Independence Day


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Independence Day

By Nandy Ekle

The anniversary of the day this country declared its independence from England. The birthday of the United States of America, if you will. And history certainly shows how that turned out.

So I will take this opportunity to declare my independence from the writer’s block that has been crushing me for a while. My fans are calling for me and my stories are weeping for attention.

*raises right hand* I declare this day that I have returned to my passion. Taryn will learn her lesson. Gary and Gooley will come to an understanding. Mara will discover her past. And Suzie Carver will pay the price to get exactly what she wants.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

The Writing Space


The Writing Space

by Adam Huddleston

 

Every writer who ever used pen and paper, a typewriter, or a computer, needed a space to write in. The locations are as varied as the individuals creating the work. This week, I would like to share with you my writing space and why it works for me.

The ideal locale to create in is one with little distraction. Generally speaking, the human mind can only concentrate sharply on one item at a time. I would like to say that my home is the quietest, most peaceful place in my life, but with four lovely, energetic children, it can be anything but. I mean, who can deny a beautiful one-year daughter when she crawls to you and stretches out her arms? Exactly.

So, I have found that the best space for me to write in is my computer station at work. As a pharmacist, I stand in front of a monitor all day. While there are ringing phones and medical questions to distract me (it is my job after all), I still find a few breaks in the action to get some writing work done. Maybe having my brain warmed-up helps with the creative process. I also find that interacting with the general public provides me with a plethora of character ideas.

My advice is to try writing in a few different places and see which locale works best for you.

Happy writing!

I Need a Librarian


Outtakes 202

I Need a Librarian

by Cait Collins

 

I love books and I have a fair sized home library. I own everything from Peanuts to the classics; religion to Dummies books. I read reference books and romance; kids literature and true crime. I have out-of-print volumes and new releases. I have kept books autographed by writer friends who are no longer with us. Trouble is I have a horrible time keeping the shelves organized.

Every few months, I go through the shelves, pull out the items I will never reread, and box them up. Eventually, I’ll load the boxes into the car and donate them to the library. Then I rearrange the shelves, putting the non-fiction on one end and filling the empty spaces with favorite authors and fiction. Within a month it’s all out of order as I’ve added new volumes and misplaced others.

My friends and family suggest I get an e-reader or tablet for the books I will only read once. It’s a logical suggestion, but I prefer a real book. You know, bound volumes with pages I can turn. Besides I’m not comfortable reading a tablet while relaxing in a bubble bath.

I guess I have a couple of solutions. I can hire a part time librarian to shelve my books and keep the book cases organized. Or I can enjoy going through each shelf looking for that new release I have yet to read. My conclusion; there is something to be said for reacquainting yourself with your personal library.

BATTLING THE BEAST


BATTLING THE BEAST

I gaze into the eyes of the beast searching to find its soul. I am caught in the childhood game of “the first one who blinks looses,” yet he shows no emotion, no rising of brow, no blinking or shedding of tears, just a long menacing stare.

The creature’s leering eye grows brighter with every passing moment, seemingly intent on seeing the space of my existence. My vision is full of his sight, yet I see nothing.

I study his unrelenting look, my mind searching the far corners and deep recesses, constantly swirling, struggling to find some strategy, or weapon or even one simple word that might defeat my enemy and win this mind-numbing battle.

The desire to close my eyes tugs at the lids. The moisture surrounding my orbs in their sockets has become dry and I struggle against the urge to rub them. The creature shows no signs of weakening and continues to counter every glance.

Without my consent, sudden darkness is all I see. I blink. I am immediately torn between two emotions. First, relief. Moist droplets flood my eyes like waters of the sea crashing onto the shore. The fetters that once restrained the rubbing of my eyelids have now been unfastened.

And second, In the darkness of my blink, dread fills my mind as I wait for the wrath of my opponent to be unleashed. Or perhaps he has already struck with such a swift penalty that I didn’t feel the pain. In the deafening silence I dare to open my eyes. To my surprise I find that it was not I who blinked first, but the computer screen upon which I placed these words.

Rory C. Keel

WHY WRITE?


WHY WRITE?

By Natalie Bright

 

It’s a question I’ve asked myself a gazillion times. Would life be easier if we ignored the voices in our head? Or, maybe not. It’s a delightful dilemma, this world inside a writer’s head, and then I found this great quote on Pinterest:

“Why Write? Why should we all write?

This is what I recommend:

Purchase a small notebook. Post-its. Colorful pages. Plain paper. Hold a pen. Pick a word and see where that word takes you.

Because you store everything in your body: the gorgeous, the ugly, the painful, the ecstatic. It’s all there locked away in your cells where memory, tension and confusion remain day after day, waiting to be set free.

