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Amy Knepper

Moderator Selected Writing Exercises  - 
Weekly Writing Exercise: May 18-24
No extra rules this week. This is a public domain photo of the artist Edward Gay. Feel free to write whatever about it inspires you, even if it's sci-fi or fantasy or women's literature. ;) Please read the rules before commenting -- I've had to delete comments the last few weeks.

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

5) 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. 

6) Anyone can add their submission at any time in the contest period. However, the voting will be counted and a winner chosen on Sunday, May 24, 2015 at 2 p.m. Pacific Time.

7) Winners are chosen by +1 count. Just that simple. (Ties will be broken by sudden death cage match, or by a call for votes, whichever costs less money at the time.)

8) 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 a fun prompt idea, please tag me! I collect intriguing images and interesting text.

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

Have fun! Be creative!

#writingprompt #flashfiction
Mike Corey's profile photoVicente L Ruiz's profile photoAlun M's profile photo

Max was lying on his bunk, reading. He just loved old science-fiction novels. Asimov's The End of Eternity was simply too funny, given the circumstances. And the story by old good Isaac had always been more campy than Bradbury's Sound of Thunder. If only they knew.

A beep made him jump and grab for the door. Every team member had learned that when Aline called, you just left everything and went.

"Hey Max," said a female voice behind him. He turned without stopping.

"Anna," he said. "You've changed your hair."

"Ha ha, very funny," she said. "At least I don't have a landing strip on top of my head." Their last mission had required them all to shave their heads. Max had chosen to keep his bald pate for the moment.

"The short hair looks cute on you," he replied.

She pulled up to him and elbowed him. "Cute? Idiot."

They reached a door that slid to let them in. Aline was already in the meeting room, her red mane framing her face and giving her a savage look. Right then Aldus and Morgaine were coming in from the other room on the far wall. Max thought they must have been in the library, as usual.

Aline spoke up without waiting for any greeting.

"We've just received this. The usual conduits."

She passed along a piece of paper. As team leader, Morgaine picked it up and turned it around in her hands. She examined it briefly -Max knew she didn't need any more; her eidetic memory would have already recorded every detail. She passed it to Max.

"It's an old black and white photograph," he said. "Original?"

"Yes," Aline said.

"It shows a man sitting on a chair, painting a landscape. Right-handed, he holds his palette with his left. He's thin, wearing one of those long goatees Aldus likes. We cannot see his complete face, as he looks away from the camera into his work, but I'd place him... in his late sixties at least. There's a case full of paints on a three-legged stool by his side. There are several half-painted canvases, frames and brushes.

"The photograph has an inscription, handwritten by a right-handed person. It says 'Edward Gay, June 1907'. Or January 1907."

"Edward B. Gay, Irish-American painter, 1837-1928," Aldus chimed in. Max didn't need to look at him to know he was checking online facts via his optical interface -his glasses. "Specialized in landscapes. Hmm... his works are usually worth a few thousand, sometimes in the tens."

Max passed the photograph along to Anna. She turned it around in her hands, then stared at the image.

"What's this, boss?" she asked, and pointed at the extended painter's right wrist.

"Good," Aline said. "That's exactly the problem. His wristwatch."

"Not so common in the early 20th century," Aldus said, checking his facts. "But not so uncommon either."

"This one is, Aldus. It's a digital Casio," Anna said. Morgaine extended her hand and picked up a magnifier from Aline's desk. Anna gave her the photograph, and she looked at it through the device.

"Yes, it is. You're right, a Casio. One of those black digital ones from the 70's or 80's, I'd say."

"Team, you know what this means," Aline said. The four of them looked at her. "There's another rogue time traveller, and somehow this one gave Gay his Casio," she picked up four ledgers and gave one to each of them. It was fun, Max thought, that she still did that instead of using their pads. "Your mission: you'll go to 1907 and find out why."
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Is it possible to write other character's thoughts on something in third person limited, or would that consider to be head-hopping? 
Steven Schend's profile photoBrian Philipsen's profile photo
It is called free indirect discourse. It is exactly what you are asking about. Look it up. There are some good blogs out there that cover it. You have to do it right though, or else you lose the attention and respect of your audience. Have fun.
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Its Lou

Covers (Blurbs, Marketing Text, Design, Art)  - 
I need a name of a girl character. Please can someone give me name ideas? X
Mortimer Mironov's profile photo

first off the top of my head
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Ryan M. Danks

Resources  - 
Scrivener and the Cloud

The short of it: have your .scriv files save to Dropbox so it automatically syncs every 2 seconds.

