Posts tagged ‘writing’

But For the Pumpkins

I think I must have my holiday season associations mixed up.
I know some people like to think of winter as starting in November, or spring starting in April and so forth, (it might as well be around here), but I happen to know and stress otherwise.
For example, even though Thanksgiving and Halloween are both Autumn holidays, turkey day to me has always been a festive harvest occasion, while Halloween always gets me excited for winter.

If this is the point where your brain just screeched to a halt, you can go back and read that again, but it was right the first time. I don’t know whether it’s to do with seven-headed rodent kings, skeleton Santas or Dickens’s ghosts, but something about that last day of October, (it should always be chilly), just gets my toes curling in anticipation for fur-lined boots crunching through snow and snuggling under warm blankets and listening to the wind howl outside.
Those readers who have been with me since the days when I was more prolific can probably appreciate the strangeness of this admition.
And now I offer you a story, one day late, but I was feeling inspired.

As soon as Kaylie pulled her head up, she began searching for Billy. Her wet hair whipped against her face as she looked wildly around the room.
“That wasn’t funny Billy!” she shouted to the emptiness; her little fists clenched. Then she went tearing out of the room to find mama.
Mama had gone inside earlier with a headache and left Billy in charge. Mama had headaches a lot, but one time when Kaylie had come inside to get a bandaid for her cut and to tell on Billy for pushing her, she had caught Mama kissing a strange man in the laundry room. She must have had a real headache today though because Kaylie found her in bed; a glass of water on her nightstand.
“Mama! Mama Billy’s being mean again.”
Mama opened and closed her eyes without looking at Kaylie.
Kaylie tried again, but Mama didn’t so much as glance at her. Patches the cat came over and sniffed at Kaylie. Then his fur got big and fluffy and he hissed at her. Patches had never hissed at Kaylie before. She backed away.
Billy had gone back outside to join his friends after he had let Kaylie go, and that was where she found him.
“Mama’s really mad at you Billy,” she lied; hands on hips. “She’s going to come down any minute to whup you.”
Billy ignored her; continuing to throw the green and white ball around with his friends.
“Whadja’ do to your dumb little sister anyway,” one of the boys asked.
“Don’t worry about her,” Billy dismissed.
Mad now, Kaylie ran up and got right in his face.
“I AM RIGHT HERE! STOP IGNORING ME!”
But Billy just danced away and threw the ball to one of his friends. Kaylie ran and tried to catch the ball, but the boys were all taller than her and so it was easy to keep it out of her reach.
When finally Billy got the ball again, he turned and threw it hard. Kaylie had to duck out of the way as it came right at her face. Then she went running inside and began hollering.
“MAMA! MAMA BILLY’S THROWING BALLS AT ME NOW!”
Mama came staggering downstairs then and nearly tripped over the bucket of water in the middle of the dining room. She swore; then fast walked to the kitchen door and leaned out.
“Billy,” she called, “what’s this bucket doing in the middle of the floor?”
“I donno,” Billy called back. “Kaylie musta brought it inside.”
“Nuh uh,” Kaylie countered. “He brought it in to show me how to bob for apples.”
“Well it doesn’t belong there,” Mama finished. “Now send your friends home and come clean up all this water that got spilled.
Kaylie watched smugly as Billy laid newspaper down over the wet spot while Mama dried and put away the rest of the apples. When Mama came back in to the dining room to put the bucket away, Billy jumped up and ran to her.
“Mama don’t.”
She shook him off as he grabbed at her arm.
“I’m putting it away. The closet’s where it goes Billy.”
“Wait, I wanted to use it for something else.”
“Not now,” Mama said firmly.
“She pulled open the closet door and shoved the bucket inside, but it wouldn’t go in. Yanking aside an old suitcase, she tried again. Then she stumbled back as something fell out. Her hands flew up to her mouth; the bucket forgotten beside her.
Kaylie’s small form lay crumpled on the floor; still in her little blue dress. Her curly dark hair and shoulders were soaked through from the water; bits of apple still in her mouth.

