Sodaro's Stories

February 26, 2012

Good thing you’re cute…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 4:27 pm
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Dear Beautiful Muse,
We agreeed…no new story ideas until I clean some off of the story wall. It was at 20 — it is now at 40…because each series-part now has its own poster, but we agreed…no new ideas.
And yes, sweet muse, I hear your justification that technically, they are not new ideas, they are merely new additions to existing series, that is a sneaky loophole…and I can hear you whistling in my head, feigning innocence, but your halo has slipped, dear muse.
Stop pouting…the ideas are good ones, of course they are…but you’ve taken a 3-part series and doubled it (really should have seen that coming as the series is called Mystical Muses…your ego knows no bounds, seriously…and then this morning, that young boy was so persistent about pushing through my subconscious to take me from dream-state to awake (at 7 a.m. on a Sunday, I might add) who you ever-so-helpfully suggested would be a nice addition to the Back on Trackseries, which currently has 5 books on the story wall…so I will add to that line as well — and I will add the 3 Muse stories, but only because I need to redo the wall anyway so that it is more organized…
But hear this, sweet muse, now…stop dancing for a minute…yes, yes, you are very clever…well played…but we are NOT adding any thing new to the story wall AT ALL until we clear some things off…and by clear them, I mean complete them…not you get bored so the poster magically flies off the wall (“oh look…there’s a space right here”). We need to finish things.
It’s a good thing you’re cute. Now let’s get to work.
Love, your author

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February 22, 2012

Torn in Two…

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:47 pm
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I am a good teacher. I don’t say this to be vain; I say it because it is the truth. For 15 years, I have taught and I have perfected my teaching style so that it works…it gets the job done for those students that show up to learn and get their degrees. I know I’m good at it.
I am also a good writer. I have characters that are believable and plots that are entertaining. I write books that I would want to read…and being an avid reader, I make books that others would want to read as well…characters that others would want to know.
The problem is…it’s nearly impossible to give all that I have to both careers…and both careers are ones in which you need to give all that you have to…in order to do them well. I have been trying to keep this up…giving 100% to teaching and 100% to writing…and I’m not a math person, as you know…but that’s not possible…at least not for long.
So, Michelle, give one up…sounds simple, right? Not so simple, as it turns out. I love teaching. I love the discussions and the idea that I am helping my students achieve their future goals. I love the connections that exist so many years later.
And giving up writing? It would be easier to give up oxygen…I have put my muse and my characters on hold long enough…I can’t re-seal that box, and I don’t want to…writing is in my blood, and there it will stay.
So what’s a girl to do…well, I’m praying on it…asking for direction…and continuing to tear myself in two until I get an answer…

February 17, 2012

Stepping sideways to go forward

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:46 pm
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So I have reached a point in my hockey story where all of the characters in the series of three books are all together sitting around the aforementioned Thanksgiving day table…and I’m a bit stuck. Turns out, it’s tough describing a 12-person dinner party, which would be true under the best of conditions…this is made even more difficult because six of the characters don’t exist firmly in my mind enough and they are reading…well…they are reading like I don’t really know them — like they are strangers to me, which of course they are.
The problem is that the hockey story, staring Ty and Mackenzie, is actually going to be the final book in the series (you didn’t actually expect me to do something normal like start the series at the beginning, now did you — have we just met??). I do promise to someday have something catchier to call them than by their respective sports — I know my beautiful Muse will have something clever for the series and each book therein — I know she’s on the job…so stay tuned on that aspect.
I think what I may have to do in order to go forward with Hockey, is to take a couple steps sideways with both Baseball and Football to get to know the athletes and their respective love interests…just delve in a chapter or two for each story — get a feel for the men and their respective ladies — so that Thanksgiving can be more 3D and not flat. And yes, I could just plow ahead and add details later, but I also need to get a feel for those two stories in the series sooner or later…and since I’m a bit stuck at current, especially since Thanksgiving is going to take up the next 15 pages or so..might as well go sideways to go forward.

February 15, 2012

A nod to the White Rabbit..

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:14 pm
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“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye. I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” White Rabbit from Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland

Some people lately have been expressing concern…interest…whatever…about the amount of time I spend writing as opposed to the amount of time I spend doing things that others might consider normal or fun. They have expressed their concern that I am not dating or starting a family or whatever else it is that other people do when they get home from work. And I appreciate their concern, mostly…though I don’t understand it at all. I currently have very little interest in dating, have never wanted to start a family, and am quite content with how I spend my days.
The most prolific authors all say the same thing. They write 8-hours a day, every single day. So…I am trying to accomplish that feat as well as continuing to give 100% to my teaching…complete my papers for my PhD so that when my leave of absence is over in June, that I have very little left…in short…I’m trying to create my fictional worlds and still pay my bills and finish my schooling. I don’t see this as a problem or cause for concern.
When my PhD is done, when my writing is paying some of my bills…perhaps, I won’t feel that I am spread quite so thin…but right now, this is the life I choose. And I like my life.
My friend the White Rabbit was late for a very important date…and so am I…it is a date I make with myself every day when I show up at my desk to work on my academic writing or my creative writing. In my world, it is the most important date I could be on at this point in my life…and I intend to keep it.

