Avoid the Cliché


Avoid the Cliché

Rory C. Keel

Teachers of the writing craft are unanimous about avoiding the cliché. Have you heard that one before?

A cliché is the use of phrases or expressions that are overused to the point of losing the desired effect of the intended meaning.

One example might be “Are you a man or a mouse?”

While you may want to express the level of strength or fear in your character to that of a small animal, to use this phrase would show lack of originality in your writing. Try to find other words that will demonstrate the meaning and will bring originality to your writing.

Where Do I get my Characters?


Where Do I get my Characters?

Rory C. Keel

When we begin to write a piece of work, we need characters to fill our pages. Beginning with our protagonist, our main character, who will normally be opposed by the antagonist. Supporting characters fill in the gaps and make our stories interesting and full of life.

Characters are all around. Every day you’re surrounded by characters such as a spouse, children or even pets like a cat, dog or a goldfish. Maybe your boss at work or co-workers could add that personality you need for a story. And animals can offer the type of character you need based upon the creature’s instincts and habitat.

As you go through the day, notice who is around you and take notes on how they act and what they say.

Before long you will have the perfect characters for your work.

Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – A trivial event


Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – A trivial event

 Rory C. Keel

 

Yesterday the old man wore a red-checkered flannel shirt accented by cream-colored suspenders. Every day as regular as a clock ticks, he sat on the south end of the forest-green bench in the park across the street from the café.

The day before, he shuffled in a slower pace than usual toward his regular sitting place and wiped the seat with a handkerchief, which he pulled from the back pocket of his wrinkled tan pants. After he stuffed the rag back into his pocket he turned and eased himself onto the bench and watched the children play.

Two days earlier, he wiped his seat and opened a small brown paper sack and produced a peanut to befriend a gray bushy tailed squirrel.

The morning before that he sat and tossed small pieces of bread from his sandwich to the pigeons that flocked around him.

Earlier in the week, a young girl pushing a stroller stopped to rest and sat on the other end of the bench. The old man removed his hat, revealing a gray head, a gesture of politeness long forgotten by a youthful generation. She opened the hood of the stroller to show the gentleman its precious cargo. He smiled.

Today, the south end of the forest green bench in the park across the street from the café is empty.

 

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.

Jump-start your writing: A photo in the newspaper


Jump-start your writing: A photo in the newspaper

Rory C. Keel

The Local newspaper carried a story of the tragic work accident that resulted in the death of a young man. After reading the story, I decided to write about the photograph of the young man that was published. My hope is that you can see the picture through my words.

A picture is simply a snapshot of a brief moment in time. I get the feeling that at the very second the shutter of the camera snapped, this young man was happy.

A red and white striped shirt drew my attention to the center of the photo. A tall slender man stood with his arms folded covered with the long sleeves of a white undershirt. His head is tilted and resting on a wall above his right shoulder. He wore a slight grin on his face that exposed the shallow dimples in his cheeks as he stared back through the lens at the photographer.

The room he looks into is a kitchen, confirmed by the cast iron skillet and dishtowels that hang by a hook on the wall. Further evidence is the foil-covered dish and meringue pie near the end of the counter where he stood.

Behind his head, in another room hung a frame containing a picture. While out of focus, the outline of people reveals that it is a family photo. Beside the family picture hangs a smaller portrait of a young couple and below on a small table sits a picture of small boy with his arms crossed and covered by long white sleeve of an undershirt beneath a dark blue polo.

I wonder how many years have passed between the photo of the small boy and the young man he became?

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?

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.

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?

Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – An Accident


Jump Start Your Writing Challenge – An Accident

Rory C. Keel

 

This week i’m posting the first of my 2017 Jump Start your writing challenge from last week. this piece is of an accident, one I remember as a child.

One of my fondest memories is roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over a fire pit in the backyard. My Grandma would let us weave  hotdogs onto the hook of a wire coat hanger, and my brothers and I would hold them over the fire and giggle with delight as the flames licked at it searing it to perfection.

Marshmallows naturally followed as the best dessert for a backyard campout. When I had worked a mallow onto the hook,  I would slowly rotate the hanger in order to evenly toast the soft sugary puff until the dark brown color indicated it was warm and gooey.

On one occasion my younger brother, with his hunger for the sugary delight and a tendency toward being a pyromaniac, jabbed the sweet treat deep into the heart of the red-hot fire. Deciding he needed to rescue the melting goodness when it erupted into flames, he jerked the hanger catching it on the wire grate. Panic set in. As he twisted and pulled to save the mallow, he yanked and the hook let go flicking the flaming marshmallow toward my brother.

After pealing the goo from his face, Grandma bolted into the house, picked up the receiver and dialed my mother informing her of the emergency. The urgency of the situation suddenly changed with the laughter of my mother when she heard my Grandma’s high-pitched voice say, “We need to go to the hospital. Your son has been hit in the eye with a marshmallow!”

Write about an accident you remember!