The Post Card


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

The Post Card
By Nandy Ekle

 

I’ve been sitting here for a week staring out my window, trying to think of something to write. Anything. At. All. I see a squirrel run up a tree and think, Okay, must be something there. But nothing interesting happens. I watch as a beetle trudges across the sidewalk to the other side and wonder if I can make a play on the old “chicken crossing the road” story. But then I decide that’s too cliche.

I’m about to give up and spend another day not writing when the mailman puts a stack of letters in my mailbox. Looking through the day’s deliveries I find a couple of bills (must remember to make those payments), sales’ ads, sales’ gimmicks, and a few announcements to “Resident.” Then I come across a picture of a beautiful sandy beach. The sun is setting and the palm trees are almost black against the bright purple, pink and orange sky. The white foamy water has seeped across the beach nearly up to the legs of the two Adirondack chairs positioned under the fronds of the trees.

I turn the post card over and see these words: “No Drama Here.” And the story of who sat in those chairs under those starry palms with their feet swishing in the tide, and how they got there. The events leading up to such utterly delightful peace exploded in my mind and I couldn’t get to the computer keyboard fast enough.

Dear Muse. I get frustrated with you, nearly on a daily basis. But when you’re right, you’re very right indeed. Thank you.

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

 

200 Words


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

200 Words

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

I’m starting this goal of writing at least two hundred words a day. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, hell or high water, I’m going to write two hundred words a day, and more if I can wring them out.

I will not worry about cohesion, plot, punctuation, spelling, long sentences, short sentences, or run-ons. There will be at least two hundred words a day.

I may be tired, sick, sick and tired, giddy, depressed, busy with grandkids, busy with grown kids, busy with no kids. I may be so down I can barely drag my self out of bed. On the road, on the high seas, hidden high up on a mountain top. In a crowd, or all alone, I will put down two hundred words.

The purpose of this two hundred words a day journal is to get the words flowing again. Words are like blood cells. They tend to stick together and close up portals where they might flow out and land on the pages. Like beautiful flower-shaped blotches of blood stains, words on the pages are soothing and sweet smelling, even when they’re dark and scary.

So this is my goal. For the next six weeks, I will get at least two hundred words a day added to this journal.

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

 

The Post Card


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

The Post Card
By Nandy Ekle

 

I’ve been sitting here for a week staring out my window, trying to think of something to write. Anything. At. All. I see a squirrel run up a tree and think, Okay, must be something there. But nothing interesting happens. I watch as a beetle trudges across the sidewalk to the other side and wonder if I can make a play on the old “chicken crossing the road” story. But then I decide that’s too cliche.

I’m about to give up and spend another day not writing when the mailman puts a stack of letters in my mailbox. Looking through the day’s deliveries I find a couple of bills (must remember to make those payments), sales’ ads, sales’ gimmicks, and a few announcements to “Resident.” Then I come across a picture of a beautiful sandy beach. The sun is setting and the palm trees are almost black against the bright purple, pink and orange sky. The white foamy water has seeped across the beach nearly up to the legs of the two Adirondack chairs positioned under the fronds of the trees.

I turn the post card over and see these words: “No Drama Here.” And the story of who sat in those chairs under those starry palms with their feet swishing in the tide, and how they got there. The events leading up to such utterly delightful peace exploded in my mind and I couldn’t get to the computer keyboard fast enough.

Dear Muse. I get frustrated with you, nearly on a daily basis. But when you’re right, you’re very right indeed. Thank you.

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

 

The Drive-Thru Girl (Part 2)


This is the second half of the flash fiction horror story from last week. Again, parental guidance is suggested…

 

The Drive-Thru Girl (Part 2)

by Adam Huddleston

 

I phoned my wife on the way to Driver Street to tell her I’d be a little late. Head Honcho was coming in tomorrow. Had to do some paperwork. She said okay and be careful. I said okay and I loved her. Did I though? What kind of husband has an affair with someone he met at a fast food drive-thru line?

Twenty minutes later I was pulling into the entrance of a massive home sitting behind a brick wall and iron gate. A pole with a small keypad stuck out from among a thick collection of greenery. I hit the button marked “six” until the mechanism beeped and the gate slid silently open.

The driveway to her house was completely clear, which was surprising because her yard was covered in large oaks and they should have shed their leaves weeks ago. There was something else odd too; it was almost totally silent. No birds, no wind in the branches, nothing.

I pulled up in front of the house and killed the engine. Double glass front doors; swanky. I fingered the doorbell but when she didn’t answer I let myself in.

“I’m upstairs! Take a left at the top! Last room on the right!”

My legs grew weaker with each step I took and a nervous excitement began to grow in my gut. By the time I’d made the top of the stairs, I was sucking in great gulps of air.

I came to the door she’d told me to and peeked in. There she was, sitting up in bed with her back against the headboard. She was wearing lacy, black lingerie.

Oh my.

“Come in and close the door.”

