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Weekly Writing Exercise: July 17-23, 2017

A photograph this week: Urbex by Riccardo Pelatti. To me the image is screaming dark and gritty, brooding and dirty and sad.

And to you?

Tell me. Show us.

RULES

-All submissions must be 600 words or less (title included), prose or poetry, and added as a comment. Only one submission per participant will be allowed.
-Submissions must be related to the provided image.
-Commentaries are not allowed and will be deleted.
-Winners will be chosen by popular vote. Ties will be broken by me as I see fit.
-VOTE for the story you prefer. If you submit a story, please don’t vote for it.
-Winners will be announced each week on Sunday night, European time.


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!

Have fun! Be creative!

Image: Urbex by Riccardo Pelatti via Unsplash.
Link: unsplash.com/photos/omwQmD0-N6c

#writingprompt #flashfiction

Past prompts Pinterest board: www.pinterest.com/vlruizm/wdg-prompts-past/


Hi, I'm making a visual novel. It's going to be a high-fantasy story, but I need some tips, help!

I learned recently that a murder took place in my house in 1924. As I'm finishing up what is likely the last book in the Orphans and Inmates series, I was thinking the murder would make a great story. I don't own the house anymore, so I'm guessing there are some legal issues to consider. I write historical fiction which I promote by speaking locally to a wide variety of audiences from church groups to university graduate students and faculty. My local readers delight in the fact behind the fiction and have been known to frequent the libraries and museums where I do my research to learn the real history for themselves. Even if I were to change a few details, it would be easy for someone to identify the real house where the murder took place. It was quite the scandal at the time and was reported in the papers. Am I over thinking this? Should I just write my story, put in a disclaimer and not worry about any problems it might cause for the current owners? Am I protected by the historical facts? What are the potential consequences if the current owners are somehow troubled by my story?

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I thought it would be interesting to hear what other people use when they're writing. What device, software, kind of paper, ink, specific pen, etc., gets you in the flow so you can most effectively get your thoughts or stories written down?

I personally like using an Alphasmart 3000 word processing keyboard that I picked up on Amazon for about $25. I can probably type slightly faster on my MacBook, but it has entirely too much connectivity, and I like to be completely unplugged from the interwebs and various other potential distractions when I write. Plus it sucks (big time) for editing purposes, so it kind of forces me to plunge forward and just WRITE. I also feel much more comfortable taking this 17+ year old piece of low-cost tech to the laundromat than my $1000 laptop. LOL!

After I get a few days' worth of writing accumulated, I transfer everything from the Alphasmart over to my MacBook, usually dumping it in a Google Doc, which is where I do all of my editing/rewriting. I keep meaning to put everything on an SD card, as well, but just haven't taken the two minutes or so that it would take to get that done. :) I put everything on Google Docs because I'm paranoid about losing everything due to a computer crash (unlikely as that may be with my less than year old Apple laptop), lightning strike, RV fire, or some other catastrophic event. I want to back everything up on an SD card to guard against the unlikely event Google's multiple redundant servers get blown up somehow (an even more unlikely event, I know, I know...).

So, all that to ask, what do you other guys and gals prefer to use?
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Neil Gaiman's advice for aspiring writers

If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written.



The process of writing can be magical — there times when you step out of an upper-floor window and you just walk across thin air, and it’s absolute and utter happiness. Mostly, it’s a process of putting one word after another.



You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.

If you like fantasy and you want to be the next Tolkien, don’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies — Tolkien didn’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies, he read books on Finnish philology. Go and read outside of your comfort zone, go and learn stuff.



Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices — you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell — because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you.


So, as I've revised my YA fantasy novel, I've realized that a supporting character should actually be the main character. She's a strong young lady, and much more of a hero than the protagonist. I'm thinking of changing the story completely.

"Or, I should say..." and it's variants such as "or, better..."; "better still...", "or, rather..." etc. Writers use this odd device as a pretense to self-correction. In dialogue of course it's perfectly fine. People self-correct-for-effect while speaking all the time.
For example: "Our get-together yesterday, or, I should say, our shouting match, was informative".
But it seems pretentious in non-fiction:
"Any portrayal of the Hellenistic era might, or, rather, must begin with Alexander the Great."
Is the writer making a correction or not?

