Libby: Take The Library With You

Books, books, books.

I want so many of them, but I can’t be spending. As a college student a dollar for a book at the thrift store is also a dollar for laundry! 

This is why I’m devoted to the library, and want to talk about a free app called Libby, by OverDrive. I’ll be displaying it from my iPhone. 

Continue reading Libby: Take The Library With You

Miss Spoken Live Lit Event 11/28

As I’m nearing the end of my fall semester, I needed to get out of my writing space and HEAR some writing. 

I’ve been meaning to experience Chicago’s live lit scene a bit more. So, I was excited to attend a Miss Spoken performance, a storytelling show that features nonfiction work by female-identified.

This week’s theme was “Family Feud”.

Miss Spoken is hosted at Gallery Cabaret the last Wednesday of every month.
Continue reading Miss Spoken Live Lit Event 11/28

Twitter Thread: A Person’s Name Is Important

One of my characters was simplified. It sucked. I don’t think I was asking for too much.— Arely Anaya (@ArelyAnaya23) November 17, 2018

I interviewed a woman named Charisi (cha-ree-see). She’s a strong supporter of Hispanic/Latino business owners, especially those who are woman. After speaking to her, I couldn’t get her name out of my head.— Arely Anaya (@ArelyAnaya23) November 17, 2018

In one of my short stories, I named a mother and domestic abuse survivor Charisi. I often call her by her nickname Chari (cha-ree).— Arely Anaya (@ArelyAnaya23) November 17, 2018

The first time I was asked the mother’s name in my fiction workshop class, I couldn’t help feeling prideful every time I talked about her. “Charisi or Chari.” I was shot questionable looks. I was completely fine saying the name slower.— Arely Anaya (@ArelyAnaya23) November 17, 2018

The next time the class met, Chari was referred to as Cher (sh-eh-r). A person’s name is part of who they are, on paper and in real life. If there’s no effort to get the name right, it’s as if who they are isn’t important.— Arely Anaya (@ArelyAnaya23) November 17, 2018

George Saunders Taught Me That The Revision Process Can Be Loving

George Saunders gets excited about dramatization, “When you take a human situation and make it come to a boil.”

I saw this dramatization the first time reading Saunders’ work “The Wavemaker Falters” in his collection CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. Although he has gentle wisdom and love, he sees violence as power.

Power is part of his writing process. The first draft is about making jokes and looking down on the character’s flaws. The revision portion is about bringing them up, so they’re not so far below.

Saunders says, “Reimagining them, ‘How do you feel? What’s your problem? Why are you so grouchy?’ Then they become more three-dimensional and easier to love.”

Saunders has a genuine relationship with his characters through distance and discipline. It’s such an active process that creates a deeper connection with the work.

His writing process cycle is all too familiar. We start a piece, think it’s dumb, wear it out, but then we finish, and it’s not that bad! Then we start another piece, and here we go again, just like in real life.

Saunders makes a strong point to enjoy that moment. We should always remind ourselves.

“Step up to the beauties of life and horrors of it without any kind of flinching.”

A Little on Running Are-Lit

This fall semester I’ve done most of my blog writing at home instead of hanging out at a café. I rent a three-bedroom apartment with eleven other family members; an aunt and uncle, two grandparents, and seven cousins. 

I’m blessed with my own bedroom. Tiny and comfy but mostly cluttered because I don’t listen when I tell myself, “You have no more space!” I bring home free books from the library and Tupperware from my momma no matter what. 

I was also recently gifted a mini fridge from my older sister, Diana. Now my writing is only interrupted by bathroom breaks and when I need more water. 

I have a desk I don’t use. It’s more of a shelf now. A fluffy pillow on the floor is all I really need to get settled to write. I’ll admit sometimes it’s not the best workspace because I lean right over and take a nap. 

Drinking coffee on the floor isn’t the greatest either. After knocking over my cup a bunch of times, and most recently cough syrup, I hid all the stains with a dramatic carpet made out of scarfs. Don’t tell the landlord!

Continue reading A Little on Running Are-Lit

Writing Dialogue: These 5 Stories Will Help You Cope

A lot can be revealed through a conversation. Characters grow right before your eyes, the plot keeps rolling, the story stays engaging, and the pages don’t stop turning.

Dialogue is a sharp storytelling element.

Starting off, it stressed me out. My characters all sounded the same, the conversations wouldn’t add to the story, and I couldn’t tell if an interaction was necessary. So, I’d just avoid the dialogue.

Not the way to go. You practice, but first…

…to write the best, we read the best and hope some of the talent sticks.

Here are five short stories you can use as sources when crafting your dialogue.

Continue reading Writing Dialogue: These 5 Stories Will Help You Cope