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Vicente L Ruiz
moderator

Moderator Selected Writing Exercises  - 
 
Weekly Writing Exercise: September 26-October 2, 2016

One of my (two) favourite sites to find awesome photographies in is Unsplash.com. The advantage is that the images found there are released under CC-Zero, which means you can use them as you please. You don't even have to credit the author.

But I still like to credit authors when they're shown. So, let me know what story hides behind this amazing image by Italian photographer Riccardo Fissore. There are many useful elements there...

RULES
~600 words or less
~story or poetry
~related to the image
~no commentary allowed
~VOTE.

Submissions or comments that don't follow the rules will be removed, no matter how awesome. Sorry. If you need to contact me to ask about the contest or comment about the photo, please tag me in a private post. Thank you!

1) All submissions must be added as a COMMENT to this post, not as new posts in this section (or anywhere else).

2) All submissions (including your title) must be less than 600 words. In the case of a questionable word count, I will use Google Docs to verify.

3) Only include the title and text of your submission in your comment. Please don't add any questions, links, commentary, requests for feedback, etc. STORIES ONLY!

4) Please submit only one story each week. If you have more than one, choose your best entry.

5) Your submission must be inspired by the attached photo. How you choose to do that is up to you. Feel free to be creative!

6) ANYONE CAN VOTE. Even if you don't write a story, PLEASE VOTE for your favorites! You can +1 as many entries as you like.

7) Anyone can add their submission at any time in the contest period. However, the voting will be counted and a winner chosen on Sunday, October 2, 2016 approximately between 23:00 and 23:59 Central European Time.

8) Winners are chosen by +1 count. Just that simple. (I'll decide how I break ties on the fly. Yes, that's it.)

9) If you +1 your own submission, please also +1 at least one other submission.

What you win:
-Admiration and envy from your fellow writers
-A chance to practice, practice, practice
-Your submission re-posted at the conclusion of the contest and added to Featured Posts.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly by tagging me into a private post. If you ever come across an idea that you think is good for a prompt, please do the same!

tl;dr:
~600 words or less
~story or poetry
~related to the image
~no commentary allowed
~VOTE.

Have fun! Be creative!

Image by Riccardo Fissore from Unsplash.com
Link: https://unsplash.com/photos/L0mNDnusJE4


#writingprompt   #flashfiction  
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frank key's profile photo
 
Cadillac Ranch

Willy really believed he was on to something touristy big when he half buried the 1985 Yugo in the bog behind his Arkansas double wide trailer only to find out a few weeks later that some dudes down in Amarillo had ripped off his idea and were now almost more famous than Satan. It didn't matter that they traveled ten years back in time to 1974 to do it, it only mattered only that a car graveyard was his idea and not theirs.

Willy had all the answers he needed locked up inside that meth addled brain of his so he phoned a bunch of his like minded buddies to recruit them for his upcoming mission.

Brothers and first cousins Joe Billy Job and Bill Joey Bob were the first two to question Willy's plan.
"Now let's get this straight. We're all gonna get in your jacked up Bronco and drive all the way down to NASA in Houston where you've heard rumors about them having a time travel machine?"

Willy was not about to lose control. "That's exactly right. It's the same machine they used for the moon landing trip in 1969 that actually began in 1983. We're gonna use our shotguns to commandeer that contraption and use it to stop them fellers in Armadillo."

"Amarillo, not Armadillo."

"What's that? Somebody else is burying cars, too?"

"Never mind. Sorry, Willy, even though your our favorite Uncle, as your older Brothers we're going to override your decision and demand you call the whole thing off."

"Like hell I will."

It seemed like a good time for Sammy to express his opinion. "Now listen up, this here's a country of tax payers and as tax paying citizens we are part owners of NASA. I think Willy has every right to claim that time contraption and return to 1974 to reclaim his idea.

I've been down there and NASA is wide open for takeover since only liberal, pacifist, science folk work there. No sense shooting them nice folks when you can take it without a ruckus."

"Sammy, you always were the smart one. We'll do it your way."

"Let's go, time to get things ready for the riches we're gonna get when "Willy's Yugo Graveyard Bog" opens its gates for that touristy trade."

