Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – A weather change


Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – A weather change

Rory C. Keel

 

One day this week the temperature drops to minus two degrees and then rises to peak at seventy the next day, and the week ended with three inches of rain topped by two inches of snow. Now that’s a weather change!

Perhaps that’s the kind of change that prompted ol’ timers to use sayings like,

“Whether it’s cold or whether it’s hot; we shall have weather, whether or not!”

To tell you the truth, sometimes the best way to forecast the weather is to look outside and see what’s happening at the moment.

Did you have a weather change this week?

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Congratulations, Joe and Hello, James!


Congratulations, Joe and Hello, James!

Natalie Bright

It’s an extra special celebration to kick off the New Year because we are adding a new member, James Barrington. James will introduce himself and tell you more about his work in a later blog. This week I wanted to share some wonderful news about one of our members, Joe Nichols.

Joe and I are neighbors. We live about eight miles from town past the pavement down a bumpy, caliche road. A mutual friend noticed we had similar addresses, and I was thrilled to find out he was interested in writing. He joined our group many years ago to write a book; an idea that he’d been thinking about most of his adult life. He came to that first meeting knowing nothing about plotting or sentence structure, but I remember how determined he was to learn. The story he wanted to write wouldn’t leave him alone. As a former rodeo bronc rider, his story-telling is raw and authentic. He has also been developing ideas for freelance articles. We are so excited that Western Horseman magazine has published BRUTUS’ NEW JOB. It’s about a bucking bronc who decided he didin’t want to buck anymore and gets a second chance at life in the rodeo arena and on the ranch. You can read Joe’s article in the February 2017 edition of Western Horsemen Magazine. Congratulations, Joe!

WordsmithSix writers critique group has been meeting together since 2009. We’ve said goodbye to a few members and gained a few. We have cranked out words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters which have been discussed, cussed, submitted, published and rejected. Writing is some of the hardest work you’ll ever decide to tackle in your life. Seeing your words in print is one of the most rewarding things ever. When one of my critique mates has good news to share, I’m just as excited as if it were my own work. Every little success just propels the rest of us to work harder.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix as we navigate the world of writing and publishing. Have you set your goals for 2017?

Writing onward…

Prompt Three


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Prompt Three

By Nandy Ekle

I am going to attempt something new each week here. I have a list of story prompts that I want to use for my blogs each week. These are not my original ideas, they are from several lists I have found.

So, here is Number Two. Not sure what to call it, but here goes.

SLEEPLESS (accompanied by a picture of a woman lying on her side on a bed in the dark with her eyes wide open).

One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep, five sheep, six sheep, seven sheep, eight sheep, nine sheep, ten sheep . . .

Nope. Still wide awake. Oh, now my feet itch, but I can’t reach them. I’ll have to sit up and bring my knees to my chest. This is not fun since my knees don’t like to bend that far. But the itch is one of those sharp, SCRATCH ME NOW types of itch. So, I toss the cover off, raise my upper body up while pulling my knees up, and my hand curls into a claw as it zips to the spot. Oh! deep itch, deep scratching, hurts so good.

Okay. I’m now going to try sleeping again. I turn to my right side because that’s where my best sleep is. My left arm is down my side so that my left shoulder is supported. Ah. I am finally comfortable, just warm enough, and my eyes think about closing.

Suddenly, my right shoulder feels like a rusty nail has been pounded directly through the joint. The pain is unbearable and I have to turn to my other side. I push the covers off my arms, rotate my hips and shoulders, and lay back down. I pull the covers back up to my ear when I realize my pillow has shifted. Now I have to grab it and reposition it to support my head and neck so my left shoulder is not smashed as much as my right shoulder was, and the shell of my left ear is in the low part of the pillow. It tends to ache in the middle of the night if I don’t.

Now I’m feeling slightly drowsy when heat nearly explodes out of my chest, down my arms to the tips of my fingers. Sweat breaks out on my upper lip, under my arms, and my legs down to my toes. I throw the covers off and flip over to my back. The air around me in the room is icy, but feels like heaven while I ride the heat wave out.

