Accountability Friday: Everything is Commin’ Up Roses!

 

Two successful weeks in a row? Let’s go to the board!

1. 3 Blog posts plus a bonus. We’ll slowly build to five posts a week.

Booyah! The WordPress scheduling feature is my new best friend! Banged out that little ditty about inspiration when the boys were napping one day this week. Best thing ever. I think I will be able to pull off 5 posts next week!

2. Put up Missed Opportunity for critique and integrate critique into a true final.

Booyah! Got some really great feedback. Gonna tighten up this beauty and then repost for one more critique. Hope to submit this piece sometime next week.

3. Write a Flash Fiction for this week’s challenge, which has to do with psychics and what not. I chose Divination… I’m not going to lie, I’m not wholly excited about this challenge (paranormal doesn’t turn me on as a reader, so it isn’t singing to me as a writer.) We’re gonna challenge ourselves and make it work! (And my offer still stands. I’ll link to yours if you link to mine!)

Semi-Booyah: I have something written, but I didn’t finish it by the noon deadline. I like the story, but I don’t like-like the story…and since I have spent my day taking the boys to the pool and preparing my home for an in-law onslaught, I haven’t had time to edit and post it. I hope to do that tonight after everybody leaves.

4. Dedicate this week to Junia and Tinsley, the last two characters of my novel to work on. I’m excited to be finishing this phase of character building. Gotta try to stay on schedule so that I can start writing on August 1st. It’s so close and yet so far and there is must more to do!

Had this one on lock by Wednesday!!!

 

Everything is crossed off this week! What, what!!!!! Feeling so pumped going into the weekend!!!

 

Now, if only I could shake off these damned in-laws.

Hope that you all have a great (and in-law free!) weekend!!!

Thinking About Inspiration: Relationships

 

Are you my reader? I’m looking for you. There are so many things that I love to think about, and one of them is what connects people to one another.

One of my favorite book series when I was a pre-teen/teen was Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming Series, a series I read soon after I read Ender’s Game (and the rest of the Ender series), which was a life-changing, and indeed, life-building experience for me. Having attached to my first “favorite” author, I read the Homecoming series. While many of the major plot points and themes have now been lost to memory, I do remember one element of the series that I thought intriguing, something that I see in myself.

There was a character in the series named Hushidh, who was the older sister to Luet, who just happened to be the love interest of the series’ main character, Nafai. Luet was a waterseer, a person connected to God (the Oversoul) through prophetic visions. I thought that Luet was incredibly interesting, and, being of a certain impressionable age, I wanted to take on a lot of characteristics: her wisdom, her grace, her virtue. I decided I’d name my first daughter Luet, because I decided that the name was beautiful. Basically, I was an idiot when I was 14. My step-father, who also read the series, thought that I should pay more attention to Hushidh, an important, but relatively minor, character. He thought that she and I had a lot in common. Being 14 and wanted to be the star of every show, it would be inconceivable that I should have something in common with the minor and less important sister.

I was an idiot back then.

Hushidh stuck with me because she and I do share a few things. Her character has always been something that I’ve found intriguing, and that allure is something that I think about when I create my characters and, more importantly, when I start writing dialogue.

Let me explain:

In the world that Orson built, Hushidh was considered a “raveler.” A Raveler could see the connections between all of the people in her world through visions of threads between them. She could see which threads were strong, which threads were weak, and she knew how to use words and actions could weaken or “break” those threads as the group needed. She could strengthen them, too, with words and actions. This seemed like such a minor thing at the time I was reading the books. There is nothing sexy about knowing how people can interact or to know that some bonds between people were unbreakable.  Who wants that in comparison with her sister, who could freaking interfact with God.  But Hushidh’s ability was exceptionally helpful and important in many key parts of the series. Indeed, the power to read people, to discern relationships between people, to pinpoint just the right thing to say is an incredible ability.  So many of the powerful people in the world we live in are not the ones who we see on TV. The people in the background, the advisers and the confidants, the thinkers and the knowers, the ones who are the keepers of information, those are the most powerful people on Earth. Hushidh was one of those people. She was the one who could see what people couldn’t see, know what people couldn’t possibly know, and she was able to distribute that knowledge when and how she saw fit. Indeed, Hushidh was the more powerful sister. In the world of power and powers, sexy isn’t always best.

