The Saturday Morning Blogger – Flying like Superman


The Saturday Morning Blogger – Flying like Superman

James Barrington

Flying has always been fascinating to me. Oh, flying in an airplane was appealing, but flying (like Superman) was always so much more interesting. There are probably a million different ways that psychoanalysts would diagnose me with all kinds of social and mental abnormalities, but whatever their opinion of me, I’ve just thought the idea of defying gravity was a fun way to travel. It has been the subject of some of my short fiction daydreaming and always leads into the superhero mode.

In part, it ties back to my refusal to believe that there is an absolute physical speed limit of the speed of light. After all, for years scientists of great renown believed that the speed of sound was an absolute limit beyond which no physical object could pass. I suspect most were pretty red-faced when Chuck Yeager proved them wrong.

As a child I was thrilled with pictures of people wearing flying jet packs and predictions that average commuters would be flying to work in the far distant year of 1975. Hum… that didn’t work out, but the idea still floats around, including flying cars and other dreams of faster local transportation with less congestion. I wonder what will happen when the first flying car accidents result in crashes into home and fatalities on the ground. If we would all just fly “like Superman” we wouldn’t have to worry about those concerns.

Defying gravity, with or without wings, has long been an aspiration of humanity, but the reality of it continues to elude us. We walk and birds fly. Superman’s ability to fly seems to be destined to remain in the realm of comic books.

A Little R and R


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

A Little R and R

By Nandy Ekle

 It’s been more than two years. When the invitation came for a grand vacation with our closest friends, we asked no questions. Just jumped right in, credit card in one hand, telephone in the other, and joined the party.

I set the count down ticker on my count down app and watched the days tick by. I continued with my day job, I continued planning my stories, and I shopped for vacation clothes. My excitement was building higher and higher.

And then this week began. Nothing unusual, same old, same old. And finally today. I mailed/fax’d my letters, researched new letters, then mailed those. And the last few minutes of the work day.

Rest-and-Relaxation has arrived, at least for the next several days. And I must say, not one single solitary moment too soon.

I love my job, I love the company I work for, and I love the people I work with. But sometimes, you just need some R and R.

Write me a comment below and tell me about your favorite type of vacation.

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

Meiosis


Meiosis

by Adam Huddleston

 

This week’s literary term is: meiosis. In the field of biology, it refers to the division of one cell into gamete (sex) cells. In literature, it is defined as the use of understatement to make a specific point or highlight a situation.

For example, when the character Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet is mortally wounded, he states “ay, ay, a scratch, a scratch…” This understatement contrasts with the severity of his injury. Meiosis is often used to give an ironic effect.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to incorporate this into your written works. Happy writing!

Trash It or Fix It?


Outtakes 301

Trash It or Fix It?

By Cait Collins

 

I tried a new approach to writing my current novel. Instead of start at the beginning and progress to the end, I’m writing scenes. I’m trying to put them in order and then see what works and what doesn’t. The problem is that I really like some of the scenes that I’m unable to use.

Right now I’m working on two scenes. In the first scene, the heroine must come to terms with a disastrous relationship. In the other scene, Tyler, must confess a dark secret. So tell me, how does a man who has always been Uncle Tyler tell a shy eight-year old girl that he is her daddy?

I think I have my work cut out for me on this one.

The Servant Is The Greatest


The Servant Is The Greatest

Rory C. Keel

Tired after a long hard day of driving, I stood on the opposite side of the hotel check-in desk across from a woman who greeted me with a large smile and a “we’re glad you chose our hotel.” This preceded the grueling procedure of producing identification, filling out forms requesting my vehicles make, model, and tag number and finally paying what seemed to me like an excessive sum of money for one night. The well-dressed lady with a nametag behind the counter then smiled again and said, “We hope your stay is comfortable.”

Entering my room I flipped on the lights and immediately caught a fresh scent that assured me of the rooms cleanliness. In the bathroom, I noticed a flash from the chrome faucet reflected in the spotless mirror. Towels and washcloths hung and folded to meet any military standard. The porcelain surfaces sparkled as if they had never been used. Sitting on the bedside, the smell of fresh sheets filled my nose. And on the nightstand beside the bed, lay a card with the name of the individual who had cleaned the room along with the statement “We hope your stay is comfortable.”

At that moment the wisdom in the Lord’s Words came to mind, without the servant who truly made my stay comfortable, the person at the check-in wouldn’t have a job. The servant is truly the greatest.

A Scene Defined


A Scene Defined

Natalie Bright

The scene is the unit of story, and in a book usually starts with a character arriving and ends when something has changed. A scene propels the story forward.

  1. Scenes in a book are anchored in a certain place and certain time.
  2. A narrative summary can describe the specifics of your scene.
  3. Scenes usually contain some type of visible action, not just internal thinking from the character.
  4. Do not use italics for internal dialogue, or what your character is “thinking”. Once the standard norm, the point of digging deep is writing inside your character’s head.
  5. Keep the scene and action moving. No backstory in the first chapter (maybe two). Hook the reader, and save the backstory for later.
  6. Skillfully weave your backstory into the story, these can be tension filled scenes into itself.
  7. End scenes (chapters) with a hook—a punchy, pithy statement.

