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

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The Gift Of An Author


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

 

The Gift Of An Author

By Nandy Ekle

 

Imagine walking down a hallway of closed doors. Each door has a plaque above it with the title of a story, and a few doors have plaques with no words on them as if waiting for a name. You hear voices behind every one and knocking comes from the other side of two or three at the same time. You’re standing in front of a door listening to loud, insistent pounding and a voice calling your name over and over. You reach out to turn the knob and realize it’s locked and you don’t have a key.

Where is the key? That door was just opened a few days ago and you visited with the voices behind it like gossiping neighbors. Why is it locked so tightly now?

This is how I imagine writer’s block. It’s frustrating and scary and can even be debilitating. It’s like losing eyesight or a hand. And I’ve been there lately.

These are the times I turn to my good friends Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and a myriad of other flourishing writers. I open a successful book written by one of these masters and beg them to instruct me once again about writing again. I get lost in their stories and feel them tug at the door with me.

Then the miracle happens. As I turn the page, enrapt in the worlds they created, I find the key to the door. I slip it into the keyhole and feel the lock turn, allowing the door to open. My characters run out and embrace me as my hands fly across the keyboard of my computer once more.

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

Think About It and Become Inspired


Think About It and Become Inspired

By Rory C. Keel

Recently I found myself bogged down in writing my Novel. My first thought was that I had lost my ability to write. However, I seem to be able to spell and put a sentence together and my computer still functions. My fingers are flexible enough to hold a pen write on the reams of paper I have so what’s the problem, the lack of inspiration.

Inspiration

Inspiration doesn’t fall from the clouds nor is it mystical but it is a product of action.

When we feel inspired, it’s because we’ve been thinking and meditating on information we have taken into our minds through our senses. We take all of this information and then twist it, shake it, mold it and place it into a certain order in our minds that makes sense to us.

We then become inspired.

This process is action that produces inspiration.

roryckeel.com

Think About It and Become Inspired


Think About It and Become Inspired

By Rory C. Keel

Recently I found myself bogged down in writing my Novel. My first thought was that I had lost my ability to write. However, I seem to be able to spell and put a sentence together and my computer still functions. My fingers are flexible enough to hold a pen write on the reams of paper I have so what’s the problem, the lack of inspiration.

Inspiration

Inspiration doesn’t fall from the clouds nor is it mystical but it is a product of action.

When we feel inspired, it’s because we’ve been thinking and meditating on information we have taken into our minds through our senses. We take all of this information and then twist it, shake it, mold it and place it into a certain order in our minds that makes sense to us.

We then become inspired.

This process is action that produces inspiration.

roryckeel.com

Stuck


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Stuck

By Nandy Ekle

Writer’s block. It’s almost as scary a word as “spider.” In fact I’ve used the image of a huge hairy spider to describe writer’s block.

This time I discovered an exercise to help cut a hole through the wall between me and my words. I wrote a little essay describing my plight.

“I’m looking through a window in a door and I see all the characters I ever wrote. They’re all frozen just like the commercial about digital photos that are never downloaded from the camera. Some are frozen in mid jump, some are frozen in mid dialogue, some are frozen in their tears. What a painful way to freeze. I see pleadings in their eyes, pleading me to set them free and let them live out their stories, but I am helpless.

Maybe that’s why this coldness is so frightening. I can’t do anything to help them. The words I have played with all my life are locked up in the toy cabinet across the hall and a huge spider guards them. I must find the key to get them back out!”

As soon as I finished the essay, I wrote a character sketch for my latest story. In doing so, I worked out the problems with the plot.

If you have a wall between you and your words, write something. It will break the wall, allowing your story to write itself.

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

Lost


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Lost

By Nandy Ekle

Okay. You’ve got a concept and you sort of have a plot—at least, you know where you want to the concept to go. You’ve got a theme and a great opening that reaches out and grabs your readers by the throat. This is going to be a great story! You can’t write it fast enough. Your characters are telling all the right things and you are humming along telling your tale and feeling wonderful.

Until a giant wall of Nothing hits you in the face. You stare at he computer screen for days and no new words appear. You re-read everything you’ve written up to this point, still nothing. You know exactly what happens next and how it happens, why, and even what comes after that. But when you type a word, it sounds like a toddler just learning to talk. You have come to *cues Psycho Shower Scene Music* Writer’s Block.