Anyone tried this? Did it work for you? I'm wanting to get out of Drive's very basic word processing and go back to Scrivener for awhile, but I want a good sync solution first.
Masha du Toit's profile photoSteve Turnbull's profile photo
Yes it works. I do it. The only thing you mustn't do is have it open on two machines simultaneously. Because the most recent machine that saves will overwrite whatever the previous one had.

Dropbox provides change history so even this can be reverted but it's not easy. So just don't do that.
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Puzzle me this...

So with one week to go until my local launch party for Brotherhood of Delinquents, I've decided that the theme of the event will be puzzles. After all, the book is an homage to adventure stories with puzzles and secrets, so a puzzelicious party seems the perfect choice.

Which leaves me puzzling over what kinds of clever conundra to throw at my party guests. And you, my Plus-buddies, seem the perfect audience to help me brainstorm this. Attendees will be teens and up.

What would you do to both perplex and entertain?
1 comment on original post
Jefferson Smith's profile photoRoland Boykin's profile photo
I think as long as the kids have a chance to participate, they will enjoy whatever you come up with. Good luck!
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DL Keur

General  - 
You know the maxim, right? Start with something everyone will agree with, then lead them along until, gradually, they come to the conclusion you desire.


It doesn't work on me. Never has. I just don't "bite."

So, knowing that there are a bunch of writers a lot like me upon whom that particular formula utterly fails, I wonder how many of you have tried the opposite, namely, starting with something with which most people take exception, then continuing by riling that resistance to bring them further and further into your book?
Eduardo Suastegui's profile photoDL Keur's profile photo
DL Keur
I find her quite real and I like her for all her issues.
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Lauren Simonis

Business/Marketing  - 
As writers, we all want to have a good presence on social media, right? (As pointed out, this actually isn't true - thanks to my friends in the comments. Social media isn't for everyone. And that's okay.) You all already know about how awesome Google+ Communities are. But what about Twitter? Do you know where most of the traffic to you blog or website is coming from? 

What are your tips on finding your people in the social media world?
Finding your audience on social media doesn't have to be hard. In fact, there are some easy ways to get started.
Amy Knepper's profile photoLauren Simonis's profile photoAditya s k's profile photoWord Sherbert's profile photo
Well said +Amy Knepper :)
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Daniel Price

Ask an Editor  - 
Should child-like be hyphenated or not? Is it a style thing?

I currently have written it hyphenated, though Oxford Dictionary lists it as having no hyphen. Which is right? Child-like or childlike?
Tamara Pearson's profile photoRobert George Antonii D'Angelo's profile photoEllen Joyce's profile photo
No clear, grammatical reason thus far. I would have liked to see that, but now I have to wait until I get home and look it up.
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Does anyone have a general idea of how long a synopsis should be, and how to write one? 
Brittany Constable's profile photoSheldon Williams's profile photo
+Brittany Constable Sweet, okay. Now I know what to do. Thank you. 
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After a year of trial-and-error tweaking, I've finally arrived at MS Word templates that let me go straight from Word file to Kindle or Smashwords compatible (and if I may say so, polished) output in a way that, well, doesn't leave me with that "you compromised" feeling.

Would anyone be interested in me stringing one or two blog posts with downloadable samples of the Word file(s) you can adapt for your own use? It will take some time & doing, so I don't want to bother if no one is interested.
Eduardo Suastegui's profile photoRoland Boykin's profile photo
+Eduardo Suastegui That would be very helpful since I do all of my work in MS Word, and don't understand stuff like CSS.
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Haven't done much here but I thought this could go here:

Speaking about writing--not that anyone was at the moment,

I just saw something on another community that jogged my memory.

