Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Rushing in a Blog Post

I am fully aware that I promised to write a more in-depth blog post last week, but it turns out that unexpected time limitations possess the power to ruin your plans. Go figure. Therefore, this is going to be less in-depth than anticipated —I wonder, is there an acronym for ‘in-depth’? Is ‘out-depth’ a thing? If not, I’m coining the term right here. This is going to be an out-depth blog post. Talk about a “professional” start.

Anyways, there are two particular things that I’d definitely would like to touch on. The first thing is about the amount of readings that I need to be doing for my thesis. I had expected that there would be required readings in order to conduct a proper research, but it’s beginning to appear as if I need to do more readings than I had imagined. I might have to resort to reading specific articles that are directly related to my topic(s) of interest in order to save myself some time moving forward. As I need to have my thesis completed by the end of this class, I’d like to dedicate however much time I get to save for my writings. I also need to rely on searching and finding PDF format of these articles in question because I cannot be certain that I can get my hands on their physical prints, maybe one or two of them for sure but I do not believe that would be enough. I’m confident though that I can find these digital files as I managed to find one right after last class conference. Hearing Dr. Zamora talk about the infamous writer Franz Kafka took me back to my high school years. My English instructor at the time was obsessed with him. Though, somehow, I managed to forget that Kafka was the one who wrote The Metamorphosis, the story that I was vaguely familiar with and never really had the chance to read it fully. The small segments of the story that I remembered as Dr. Zamora talked about it in class probably came from my memory of my high school years, listening to that English instructor in class. And, that is the story that I managed to find online, in PDF format. I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible because it sounded more fascinating than I actually remembered. Being a public domain story, there are various translated versions available and I had to sort through them in order to find a copy that was proper and readable. But, I digress.

The other thing that I wished to touch on is my future plans, particularly after graduation. This is something that I guess I need to be actively aware of as I need to move forward in terms of career path at this point. I guess it really helps being a planner ahead of time because I have already mapped out what I’m going to be doing after graduation… Well. sort of. For the moment, my idea is taking small steps in the field of editorial and publishing, and get to know how the process of getting books published from “the inside”. I had an interest of doing a summer internship but sadly that plan failed as I was pretty late to the application period. As for a Fall season internship opportunity, I was somewhat reluctant to take up another responsibility on top of my school and retail job obligations, especially considering that I need to work on a thesis that is due by the end of the semester. Plus, I’m quite certain that it is way too late to get accepted into one at this point as well. One particular thing that I’ve learned, however —and this may be of great interest to a lot of people, is that most internship positions, if not all, expect the applicant to be a local. As in, you need to be residing within the state that you’re applying for an internship for. That was another major reasoning as to why I was reluctant to submit applications for this season; I do not wish to move at the moment. After graduation though? I guess, it’s more likely. Only time will tell.

I guess that is it for now. This did not end up being as out-depth as I’ve thought. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind last week, but it’s better than what I had feared. I must learn from my “mistakes”, so I make no promises for next week’s blog post. Let it be a complete surprise.

Getting Rid of the Rust

Testing, 1… 2… Testing… Is this working?

This is my first blog post of the semester. It feels good to be writing a new entry after three months of “solitude”. Although summer vacations are generally hailed as the time of rest and peace, I tend to find them overindulgent. Unless I have something productive to work on, it usually feels as if I wasted my time. Perhaps, it’s just a feeling that comes with age. I’m having difficulty imagining a kid complaining about the summer vacation, or merely seeing it as a waste. Man, I’m getting old.

The main objective of this post is reflecting on my thesis project as a whole, and taking “a first step” so to speak —even though I had already started working on it before the summer. I guess, it would be a nice throwback to the Writer’s Retreat class to give a quick summary of what I had done and what I had planned (and somewhat failed to do) right here. Since this blog is synchronized with the home page of that class, perhaps my old classmates can see this and reminisce with me. Talk about overindulgent. Anyways, I had managed to complete a “first” draft of the opening act, which consisted of 10 individual chapters, of the story before the class ended. It was meant to introduce the fictional setting, the characters, and introduce an overall idea of what sort of story it was going to be to the audience. I believe I managed to do a decent job on it. Since then, I have been trying to write pieces of the next act, at random order, on tiny sheets of paper that I carried around as I dined or sit in a cafeteria. When it occurred to me that all of that work eventually needed to be transfered over to the computer (by typing obviously), I intentionally stopped working on it. I’m currently somewhere at the middle point but I really wish that I had done more. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to complete that act, or at least come close to completing it, by the end of this month. Is that too unrealistic? The time will tell, for sure.