~

Well, wouldn't you know it. They found the NASA time machine stored in a rusting floating boat hanger on nearby Clear Lake. Sammy figured out the controls and quicker than a whistle they found themselves in Armadillo, er, Amarillo
at 2:00am one week after Cadillac Ranch opened in 1974.

"What's the plan now, Willy?" Job or Bob asked.
"Well, I don't sees no way to dig up them Caddies, and we didn't bring no dynamite to blow 'em to smithereens, so I figure the best way to ruin this whole thing is to get us a bunch of enamel spray paint, you know the permanent stuff, and cover all these Cadillac with the worst spray painting job we four can do."

The next night, when nothing but the big and bright stars lit up the panhandle of Texas, the four proceeded to do their worst with eight colors of Glidden enamel spray paint they stole from the local Ace Hardware Store.

The rest of the story is history. Rather than having the Arkansas miscreants arrested for vandalism, the owners hired them to stay and sell cans of enamel spray paint to the tourists. The painted cars became more famous than the unpainted ever could be.

~

In 2016, Willy found his old Yugo and there he died.
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I am a writer from south India a Film producer and Director 67 years old. I feel proud to join n ts group dear friends. +918428672556 s my Watsup no. Come back. Bye.
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Vicente L Ruiz
moderator

General  - 
 
Do you know Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party by Shipwrecked Comedy? I found it only last week and it's oh so brilliant. They're in chapter 5 out of 11. I was thinking of it and thought I'd post it for the fun.

And mind me, I'm not so familiar with the lives and works of all the writers involved so I have to check to get some of the jokes... But I guess most native English-speakers will enjoy it.
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I found a fabulous critique partner who gave a ton of great suggestions that I think will make my novel what I truly want it to be. The big problem: it's going to take a ton of work...like adding some major plot points and possibly rewriting the whole thing in first person instead of third person. Ugh. Just thought I'd vent.
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Laurie Varga's profile photoVanessa MacLellan's profile photo
7 comments
 
Ditto on what others are saying. Always trust your gut. And changing the POV is a huge change to any story. Some stories are more narrative. Some stories are not internal at all. Look at the Maltese Falcon, we never once get an internal thought. It's all sharp description and it's awesome. There are many ways to tell a story, make sure it's your way and not your critiquer's way. But, good feedback is always worth while. 
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J.B. Wise

General  - 
 
Has anyone here ever paid to go to a writing class/retreat/panel/etc? I'm participating in one tomorrow hosted by the PNWA writer's association, which is a pretty large organization, and I just wanted to know what other people's experiences have been like when paying for this sort of thing. It's not cheap, although it is cheaper then most conferences. Still it's $75! I'm curious to know if anyone has gained or loss from going to these?

(For this discussion I'm not talking about degree classes unless you took a one time kind of class at a college)
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Vanessa MacLellan's profile photoGina Drayer's profile photo
8 comments
 
Our local RWA chapter does a retreat every fall. It's 175 to go for the weekend. Cheap compared to some of the ones I've done before.

I've been to the MWW. It was around $400 (not including hotel cost).

RWA Nationals is $400+ (you have to be a member which costs also) and the hotel ran me $800 (and I split the cost with a roomie.)

I'm looking at going to the NINC next year. it's another costly weekend. It's at a resort. The hotel is going to be about 190/night and the the conference $425 (plus the $100 yearly fee for membership)

Every conference I've been to was worth it IMHO.
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Mike Corey

Business/Marketing  - 
 
More consumers are changing to audio books.


Sales of adult books fell 10.3 percent in the first three months of 2016, and children's books dropped 2.1 percent. E-book sales fell 21.8 percent, and hardcover sales were down 8.5 percent. The strongest categories were digital audiobooks, which rose 35.3 percent, and paperback sales, which were up 6.1 percent.

The link below may require a subscription. Google this if you have trouble with it.

