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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How do you handle your dreams, friend?

What do you do when you're not writing?

I'm a pharmacy technician and paid non-fiction blogger (mostly ghost-blogging), but I want to go to medical school and move to Paraguay. I still like to play pretend, and I want to end my wedding reception with a lightsaber fight. Like me, I bet you also have thousands of different parts to you, each with its own desires and hopes. How do you balance them? Do you hone them down and decide some are more important than others? 
  Soldiers sacrifice. If someone has to die for the sum cause, they will, and I guess if you have to drop a dream, you have to drop a dream. But when it comes to dreams, I prefer the Ben Tennyson philosophy.

(Ben is the guy in the green jacket, about to turn into swampfire. Yes, it's a children's cartoon. = P)

In one episode of Ben 10 Alien Force, Ben chooses to save someone's life instead of stopping the DNAliens from getting technology that lets them conquer the world. The guy protests, but Ben says, 
"No sacrifices," saves the guy's life, and ends up stopping the DNAliens anyway. 

No sacrifices. I really like that. Now, Ben can turn into over 40 different aliens (last time I counted), so he's got a bit of an advantage over you and me, but you and I also have different sides and talents. I suspect that just as Ben has to turn on the right alien for the right task, you and I have to 'turn on' the right skill or self for different times. And maybe coordinating and adapting our 'selves' is the key to grabbing the time and space we need to get all our dreams accomplished.

Just ideas. I know, in the end, that sometimes we have to prioritize, but I think more often than not, we give up too easily on our dreams--because we're unwilling to sacrifice ourselves for them. Ben won't sacrifice anyone else for the goal, but he puts himself in harm's way and adapts himself to fit the need of the situation. Am I willing to change and accept critique, at the cost of my pride-self? Am I willing to trade a little less sleep for a little more time to get things done? Can I write or work instead of watching Ben 10 cartoons? (Of course not! =P Just kidding)

Call me crazy, but I think I can go to medical school and become a fabulous fiction writer, and still have love and time to give to my family and friends. It may take some shape-shifting, but I'm with Ben.

"No sacrifices."

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Can I Do For You?

Given infinite time, I could do absolutely anything for you. Unfortunately, we don't have infinite time--but, dear internet stranger, I would love to start by making your day brighter. I'm Jen Finelli. I'm a world-traveling professional scifi author. I've written a novel about a comic book character who shoots his author, and a sci fi series about space-ninja children hunted by the government for talking to invisible creatures. In 2017, I'll be a doctor. Here's what I can do for you.

 I can write you a blog post that makes your company look smart. I've ghost-blogged for drug companies, medical professionals, and cultural, language, and cooking organizations--and I've spent time free-lancing for DC newspapers. Contact me with leads or blogging jobs, and I will generate strong, informative content tailored for your SEO needs. With a degree in history, a minor in biomedical engineering, and now an MD in progress, I have the research training to ensure solid information for your clients. (Click the links in the header for my interactive resume)

I can review and critique your fiction work, if you'd like to review and critique mine. I love to cheer on other writers, and I'm honest to a fault. To tell you the truth, I'd much rather read good fiction for free--and become a part of the process--than pay for stuff from the shelves. Do you need a second set of eyes?

I can do informal therapy with your autistic child. I have years of ABA training--including some paid experience--and years of practice with the Sun-shine program. I've got family members with developmental disorders, so if you need to chat or you need a e-hug, I'm here.

I can take you to another world, place, or time. I can write you a short-story! Commissioning artwork for loved ones is becoming more and more popular these days--hire me to write something awesome for someone you care about. If you don't like it, you don't pay!

I can chat with you if you're sad. Just send me a message. For that matter, I can find you an adventure. You're bored? I dare you to ask me. I'll find you a challenge--a strange, unique, and maybe funny challenge--and that day cannot remain the same.

 I can fight by your side against the zombies. I'm a pretty bulky girl, I handle pain well, and I've got endurance like a turtle. Zombies don't exist, you say? Hmm. Well, let's skip this one then.

I can build add-ons to your laser, or fill your prescriptions, or mix your cement. Those are all things I have actually done for people. And if you check back in June 2017 I'll be a doctor, too. So, I dunno. Personally, my biggest fear is uselessness. Let me know how I can be helpful to you, and if I can entertain you or brighten your day, let me know! If all else fails, and your house falls down, I know how to make a mean batch of cement. Seriously, ask me anything. If I can't fix it, I'll try to find someone who can.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Diamond Axe

You know her--hair as black as night, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood--but you don't know the dwarf in love with her. 

My hair's peppery-blond, my skin's calloused as the mountainside, and my lips stretch wide and thin as an oil spill. I never thought myself ugly 'til she woke up, sprawled across our seven beds, and smiled.

None of my brothers know who cracked the mirror, but I think she does.

She taught me to cook; I taught her medicinal herbology. I fashioned her a diamond-axe so she can smash rocks; she wove me a magical cloak so  I can blend with night. She doesn't talk much; I talk all the time.

And sometimes, when I shut up, she leans in and smiles like that again, and I forget the Prince for a second. The 6-foot Prince. Who's known her since she was ten. I try not to give up. I try to balance between wooing her and respecting her decisions; I wake every day hoping today she sees past my height, my race.

Today's a panel of colors, like the sunlight reflecting through the diamond axe, with changing patterns and possibilities depending on your angle. Maybe today the queen finds her, and I die, because Snow White can't die while I'm alive. Or maybe today the axe leans against the foot of his bed, diffracting light onto the floor as she sighs in his arms.

Maybe today she falls for a dwarf.

Want more flash fiction?  Click here for a bunch of free online stories, and subscribe to my e-mail list in that banner up above, or in the side, or right down here! I send about a story a month.

Just like this one story, and don't want anything else from me? Well, this was my contest entry for Lascaux Flash Fiction back in 2012. You can comment on it at the Lascaux site, here: http://www.lascauxflash.com/2012/09/139-diamond-axe.html Or below.

So many options! Have a lovely day. = )

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On revising HARD

Man, so I got blasted over there on Miss Snark's last week with the first-500 story postings. You can check it out, if you like, and read all the agent comments here. Good way to learn from my mistakes, if you like.

It was good! I went through the standard stages of writer mourning, of course--confusion/denial, frustration, giving-up on writing for a few days--before finally sitting down and saying, "Dammit, I got it! I know how to redraft!" That last agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette, left a comment that really did it for me, because she showed me specifically what exactly she didn't get, and through that lens suddenly the entire beginning became as confusing to me as it was to the agents.

And then I just deleted it.

My normal redrafting style involves taking the existing sentence and hacking away at it until it looks pretty. I learned last week, after staring at my beginning for hours and hours with no idea how to rework anything, that sometimes you just gotta destroy, build, destroy. Sometimes it's not a sculptor's tool you need, or even a jack-hammer. Sometimes it's dynamite.

And--holy crap, new Ben 10 show. I just totally forgot everything writerly I was gonna say.



That is all.