After a few minutes I feel the flame inside me start to wind down. The coldness of the room seeps into my skin and I reach for the cover. Now I must go through the routine of finding the comfort spot on my left side again.

My eyes close and I wait for the bliss of unconsciousness. One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four sheep, five sheep, six sheep, seven sheep, eight sheep, nine sheep,             ten sheep . . .

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

Dystopian vs. Utopian


Dystopian vs. Utopian

by Adam Huddleston

 

The literary terms this week are dystopian and utopian. They are mirror opposites and refer to a future that is either bleak and imperfect, or ideal and beautiful, respectively.

In a dystopian society, government may be either oppressive or completely absent. Citizens are often severely divided among economic lines. There is typically an individual or small group that rises up against the powers that be. Examples include: 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Utopian societies usually include an overall happiness in the populace. This is a future that is perfect or close to it. The point is to express to the reader the faults in our current society. Although I haven’t read these, examples include: New Jerusalem by Samuel Gott and News from Nowhere by William Morris.

Dog’s Life


Outtakes 276

Dog’s Life

By Cait Collins

 

A co-worker of mine returned from her vacation to find her beloved cat is distress. I was sorry to hear that he did not survive. As she was telling me about her pet, I realized that I had never really bonded with an animal. When you’re in the military pets are not always convenient. Some military housing did not provide fenced and gated yards. And as housing was almost white-glove inspected before transfer, we could not risk a pet that would damage or destroy the property. It wasn’t until I married that I felt a bond with an animal. My husband’s German shepherd would lay his head in my lap and beg me to stop the brothers’ wrestling match. I remember how devastated we were when we lost Barron.

I also realized I’ve seldom featured animals in my novels. Ginger is the exception. Ginger, the Irish setter in my current work, recognized Creed immediately, but her master is suffering from amnesia and doesn’t know the dog. Yet when he’s sitting on the floor watching over Ginger’s mistress who fainted when she saw her long lost son, he absently scratches the dog’s ears and talks to her like they’re old pals.

Ginger is collects people, especially people who are hurting. When ten-year old Sara learns the man she’s called uncle is really her father, she is hurt and angry because he lied to her. Creed’s dog becomes her confidant. She provides whines of understanding and licks of sympathy.

Ginger also plays a role in Creed’s recovery. She is the calm, the constant in the trials and pain of reclaiming his life. While others are stressing and venting, she remains a steadying influence for everyone she considers family.

I don’t have a pet. Mostly because I’m not home enough to devote the time and energy an animal deserves. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the companionship and love a furry friend provides. Animal friends are as multi-faceted as humans. They are not color in a story, often they are the story. Old Yeller comes to mind.

Pinocchio had Jiminy Cricket. Cinderella befriended her mice. Beauty had her Beast. Nana cared for the Darling children. What about White Fang, Fury, and Flicka? And there’s Lassie, Spot, and Rin Tin Tin. As you can see, sometimes an animal…dog, cat, wolf, horse, or a cricket just might be the missing or the lead character in a story.

Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – A casual remark


Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – A casual remark

Rory C. Keel

Over the next two weeks Milton worked with the oxen. Starting early in the morning and working through most of the day, he could be heard in the field yelling “Gee” to turn them right, and “Haw” to turn them left, and somewhere in between he informed each one of them how dumb they really were.

Prompt Two


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Prompt Two
By Nandy Ekle

I am going to attempt something new each week here. I have a list of story prompts that I want to use for my blogs each week. These are not my original ideas, they are from several lists I have found.

So, here is Number Two. Not sure what to call it, but here goes.

AN UNEXPECTED EVENT.

Every day is the same routine. Get up in the early morning, go to bed late at night. Work at my desk job during the daylight hours, work at my home job during the nighttime hours. Gather documents from eight to twelve, eat lunch hour from twelve to one, write letters from one to five. Go home, eat dinner, surf the net, bed, start over.

But then something completely unexpected happened. When I got to my desk I noticed one of my shelf decorations had an altered look. When I saw this, I knew my life would never be the same.