As an adult, I have built  a fairly good relationship with words. Whether I’m speaking, reading, writing, or even listening, I have a great relationship with words and their power. I learned at an early age that words have power, with a lot of potential to help or hurt, and as an adult, knowing that has been powerfully important. Judicious use of words is a skill, one that must be garnered over time. While I’ve yet to be able to talk my way out a traffic ticket, I’ve been able to write my way into some pretty exclusive places and I’ve managed to talk my way into influential ears.  Hushidh’s threads exist here on Earth, and they can be very visible if you know how to find them.

Relationships between people are fascinating to me. From the strangest stranger to the strongest lover, I love to watch people interact. I wonder about their thoughts and scrutinize their actions. People watching is an art in and of itself, and can take up large swaths of down time when in waiting situations. Living in a major metropolitan area like Boston, every character and relationship imaginable is often on display in the most random of places. Thank God for my trusty Moleskine or, in a pinch, my smartphone, or else I’d miss wonderful nuggets!

How deep can a relationship go? Is life or death the only measure of devotion? Can the briefest kiss convey an entire lifetime of emotion? Can a look ignite a war? Can a yawn set off a firestorm? These are some of things that I explore in my writing. If the threads that bind us together interests you, if they make you wonder, even dream…if they keep you staring overly long at the couple in the corner arguing over the fortune cookie, or the child tugging at his mother on a Friday night subway train…then I hope you’ll stick around and read my stories. These things excite me, too.

Are you my reader? I hope you are! Stick with me and check back here to see what I’m doing.

Writer Wednesday: Progress, Inspiration, Accomplishment

 

Hello Writing World! How fairs the week? Despite various life obligations this week, I’ve been able to get a lot done! Let’s look at the board:

 

1. 3 Blog posts plus a bonus. We’ll slowly build to five posts a week.

Here is post 2 of the week, and I actually think I’m going to be able to get to five by Saturday. Technically, I don’t count Saturday as part of my work week, but I’ve got a lot of ideas rattling in my head soooooooo, I’m going to write a few posts and schedule them to pop on different dates. Look out for them soon!!

2. Put up Missed Opportunity for critique and integrate critique into a true final.

I have put up my story for critique this week. I haven’t received any feedback yet. Hopefully I will soon.

3. Write a Flash Fiction for this week’s challenge, which has to do with psychics and what not. I chose Divination… I’m not going to lie, I’m not wholly excited about this challenge (paranormal doesn’t turn me on as a reader, so it isn’t singing to me as a writer.) We’re gonna challenge ourselves and make it work! (And my offer still stands. I’ll link to yours if you link to mine!)

I haven’t been able to write the short story yet, but I do have a few ideas in my head. Hope to get it together tomorrow.

4. Dedicate this week to Junia and Tinsley, the last two characters of my novel to work on. I’m excited to be finishing this phase of character building. Gotta try to stay on schedule so that I can start writing on August 1st. It’s so close and yet so far and there is must more to do!

I am done with character building for my novel! I will write out character sketches for them in prose form and put them up on this blog some time next week. I’m so pumped! On to culture/religion building!!

Optimism Monday: Another week of writing, another week to be grateful…

 

I write with the reflection and understanding that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this beautiful day and the freedom to write the words that I want to if not for the many men and women who willingly choose to stand guard in hostile places so that we may all be free. I write in gratitude this week, for the men and women who devote their lives to this wonderful country, and to their incredible families who wait for their return. Words cannot fully express my gratitude to you, but the least I can do is say Thank You.

So Thank You.

Here is my writer’s task list for the week. We had success last week, so let’s do it again!

 

1. 3 Blog posts plus a bonus. We’ll slowly build to five posts a week.

2. Put up Missed Opportunity for critique and integrate critique into a true final.

3. Write a Flash Fiction for this week’s challenge, which has to do with psychics and what not. I chose Divination… I’m not going to lie, I’m not wholly excited about this challenge (paranormal doesn’t turn me on as a reader, so it isn’t singing to me as a writer.) We’re gonna challenge ourselves and make it work! (And my offer still stands. I’ll link to yours if you link to mine!)

4. Dedicate this week to Junia and Tinsley, the last two characters of my novel to work on. I’m excited to be finishing this phase of character building. Gotta try to stay on schedule so that I can start writing on August 1st. It’s so close and yet so far and there is must more to do!