Hello, I'm new to the group and I am in the process of writing my memoir. I'm reading "How To Write A Memoir in 30 Days" by Roberta Temes. If anyone has any suggestions/information that would be helpful, please shoot it my way. Thanks :)

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Hope Renewed by +JB Hall.

They showed up as expected in their drab brown robes adorned with sheaves and their swords in hand. As soon as my sword started smoking in contact with the poisonous gas, I knew they were close. We’ve done this dance before; I would think they would have learned by now it was fruitless. Their gas had no effect on me. My sword, given to me by Thorin, Sharon’s father practically wielded itself. I named it Whirl. All I had to do was hang on.

As the attack came, Whirl flew into action, parry, block, and thrust. I think I might have had some control in the fight as I envisioned how it would go for them without their gas mask. Then as quickly as the thought came to me my wrist twisted and neatly sliced the filter canister from one mask off. The agent of despair hit the floor as almost as quickly as the filter. In seconds, he dissolved and like sand poured through the cracks in the street and was gone.

The others hung back circling looking for an in so one could get by. I knew they didn’t care about me. I was just an obstacle to them. They wanted Sharon. I saw her in the corner of my eye on the roof ledge doing her thing.

I could feel the hate and frustration emanate from them as they search for an opening. Then a couple lunged from two sides. Whirl kicked in with a burst that cleaved one sword in half and thrust through the center of the other's chest. He followed his comrade through the cracks.

I glanced at the clock tower glowing in the distance. Another hour and the moon will be beyond its apex and no longer be full. These poor wretched things will go away when they fail to stop Sharon from her entreating the spirit world that we draw our life force from.

Every full moon she captures the essence of hope, love and charity and spreads it around the world. These creatures come every time and try to stop her. I’ve resigned myself to my role as her protector and when I’m unable to withstand the forces of despair and deceit Whirl will release me at which point Sharon’s father will select another. For now, I am her protector.

I don’t know much about Sharon. She was doing this when I got the job. She never seems to age so I suspect she will be going on with her task after I’m gone.

It always works this way, the closer to the shift of the moon their attack intensifies. I drop into a squat and roll through four attackers as their swords come together in the spot I was just in. Whirl and I twist like a storm and two masked heads roll across the floor and the other two retreat.

The fighting is always the same. But, wait. This time is different. Instead of attacking me again the two start to climb the wall trying to access the roof – and Sharon. They have never done that before. Three more put themselves between me and the two climbers.

I have never attacked them before. I’ve always just fended them off. Even as wretched as they are and even in their desire to kill the hope of humanity and instill despair and loathing, I’ve only felt pity for them.

I plowed through the three like they weren’t there and struck the hilt of Whirl on the wall. The building shook, and the two miserable attackers fell to the ground. I raised Whirl to dispatch them when Sharon turned and waved.

I felt the renewal of hope instantly radiate through me. I lowered Whirl as the poor creatures crawled away and disappeared into the shadows.

I sheaved Whirl and headed for the door feeling good about the fate of mankind. She makes it all worthwhile for everyone some how.

***

Congratulations +JB Hall! A fine example of an action scene (I didn't expect less) mixed with a healthy dose of worldbuilding. A tasty recipe!

Ah, people, I very much would have liked some more audience participation in the shape of votes... sigh.
Weekly Writing Exercise: July 10-16, 2017

Ok, I don't know whether my prompts are getting less interesting, or more difficult, or whether all flash fiction fans are on holidays, but the drop in contributions is noticeable.

So, I dare you all: give me a story based on the awesome scene I bring you this week, drawn by Nicholas Kole. Just download the large version, look at all that detail and weave it in. Make us proud. And flex those creative muscles.

RULES

-All submissions must be 600 words or less (title included), prose or poetry, and added as a comment. Only one submission per participant will be allowed.
-Submissions must be related to the provided image.
-Commentaries are not allowed and will be deleted.
-Winners will be chosen by popular vote. Ties will be broken by me as I see fit.
-VOTE for the story you prefer. If you submit a story, please don’t vote for it.
-Winners will be announced each week on Sunday night, European time.


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!

Have fun! Be creative!

Image:
Link:

#writingprompt #flashfiction

Past prompts Pinterest board: www.pinterest.com/vlruizm/wdg-prompts-past/
Photo

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Writers advice and insight from Cory Doctorow, 45:22 to 48:45. The whole interview is about his latest work, "Walkaway" - which will be of interest to SF readers, but his answer to this particular question is of interest to everyone here.
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