You don’t have to show it to an audience or your spouse or your children or even yourself again. But when it’s written down as a list, as a paragraph or poem or story, you can go to bed with a greater understanding of yourself, of the world, or even of both: yourself in this world.

And at the very least, you know all those things are out of your body. Writing is essentially becoming free. It all begins with a world.”

-VICTORIA ERICKSON

 

 

 

Rejected


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Rejected

By Nandy Ekle

Crushed! How could they! I’ve never been so insulted in my life! I just don’t think I can go on.

The earth shattering thing that just happened was I received a rejection for my story. No explanation, just a form letter advising me my story does not fit their needs. They really had some nerve.

Okay, that may have been a little melodramatic. The truth was I probably didn’t send the right story to the right place. I should have done a little deeper research. And in this day and age, when research is just a tippity tap away on the internet, there really is no excuse for not researching the intended publisher.

But it does sting when we get the rejection letters. We tend to take it personally. We worked on this story, coaxing it to life, and working tirelessly on each and every word. We love the concept and believe the tale is as beautiful as our children. And the we’re told it’s not worthy for that particular publication.

But sometimes I think I just need an attitude adjustment. This is when I turn to the masters. It’s hard to believe that someone like Stephen King every had to endure the tragedy of rejection. In his book, On Writing, he reveals that as a teenager, he pounded a nail into the wall of his bedroom. Every rejection he received, he would impale the slip on the nail. He states that by the time he was fourteen he had so many rejections they would not all fit on the nail. And he was not even old enough to drive a car.

The other side of this confession is that by the time he was fourteen, he had submitted enough stories to receive more rejection slips than could fit on the nail.

The moral of the story is, rejections can be hard on your feelings, but they are also a sign that you’re writing and submitting your babies, which is what we are supposed to be doing.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

The Thrill


The Thrill

by Adam Huddleston

 

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

                                                        -Alfred Hitchcock

 

For works in the horror or thriller genres, the high point of the story comes with a bang; the killer is revealed, the hero is murdered by the antagonist, the kidnapped girl is finally discovered. Fans of these types of books and movies are usually drawn more to the build-up of tension rather than the climax. So, if someone were inclined to pen a horror/thriller short story or novel, what methods could they use to increase this anticipation?

  1. Give small bits of information as the story goes on. It stands to reason that the reader does not want the ending spoiled and feels more involved if they can try to answer the puzzle themselves.
  2. Make sure that the reader cares about the character that is in danger. The closer they feel to them, the more “terror” they will fell as the climax approaches.
  3. Set up the “thrill-causing” events of the story in order of increasing dread. By the time the bang arrives, the reader should be flying through the pages.

Hopefully, I’ve given enough advice to help you in crafting your suspenseful story. Happy writing!

Parents


Outtakes 201

Parents

By Cait Collins

This past Sunday, Fathers’ Day, I watched Dads interact with their children. Some were very attentive to the kids. Other ignored them. A few were stern disciplinarians, while others allowed the kids to run wild. I wondered how their attitudes might affect their kids in the coming years.

I was a lucky kid as my folks managed to strike a balance between too strict and completely permissive. I had my share of spankings and my Dad’s I’m so disappointed in you looks, but the discipline was offset with lots of love. Their influence on my life helped me become the woman I am today.

So how much of a role do our parents play in our lives? Let’s look at the way we write our characters. A boy grows up without parents. Lacking the family relationship, he looks to the gangs to supply the close associations he thinks he’s missing. On the other hand, another young man who has no family aligns himself with a church group looking for brothers and sisters. He accepts that true love may not be part of his life, but he continues to hope for happiness.

Then there are the characters that have been abused and abandoned. Without proper guidance, they have no self esteem and seek acceptance wherever they find it. Or worse, become abusers themselves. Some take a higher road believing they have worth and work to better themselves and find fulfillment.

What about those who do have good parents? Let’s face it; a proper upbringing is no guarantee of happily ever after. But great influences can help. What if the child rebels? Perhaps he takes up drinking or gambling. There are endless possibilities for writing about the family unit and how the influences play on the lives of children. The manner in which the characters develop in the story makes the difference in an exciting attention grabber or a cliché/

READING AND WRITING


 

READING AND WRITING

Rory C. Keel

Recently I had the privilege of participating as a Judge in the Panhandle Professional Writers Youth writing Contest. This contest is an outreach to encourage and promote writing among school age children. I am truly amazed at the interest in writing from the students that enter their pieces to be critiqued.

On several other occasions I’ve had the opportunity to speak at public schools on the topic of writing. The first point I usually emphases is –

“If you can read and write – YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!”

If a person can read with understanding and can write ideas, there is no limit to what they can accomplish.

Roryckeel.com