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Showing posts from January, 2010

NaNo Update : Excerpt #2

I've decided to post excerpts from my NaNo novel (for which I still have no title... BLARGH!!) in order, starting at the beginning. You have, of course, come across my opening, and your advice and encouragement has been so helpful.

If you want to catch up, go to this post to read the beginning.

This excerpt happens directly after my previous NaNo Update, and it's a flashback. I'm sure you'd figure that out, but just in case... :) It's a rough draft, but I feel like I get my point across. It's mostly met to establish the relationship between Natalie and her father.

Once again, any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated.

* * *
"You're leaving for Vismuth in a month, so start making preparations." Official Hansley said casually.

"I'm sorry?" Natalie said, hoping that she had misheard him.

Her father sighed. "A shuttle is leaving for the Vismuth settlement in a month, and I have made arrangements for you to be on it.&q…

Elmer's Tooth Fairy

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Sorry I've been absent for the past 2 days. Things have been a bit crazy, and I needed to prioritize. Because I've been gone, however, I'll post the 2 exercises I've been missing over the weekend! Woo!

Exercise #127 : "Elmer's Tooth Fairy"

What did the tooth fairy bring? Which tooth did Elmer lose? What happens the night the tooth fairy tries to make his/her exchange?

GO!

First things first, who names their kid Elmer? Do they want their child to be beaten up in school?? Apparently.

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system, let's do it to it.

Carl fluttered effortlessly from his cloud-shaped plane downward, aiming for Elmer Boyle's house. He was 6 years old and had finally lost his first tooth. He was surely going to expect an exorbitant amount of coins or dollar bills in exchange for his tooth, but what the little ankle-biter didn't know was that Carl had absolutely no control over how much Elmer would receive.

Carl's mechanical wings s…

Five Words

Exercise #126 : "Five Words"

We all know far more words than we actually use in our writing. Today's exercise is inspired by poet Debora Ager's 5/5/06 entry in her blog, 32 Poems, "Create What You Don't Know." She wrote:
The other night, I sat down to write. I took a glass of water into my study - with its orange walls glowing pink due to a sunset streaming through the western window - and sat down at my desk. I'd recently RE-found my writing notebook and was pleased to find some notes I'd taken on various poems. I wasn't sure what I wanted to write. I decided to incorporate five words I've never used before in a poem. To do this, I quickly scanned the pages of a book I'm reading and came up with "true," "rice," "anecdote," "beam," and "gentle."What are five words you know but have never used in your writing? Pick up whatever newspaper or book is handy and see what you can find. You may…

Five Ingredients

Exercise #125 : "Five Ingredients"

Write something - anything - that includes the following five words / phrases:
urgedwhen the servant entered with the soupshow him the wayzealdead fliesPart of me wants to be snarky and write a single sentence that incorporates all of these phrases, but snarkiness does not make Stefers a better writer. It simply makes her a snarky lady, so let's put the nose to the grindstone.

GO!

Mikayla looked out of the window, ignoring the dead flies and ladybugs lying on the windowsill between the screen and the glass. She was waiting for Eric to come, and even though he had said that he would be there she doubted him.

When the servant entered with the soup, she whipped around expecting for it to be him. Realizing that she was mistaken, she morosely returned to the window, her chin perched upon her palm. She had lost all of her zeal because of him, and she would make him pay.

The servant put down the soup and urged her to eat, but she would have nothing…

I Got an Award!! :-D

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You know, I am frequently reminded just how great a writing community there is on blogger, wordpress, twitter, etc. The amount of support that I get from you guys is absolutely wonderful, and I know that I can turn to you guys for any comfort and advice whenever I want. A big thank you to all of you.

As my title suggests, I was given an award by Jen over at unedited (Go check out her blog! It's great!), and I can't even begin to explain how very humbled I am. Well, darn. Now I'm all verklemmt. All I can say is, "Thank you so very, very much."

