Monday, March 19, 2018

Other 18: Writing prompt and example

MT. SAC will be holding its Writer’s Weekend soon and I wanted to share a quick write from a previous Fiction Workshop: Starting your Own Story with Pamela Arterburn.

The prompt was as follows: Write an introductory paragraph using first person point of view that reveals something about the character.

To do this exercise, you had to create your character, describe them, give him/her a background on their family, education, reason for being at the circus, etc. You made a sketch of this character and their antagonist before you started drafting the first paragraph. Oh! This was done through a brainstorm with a partner. I had a great partner in which I neglected to store her name to memory, but she was helpful in putting all our ideas together.

If you do the exercise, try it with a partner, sketch the characters and add small details about them around their heads. These details about their background will help in leading your character to make the types of decisions faced with, etc. For example, the main character is Bobo and he is a young man with dark hair who was orphaned. His rival is a man who knows about Bobo’s parents. There are more brainstormed ideas, but I think you get the concept =)

Here is the attempt:

For the first time since joining the circus, I finally had the opportunity to see the inside of my eyelids, but before I could drift off to sleep, still wearing the elaborate clown costume, I was awakened by my boss with a nudge.
“Hey, Bobo, go bring the piano in.”
“What?” I yawned.
“Go get the piano.”
Grumbling, I got up and pulled on my collar, which turned red from the itchy fabric. Dragging my large feet off the bed, I yawned again, and walked over to the piano at the center of the ring, careful not to bump my head on the roof vents of the tent. When I closed the lid, I heard the piano keys tinkle and scrambling feet behind me. I turned and spotted a great big lion heading my direction and I somersaulted up on the piano!
I realized, that was a mistake. The lion continued to charge straight at me, its paws scraping the dirt underneath and its wide head wrinkled. As it reached me, I fell back and used the piano like a barrier…

Monday, March 12, 2018

Quote 30

“If you don’t know where you are going,
you will probably wind up somewhere else.”
Laurence J. Peter

This quote can go for life as well as writing. When you meander in your plot, the story fails to provide what readers need. It might even lead you in a path different you set out to write or veer you off course without a way to return back to the original plot.

That’s why some writers use outlines or list points to cover as they go along or before they write. Others use Scrivener or a similar program. It’s actually a good idea to have some type of organization tool to keep you on the right track.

Personally, after I write a scene or chapter, I make a list of what I want to remember from that chapter and where I want to go next. It could be a short list or a long one. The important thing is to plan. And it doesn’t hurt to plan some aspects of your life, too. =)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Writing Endeavors 18: Breathing PART IV

Since the novels have yet to be published (and I’m told it takes writers years before they do), I compiled a list of links to some of the poems that were published online. Enjoy!

I’d like to thank all the editors and publishers who accepted my work.

(my poem is on page 61)
“Stop to Think”

“there it goes…”

“Love Letter to Self,” and “jolt”

Monday, February 26, 2018

Art 18: Reclining Betty

This drawing was made some years back in a workshop.
After some preliminary sketches, it was time for the longer pose.
The model was on her back and I had difficulty with the arm’s perspective.
As you can see, the arm is shortened because at the time, I thought you had to draw everything.  
Other than that, I liked the way the shading turned out. The dark from the bent leg and around the armpit gave Betty some depth.
What do you think?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Writer’s Workshop 25: 6 words, Place, and Time

Here is a prompt given to fourth graders. I thought it was a good way to start the week. Try it out.

Use the following words in your story: depot, conductors, platform, lurch, jolt, and satchel. The story should take place in the 19th century.

Here is my attempt:

We arrived at the train depot and left our satchels with one of the conductors. I turned to view the valley my family was about to leave. The tip of the sun had just enough light painting the hills in a breathtaking orange. Father took hold of mother’s hand and helped her on the train’s platform. My heart skipped beats as we made our way to our cabin. I was unaccustomed to the narrow hallways and number of passengers aboard.  Another conductor asked for our tickets and lurched back out into the hallway.
Father reassured us we would be alright and that this was a great opportunity for him. Maybe he should have told us before the train jolted forward, unhinging from the dormant bolts underneath. My neck spasmed and I had to hold onto the window’s ledge. I placed my sweaty palms on the glass. Tears streamed from my eyes.
The valley was my home and I didn’t know anything about the city or what it would take to deal with my father being away from us. It was all so new to me. I removed my hands from the glass and wiped my tears, but not before I noticed my parents do the same.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pet News 29: Dog 101 starts with Understanding

