Accountability Friday: Another One for the Win Column?

 

I’m feeling really accomplished today. There was a lot to do this week and I am grateful that I got about 90% of it done. Let’s go to the board and see what I’ve done:

1) 5 posts this week. Yup, we’re gonna do it. 

I’m averaging about 2,000 words a day thanks in large part to blogging 5 days a week. It is a lot of fun to reflect about writing in other ways. I hope I can keep this up!

2) Complete the short story that I started last week, The Hand that Feeds You, and post it for critique. 

Completed, renamed, and will be posted shortly. My community seems to be a little dead today, so I’ll post it later.

3) Write this week’s flash fiction for Chuck’s challenge. I rolled a good one! Superhero plus Occult Detective, must have forbidden love and a pool of blood. Ohhhhh yeaaaah. It’s gonna be awesome. 

Done and posted! I am actually pleased with the results. I’ve already come up with an idea for a re-write, and I might submit that re-write somewhere. We’ll see…

4) Rework the short story that I wrote for my writing community this weekend. It kind of went out of control, but I like the concept: Michael and Gabriel go all cowboy style in the wild west looking for Lucifer. I know, I know, I know, it doesn’t sound awesome, but like, there is something about it that has the potential to be awesome, so I’m working on it. Don’t judge me! 

Didn’t get to this quite yet, hopefully this evening (So I’m still marking it as “done). I have a couple ideas about how to rehab what I originally wrote while keeping my idea. Super excited.

5) Come up with a new schedule for work on my novel, A Terrible Thing to Waste, because my current timeline is broken (which totally sucks). Post for accountability.

Even did a little pondering about this! I’m not pleased with the plan (start October 1 instead of August 1, bleeding into Nano, which makes things messy) but it is a plan nonetheless.

 

Here’s to a successful week!!! My reward? I’m treating myself to a little jazz and gelato tonight at my favorite little corner coffee shop. No kids, no husband. I’m really pumped! If it’s raining/storming, I might stay in and watch True Blood instead. Either way, I’m taking the night off.

I hope you, too, had a successful literary week! Tomorrow is a “short” because of the July 4th holiday (here in America, anyway), but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t writing to do. I’m already lost in TVTropes researching for next week’s challenge!

 

Flash Fiction: Before Her Time (1100 words)

 

I know, I cheated, but I have written a great flash fiction for Chuck’s challenge this week. I rolled superhero, occult detective, with forbidden love and a pool of blood. This is what I got…

_______

 

“You would burn me at the stake, Gideon? You would kill me in such a crude way? The cousin of your king?” The Dutchess of Armour spat from behind old silver bars. Her usually pink and beautifully maintained hands went sheet white while gripping at the barrier between herself and Sir Gideon of Myr.

“My king values order. My king demands justice, madam!” Sir Gideon leaned forward at the bar.

“Gideon,” She licked her lips and chuckled, putting on a chiding look, “you think me a witch? A witch? I mean, really, isn’t that what poor fools think about when their crops go bad? Witchcraft is the game for twelve year-old girls. I’m a woman, Gideon. You know that.” She pressed her full body against the bar, the fullness of her bosom, barely covered by the ornate purple corset she’d been wearing, began emerging between the bars.

Her captor looked at her with a longing that flashed for only the blink of an eye. How many times had his cheek found sweet refuge upon that ample bosom? His longing turned to anger. “I can’t believe you did this to me, Alice,” He whispered.

“You cannot be serious. I saved that girl tonight. Those men would have torn her to pieces!” It was her turn to be hurt.

“How long have you been doing this? ‘Saving little girls from the lecherous hands of men?’ Flying them to safety with not so much as a wing? Moving objects with a single wave of your hand? Throwing a man thrice your size into the air?” Gideon paced the room, unwilling to look at his prisoner.

Alice put a hand to her hip, “Didn’t realize I was so powerful when you had me pinned beneath you, hm?”

“How long have you been terrorizing this community, Lady?” Gideon demanded as calmly and he could muster.

“How long have men been raping women in this kingdom and getting away with it? How long have you and other law men been looking the other way while we’ve suffered?” Alice mirrored his intensity.

“Are there other witches like you? Do you use the organs of your victims to gain your powers? The hearts and phallus of each man were missing—do you use them for rituals?”

“Oh yes, we make beautiful broaches with them. Phallic skins also make wonderful garters,” She laughed heartily.  

Gideon slammed his body against the bars, snarling, “My men have been out there searching for cannibals, Alice! Rumors of sacrifice and desecration of bodies for worship of pagan gods have been circulating for months now! We thought that if it wasn’t pagans then it was man-eating beasts! You left mangled bodies all over the woods!”