I obeyed and instantly regretted it. As soon as the door clicked behind me, she leaped to her feet in the bed and opened her mouth wide. What was inside will haunt me for the rest of my life. Row after row of tiny, sharp, blood-stained teeth glistened in the light of the room’s lone bulb. Then she began this low, gravelly moaning. I’m not gonna lie, I threw up a little on the floor beside me.

The eyes I had loved to gaze into during my twenty seconds in the burger line morphed into these black…slits. I could see the pupils spinning behind what used to be eyelids.

I think I screamed for a second and when I reached behind me, the door was locked. I didn’t think I’d locked it, but, whatever. She moaned for a few more seconds then just…came at me! Her mouth actually got wider as she ran.

“Stop! Please stop!” I yelled.

She didn’t.

I tried to dodge out of the way but she was so fast, so incredibly fast. I mean like, too fast to be real. She grabbed me and bit into my cheek. The pain was beyond anything I’ve ever felt. I kicked hard and managed to flip her off me for a second.

Without thinking, I sprinted for the bedroom window and jumped through it. I didn’t care. Anything was better than being eaten alive!

The fall was bad. The landing was worse. Doctors say I broke both legs and most of my ribs. Morphine does wonders for the pain but I do have to eat on a full stomach or I’ll toss my cookies.

My family came by a few minutes ago toting a white, paper bag with heavenly aromas drifting from it. The wife said a nice, young check-out girl asked how I was feeling and to get better soon. She told her that she couldn’t wait to see me in the drive-thru again.

Heh.

Maybe I’ll switch to Taco Hut.

The Holidays


Outtakes 269

The Holidays

By Cait Collins

 

Once October 31 is over and the Halloween decorations disappear, I begin to realize the year is almost gone. Thanksgiving is upon us, and while I have bought my Christmas cards, I haven’t addressed one. Black Friday is two days away and I have to work. Just think of all the money I will save because I’m not at the mall. I’ll be on vacation Christmas week, and I plan to write.

Before all the real hustle and bustle begins, I’d like to take a minute to sit back and think about all my blessings, and to thank those who add so much to my life.

I’m thankful that I went 65 years without breaking a bone. But when I did lose the battle with the sidewalk, I’m grateful I was not injured as badly as I could have been. I happy the three doctors in the emergency room were kind, and supportive, and good looking. (If you have to be in pain, it’s nice to have something pleasant to look at.) Excellent care and good insurance are bonuses. Think about all the people around the world who are not as fortunate.

I’m thankful for my family. I don’t know what I would do without my sisters, nieces and nephews. I also have great in-laws.

I’m blessed with good friends.

I have enough. While more might be nice, it’s good to have enough to eat, enough to wear, enough shelter.

I can read. That might not sound like much, but I have opportunities and experiences because I can read. For this reason, I support programs that encourage children to read. One of my favorite baby shower gifts is a story book. If parents read to their children, the kids have a head start in learning.

I have a memoir and a novel in final editing, and a new work in progress.

I have a job I love. Of course it’s frustrating and sometimes tedious, but it keeps me on my toes and gives me fodder for new books. There are some real characters around the office.

I have faith. Not only do I have a strong religious background, I have faith that tomorrow will be better than today.

I have a wonderful critique group and great writer friends. They keep me writing and striving to reach my potential.

This is a short list of good things and people who make my life happy and fulfilled. I wish all of you who visit wordsmithsix.com are as blessed and happy as I am. And for those of you who, like me, are working toward that big break, I wish you success. To all of you, may your holiday season be blessed with family, friends, good food, good books, and may your favorite sports team make the playoffs.

 

 

Author Intrusion


Author Intrusion

by Adam Huddleston

 

The literary device we will be discussing this week is: author intrusion. It is not commonly seen nowadays as it has fallen out of favor. It is defined as the practice of having the author cease telling the story and directing the prose towards the reader. This changes the perspective from first or third-person to second-person.

This technique may be used to reveal specific plot points to the reader that may otherwise be unknown to the protagonist. I personally have never used this device, but its inclusion in your writing may help change things up a bit.

Happy writing!

Meet the Author – Adam Huddleston


Meet the Author

 

Since the creation of WordsmithSix as a critique group, we have evolved in many ways. While every member is like family and brings their own valuable insights to the group, sometimes there are changes. Some of our members have moved on in their life’s journey, however their contributions continue to influence our writing forever. Others have filled the empty chairs and have started their journey into the world of writing.

Each member of WordsmithSix is excited about our writing journey. For the next few weeks we will dedicate a Sunday blog to letting our readers know a little more about who we are. Each author will be asked a few questions to help you understand their desire to write and what motivates them. Maybe their answers will influence you in your writing.

This week we are excited to introduce our newest member of the WordsmithSix Critique group. His writing style is impressive with the ability to draw the reader into the creative worlds he creates.

Please welcome Adam Huddleston

When did you start writing?

I started writing (in earnest) about six years ago.  On a whim, I bought the book “Writing Fiction for Dummies”.  I devoured it cover to cover.

Why did you choose the Genre’ you write in?

I chose the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre because that’s what I grew up reading.  My favs were Stephen King and Michael Crichton.

What’s the best thing you’ve done to help your writing?

