Tag Archives: Friday

Freewriting Fridays 6/21

21 Jun
This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 51st week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone remember this long ago freewriting exercise?  Or maybe this one? The idea of freewriting is simple; just write.

I like to use 750 words. You can do whatever you like. There is only one rule: WRITE!

Prompt: “Creatures Kissing In the Rain”

Sinewy.

Is that the right word? It sounds like what I think I mean to say but dictionaries and writing teachers would probably argue the word choice.

It is impossible to think of the right word with him standing there in front of me. His lank torso bare in front of me and his lengthy nest of dun brown hair hanging limply to his cheeks. There is a segment of it caught on his lower lip. His lips are thin and wet. The rain has soaked his face. His glasses are covered in spots and drops. His smile is unmistakable as he takes the thick frames off and catches my glance.

It wasn’t the first time that he and I had skipped class together. We had almost made a a habit of it the last year. He was the artist and I was the writer. He was actually talented and I was just barely good enough to get in the school magazine.

There was a few mile stretch of woods behind our school. We weren’t the first delinquints to use it to hide from teachers. There had even been a fire or two from reckless teenagers throwing their butts into litterpiles of red leaves and wrinkled copies of the student literary magazine. My writing makes excellent kindling.

Most kids would stay to the border of the woods and just smoke or drink or even screw beneath the low creeping bushes. Not him. He had found a cave way out across the creek. It was nothing more than a hole in the ground to look at from outside but inside was enough room to sit comfortably the two of us.

He had moved a tape deck inside and had a great collection of old casettes. They were things he had gotten from his older brother. Thin white dukes and odd creatures with high hair and make-up eyes that crooned creepy little tunes of death, sex, and the other things that captured the imagination of humankind especially moody, melancholy teenage boys.

He was shirtless now. Sitting cross legged. We had walked here in a pouring rain under massive thunderheads with flashes of deep purple lightning across the sky. Shut up! I am the narrator so it was purple lightning. It did smell of the sort of moist black dirt that earthworms wriggle free of. Since I am the narrator, there was nothing uncomfortable at all about sitting in a hole in the ground scrawling in a notebook with my clothes clinging to my wet body that was anything but lank or sinewy.

He was thin and beautiful but I was the sort who got nicknames inspired by farm animals. Somehow he seemed not to notice how largely uncomfortable I was.

“Take off your shirt”.

Was that phrase really passing his lips and tumbling into the small space between us or was I hearing my own thoughts. It was projection. It was desire,right?

“I’m not a perve. I’m seventeen and I have seen it all before. We are going to build a small fire. We can let our clothes dry over that.”, he spoke from his years of experience. I mean I was only fifteen and I was sure he had more than just a few years on me. He must have been a boy scout because with almost no real tinder, he had a small fire burning.

He took off his shorts too. Now there he was almost naked. A small fire licking the top of our makeshift makeout den. We hadn’t actually ever made out.

Except in my imagination.

I listened to him and had my top off in seconds.I was a little hesitant but my underclothes disappeared as well. I reluctantly also kicked aside my soaked jeans. Now we were both sitting there in the near buff.

“Boxers?”, he said.

I turned a little pink in my cheeks. My heart was a steady patter in my chest.

“No, that’s cool.”, he shrugged. “To each their own.”

He pulled his sketchbook out of his backpack and began to stare in that way where he made you (okay, me!) feel like he was looking not just at you but sort of into you.

Holy crap! This is such horrible hormone induced writing. I was scribbling away too. It was words just wordswordswords. They were all about him but he wouldn’t know it to read it. It was the same terrible teenage poetry that girls in my creative writing class wrote about the teacher.

I was careful not to use too many revealing terms. I could talk about this feeling forever but I couldn’t express it fully. I mean what if one of those footballers found my notebook and knew how bad I wanted to kiss my best friend.

Boys don’t kiss boys. That’s what father says.

Who dares me to do another “Freewriting Friday”? No edits, just wordswordswords…I need a topic. Please comment with a short story topic. I’ll use the ones I don’t choose on future fridays.

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 20)

20 Sep
English: Wal calendar

English: Wall calendar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Even I can do this math: we are 2/3 of the way through the MNINB Platform Building Challenge as we reach Day 20! Thanks for following along with me as I take this challenge and even played along with my changes to the challenge and listened to my additional commentary and advice. It makes a blogger proud to have a project turn out as well as this one has so far. Hats off to Mr. Robert Lee Brewer for designing an excellent challenge.

