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777 Writer’s Challenge

It is hard to ignore a challenge. Especially one laid down by the lovely and talented owner of Sara Kjeldsen Writes. The challenge is pretty simple. Just open your current work in progress, go to the seventh line of the seventh page, and post the next seven sentences. Easy, peasy. Then tag seven other writers and challenge them to do the same. Not so easy.

After I read these seven sentences, i laughed. I was surprised that it took seven pages to get my protagonist into this much hot water. Anyway, He has a habit of biting off more than he can chew. So, here goes.

I stopped in mid-stride and slowly turned to face the most powerful wizard west of the Mississippi. She still stood behind the bar. Her eyes were wide with surprise but, she quickly recovered her composure.  Red sparks flashed from her casting rod. She flicked her hand and I heard the front door locks slam into place. Some of the patrons began to object, preferring to leave before two wizards began dueling. But, it was way too late for that.

Now a few author’s who should have something to offer up:

Kate Johnson

Scott Weber

Matthew Wright – He says he has some new fiction in the works, which I’m dying to read.

Corey MP

AnnMarie Wyncoll

 

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Old Ones

old-people-white-background-46871286

 

 

 

 

Near strangers.

Characters from dusty memories telling tales of great wars and a great depression.

Bent and gnarled they spew forth wit and wisdom, hard-earned, during hard times.

Horse-drawn plows and wood-fired stoves, hand-written letters, and bath water carried in from the pump house.

An ax turning a log into a pile of kindling as if by magic.

Epic poems, memorized in youth, recited back verbatim, proving the mind is sharp.

Gone too soon, before we realize the treasure they are.

Missed.

Memories cherished.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in Other Strangeness

 

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The Doctor is in!

On the wall of my cubicle at work, just above my computer monitor, hangs my one and only quote from Shakespeare. I can recite several, but this one is my favorite. It is from “Henry V”. I first heard about it, not from reading the story, but from watching the movie, “Dr. Detroit”. Yes, really! It’s a very funny movie.

Doctor Detroit movie poster - Universal Pictures, 1983

Doctor Detroit movie poster – Universal Pictures, 1983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At one point in the movie, Dan Aykroyd’s character, with help from his faithful “squire”, Diavolo, changes from a mild-mannered college professor into his Dr. Detroit persona. He recites this quote as the Doctor is preparing to go battle the evil Mom! It was quite fitting as Dr. Detroit wore a mailed gauntlet on one hand and he needs Diavolo’s assistance to change his clothing (long story). The scene is quite dramatic and Aykroyd plays it brilliantly. You just have to see it. So, here goes…

“The hum of either army stilly sounds, 

That the fixed sentinels almost receive

The secret whispers of each other’s watch;

Fire answers fire, and through their pally flames

Each battle sees the other’s umbered face;

Steed threatens steed, in high and boastful neighs

Piercing the night’s dull ear, and from the tents

The armourers, accomplishing the knights,

With busy hammers closing rivets up,

Give dreadful note of preparation.”

Henry V – Shakespeare

 

I get the chills every time.

So what is your favorite Quote from Shakespeare?

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2015 in Other Strangeness

 

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The aftermath!

New dock location

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I’m not busy planning a contingency response for the world’s next great disaster, I can be found at my little cabin on a lake in central Minnesota. It’s not much, but it is comfortable. Fishing, having a cold drink on the deck, writing, reading, or watching the many birds and animals that stop by for a visit are favorite past times. It is this last activity that I want to discuss today.

When I go to the cabin, I take my two, 14 pound feline children along. I could leave them alone at home and they would be okay for two nights, but I prefer to have them with me. So I crate them up, load them in the truck and head north. Hermann, the tuxedo, curls up and sulks in his crate while Marble makes sure that I know how much he despises me for locking him up by meowing every three seconds for the entire drive. If he gets really upset, he will puke or leave me other forms of displeasure to clean up once we get to our destination.

However, once we arrive, all sins are forgiven. There are birds, and chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits, other cats and assorted wild game to attract “the boys” attention. And for the next forty hours, noses are glued to the window panes, tail tips twitching, muscles tense, and ears alert.

Captive audience!

Captive audience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When faced with a ruthless enemy such as the heinous Blue Jay or the vicious Chipmunk, the Boys will chatter as their bodies quiver with excitement. The chatter is a reflex action to seeing something that they want to bite. Their solid bodies seem to vibrate constantly and at times I think they might start to cramp up from the continuous strain.

Chipmunks love sunflowers too.

Chipmunks love sunflowers too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some reason, they chatter at the Jays but not the red-headed Woodpeckers that nest in the nearby tree.

Red-Headed Woodpecker feeding her young.

Red-Headed Woodpecker feeding her young.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the action outside slows down, the boys burn off the tension by chasing each other around the small cabin. Two 14 pound cats, running full-bore around a 960 square foot cabin, makes on hell of a racket.  The “Thundering Herd” can go on into the wee hours of the morning ensuring that I get as little sleep as they do. As the weekend draws to a close, i stuff them back into their respective crates where they repeat their afore-mentioned routine of sulking and hurling insults at me as we drive home.