That brings me up to this class, the Thesis —or, if we need to get technical, the Advance Seminar 1 (1 and 2, in my particular case). Only two sessions in but this class already feels like a proper follow-up to Writer’s Retreat; same method of conducting lessons and simply working on the project. The major thing that I need to be able to put in words right now is the reasoning behind my decision to create this certain project, as in why I chose to do a fictional novel with its specific themes. The easy answer: I had already established its foundation in an earlier class (Writing Literature for Children) and it was pretty convenient to simply go back to it. The harder, somewhat longer answer: I desired to create a story in which I could explore certain aspects and struggles of my own life, my own experience, and how it might have influenced me to become the person I am today. Does that sound pretentious? Maybe it does but I don’t care. As I attempted to make a list of themes to explore for the project, such as the concept of fate or being part of a society, I begin to realize that I myself personally struggle at times with defining what they are, and how to “deal with” them, so to speak. I am quite certain that I am not the only person that has these issues, and I figured that it might be interesting to explore them in a fictional, fun environment, not only for myself but also for anyone who would be willing to read it.

Another theme that I decided to explore within this story is the concept of derealization (the dissociative mind). It is something that interested me ever since I’ve discovered it. And by discovering, I mean reading the particular word and its definition for the first time. As I learn more and more about what it really is, I’m beginning to question myself if I suffer with it as well. It’s often described as “sickness”, but is it really? Perhaps, it’s merely an alternative way of perceiving the reality. Now, that certainly sounds pretentious. I still don’t care. People could use a little bit of pretentiousness in their lives —live a little, you know? I’m hoping that exploration of the theme, or rather the concept, within this thesis project, will allow me to come to a solid conclusion whether I need to take certain precautions to prevent this “problem” continue to grow on me or not. Who knows? It might even help the reader.

I think I’m going to end this early, and very brief, reflection right here and post it as this week’s blog post. Since the class technically supposed to start at 4:30 —regardless of when we might’ve actually conducted it— I’m hoping this will count as the due post today (fingers-crossed). I will continue to reflect on my project in next week’s blog post. I should have a much better understanding of it overall, especially after writing up the proposal for it.

For the time being, I need to go back to typing those “professionally organized” manuscripts.

The End of the Road

It’s finally the end of Writer’s Retreat. Possibly the fastest, but also one of the most memorable, courses that I’ve ever had a chance to participate in; a two-weeks-too-fast educational experience like no other.

My main objective by taking this course was simply establishing a proper groundwork for my thesis project. Although I had low expectations going in, Writer’s Retreat turned out to be an interesting little course that offered a lot of insight regarding the writing process. Even more so on the nature of it rather than the technicalities, such as discovering inspiration, establishing a disciplinary time management, and self-reflection on the process itself. It’s funny to consider that a course that only lasted about two weeks managed to offer so much stuff. I cannot stress enough how much of an impact the experience of relocating did in terms of inspiration for writing. I had always heard about that particular strategy but never really believed in it until experiencing it first-hand in this class. Especially after trying it on my own outside of the class —carrying piece of paper and a pen to do little bit of writing wherever I went— I can easily claim that my conduct of writing, and how I approach it, is indefinitely changed.

A couple of the highlights in terms of activities from Writer’s Retreat include the morning prompts and, of course, the Writer’s Chair. As I’ve already stated in my previous blog posts, there is nothing better than witnessing a live reaction from an audience to confirm your intentions, or even uncertainties. I have no doubt that every writer imagines an audience when writing, but being able to read part of your story out loud and receive an immediate reaction is an extremely rare occasion. I feel fortunate to be given that opportunity in Writer’s Retreat. As a common saying in pop culture goes, that was “worth the price of admission alone”. As for the prompts, they really served as “wake-up calls” every morning before the priority writing process began. I never would’ve considered utilizing writing to wake myself up, but now I see that it could complement a cup of coffee quite well. Another strategy to keep from Writer’s Retreat.