Audiobooks Turn More Readers Into Listeners as E-Books Slip

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/retail/article/Audiobooks-turn-more-readers-into-listeners-as-9240977.php
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Nathan Lowell's profile photoMLBanner's profile photo
12 comments
 
Eye opened now +Nathan Lowell. Thanks!
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Nathan Lowell
moderator

Business/Marketing  - 
 
Bucket Of Pennies

About once a quarter or so, somebody raises the suggestion that Amazon - and it's CEO, Jeff Bezobub - are coming for our guns and bibles.

That's probably an over generalization but the argument usually follows the form of "If Amazon will harm the authors that have [Fill In Big Publisher of Choice] to protect them, what will happen when they've killed off the publishers?"

The argument generally follows the famous "First they came for the socialists" poem by Martin Niemöller. "Then they came for me, and there was no one to speak for me."

Yeah. Okay. Fine, but we need to check some boxes off here.

When publishers rattle swords, authors get it in the neck.

Nobody at Hachette is standing up for authors. It's not their job. Their job is to maximize shareholder return. One might argue that their successful price windowing of ebooks - which protects their investment in paper products without actually improving revenues overall - does not exactly maximize shareholder return. It does protect the publisher's investment in paper and bookstores. This is important for the narrative that bookstores are still important marketplaces. Without that narrative, the value-added proposition for traditional publishers disappears.

We need to check of the "terms of service" box as well. Amazon's relationship with its big suppliers is very different from the relationship with small suppliers - like self-published authors. To begin with, it's hidden in private contract arrangements. We don't actually know what Amazon and Hachette, or Amazon and Macmillan, or Amazon and anybody agreed to in their contracts. The only thing we can be sure of is that lawyers on both sides will be watching to make sure that the contract terms are followed exactly.

Self-publishers have a different relationship. One that's not always smooth, and frequently stumbles as Amazon tries to herd the cats toward the river. The model is "A bucket of pennies."

If you had a bucket of pennies and you stood at the side of the road and people started buying your pennies for a dollar a piece, when would you stop selling pennies?

What if, every once in a while, somebody gave you $100 for a penny. When would you stop selling pennies?

What if, say once every month, somebody gave you $1000 for a penny and once a year, a million dollars for one of your pennies? When would you stop selling pennies?

What if you had no idea who would give you the windfalls?

Would you make it more difficult for people to buy your pennies? Would you put restrictions on who could buy one of your pennies? Or perhaps tell people they couldn't buy another penny?

Call me mercenary but if I invest a penny for a hundred-penny return, I'm going to make it very easy for people to buy my pennies. I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that the people who buy my pennies come back for more because every penny earns me a buck.

That's Amazon and self-published authors.

It costs Amazon less than a penny to list a new title and maintain that record indefinitely. Almost every single one earns Amazon a buck. Sell one copy of a 99-cent title ... they earn 70 cents. Sell one copy of a $2.99 title they get 90 cents. They invested less than a penny.

Some of those titles will catch a tail wind. Some will become million sellers. Amazon doesn't know which one will take off any more than Macmillan does.

But it costs Macmillan a hell of a lot more than a penny to publish. They're understandably less willing to invest in properties with less than a proven track record. They can't publish whatever they like. They have to be able to justify their existence to their stockholders.

This puts traditional publishers in a bind.

Amazon - and the vast herd of self published authors - can publish everything. Amazon only needs to sell one unit to make a profit. Sure, every so often somebody publishes a book and it sells nothing, but every so often an Andy Weir comes along.

Amazon would be stupid to stop selling pennies and, while Amazon is guilty of a lot of things, stupid isn't one of them.

JMO. YMMV.


Image credit: By Roman Oleinik (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
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Nathan Lowell's profile photoMark David's profile photo
13 comments
 
It's evening time on the other side of the Atlantic - call it Ouzo-induced insight (possibly), but I was thinking, what's going to happen to Amazon, now they're trying to get in on the HBO and Netflix act, when Netflix and HBO get in on the Amazon act?

With the following - which they (HBO, Netflix) have, disruption, especially in the entertainment industry, has barely begun... (I know, this is another post, just couldn't resist it :-)
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MLBanner

Business/Marketing  - 
 
Do you self-publish horror fiction?
Publishers Weekly wants to talk to you and maybe feature your work.