I don’t know how to cure Writer’s Block or even how to avoid it. Stephen King says the cure is to write through it. But it is debilitating enough to make you want to stick your tongue out at Mr. King.

So I tried something this week. I thought to myself, I love the challenge of being able to write anything. So I wrote to my critique partners (you’ve really got to get some of those—they’re wonderful) and asked them to assign me something to write about, just to see if I could do it. They suggested I take the main character of my story and write a characterization for her. So I did.

And I learned a million and one things about, not just a paperdoll I had made up, but a person that lives and breathes. She’s more than just a vehicle to tell my story, she’s living it. I already knew her name and things like that. I knew what she wants and why she wants it and how she’s going to try to get it and what’s going to happen when she does. What I didn’t know is what her favorite color is, what her hobbies are and why she wants what she does, other than the obvious. I needed more than just to hear her voice, I needed to feel her breath on my ear when she speaks.

In learning these things, I could see the deeper layers of my story. I can see that it’s not just the story of what and where she is now, but where and what she will be in the future and why. I learned that the little adventure she’s having now is actually just the beginning of her story, because what she wants deep down is way more than one book can handle.

In short, I now see exactly where she’s going for at least two more books.

Dear Critique Group, Thank You.

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

The Gift Of An Author


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Gift Of An Author

By Nandy Ekle

 

Imagine walking down a hallway of closed doors. Each door has a plaque above it with the title of a story, and a few doors have plaques with no words on them as if waiting for a name. You hear voices behind every one and knocking comes from the other side of two or three at the same time. You’re standing in front of a door listening to loud, insistent pounding and a voice calling your name over and over. You reach out to turn the knob and realize it’s locked and you don’t have a key.

Where is the key? That door was just opened a few days ago and you visited with the voices behind it like gossiping neighbors. Why is it locked so tightly now?

This is how I imagine writer’s block. It’s frustrating and scary and can even be debilitating. It’s like losing eyesight or a hand. And I’ve been there lately.

These are the times I turn to my good friends Stephen King, J.K. Rowling and a myriad of other flourishing writers. I open a successful book written by one of these masters and beg them to instruct me once again about writing again. I get lost in their stories and feel them tug at the door with me.

Then the miracle happens. As I turn the page, enrapt in the worlds they created, I find the key to the door. I slip it into the keyhole and feel the lock turn, allowing the door to open. My characters run out and embrace me as my hands fly across the keyboard of my computer once more.

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

The Art of Writing


The Art of Writing

By Rory C. Keel

I appreciate a good work of art. I enjoy paintings, sculptures, and on occasion a memorable structure of architecture. Some of these works I don’t understand, like abstract art, there’s been times that i’ve wondered if I could do better by closing my eyes and throwing the paintbrush at the canvas. But I do appreciate a good piece of art.

In order to understand art, I participated in a college art appreciation class. In this class I found out that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Art is the expression of an idea, formed in such a way it allows others to enjoy the experience. This is done by creating music, paintings, sculpture, dance and even writing. Within each of these forms of art, are principles of craftsmanship that must be followed regarding specific materials and how they work.

Meet the Artist

Thinking about my writing as an art form keeps me from over-analyzing and being too critical of my mental idea. This also helps prevent writers block. As a sculptor takes a blob of clay and shapes it to his or her idea, the writer needs to put the material, the idea, on the table or paper, and turn off the editor for the first draft.

Introduce the Craftsman

When the idea is formed, then the elements of the craft can be applied and the editor can take over to finish the masterpiece. Writing is the merger of art and craft.

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

I Admit It; I’m an Outliner.


I Admit It; I’m an Outliner.

By Rory C. Keel

It is generally accepted among writers that there are two categories of writers: outliners and non-outliners, otherwise known as “plotters and pantsers.”

While non-outliners, or pantsers, fly by the “seat of their pants” when writing, the plotter or outliner does just what the name implies, we make an outline.

Make an outline.

When your writing begins, make a brief outline of the story you want to create. It doesn’t need to be a formal outline with roman numerals and such, but a basic list of plot points. It can be very general or elaborately detailed, either way you know the direction you want to take your story.

Benefits of Outlining

There are several benefits in outlining.

  1. It allows you to know where you’re going.
  2. It allows you to see the balance of a story at a glance.
  3. Keeps you from chasing dead ends.
  4. Helps in determining the POV of your story.

If you are struggling with writer’s block, try outlining the rest of your story to move you forward.