I might’ve mentioned that I tend to write in a haphazard manner when it comes to fictional stories, which is basically write whatever concept/idea/scene comes to mind even though that particular part or section of the story might not necessarily follow the previous one in a coherent manner. My hope was discovering an environment in which I could bring all of these pieces together. I’m happy to say that I managed to accomplish that goal during my time in this course. Overall, Writer’s Retreat benefited me more than my initial expectations. Thus, I’m much more confident for the success of my thesis project. I hope everyone else had the same, or a similar, experience of fulfillment.

To the Finish Line

Well, that was second to the last day. In my previous post, I had mentioned how fast it felt getting to this point, so I won’t really go into that again. Though, I’d like to reiterate that this course should’ve been at least a month long. Perhaps, as the time goes on, certain changes will be made to the overall structure and execution of the course, and future students will be fortunate enough to get a longer time in crafting their work during Writer’s Retreat.

As far as what I managed to accomplish today… should I confess that I worked on a different “project” instead of my thesis? The thing is that I had already completed (save for the revisions/improvements) my first draft of Act 1 of the story, which consists of 10 chapters (+ the prologue). I thought I could take “a break” from it by working on something else, which was a cover letter for a position that I am after. It’s still writing after all. A change of pace certainly helps in certain cases, and this was no exception. Tomorrow, during the little bit of time that we supposedly have in the morning, I definitely plan on going over the draft and touch up on certain parts of it, which by no means that it’ll be 100% completed. Rather, it’ll be “ready” as a full draft for further revisions down the road. My plan at the moment is completing as much drafting as possible, instead of being hung up on small details which could be saved for later. It’s something that could potentially be efficient in dealing with the inevitable issue of time constraints for the final form of the project. We’ll see how it turns out in the end.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow (as apparently we’ll be having a potluck!).

Proceeding as Planned

I’m happy to say that today was one of the productive days. I was able to finish up a good portion of the story that (once again) bridged the gap between two other sections in it. I’m just about to complete the entirety of the first act, so everything is on track as I had hoped. A few final touch-ups/revisions/polishing and I’ll be able to share it for a full feedback. I’m hoping that the story is as good as I had imagined, and believe it is. I was also able to get confirmation on some of the word choices that were bothering me for some time (big thanks to Kelli). Unless I’ve overlooked something else, everything should be in top shape before the Writer’s Retreat is over. Speaking of which, the duration of this course really felt short. I knew that it would feel short even before we started, but now that we’re almost at the end, it feels as if the whole course occurred in the blink of an eye (though we still have two more days). Fortunately, I was able to get crucial aspects of my story done, so at least there is that. I’m looking forward to the next Author’s Chair session on Thursday as it will be probably the last time getting an audience feedback on the project.

A Quick Visit

Today felt more like a quick check in rather than an actual full-blown class, if I may be honest. Since it was a short class, this is going to be a short blog. And, that’s it. Thank you for reading! Well… that may be too short. I’d like to mention that I did do some revisions/additions to a couple of the paragraphs in my story, so there was (a tiny bit of) progress. Also, listening to others and their work during the Author’s Chair exercise, along with the feedback from “the audience”, has the great potential of noticing certain gaps and missing exposition in my own work. The last time we’ve had a chance to do one, it was just Gianna and me. So, I only had witnessed one critique as an “audience” member. It’s interesting (and good) to be witnessing more. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to offer any sort of constructive feedback for something that is outside of my expertise. If only I knew more about Grant Statements. Oh, well. I’m interested in seeing how the next week goes. It’s time for a little break (the memorial weekend).

A Casual Day of Writing and “Field Trip”

Well, I’m sad to say that today’s writing process has been pretty slow. I guess it’s just one of those days when the inspiration only comes in small doses. Then again, I was able to write four paragraphs that did fill a gap that needed to be taken care of. There was sill some progress that was made, so the day was not all in vain. Reading the first chapter of the story out loud in Writer’s Chair the other day was quite the experience. I had never read something I had written out loud before, let alone in front of a live audience. Witnessing an immediate reaction was extremely helpful in confirming or dispelling certain aspects. The overall positive reaction was also very encouraging. Now that I have another chapter fully complete, with all the gaps filled, I might take another crack at it should the opportunity presents itself before the course ends.

