Category Archives: the life

WritingPad: Flash Fiction

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Love is in the air

I took my first flash fiction class tonight at the Writing Pad.  The awesome Melissa Clark taught the class.  I’ve had such great experiences in her classes that I try to take them all at least once.  In May I am also taking her fiction writing bootcamp.  Somewhere, Marilyn is quoted as saying that it’s like bootcamp minus the steel toe, but don’t quote me on that.

Flash fiction is oddly satisfying.  Probably because it’s so short. It’s not flash fiction because it’s written quickly (though I heard some really amazing stuff written in 10 minutes!) but because the story is concise but so complete.  The story is told in what isn’t said as much as it by what is said. I will be making a folder for it in my Scrivener.

I did the most insane thing ever and signed up for the Reported Essay class.  It’s part personal essay, part journalistic research.  It’s bleeding on the page and then interviewing people about the theme. The teacher, Taffy, has had 12 of her student’s published.  If I’m serious about writing, this is the class that I have to take.  I’m super nervous, but I’m serious about my future as a writer and I want to write as much as possible. What a way to start my path to creating/maintaining/doing my thing!

#24 hour read-a-thon: Books 3 and 4

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me, reading

OMG it’s so hard to stay focused!  I am really enjoying both Weird Sisters and From Cape Town with Love.  Blair Underwood writes one hell of a steamy mystery.  its the third (I think) in a series of Tennyson Hardwick novels.  Tennyson is a private detective that is the main character and boy is he spicy.  There is a steaming hot sex scene before we even get to the inciting incident.  He also makes a tremendous error that will have you saying, “oh, no he didn’t!” and telling your friends about it.  It’s that unbelievable.  I had this horrible feeling that I’d spoiled the ending for myself.  I’d dropped the book, picked it up and accidentally read something towards the end that seemed to spoil the main mystery in the story.  however, as I read more tonight I realized that if I spoiled one mystery it doesn’t matter because there are at least three mysteries woven into the plot.  Wow.

The Weird Sisters is great.  The narrator is not one but all three sisters.  It almost reads as if an omniscient fourth sister is telling the story in third person.  Get this: there is no fourth sister.  The personal pronoun most often used is “our” when referring to things the sisters owned together (their parents, their home etc) and there is never an “I” used except in dialog.  Sometimes, I hear three voices in my head in unison as I read.  The  physical characteristic of each characters isn’t greatly described (beyond their long brown hair and their clothing style) which I like.  It makes me feel like I could be any of the sisters or any of them could be my sister.  I’ll be honest though, I read the character of Rose as Kate Winslet and Bean as Rachel Weisz and Cordelia as Anne Hathaway.  Those are just the face I immediately saw as soon as the narrator began to tell each story. And that was long before the description of the long brown hair. It’s beautifully written and engaging, which is a good sign because I’m only about sixty pages in so you know the rest of the book will be fabulous.  I’m excited to see where it goes.

Having abandoned the dishes and my husband  I leave you now to head back to the books.

Random Romance: Smoke

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smoking match

I took a one day romance writing course with Writing Pad on Sunday with Zoe Archer.  You know you’ve had a  lot of fun when you can’t stop thinking about all the fun you had.  I love that my life is filled with moments like that!   Also, I’ve started to line up my Kindle with Romance novels now.  Romance novels, so much more than what your mom used to read.

Here is an excerpt from my 10 minute write.  The prompt was to write about when your hero and heroine first meet.  What i love about writing pad is the way they do their prompts.  The page is always 3/4ths of the way full with ideas before I even start writing.

 

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Smoke poured from St. James Cathedral like a forest fire, much more smoke then an electrical fire could be accountable for.

“This must make your day,”  The overweight camera man said as he pulled out the camera from the back of the news truck.

“Don’t be a dick, James,”  she shouted, covering her hair with a folded newspaper to protect them from the light rain.  Pulled her trench coat tightly around her waist, the edges of her red dress peeking out from beneath the hem of the coat.  “I’m an atheist, not  an arsonist.  Just because I don’t believe in God or the church, doesn’t mean I want to see it destroyed.”

A loud crack and bang came from with in the smoldering church.  Orange flames flashed behind the soot covered windows.  As the flames ate the building from the inside out, Marissa took in the sight.  “Whoa.” she breathed.  She held her self back from crossing herself the way she had for years as a child.  The father, son, and holy spirit wouldn’t be able to help St. James now.

Image: ‘Match

Random Thursday: Pink

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Girl with Pink hair

I have had a pretty good writing day.  I’ve written two scenes and I’ve stumbled upon a pretty rad contest at Grab a Pen.  Ms. Tareheh Mafi wrote Shatter Me, which looks to be a great book!  I hope I win.  My fingers are majorly crossed.  If you haven’t checked out her blog you should actually stop reading my blog and check her out right now.