 

 

 

DAY 20: Create an “Editorial Calendar”

Would you take a long trip without looking at a map and plotting a route?   It might not be the wisest decision. It is the same with your blog. You probably want to have some idea of where you want to go before you leave home. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a metaphorical scenic detour. It does mean that you have signposts and landmarks ready to keep you on course to keep you from getting lost.

Don’t panic thinking that you have to plan out the whole year’s content for your blog today or even a month’s worth of content. All I am asking is that you start a spreadsheet (if you are a spreadsheet person like my wife) or a pencil and paper list (if you are like me and jot down scribbled plans on pages of a pocket-sized notebook). Some people will have a reason to pull out their Excel program this afternoon while the rest of us just need to draw out a list in scribbled lead marks of a general idea of what you would like to see content-wise in your blog for whatever amount of time that you feel comfortable.

I cheated with this month’s editorial calendar as each day I knew I wanted to follow along with the challenge designed by Robert “Not Bob” Brewer. I also knew that I wanted to continue a plan for sharing Freewriting on each Friday (aka Freewriting Friday). Let’s look at October then: It might be more manageable if you themed your days.

*Monday-  Meet My Guest Monday (Guest posts)

Tuesday- Tips & Tricks (brainstorming, prewriting, writing tips and tricks to share)

Wednesday-  Writing Prompt Wednesday (Writing on suggested prompts from my readers)

*Thursday-  Get Through Thursday (odds & ends and an occasional “day off” with just a comic or illustration)

*Friday- Freewriting Fridays (‘Evil’ Freewriting Exercises)

*Saturday- Phoetry (Photograph inspired poetry/flash fiction)

Sunday- The Novel / WIP (Work in Progress Update on My Novel as I remember that was the purpose of this blog anyway)

The Days with * are my “day job” days and I will be busy with “real life” and may have less time for the blog duties. I planned these days to be easier days for me with guest posts, quick freewriting or sharing photographs, illustrations, and comics. My heavy writing days will be the ones where I allow myself more time to devote to sharing tips and tricks or lengthy updates on my novel / WIP and I have planned for it.

This is the idea of an Editorial Calendar. All you want to do is give yourself a general idea of where you are going with your week of writing. Feel free to make more detailed plans than this for each week as you brainstorm new topics. Make the map first so you know where you have room to take those scenic detours. Planned spontaneity is the best kind of wild living! Not an oxymoron if you make it work for you (Who are you calling an oxymoron?)….

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As always your comments are appreciated.

Freewriting Friday (9/7)

7 Sep

Thank you to the reader who found my blog by searching, “evil freewriting exercises”! That really made me chortle (or in internet speak- LOL)! Well it is another Freewriting Friday and that means I have to print my attempt at last Friday’s challenge which was:

“Google Image Search the word, ‘resplendent’  and choose the image you like best and then ‘voracious’ and your favorite for that word  and write a story involving the two images. Try not to use the two words in the story.”

English: The Lagan near Shaw's Bridge The resp...

RESPLENDENT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He dropped bottom upon a stump and rubbed his aching right leg. He hoped his slight limp didn’t pull him in circles. It was a lot further than he remembered it but the dense woods were every bit as green and as lush as his thirty-years of daydreams.

Silky white hammocks swept from treetop to treetop. Devouring little mandibles tearing away at the deciduous forest temple that he once worshiped in so willing with a notebook and magnifying glass. With a pencil he sketched for a moment the place that he stopped to rest. He pulled a fallen leaf from the floor and pressed it between two pages of his journal. He had no intention of forgetting this trip.

The pitter-pat of a thousand raindrops was actually nothing of the sort. The colonies of caterpillars would consume so much that they would consistently and constantly send a storm of wet pellets down below them. It was an auditory illusion that made it sound like rain. If he listened close he knew he could hear their tiny mouths tearing away at the dense walls of forest even as they decorated it for the coming fall with webs that resembled so much the ones store-keepers would stretch across their display windows to amuse the little trick or treaters back in town.

It seemed like such a shorter walk for a younger man. His old legs burned and his hands were shaky with both anticipation and age. He listened intently for every little clue that he might be getting closer. He scanned the trees and the shadowed forest floor. He searched his memories for tell-tale signs that he was on the right path. The blood flowed and pounded in his ears. He had waited so long.

