven't had any real training in editing or publishing!

So, when I was asked to read a book proposal and give my feedback, I was taken aback. They were asking me to recommend the book for publishing or not. I assumed that I wouldn't be the only one reading it, and they weren't going to take my word as Law, but it was still exciting. I finished that, and was very proud of what I had accomplished. 

Then it was DAY 2. I came in and went to my office, got situated, took out the few things from home I had brought to make the office nicer for me, and went to see what my supervisor wanted me to do today. I was again shocked at what my assignment was. I was given a few 'mini-books' to read and give content editing comments on, big picture stuff, not nitpicking grammar. I was also given a book that had been edited and revised and was told to enter in the corrections in the computer... all 200 pages!! Of course, they didn't expect me to finish today, but by the end of the week. 

After lunch, I was doing really well, taking my time, making sure I didn't make any mistakes, making notes where I needed to ask questions of my supervisor later on, and generally chugging along. Then I get another project. 

This one involved latin translations and publishing rights, most of which I didn't understand. What I was expected to do was to change many sections of this commentary to the correct translation. All told there were 40,000 words changing. Not too big of a deal when the book is 6 million! But a lot nonetheless. 

Enter my dilemma. Each one of these projects were 'high priority'! How am I supposed to figure out which to give most of my attention to. Thankfully my supervisor is going to help with that tomorrow. It's crazy how in publishing, every book is of the utmost importance to someone. 

I wouldn't trade all that craziness for anything, though. I am having so much fun! I got to brainstorm for a title of a book being published next year, and if my idea gets picked, I'll be able to see it on the shelf!

The people are fantastic, so caring and helpful and genuine. And they love writing and reading almost as much as I do. The subject is different, and they have all had lots of years to read a lot more than I have. 

They also have a bin in the warehouse full of books that they can't sell. So they are free to us. FREE. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that... It's my new favorite bookstore. I was also told that as a thank you, they will give me a $150 gift card at the end of my internship to spend at their bookstore... MORE FREE BOOKS!! 

Truly, this is heaven. If they would only give me a job that pays... 

Sunday, February 5

Why I can't edit my own work

To answer this simply, it's because I am overconfident in my ability to write spectacular stuff.

Really. I have a very difficult time taking my first draft and changing anything. Not word choice, or sentences, or content.

This was most evident in high school when I didn't even read over an essay I wrote, but would simply print it out and hand it in. I got decent grades so I never felt the need to edit it. I felt no need to make it better.

I even thought it couldn't get better. I was silly.

Now I realize it can get better, I just don't exactly want to work on it. It certainly takes more energy for me to edit what I have already written then actually write it. So, that has always translated into not putting that extra effort into it, and getting what I got for what I write at first.

Of course, I realize that is no way to become professional. I need to scrutinize every word choice, every sentence. It becomes imperative that what I write is not only the best I can write, but the best I can edit. I wish I was there already, able to give a great list of 5 easy steps to becoming the best editor ever, but I don't. I don't think one really exists. It has to be what works for you, what you can do to produce the best edited material.

One thing I do to help is to read blogs and books by other learned writers. Gleaning as much advice as I can is one way I have become more aware of my need for editing and being able to actually do it.

There are so many books and blogs that you can't really go wrong by just looking and going with the first thing you find. Of course, if it isn't helpful, stop reading it and move on. But everyone has something to tell about their experience and you can never have too much advice.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to check on KM Weilands' blog and see what's new! She is my favorite blogger with real advice for writers!

Tuesday, January 24

The Writing Group Meets

I have taken many writing courses in college, all of which contained a workshop element. After completing all of those courses, my writing stalled. I decided that in order to continue writing and fulfilling my dream of one day publishing, I had to have motivation. Homework has been my motivation for my whole life. Without it, I have found I have a hard time getting anything done. Due dates are necessary for my creativity to abound. 

I decided to find a writer's group where I could have goals and accountability on accomplishing those goals. 