Let Dogs Be Dogs: Understanding Canine Nature and Mastering the Art of Living with Your Dog by the Monks of New Skete and Marc Goldberg. This book is filled with real life scenarios, tips and explanations for doing the strategies to better train your dog to be a well-mannered pet. They explain how pets are like small children who will try to get away with bad behavior because subconsciously they want to be guided and have in place to be safe in life. 
They also reference other dog trainers and researchers to help the reader understand dog behavior such as Brenda Aloff’s Canine Body Language: Interpreting the Native Language of the Domestic Dog and Turid Ragaa’s On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals (all good books). They also include a set of questions to ask yourself before you bring a pet home, especially if you’re a busy person.
Check out these websites:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Short Stories & Such 39: Part Three of Wings

Wings, Part 3

Though, he had not disclosed his thoughts to his parents the days after his conversation with Jenny, James continued praying when he was old enough, his parents would send him to the special ordinance school to get him on his way. Now, came the next step- to speak to Jason.
“Jay, are you busy?” James knocked on the door of his room, but there was no response. He stared at the poster forbidding entrance with a hangman’s noose. Jason always had an
unusual sense of humor.
“Jay, are you in there?”
The door opened and Jason stood holding a couple of brushes in his hand. “What’s up, squirt?”
“I want to tell you something.”
Jason gestured with his chin and moved back to his spot where he dipped his brush in the paint and dabbed some color on the canvas. His concentration kept him from providing feedback.
“Jay, I guess I’ll just have to come out and say it. I want to be a priest when I grow up.” He looked at his brother, and due to his negligence, repeated the last words to no avail. He tapped his shoulder.
“Huh? Yeah.” Jason placed a paintbrush in his mouth and then dabbed some yellow paint on it. “Whatever you say.”
“Jay, did you hear what I said?”
“Sure, I did, you want to be a pest or something for now on.”
“No, a priest.”
“A what!?!” Jason dropped his brushes on the floor. Thank goodness he placed paper underneath as his mother ordered. “Is this about the wings again? Because not all priests get wings, you know?”
Jason took the news rather hard, which made him take longer to gather his strength to face his parents. Father would probably have the hardest time getting used to the idea, but a calling was a calling after all. His father even thought devout people got wings.
The big day finally arrived. James was determined to get his plans out in the open. After dinner, his father always sat on the love seat with a good book and drink. James took this opportunity to gain his father’s side.
“Is it a good book, Dad?”
“Sure, if you like all this mumbo jumbo history. You know, writers are always upping the stakes in these sci-fi novels.”
“Uh, yeah. Dad, I wanted to tell you something important.”
“Go ahead, son.” Jake meticulously placed the bookmark inside the last page read.
James took a deep breath. Nothing like the present. “I was thinking of going to Catholic School.”
“Wait a minute; Catholic School now? Whatever for? Don’t you like the school you go to? Oh, no! Is someone bullying you?” He took hold of Jake’s shoulders.
“I want to learn how to become a priest.”
Jake made the strangest face. His eyes seemed to swell and his chin slowly disappeared.
“You mean a special school for teenagers?”
“Exactly!” A minute there, James was ecstatic his father was able to discuss the matter.
“I don’t know, son. Are you sure?”
James’s face turned sullen. He felt his cheeks sag and his shoulders drop. He never knew they could go so low…
“You still have a couple of years before that step, son. We could hold off on Catholic School—”
“Listen to him, Jake.” Darcy walked into the living room and put her arm around her husband’s back and rubbed it softly. She smiled at James. “If our son wants to follow this goal, we should support him as we have with our other children.”
Jake looked back at his wife, then, back to James and raised an eyebrow. “Is this what you really want?”
James raised his eyes and nodded.
“Then, we can find out more from Father Tim.”
And James’s smile reached the stars. His feet lifted off the ground and went up, up… it was too much to hold in his heart the acceptance to his dream. It seemed his brother Jason wasn’t right about dreams not coming true.

The End