That concrete cell had been nothing like this. After enough years, a man might start to call a prison cell home. He became adjusted to the simplicity of the space and the routine of the life. Never to have to make a single choice for himself became a crutch. He started to wonder if the world outside the tall razor-wired walls was even real. He had become comfortable with his picture postcards of the green forest and the tiny town he lived in. He started to prefer the scribbled letters of his cousin, Jane to any hopes of returning.

Yet here he was again. Not as young as he might have hoped and wouldn’t he have preferred spring to the very close of summer. The walk was really wearing on his tired legs. Maybe he should have spent more time in the yard and less time staring at picture postcards and rereading the same wrinkled pages of his notebooks.

He didn’t feel cheated. It was justice enough for what he had done. Most believed it was an accident and he had almost convinced himself of that at first. A man with time to think though can discover the difference between an accident and a mistake. It was no accident. It was definitely a mistake.

Like these damned caterpillars and their constant consumption of everything around them, that had been the young man that he was. Now he was more like these tall trees taking what time dishes to them but standing just as tall. He didn’t drop his head as thought about what had kept him out of these woods so long. He had given it enough thought to know he was sorry but he was not ashamed.

The webs grew thicker until he felt like he was under a giant tent like one of those revival tents that traveling preachers used to throw up in town when he was maybe ten. He spoke out loud a few times to measure his echoes. He called out, “Well what do you know?” and “How much further you think?” to no one but himself and maybe all of these thousands of webworms.

Snacks Anyone?

VORACIOUS (Photo credit: KM&G-Morris)

It wasn’t yet but thirty feet and he saw the break in the trees that he was waiting for. He stumbled and fell to his knees in a pile of dead leaves. A burning pain went through his right knee and shot up his leg. Even then he pulled himself back up and broke into a shambling jog. Each step was like throwing lighter fluid on a grill fire and the pain shot up his leg. His eyes were watering but broke into a smile to match the one on his dried lips.

Then there it was. Finally!

You know the grace needed with a “Freewriting Friday” as there are destined to be more than a share of poor word choices and grammar and spelling errors. I did my best with the challenge and want to see yours now!

Comment here with a link back to your own Freewriting Friday!

Next week’s prompt is…write about:

“Something Completely Unexpected That Happened to Her”

Build a Better Brand Platform:30 Day Challenge (Day 4)

4 Sep

I hope you are having fun with this Brand Platform challenge. If you have been playing along at home then you may well guess from Day 3 just what the challenge is going to be for today. Yesterday’s task was simple enough. I realize that for many of you that this is no surprise. Yesterday, I challenged you to get a Facebook account and use it. Today’s challenge is…

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Get a Twitter Account and Use It.

Go to http://www.twitter.com/  and sign up–if you’re not already. This task will not take you more than 5 minutes.

Beginners  Basics:

If you are already using Twitter then skip straight to the Pro-Tips, but if you don’t know a tweet from a twit then you may want to have a few terms defined for you first. Let’s take a look at that terminolgy:

Tweet = Any message sent out to everyone on Twitter. Tweets are the most common messages on Twitter. Only a Direct Message (DM) is considered private.

DM = Direct message. These are private and only between the two people sending a DM.

RT = Retweet. To repost another user’s message/tweet on Twitter is to retweet. If someone has said something funny or useful that you want to pass on then a RT is the best option.

# = Hashtag. Put this symbol (#) before a tag that you want to attach to your tweet. It can be a unique tag or there are a number of common ones that are used regularly.

#FF = Follow Friday. Follow Friday is one of the most popular #hashtags. It should be attached to the twitter handles of people/organizations who have posted consistently content that you enjoy (maybe things you had to retweet during that week).  This is typically done once a week on Fridays.

Some basic tips to get you started:

  1. Attach a picture of yourself. People are looking to connect with other people. Logos might work for organizations but people should use a photo.
  2. Link to your website,blog, or Author’s Facebook Page.
  3. Write a relevant bio. It might be a good time to pull out that one-sentence description from Day One .
  4. Make your Twitter handle your byline if possible. Building a brand begins with getting people to recognize your name.
  5. Tweet regularly. It won’t work unless you work it.
  6. Tweet relevant information. If you want to be seen as an authority on something, it probably helps to have trustworthy things to say about it.
  7. Make time to RT. Retweeting relevant information is every bit as good as having your own sometimes. Point people in the right direction.
  8. Follow those worth following. It is a good idea to seek out authorities that you trust on your favorite topics to learn from (and instant RT sources). Like @SeanOMurphy for instance to name one.
  9. Conversation NOT broadcasting. Sometimes I have to remind myself there is a reply button for a reason. Connect with other users. That’s how RT’s happen.
  10. Be yourself. Everybody is clever nowadays. Don’t try too hard to be anything that you aren’t but become trusted for who you are.