I'm a source member of HARO (HelpaReporter.com) and I noticed this request by a reporter asking for self-pub horror authors to contact her by email. Thought I'd pass it on to any of you interested.

Here's the request:
Summary: Self-publishing horror fiction authors?
Name: Nicole Spector Publishers Weekly
Category: Entertainment and Media

Email: query-654r@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: Publishers Weekly

Deadline: 5:00 PM EST - 22 September
Query:
I'm writing a feature for Publishers Weekly on horror authors
who self-publish their novels/novellas/short stories.

I'd love to hear about trends and movement in the space and hope
to showcase your self-published work.

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Cynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photoMLBanner's profile photo
5 comments
 
Still +S. A. Hunt, I'd jump on it and make contact. HARO suggest that you try to best answer with some detail. Hope it works for you!
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Steve Turnbull
moderator

General  - 
 
It's important for authors to understand the market.

This article covers some the changes in the way traditional publishing and distribution work that have led to the situation where new authors can't get in, and, where they do, their books are given no support.

In brief: There are fewer people who decide whether a book is bought by a shop chain and traditional publishers have become risk-averse, but are failing to sell books anyway.

The agent ... agreed that the big houses used to be able to count on a sale of 1500 or 2000 copies for just about any title they published. Now it is not uncommon for books to sell in the very low triple digits, even on a big publisher’s list. (My emphasis.)

I don't sell huge numbers as a self-publisher, but it's more than that, and nobody will be cancelling my contract.

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2016/09/the-reality-of-publishing-economics-has-changed-for-the-big-players/
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Cynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photoDL Keur's profile photo
6 comments
DL Keur
+
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4
3
 
I think I'll be counting my lucky stars.
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I've only been writing short stories and such for 6 years and this year I'm in the process of writing a play with a friend. I'm wondering if anyone could share tips about developing stronger characters, or stronger plot. 
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Steve Turnbull's profile photoAlice Kouzmenko's profile photo
2 comments
 
The strongest characters, for me, are the realest. Sit back and observe people - see what they do, when they do it, watch their facial expressions and observe their interactions with others. Dialogue can literally be, and should be, lifted out of real life to feel less stiff and more authentic. What I love about plays is they present an interaction between people and their environment, and that is all anyone does on an everyday basis. I would love to hear more about your play and how it's all going! Good luck:)

www.alicekouzmenkowriting.blogspot.com

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Now that I've targeted the F. Scott Fitgerald house for potential purchase (see my prior post), perhaps I should add the original Harry Potter Privet Drive home (or maybe just the cupboard under the stairs?) and start an entire AirBnB portfolio of writers' houses. It too is available.
The home used as 4 Privet Drive in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is for sale in Bracknell for £475,000. Owners will get a three-bed house with large garden and cupboard under the stairs
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Am thinking of buying this home formerly owned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, then AirBnB-ing the hell out of it to folks like you, dear fellow writers who may be looking for your muse. Is this a good idea?
Live in the Victorian rowhouse where a career was born
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Paul Potiki's profile photoA.H. Pellett's profile photo
4 comments
 
+Paul Potiki it was all in jest, but it seems a good idea all the same. Maybe someone will run with it.
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Nathan Lowell
moderator

Writing Opportunities/Conferences  - 
 
Peer Reviewed

We're getting down to the bottom of the list again. I've got a couple left and I'm going to write a few myself just so I'm not asking people to do my work for me.

But if you read indie authors and have a book you love, why not share that with the world - or at least the 200-300 people who read these reviews every day.

See the submissions guidelines for details.
Are you an author? Would you like to review somebody else's work in this space? We publish reviews of self published books. Readers complain that it's too hard to find the good stuff in the self-publishing world. This blog is my effort to collect the best so readers have a place to look.
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Vicente L Ruiz
moderator

Featured Posts  - 
 
The Lure of Light by +Samantha Dunaway Bryant 

The light drew her, even while part of Lori’s mind screamed that it was foolish to come so near. Nothing good had ever come to her people from above. Especially not in the blackened forest.

People said that this part of the waters had once been on land. People said that a woman from the dry earth had walked here generations ago and ensnared the heart of the king of the waters.They said he had worked dark magics to make it possible for their worlds to meet. They said it ended badly.

