Tag Archives: WritingPad

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!

Book 2: Disaster Preparedness

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My stack of books for the read athon

That’s my stack for the Read-A-Thon.  I love the fact that I finally have an excuse to read all the hard copy books on my book shelf. I usually read a lot on my kindle so it feels good to be showing these books some love.

I just finished Heather Havrilesky’s Disaster Preparedness.  While it was well written, it was a tough book to finish in one (broken into many starts and stops) sittings.  I think that’s my own fault.  Next October, or even in this next hour, I’m breaking up my reading to keep me focused.  I met Heather at a Writing Pad retreat, and let me tell you, she is as much of a hoot in person as she is in writing.  By “hoot” I mean hilarious observer of life who tells it like it is even if that means swearing.  LOVE HER.

I enjoyed Heather’s musings on her life and the themes in all of our lives that truly require some disaster preparedness: parents getting divorced, first love, surviving middle school, our relationship (or lack thereof)with God, our relationship with our brothers and sisters, our parents, their relationships, parent’s death etc.  Don’t get me wrong, this did not read like a “how to guide to life” like my list of themes might suggest.  Those are just the themes of the chapters.  The narrative has a definite non linear quality to it though it feels like it starts when she’s younger and by the end more stories of her adult hood are included.

Heather does a great job of weaving together her experiences of the same theme and showing how she had grown because of that these experiences.  The narrator not only changes by the end of the book (which is the standard structure for memoir and most narratives) but also develops and changes with each chapter. This also makes sense because as an essayist, each chapter reads like a short delightful essay. It was fun and a funny read.  There were definitely moments that made me laugh out loud.

Book 3 and 3 are The Weird Sisters  by Eleanor Brown and From Capetown with Love by the actor Blaire Underwood. These two books couldn’t be more different. Don’t let Blair Underwood discourage you.  His book is cowritten by two other writers who are awesome, Tananvarie Due and Steven Barnes.  Apparently their past collaborations have been award winning.  I won a copy of the Weird Sisters in a random drawing from The Debutante Ball.  I love winning things. I’m going to be breaking up my reading to keep me going! I’m diving in. Happy reading.

Image credit:  me

24 Hour Read-a-Thon Book 2: Disaster Preparedness

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My next book is Heather Havrilesky’s memoir Disaster Preparedness.  I met Heather at a writing retreat and she was a hoot.  I can’t wait to read her memoir.

Goodreads describes her memoir as: A perceptive, witty memoir about the transformative humiliations of childhood-and adulthood-from a unique, already-beloved voice.

Actually the Goodreads’s description was as long as a blog post, so that’s the short version.  I’m diving in.  Happy reading.

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 Saturday: Introducing Troy Cummings

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barista at starbucks

Troy Cummings is the boyfriend of Libby Taylor, my main character.  Boy, have Troy and I come a long way.   He started out as Libby’s best friend whom she wanted to date. Recently, he transformed into being Libby’s boyfriend just so that I could be a little more sadistic to Libby.  Sorry, Libby, that’s just how us writers roll:  we must torture our main characters to get them to transform adequately by the end.  Making him her boyfriend and first love makes the conflict that much better!

Today’s prompt was inspired by Marilyn at the WellFed Muse.  Marilyn runs Writing Pad, the group from which I take all my writing classes.  For the next few Sundays I will be occupying her living room taking classes on how to write the third act of my YA project.  I love Writing Pad.   I would not be here without them.

*Funny story about this image.  I was at Starbucks (as per usual) but in a completely different part of town.  There was this very good looking and charming barista who had just the right look for Troy.   He humored me and allowed me to take a picture of him.  He even asked what my book was about.  It was the very first day that I was able to articulate exactly what my project is about.  Yeah for Starbucks and for inspiration.

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“You worry too much.   We’re not doing anything bad.”  His arms around my waist, I follow his steps as he walks backwards towards his bed.  He doesn’t let go as he falls backwards.  Trying to hold myself upright as he drags me forward, I only end up bent over his body as he lays out on the bed.  I hold myself with my arms while I look down at him. “Yet,” he added and smiled up at me.

I shook my head and straightened myself up.  He moved over and patted the sliver of space next to him on his bed.  I looke back at the door, closed tightly, the sounds of the local news still managing to come through.  An explosion could go off in the back of the house and Mrs. Cummings wouldn’t notice unless it messed up her cable connection.  Troy gave me a curious look that asked what I  was thinking about.  That or what what taking so long.

What would Amber do? I asked myself.  Jesus would not be caught in this situation, alone in a girl’s room.  Alone with a girl that everyone expected you to marry or at least be having everything-but-sex with.  Amber, she’d make a decision worthy of my father and the church.

I sat next to Troy instead of laying down. I pressed my back straight against the cool wall causing the hem of my skirt to move up my thigh.  I didn’t bother to pull it down or brush away Troy’s hand when he turned over on his side and placed it there.  I eased under the heat of his hand.  He massaged the soft skin of his hand against my leg causing my breath to catch in my chest.  A tingle of energy moved through my abdomen.  The smell of christmas was stronger as he sat up on his elbow and leaned up to kiss the underside of my chin.  I smiled and leaned in to meet him halfway.  I’m conservative.  Not dead.

