Tag Archive: Arts

Apr 12

Eleven Questions, Eleven Answers…Eight Tags

WHAT’S PLAYING: Maroon 5 “Through With You”

S.J. Driscoll tagged me in the Eleven Questions game.

The rules state that I have to answer her 11 questions, then think up 11 new questions and invite 11 other people to answer them.

1. Which season and why?

Autumn. I love the colors and the feeling of plans and seeds coming to fruition.



2. What’s your earliest memory?

The smell of my grandfather’s pipe as he told me stories.



3. Cats or dogs? (Birds? Fish?)

Dogs. Love and loyalty, all in one big furry package.



4. Tea or coffee?

Both. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and evening.



5. Hogwarts or Rivendell?

Rivendell. I’m too old and too grouchy to go back to high school. Plus, they allow booze in Rivendell.



6. What’s the top item on your life list?

Finish/publish my current WIP. It’s not my highest aspiration, but it is the one that drives me.


7. Who would you be if you weren’t yourself?

Mother Teresa.



8. How would your life change if you won the lottery?

I’d quit my day job, buy a house in a secluded spot, and write full time.


9. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Back in time. To tell my younger self that everything is going to be all right.


10. Which personal adornment (jewelry, tattoo, hair color, favorite clothing) means the most to you and why?

A tattoo of the wolf shield my uncle made for me when I came of age.


11. Would you rather travel in space or stay on Earth?

Earth. If I was in space, I’d spend every moment worrying about crashing/blowing up/losing oxygen. I don’t think my nerves could handle it.


Now it’s my turn:

1. Would you rather be trapped in a sanitarium or a Stephen King novel?

2. What’s the one thing that makes you smile no matter what?

3. What do you like most about yourself?

4. What is your greatest fear?

5. How do you want to be remembered?

6. Where do you want to be five years from now? Ten?

7.  Ninja or samurai?

8. Pick two: happy, humble, famous, or rich. Why?

9. What is your favorite piece of music?

10. If you were a fictional character, what would be your fatal flaw?

11. Telekinesis or pyrokinesis? Why?


Tag 11 people:


Here is where I fall short. It would seem that I don’t know that many people. Oh well, I don’t call myself a loner for nothing. To be honest, I’m lucky that I managed to find eight people, and they are:

Janice Heck

Melinda VanLone

S.Z. Williams

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars

Jill Archer

Diane Owens

Subhakar Das

J. Elizabeth Hill






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Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/04/eleven-questions-eleven-answerseight-tags/

Feb 06

My First Critique

WHAT’S PLAYING: LeAnn RimesHow Do I Live” (iPod stuck on country music today…the music of pain.)

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

I got the first round of notes back from my new mentor/editor last night, and they were BRUTAL. We’re talking “I must hide my face because I am not worthy to be seen by other people” brutal.

The worst part is that I deserved it. I was so excited about my story and working with her, that I neglected the actual writing part. I rushed through one draft and then sent it off without even bothering to check it over. And the result was a 9,000-word mess peppered with inconsistent characters, setting and details.

For example, I decided to set the story in Mississippi during the summer, August to be exact. And then I turned around and had my protagonist dressed in friggin’ sweater. In August. In Mississippi. The sweater was necessary to the story, but the location and time of year wasn’t. I just threw them in and forgot about it. When she pointed it out, I felt like a complete moron.


At least she thought the writing was good. I just need to pay more attention.  It was hard to hear, especially coming from her. I’ve wanted to work with this particular editor for over a year. And now – after she finally makes time for me in her busy schedule – I had to and blow it by making a series of rookie mistakes.

Ah well, the good news is that she’s still willing to work with me. Apparently, she still has high hopes for my work.

Now all I have to do is prove her right.



Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/02/my-first-critique/

Feb 02

How to Get Past Crises of Confidence

WHAT’S PLAYING: Sam and Dave “Thank You”

I don’t have very much confidence in my skills as a writer. As a nuclear chemist? Absolutely. As a friend, sister, daughter, cousin, human being, etc.? More or less. But when it comes to writing, I can never tell just how good – or bad – I really am. Maybe it’s because art is so subjective. There’s no real measuring stick by which I can observe my skill level. (Chemistry is so much easier. If the lab blows up or I die of radiation poisoning, then I’ll know that I screwed something up.)

Case in point. Here is an abbreviated transcript of my latest breakup:

Him: “Jacqui, I’m leaving.”

Me (typing): “OK, have a nice time.

Him: “No, I mean I’m leaving for good. I’m breaking up with you.”

Me (still typing): “Uh-huh.”

Him: “I have a new girlfriend, who is five years younger and fifteen pounds thinner than you are.”

Me (absently): “Sounds like a keeper.”

Him: “Would you please look at me? You’re the worst girlfriend I’ve ever had!”

Me (still typing): “You’re probably right.”

Him: “By the way, your writing sucks!”

Me (turns away from computer and bursts into tears): “You bastard!”

(OK, maybe it didn’t go quite that badly, but you get the point.)

It’s strange really. I’m not particularly sensitive when it comes to other things. In fact, I usually respond to criticism with a snappy comeback or (failing that) an extended middle finger. But when it comes to writing, one negative comment, no matter how minor, is enough to send me into a tailspin. It’s as though someone finally pried my head open and let all the crazy out.

Sometimes I think my writing is good, better than good. I’ve studied with some of the best writers and editors in the business. I’ve tried to take in every lecture, homework assignment and piece of advice and apply it to my own writing. And on a good day, I can almost convince myself that I’ve succeeded.

Then, there are the bad days.

The days when I go back and read the same passage I’d read earlier, only to find that it’s bad. Really bad. Like “Oh my god, I wish I was illiterate just so I wouldn’t have to read this shitty writing” bad.

Writing is one of my chief joys in life, and more than anything, I want to be able to do it well. I don’t know if I’ll ever completely get over my crises of confidence, but I’ve learned a few tricks that help.

1. Stop. Sometimes the best thing to do is take a breath and push away from the computer.

2. Get active. Some might recommend walking or running, but I like to take my frustrations out on a punching bag, or better yet, a sparring partner.

3. Get inspired. This could be anything: a favorite book, an inspirational quote, even some positive feedback from your peers or mentor. Anything to reignite that spark of creativity.

4. Keep writing. And remember that, when it comes to writing, everything is fixable.

And, last but not least:

5. When all else fails, get drunk and try again tomorrow.

Of course, if you’re anything like me, then you’ll probably do this list in reverse order.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2012/02/how-to-get-past-crises-of-confidence/

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