They also said Lori looked like her, though how anyone could know this was beyond imagining. It was all supposed to have happened hundreds of years ago. No one who knew the woman of dry earth could still be living.

Still, there was something about the place. Lori felt something when she lingered at the edges of the once-trees, looking up at the shimmer, something she couldn’t explain. She had a mad desire to swim upwards and drown herself in open air, just to see the source of that light without the diffusion of the water. But her love of life was too strong to be overcome by mere curiosity. She lingered, staring up into the light, imagining the warmth it might bring to her skin, but not moving any nearer.

She turned to go. She would be late again. Her friends were starting to talk about her strange absences. They probably believed she had taken a lover that shamed her, but she knew that it was only a matter of time before they figured out where she was really going, and rumors of a far worse kind overtook her. She had to stop coming here.

She would have gone, too, if not for the glint that caught her eye just as she turned to wend her way back. It was red, a color that did not come without alarm bells in the waters. Red was a color of death. Lori had not felt frightened by the glint of red, though. It wasn’t a slowing spreading expulsion of blood, but the bright, sharp prick of light against metal or glass. She turned her head slowly, trying to find it more exactly.

When she spotted it, she squinted into the blackened forest, trying to see into its depths, to identify without moving deeper in. But the red glint kept its mystery. She told herself it was all right. After all, the glint had come from the sea floor, not near the glowing portal of light. She moved lightly, avoiding touching the trees as she moved, though part of her wanted to know what they felt like.

Finally, she found it, a crown of bright metal, just lying there among the roots of the trees, half-buried in the sandy earth, red jewels ornamenting the flat expanse at the front. The sight of it frightened her. She drew back. Thoughtlessly she backed into one of the trees. It was like falling into some kind of nettles. Her skin and clothes were snagged. She pulled, but seemed to only to become more inextricably tangled.

She looked back up at the light that had drawn her in. A darkness swirled at the center now. Something inky and malevolent snaked towards her. As it spiraled around her, she felt herself sink into the tree, swallowed. As darkness closed around her, she saw the glint of red once more, and knew she had been lured all too easily. She should have known better.

====

+Samantha Dunaway Bryant congratulations! A lovely, mysterious story that turns into dark and evil at the last moment... I loved it, and you got one of my votes as well.
 
Weekly Writing Exercise: September 19-25, 2016

I have a reduced number of artists I like to follow (and whose art I secretly wish I could afford). One of them is Lois van Barle, better known online as loish. I thought this underwater piece by her would be inspiring enough so I collected it in my Pinterest board for prompts.

Tell us underwater stories, good folks. Entertain us. Make us laugh. Make us weep.

RULES
~600 words or less
~story or poetry
~related to the image
~no commentary allowed
~VOTE.

Submissions or comments that don't follow the rules will be removed, no matter how awesome. Sorry. If you need to contact me to ask about the contest or comment about the photo, please tag me in a private post. Thank you!

1) All submissions must be added as a COMMENT to this post, not as new posts in this section (or anywhere else).

2) All submissions (including your title) must be less than 600 words. In the case of a questionable word count, I will use Google Docs to verify.

3) Only include the title and text of your submission in your comment. Please don't add any questions, links, commentary, requests for feedback, etc. STORIES ONLY!

4) Please submit only one story each week. If you have more than one, choose your best entry.

5) Your submission must be inspired by the attached photo. How you choose to do that is up to you. Feel free to be creative!

6) ANYONE CAN VOTE. Even if you don't write a story, PLEASE VOTE for your favorites! You can +1 as many entries as you like.

7) Anyone can add their submission at any time in the contest period. However, the voting will be counted and a winner chosen on Sunday, September 26, 2016 approximately between 23:00 and 23:59 Central European Time.

8) Winners are chosen by +1 count. Just that simple. (I'll decide how I break ties on the fly. Yes, that's it.)

9) If you +1 your own submission, please also +1 at least one other submission.