10 minute Tuesday: Confrontation

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two birds on brick

 

I can’t believe I didn’t post anything last Thursday or on Saturday.  I’ve been writing, really I have.  I have also been doing a good deal of reading.  Mostly, though, I’ve been trying to solidify my plot so that I know my protagonist’s motivation.  This is super important to have nailed down so that I can continue to make sure she’s making the right choices. Right now I’ve written a lot scenes where things are happening to her.  I haven’t written the accompanying scenes where she responds.

This is s scene where I am attempting to put in to play the ways in which she’s transformed as the story as been told.  Its funny because I know how she’s transformed, I just haven’t written the process of her transformation.  As usual, this was inspired by a class at Writing Pad.

 

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Daddy looked at me, and I tried not to flinch under his gaze, though it felt like a strong hand on my shoulders trying to make me submit.

 

Don’t look away.   I didn’t.   I peered into his eyes and could see the shape of my balding head and curvy figure in the reflection of his pupils.   I could see the confidence radiating from my skin while standing my ground.  His eyes shifted from anger to confusion.  He looked away first.

 

“Who are you?”  He asked.  “Where did my little girl go?”

 

The question kicked me in the heart.  I steadied my knees to not fall over.  “Daddy, I’m right here.  But I’m not a little girl, anymore.”

 

He shook his head, a grimace replacing the look of confusion.  “I don’t want to hear anymore about how much you’re not a ‘little girl’ any more.  First, that boyfriend, then you’re friend Michelle disgraces the Reverend and her whole family.  This place is no good for you, LIbby.”

 

“Daddy, Michelle  is not a disgrace to her family.  She’s just gay.   And Troy has nothing to do with me standing here, right now.” The words were out of my  mouth without a thought.  “I don’t know what you think I’ve been doing….”

 

“I know what you’ve been doing.  Sneaking out, staying out late, driving to Barstow.  You’re dead mother isn’t going to make you see.”  He looked hurt as he said this but didn’t stop. “ I was the blind one.  I called your grandmother.  You’re going to stay with her for the rest of the year.”

 

The second the words came out of his mouth I was racing out of the front door.  The gold and pinks of the setting sun hit my as I moved on to the street.  Behind me I could hear him yell,   “I should have done this the second Dr. Oh told us about your condition.”

 

Image: ‘disagreement

10 minute Tuesday: Angel vs. Devil

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pretty bag at starbucks

I was at Tsarbucks today  and this girl had the best bag!  So, being me (awkward and not wanting to say “hey,c an I take a picture of your bag?”) I took out my handy phone and  snapped a picture of it! Then I fiddled with it in this program I have on my phone called Little Photo (which is like Instagram but for us non-iPhone owners) and wha-la!  A photo that looks like I took it with an instant camera.  I heart technology.  Between my phone and Iheart.com its like I’m living in the 70’s again.

I am taking advantage of technology to collect visuals of what I think would be my main character’s style.  She goes through a transformation in the story and for young girls (and older ones, like me) you style can say a lot about you.  I’m collecting images and photos and putting them on Pinterest so that I can have a visual record of what Libby’s style is.

Today’s writing prompt is from WellFed Muse.

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“Seriously?  That’s just sad,”  Amber leaned against the tree and settled into the space Troy had vacated.  “I don’t even know where to begin with you.”

Begin by walking way.

“How are you supposed to find a suitable partner if you keep hanging out with him?”  Amber made air quotes as she said the words hanging out, as if the words meant something far less innocent then how Troy and I actually spent our time together.

Suitable mate?  What century is this? What country do we live in?  “I’m only 17.  I don’t need a suitable mate yet.  I’ve never even had a boyfriend.  Is that why you’re not with Josh anymore, because he’s not suitable?”  I made the same air quotes when I said the word suitable, though I had not intention behind my actions.

“The most important thing I learned at camp this summer was that there is someone for each of us” she said, ignoring my question, “but if we waste our time with people who aren’t right” the air quotes made another appearance, “then we could miss out on who has been chosen for us.”

“Who is doing the choosing?”

She let out a sigh before  pointing upwards.  “You know good and well who is doing the choosing, Libby.”

The spot behind my eye that had seemed to crippling before gave me one good kick. I clenched my teeth a bit, forcing a smile.

“Honestly, Libby, “ she continued, her eyes on the bare batch of skin that showed from where collar slipped over my shoulder.   It was shiny and raised, like a flame embroidered pattern sewn directly onto my skin. I moved my shoulder so that the collar straightened its self out and hid the patterned skin.  “Some of us need to make sure we are as open as possible for those signs and messages from,” she raised her eyes to look towards the sky again.  “We might only get one chance.”

We.  Dear Amber, we are not a team.