Last Wednesday was my first meeting. And I really enjoyed it. It was fun, and fulfilling. The people I met there were very diverse, and it was refreshing not to be surrounded by a room full of English Majors for once. I shared some of my poetry, and they really seemed to enjoy it! I am looking forward to going back and also finding that motivation I need to work harder on my writing. 

Hopefully in the next few months during my internship I can really crank out a novel and start seriously looking at publishing it! 

Monday, January 16

I had a really clever title, but I forgot. Sorry.

I have spent the last few weeks desperately trying to find a job. I didn't find one. No one wants to hire in the post holiday slump. So, I am just staying at home, with my parents, trying to make my mother's life easier. And also reading, a lot. And waiting for my internship to start, which will consume most of my energy until it is done.

I read the Hunger Games. Had to, so that I could figure out why everyone went crazy over it. It was good, impressive even, but I am in no way goo goo for it. I enjoyed the writing, and the surprises, although sometimes they seemed very contrived, but I guess it's understandable and forgivable in that situation. 

I have a difficult time with thrillers-books and movies- because I can't separate myself from the terror. This is why the Joker, in The Dark Knight, is impossible for me to look at, or hear, or see impressions. I can't get over the creepy factor. This being a known fact about myself, I try to stay away from very creepy things, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo being one of the big ones. Unfortunately, even The Hunger Games caught me off guard and I had to spend the days following my finishing the series, watching TV and reading a happy book. My mother says I need to figure out how to get over it. RIGHT

Anyway. My alma mater starts up it's Spring Semester tomorrow, and I am feeling a bit out of the loop. I am happy to not be there anymore. Happy I graduated. Not happy I can't hang out with all my friends who are now back at school. I don't have many friends at home, really just people at church I enjoy conversing with. So, this week I am going to start going to a writing critique group. I'm excited about the possibilities that come with meeting new writers and to have a framework in which to write. Hopefully, it will be the push I need to really start up my writing in earnest, and not just in my wishful thinking. 

It will be interesting to see how it turns out, and I'll let you all know! In the meantime, I'll be writing and prepping for the first meeting this Wednesday!!

~The Literary Firefly

Monday, January 9

What makes me Swoon

Ok. It's no secret that I am in love with Mr. Darcy. That if he rode up to my house because he is tormented by his love for me, I would die of happiness. Every female who has read Pride and Prejudice can say that. Even my mother. 

But. He isn't the only literary character I swoon at the thought. Take Rhett Butler. Take the Count of Monte Christo. Take Heathcliff. Take Col. Brandon. Take Mr. Knightley. Take a man in a romantic novel, and put his name on the list. 

There is just something about men on a page that makes them the ideal man. Even though each one is different, unique and written by different authors, each one is my PERFECT guy. It can't be helped. I grew up in love with Mr. Darcy, and won't ever be able to get over him. My apologies to the real flesh-and-blood men out there who are just as good as Darcy and have the advantage of being real men. It's just that no one will beat Mr. Darcy as the most romantic guy ever, because he did it FIRST. 

But, I'm not here to talk about Darcy. (Although I always take the chance to squeeze him into conversations if I get the chance.) No. I'm here to talk about the book I spent the weekend reading, Love Walked In, written by Marisa De Los Santos. 

It might very well be one of the best books I have ever read. It made me mad as all get out, but at the same time, I couldn't put it down. I had to keep reading. It made me laugh out loud, cry, but it also made me SWOON

It is a touching story about a woman in Philadelphia and how 'love walked in.' Its a simple story, with lots of twists and turns, which I very much appreciated, mainly because they kept me guessing as to the real ending. (Just ask my mother, I'm sure she is happy I ended up liking the book, she couldn't handle many more emotional tirades.) I enjoy books that take me on a journey, that cause me to give up control of how I feel and am wholly engrossed by the author's whims. 

It reminded me of Wuthering Heights. How you can hate Kathy and Heathcliff to the core of your being and yet they still become the most treasured characters in the end. That's kind of how I felt about this book. It was brilliant. 

I was happily surprised by the ending, content with the way things turned out, and wanted to read it again. And again. AND AGAIN. There is a sequel, called Belong to Me. Which I started already. But, I almost didn't want to read the sequel because I wanted to reread that book instead. 