I work in a small cubicle, a U-shaped desk, two filing cabinets, two shelves. One of the shelves, the one closest to my arm length, is covered with books and information I use to research my letters. The other shelf is covered with my personal decorations. I love skulls, sugar skulls, skeletons, all manner of Halloween type stuff. I have several pieces arranged in a tableau to looks like a dark corpse wedding. The centerpiece of my tableau is a bronze skull on a platform looking at a black bronze rose, as if in contemplation. I call him Horatio.

I greet Horatio every morning and he stares back at me with his hollow bronze eyes as if to say, “Good morning, Nandy. Today we will be writing a story about a bullfight.” “Good morning, Nandy. Today we are researching tarot cards.” “Good morning, Nancy. Today we are going to read a book to get ideas about how to handle your main character’s current situation.” But one morning when I came in, Horatio didn’t say a word. He didn’t need to.

Up until around four months ago a woman sat in the cubicle behind me. She had always been a woman woman who was know for being harsh. She had a strong personality, and usually came off as a hard nose. Her speech could be abrupt, and she used that to her advantage. It was a while before I felt comfortable with her, and she did not like my skulls and skeletons. So when I saw Horatio on this particular morning, my co-worker suddenly gained a huge amount of respect and love for her.

Horatio staid in his spot on the shelf. He didn’t say a single word, but he didn’t need to. a giant rainbow colored Afro wig was perched on his head, I laughed at him, and he laughed back. And i hear the voice of my co-worker behind me break out in a giant giggle. I looked over the cubicle wall and watched as my co-worker wiped the tears off her face.

“Is that your wig?” I asked her.
“Well, if it’s not, it should be.”

She didn’t answer, but together she and I took some awesome pictures. And Horatio has been more than just a pretty skull.

What I said on that day is, “So, we’re having some dark humor today?” Horatio just looked at his rose while grinning his bronze grin. Kay became a very good friend of mine and when she retired a few months later, I could almost swear the skull named Horotio blow me kisses when no one else is working.

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

Inspirations


Inspirations

by Adam Huddleston

 

“Where do you get your ideas?”

It’s a question asked to authors of all shapes and sizes, levels of fame, and years of experience. The answers are as varied as the individuals being queried. If I may take a moment to surmise, I believe that most of the answers amount to the same thing: observation of the world around us.

Several of my story ideas, from themes to opening lines, originated from something my kids or wife said. I take those little quips and extrapolate them into something bigger and better. For example, one of the many stories that are in development (a particularly nasty from of writer’s purgatory), concerns an android whose battery is dying. The inspiration arose when my young daughter was reminded that daddy’s phone battery was low. I took the simple statement and ran with it.

The same offspring recently began explaining to me that a tiny door resided under her bed. Said door opened to a magical world. Suffice it to say, I jumped on the opportunity to encourage her to write down everything she saw, smelled, heard, tasted, or felt. The way I see it, the earlier I can instill a sense of wonder and love of literature in a child, the better that baby’s life could be.

So, if you are a writer, I repeat my question.

“Where do you get your ideas?”

Snow Day


Outtakes 275

Snow Day

By Cait Collins

 

The weekend weather was really something. We had rain, freezing drizzle, and snow. I don’t mind the rain as the Texas Panhandle is experiencing a drought. Again. We desperately needed the moisture to reduce the fire hazards. However, I’m not fond of freezing rain and ice. But the snow was magnificent.

I woke up about one in the morning and looked out the window. Over an inch of pristine white was on the ground, coating trees, and cars. I watched the falling snow for a while knowing that by early afternoon it would be gone. I returned to bed and slept peacefully for the rest of the night.

On Monday I woke refreshed and ready to write. I had an idea that it was time for Tyler to tell Sara he was her father. The story took another twist, and I really like it. I wrote ten pages in three hours. Now it’s time to edit draft.

Sometime writing is frustrating. The words don’t come or the story seems stale. But then there are those wonderful days when it all goes right. It’s those days that thrill me and make me glad I’m a writer.