“And now you know that they were men praying on girls as they went about their washing, their errands, their worship! And yet I am about to be burned at the stake!”

“You tore a man in twine, Alice!” Gideon screamed. He grabbed at Alice’s face, gripping her jaw in his hands. “You are a monster. You left a man in pieces, in a pool of blood larger than ever seen in this city. You caused panic where there was order, fear where there was trust, and you’ve decimated my credibility as an officer, as a gentleman!”

Alice jerked her head out of the man’s grip, and spat in his face. He scowled, disgusted by such an unfeminine gesture. “It’s always about you, Gideon. You aren’t listening to me. Girls were being violated in this town. Men were hunting them for sport. I have had the power to stop the carnage and I’ve used it. We’re a safer community now!”

You, my dear lady, are a beast! You’ve desecrated the laws of man by pronouncing yourself judge, jury and executioner upon men traveling through our community. You’ve violated the laws of God by harnessing some unholy power to project yourself through the air and summon unhuman powers. If you aren’t a witch, you’re a beast, and either way, you must be expelled from this world.”

“So that’s it, then? No trial? You all are just going to kill me in the morning?”

“By the king’s command,” he pulled out the rolled paper with the royal seal and signature, presenting it with great gravitas. “You are hereby condemned to die by fire.”

“You are a man of letters, Gideon. There are laws in this kingdom. Trials!”

“You are a woman and you are a witch. There are no trials for you,” Gideon spat. “Half of the city watched you fly through town this evening. The other half saw you rip the butcher’s arm clear off of his body. There is nothing that can save you.”

Alice took a few steps back in her tiny cell. She folded her hands and placed them upon her forehead before letting out a wail that reverberated through the entire room. Gideon placed his hands over his ears, his screams for help drowned out from Alice’s continuous wailing and sobs.

Eventually, she ran out of energy, crumbling onto the floor, her back toward her captor. Her beautiful purple gown becoming instantly filthy with straw, dust and dung. She shuddered with continuing sobs.

Gideon straightened in triumph. He looked at the curvature of Alice’s body, heartbroken that he would never touch it again. He turned away without a word and strode out of the prison.

 

He half expected Alice to have escaped from her cell, but at sunrise, she was still there, waiting.

“Good morning, love,” She said with a smile.

“Prisoner, the time is now for you to face justice,” Gideon announced for the benefit of the guards around him. They tenuously stepped forward, taking the woman by the arms and marching her out of the building. The prison stood at the edge of town and so it would be a long march to her pyre.

The town square was filled with many in town. The men cheering and leering, the women silent or sobbing. Alice put up no resistance as rocks and food were thrown at her, Gideon pushing through the crowd, ever closer to her death. He tied the ropes that bound her to the stake himself. As he leaned in close to check a knot, he gave her a parting kiss on the cheek. Alice stared through him as he looked at her eyes one last time.

Gideon presented the prisoner, read the sentence and then set fire to the pyre. Alice stared at him with an unwavering power as the flames roared and the crowd jeered. When the fires finally licked at her feet, Alice looked up to the sky and let out a scream that surpassed the volume of the crowd. She struggled ever so slightly, and the ropes gave way. As she flew away, to the astonishment of the gathered crowd, Gideon allowed himself a flash of a moment of relief.

 

Writing Vexations: Sometimes, It’s About Willpower

 

I woke up this morning overwhelmed–I wanted to complete a flash fiction and a longer short-fiction today…but there was so much going on. We’re moving, and that requires a lot of my energy. To further complicate things, my little one year-old and two year-old still need to have their life be on their regular routine. My days can be summed up fairly simply: 3 meals a day, 2 loads of laundry, 1 walk, 1 nap. Everything else has to fit around those essential things, and moving is no different. Indeed, moving makes it more challenging.

So add to the fact that I’m generally writing some 2,000 words a day via my blogs or my fiction, and you have pretty full days. Well this morning, It all came crashing down. I was overwhelmed and immobilized by all of the things I had to do.

It’s not that I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I refuse to participate in it. My official day-job is taking care of my two precious boys, but if I want to make writing a supplement to our monthly income, I need to treat writing as a second job. There was no “teacher’s block” when teaching was my day job, thus there can be no “writer’s block” now. So when I kept sitting at my computer and staring blankly at Facebook instead of putting words to digital paper, I decided it was time to get up. Get something done, kiss some babies and try again.

It was the best possible thing I could do–feeling accomplished about my tangible tasks freed my mind up for the writing tasks that I had for the rest of the day. To solidify that my “block” was over, I took a moment after I put the boys down for their nap to take a long shower and wash my hair. (If you understand Black women and our complicated relationship with hair, you understand why this was an important step–thank God for my wonderful locs!!).

