The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Blurb Friday # 5

photo by Joey Claro

           Thanks to Lisa Ricard Claro, with her blog meme "Book Blurb Friday."

           Every Friday (actually, the early birds can get the photo the week before, and let their ideas gel) a picture is posted. Sometimes it's a photo snapped by one of her "children."  (Lisa has not ever given birth, and is really in her 30's, but she likes to portray an older, more experienced writer, so she rents children and passes them off as her own.  A "daughter" has posted a couple of these photos. Maybe the warranty on that one ran out, so now she's utilizing a different rental unit?)

          Go to her BBF button to get all the details---a blurb of 150 words or less, and then link it to Lisa's blog, along with commenting on everyone's burb. 

         Here is my offering (a bit lame):

Unrequited Forever

         They knew they did not belong together, that in the end, their hearts would be broken. Yet, they could not resist the almost-magnetic pull towards each other.

          In this earth-shattering true ground-breaking story, biologist I.M. Compost has uncovered the filthy details in his true grime story; he leafs nothing out!

        Once the seed of love Crimson felt for Pin Oak was planted, they clung to each other and were inseparable.  Pin Oak's handsome, sturdy trunk as well as his willingness to branch out was appealing... Crimson stayed unwaveringly true to her roots.

         "Her bloom never faded," said Pin Oak almost woodenly, attempting to hide his anguish... 

         Experience the same raking pain as Crimson, the pain Pin must endure as he remains rooted in place and unable to reach out.

(Note:  Some parts of this story are quite dirty.)  141 words 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

If You Open Your Mouth, It Will Go

             Okay, so I failed to pull off a smooth connection to movie Field of Dreams. Sorry. I'm just recovering from a late night (see the later note from the Procrastination Princess) of writing and revising, followed by an evening school event where I had to--please take an anti-anxiety pill now--sing (along with my students).

            ( The stray dogs that were running, full-speed, through your neighborhood, a frantic expression on their faces, their ears looking like they had been torched just a bit...Yes, all the dogs in the St. Louis area have been suffering tonight because of my caterwauling!)

photo by brendan adamson

                A week or so ago, I had lunch with a writer friend. During the conversation, I mentioned I was mentally doing some prewriting on a couple of patriotic submissions for Silver Boomer Books. One was about my dad's experience in the Marines. The other was going to be more difficult. A distant but dear cousin of mine is Ukranian; he spent part of his childhood in a concentration camp. There is no one who loves America more than Serhij. Unfortunately, he never talks about that part of his life...  

               The deadline was yesterday.  Since I put everything off until the last possible minute, I was writing earlier this week, but the story was slow in coming. Serhij was unwilling to answer any questions, and although that meant I was only writing one story,  my dad's tale did not feel as "inspired."  I was tempted to just chuck it. 

               However, I had opened my mouth and said I was doing some prewriting in my head.  If I didn't even bother to follow through, if I simply let the submission opportunity fall by the wayside, would I feel very writerly?

                  I found that as I continued to push through, I discovered a connecting thread that could hold my story together. I crafted a beginning that I was satisfied with, along with a decent ending. 

                   So, when you're on the fence, open your mouth. Bring it into the realm of reality by saying it aloud. And sendyour story where it needs to go...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Be a Jerk! Or Do the Jerk---Whichever Hits the Spot

(Note: Not to be confused with the song "Cool Jerk" although feel free to break into dance, if the spirit moves you...)
                                                          Cool Jerk

            Yesterday the group Saturday Writers met in St. Peters, Missouri as they always do. Our guest  speaker was Joe Holleman from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

            Some of the information he shared was a great reminder. Start with an engaging lead (which is spelled "lede" when speaking in newspaper-talk). Make the story "human" by putting a human voice in your story. Avoid the passive voice and weak quotes. Those were all things I know, but sometimes forget, so to be reminded of them was definitely worthwhile.

            His advice to "read your work out loud" when revising and editing made me nod my head knowingly. As a teacher, when I read my students' work (a constructed response answer, or a story, for example) I read it aloud. I even tell my kids, if they're standing next to me as I do it, "You may think I'm crazy, but I'm reading it out loud because if I read it silently, if words or parts are left out, my brain will fill them in and I won't even know it."

           I cannot tell you how many times I have worked with other teachers or writers, and have caught mistakes they overlooked, not because I'm some crackerjack editor, but because I read with my lips moving. Our brains are incredible things; they will sneak in and fill in the missing puzzle pieces and not even inform us.  We need to be cognizant of any voids or awkward spots...

        However, what really stuck in my mind from his talk is five simple words:

               Be a jerk to yourself.
               What he meant was it's crucial we do the required cutting and slashing and editing before anyone else sees it, especially an editor.  (Holleman started frothing at the mouth when he spoke of editors; he said that if he writes cleanly, and gets the reputation as a clean writer, the chances that an editor will have to "mess up" his writing decreases dramatically.)

                We cannot be so enamored with our own writing that we declare it perfect/brilliant/moving without working hard (and hard-heartedly) to make it tighter...clearer...more powerful.

photo by g d townshende

               This connected with a post I read earlier this week. C. Hope Clark can connect anything (and I do mean anything) with writing. I think she could be blowing her nose, have the tissue tear a bit, and it would prompt her to write a detailed and informative post about the writing process and how it's like that torn tissue...I might be overstating her powers, but I don't think so.  Read her post on Friday, March 25 where she connects the art of raising chickens and roosters to the art of writing. You be the  judge.

              And finally today, welcome to my newest follower, Tony Benson.  He writes what I wish I could:  science fiction and fantasy. He has three blogs. One of them is Fireside Park.  Check this one out, along with his other two. (How can he maintain two? I can barely write for one!) Thank you, Tony for following me.