It’s still baby steps in building a brand platform. However, these early tasks are  also laying the firm foundation that we will need later in the month. If you are looking for a bigger challenge then…

PRO-TIPS:

fwpa-bottle-reminder

fwpa-bottle-reminder (Photo credit: SeanI.am)

Start a Trend.

You have created your own #hashtags to attach to certain topics. Maybe #MondayMust or #TuesdayTip or attach great photos relating to your topic and use something like #LetsGetVisual. Come up with catchy #hashtags that relate to your topics and you just might start a trend. Remember that regularly using a #hashtag doesn’t make a trend but getting others to use it can.

Create a Custom Twitter Background.

Stand out with a background that is different from the others and provides some details about who you are and how to connect. Get more info in front of users eyes than can be contained in the bio alone.

Ready to master Twitter? Grab some Fail Whale Pale Ale and… Let’s Go!

Need to catch up on the challenge?

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

Fail Whale Pale Ale

Fail Whale Pale Ale (Photo credit: jamesplankton)

Freewriting Friday (8/31)

31 Aug
English: Print of Princess Charlotte of Wales ...

English: Print of Princess Charlotte of Wales as a young girl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey Guys!

I had almost forgot but this is “Freewriting Friday”. If you are not familiar with the concept of freewriting or the challenge I have set for Fridays, then please feel free to click the link and travel back in time to last Friday when I explained the value of freewriting as a tool in the writer’s toolbox and as a weapon against writer’s block. I also set the topic for this week’s challenge to write about:

“Writer’s Block as if it was something material and part of the physical world.”

Now, I present you with my 750 words or more. Remember that spelling and grammar errors are allowed and forgive them. Here is my attempt from last Friday’s challenge.

Once upon a time there was a young queen who said,”If only, my lonely days would end and I might have a child,” but never had one. “I would call her Story and she would be beautiful and her voice so sweet that all would come to hear her recite”, pledged the young queen as a tear ran down her cheek.

It happened once as the young queen was bathing, a large frog leaped from the water onto her breast. “Queen Muse, your wish shall be fulfilled, before twelve full cycles of the moon have passed,you shall birth a daughter. You may name her ‘Story’ as you have planned and it is true that none shall be able to resist the lure of her voice and shall travel far to hear her recitations.”

What the frog had told her had came true, and the young queen had discovered she was with child and began to recite short fables and long epics as she rubbed her hands over her round belly. It came that she had a little girl who was so pretty and words so mesmerizing that the queen could not contain her joy and ordered a great banquet.

She invited her kin from near and far, friends and ambassadors from all of the other kingdoms and lands that bordered. She invited also the greatest bards of the village that they might be kind and well-disposed towards the child. There were thirteen of them but she only had twelve silver lyres with which to gift them, so one of them had to be left at home as she could not be embarassed.

The feast was held and the bards brought gifts with which to bestow the young princess- one gave words, another wit, one richness of tone, and so on with everything one might wish for Story. When eleven of the bards made their tribute, suddenly the thirteenth bard entered the hall and said not a word to the others or the queen and spoke directly to the child, “Your words are wistful and kind but on your thirteenth winter, your lips will fall mute and the cold winds shall blow fiercely and entrap you within a block of frigid and unbreakable ice. All may see your beauty and imagine your voice but never hear you from within”. And without saying another word, he left wrapping his cloak around him tightly.

Shocked and frightened, but the twelfth bard, whose good words were yet to be spoken walked forward and knowing he could not undo the evil sentence, but could perhaps soften it he said, “This truth is truer than true, winter’s breath is cold and bluer that blue, but if the right words are told your skin will take a rosier hue and then Story you will know precisely what you shall do”

So each winter, the queen made her castle more secure and boarded up the windows and put curtains across the doors. She spoke with wise women and magi too but all agreed that none could prevent the sad truth.