But, my favorite thing about the book was the writing. De Los Santos is a poet, and has a PhD. Her writing style is that of a poet, who is very aware of word usage and importance. I was struck with how beautiful it sounded in my head, the quirky characters' inner dialogue. The narration, the dialogue, all of it was beautiful. 

I have read some poetry, and taken several classes discussing different poems and such, so I was a little prepared for the allusions and such in the book. But I wasn't prepared for her vast knowledge of poems, Movies, books, everything. There are dozens of comparisons to old movies, The Philadelphia Story being the predominate one. Truth be told, I had only seen some of the movies discussed in the book, and had to just assume that the comparison was a good one for a lot of the time. But, it was so interesting to see the character's self-awareness come out in movie metaphors.

Now, that was my favorite thing about the book, but it didn't make me swoon. Teo Sandoval did.

I promise that the statement following is true and actually happened. I screamed out loud when he said he loved Cornelia. SCREAMED. OUT LOUD. I think I might have kicked my feet a little. (I do that when exceedingly happy.) He was so fantastic. Smart: a doctor. Best friends with Cornelia and her family: they grew up together. Understanding: he knew what she was thinking before having to ask (if that isn't perfection, then what is???). Handsome as all get out: He made even the most eloquent women loose the ability to make proper sentences. 

There isn't anything to hate about this guy, except that he ISN'T Darcy. But Someday I'll find a guy who isn't and I won't care, so I can't hold that against everyone. 

I think, however, that my favorite thing about Teo is that he was in love with Cornelia from the beginning, and it was also hovering there, just out of reach. But I think that's how love should be, hovering over every situation, not unnoticed, but not overly displayed. It just should be a part of who you are. 

My props to Marisa De Los Santos, for getting me to forsake my claim that most of what is written in the past 10 years isn't worthwhile reading yet. Now, go, find this book, and READ IT!!!! Then get the sequel and tell me what you thought of it. 

Also, I'd like to give credit to my future sister-in-law for giving me the books to read. I wouldn't have found Teo without her. 

Sunday, January 1

That Whole New Year's Thing

Well, again I stray from my Blog for months. I didn't even say goodbye! I'm glad you are all still here to listen to my ramblings. 

Now that I have graduated (Yipee!), I am dedicating time each week to my blog. I have decided to refocus, and instead of being a random whatever blog, I will bring you all on my journey as a newly graduated English Major. 

It's been fun so far, let me tell you! The Holidays are finally coming to a close and I can get my mind around what lays ahead of me on the road I have chosen to take. 

I am living in my parents house because I have no job. So first on my list is to find one! I hear they pay people to serve coffee... maybe I'll try one of those places! I do have an internship lined up (another Yippee!) at InterVarsity Press! I am so excited to start work there and to be able to learn gobs and gobs about the editing and publishing business, to see if that is something I could get into long term. 

Not gonna lie, I've only ever been able to see myself as an at home writer, with an office that is full to brimming with books and at least 3 projects going at once. That is, until I started learning about editing. I have found that I am pretty good at telling other people how to fix up their paper, or just what to add to make a story that much better. And the prospect of one day getting paid for it is enticing, to say the least. 

I hope that by spilling all my ups and downs on this little MacBook of mine, that someone out there will have hope that being an English major doesn't automatically mean you have to be a teacher, or get a PhD, or end up working at a coffee shop forever. We English majors are important to the world! And I'm going to prove it! 

Until next week,
The Literary Firefly

Thursday, September 15

The Silence is Ended

Well, I haven't blogged in almost a year, its really only 9 months, but I'm sure it's more than enough time for you all to forget about me.

I have been very busy doing school and work and spending time with family, and so blogging was put on the back burner.

Now, however, I am about to graduate, and I want to be as present on the web as I can to make as good an impression as possible to possible employers. Hence, blogging again.

I have been doing a lot of writing lately, and I will be putting up poems and excerpts from a book I'm working on as they become audience ready.

I'm working on not hording my writing, and never letting it see the light of others' eyes, so I will be posting more here.

Thank you for being such a generous audience.