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18 August 2016 @ 03:52 pm
Hello, O Wander of Blogs!

I'm Sara, a Fiction & Playwriting student at Columbia College Chicago, and this is my writing journal! I'm an aspiring novelist and teacher and love all things literary. I decided I wanted to start posting some of my work online more often, so I created this journal to have an organized space to do so--I also wanted to save those that follow my personal journal from writing entries if they weren't interested in seeing them. Bah humbug to filters?

My personal journal is mari_mac1109, if you're interested. I'll have to know you from somewhere before I'll add ya, but new friends are always welcome. Drop me a line if you want to follow the funny details of my personal life. Ehe. That's also the handle I use when posting to all the writing communities I follow, so if you've managed to click your way over from one of them, hello!

As to this journal, you'll find a number of things here! A large chunk of the work I'll be posting will have been inspired by prompts or contests all around the vast expanse of the interwebs. A lot of them come from LiveJournal communities, which I follow with my personal journal. You can click over to the profile page at mari_mac1109, if you're looking into joining a writing/fiction community on LJ! I will also be posting links in my sidebar to some of my favorites in the future. :)

So! Prompt responses, exercises I've worked through on my own, bits and bobs like that. Excerpts from plays and novel-length projects. Original short fiction. The rare (and I mean RARE) Doctor Who fan fiction.

If you scroll down, you'll see a few posts that link to writing for specific communities and/or prompt groups.

In particular, you'll find a link to the submissions I've written up for IWW's Practice-W E-mail List, an awesome e-mail critique group. If you've wandered over here from there, nice to see you!

Anyway, two final notes:

1. This is a critique-friendly space and I welcome any input you might have. I'm more than open to harsh criticism, and any and all input will only help me! But, if you're going to be a huge jerk about it, go ahead--it'll give me something to chuckle myself to sleep over. :)

2. The link posts will be unprotected--anyone can see them. The fiction posts, by and large, will be protected/Friends Only. So, if you'd like to read a protected post, you'll have to friend this journal--I'll approve it (quickly, probably) and then you can read to your heart's content. If you don't want to stay friends with this journal or watch it/have it appear on your Friends page, that is a-okay with me. :) But, I hope you'll read and also understand that protecting my original work is important to me at this point in my life. Again, mot all fiction posts will be friend-locked, but most will be!

Thanks for dropping by and I do hope you'll stick around and read. :)

Honor Among
an original sci-fi serial (in the works!)

This index has moved! LiveJournal was being grumpy, so I moved this index off-site to a wiki which is easier to update and organize. 

The index can now be found here:

18 August 2015 @ 04:58 am
A collection of links to work written for and posted to the e-mail list at IWW, after the cuts. Links lead to posts on this blog and will be marked as Friends Only. All work herein is (c) Sara Vallejo. Comments and crits always appreciated. Thanks for checking in!

As links are added, they'll be posted at the top of the list.

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I've momentarily put IWW on hold due to a craaaaazy school schedule and other writing work. What I am doing, however, is participating in brigits_flame an online contest, of sorts, that has a contest every month. Throughout the four weeks of prompts and submissions, writers are voted off until one writer is chosen as the winner for the month.

So, without further adieu, my submissions to The Flame:
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18 August 2015 @ 04:51 am
A handful of prompt tables, with links to the pieces that correspond to writings based on the prompts. I won't be putting up all of the writings I do for these for a handful of reasons, but I will be posting some! Hysteria and Radio Nowhere (my two main novel-length projects) will probably see less posted work than the Writer's Choice prompt table prompts.

I never claimed these prompt tables, since I'm using them for all original uses and don't really want to compete against anyone but myself. :) But, I linked the sites I got them from, so no harm, no foul, I hope!

Anyway, text that's red and struck through is finished and not posted. Text formatted like this example link are finished and posted works. Follow the link to the Friends Only (locked) entry for the writin'!

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HysteriaCollapse )

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16 August 2015 @ 04:44 pm
A little collection of links to blog entries about articles that I've found interesting/helpful/inspiring/thought provoking/etc. Clicking these links will take you to the relevant post in this blog and that entry will provide a little synopsis and my oh-so intellectual thoughts on the article, a snippet and a link to the full text. Enjoy! Most recent posts are at the top--please note, these are in order of when I stumbled across them, not when they were written. :)

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31 January 2010 @ 03:01 am
Title: Boo!
Author: mari_mac1109
Genre: paranormal/dramedy
The Premise: In a world where spectrology (the study of ghosts) is an exciting and emerging field, curious and clever Ruby Oliver, a recent university graduate, moves from native London to Amherst, MA to research under Dr. Nathan Barnes. Once among the most respected minds in his field, Barnes has fallen from his former glory; a scatterbrained alcoholic whose research has stalled, Barnes is lucky to have tenure—and now Ruby who was given the happy task of baby-sitting the washed up academic. But that’s not all Ruby has on her plate! A rag tag group of students forms a ghost hunting club, with Ruby as their faculty supervisor—and they have plenty of work to do as the ghosts of Amherst are becoming restless and violent. Add to that intelligence director and operative Dr. Kendall Leighton—ex-wife and research partner of Dr. Barnes—coming to guest lecture at the college for an indefinite amount of time and taking care of the ghosts that haunt her own house and Ruby’s in for a hell of a year!

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07 December 2009 @ 01:21 am
Sparse postings lately. Well, school (which is writing) has been very busy and demanding lately and a lot of my writing has been for school. I've been dragging my feet when it comes to the writing of a lot of it, especially the writing I'm doing for a class called Prose Forms, which I've had a love/hate relationship with since it started.

