Sarah Dieng's Blog
September 20, 2016
I’m sorry it has been so long since my last post. Life just throws you some major curve balls sometimes. I have come to realize that I am not perfect, in fact far from it. I knew this beforehand, but knowing it is different than saying it and then taking ownership of it. This fourth book has continued to be a challenge and the reason why, I have figured out, is that I was looking at the bigger picture. I was looking at the ending instead of focusing on where I am currently in the book. I knew that this book was going to be the largest volume of the set. It has three different parts to it. The first part is from Mitch’s perspective, the second from Alex, and the third is whoever the “new Danielle” is. I could probably write another four just with this last volume. However, I am not going to do that. I have decided to make each part into it’s own book. Different covers, different titles, etc. The Deadly Destiny cover and title will probably stay the same, but I haven’t decided on that one yet.
My sister brought to my attention a TED Talk interview with Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) and she got me thinking. Since she is also my beta reader/editor and part of my support group, I listened to her talk about it, then I watched it and took it to heart.
He said, “If you are an artist or a human being and you have a craft or whatever it is that you strive for in your life, do not let the idea of being perfect stop you from just creating or doing whatever it is that you do. That is why we are here, to make stuff. Go out and make stuff and be happy doing it and don’t worry about it being perfect just create because you love to do it” (Macklemore: Don’t Let Perfection Stop You, TEDxPortland).
There are writer’s out there struggling with the first words, or the last. Trying to make everything perfect for the reader. You know, sometimes it’s not going to be perfect, in fact, most of the time it may not be. You will get people who will review that they don’t like the book because there are typos or bad punctuation. When you self-publish, some things may be missed unless you hire a professional. If you are just starting out, like I am, we don’t have the money to hire an editor. Heck even having several books out there hasn’t netted me the money to hire an editor.
Like I have said before, before I self-published I did some research and Amanda Hocking’s name kept coming up. I wanted to be like her, sell thousands of books, quit my job and become a full time author. But again, I have come to realize that I can’t be anybody but myself and persistence is the key. I struggle with that constantly. I admire her and what she has done and I would like to eventually get where she it at today, but I have to keep moving, keep plodding along and keep writing. If it’s good, keep it. If it’s bad, throw it out and start over.
In closing, if you get a chance, please watch the Macklemore interview, it is very inspiring to hear what he went through to get to where he is today. Thank you for all your support!
Macklemore: Don’t Let Perfection Stop You, TEDxPortland
June 5, 2016
I went and seen Love and Friendship this past weekend at the theater. For those of you who don’t know, this is based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. I love Jane Austen, but Lady Susan was a bit tedious to read. I don’t care for epistolary novels. They are dry and boring, and lifeless, at least to me. I like a little action and adventure.
I watched the previews and the movie looked really good, but truthfully it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, it was a well put together film. The cast of characters couldn’t be better and it did bring Lady Susan to life. They just took the letters that were written in Austen’s novella to life in dialogue instead of letter form. The movie was humorous and comedic and Kate Beckinsale did a wonderful job of playing Lady Susan.
I think the best performance way played by Tom Bennett, who played Sir James Martin. He was hilarious, goofy, and off the wall. He did a splendid job! Overall, the movie was good, I would give it a B+. Anything the Austen writes and then it is adapted to a movie is worth going to see.
April 30, 2016
John Henry Fuseli – The Nightmare – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Fuseli#/media/File:John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare.JPG
If only having nightmares were as pretty as Fuseli’s painting, minus the demon horse and and ugly little demon sitting on her chest. Night terrors, nightmares, dreams, some may be scary, some terrifying, and others just dreams about nothing at all that are very weird in nature. The books I write have to do with my main character suffering from sometimes debilitating nightmares, ones that literally reach out and touch her, nearly killing her.
My 16 year-old character, Danielle, has lived many lives, but she doesn’t remember them. The memories only come back to her in her nightmares. Her soul-mate Alex has lived those lives as well, but he remembers them all. Some of them he never found her and others he would meet her and then lose her in death, then dying himself. There is a curse that has to be unraveled before they can live happily-ever-after. This is my goal in the last book of the series, unraveling the curse, finding the answers and allowing Danielle and Alex to live their happily-ever-after.
