Can you help me with giving this poem a title? Place your suggestions in the comment section below. 😉
Can you help me with giving this poem a title? Place your suggestions in the comment section below. 😉
This month’s question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?
This was a difficult question. I couldn’t think of any one thing specifically but just the knowing that writing in of itself has been incredibly valuable for me. Without it, I don’t think I’d be as “put-together” emotionally and mentally as I am.
Even though I’ve been writing for a number of years now, and have several of my short works published, I’m not famous or rich.
In fact, most people have no clue who I am.
I suppose that’s okay.
What matters to me is that the words I write impact people in some way.
So, yeah, I write for myself first but I also write to give voice (or try to) to those who cannot speak.
For me, writing is therapeutic.
Which means words matter.
And I want it to matter to the reader as well.
In the end, I can think of a particular lesson that writing has taught me.
Compassion for others.
Writing offers a way to let others know that they are not alone in feeling the way they’re feeling.
And for that one reader, the writer’s words can make all the difference in the world.
Rob gripped the steering wheel as he watched a brown leaf roll across the gray hood. His haggard face covered with salt and pepper beard helped conceal the white scar across his right cheek. He stared ahead as he half-listened to the car radio.
“The President is expected to address the nation tonight for the final time.” The radio garbled. “Before leaving with his family to an undisclosed location.”
He leaned over and changed the stations.
“CDC still have no answers as to what is causing the flu-like pandemic, nor are they any closer to an effective vaccine or treatment…”
“With the death toll skyrocketing across the country and hospitals completely overwhelmed with the sick, medical personnel are urging everyone to stay indoors in hope of slowing down the spread…”
“Ten more police officers gunned down by looters as they struggle to protect the civilians still in the downtown area…”
The radio went silent when Rob opened the door. He didn’t bother to close it as he staggered into the expansive cemetery. Shadows lurked everywhere yet his own moved with each faltered step. His shoulders slumped forward as he buried both hands deep in the pockets of the ragged trench coat.
He passed rows and rows of old and broken stones until he approached a mangled oak tree. He stooped over a particular headstone, half-buried in yellowed grass. He pulled his right hand out and pressed it on top of the cold stone.
Born March 3, 1972-Died November 12, 2010
Born April 15, 2008-Died November 10, 2010
He bowed his head, eyes closed. “Jules…three years, Jules.”
He stood still for several moments. A dark lock of hair fell over his left eye as his lips quivered. Rob then deliberately reached into the right pocket, and pulled out a pistol.
“I’m so tired of just surviving.” He mumbled as he shifted the weapon to his left and then back to the right hand. “Everyone’s gone.” He pressed the trigger back. “I don’t want to be alone anymore.” And raised the gun towards his temple.
He suddenly paused midway when the branches of the nearby tree swayed and creaked. A breeze swept over his thin body as his hazel eyes searched each and every stone.
“Jules?” His voice shook.
Everything grew still. Including the shadows.
Rob sucked in a trembling breath as he extended the free hand into the left pocket, and extracted a tarnished, gold-colored pocket watch. He used the thumb to flip the lid open.
“7:15.” He whispered.
He blinked several times. There was something engraved in the lid as he continued to stare at it.
79 S 30 W
A smile slowly spread across his lips. “Dad, you son of a b–” He chuckled as he snapped the lid shut, and dropped the watch back into the pocket.
Rob leaned against the headstone as he pushed the trigger back down.
“There’s something I need to do, Jules.” He muttered with excitement. “I’ll be back to…” His voice trailed off when he turned around.
A piece of wood slammed against the side of his head, and he instantly slumped to the ground. As he lied in a heap, his eyes remained open.
They saw nothing.
A murky shadow moved across the earth and enveloped the body, and lifted the watch out of the pocket.
“Whatcha got, Jim?” A scrawny girl in a tattered dress appeared next to the corpse.
The male teen’s crooked smile revealed two missing front teeth as he grasped the ticking object in his grimy hand. “Lunch!”