February 13, 2012

Lofty goals

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 7:15 pm
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(No, I am not going to write about my goal to live in a loft…though I do think the one from the movie Alex and Emma may be absolute perfection…add a swimming pool and an ocean view and I would have irrefutable proof of heaven).
What I actually want to ruminate on this morning was the lofty goal that entered my brain on Friday. I added up my CURRENT project list — well to be more specific — my current fiction project list, and with the novels I have started, plus any respective sequels and/or series additions, I have 38 novels to finish or start. I did the math, not really…I drew a time line, (no worries — no numbers were harmed in this experiment) and if I publish 2 books a year (plus publishing my Back on Track series, which may be what I experiment on with only e-format), it will take me a decade to get my current fiction projects published. (I haven’t even added in my non-fiction projects — most of which I am waiting for those PhD initials after my name).
The time line will also expand or contract as time goes on…it will expand as I get new project ideas which will doubtless happen often as my Muse gets a lot of ideas with consistent play time. It will contract somewhat when the books start paying the self-publication costs themselves. (It costs about $550 for the publication package with iUniverse and yes, there is always the possibility my books will get to be picked up by a publisher, but then they have a say in what I write, and when, and that’s rather pesky).
What I really need to work on is self-promotion. With me starting the publication process for Arianna’s Honor, next month, as well as going forward with the collaborative effort of Ten by Ten, I want to plan my book signing for a time where I can advertise and promote Whatever you Make of It and then get some hype going for Arianna and my troubled teens. I also need to keep up with my word count goals to keep making progress on my aforementioned projects…and I need to keep making progress on completing that PhD that is so shiny…hmmm…
So the job offer I didn’t get offered, turned out to be the ultimate blessing. The money and fresh start would have been nice, but my dance card is rather full at current. So I will continue to embrace my truest passions: teaching, PhD completion, and being an author…and will continue to do whatever I need to — to accomplish these lofty goals.

February 8, 2012

A lesson I learned

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:25 pm
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So recent circumstances have taught me a very valuable lesson indeed. I learned that the perfect opportunity may not, in fact, be the perfect opportunity as life currently exists. I learned that everything can line up, all the arrows can point in the same direction, and you can still discover that this was not what the universe had planned for you. And since the universe trumps all best intentions and thoughts of what I think is best for me, I am grateful for this opportunity. I am grateful for the knowledge that I can leave the Kansas City area, when it is the right time to do so…I am also grateful that I get to stay around KC a while longer.
The jobs that I currently hold, allow me to stay in education, allow me to pay my bills…and perhaps most sacred to me currently, allow me to write to my heart’s content. Having the undesignated time in the evenings has been so fantastic for me (once I realized that coffee works in the afternoons as well as it works in the mornings) and keeping this schedule will allow me to finish my doctorate papers, my dissertation work, and my novels. My muse is ecstatic that I didn’t get a job, that professionally would have been amazing, but would have taken away some of my writing time. She is thrilled that our play time has not been put on a hiatus…that we can still write for hours each day without interruption. I am a little disappointed, but my absolute faith that the universe is driving…lets me know that this too…is what was supposed to happen…and how can I argue with that. How could I possibly see this as a negative when I get to be the doctoral student I need to be and the author I want to be. I haven’t been able to write much in the past few weeks due to stress and the state of limbo…but I have a feeling the words will be flowing quite smoothly once again. Buckle up…it’s going to be a good ride.

February 6, 2012

The Name Game

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 8:56 pm
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So one of the things I struggle with, as an author, is the name game. Names of characters, and even more so, names of the books or series that hold the characters, are tricky to me.
I want names that are distinct, so as to not confuse the reader — I once read a book that had so many M-named characters that I was completely and utterly lost…
I also like my characters’ names to mean something about their personality whenever possible…
Sometimes I let the characters name themselves, but then I run into the Zachary/William/Timothy/Nicholas confusion with the prince…
Then sometimes the name comes from someone I know or knew in real life…someone who acts like or reminds me of how my fictional person will act or behave. Of course, I have to be careful of this as well, especially if the character is a male and may resemble a past lover. If a male character reminds me of a man I have known, I will go all the way through my baby name book to find a name that in no way is close to his actual name.
Having been a teacher for 15 years also adds some complexities to the name game…”well can’t name the character this because of that student, etc.”
And if the character is currently or will be in a relationship within the time frame of the book, their names together need to match without being overly cutesy. Same goes with siblings, which brings me to last names. As real life people don’t generally get to pick their last names, my baby name book is not as helpful…so I bring out the white pages…which honestly, is the only time I use them (I also feel, as a bit of a rant here, that in general, white pages are wasteful and kill trees rather unnecessarily given the invention of Google — okay mini-rant over).
Some names are sacred to me. I will, for example, never have another Jac or Jyn. I try hard to not repeat any of my names, but those two will only ever exist in Whatever you Make of It.

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