Here are The Rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your Cell Phone? Omnia
Your Hair? henna
Your Mother? goofball
Your Father? logical
Your Favourite Food? lobster
Your Dream Last Night? zilch
Your Favourite Drink? aqua
Your Dream/Goal? successful
What Room Are You In? living
Your Hobby? writing
Your Fear? failure
Where Do You Se…

Another NaNo Update... Opening

As mentioned in my last post, I have typed up my new NaNo opening for all of you to read and give me some pointers. It's entirely different from the last opening I posted because, upon further contemplation, it was a boring beginning. I mean, it was alright, but it wasn't something that made me want to read any further. This version hopefully turns out better on that front.

Anyways, just so you know, I've also changed the first name of my main character from Estelle to Natalie. I like the old-timey feel of Estelle, but it got cumbersome while writing so out it went. Natalie is the new name. I haven't quite decided if my character is actually a Natalie, but we'll see as the writing continues.

And without further ado......

With her feet planted firmly on the floor in front of her seat, Natalie Hansley prepared herself for take-off. It began as a slight vibration, but it quickly grew to a consistent, fierce shaking that jostled her violently in her seat despite a tigh…

A Short Stistening Diversion

Instead of the normal writing exercise, I'm going to use this post to introduce you to stistening. This is a term that I learned from my Third-Year Writing professor. Essentially, it's staring + listening, and it is a tool that makes any ordinary writer an excellent writer. For example, say you're sitting in an outdoor cafe in Paris, France. People around you are talking, they're walking along the sidewalks, interacting with each other. The point of stistening is to pay attention to anything and everything, to absorb it all using the 5 (or 6, depending on who you are) senses. What do you hear, taste, smell, feel, see? Write it down. Let the words come out. Don't think. Just write.

While I like the idea, I don't like the name. Staring, to me, isn't active. I can stare at something for hours but never actually realize at what I'm looking. I can, however, observe, so my combination would be listen + observe which equals........ Hmm... What does it equal? O…

Rain of Rubber Chickens - Friday Flash

Exercise #124 : "Rain of Rubber Chickens"

Fred pulled down the hatch to the attic; down came a rain of rubber chickens.

Write on.

DISCLAIMER: I have decided to turn today's writing exercise into a Friday Flash post, so it's going to be a little longer than 5 minutes worth of writing.

AAAAANDDDDDDDDD... go.

Fred pulled down the hatch to the attic; down came a rain of rubber chickens. There were at least one hundred of them of all shapes and sizes, and somehow every single one of them landed beak first. Well, every single one except for the one that perched lightly on the top of his head. He brushed it off and looked back upward into the attic. It was dark and ominous, a stark contrast to the brightly colored house.

"Wow," said Melanie from behind him. She had just walked into the hallway from the kitchen after she had heard the chickens falling.

"Yeah," he said, "I forgot she put these up here."

"You knew she had five million rubber chickens…

Suitcase

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Exercise #123 : "Suitcase"

How does your character pack his or her suitcase? What's in it? And what does the suitcase look like?

GO!

I'm going to do this for my two main characters from my NaNo novel.

Pictured on the left is my MC's luggage. It's a fully functional traveling trunk and has enough space to store several weeks of clothing ranging from evening gowns to casual wear. As far as packing it goes, she doesn't. She has maids at home that do all of the dirty work for her. Honestly, she doesn't really have much of anything to do with the traveling process other than being present. As far as what's in it, there's quite a bit of clothing, of course. She is prepared for any type of event that might occur be it a ball or a day out at the beach. She also has her basic toiletries, etc.

On the right is Pickett's bag. He's a man's man and would use nothing other than a beat up old leather satchel. He's had it for years and has no desire…

The Morning After

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Exercise #122 : "The Morning After"

Describe an apartment the morning after a party.

hehe My mind went to a dirty place when I read the name of today's exercise....... Slap! Slap! C'mon, Stef! Get your mind out of the gutter! teehee

GO!