(First published with Asylum Ink on April, 11th 2014)
Here’s a question I posed on Twitter the other day:
I tend to get myself into trouble when I think too much. 🙂
So, is it possible to write short-short stories (for instance, less than 100 words) that can be just as satisfying to read as the longer ones?
How do you keep your readers coming back for more? Is it the main protagonist/antagonist? Or perhaps it’s the thrilling storytelling? Better yet, maybe it’s a combination of interesting characters and edge-of-your-seat story line. So…in your experience, what have you noticed readers enjoy most about the stories you write?
By voting (you’ll have to let me know that you voted) or commenting, you’ll have an opportunity to either guest blog or be interviewed here (your choice!).
This sounds like fun as well as a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, writers, and readers! Care to join in?
Ok so here are the rules:
Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!
See ya on Monday!!
Hey-you made it! It’s Friday! Time for a little fun 🙂
Have you ever thought of what your motto and mantra are as a writer? These are great to have for those days when nothing seems clear-cut, and you feel like you’re wandering around in perpetual circles.
In case you may have forgotten, we’ll clarify exactly what these mean. On to the dictionary shall we?
Motto: “a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit or purpose of a person (in this case, writer).”
Mantra: “ ‘
Okay, I’ll start off.
My motto is:
This pretty much sums up my purpose in being a writer: to get this all-consuming gnawing out of me. Only thing, this gnawing encompasses so many different things which means this may take me a lifetime to extract. Truly agonizing (at least for me it is).
My mantra is:
“You must write the book that you feel is missing from your bookshelf.”-Elizabeth Gilbert
There are many versions of this type of statement. If you don’t see the story you want to read, write it!
Now, it’s your turn. Write a post about what your motto and mantra are and share the link to the post in the comment section below. I will then come and visit!
Some of you may know that I’ve been writing a serial fiction over at Juke Pop Serials called Tomorrow Falls. I entered TF in to the SWP16 (Summer Writing Project) contest sponsored by both Juke Pop Serials and 1888 Center, and on July 1st, TF was among the top 25 selected as finalists for the next round!
What does this mean?
Throughout the month of July, the top 25 writers selected will be participating in a series of events, essays, and podcast episodes as well as workshopping and promoting our stories. On August 1st, the story with the highest participation by its readers (how many hits the story generates, the time spent reading each chapter, etc.) will be selected to be published.
Throughout this month, please share this link with your readers to help me promote Tomorrow Falls. I will be posting some of the items I’m participating in throughout the month as well (interview, essays, etc.).
(*Note: For all 25 of us, our stories are WIP meaning we will also be tasked with editing/revising over the course of the month as well.)
In the END there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love.
In a matter of days, Tess’ world became nightmarish. Something was unleashed that turned people into hideous, blood-thirsty creatures. She soon became the hunted as she fled the only home she ever knew in search of a safe haven.
Beck has always been running from something. Until he met Tess. He knew if she ever found out about some of his past sins, he feared she would never forgive him.
Can they survive what’s to come, together? Or, will they be ripped apart by past secrets that could ultimately doomed mankind?
There are many, many books out there on writing; but, you won’t find one quite like this one. Gabriela Pereira knows the rigors and costs of a typical MFA program, and she knows that in the real world, it is not always feasible for any writer who desire to attain this coveted degree because of reasons such as time restraint, finances, family/work responsibilities, etc.. Hence, she crafted DIY MFA for these writers in mind.
The book breaks down critical skills that writers would need in their careers such as how to think like a writer (how to get into the right mindset) as well as how to keep moving forward inspite of setbacks (goal-setting techniques, learn from one’s failures, and ways of keeping motivated).
DIY MFA looks at vital areas of story crafting such as outlining (both traditional and non-traditional kinds), creating compelling and believable characters, POV, creating dialogues, and world building just to name a few.
The book also covers the dreaded revision process in detail (this is my favorite part of the book on a personal level-thank you Gabriela!). She took the Maslow’s Pyramid that highlighted the hierarchy of needs and converted it into the Revision Pyramid which takes one through several “layers” of revising (narration, characters, story, scenes, and other details such as grammar and punctuation). Absolutely crucial for any writer who’s struggling with revising a manuscript.