Does your scene play like a movie in your head?

The Saturday Morning Blogger – Days of summer


The Saturday Morning Blogger – Days of summer

James Barrington

When I was a child I looked forward to summer with a special kind of longing. I enjoyed school, but breaking the routine of “time to get up” and “bedtime” was a treat. My dad was much too rigid from his farm life during the Depression to his Army days during World War II, but when I could “sleep in” it was a tiny taste of Heaven.

Summer days brought opportunities to swim or picnic. I would spend hours reading library books. I enjoyed exploring the town on my bicycle. Back in the early 60’s, small town America was still a safe place to live – or at least pre-teens and their parents seemed to think so. The big cities were where crime occurred and small towns were “where everybody knows your name.”

I remember being attacked by two German Shepherd dogs the summer I was 17. I stormed into the house and pulled my dad’s .22 rifle out of the closet and was starting out the door to dispatch those two dogs when my mom stopped me, noticing the blood flowing from the torn leg on my blue jeans where the dogs’ teeth had found flesh. She stopped me and called the local town marshal. He impounded the dogs and I never saw them again.

I don’t remember fishing much as a child. I played little league baseball a couple of years – not very well. Some of my best memories of childhood summers were hunting on my grandparents’ farm outside Nacogdoches. I became proficient with my dad’s .22 rife and my granddad’s 410 gauge shotgun. I shot a good share of armadillos and rabbits. I shot a few squirrels and a few snakes. I even used the .22 to “thin the herd” of roosters when they started outnumbering the “laying hens.”

This summer I’m looking forward to some time to visit our daughter and grandsons in Maine. The younger one is on a little league team. His skill, by all accounts, far exceed what I was able to do at his age. As summer approaches, I’m looking forward to some cooler days that the Texas summers when we visit “Down East” Maine and enjoy a lobster dinner and some little league baseball.

 

What Happened to Detective Dougan?


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

What Happened to Detective Dougan?

By Nandy Ekle

 

Detective Jeremy Dougan headed to the station for his first day on the job in the city. After finishing the academy and putting in his time as a patrol officer, he had returned to his home town. He finally had the career he had worked and planned for: working on the police force in his hometown as a detective. He walked into the office with a whistle on his lips and noticed a new case waiting on his rough wooden desk. Setting down his coffee, he opened the folder.

The police report told about a missing person, Anton Easley, last seen getting into his car on July 20 on the Texas A & M University campus. He had told friends standing near that he planned to return to his residence to prepare for an upcoming chemistry exam. Jeremy had seen it before—an irresponsible college student suddenly decides he’s not bound to anyone and takes off without letting a soul know his plans. The last known residence of the uncaring boy sent shivers of surprise through his memory: 924 Ginger Street.

To find out why the address gave Jeremy such a surprise, go to amazon.com/The Least He Could Do. It’s $6.99, and Miss Bitsy is the second story in the book.

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

 

Literary Terms


Literary Terms

by Adam Huddleston

 

Many weeks, the subject of my blog involves literary terms or devices. You may wonder, “Does Adam possess that great of an inventory of knowledge that he can spout out definitions and examples of these topics?”

I say, “Nay.” Allow me to impart the sources of my weekly knowledge.

Two excellent websites: www.literarydevices.net and www.literary-devices.com are full of excellent definitions and examples. Although the lists may not be exhaustive, for my intents and purposes, they definitely suffice. I hope these resources will help you in your craft.

Happy writing!

Take Out the Trash


Outtakes 300

Take Out the Trash

By Cait Collins

 

Our office is about to undergo some serious renovations. In an effort to reduce work stoppage, we are being moved to another campus in town. As our new space is limited, we have been instructed to remove our personal items and go through our files and storage and eliminate as much paper as possible. I took personal items home the first week. As I order supplies for our team, I helped sort the supply storage. It just needs to be packed. Now I’m in the process of cleaning out my files.

I appalled at the “stuff” I’ve held on to. For example, I retained copies of every performance evaluation since I was hired. Every course completion certificate was safely stored in a series of file folders. Old faxes also took up space in the two file drawers. Needless to say, I’m taking out the trash before I move this week.

Editing is probably the most difficult step in the writing process. Editing is more than checking spelling and punctuation. It’s also taking out the trash in the story. Do you have a minor character that’s just a talking head? One that really provides no substance for the story? Get rid of him. You have a beautiful scene, but it doesn’t help move the story. No problem. Paste it into your file of “do not lose” scenes and move on. Every character, every scene, all dialogue must support and build the story. We have no room for place holding in our work. Nothing should remain that doesn’t move the story to the climax and resolution.

Words are important. Scenes are important. Characters are essential. Just make sure they are an asset to the work. Non-essentials go out with the trash.