I walk down the stairs and survey the damage. In truth, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Of course, there are a few people camped out on my couch who I don't know. That's a little strange, but nothing appears to be broken at first glance. The TV is still intact, and no one looks to be dead or maimed. It's time to look a bit more closely, though. There are stains all over the carpet from tossed drinks, and everyone knows that beer never comes out. There are scratches on my new coffee table! Ingrates! Somehow, Silly String was introduced onto the scene, and it's sticking gracefully all across my wall.

The kitchen... Oh, the kitchen. I am never going to clean this up. Plastic cups and paper plates blanket t…

May Day : Make It Rhyme on a Dime

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Exercise #121 : "May Day: Make It Rhyme on a Dime"

The aim of this exercise is to play with rhyme. Feel free to make use of this Free Online Writing Source or a rhyming dictionary if you happen to have access to one. If you feel too silly to do this exercise, then make one of your fictional characters be an avid writer of doggerel. What little rhyming poem can you come up within 5 minutes?

GO!

Poetry is not my thing, so please, please, please, please, please forgive my terrible rhyming skills.

There once was a man from Nantucket...

Oh, wait, I'm plagiarizing. hehe Whoopsie!! I wish Ms. Mayo had given me an opening line with this one... Something. Anything. But no... Absolutely nothing. Just write some rhyming stuff. 1,2,3, GO!

Think, think, think.

Think, think, think.

...

I hate rhyming! Ok. That's a start. Let's rhyme about how much I hate rhyming! Score.

I hate rhyming. Yes, I do.
But, you see, I am forced to
Because I write on this here blog
Day in, day out, in quite a fog…

Fred's Phone Call

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Exercise #120 : "Fred's Phone Call"

Fred turns on the hot water to fill his bathtub. Joan calls to tell him something shocking, and he forgets that he left the tap running. What did Joan tell Fred? What happens at Fred's house after the call?

GO!

RING! RING! RING!

"What the hell?" Fred said, as he grabbed a towel from the linen closet. Water was filling the tub in the bathroom, but he didn't shut it off. Chances are the phone call wouldn't last that long.

He hurried to the bedroom to answer his cellphone.

"Hello?"

"Oh, thank God. Fred?" Joan said. Her voice was raspy and hurried.

"Yeah," he said. "What's up?"

"She's back in town."

Silence. She's back in town.

"Fred?" she said. "Fred, are you there?"

In a weak voice, he said, "Yeah, I'm still here."

"I don't know exactly when she came back, but she's here. I saw her at Chotzsky's earlier this morning.&…

Pam's Scene Objective (Edward's Porch)

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Exercise #119 : "Pam's Scene Objective (Edward's Porch)"

In The Power of the Actor, Ivana Chubbuck shows actors how to use their emotions to empower a goal. Actors identify their characters' overall objective as well as their scene objective. Applying this to writing, assume your character is "Pam." Her overall objective is to prove that she is a really nice person, and her scene objective is to make friends with "Edward," her new neighbor, who is blind and has a very difficult personality. The scene takes place on Edward's porch.

GO!

The red tulips were freshly plucked and placed in a clay pot with fertilizer. Today was the day, her only chance. Pam hesitated at her front door. How would he react? What would he do? But none of that mattered. She had to try.

Pam stepped lightly out of her house onto the stoop. Across the street, Edward was sitting in his rocking chair like always, his cane leaning nearby against the whitewashed walls of his ho…

Of Time

Exercise #118 : "Of Time"

This is an exercise in generating imagery and, in a way, using synesthesia. Synesthesia is "a subjective sensation of image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated.* Some examples are as follows:
the sands of timegreen-blue oceans of timethe unspooling thread of timethe gong of timeKeep going. How many more can you come up with? Really get crazy. Think of smells, tastes, textures, colors, shapes... Once you've done five minutes' worth, go back and circle your best two. Then try to use them sometime soon in your writing.

GO!

You know what's annoying? I've sat here for the last 5 minutes staring at my computer, but the only examples that came to mind were the ones already listed in the exercise. Ugh... Apparently, my mind isn't creative today. I have days like that, it seems.