I’m now sitting here having written a little over 2500 words today. My Flash Fiction for chuck’s challenge is done and I’ll post it tomorrow. The Hand that Feeds You has been completed and is now called A Field of Daisies, a title that I think is very clever and almost chilling for what it is written about. I’m hoping to polish a little bit and then post it for critique tomorrow. It ended up being a lot shorter than I thought it would be, and I want to give the muse a chance to think of things to add on.

I’ve yet to experience being uninspired, but I have experienced being overwhelmed about life and writing. For so long, I’ve let life dictate my writing schedule. No longer content to put writing on the back-burner, and feeling an urgency to give this talent a chance to bring positive change to my life, I’m forcing life to make room for writing. I know that I can write and meet all of my obligations. Some days will be wildly more successful than others, but the goal is to be at least minimally successful on more days than more. It’s 10:45 on Thursday, but I think I’ll be meeting all of my goals for the week. That feels damn good.

I hope that you’ve found moments of breakthrough this week–moments when you set yourself back onto the path that you wanted to be on. We all have moments of frustration and overwhelming…it’s what we do in those moments that dictate if we’re writers who accomplish something or writer’s who are still looking forward to “someday.”

Writer Wednesday: What a Long Week…

 

What an emotional and incredible week–I’ve been allllll caught up in Supreme Court stuff this week. I have done some writing, but most of my time has been dedicated to news. Thanks to Jeff Kent’s suggestion, I also researched Amazon KDP for publishing some of my short stories. I’m exploring this, but I’m still unsure. Is it worth the cost of cover art and what not? What’s up with the 30% vs. 70%? And yeah, I mean, is my writing good enough for that? I just don’t know…

Let’s go to the board.

1) 5 posts this week. Yup, we’re gonna do it. 

This is post 3 of the week. Looking forward to popping another out tomorrow!

2) Complete the short story that I started last week, The Hand that Feeds You, and post it for critique. 

Working on this tonight. Going back from scratch, but not in a bad way. I know exactly what direction that I want it to go in. Looking forward to my writing community tearing it apart on Friday.

3) Write this week’s flash fiction for Chuck’s challenge. I rolled a good one! Superhero plus Occult Detective, must have forbidden love and a pool of blood. Ohhhhh yeaaaah. It’s gonna be awesome. 

Will probably spend most of my time writing this on Thursday. I have an idea rattling in my head. I think that it’s going to be awesome if I can pull it off.

4) Rework the short story that I wrote for my writing community this weekend. It kind of went out of control, but I like the concept: Michael and Gabriel go all cowboy style in the wild west looking for Lucifer. I know, I know, I know, it doesn’t sound awesome, but like, there is something about it that has the potential to be awesome, so I’m working on it. Don’t judge me! 

I haven’t received any feedback on what I originally posted (probably not a good sign). Will table this to Saturday.

5) Come up with a new schedule for work on my novel, A Terrible Thing to Waste, because my current timeline is broken (which totally sucks). Post for accountability. 

*sigh* I feel this beautiful story slipping away from me. I haven’t even thought about it. Writing a novel is important to me. I want to do it, I need to do it, and this story means a lot to me. I will make this a priority this weekend.

 

My goodness. I turned to my husband this morning and lamented that it’s only Wednesday. Time seems to be moving so damned slowly. But if that’s the case, I should have way more to show for my week. Time to get it into gear!!

Talk of the Muse: I Flippin’ Love Westerns

I’ve been writing a lot of genre fiction for my weekly flash fiction challenges. When I started out on this crazy writing journey, I really thought that Lit Fic was going to be my region of choice. I love to read genre fiction, but I just don’t know if I’m up to writing genre fiction. I don’t necessarily love world/culture/language building. It doesn’t turn me on creatively.

But I was reminded this week about a genre that I really do love: Westerns. I love westerns.

Now, don’t freak out, I’m not saying that all of my books and short stories are going to be set on the dusty trail…I’m just saying that there is something about Westerns that make me happy, and I’ve been spending the day thinking about it.

The thing that is cool about the “Wild West” setting, for me, is the following:

1) The newness and potential of life. Every person in these little towns is contributing to a brand new society, with new rules and traditions, and that is very potent.

2) Trampling on something ancient: These towns were created on land that was traditionally used by tribes that had been there for eons. The encroachment and disrespect of the many, many newcomers is palpable, and makes for interesting conflict (and strange bedfellows)

3) The solitude of the cowboy is something I’m jealous of. Maybe it’s because I have two babies and I can’t even take a crap alone right now, but I love the idea of waking up alone (but for a horse, maybe) and going to bed alone and being pretty much alone in between.