Years ago--like five to seven--I was on a writing board on AOL. We tried to do exercises to improve our writing. One was writing from the evil twin's POV.  

Mine was not that the Evil twin came along and did something but that the good twin came along and did something while imitating the evil one. 

Maybe with what I know about writing now I will redo that one. 
Michael Jones's profile photoLouis Doggett's profile photo
+Michael Jones One reason I mentioned it. :)
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Scrivener Formatting

Anyone know how to make Scrivener behave like Google Docs in respect to changing to normal format when you hit enter after header text?

Working in Drive files is nice because I only have to hit the button to choose title/heading once, and when I hit enter it switches back to normal formatting so I can type. Scrivener, by default, is not that smart, and I've been searching for the last hour for how to make it work and I can't figure it out.
Ryan M. Danks's profile photoAmy Knepper's profile photo
Ah, that makes sense. I have no idea how to do autoformatting like that. Hope someone else can jump in with some tips!
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Brandy Moss

General  - 
I have a question for those of you who use smashwords. I can check sales of paperback & kindle on Amazon, and direct sales from Smashwords, but how do I tell if people are buying from the other places smashwords distributes to? Apple? Barnes & Noble? I have no clue if I've ever sold anything through them. If so, I've certainly never received a penny for it.
Steve Turnbull's profile photoLouis Doggett's profile photo
Just saw this. But Dave seems to have answered it about the way I would of.

They have recorded one sell on iTunes, Kobe and some place else I don't recall hearing about. 
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Daniel Price

Ask an Editor  - 
"Despite her very innocent and childlike appearance, Red was no such thing. She was known to many commoners as the Warrior Princess. A tale told so very long ago prophesied of such an individual. An individual whose gender would not bestow their purpose in life, whose age would not bestow their maturity, whose form would not bestow their perceived strength... and whose feet would one day traverse the Dark Land, a place no commoner could tread, darest they try, or be killed by impossible beasts beyond imagination.

Red had done all this and more, her trusty sword and her Whisper by her side the entire time. [Her actions not those of mortal man, nor of those who had been born into royalty, but of those who would break the mould, test the boundaries, both literal and metaphorical, and, most importantly, of those who would be heroes and become legends, told of in tales from long, long ago."

This is an excerpt from a flash fiction piece. One of my beta readers pointed out that the second sentence in the second paragraph is not a full sentence (I put that bracket there for reference here, it's not in the writing itself).

Do you think this kind of punctuation works as far as style/voice is concerned? Or should I put a comma or perhaps a semicolon?

I also have a few run-on sentences. I wrote them purposefully, but the same beta reader commented that I should spit them up. I'm conflicted and would like to hear what others have to say, especially if you're an editor.

Here's the link to my call for beta readers, if you fancy reading the full thing:
DL Keur's profile photoJoel Reid's profile photo
+DL Keur sounds good, but i would adjust to leave it as "mortal" instead of "mortal man" it is somewhat more inclusive, it also gives her an aura of not just being spectacular for a human, but also in nature itself.

It also removes the suggestion some readers might get that she might be better than men but quite average for a woman. (I only say this becasue that is the impression my annoyingly PC mind gets)
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Paul Potiki

Covers (Blurbs, Marketing Text, Design, Art)  - 
Your Book Deserves A High Quality Cover

I am a freelance graphic designer, and I want to design book covers for indie authors who self-publish. I'll lay my cards on the table, I want to make this a career, with the dream of a healthy income, garnered from providing high quality artwork to talented authors.

As I made my first few steps into this arena, determining what the situation's like out there, I have encountered a wealth of amateur books, most of which have awful covers, an embarrassing array of terrible art. I want to reach inside my screen and fix all the artistic problems I can see that so clearly need to be addressed. It is genuinely heart-breaking to see a wonderful novel or short story marred by a terrible cover, being overlooked by potential readers who, despite the aphorism, really do judge books by their covers.