Either way, can any of you think of anything? I'm at a loss.

In other news, today was the first day of the 2nd semester …

Dry Skin & The Hollywood Remake Disease

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Exercise #117 : "Dry Skin"

Take this as your opening line:
He had the driest skin they had ever seen. Ok. Dry skin... Cool. GO!

He had the driest skin they had ever seen, but little did they know that it was this very skin that would save their lives.

The rainy season had lasted much longer than normal, years in fact. The world was changing around them, and they were as well. Something in the rain sped up their genetic growth, mutating them into monsters with scales, disgusting humanoid amphibians. Their main concern was returning to their previous state when they were happy and normal, but could it be done?

The Dry Man, known to his friends as Edward, was a Messiah of sorts to his people, their last hope, and he felt the pressure constantly. Edward had been an accountant before the rains, pasty and dry-skinned, but when his friends and family began changing before his very eyes while he remained normal made his importance all too apparent.

END

I have absolutely NO idea whe…

New Year's Resolutions - Take 2

I know I already talked about this in a previous post, but I'm going to go a little bit further with my New Year's Resolutions.
Get to a healthy weight (i.e. 170). I'm 5'11," so that's on the top of my healthy weight range, but it will be a start. I'm really sick of getting depressed every time I look in the mirror or go clothes shopping. It's been a constant battle for me since I was a teenager (actually, before that even), and each pound that collects around my thunder thighs and waist makes me feel terrible. Additionally, diabetes runs in my family (I am constantly reminded of this.), and I want nothing to do with that horrible disease. It's time to kick this business in the butt and get a move on with my life. With my schedule, I should have plenty of time to work out for at least an hour a day on weekdays in between classes, and that's always helpful. I just have to stay away from treadmills. Dumb bum knee. :-P At any rate, I'll keep yo…

Questions to Ask Your Character

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Exercise #116 : "Questions to Ask Your Character"

These questions will help you flesh out a character. For the purpose of this exercise, the character you choose may be one who appears in a piece you're working on or even a new one. Feel free to change the gender and, if it suits, change or add to the questions.

What does he think of:Elton JohnThe PopeRichard NixonMadonnaCountry musicBlogsCell phonesPickup trucksMcDonald'sJapanGolfIce-skating competitions on tvHis local bookstoreHis priest / minister / rabbi (or other)Camembert cheeseHis local (or nearest) zooSmall and nicely brushed, Pedigree dogsElvesMushroom soupBeerThe New York TimesYouHmm... I'm choosing Pickett for this one. He's a man's man and doesn't take crap from anyone. I think several of these topics might prove fruitful if only in the humorous aspect. He lives in the distant future, so we'll assume that he has a really strong grasp of human history, including pop culture.

Elton John - P…

Both Delicious and Luxurious

Forgive the slight overlook on my part for posting Exercise #115 before #114. Serves me right for not paying attention...

Exercise #114 : "Both Delicious and Luxurious"

in his delightfully wacky Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia, Rob Brezsny writes:
The poet Muriel Rukeyser said the universe is composed of stories, not of atoms. The physicist Werner Heisenberg declared that the universe is made of music, not of matter. And we believe that if you habitually expose yourself to toxic stories and music, you could wind up living in the wrong universe..."So, in order to make a universe a better place, today's exercise is to write a brief sketch - perhaps the beginning of a longer story - that is delicious and luxurious. Begin with the word "even" and include an orange, a hungry baboon, a piano, and an elderly man in a perfectly crisp suit.

GO!

Even oranges seemed better outside of the prison walls. Edward Madchen, 76, leaned against the grocery store wall and peel…

Here & Now... Then Outside

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Exercise #115 : "Here & Now... Then Outside"

Considering where you are right now:
What do you see? List 3 things.What do you hear? List 3.What do you smell? List 3.What do you taste? List at least 2 tastes.What do you feel on your skin? List at least 3.Once you've finished this, imagine that you have moved outside nearby. Ask and answer the same questions.
GO!

