Sodaro's Stories

February 28, 2011

Fantastic compliment

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 7:05 pm

So recently I handed over Whatever you make of It to a dear and trusted friend who was looking for something to read. Handing over my 308-page “first born” was not at all nerve-wracking and scary when I saw the look on my friend’s face. She knew what she held and what it meant to me. She was not at all like the highly competent, yet fairly callous Post Office worker who, when I handed her the first three chapters and query letter to send off to the cruel cruel world, unknowingly tossed my “first born” into a bin full of bills and other bits of letters and such, causing my heart to break and my breath to catch in my throat.
As I waited for my friend to read my novel, I was reminded of a saying once, that I don’t remember who said it…and I apologize for that lapse…but it was something about how long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you are standing. It also reminded me that I need to be more diligent about commenting when a friend hands me their creative endeavors.
I asked my friend about the novel, and she had a huge smile on her face. She said that she won’t let herself read too much at a time because she doesn’t want to finish the novel. She is rationing out my story so that it doesn’t end too soon. Then she asked me if there was a sequel…something to help her to not have to be done with my story. Heart full of joy and throat full of that pesky “I will not cry” lump, I told her that I had often thought about giving it a sequel, as I have not been ready to give Jac and Jyn up either. It hadn’t been written yet…but I think they have more story to tell. Of course they are the first, and so they are therefore my favorites…but I think a sequel would not be unheard of.
It did my soul so much good to hear that she enjoyed the story and the characters so much that she was stretching out the pleasure she got from the book. It is what ever writer dreams about…and it looks like I have done it. What an amazing compliment. I might just make it as a writer after all…

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February 24, 2011

The trouble with hats…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 7:42 pm

So people keep asking that ever-so-logical question of when am I going to get these books I keep talking about — in print. A fantastic and valid question, to be sure. And I really need to…I have 3 done now — am on Chapter 20 of the 4th one, with many, many others sitting quietly until it is their turn to be finished…or started…or thought of…poems, novels, other creative projects.
The trouble is, quite simply, hats…you see right now — the writer/creator hat is comfortably on my head — with all its flair and color and creativity. I sit down with my notebook and writing instrument, which is usually a smooth-flowing pen, or like today, a pencil — and I write. I put said writing instrument on said notebook and the words dance and play on to the page. This is the fun stage — the no-holds barred part — the shh, don’t wake the editor part. Right now there are no bad decisions, no pesky plot holes that need plugging, no inner critic laughing at me cruelly…right now it is just writing — moving the story along and getting to know what makes my characters tick..or tock…or march to the beat of whatever music is playing…
And that’s all fine and good…except if I don’t switch hats soon — I am going to have 10 first drafts, including an entire series, done.
The problem, of course, is switching from the fun and loose-fitting writer/creator hat to the snug-fitting, serious hat editor/critic hat…the one that knows all the rules and isn’t afraid to use them. The one that comes brandishing her red pen with a flourish (and isn’t it funny that I won’t use red when grading my students’ work for fear of damaging their psyches, but my own words –and my own psyche — don’t get the same consideration?). Sigh — but I need to do this. I need to let the editor/critic out to do her job. And yes, I know I sound schizophrenic, but as E.L. Doctorow said, “writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia”…and I am definitely a writer, so there you go…and I am also a reader…an editor…a critic, and soon…a publisher…Ah hats.