I do not want to see that. I want talented writers to be recognised, given a decent chance. I want them to start their writing career with real potential. I want them to be seen and respected. Above all I want them to be read, and a decent cover can help make that happen.

There are many immensely talented amateur cover designers online. I don't mind who you choose to do your artwork, there's no need to single me out to do it, but I do urge every one of you to choose somebody. I want you all to have great cover art, to give each and every one of you a decent chance of being noticed and read. Have the self-respect for your own creation to present it in the best way it can be.

Don't cut corners, don't make the cover yourself, don't get your 11yr old niece to do it, don't buy a cheap pre-made generic cover that doesn't represent your story. Be honest with yourself, you know when your cover isn't all it could be, when you're struggling to make it come together, trying to figure out why it doesn't work.

Prices for an amateur designer are a fraction what a professional would charge, extremely affordable for anyone, well worth the investment.

It's an undeniable fact that a good cover will increase sales. I implore you, don't make the rookie mistake of dismissing art as unnecessary or easy to do yourself, take it seriously and let someone experienced do it for you. It's never been more important to let your creative work make its mark, and designers like myself can help get you there.
Mike Spinak's profile photoLacey Thacker's profile photo
I agree--to say it "influences the decision" is probably the best route to go in regard to advertising. 

For my personal purchasing habits, judge me as you like, but I absolutely don't buy books where the cover isn't professional in appearance. It doesn't have to be complex/obviously expensive, but yeah, amateur covers strongly affect my buying decisions.
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I'm liking the possibilities of how I can use G+ collections to promote my brand(s)--my two series, in my case, though you can get more granular, if you want, with a book, for instance. As far as I can tell, if I make the collection public, posting to it is no different than posting to my public stream... with the added benefit that the collection name appears as a link at the top of the page. A reader can click on it and access related posts, which let's them find what I've posted for that topic a heck of a lot easier than before. 
Brittany Constable's profile photoMLBanner's profile photo
Thanks +Karen Conlin. I see that now. Smart on Google's part to automatically include your followers.
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What type of poetry do you like to read?
26 votes  -  votes visible to Public
Aryan Gupta's profile photoAaron Blakeley's profile photo
I also like surreal poetry
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Hi everyone.  I would like some feedback on a "cover" I've created for a post-apocalyptic story that I finished writing last week.  The story examines the life of Golding's main character Ralph, fifteen years after he is rescued from the island in Lord of the Flies.  So, does this image catch the eye?  Is it too busy? 

Kenneth D. Reimer

Writeon Short Story Page:
Angeline Trevena's profile photoKenneth D. Reimer's profile photo
I asked for feedback, so harsh is okay.  It sounds like I need to rethink this image.  Whew, glad you like the title.  
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Judy Leslie

General  - 
I saw this video and thought I would share it.  I am not pushing this guy's book.  However I thought what he had to say in this interview was helpful about the process of writing.  Hope you take time to watch it.  Thanks.
Cynthia B Ainsworthe's profile photoElisabeth Zguta's profile photoWord Sherbert's profile photo
Great advice - follow your intuition instead of chasing elusive results. Thanks for sharing this +Judy Leslie 
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I hear a lot about first drafts being say, 100k words, but by the time the book is finished, it could be 80-90k. 
Does anyone else write the first draft just to get the story down, then go back and flesh it out?
Daniel Smith's profile photoDL Keur's profile photo
DL Keur
I do. I normally tend to write in a very skeletal style. As one editor put it, my work is so skeletal that the bones are hungry-very bare bones.  Then I pad it out in rewrite.  That's when one book turns into three because my drafts usually range around 100k and grow exponentially once I start remembering that maybe I ought to draw a face, hair color, build, season, habitat, and other non-essential "stuff".  :D  Once it's all fleshed out it's grown to 300k+.  

However, as with all things, time and doing it tend to give advantage. I can now write fleshing in the necessary minutia and I only wind up going up maybe 50k from a 100k draft. Then minus out the stuff that, though interesting, doesn't really have to be there to keep it quick-footed, and I come in about 96 to 98k.  I keep aiming for 80k, but the best I've been able to manage is 88k in the final.
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