3 Sights. Right now, I am in my living room. Across the way, our Christmas tree stands in all its glory, except most of the ornaments have been removed. It was once haphazardly decorated with white and blue lights (Hanukkah, much?) as well as blue and silver ornaments and multicolored Mardi Gras beads. I'm sure you can tell already that this house is filled with a bunch of 20-somethings. The three was originally sparsely decorated with a few olive green and red bulbs, but our male roommate, Andy, decided that we needed to get some more. Now, one of my roommates, Mo, is a bit of a Christmas tree snob, so imagine…

She's Always Late

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Exercise #113 : "She's Always Late"

Why is she "always" late? What are three things she's actually been on time for? If you have time, describe her purse.
GO!

I'll tell you who is always late. My Mom (pictured right). I love the woman. Really,I do. But she is never on time! I can't even begin to list the times where I have waited around for her to get her stuff together.

An example? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Last year, Thanksgiving. I was working (such is the life of a dog walker), so I had specific times where I had to be at work.

"What time do we need to eat, Stef?" she asked me.

"Well," I said, "I have to be at work at 2 o'clock, so probably sometime around noon."

"Ok, we can do that."

Apparently not.

I get to my house around 11am, and my Dad and sister haven't even gotten out of bed. My Mom is in the shower, and I'm just sitting there, waiting for something to get done. In retrospect, I probably coul…

Who Went to McDonald's?

Today's exercise is going to be completed by my lovely sister, Juniper Trela. Yay for guest posters! :) I'd be remiss if I didn't inform you of her blog, We Can All Use a Little More Juju. Either way, go check it out.

Without further ado, here is my sister's contribution to my little bloggy.

Exercise #112 : "Who Went to McDonald's?"

Who is the most unlikely person - living or dead, famous or non - you can think of to be in a fast food restaurant? Imagine that person just walked into McDonald's. Why are they there, and what happens?

GO!

Perhaps he was just being ironic, but he just looked too uncomfortable to be standing in one of the lines at Burger King on purpose, based on some vindictive hipster ideology.

He seemed to be hiding behind his slightly slouchy knit cap and unkempt kinda-beard, dodging direct eye contact with the other patrons. He shoved his balled up fists into the pockets of his skin-tight jeans and rocked back and forth on his Chuck Taylors…

Note to Self: Stop Looking at All Memos Immediately

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You know... the one that let me know that it was time for me and everyone I grew up with to get married and procreate. I've blogged about this before, yes, but it seems that this rush to the altar is only getting worse.

Anyways, I figured that there was a memo that, for some reason or another, I missed (kind of like that freaking TPS Report memo...), so I went hunting around my room and found this:


Just in case you can't read the tiny font, here's a transcript:
Hey, guys,

I was thinking about pulling a little prank on Stef, and it requires complete commitment on your part. My idea is this: everyone starts getting engaged, married, pregnant, or all of the above except for her. Hilarious, right? Imagine how she would feel being invited to all of these weddings for people with whom she grew up!

Of course, once these weddings and pregnancies are completed, I will not tolerate any divorces or abortions. Just so you know...

But seriously, it'll be great. Who's in it with me??

R…

The Bible - Claire DeMaule

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Exercise #111 : "The Bible"

Think of one of your characters. Does he or she read the Bible (or other holy book)? If not, why not? If so, what passages would be of particular importance for him or her? When did you character first come across this passage? What does it mean to him or her?

GO!

I keep using my main character from my NaNo novel in these things, so I'm thinking it's time to branch out a bit. I know her pretty well; let's meet some of the other characters, shall we?

Today's exercise will focus on Claire DeMaule, the matron of the Women's Quarter on board the Spectre (I'll have to enlighten you guys about this character and the Women's Quarter in a later post, but the bare bones facts are that it's a brothel type setup for when the ship is out on a really long tour. The men need... er... release somehow, so Captain Eldon begins employing women to fulfill this need. Claire is Eldon's special go-to girl.).

Claire is deeply religious. Be…