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Rainy Night in May

Dreams dance too close to stars when velvet paints the night.
Fears look for lonely souls, sending whispers to make them shiver.
Wishes swim on currents of whimsy, ascending to join the court.
Rain like seeking taps at windows.
Lightning slashes
Jagged streaks,
Cracking whips of thunder,
Exposing all,
Exposing all.
But secrets are night’s play,
Returning on cool breezes to tickle the ears of those who sleep.
I do not sleep.
I wake to hold the night,
To drink the wild of it into my soul,
To fill my lungs with its intoxication.
The night is full,
and I
am thirsty.
Shivering cold as the earth.
Lying uncovered,
trying
to clutch
at sky.

Story Prep

Have you ever written an outline fora story you were about to write?I remember writing outlines in high school
because they told us to, andI’ve found them helpful for speeches I’ve had to give. I’ve even written outlines for some of my college papers to make sure I had enough information to at least reach the required minimum page length. I was never great at making my papers longer than three to five pages. But I’ve never written an outline for any creative writing.
It isn’t often I get a full-blown story idea in my head. Usually these things come in the form of a character or scene that get’s kicked around my imagination until either more comes to me or I decide to write it down somewhere. A lot of them are still up there.
Of course the question of outlines doesn’t usually matter simply because my pieces fall into the flash fiction range. I do however toy with the idea from time to time of writing a longer piece; one with chapters even. I know, gasp!
Almost every author interview I’ve ever heard always contains the question where did you come up with the idea for x. Another favored question among interviewers is about the author’s writing habits or practices. “How do you write?” “How often do you write?” “When” or “where do you write?”
Different authors give different answers as you’d expect, but most seem to say something along the lines of “write every day.” One author even went so far as to say that waiting for inspiration was lazy.
Now if you’re writing fiction inspired by actual events, or if you’re, for example, Janet Evanovich who has said she knows what is going to happen in each book, writing a page or more a day doesn’t seem as daunting. At that point, it’s probably more about getting the piece written before some self-imposed deadline, or making sure it gets done at all. But I must confess to being a “lazy” writer. I don’t sit around and wait for my muse to speak to me exactly, but it does take some brainstorming before I’ve figured out exactly what I want to happen with the storyline. Once that happens, it’s full spead ahead.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I am curently considering writing a longer piece. The idea I have is a fun one, and I really want it to work. Part of me wants to just start writing now and worry about the details later, but part of me really wants to plan it more carefully to avoid what’s sure to be one heck of a lot of rearanging.
So, outline, or not?

To summer

Lying on the beach.
The sand and shells beneath me.
Sun kisses my face.

Roar of the ocean.
The salty brine fills the air.
Oh, freezing water!

A pearly white stone,
The roundest one I have found,
Glitters like a gem.

Table salt sea salt.
Sand retreats beneath my toes.
Clenzing splash of waves.

Mirror of water.
Sudden flight of flightless things.
Many dancing suns.

The Aweful Inbetween

Aaaahhh More snow!
You know what it is? It’s because everyone keeps saying they are done with winter and snow. Don’t they know better?
Anyway, on to the real subject of this post, Writing.
I have just finished a story to which I had grown much attached. I guess I do that with most of my writing, but especially with stories that are part of a series. This particular story was not directly part of the series, but it involved some of the characters.
But now I have finished it and I am in that aweful inbetween place before I start another story. There is nothing so quite like being in the middle of writing a story, especially one that you have a clearish sense of where it is going.
Of course this is probably more evidence that I need to just write for a living. I should first work on being slightly less attached to my writing so that I’m not completely devistated at the thought of editors chopping up my work though. Eek!
Ok, more dramatic than I actually feel, but you get the point. And now, since I clearly live the life of luxury, I am going to have breakfast … and write. Hopefully there will be writing.
Cheers!

The Rider

I really do keep meaning to post earlier, but it is still Monday and Monday means fiction!
Picking up from
here
where I last left you,the tale continues.
For those of you who are new to this story or who just want to refresh your memories, just follow the “dragon story” category.
And now. . .