 

It’s a “short” week, but I feel like the weeks are never short for writers. There is too much to do! Let’s try to complete our task lists together. What are you working on?

Accountability Friday: How did this Writer Mama do?

 

It’s Accountability Friday, ya’ll, and I’m feelin’ preeeeetttty good! Let’s go to the task list!

 

1) Three blog posts. No freaking excuses. And at least one other one. (Because clearly we aren’t ready for 5 posts a week yet)

Shablam! 3 regular posts plus my bonus post! AND I’m actually gonna get EXTRA points because I was inspired to write another post that will be up before the end of the day! Winning!

2) Begin rewrite for Never a Day with the intent to have it completed on Thursday evening. (No promises for posting. This will go through an extensive polishing process.)

SHABOOMBLAM!!! Decided not to actually re-write it, but rather rework the dialogue that is true to my original message and hopefully more palatable to some readers. I’m very happy with what I created. I have submitted it for critique.

3) Create character profile for Junia.

Less-than-shablam. 😦 I did so much writing this week, but only about 10 words of it went to my novel. 😦 This will not stand. I plan on working on Junia tonight.

4) Work on Friday Flash Fiction Challenge. I got a cool one for this week: “A forlorn farmer is searching for a legendary weapon.”

Awwwwwwwww yeeeeaaaah, baby! And I wrote something kinda cool, too. While people in the writer’s group that I belong to are all about breaking the 1000 word count, I’m not. So I think that I set up something really cool in 1000 words. Don’t think I’d expand much beyond it (paranormal is not my thing) but I like what I thought up.

This week’s challenge involves psychic stuff which is really not my cup of tea. I don’t really like it as a reader and I’m not really down with it as a writer. but I’m trying to improve my skills, so I’ll be working it out. Wish me luck!

Stay thirsty, my writer friends, even during this long weekend!

 

Flash Fiction: 20 Days of Waiting (1000 Words)

 

This week’s flash fiction challenge was to use a random fantasy character generator and write a 1000 word story about him/her. I’m not going to lie, I hated just about everything that the generator created for me, but then I got something interesting: “A forlorn farmer is searching for a legendary weapon.” 

Whoa. That’s cool. I decided then and there that the weapon would not be a sword. And this is what I came up with. Enjoy!!

 

 

“My God, you are beautiful.” The voice of my husband penetrates through the screams of the dead, their voices of pain and anguish blending together into an incomprehensible howl.

“No less than before and certainly no more now,” I strain to reply, taking away yet another precious bit of my energy. My presence here at the edge of all things is enough to hold back the riptide of souls that is in front of me, clawing at me, trying to go through and beyond me. They don’t recognize their master. My husband can’t see the danger. He sees his front yard, filled with newly plowed rows of just seeded soil. He sees his farm. He sees paradise.

“Come inside with me. I’m leaving tomorrow.” He puts his arms around my waist and their strength and warmth go through me in a way that no mortal can ever seem to achieve. His hands, still caked with the clay of the soil that he so loves, begin to knead and prod, his chapped lips searching for curvatures to attach to. “I want to try again. Before I leave.” He hesitates. I know that my husband wants to say “just in case,” but he has never been a pessimist.

I don’t need him to be a pessimist. I just need him to have a profound sadness. I need him to have a searching and yearning soul. It wasn’t hard to cultivate. His seed is bad and this body was never meant to produce.

With the warmth spreading through me, I’m not going to resist. He is leaving tomorrow to finally retrieve what is mine. I turn to my husband and he stares into my eyes with a furrowed brow. “I’m worried about leaving you here.”

“Why? I navigate around here all day without you when you are at market.” I flash a smile. I know his house like the back of my mortal hands.

He isn’t convinced. “I’m worried about other people…”

I put a finger to his lips. I don’t need to focus to know where they are. Some things in this world I still needed to see, but most things, including these lips, I can feel.

“You’ll be sure to check twice before stepping down? And you’ll be extra careful when milking?” The fear in his voice isn’t because of me. I know that and I kiss him.

“We’ll both be careful. I’ve lived in the darkness a long time, Silas. I’ll be fine.”

He picks me up and we go to bed. He tries to put a live baby into this body but I know that one will not emerge. He knows it too, and it makes his soul all the sadder.