Libby, my protagonist is having a world view shaken up a bit.  I just realized that I sent her and her best friend, Michelle, into a scene where Michelle didn’t really finish what she came to the club for.  She gets thrown off track by the arrival of a girl who is only known as “the girl with Pink Hair.”   She gets thrown off by some compliments and decides that maybe she isn’t ready yet.   I’ll go back to it later tonight and add some more.  Here it is, first draft, typos and all.

—-

When did everyone start dressing like they were in a music video?  I adjusted my glasses and straightened my back.  Good posture makes everyone sexier.  Michelle walked towards the bar.

“Michelle,” a slim girl with pink hair and a t-shirt that showed off her flat stomach and had “I’m a vampire” written across the front appeared as we approached the bar. “how’s it going?” she said opened her arms for a hug, turning her back to me.  I read the back of her shirt- which said “for your love”- while waiting to see if Michelle would give this vampire a hug.  She looked from the girl to me causing me to look away like I was intruding on a private moment.  The room was filled with groups, mostly of girls, standing around and talking.  Every other girl had her eye lids covered in thick black eyeliner.  If it weren’t for the graphic t-shirts, and you know the fact that they were humans, it would have looked like a raccoon convention.

I turned back to listen in on Michelle’s conversation with the Pink haired girl. From the sound of it, Michelle hadn’t been around for a while and much like when I don’t see her, her presence had been missed.

“Write anythign for us tonight?”  she asked.  At that I looked at Michelle questionallby.  Michelle sharing her writing was like me getting into Yale: it was never gonna happen.  I smiled to myself for knowing my best friend so well.

 image: Squidoo

Speed writing: 321 Green Street

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Garden Gnome

I’m pretty sure I’m the slowest speed writer ever. I get so easily distracted.  I’m siting in the Santa Monica Public Library outdoor space and its absolutely beautiful.  There is this little mote that separates the eating area from the succulents and the short palm trees that decorate the garden.  Also, I have my iTunes going and I had some pumpkin bread and there are pigeons.  I’m practically a pigeon.  Whatever.

Speed writing is just writing as fast as you can.  I’ve been here about an hour  and I’ve written 794.  For hour two I will step up my game and try for more.  Damn it. This is quite an accomplishment for me actually, because when I got to the end of one scene I didn’t just stop writing.  I kept going.  Here’s what I got.

————–

A gnome in a painted red hat and blue overalls smiled up at me from his perch at the edge of a driveway.  HIs shiny eyes seemed to wink at me when I stopped. 321 Green, his sign said.  “So, you going in or what?”  he asked.  Or maybe it was me that asked the question.

Great, now I”m being taunted by lawn furniture.

The driveway led to a stone gate that I could see surrounded the entire property.   An intercom was next to the rail gates.  The sign across the gates said Center For the Advancement of the Junior Blind.  321 Green was a house large enough to be confused with a hotel.

The intercome came to life when I hit the talk button.  “Hello,” a more then bored woman said.

My voice caught in my throat.

“Hello?”

Speak. This isn’t Oz.  She’s not the grand Wizard.  SPEAK.

“I can see you.  We’re not taking solicitations.  Good bye.”

“Wait, no.  Um, my name is Libby Taylor”  I didn’t get to finish speaking before the voice from the intercom spoke again.

“Oh!  Great.  We’ve been waiting for you.”  The voice became cheerful and light.  A loud buzz went off and the gates began to open away from me.   “Go through the gates and up the driveway to the front.  Josh will meet  you at the door.”

Josh.  I practically ran through the gates and up the driveway.   Josh would know just what to do.

He stood at the door in a maroon sweater that gave his golden skin a reddish glow.  His eyes examined the ground like he was looking for something he lossed.  “Josh” I waved excitedly.  He ran his hands through his black curls.  His brown eyes that turned gold in the sun.  I waited for  smile to pays his lips and reach is eyes.  It would be my sign that everything was alright.  I sped up towards him, almost running, my eyes fixed on his face, waiting.

His lips began to fold upwards, his cheeks rose, but the smile stopped there.  I caught myself before slamming into him for a hug.  “Hey, Libby.” he tucked one hand into his pocket and held out one arm for a hug.

I leaned in and pressed myself lightly into the open space between his chest and his arm.  He rested his hand on my back and held it there, holding me and half letting me go.  “Hi, Josh.”  I said, my voice coming out like a whimper.  I forced myself to hold my arms down, and waited for the fall.