What you win:
-Admiration and envy from your fellow writers
-A chance to practice, practice, practice
-Your submission re-posted at the conclusion of the contest and added to Featured Posts.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly by tagging me into a private post. If you ever come across an idea that you think is good for a prompt, please do the same!

tl;dr:
~600 words or less
~story or poetry
~related to the image
~no commentary allowed
~VOTE.

Have fun! Be creative!

Image: Breathe by loish.
Link: http://blog.loish.net/post/95019132853/revisiting-the-good-old-underwater-theme


#writingprompt   #flashfiction  
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Vicente L Ruiz's profile photoSamantha Dunaway Bryant's profile photo
2 comments
 
Thanks. It's a very evocative picture. I'm glad some people enjoyed what I came up with out of it.
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Jefferson Smith

Business/Marketing  - 
 
Your trumpet is off-key.

I see it all the time in my streams. Some author gets a positive review from some random reader, so they post that self-flattering blather to all their streams. Maybe even twice, you know, for the benefit of followers in other hemispheres who might have been sleeping during the first post.

Do these messages actually influence anybody? Well, I don't know about generating sales, but they sure as hell influence me. At the very least, I roll my eyes, but if it happens frequently from the same author, I am just as likely to block/unfriend/unfollow/discommendate them.

It's not that I don't sympathize. We all wonder if our work will ever be seen, and so it's understandable that we're pleased as punch when we get hard evidence that it has been. But think about it. There's no such thing as a book that cannot get any positive reviews. So the only thing you're telling anybody by posting the good ones is that you like it too. After all, you're not posting the bad reviews as well as the good. You're filtering the signal so that only positive comments go out, and we already know that you like your own stuff, so you're not actually adding any useful information to the universe. In fact, you're adding noise, which I do not consider useful.

Now, if I'm just some crank-case curmudgeon raging at the heavens from my one-man shack in the woods, then you have nothing to fear. Post away. But what if I'm not alone in this? In that case, you might be doing more harm than good to your career by creating antipathy among the few people who have actually taken the trouble to follow you in the first place.

Won an award? Sold the film rights? Just made your thousandth sale? Those are posts that I'll gladly upvote and cross promote. But Betty from Podunk thought your "hereoin was awsum"? You might want to just gloat about that to yourself.

So what about you other travelers of the e-ways? Do you rejoice at your fellow authors' mini-successes? Or do you quietly rage about the noise?


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DL Keur's profile photoVanessa MacLellan's profile photo
38 comments
 
If the author is my friend, I'm stoked for them. I don't really follow authors who are not my friends, though. I guess I would probably just ignore it.
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CHARLIE STEEL, Author.  HOW I BECAME A WRITER---BY READING!

(I wrote this for D L Keur of GRIMACE AND GIGGLE her website to promote authors.)

A Personal Letter from Charlie
REFLECTING ON WHAT MADE ME A WRITER

I am sure my first memory is being in the womb, swimming around, but I can’t seem to convince anyone of that fact. So…my next EARLY memory is learning to walk. It was the first time my parents showed such enthusiasm. I was nine months old, it was probably July and a very warm day. My father came home from the oil fields, still dressed in his work clothes and smelling of oil, sour gas, and gasoline he used to wash oil off his body before entering the house. I was in the living room on the floral grey carpet and began to walk, wearing white baby shoes and only a cloth diaper. How I remember mother and father smiling down at me and encouraging me to step forward from the stuffed chair mother was sitting in, to grab my father’s pant legs, as he reached down, turned me around, and pointed me back to mother.

Like most people, my past is recorded in pictures—very, very vivid pictures. With perfect recall, I see my fellow kindergarteners’ faces, the teacher—kind, pretty, young Mrs. Schneider—and the old black upright piano she played. How all of us loved to hear her play as we sang along.

Decades and decades of pictures are stored to retrieve and relive. Such memories help me in my writing. Using guided imagery and revisiting those scenes, studying the details of the places and everything and everyone in them, listening to the sounds and voices, breathing the scents of the past, and experiencing again what I felt, whether pleasant or painful, is how I write each word and sentence. When a story is completed, I seldom leave out a needed detail and the visualization process helps to get it right.

When I broke into my father’s library at age eight and read, Zane Grey, Jack London, and Gene Stratton Porter, for the first time I entered a more adult world and discovered that I LOVED books. One of my first thoughts was—I bet I can do this—if I really try.