Meanwhile the gifts of the bards were generously fulfilled on the young girl, for her recitations were perfect in every detail and crowds would gather in the spring and summer just to hear her speak ten words of poetry.

It happened that on the very day when she was thirteen years old, that the queen was away in the east and though she hurried her envoys to bring her home that the young princess Story was alone.

She always wondered about the bricked off dining hall and the tower above it and though she knew she was forbidden, she climbed up the narrow winding-staircase, and reached a little door. An old iron key was in the lock but when Story turned it the door went wide.

There was a tiny desk and a tiny scribe.

“Who are you?”, the young princess spoke.

“I am the writer of the tale”, the goblin answered. His eyes two tiny black marbles rolled towards her and he pierced her finger upon his quill. He wrote in blood upon his parchment.

The young princess fell to the floor and the winds ripped the boards right from the windows and the doors and ice pierced the thatch and all around young Story grew a pile of ice that froze into place and became solid as glass. Though you could still see the surprise on her face, none could hear another word from her lips. Sadly, the writer spoke and “This is my block”.

Luminous and bright the ice held her tight and though all knew that story lied within through this winter and then hundreds more, the young princesses freedom none could restore. The castle fell into disrepair and the kingdom into poverty and the block was carried down and placed at the center of the hall. The twelve bards of the kingdom had each tried their most magical words but they echoed and boomed but no reply was ever heard. Historians and storytellers from the world wide would come and recite to the princess inside but none could seem to break the spell and the princess was locked in her own forzen hell.

The queen after most of a century collapsed over that granite hard ice block with her daughter inside finally giving up all hope in bleak sadness she died.

How long passed? It depends on who is telling the tale but one winter when all was white with snow and the air pierced by hail, a young traveller sought shelter inside of a ruined castle hall. All the tapestries torn and the furniture burned for warmth, the young man sat against a solid block off ice that was now fogged white. He brought his cape close around his body and pulled from his satchel a pen and a bound pad that he had inherited from his father who had inherited it before and he began to read a story that started a hundred years or more before in a forgotten kingdom with a long-dead queen and thoughtless act and an evil deed.

See his father had been a bard as his father before and each had sat and written just a little bit more. As the young bard read he realized that he was within just such a hall and though the block was covered in leaves from fall and piles of snow, he brushed them away and just had to know.

Inside was a young frail dark-haired child, no older than he and her eyes were wide and her blue lips slightly parted as if in middle of a word.

He opened his ink bottle. It was more than half frozen and dipped in his pen and then her began the tale again. Only as he wrote and he got to this moment and he got to this part he could hear nothing but the beat of his heart.

He wrote quickly as if he could not waste a moment and despite his haste chose each word wisely and finished the tale and as he did he could see the princess was not quite so pale.

Her skin began to become bright as spring roses and her lips like blood. As she warmed the blocked began to sweat and then pour and puddles began to appear on the floor and suddenly as if winter was over and never to return a warm wind blew and spring had returned.

From Story’s soft mouth came the words that she meant to speak those centuries before. She whispered them now into the ears of the young bard who had freed her, “Who is this story for?”

Done. So now let’s see yours?

Please link your answers to last week’s challenge in the comments here. The challenge for this next Friday is to write about:

“Google Image Search the word, ‘resplendent’  and choose the image you like best and then ‘voracious’ and your favorite for that word  and write a story involving the two images. Try not to use the two words in the story.”

Ready? Go!

I will check back with next Freewriting Friday.

Writer In Waiting

28 Aug
The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film)

The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When an old friend from high school, Dawn Alexander asked to profile me in her blog, Writer In Waiting, my only reservation was that she not post any pictures of me in costume in a one-act play competition we performed in where I played Dr. Chasuble (with an embarrassing lisp) in The Importance of Being Earnest. The bad lisp was an affectation. The cheesy high school mustache was all mine. She agreed to this single caveat.

The Q&A was fairly short. My answers were a little lengthy. When am I likely to be interviewed again soon?

Enjoy the profile and poke around her blog. She is like many of us a “writer in waiting”.

Join her for “Tell Me Your Story Tuesdays”,”Thinking About Thursdays”, and “Friday Plot Swap”.

Oh, and if she brings out that picture, I might have a picture or two of my own. Does big-hair-and-blue-eyeshadow  ring a bell, Dawn? It keeps you humble to have a few friends that know where the bodies are buried (because they helped you bury them).

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