The rider was a curious sight sitting astride his horse. He was short for a man, and thin too as he dismounted. Kaylin straightened up and took a firmer grip on the sledgehammer she had brought out with her.
“Papa isn’t here,” she said as the rider came toward her.
He had, in fact, been called away on special errand to the castle. They had come late for him; two of the kings soldiers as for a prisoner. Kaylin had said as much to the men, but Papa had told her to hush and not to worry. He hadn’t done anything against the law, or that might displease the king and queen. Kaylin worried though. And now here was this mysterious rider.
Had they come for her now? Had her papa been a prisoner after all? But why only one man? And he did not look like a soldier.
The horse was quality though; Kaylin had seen enough of horses to know a rich man’s horse from a poor man’s horse, and this one was certainly not a commoner’s mount. He was a gleaming chestnut who nosed insistently at his rider. He was fat and well groomed.
“Why do you not bow to me?” the rider replied in a high strange voice.
Kaylin felt herself bristle.
“And why should I bow to you? Because I’m small? Because I’m a girl? Who are you and what right have you to demand my respect?”
To Kaylin’s surprise, the rider seemed actually to be considering the question. Then the dark hood came down and the pretty face of a young girl shown in the light from Kaylin’s candle. She might have suspected it had she not gotten so angry, but now she stood blinking at the other; having forgotten herself.
She was several years older than Kaylin; with long hair the color of wheat that she had tucked beneath her cloak. Sapphire blue eyes stared out from the pale oval of her face and looked nearly black in the light. Her expression was troubled.
“I’m princess Alish,” the girl said. “I need your help.”

… It’s November?

Any of you out there doing NaNoWriMo this year?
First of all, good luck and patience to you. Secondly, I am not.
Novels and I in general don’t have the most productive history. I usually take forever to write them, and even then I almost never finish one. I did once, and now I really wish I still knew where it was.
So now, cram all this into one month and here’s what it might sound like inside my brain:
Ooh, novel writing month? I want to write a novel! Yes, I will write a novel and it shall be awesome!
ideas ideas ideas ideas–ooh, here’s one. first line. first lines are always important. Yes, I like that one. Ok now … hmm. How do I get from here to that one scene? … Maybe I can … I’ll just write another story until I think of something.
Hmm, amazing how fast three weeks can go by. Wait, what about a novel?

Or:
Oh good, I’ve been waiting for a chance to use these characters forever.
So Scott and Lisa live here … no, here .. or maybe I’ll decide that later. Ooh, and they have a dog because there should always be a dog or a cat. And I should make Lisa’s mom a hair dresser. And Scott should have a niece who doesn’t like her family and runs away a lot. and her mother smokes. And the dogs name is Beans because he’s a Boston Terrier. See what I did there? Oh and there are bunnies.
So Scott and Lisa’s mom don’t get along because Scott’s a police officer and Lisa’s mom–we’ll call her jill–says his job puts Lisa in danger. And even though Scott is a police officer, this isn’t going to be a mystery because I am bad at those, but there will be bunnies! But of course Scott’s parents don’t get along with him either because they wanted him to be a lawyer or a docter, but Scott dropped out of school to join the police force like his grandfather whom he admires, and bunnies!
But I think Lisa’s dad likes Scott though. And bunnies!
Plot? Didn’t you like the characters? and the bunnies?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t have story ideas. In fact half the struggle of sleeping at night is my brain fighting to contain all the ideas, my fingers reaching to tap out that one last story or paragraph or few sentences, my mind playing and replaying that one over heard conversation that gave me an idea that probably has nothing to do with what the people might actually have been talking about. I live story. I breathe story. Anything anyone ever says to me either gets told and retold later or remembered for a potential character. Everyone is a potential character. Everything is a potential story.
My problem is just that I don’t usually have fifty-thousand-word ideas. I much prefer short story. Much like snacking; it is quick, tasty, and you can never quite get enough. Of course I’m glad that not everyone is like me and can write out long and complex story lines. I do need something to read. hee hee.
Maybe someday I will try my hand at this novel writing phenomenon just to say I tried. No promises though.