Carrying a little notepad and pencil around, every book I read after that, (usually two to four a day) I wrote down the words I didn’t understand or know how to pronounce, and before falling asleep, I would go to the family Webster Dictionary and look up the day’s list of words. To this day I mispronounce words I taught myself, at such an early age.

During those years, reading books was as important to me as breathing. Because I was a loner, school was a place of torture, but how I loved books—they were my friends. All through my childhood, into college, the Army, and many years after, I kept up a furious reading pace. Somewhere along the way I slowed down. Perhaps real life got in the way.

My other loves were fishing and hunting, but always with a book by my side. In my youth I walked miles and miles through forests, following winding trout streams, to eventually sit and rest and read a bit from an exciting book.

Throughout my life, when it came to vocabulary I may not have known how to pronounce a word, but I did know what it meant and how to use it. This helped me advance in the many jobs I held. And now, sitting here composing this piece, I have come to realize that—unknowingly, by my own unrelenting curiosity—I had set myself up for PERFECT TRAINING to become the writer I am today.

I was asked by Ms. D.L. Keur to write something unique for her Author Page—I hope this appropriately meets her request.   [It’s AWESOME, Charlie! –DLKeur]
Charlie Steel https://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Steel/e/B00H
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Neil Waring's profile photo
 
Good stuff!
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Mark Hanson

General  - 
 
About to start writing again in my WIP and as I am getting quite far into my first chapter I'm wondering what length people would aim for for a first chapter? I am currently intending on having a fairly short Chapter 1 and then have a longer second chapter. I've set my target as 5000 words but is this too short, do you think?
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Mark Hanson's profile photoVanessa MacLellan's profile photo
14 comments
 
I'm writing a thriller style novel right now and some chapters are a page long. I usually aim for 4,000, but honestly, if my scene is completed and it feels like a chapter, it's done. 
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This post cites the benefits of silence. Silence to me is very important to my concentration and thus my writing, yet I have read posts where people ask what kind of music do you listen to when you are writing. I can't tell you how many writers I see going to coffee shops to write. I just don't get it. How do these interruptions feed your muse?
 
"In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise [..] which even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and harm."
Silence may allow your brain to rejuvenate leaving you feeling a new freedom
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Mark Hanson's profile photo
7 comments
 
Okay, so my first writing session yesterday went well in the coffee shop - it was quiet with low volume radio and I found the writing going well.

Today, however, town is very noisy. So noisy, in fact, that at my usual coffee shop it was too loud even to use G+! I have now found a quieter coffee shop and hope to get just a little bit of writing done.
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Vicente L Ruiz
moderator

Moderator Selected Writing Exercises  - 
 
Weekly Writing Exercise: September 19-25, 2016

I have a reduced number of artists I like to follow (and whose art I secretly wish I could afford). One of them is Lois van Barle, better known online as loish. I thought this underwater piece by her would be inspiring enough so I collected it in my Pinterest board for prompts.

Tell us underwater stories, good folks. Entertain us. Make us laugh. Make us weep.

RULES
~600 words or less
~story or poetry
~related to the image
~no commentary allowed
~VOTE.

Submissions or comments that don't follow the rules will be removed, no matter how awesome. Sorry. If you need to contact me to ask about the contest or comment about the photo, please tag me in a private post. Thank you!

1) All submissions must be added as a COMMENT to this post, not as new posts in this section (or anywhere else).

2) All submissions (including your title) must be less than 600 words. In the case of a questionable word count, I will use Google Docs to verify.

3) Only include the title and text of your submission in your comment. Please don't add any questions, links, commentary, requests for feedback, etc. STORIES ONLY!

4) Please submit only one story each week. If you have more than one, choose your best entry.

5) Your submission must be inspired by the attached photo. How you choose to do that is up to you. Feel free to be creative!

6) ANYONE CAN VOTE. Even if you don't write a story, PLEASE VOTE for your favorites! You can +1 as many entries as you like.

