Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Short Stories & Such: My Two Best Friends


The following fictional story is in the form of a letter. Names and other similarities to real individuals are only coincidental.

 
My Two Best Friends

Dear Brea,

I have to tell someone before they catch up to me. You’re the only person honest enough to hear me out.

Okay, so maybe I should start at the beginning. I mean, my friends weren’t always that way, and it never made much sense what they did (outside of flirting with boys) and flunking History. Sure we had our differences, but we also had similarities, like Aaron Parker’s dimple down to our bikini size.

My mother always wondered why I was friends with them. It didn’t cross my mind that they were only interested in themselves and no one else. It didn’t even occur to me until after High School that they somehow were not interested to reach the top the normal way people make money.

They used to paint red the lockers of girls who crossed them. They said it was like Passover, but instead of killing every first born child, they killed the weed out of their garden. And what a wicked garden they weaved.

Once during lunch, a girl stood up to them and they just stared at her. They seemed to laugh inside while I tried to calm the girl down. It appeared that my best friends had cornered that girl’s boyfriend into necking with them.

That much power I did not want. But they cherished it. Yet, it wasn’t enough. That’s why I’m writing to you, so you would know why I had to kill them...
 

Why did I write such a story?

In a previous post I mentioned that once you find the voice of your character, the story flows from there. This was the case for me on this short about the two best friends. There could be so many possibilities for this piece. I could use it to springboard a novel about these teenage girls and what happened that was so terrible this girl had to kill them. Or I could make the girl to have psychological problems. What will Brea do about it? The girl or Brea could be my main characters. Only time can tell…


This was also a great opportunity to write a short piece in the form of a letter. Next time you get an idea, try writing it as a letter. You never know where it would take you.

 
  


 
                                                                       

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Quotes


Sometimes we come in contact with a quote a famous person said or from someone we know that stops us on our tracks. I’ve come across several throughout the years and when I found myself with the following quote, I just had to share it. Take a look:

“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid.”
----- Albert Einstein

Mr. Einstein was onto something. So, let’s give ourselves a break. We should praise the work we do. Some of us take longer to finish things while others don’t, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Writing is a learning process. The more we do it, the better we get. And that includes tying your shoes!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Short Stories & Such: Ghost of Your Grandmother


Martin Lastrapes said in a recent Writer’s Workshop that “any story worth telling has a character worth caring about.”
If the writer develops a character like this, then the reader is engaged- connects to the story, and they care because the character becomes real. Believable as a human is with both good and bad traits.

Lastrapes also said that writers leave their “fingerprints”when building characters, molding characters as if they were clay. As you progress to form the clay into an object, the impression of your fingers remain until you smooth out the surface and it becomes its own entity.
For the following writing prompt about the Ghost of Your Grandmother, I found some of those “fingerprints” Lastrapes discussed in his workshop.  If you read it, you will see that I tend to have characters who ask a lot of questions, which is something I tend to do.

                                                        Ghost of Your Grandmother

 
            My grandmother died two days ago, but I didn’t feel like the loss was great. Except, I keep having these recurring nightmares. Now I’m dealing with a bout of insomnia because they were the same dream. I just kept staring into the ceiling for affirmation that sleep would come.

Suddenly, I see a ghost who claimed to be my grandmother's spirit. I didn't believe it. Why would my grandmother come back? She waved her arms in the air like she always did when she witnessed me to be totally absurd. She began to order me to take care of something she wasn’t able to before she passed away. If I did it, she would leave me alone and won't haunt me forever. Good news, right?

I wasn't really close to her and wasn't intending to spend the rest of my nights talking to her. So, I asked what that big favor was. And do you know what she wanted me to take care of? She wanted me to go down to the drugstore and tell the pharmacist holding some medication for her to cancel the order!!

 
This prompt was posted onto Writer’s Digest on November 15, 2011 at
http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/the-ghost-of-your-grandmother

You can find Martin Lastrapes here: http://www.martinlastrapes.com/

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Writer's Workshops: "Robots" and "Inability to Speak"


In a recent Writer’s Workshop, T. Anders Carson (a great poet BTW) said that the hardest part of writing poetry is getting that first line, but once you get it, you can take off with it.
I’ve hit many walls in attempting to write that first line. Sometimes, I write down the first words that enter my mind based on a topic I choose (or from a prompt). Then, I look at the list and combine words or find rhymes. Pretty soon, I find myself writing that first line! Maybe you could try it, too when you find yourself stuck on words.

Carson also said to write for yourself, but be cognizant of how you market yourself because those are two different things.
I believe this means that when you’re ready to submit a poem you edited to different publications, it’s important to take a look at what kind of work they publish and read their guidelines accordingly. Sometimes, you’ll find a perfect match for your poem. At other times, you have to look deeper or write another poem based on what they want.

So, don’t get discouraged. The important thing is to stay informed with the market, but keep writing what you like. The more we practice our craft, the better we get.
Bad Robot Poetry (blogzine) and Epiphany (Online Magazine) are two publications with tons of wonderful poetry and fiction to read. The variety is great!

You can take a look at the poems I wrote on their websites here:

April 24, 2013 “Robots”



You can find T. Anders Carson’s poetry here:
http://tacarson.tripod.com/Welcome.html