The best thing I’ve done for my writing career is joining our critique group.  Having honest feedback on my work helps out tremendously.

What’s your writing routine like?

The best time I find for writing is actually at work.  I often have a Word document pulled up on my computer desktop in the background and I work on it from time to time.

How do you reach that personal place that allows the writing to flow?

I tend to write better when it is as quiet as possible and I can just vomit the words onto the paper (or screen).  Once I get about a paragraph done, I go back and fix things.

Are you an outliner?

I’m not really an outliner, but I feel that if I strengthened those skills, my writing would improve.

What has been your biggest writing challenge?

My biggest writing challenge is trying to complete an entire plot without losing interest and jumping to another project.

What are you working on currently, future?

I am currently working on a middle-grade or YA fantasy story involving an orphan who discovers a “special” door in her bedroom.

What advice would you give to new writers?

My advice to new writers is what I suspect is usually given; write, write, write!  You won’t get a feeling for your literary voice until you really start churning out words.

What’s the most positive thing you could tell writers today?

The most positive thing I could tell writers today is that they should never be discouraged by the enormity of the writing world, but rather encouraged by it.  With e-books, blogging, self-publishing, traditional publishing, and the like, there are plenty of options available.

It Starts With a Song


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

It Starts With a Song

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

The way to start a story is with a song.

I have never claimed to be a musician. But I love music. I love country, rock, country-rock, opera, show tunes, instrumental, folk, seventies, zydeco, techno . . .

And sometimes, something I hear sparks a story.

Ballads, of course, openly tell their stories, and it’s easy to take their poetry and turn it into prose. Love songs also give us stories. Usually it’s easy to catch the meaning, but there a few you have to dig out. I’ve even ‘seen’ a story play out during an instrumental.

I love to listen to a piece of music with my eyes closed. I can feel beats and the notes. The words come to life for me and begin to act out the tale.

Some music inspires me by its melody. I’ve noticed a calming piece of music allows my imagination to open up as much as a story song. And bold sounds, along with fast beats will create adventure, danger, and urgency.

So the goal to writing stories while listening to music is to serenade my reader. I want to sing them my song of seduction, pull them in close to me and waltz them through the scenes. I want them to feel the change of atmosphere as the tones and beats change. And by the end, I want them tired, but willing to come back for more.

And this is the pay off.

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

It Starts With a Picture


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

It Starts With a Picture

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

The way to start a story is with a picture.

I love photographs. I love to look back at my babies, all the homes I’ve lived in, cars I’ve driven, places I’ve been . . . Just different times in my life. We have wedding pictures, anniversary pictures, pregnancy pictures, pictures of illness, pictures of storms, mountains, oceans, clouds, pets, and snow. And we have pictures of children sleeping, playing, bathing, reading, fighting, and hugging. And each and every picture has a story.

Another kind of picture I like is something obscure in a magazine. I have never been there, I did not see it first hand, but it sparks my imagination. I can look deep into the glossy print and play-like I see myself running through the tall brown grass, dark clouds in the horizon and the sun behind me. Or maybe I’ walking the halls of a beautiful ancient estate looking for my lover. I wind my way through enormous trees following fairies and gnomes. I cringe under the cover of my giant canopy bed as the ghost tears its way through the room in the middle of the night.

So, as a writer, my job is to transport my readers to the same picture I’m seeing. I want them to live through the same adventure I’m having, and feel the same things I’m feeling. As soon as they turn to the first page of my story, I want to grab their hand and shout, “Come with me!” I want them to stay close to me and trust that I will get them through to the other side. And in this journey, they will want something, love something, lose something, learn something, and win something.

At the end, I gently drop their hand, kiss them on the forehead, and invite them to come again. And this is the pay off.

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

It Starts With a Word


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

It Starts With a Word

By Nandy Ekle

 

The way to start a story is with a word. Can’t be just any word—it must be the absolute perfect word. Choose it carefully because it has to capture your reader and not let them go until they read the last word.

So you find your word and you know it is exactly the right word to start with. To this perfect word, you add another word, and to that, another. Soon, you have a sentence. And this sentence starts your story. At the end of this sentence, your reader should be so enrapt that walking away from your story is impossible.

But if you stop with one sentence, your reader will walk away after all. So you must put together another sentence. And then another, and another. Before long, you’ll have an entire paragraph.

Paragraphs are very important. For one thing, they are tools to give your story logical organization. Since a paragraph is a group of related ideas, it gives your reader a sense of what comes next, leading them in the direction you want them to go.

Paragraphs are also used to emphasize points. There are instances when you need an idea to stand out on its own. If you separate this idea away from other words and sentences on the page, your reader gets the sense of boldness.

Another thing paragraphs do is make the page appear more inviting. If you have a page of one sentence after another, no breaks, the reader feels like they have run a marathon. There’s no stopping place, no place to take a breath. This will cause them to get tired and give up before even getting to the end of the page.

So your paragraphs lead the reader through, building the story one paragraph at a time, one sentence at a time, one word at a time, you create a chapter, which has the same uses as paragraphs, but on a larger scale.

And then you have your book. And this is the pay off.

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