Michaeline: Have You Seen This Dog? Do You Need To?

Puppy

Describe this dog, and you could have won a touristy tchochtke from Tokyo! LOL! (Photo by Michaeline Duskova)

Well, lessons learned all around this week! The contest was a miserable failure, but my thinking about description in fiction feels much more solid.

Failure analysis later. One of the reasons I ran the contest was because I found it very hard to describe my dog. Finally, finally, about Wednesday, I started to get a grasp of the words for him, and then today, I came up with this:

He is a fluffy, scruffy, flop-eared cream-colored mutt, but the kind of cream that has been crawling around in coal mines, with streaks of grey. His eyes have the soulful look of somedog who experienced extreme depression in a past life, and wasn’t expecting too much from this incarnation either. (Fifty words.)

I realized, though, with a description like that, the dog had better be playing the part of the Melancholy Messenger Of The Story. He’d better be super-important, and not just a passing dog on the roadside. I think as writers, there’s this somewhat arrogant or even control-freak kind of thinking where we believe we want to put the images we see in our brains directly into the brains of our readers . . . and the problem is that words and brains don’t Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Film Noir Edition

film_noir_titlesrLast weekend I paid a visit to a local salvage yard.  The outside grounds were filled with all kinds of recycled building supplies – windows, doors, sinks, etc. – while the inside was a cross between a hardware store and garage sale on steroids.  Looking for some antique door knobs, a set of cane dining room chairs, some go-go boots, or a reel-to-reel tape player?  Look no further.

I had high hopes of unearthing a treasure, but didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without (sadly, the 6-foot ornate 1910 balusters, like something Lord Elgin might have souvenired from Greece, were already marked ‘sold’).   There was, however, Continue reading

Kay: Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

edgar-allan-poe-200Today is the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, a writer, editor, and literary critic best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre. Part of the American Romantic Movement, he was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He also contributed to the emerging genre of science fiction and was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 19, 1809, Continue reading

Elizabeth: January Short Story

fireball_whiskeyAs Nancy wrote in her Writers Resist post on Monday and Kay reiterated in her Art in Turbulent Times post last Thursday, it’s important to keep creating (whatever your art), even when things are challenging; maybe especially when things are challenging.

I’ve been making a concerted effort these past weeks to make sure my daily writing time doesn’t get swept away by deep dives into the internet news vortex or extra hours at work.  My success has been varied (my boss did have to tell me to go home this evening), but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

To help keep myself honest and on track, I’ll be posting a short-short story once a month in my Wednesday post.  Today’s story is based on the last few Friday Writing Sprint word-sets.

Enjoy. Continue reading

Nancy: Writers Resist

democracy-pen-americaAn interesting thing happened in America on Sunday. Writers – novelists, poets, songwriters, essayists, and artists of every stripe – gathered in cities and towns across the country for “a re-inauguration of our shared commitment to the spirit of compassion, equality, free speech, and the fundamental ideals of democracy.”

The collective movement is called Writers Resist (#writeourdemocracy), and the gatherings encouraged writers to read original works, participate in panel discussions about democracy, and show support for the most important pillar holding up the house of democratic government – free speech. Many of us in this country have taken for granted a right that is, in actuality, far too easy to stifle, as many of our kindred writer souls across the world could have told (and have been telling) us.
Continue reading

Jilly: Filling the Well

filling-the-wellWhat have you done to recharge your batteries/top up your creative well this week? I’ve spent most of the last three days with my nose in a book (well, pressed against a Kindle.) It’s been wonderful.

I had great plans to read and recharge over the holidays. That didn’t happen, because I used all my spare time to work on my Golden Heart entry. I wrote a new opening scene—it took multiple attempts before I finally found one I liked. I figured out an opening sentence that made promises about the story instead of just plunging into the action. I filled in plot holes. I checked the etymology of every significant word to make sure it was appropriate to my world. I tailored my metaphors. I wrote a new synopsis that reflected Alexis and Kierce’s relationship arc instead of wandering off into the mystery sub-plot. And then—yay!—this week, I uploaded the lot to the RWA website.

I have a lot of work left to do on this story, but I needed a breather so I decided to treat myself to the book binge I didn’t get in December.

Continue reading

Michaeline: Puppy Love and Physical Description

Puppy

Describe this dog, and you could win a touristy tchochtke from Tokyo! LOL! (Photo by Michaeline Duskova)

CONTEST! I’m in Tokyo right now, so I thought it’d be fun to run a little contest while I’m away from my computer. Your task: describe my dog (pictured here) in 100 words or less. Your prize? A cheap touristy trinket from Tokyo, sent anywhere in the world that the Japan Post Office will deign to deliver. Continue reading