It goes on to show writers how they should not only read for pleasure, but also with purpose. And last but not least, the book stresses the importance of building a community (with not only readers but with other writers).
If you are a writer, it doesn’t matter which stage you’re in, this book is a treasure cove of engaging information on how to become the kind of writer you were meant to be.
I have a confession that I need to make:
I haven’t read a book in well over a year.
Am I proud of this fact?
Do I have a valid excuse for this?
How can a writer be a true “writer” without reading books?
Probably still a writer, but not a very good one.
What I have been doing is reading lots of online magazine/news articles, and blog posts.
Would these count as productive reading?
I believe so; especially if one of my goals is to be a citizen journalist. Oh, and a blogger as well.
I still consider myself a short-story writer, and a poet. I also desire to complete a novel. Here’s where I run into difficulties. With my waning vision, it’s a growing challenge to read books. For some reason, I don’t have as much problem reading online than I do on paper. It’s the lack of the right lighting. The words seem to waver in print and after a few pages, my eyes are too exhausted to continue.
Out of frustration, I stopped reading books altogether.
As a result, I felt like I was short-changing myself and my readers.
Then I read a post on a particular blog aptly titled- Like to write but don’t like to read? Help is here. After reading this, I was filled with hope and excitement. The author, Lisa, talks about two types of writers: reader-writer, and writer-writer. One writer reads lots and lots of books; while the other one does not. Lisa considers herself to be a writer-writer. Her reason?
“I love words but have trouble reading them.”
What did she do? She began to listen to audiobooks.
“I find that hearing the words read aloud and visualizing them in my mind actually helps me to find new ways to put my own thoughts together.”
So, I’m going to experiment with audiobooks on my own. I recently discovered (and have signed up for) a program called Talking Books where audio books are provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).
In the near future, I will provide my own feedback on this. Stay tuned!
What about you? Do you think audiobooks can benefit writers?
Another writer and I were talking about writing and zombies the other day, and he said something that got the wheels in my head churning. If something happened that destroyed technology (like the EMP storm due to a massive solar flare for an example), he wouldn’t bother with writing anymore.
I said, really?
He continued, what’s the point? There would be no way to share your work with others, or get near-instant feedback.
I’m like, 0-okay. What ever float your boat, dude.
Then that wheel started churning fast and furious, and would not stop. So, here I am with yet another poll and a question for you, my dear readers.
What would you do?
Ever have days when no matter what you do, you just can’t get going? The harder you try, the more frustrated you get, and still nothing. There are dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry hamper is over-flowing, and to top it all off, you’re worrying about making your paycheck stretch ’till the next payday. Recently you lost a loved one to a horrible disease, and one of your siblings is going through a nasty divorce. Life can be so distracting at times, and all you want to do is write to take your mind off them even if it lasted for only a few minutes, you desperately need that reprieve.
How can you do this when the muse refuses to cooperate?
1. Take a deep breath. Sit back in your chair, close your eyes and let yourself be immersed in the sounds around you.
2. Next, acknowledge all the things that are bothering/distracting you, and the reasons behind them.
3. Then write them down in a notebook, or type it on your electronic gadget.
From personal experience, many times these were all that was needed to jump-start my muse; but, not always.
What can you do then?
4. Put on some music. For me, non-lyrical types work best especially ones from soundtracks for movies. The “film scores” station on Pandora is a great place to start (and it’s free!). Tunein (internet radio) is another great (also free) place to check out.
5. Move. You’ve probably seen this particular one on many writing sites as a possible solution to “writer’s block” and I for one can definitely say that it does work (most of the time). Go outside and take a walk. Try some gardening, or mow the grass. Wash those dishes, or start a load of laundry. For many, taking a long shower or bath does wonders for them. Busying your body with an activity other than writing tends to free the muse/mind to wander to wherever it desires to go; many a writer have had an epiphany this way.