I am continually working on finishing the book. As I have said before, this book had to be written from scratch. There were only ideas on this one and no content, unlike the first three, which had content to work with from the original 600+ page book. There is a lot of history that had to be researched. One thing is different in this one, as of now, there are three parts to the book, one from each character. This one is going to be a long book. It has been suggested to me to separate it into 2 books, but truthfully, it wouldn’t be fair to readers to wait any longer. This last book is overdue and needs to get out, no matter the work or length of it.
Wish me luck and success!
April 12, 2016
Dictionary.com points out that Catharsis is “the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music”. I suppose writing could be considered cathartic. Some writers have that need to write, that all consuming feeling that getting down the ideas needs to happen NOW or I will forget and then all is lost. I can see that. I wish that my characters would give me a little something more that I can work with. Although I just finished a bit on my last book, it’s really not enough. But then again, anything is better than nothing and I shouldn’t let it get me down. Eventually, it will all come to me, I will self-publish the book, and I will move on to the next project.
March 26, 2016
I have a hard time thinking of things to write on my blog. I am an author so you would think that I would talk about my work, my characters, progress of the final book, or just writing about things that appeal to my readers. When you have writer’s block and other things take up your time, it’s hard to get your mind off one thing and on to where it’s needed. So I think I will share something I wrote. It’s a little thought provoking, maybe a little dark, but emotional all the same. Enjoy!
LIGHT AND DARK
Rain lashes against the glass, making the night outside look like a blurred photograph. Rivulets of water streaming down the cold, hard surface, soaking into the ground beneath. Lightning splits the sky and the lone tree planted in the yard bows under the onslaught, limbs reaching for the sky, seeming to beg in supplication for relief one minute and almost touching the ground in defeat the next.
The dark is overwhelming in its intensity and just when I think the darkness will eat everything in sight, the searing white light, the flash of almost painful brightness, makes the dark flinch away, if for only a moment. Then it is back again, grasping and chipping away at the light, invading, pillaging and spreading like a cancer.
I watch as the light and dark battle it out. The tree still standing, still fighting to stay grounded amidst the turmoil going on around it. The rain beats against the glass again; the dark swallows the world whole and then the bright light, causing me to shut my eyes against the almost otherworldly illumination. The light remains longer this time, beating back the pervading ink of blackness.
Then the heaviness, the overwhelming feeling of pressure, squeezing from the outside. The stress of choice; stay or go, fight or flight or buckle under the weight. The crack of sound that near splits the sky wide open and the choice again is the bright light of illuminating day and the cleansing wash of rain. The darkness moves back just a bit more, seeming to shrink in size at the power displayed.
I watch the tree sway under the push and pull. The darkness and the beating influence of the wind, trying to pull the tree out of the ground, roots and all. And then the light, pushing back the darkness and calming the wind; sending the rain to sooth and cleanse.
I then realize that I am that tree. Alone and trying to survive in this battle between darkness and light. The darkness is all consuming, yet not all the darkness seems dark. I know this is only an illusion, and the lie is in how effortless it is to follow.
The wind and rain finally calm until the limbs on the tree seem to be drooping in exhaustion. Then there is a parting of clouds and a shaft of light spears the darkness and lightly touches the leaves. I look to the sky where just moments before the angry bright slashes had erupted and now all I can see is the clouds being chased away.
I watch as the tree becomes completely enveloped in the bright, healing light. I can feel the warmth from my place behind the glass and I watch the tree.
The tree is me.
–Sarah Dieng, Oct. 2014
March 25, 2016
March 24, 2016
There is a story behind this picture. A dark, creepy story. Have you ever seen a picture or read a small sentence and your mind just takes off creating a story? Have you have been half asleep, or just trying to think about nothing and a sentence of dialogue comes to you and you have to write it down or lose it? I have. Like I have mentioned before, my series was created from just one sentence. At that time, when I began, it was just one book. It took around a year to write it since I was working full-time. It ended up being over 600 pages.
It was a big accomplishment for me. There were holes and errors and any number of things that needed fixing, but I had done it. Then it was separated into 4 books. The first 3 actually having content and the 4th was just an idea. A lot of work went into the first 3. Filling in gaps in the storyline, adding a lot of content etc. It was hard work. The 4th is a work in progress since I had to start from scratch.
I never gave up though in that year that I was writing. The words seemed to flow out of me until I was done. My advice to anyone just starting out, don’t give up. It may be hard, but eventually, if there is a story, it will get written. All you need is just a sentence or a few words…or even just an idea. It doesn’t have to be a dark paranormal story. It can be a romantic comedy, or a biography of your life, or even a travel book, but it’s still a book that needs writing. Good luck!