4) The land is unspoiled. It’s dusty and bare, but it’s unspoiled. No pollution, no trash, not urban sprawl. It’s you, the sky, the land. That is beautiful, even sexy.

5) There is no ocean, either. I’ve never in my life lived more than 100 miles away from the Atlantic ocean. It is my anchor. It is a bit of a muse for me (next week’s post!). The thought of being landlocked, no water in sight, no roaring ocean nearby, is unsettling to me…and that feeling gets me creative.

6) Lawlessness is sexy. I love law and order. I was a political science major in college–policy and law are hobbies of mine (as I write this, I’m watching analysis on today’s SCOTUS rulings…). The thought of pieces of land where law, real law, has little influence is incredible to me. The Wild West is the State of Nature…and that is fun for me.

7) It’s freaking dirty, grimy, gross… dust everywhere, no one takes a regular bath, no one is really washing their clothes, there is barely any teeth brushing…I mean, come on…

8) It’s quite integrated: I mean, yeah, we know that there were a lot of White people in the west, but there were also Chinese immigrants, Black former slaves (and Buffalo Soldiers, and cowboys), immigrants from Germany and Ireland, Mexican citizens (who were technically still in their land until after the Mexican-American war), and other folks who wandered into that area (like some French folk…and others). What a rare mixing bowl! Must have made for interesting conversations over poker.

I could sit and watch a Western at any time. They are just entertaining to me. I don’t necessarily want to write westerns, but if I could distill these elements that make up westerns into something else, something in my voice, something in worlds that I create (in any genre…maybe even lit fic), then something powerful may come out of it.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to see if I can add one of these elements to my flash fic, due Friday. Be there or be square!

What genres do you love? Do you write them or do you use them for inspiration? If you could distill a genre that you love to read but don’t love to write, what elements would you get?

Optimism Monday: New Week, New Possibilities, New Inspirations

 

I wrote a long one for my mommy blog, and I know my nap window is running out, so we’re gonna have to get to the board quickly. Here is the good news: I’m feeling really inspired this week. Let’s get to the board:

 

1) 5 posts this week. Yup, we’re gonna do it. 

2) Complete the short story that I started last week, The Hand that Feeds You, and post it for critique. 

3) Write this week’s flash fiction for Chuck’s challenge. I rolled a good one! Superhero plus Occult Detective, must have forbidden love and a pool of blood. Ohhhhh yeaaaah. It’s gonna be awesome. 

4) Rework the short story that I wrote for my writing community this weekend. It kind of went out of control, but I like the concept: Michael and Gabriel go all cowboy style in the wild west looking for Lucifer. I know, I know, I know, it doesn’t sound awesome, but like, there is something about it that has the potential to be awesome, so I’m working on it. Don’t judge me! 

5) Come up with a new schedule for work on my novel, A Terrible Thing to Waste, because my current timeline is broken (which totally sucks). Post for accountability.

 

That’s a lot, but I’m not starting from scratch with any of these–I wrote snippets all weekend (when I should have been packing!!). I think that this is going to be a great writing week!

What are you up to this week? Let’s be productive together!

 

 

Accountability Friday: Ohhh the Indignity

Man, I don’t even have any excuses for a week. This week was just a hot mess for fiction. Let’s go to the disaster:

1) At least 4 posts this week.

Ok, so I did that.

2) Continue World Building, producing some material that will be good enough to use for plotting.

Not even a chance. And now that I know that I’ll be moving the first week of August, I don’t know how I’m going to be capable of starting this novel August 1. That’s fine, because I can’t plot in July because I’ll be flippin’ packing. Looks like we might be moving everything back to October 1 at this rate!

3) Develop one of the two short stories that I found inspiration for over the weekend.

Now, I did do this. I’m 1381 words into The Hand That Feeds You, a concept that I’m really excited about. I’m on draft zero right now, but I’m hoping to have something done and ready for critique by next Wednesday or so.

4) Work on a Flash Fiction, but not the one that Chuck posted. Work on another one.

Nope. Didn’t happen. Didn’t even come close to happening. But I’m super pumped about this week’s challenge!

5) Finish personal market spreadsheet, pick a few magazines, send off my two lit fic short stories.

Didn’t happen. All of the windows are still open, didn’t even glance at them.

 

So, fail failing fail? I shall deny myself beer this weekend as penance for my actions…and since Sam Adams Summer Ale is my second favorite beer, and the window for drinking it is so damned short, this is a high price to pay indeed!