When we wake up before day break, he gets dressed with urgency. “The men said that only the true of heart can find it. They said that a soul of sadness but no vengeance could find it.”

“I’m sure they also told you that they don’t want to trust a negro with their lives…” I guffaw. To see what these men do to my husband every day gives me a deep longing for my blade.

Silas is not amused, but he doesn’t say anything. The men are liars and simply don’t want to put themselves in danger. The fools don’t know how close they are to the truth: Only a sad soul can reap, and thus, only a sad soul is able to find a reaping tool.

“Maybe… maybe it will heal you,” He says as if praying, “as well as stop the tremors, and the earthquake.”

We walk onto the front lawn. Vibrations come up from the ground. Another tremor leading to what they think will be the greatest earthquake known to the region. Again, they don’t know just how close they are to the truth. I am nearing the end of my strength.

“What they don’t know is what to do once I find it. The pastor doesn’t know, but he’s sent for help all the way from Rome.”

“Catholics helping Lutherans. What a world.” I chuckle. He frowns. He has never liked my humor. There is no way that he could understand all that I have seen and all that I know. I put up my hands in apology. “Just bring it back here, baby, and we’ll figure it out.”

He puts a hat on his head and tests his walking stick against the ground. Its deep thud sends a welcome ripple through my legs. It is better than the tremors that remind me of just how weak I have become. He kisses me passionately and watches me walk back up onto the porch. “I’ll watch your shadow as you leave,” I call.

“I’m giving this twenty days, Sammy. Twenty days.” He touches the ten little grave stones in our front yard, saying a prayer in front of each one of them before he walks off.

I know that he won’t die, but I worry that he that he could be unsuccessful. He’s probably the smartest man in this little town. There is no one else up for the task. This has been my first shot in nearly three hundred years, and it may be another few centuries before I can try again.

I’m standing on the edge of everything, watching the souls snap and rage. Their claws are starting to penetrate through, the sulfur seeping through the tiny scratches that they are making. They are hungry for me and for the living beyond me. Ever since the First Day, I’ve stood here at the edge of everything, delivering souls to their destinations and holding back souls who would seek to reenter the realms of the living.

The sigh of exhaustion that I let out allows for a crack to open in the earth. The escape of souls is soon upon us. I cannot perish, but I can fail.

I am forced to hold on for twenty days to find out if I do.

 

 

Progress and a Little Light Reading

It’s Writer’s Wednesday. Let’s see how this little writer mama is doing this week:

1) Three blog posts. No freaking excuses. And at least one other one. (Because clearly we aren’t ready for 5 posts a week yet)

I’m on schedule for this one! Wrote an extra (and pretty good) post yesterday! (I’m about 50 pages out from finishing Animal Farm by the way. The ideas are really starting to spark for this story again.)

2) Begin rewrite for Never a Day with the intent to have it completed on Thursday evening. (No promises for posting. This will go through an extensive polishing process.)

I’m not convinced that I’m going to be done with Never a Day by tomorrow evening. I will have a good chunk done, but I don’t know if I’ll be at “the end.” Especially because I have a Flash Fiction that I really need to get with. We’ll see.

3) Create character profile for Junia.

Poor Junia has been by the wayside this week. She’s talking to me and I haven’t been listening. I’m praying that these boys are going to take the nap that I just put them down for (unfortunately, I can hear them through the nursery door just playing away) so that way I can get to her and give her some of my attention. We’ll see. But I’ll be getting with her one way or another.

4) Work on Friday Flash Fiction Challenge. I got a cool one for this week: “A forlorn farmer is searching for a legendary weapon.”

I have SUCH a great idea for this flash fiction. It came to me while I was getting my eldest out to drop-off playgroup. “Stand by Me” randomly started playing on my Pandora List (which is a problem, because that’s my Fresh Beat Band Pandora lists…Lordy…) Anyway, a scene came to my head, and I’m like, yes, this is going to be awesome.

 

And actually the scene that I have imagined for my little flash fiction goes well with the links I’m about to provide. I try to write about voices and people and perspectives that I never see in media. I’ve written a bit about that before on this blog, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. But I’m going to put the spotlight on a fantastic essay written by Kameron Hurley about narratives regarding female characters. Chuck Wendig wrote a response to that article which I also liked. You should absolutely take the time to read them both.

I can’t believe that it’s Wednesday already. I hope that you are having a great and productive week!