February 21, 2011

Being me…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 4:54 pm

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” Eleanor Roosevelt.
Lately, I have become more and more appreciative of the people that know the inner core of me…know the me that I hide away from the rest of the world, protect with everything in me, and love beyond all other aspects of myself. There are many people that have met me and think that I am eccentric. The teacher part of me could be an actress on any given day; she comes complete with voices and more enthusiasm about thesis statements than anyone should have. The student part of me is a perfectionist beyond measure and nothing can come between her and the accomplishment of her goals. The writer part of me, is this core. Yes, people get to see the writing, but very few get to see the writer. Very few get to see how excited I get with a new idea, how I carry it around with me safe and protected until it grows into something that people are allowed to hold and enjoy themselves. Very few people get to see the high that I get when on a muse-inspired writing streak. Even talking about it in this post is more revealing than I usually am…people wouldn’t get it if they saw it…there are very few things that keep me from the straight jacket and the padded walls, and as discussed with a good friend who knows me better than is logical at this point of things, once they locked me up…they would never let me out.
The writer part of me is intense. If you saw me mid-streak, you would perhaps worry. Have I eaten? I don’t remember. What is going on with my hair? I don’t know…I’ve just piled it on top of my head and got back to work. How much coffee have I drank? Oh gallons…On days where I don’t have to leave the house, I probably haven’t changed out of my pajamas more than to shower. I talk about my characters as if they were real and sitting in my living room, and you know something…to me they are…I sometimes forget they don’t exist except inside my head. Of course if someone were to say the same thing about someone else, I would think they were crazy, not at all right in the head. But there my characters are…dancing around and having picnics.
But that is the part that the world doesn’t get to see. I don’t walk up to my students or my coworkers or my doctoral cohort and say, “have you met so-and-so?” and pointed to my left where so-and-so was of course not standing. I don’t let people know that most of the time when they are talking to me, I am thinking of other things…and working out plot points to be sure to get my characters from point A to point B. There are times of course when my mind is full of nothing remotely story-based…but those times are rare indeed.
Eleanor’s quote is very true. I do have an obligation to be an individual…and believe me…I take my obligation very seriously…I am more of a unique person than most people will ever fully comprehend. But even those that don’t get to see me at my core…will happily and freely admit that I am unique, eccentric, and perhaps more than a little bit crazy

February 16, 2011

Sit quietly while the grown up works please

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 9:20 pm

So the wonderful thing about freeing up my muse to have more time to play with the novels that we have put on the back burner for far too long, is that she gets to frolic and flit about like the beautiful spirit that she is. She gets to laugh and dance and giggle and just play and play and play. This is where my fictional worlds get created, where my characters become real, where my stories go from being figments of an imagination to something tangible. And I have truly enjoyed this play time.
Sometimes, I have to ask my beautiful muse to sit quietly while I write on my doctorate or work on my research. There is no room for dancing and APA does not format frolics and giggles. The muse gets bored with the doctorate writing…it’s about literacy and she’s been able to read for quite some time, thank you. “Maybe we could add some flavor to this paper; really kick it up a notch. And how about if we add some conflict or rising action? Where is the climax to this paper?” And I have to gently tell her, no, this is not that kind of writing. Shhhhh, here, have some crayons and some paper. And she goes and sits quietly and wishes she could draw…but she is not that kind of an artist.
I have found though, that she is more content to sit quietly since she has been given more consistent and constant play time…so we may just get through both my Doctorate and my novels after all.
The Doctorate quarter ends on the 27th, so there hasn’t been much time for dancing. But the 28th it’s game on for play time.

February 14, 2011

I think I’ve created a monster…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:23 am

So I wrote about my merry-go-round which had let on two new passengers…welcomed them aboard so that the 2 in the series became 4. Well…those 4 may have just become 7. For it seems, that there were three more people that were waiting just outside of sight that said, ‘hey, this sounds like the place for us’ and while I know even less about them than I knew about the two that joined last week. Just little snippets of ideas that seem to want to be connected. And here is the quandary. (First, as a sidenote…I love that word…love, love, love it!!!! And it makes me happy to be in a quandary, so that I can use the word quandary!!!!).
My quandary is that I don’t want the series to become so big that it consumes too much…I don’t want to have stories connected to the series just for the sake of having a series…I want them truly to be connected. My reader is helping me with this…as I go to her and say…”what about…” and she says, “that could work…” but then gently guides me back to the one in the series and points and says “here…play here…you need to stay here for a bit more” and my A.D.D. is appeased after the new idea has been carefully written down and I go back to play with book number 2.
But I do worry about the series…there are authors that become so entrenched in a series that they lose their fan base if they try to branch out of the series…and yes, this is putting the cart on top of the hill while the horse is still eating…but it is a concern nonetheless, as I have many other stories to tell that are firmly not a part of this merry-go-round…that are happy to play in their own area of the amusement park in my head.
So my series definitely has 2 books in it, and quite possibly 7 books…For now.