Prose Forms is the third class in the six or seven class sequence that comprises the core workshop classes of my major--Fiction Writing. Well, Prose Forms is basically creative non-fiction with an emphasis on writing about personal experience. Not my favorite thing in the world. There are two assignments: an instance collection and a personal essay. The instance collection reads a lot like standard fiction (though with variety--some of which comes in the form of research, non-personal instances, etc.) and the essay? Well, "essay" in this case is a very, very broad term. It's an exploration, trying something. It doesn't have to read like a standard academic essay. In some cases, essays are more literary and critical. In other cases, essays are personal explorations. My essay falls very solidly into the latter category.

My instance collection didn't come together until I'd slaved over it for months and changed it all around a bunch. It's still in rewrites/revisions, but I'll post up some of it eventually.

My personal essay (the work I have in front of me right now) is coming together bit by bit and it too has changed focus about a thousand times since I started it.

I started out just writing about the trip and then road trip I took this past May/June. But it wasn't coming through as authentic. Gradually I've been looking at it through a new lens and it's finally helped me find the way I wanted to approach both instance collection and personal essay: seeing the world through new eyes after the long process of healing and learning to live again after Clinical Depression.

Let me tell you, guys. I've learned a lot about myself and revisited a lot in rewriting these two pieces. I actually cried when writing one of my instances. I feel like this is something I have to write. This--my experience--has to be written, even if I'm the only one that ever reads it.

But, this entry isn't about all of that. Perhaps a future entry will be. Anything's possible. :)

This entry is about PROCESS! That's right: process. The "how" of writing. Every writer has his or her own way of tackling projects, of getting writing down onto the page. Process differs from project to project--I don't tackle plays the same way I tackled this essay, though I may give it a shot, see if it gets the ideas out. :) My process has been evolving since I started really studying writing. I start everything in my journal now, do a lot of the actual writing in a journal instead of on the computer. I rewrite and then edit instead of just editing and "correcting" mistakes. Basically, a more holistic and organic approach to writing.

What you'll find after the cut is two photographs of my "outline" and then two journal spreads in which I mapped out my ideas and what themes/details I wanted to layer into my essay. I've posted big enough scans that you can read all the notes and things I've written down if you're so inclined. And if you can read my handwriting/read the text where I had to piece together scans of left and right pages.

Click each image and click through again to be taken to the full-size.

Allons-y! A look at process through pictures and scansCollapse )
Current Music: Walking With Thee - Clinic
Article by Mary Jaksch of GoodlifeZen.

This article was linked over in Dreamwidth's NaNo-Writers community as part of their countdown to NaNoWriMo, which starts in just, what, 13 days now? Anyway, I'm not competing this year, but that doesn't stop me from reading all the articles that are cropping up in the NaNo fervor!

Synopsis: How to find a balance between Inner Editor and Inner Creator and achieve writing zen. Well, more like fifteen pretty useful tips for any struggling writer. Ten tips to give the Creator a bit of a boost, 5 tips to give the Editor direction.

I don't necessarily think all the tips are as important as the rest and the five Editor tips are a bit thin, but it's a good barebones look at helping get the process motor going again.


1. Forge your identity. Say, “I am a writer!” Maybe you feel reluctant to say it because you think you’re not good enough? Well, forget about ‘good enough’! A writer writes. Do you write? If yes, then you are a writer. Plaster your home with notices that say, “I am a writer!” Tell people about it. When you next fill in a form, put ‘writer’ as your profession. Thinking of yourself as a writer will boost your confidence and unlock your creativity.

2. Practice fun writing. If you only write to produce something important, your creativity can become stunted. It’s important to schedule time for fun writing practice. Maybe you can earmark just 10 minutes a day for fun writing. After all, even a top pianist still practises scales each day! Here is a simple way to practise fun writing: take a blank page and set a timer for 5 minutes. Write for 5 minutes – without stopping. Don’t think about it. Just do it. The first minute may be difficult, but then your creativity will kick in and surprise you.

3. Find inspiration. The right place to look for inspiration is – everywhere! Keep your creative mind on the alert at all times. Let’s imagine that you write a blog about blogging. Here is how you could use your everyday experience as inspiration. You wake up early in the morning: “Why early morning is the best time for writing.” You take a shower: “How to come up with 20 great ideas in the shower.” You have breakfast: “15 reasons why good nutrition can make you a fabulous writer.” You get into your car: “10 important things driving a car can teach you about writing”, and so on. Not all of your ideas will mature into articles because some may be wacky. But wacky is good! Because anything out of the ordinary can trigger your creativity. Check out this great article on how to keep inspiration alive.

Full article can be found: Zen Power Writing: 15 Tips on How to Generate Ideas and Write with Ease
Current Music: O Valencia! - The Decemberists
16 October 2009 @ 06:45 pm
Title: Fiesta
By: mari_mac1109
For: brigits_flame
Prompt: Navel
Word Count: about 2,400. Again, a bit heavy.

Same universe as the last one: Molly Malone's boarding house. The universe was that of my 2008 NaNo that materialized... not at all.

Edited to fix cut and formatting. OMFG I AM GOING TO KILL MY INTERNET. RCN I HATE YOU.

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Title: Bones Beneath Her Skin, Deux
By: mari_mac1109
For: brigits_flame
Prompt: Instep
Word Count: about 2,100. Bit heavy for week one. Sigh.

Set in the universe I explored in my NaNoWriMo piece last year. I keep coming back to it through different characters and with different ideas about what I think the story should be. I've written about Jill and Sam before--mostly from Jill's POV, so this is a bit of a deviation. Their story is pretty extensive--this is sort of a 'taste' of the greater arc.

Deux, not because there is a part before this but because I feel like I've been trying to tell and retell this story for a year now.

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