The little “field trip” that we had by the end of the day was simply amazing. I had a chance to see the house from outside beforehand but I had never been able to go inside. This was a great opportunity to witness a true “relic” of the past. The house had way too many things to examine up close but due to the limited amount of time, I only managed to take a few pictures to look at for later. Apparently, we’ll be visiting the house again next week. So, I’m looking forward to it, especially getting a chance to look at the library. Being immersed in writing process in a unique setting was also quite interesting and oddly motivating.

A Task Becoming a Puzzle

I do not know if I will keep referring to each day of the Writer’s Retreat at the beginning of every blog post (i.e. “It’s the third day!”), but for a change of pace I’ll attempt to avoid it this time around… Oh, wait. I think I just did refer to it.

So far, the overall progress is on track. It’s actually better than what I had expected. I tend to anticipate derailment at any possibility, so I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if I had fallen behind. Thankfully, that is not the case (at least for now). The organizational mini chart that I posted in my previous blog post allowed me to create the transitional pieces that tied portions of the story, which I already had written down. It was certainly helpful for placing that structure/foundation in place, as I had probably mentioned before. However, as the story progresses further, the simplicity of that mini chart seems to be alternating into a limitation. I definitely need to revise it in order to make it fit with the (now) expanded storyline.

My concern at the moment is the story becoming a bit overwhelming, at least for the opening act. Since the plan is having three distinct timeliness within the story, I’d like to introduce the setting and the atmosphere of each of those timelines within the first act. In order to do so, however, I need to extend the scope of the opening portion of the story (I won’t go into details in order to avoid “spoilers”). I guess, as Dr. Zamora had suggested, I simply need to lay it all on the (digital) paper and observe how it all comes together. Some revisions may certainly need to be made, once it’s all written down, in order to reduce the complexity of it all. We shall see.

Another Step Closer

It’s the second day!

As I had expected, today’s class was much more productive. During yesterday’s class, I feel the unintentional time constraint served as a bit of a hindrance in getting to that goal. Since most of the introductions are out of the way, there was more time available to develop ideas and concepts to further the story.

My plan for the day was going back to the transitional parts that I had previously mentioned (see the “professional” diagram below), which were missing from the story and were essential in establishing a coherent structure within it. I was hoping to create and finish at least one of these parts by the end of the day, and luckily I managed to that. I now have an organized and consistent two-chapter opening. The remaining days of Writer’s Retreat are going to be dedicated to connecting the rest of the pieces to this foundation. By the end, I should have the entirety of Act 1 in an easy-to-follow (near coherent) state.

(This would make total sense if you knew the story, but just go along for now.)

As far as what I specifically wrote down today, I can tell you that it involved very dialogue-heavy scenes, which are honestly my favorite parts of any story that I work on. I guess being a former ESL/EFL teacher, the communication aspect is extremely appealing to me. Since I have not yet utilized the Creative Commons app(?) on this blog, I do not intend on sharing any portions of the said writing process. If I may be honest, I’m not quite sure that I actually intend on sharing any of the writing process (unless absolutely required) even after utilizing that app. I tend to be paranoid sometimes. Well, we’ll see.

A Pursuit of Relief and Encouragement

The first day of Writer’s Retreat course!

Although it felt more of a settling-in type of class today, it was a productive start nonetheless. One of my biggest issues when it comes to writing is the amount of distractions that derail my overall progress. The time is truly an essence. My expectation for this course, above all else, was finding a setting in which I could not only be able further my project but also feel inspired by those around me. I can safely say that my expectation has been met. The serene atmosphere, disturbed only by the clicks of keyboards or scratching of pens on paper, was the perfect environment that made me feel motivated.

The little bit of progress that I managed to make could be summed up by “taking a first step” at best. I tend to write in a haphazard manner, which is basically write whatever comes to mind even though that particular part or section of the story might not necessarily follow the previous one in a coherent manner. I need transitions to carryout the story in a way that someone else who has an interest in reading it understands. This certain aspect, at times, feels as a mere work rather than a creative process. Hence, I tend to ignore it when I manage to get free time. Being immersed in this particular type of environment actually allowed me to discover what I needed. I managed to create my first transitional part. As I’ve said, it was brief but still productive.

My main objective in Writer’s Retreat course is establishing a proper groundwork for my upcoming thesis project. I believe that this particular course will indeed be a beneficial and efficient way to lay that groundwork down. I’m looking forward to the rest of the course, for sure.