After they escape their traveling prisons and have a bite to eat from their normal bowls they slip into the living room and curl up in their favorite chair. They will sleep for nearly 24 hours and an exploding stick of dynamite will not wake them as they recover from the thrills of the previous two days.

Too much excitement...

Too much excitement…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is one full chair!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Musings and Odd Thoughts

 

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Little flower

Snow melts,

And the waters run,

Clouds part,

Making way for the sun.

Soil grows soft,

That shoots may reach up.

And the blossoms that open

Are the pretty Buttercup.

buttercup-flower

 

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Garden Walks

 

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More Ideas than time!

WIP

 

 

 

 

Lately, it seems that new ideas for stories crash into my head on a daily basis. Each one new and different. Some with characters I know and some completely new. I scribble down the idea and sometimes fragments of scenes or dialog. Then, just when I start to feel comfortable with a new idea. a different one pops into my head. The process begins again. Never do I have time to complete the story. They just keep coming like waves in the ocean. It frightens me that I do not have time to write them all. Even if I was a fast typist, I doubt I could get them all finished. I keep the notes safe for some future date because, what frightens me more is when the ideas stop coming.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Thoughts on Writing

 

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Write what you know?

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“Write what you know!”

Almost every ‘How To’ book on writing preaches this advice. For most non-fiction writers, this is sound advice usually is taken straight forward. Whether it is memoir, historical, How-to or any number of other topics, you should write about things that you know something about, are interested in or even want to know more about. It gives the reader a feeling of comfort knowing that the author isn’t just pulling information out of a hat.The author’s ‘expertise’ adds weight to the written words.

However, this advice can be very interesting advice when given to a fantasy fiction writer. Few of us routinely wield a sword or cast a magic spell. Fewer still have actually passed through a portal to find themselves in another realm where dragons, elves, wizards, and goblins walk the land. Most of the individuals that I have met who have taken the aforementioned journey are either sitting quietly in a catatonic state because they have left their material bodies behind. Or, they are unable to write about their journey because the medication they are given makes writing anything except their name difficult. So, how does a modern author use this advice and write about what they know?

Fantasy is created in one’s imagination. So, having a vivid imagination is a standard prerequisite. Those of us whose teachers wrote on our report cards that we spent too much time staring out the windows daydreaming were pretty good candidates. However, to draw a reader into your fantasy story, there has to be some measure of reality. Something familiar. Maybe it’s making a campfire, baking a loaf of bread, riding a horse, dressing a wound, or bartering with a merchant at the local farmer’s market. These types of skills obtained in modern society, can be easily converted to a fantasy story and in doing so, bring a sense of realism to the reader, drawing them into your world. If you are lucky enough to have hobbies like, archery, martial arts, herbalist, camping, astronomy, Chemistry, or being some form of entertainer, you have real expertise in areas that can easily be incorporated into a fantasy setting.  Your knowledge will, if used moderately and with skill, add authenticity to your world,

Another excellent source of knowledge for the fantasy writer is to have been immersed in a culture foreign to their own. Dealing with language, customs, food, clothing, and belief differences gives the writer unique insights and tolls to use when describing their world to the reader. Not only the differences themselves, but the feelings of having to deal with a foreign culture is a form of expertise that can be invaluable to the author.

If you still are not sure that you ‘know’ anything, here is an exercise to help you. Get a pad of paper and a pen, Give yourself 30 minutes to and hour of uninterrupted time. Write down things that you know about. Leave nothing out whether you think they can be related to your story or not. Start with your education. What did your like or do well at in school? What sports or social activities did you participate in? What did you do after school for fun? How did you fill your time during summer vacation? What did you do on the weekends? What do you do to relax, What do you do for fun? List places you have traveled to. What did you do there? What experiences did you have? What was the food like? Music? Dress? How did you feel being the outsider? What do you do for employment? Be specific and list tasks you perform. What are your hobbies? What are your chores around the house? By now you should be getting a very long list of things where you have some level of knowledge. Maybe even expertise. Keep this list handy and refer to it often to remind yourself that you do know something!

A very short list of my interests and knowledge base, that I use regularly when writing, includes: Cats, Native American Spirituality, Archery, knife-making, emergency medicine, herbal remedies, gardening, contingency planning, woodsmanship and fishing. My actual list filled two pages of a legal pad.

Now that you have determined that you do know something, look at the list and think about how you knowledge can be used to help strengthen your story. Maybe you need to add skills to one or more of your characters. Maybe you should add detail to your descriptions of scene.

NOTE: A word of caution! Adding too much detail about mundane tasks is a sure way to lose your reader. Remember that not everyone cares how many coals are required to bake peach cobbler in a cast iron dutch oven. (I seem to recall it was eleven on the bottom and seven on top. it has been a long time.)

Add just enough detail to add realism. If the details are important to your story then you have a little more leeway. Your beta readers or writing group can help you with how much is the right amount.

So, don’t be shy. Write about what you know. You know a great deal!

Let me know what you know. I’d love to hear it.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Thoughts on Writing

 

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