7) Anyone can add their submission at any time in the contest period. However, the voting will be counted and a winner chosen on Sunday, September 26, 2016 approximately between 23:00 and 23:59 Central European Time.

8) Winners are chosen by +1 count. Just that simple. (I'll decide how I break ties on the fly. Yes, that's it.)

9) If you +1 your own submission, please also +1 at least one other submission.

What you win:
-Admiration and envy from your fellow writers
-A chance to practice, practice, practice
-Your submission re-posted at the conclusion of the contest and added to Featured Posts.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly by tagging me into a private post. If you ever come across an idea that you think is good for a prompt, please do the same!

tl;dr:
~600 words or less
~story or poetry
~related to the image
~no commentary allowed
~VOTE.

Have fun! Be creative!

Image: Breathe by loish.
Link: http://blog.loish.net/post/95019132853/revisiting-the-good-old-underwater-theme


#writingprompt   #flashfiction  
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Basma Soliman's profile photo
6 comments
 
Curse

He's searching - searching for his lover, lost,
In a sea full of water, tossed,
She's waiting - waiting under the sea,
Caught in a mesh of heinous trees.
Caught in a curse; she cannot flee.

He breathes air - cold wind and sun.
She breathes too, yet cannot run.
She swims, yet is always drowning.
He sails, yet has long lost direction.
He's dry, so thirsty, throat so parched
She's wet, all wet, had enough of water.
He's looking down. She's looking up.
To him, a dawn. To her, a dusk.

He turns away and with face in tears.
He says, "See you soon, you wicked moon.
Though the sun will rise and bring me noon,
You'll return all grey to pierce
My heart with your gaze so fierce,
Pale blue like my lover's tears.
Ice blue like her hair and cheeks,
As she drowned beneath your gaze,
As she was swallowed by the sea.
Oh, where is she? Where is she?"

His heart is heavy, yet he sails the sea
And there she is, trapped by blue,
Asking the same thing anew,
"Oh, my love, where are you?
My heart's in tatters, waterlogged,
Caught in a view of endless fog,
Oh where are you this horrid day?
Where are you? May death delay!
Countless souls have passed yet none,
None were you and all have gone,
Sailed away from these drowned trees,
Sailed away for of the unknown they fear,
And left me - left me, in these waters, Dear."


But, he knows- he knows, she's there, somewhere out there,
He whispers now, his heart so heavy,
"Oh, she lies beneath these waves,
So cold, so blue, to time a slave
So far - so far from my grasp, she lays
Yet her eyes are bright. Her sorrow slight.
Her lips in a smile.
She looks up and prays.
Somewhere down there! Her soul - still free!
And she's waiting. She's waiting for me!"

And she, floating in icy blue,
turned towards the light with rue
She knows he's there, somewhere out there.
She knows he's looking at the indigo deep,
The thin line between air and sea
He's seeing night, then seeing light,
A horrid cycle bound to cease,
A morbid fate that breeds disease.
His head, his heart, both too weak.
And oh, how she wished she can be freed.
So to end what his suffering, feeds.

He yells now, his voice raspy yet strong,
"I know you are there. Somewhere out there!
Beyond my grasp, eternally gazing,
Oh, at the light that shines and blazes,
Oh at the pain that digs and grazes,
You are waiting. YOU ARE WAITING!
I know you're there neither drowned nor dead.
You're breathing - breathing air in fact!"

And so knows she, oh, so knows she,
Though bound in darkness, starved of light,
Though imprisoned within woods wound too tight,
Though lost in a curse of endless night,
She knows he's searching,
She can still grin.
He knows she's there,
He can still win.

She looks up; the water's warm.
He looks down; his hope had grown.
He knows - he knows she is there, somewhere!
She knows - she knows, he is there, out there!
And they know they'll meet once again.
And someday - someday,
this curse will end…



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Rhonda Ford

General  - 
 
Local libraries are participating in the first Indie Author Day. Activities scheduled from 1pm to 5pm.
During the Inaugural Indie Author Day on October 8, 2016, libraries from all across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. In addition to these local programs, each library’s indie community will come together for an hour-long digital gathering at 2 pm Eastern featuring Q&A with writers, agents and other industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity for libraries and a...
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