Posts tagged Fiction
Reading for Writing (A Reading Challenge)

Guilty. Between writing, blogging, graphic design, household duties, raising two kids and the vague hope of a social life, my hands and schedule are decidedly full. Reading tries to climb up the priority list, but usually gets knocked down by the multitude of other responsibilities that require attention. And yet, reading is something I love--something I hate to go without. When I don't read, the impact on my creativity is tangible. My efficiency as a writer obviously shifts, and I think I know why: There exists a connectedness between we who work in words. It's as if we're all sharing our creativity: reading others' pieces to spark our imaginations, and then in turn producing material that will stir some other writer's thoughts. We require inspiration to inspire--like we must take in a breath in order to breathe one out. Unfortunately, the business of life often gets in the way and we're left wanting for air, wheezing out our lines and pages.

I've decided to make an initiative for myself and anyone else who needs to take a breath: It may be a small step, but I'll be reading one new book a month. The emphasis is on "new" because I have a funny habit of reading the same few books repeatedly. Why, I couldn't say, but my husband teases me mercilessly over this quirk of mine. Hopefully, exposure to some new material will inspire me even more than (or at least as much as) the books I've come to know as old friends. If you're having trouble finding time to read, and especially if you're also finding your work to be lagging (as I have been), try jumping in on this challenge with me. I'll let you know what I plan to read before I begin, and it'd be awesome to have a discussion about the book when the month is up. Feel free to join me.

As for the month of September, I'm open to suggestions. What've you got?

Today's Prompt: Write a short story set in a world in which people only communicate through the exchange of written fiction (books, poetry, short stories, etc.)

Happy Writing!


Here's to the Children's Authors

Here's one for you children's authors out there. "Props" to y'all, because writing for tiny humans is definitely not my forte. My husband on the other hand, who worked in the Children's Room of the Library for something like eight years, understands the world of children's fiction. He actually authored a children's book himself: Gator in a Tree. The most I could contribute to that project was my graphic design skills, which were used to format everything (at least I did a good job there!). Needless to say, having seen the process of making a kids' book and now having kids of my own to read to, I admire anyone who writes for children. There's a real skill in making something as utterly complex and simple as a child's book. It's a skill I'm not quite comfortable in, but perhaps one day I'll improve. Here's to you!

Today's Prompt: Write a children's story that begins with the line: "Henry the Balloon Man was missing from the park today."

Happy Writing!


Good Sense is Good Writing

 When I was in third grade, I began writing my first novel. It was an interesting attempt, to say the least—a   comedic story of a young girl and her certifiably insane cat. I don't remember much of this story—not the cat's name or the characters or even the basic setting, but I do remember one scene. My main character's older sister, the typical teenager, had her boyfriend over for dinner. Budding novelist me wrote that during the course of dinner, teenage sister's boyfriend began making strange noises and squirming in his seat. Then with a shout, he stood abruptly at the table to reveal a "giant bulge" in his pants (oh dear)!

In my mind, there was a simple explanation. The cat (then a kitten) scratched her way up the boyfriend's pants and ended up as a furry little leg tumor clearly noticable beneath the fabric. I was too naive to see it any differently. My parents on the other hand... Well, they laughed at the unintentional innuendo so much that I was too embarrassed to continue. I didn't try to write again for a few years—not until I had gained a little wisdom and recovered from my shame.

My unfortunate experience came primarily from a lack of worldly knowledge, which I consider to be in the same vein of good sense. I was eight years old or so, so my naïveté is pardonable. If an adult wrote the same scene however, people would shake their heads and say, "She really should have known better." 

Sense, knowledge, maturity, practicality—all of these assets come along with growth, and all are necessary for good writing. Whatever your genre, you've got to have common sense to craft something believable; something that flows well and comes together perfectly at the end. Even in fantasy, a writer's comprehension of reality—real situations, real people, real emotions—should be evident. Otherwise, the work ventures into the ridiculous and leaves the author looking silly (at best).  So use common sense when you write, because sense is the difference between a joke and a masterpiece.

Today's Prompt: Write a short story feauturing a character with good intentions, but bad sense. Teach this character a lesson.

Happy Writing!


Fiction Writing: The Truth in the Lies (Quote of the Day)

Today's Prompt: Read a short piece of fiction you wrote in the past and respond to these questions.
  • What are the lies in this story? 
  • What are the truths?
  • How do the truths impact the lies?
  • If you were to remove the element of truth, would the story still be believable?

Happy Reading!


Quote of the Day—Ray Bradbury

This quote is one of my favorites, but its interpretations can be widely varied. To me, it means that I must exercise my writing often enough to avoid losing inspiration and ability. Others may relate to this quote because they use writing as an escape from a destructive or difficult reality. I think, depending on your circumstances and mindset, Bradbury's words can signify quite a few different things, all just as meaningful as the others.

So what is the significance of this quote to you? How can you apply it to your life as a writer?

Today's Prompt: Imagine the modern world without one essential aspect. It can be an object or occurrence, natural or manmade. Create a brief, written "snapshot" of life without this aspect. 

Post what you come up with in the comments!


Quote of the Day—Ernest Hemingway

Right now I love this quote. Since my current novel is largely based on experiences I actually had, I constantly have to find the balance between sharing enough and sharing too much. Hemingway offers a good reminder to writers here (especially writers of semi autobiographical fiction): avoid getting too caught up in the details and just focus on telling a good story—even if you have to omit certain aspects.

Have you ever written anything based on your own life? How did you express your memories without going overboard?

Today's prompt: Write a short, fictional story based on personal experience, keeping in mind Hemingway's quote.

Leave your story in the comments below!


Quote of the Day—Kurt Vonnegut

This could mean trouble for those of us in the business of fiction, couldn't it? Novelists, playwrights, poets, screenwriters, actors… We all pretend to be people we aren't—sometimes all at once! Personally, when I get really into writing a character, I sometimes find myself picking up that character's mannerisms and using them in reality. That may not always be a good thing...

Today I'm not asking a question. Instead, I've decided to start including a daily prompt with these quotes. It may not always include writing fiction; it could be an activity and a response, etc. Either way, a prompt is always good exercise! 

Today's prompt: Spend 15-20 minutes as one of your characters—one who is least like you. Only do and say things that character would do and say. Did you learn anything new about your character? How will this help you write him/her in the future? Respond in the comments section.

Looking forward to hearing about your pretend adventures!