 

Image: ‘Indiana Jones and the Disturbing Garden Gnome

10 minute Tuesday: Dreams

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Toes

You thought I wouldn’t write, didn’t you?  Well, I did.  The only day that I didn’t do my writing was yesterday, the day after Christmas.  Instead of writing I went shopping for shoes and shirts and even fabric to make a skirt.  More on that later.

Today’s writing prompt was inspired by a scene that I wrote last week.  In the scene, Libby, mentions a frequent night time event.  I decided to give it a try writing that event.

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Wait, just wait.  Once your heart slows down, you can move.

I pressed my head against my pillow, my heart pounding, my breath hard.  The skin on my arms tingled from the blood rushing close to the surface. The tingling spread down my chest, over my stomach and down to my …  whoa.  Sitting up straight, I threw my legs over the side of the bed and was on my knees before I could take in a breath.  Hands clasped tightly I began to pray.

“Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your guidance and love.  Please forgive me for my sins.  I don’t know how to control these lust filled dreams.  They continue to come and I can’t seem to make them stop.  Please forgive me.    Amen”

I dropped my head on to my covers, exhausted though I’d just woken from sleep.  I felt like I’d been running for miles, trying to escape something.   I closed my eyes and saw his face again.

No,  Libby, stop it.

I opened my eyes and turned my head so that I was facing the walls of my bedroom.  Straining my eyes I searched for something to look at without moving from my knees or my head from my bed.  The room was dark, the only light coming in from the streets through cracks in the blinds coloring the walls a murky yellow.  I didn’t reach for my glasses which would make everything crisp and clear.  I sank into the blurred vision, trying to force my eyes to stay open to avoid seeing his face.  Avoid seeing those soft pink lips that had pressed themselves against my toes.  My toes?  I certainly didn’t want to see his body, round stomach and soft bare chest, but oddly strong arms that lowered himself down onto me in my dreams.  Goodness, where did he get those arms from?  Had he always been like that?  My stomach shuddered.

Stop it, Libby.

I shook my head and snapped my eyes wide awake.  He’s your friend.  This is not right.  This cannot continue.  Goodness gracious, how long will it take for the spot between my legs to stop pulsing?   Lord, this doesn’t make sense.

I pounded my fist into my mattress in full blown tantrum mode.  Even on my knees I was able to kick my feet.  “Aargg!!!”  I grunted into my pillow.  I pounded my fists and kicked my feet until I heard the knock on my door.

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Image: ‘Trust

Writing Challenge: 90 for 90

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90

I have undertaken a new challenge.  It’s totally crazy but totally do able, unlike the NaNoWriMo challenge that was just way intense and totally counter to my head. Next year, next year.

Anyway, I am doing a challenge that I will call 90 for 90.  Starting next Monday, I will write for 90 minutes for 90 days. See, 90 for 90. Crazy, huh? I write everyday as it is, but I want to increase the quality of the time spent writing.  Also, I am committing to my current writing project for these 90 days.  This means that I will not change my topic or plot during these 90 days.  It sounds rather rigid, but I have to commit to my story and honestly, I’ve changed around my story so much that I have barely even written it.  Until last weekend, I only had a very vague idea of where I was going with it. This week I have a premise to which I will stick. I am definitely excited to see what I will have in 3 months.

This challenge starts on Monday so I need to do the following before then:

1.  Finish reading Outlining Your Novel.  This has seriously been the most helpful resource in book form that I’ve come across.  I’ve read Save the Cat, which is excellent with beats, but not with cultivating that story within you.

2. Plot out time to write for 90 minutes.  Today I woke up at 7am to see how adjusting to the world at this time would be helpful.  So far, I’ve only browsed the internet, eaten breakfast, shopped for Christmas gifts and read the LATimes.  Presumably this will free me up for writing time later. Honestly, I think I’ll try going to be earlier tonight (10ish instead of 12:30 like I did last night) and try waking up at 6.  If it took me 2 hours to into this really awake state (its five minutes til 9 am right now) then maybe I can be writing 8 am if I give myself a 6am wake up time.  Getting my writing done first thing in the morning will not only make sure that it gets done, but it will free up that time that I usually spend writing (from 10:30 until 11:45) for reading.

3.  Choose where I am going to write.  A 6am wake up time means that by 7:30 I can be dressed, head out to a coffee shop close to home (instead of one close to the Dear Husband (DH)’s work) and still be back in time (9:45 ish) to take him to work.    Akasha is a great coffee shop and the tables at the  Starbucks around the corner from Vons doesn’t seem to get too packed.  I think early  morning will make an excellent time for getting out.

It feels good to just write that list down.  I will definitely need more sleep.  My body is confused and wondering if I’m not out and about then why am I awake.

What about you:  Did you participate in NaNoWriMo or any other writing challenges?  How did it go?  Got any pointers for me to remember while I”m on my writing journey?

Image: ‘90