February 9, 2011

And then there were four!!!

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 6:57 pm

So a story I started a few years ago decided to connect to the novel I finished the first draft of in December of 2010. Those characters and story lines held hands and played on the merry-go-round in my head and a series was formed with the very strong union of the two. As Cassidy and Stephen and Melanie frolicked with Jo and Eddie, other as-of-yet undefined characters watched from the periphery and sighed…I could tell they wanted to be part of the fun…who wouldn’t, but wasn’t sure if they were going to become characters in the existing stories, or if they had stories to tell of their own.
As I was driving through yet another snow fall (will this winter EVER end?????) I began to see those characters come a little bit more into focus…and then grow into novel ideas of their own. Enter book 3 and book 4 of the series. The characters still are fuzzy…they don’t have names, but they are on the merry-go-round, getting to know the others and learn the rules of the series…and the writer. Book Two needs to be finished before Book Three can be started and so forth. Sometimes the writer craves odd things…some times it’s pancakes…some times it’s something far far worse for her than breakfast. But they also learn that the writer and her readers will love them and help them to grow into what they always wanted to be.
It worries some people when I talk like my characters are real people…but they are…to me. I get to know them and I get to watch them grow and I believe in them and fight for them and help them on their journey. My readers will do this too…
SO welcome aboard #3 and #4

February 7, 2011

“Wasted Time”

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:14 pm

“And maybe someday she would find…that it wasn’t really wasted time” (Eagles, 1994, “Wasted Time”).
I have never really had a problem with my age…have never worried about getting one year older or getting one year closer to the next decade marker. I have always appreciated the lessons and growth that have occurred with each passing year. I also know that my writing is stronger now, more mature now, and more ready to be read now, than it would have been had I gotten serious about my craft sooner. So, mostly I am okay with my age and where I am in the world…
But sometimes, I wonder if perhaps I waited too long…wasted too much time on this or that…gave too many days or months or years to this job or this relationship. I know that I wouldn’t be the same without each and every relationship, experience, and job…I know that my writing has changed, my characterization has gotten stronger, and my strength in my own character has grown as well. I know this…I just can’t help thinking that I should have figured it out sooner.
I have so many story ideas that I want to write and play with…so many poems that long to be put into verse, and I can’t help thinking…that maybe I spent too much time getting to this point in my life. This of course, is a ridiculous thought…I can’t go back and fix it and I can’t make up for lost time now. I have only now. This is my time. I needed to figure out my life so that I would be able to give my all to my writing in a way I wouldn’t have been able to before….I know this. And maybe, as the Eagles stated, maybe someday, I will find…that the time I spent getting here was not at all wasted, but necessary for my journey.

February 3, 2011

Snow day…Snow day…oops missed opportunity

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 4:45 am

So one would think that a snow day would give the muse free reign to play and play and play. Can’t go to that job I love so much. Can’t go to the store and spend money I should save. Can’t go…well anywhere. Nothing to do but watch the snow fall and fall and fall. Should be the perfect day. A nice pot of coffee, food, all day to write and write and write. But I did nothing all day. I watched TV, I played video games, I spent too much time on Facebook, and I talked to friends. I snacked. I took naps. I watched the kittens run from window to window to see if it was still snowing. And I am okay with how I used my day. We all need a day off…even muses…even writers…even teachers, especially teachers.
So here’s to a snow day…beautiful flakes that I thought were never going to stop falling…and here’s to a lazy day…with nothing on my mind, nothing on my plate, and nothing at all on my to do list.

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