New Owners, New Hours.

That title was given to me by my poet brother when I asked him to help me with my daily free-write. If it is useful for a writer to keep a cat around the house, it is equally useful to keep a poet. Here’s what came of it: (Keep in mind that this is a free-write. As such, the quality is not wonderful. There are run-on sentences, repetitions, and even a completely new word or two. Just chill.)


New owners, new hours. The shop in the middle of town, in the middle of the street was being re-done, completely overhauled. The residents of the town didn’t know quite what to think of all the newness.

For many years, more than anybody could remember, the shop had been run by the same person, with the same hours, in the same way without any changes, let alone radical ones. Mrs. Tandy had only opened the shop in the mornings, and not on Sundays. Sure, it may not have been convenient, but it was what the people were used to. Sure, it may have been growing dingier by the year, but then so was everything else, and the people didn’t question it. Sure, it was stocked with an odd assortment of dusty packaged food, but the people knew what to buy and what to avoid.

But now Mrs. Tandy was gone. Now it was being thrown open and cleaned. Now there were people driving in from out of town every morning and standing outside looking at the building with fists propped on hips, or under chins. When they weren’t bustling about changing things, that is. The whole place had a foreign feel to it now. A feeling of energy, of ambition. The town didn’t know what to make of it.

The only person who seemed unmixedly happy about it was the local real estate agent, and nobody quite trusted her anyhow. She had too many ideas; too many schemes for improving the area. What was wrong with the area anyhow? It was just the way it had always been. Now she was always running around, showing the new owners the town, trying to find a house for them to live in now that they had taken over the shop and intended on bringing in their own new ideas.

Nobody had spoken to the new owners, except for young Will, and all he had discovered was that the shop would be open all day, and on Sundays. But the people could sense the new feeling. All this bustle was well and good for the big city, they thought, but their town didn’t need all this change. It had been running along for more years than anybody could remember.


So yeah, there’s that. I think it’s going to turn into something. And very quickly too. I’ve decided to completely pants my way through Camp NaNoWriMo in July. As of this morning, I had absolutely no intention of doing so, but what the heck, right? Carpe… Carpe Monthem. Or something like that… MENSIS!!! Carpe Mensis, everybody.

Find a Cat.

I am currently house/pet-sitting for some friends, who just happen to own a lovely little black cat. (In fact, you can see him over in my Instagram feed, if you’re interested. I highly recommend him.) It is putting me in mind of an essay by Aldous Huxley I read recently, called “Sermons in Cats.” In it, he says that  every aspiring writer should have a cat.

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Huxley suggests a Siamese cat, but probably any brand will do.

I have to say, I agree with him. You can learn loads about human nature.

And there’s no reason to limit it to only cats. Birdwatching can teach you plenty as well, or any sort of animal-watching, for that matter.

Well, folks, that’s all I have time for this morning. I have to go get a tooth pulled out.

Yay.

 

 

Don’t Fear the Adverb.

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“You know,” she said thoughtfully, “I’ve never understood this great vendetta against adverbs. I mean, they’re a part of speech, aren’t they?”

“Well, yes,” he responded doubtfully.  “But all the people who know what they’re talking about say they should be avoided at all costs.”

“Balderdash,” she said bluntly. “If they exist, they’re meant to be used. Who are these people who ‘know what they’re talking about,’ anyway? I’ll bet you every single one of them has used an adverb this very day.”

He squirmed uneasily. “You shouldn’t say that…”

“Of course, I don’t think they should be used all the time,” she interjected hastily. “Not the way the weird blogger girl who’s making all this up is doing.” She glanced nastily up at the ceiling. “Although to be fair,” she conceded kindly, “I think she’s probably just doing it to make a point.”

“Bu…but,” he stammered miserably, “I’ve always heard that those things should never be used at all. Let the dialogue speak for itself, and all that.”

“Oh yes, yes,” she waved her hands impatiently. “I’m not arguing against that. I simply thing that there’s a time and a place for…” She broke off and stared incredulously at him. “Those things? You’re so scared of them you can’t even say their name, aren’t you? They’re called adverbs. Come on, say it with me. Adverbs.

He gazed around apprehensively. “Not so loud! We’re in a coffee shop, for heaven’s sake. It’s probably crawling with writers.”

“So what? I’m not afraid.” She opened her arms expansively. “Embrace the whole of your language. Love it.”

“No,” he muttered stubbornly.

“Just this once,” she said encouragingly. “It won’t hurt you, I promise. I’m not even asking you to use any of them. Just say their name. Come on. Say it. Adverb. Adverb. Ad–”

“NO!” He stood up explosively, breathing heavily. “I… I can’t. I’m just not ready to take this step. I’m sorry.”

He walked quickly out, leaving her to stare after him sadly.

“But…” she murmured forlornly, “You were supposed to buy the next round of lattes.”

I’ve Been Here for a YEAR!!!

Saturday, June 11, marked my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of blogging.

When I posted my first little “Hello,” I didn’t really have any clue what would happen next. I thought, “Well, who knows? I’ll probably give up after a month or two, but I might as well give it a go…”

And now look at this.

I am stunned, and blessed, and so, so grateful to everybody who has visited my blog and followed, shared, or left encouraging comments. Honestly, none of you will ever know how much it means to me that you find my burbling worth listening to.

Thank you.

Forget the Good Advice.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the second revision of my novel was slowing down. Like, a lot. I was producing about a page a day. I was discouraged and losing my motivation. The plot was still coming along, but the writing itself was dry and mechanical.

But you know what else was happening?

A couple of characters from a new project I’m planning started talking to me.

I fought it for a while, remembering all the advice I have received about sticking to one project at a time, and not allowing yourself to be sidetracked.

Then after a few days, I caved. I just said, “You know what, fine, I don’t even care anymore. This little pooka* in my head won’t shut up, and I’m getting tired of it.”

So I shoved them down on the page. Three pages, actually. In ten minutes.

I’ve done the same thing three more times, and let me tell you, it feels amazing. I’m getting excited to start working again every day, and I’m getting more done.

Basically what I wanted to convey with that story is that no matter how good advice can be, sometimes you have to ignore it and do whatever is calling to you.

 

*Yeah, an actual pooka. Don’t ask. He’ll make me rich and famous some day.

Sharing Some Prompts.

I had a kind of… well honestly kind of a boring post planned for today, because I couldn’t think of anything… well, interesting.

Fortunately, I scrolled through my feed for a while before knuckling down and writing that boring post, because I found an AMAZING list of 50 writing prompts over at NowNovel (a lovely blog, by the way, which you should totally check out).

What sets this one apart from all the other prompt lists out there is that the exercises are organized into sections based on the element of writing it will help you develop:

  • Mastering POV
  • Creating compelling dialogue
  • Crafting vivid setting descriptions
  • Creating interesting characters
  • Creating strong story openings
  • Mastering tense
  • Crafting more effective sentences and phrases
  • Finding story ideas
  • Creating eventful plots
  • Crafting satisfying story endings

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

What’s more, after every exercise there is a “why” section, explaining how this prompt will help you grow in writing ability.

I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I like to see, and I’ll definitely be working through this list. Here’s the link:

http://www.nownovel.com/blog/50-creative-writing-prompts/

Hope you enjoy it!