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Showing posts from 2006
Breaking the Writer’s Block - Suggestions

Three o’clock in the morning, and I’ve been staring at the monitor for hours, unable to get anything coherent written. Banging my head on the desk doesn’t help, although it does dislodge a stack of papers exposing a CD I’ve been missing for months. I pop the CD into the player and wait for inspiration. And wait. And wait. Nothing! Screaming in frustration, I shut down the computer, throw a temper tantrum and cry. I’ve got it for sure, Writer’s Block. We all go through it. The nightmare, the bane of a writer’s existence, the dreaded words echo through my brain like a trailer for a bad "B" movie. Sometimes, if it’s bad enough or late enough, the words dance in a circle like "Ring Around the Rosie" mocking me with their mere presence. They laugh and point their fingers, making me sink deeper into my depression. Writer’s Block is normal. Though frustrating, at times infuriating, it is a fact of a writer’s li…
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The following is from a story I'm currently writing. It is a song written and performed by one of the characters. It's not totally polished, but I rather liked it and decided to post it. (It doesn't even have a name yet.)

This was originally posted October 24, 2006. I finally finished this story and called it The Best Medicine.




In the twilight of my days,
I walk in endless night.
Trapped among these memories,
All alone I fight.
I can’t find the light no more,
Your darkness clouds my ways.
You’re just another memory
That fades into the haze.

Then why should I stay here,
When I’m so all alone?
I’m leaving now - I’m leaving,
Can’t break a heart of stone.

So now in my misery,
I face the world alone.
Nothing seems to matter,
Can’t break a heart of stone.
The blood flows thickly from my veins,
but I can’t seem to care.
It’s flowing like a river,
and pooling round the chair.

Then why should I stay here,
When I’m so all alone?
I’m leaving now - I’m leaving,
Can’t break a heart of stone.

Did you ever love m…
This is an extension of "Twilight Time". Where that is the end of the story, this is the beginning.
Chance Encounter


A chance meeting, that’s all it was. A glance in passing, a look - that’s all it had taken. One penetrating flicker of her astonishingly green eyes in his direction - and he’d fallen into her. The auburn hair fell around her shoulders like flames, cascading down the back of her sapphire dress. It was fire burning in his head. Electra, his best friend’s younger sister.

He’d known her for years and watched her grow from a child to a young woman. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and he was irrevocably smitten. He was a fool, he chided himself. Nearly half his age, why he had shoes older than she was! But he was hopelessly, helplessly hooked.

"You’re done for, Shadow, old man." He muttered to himself. "If Augustine doesn’t kill you, Electra will do it herself. She loathes you!"

Distracted by his thoughts, he nearly ran headlong into …
I played Ultima Online for about six years. One thing I particularly liked about the character pop up was that you could write a little something about your character for other players to read. Since the character of Storm Dancer was a thief as well as a treasure hunter - and a bit of a disappointment to both of her parents - I wrote the following poem as her profile.

I am she whom men do seek,
When lost at sea and need a drink.
I am she who brings cool air,
Wind to ruffle at your hair.
I am she who brings the night,
Whirls and dances with delight.
I am she who like a knife,
cuts you deep and steals your life.
Editing - the Writer’s Nightmare

So, you’ve finished that four hundred and sixty page novel. You sit proudly and pat the cover page tenderly, smoothing the white surface when much to your horror, you see a mistake! Cold sweat breaks out on your brow, fingers tremble, mouth suddenly goes dry. As your eye wanders down the page, more and more errors jump out at you! Fear grips your heart as you stumble from the desk, desperate for a calming cool drink. It’s a nightmare, but you can’t wake up. It’s real. Your brainchild, the fruit of your creative efforts, is flawed and it’s up to you to fix it.

This is a scenario each of us faces. Sometimes it’s as minor as a misplaced comma or a dangling modifier. Other times an entire scene, or even half the novel is so bad it has to be scraped and retooled. I started an historical novel about ten years ago, set it aside since it wasn’t going anywhere, picked it up a few years later and realized the reason it hadn’t gone anywhere was that it was garba…
Previously published in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's Newsletter
A good friend made a comment after having read one of my books. She said, "You have two styles of writing. You write like a writer and like an English professor." Ouch! Admittedly, I do have a fairly good vocabulary - not that I always use it. I used to teach Advanced Placement English, so I know about antecedents, subject and verb agreement and the correct use of semi-colons. Until she said that, I had no idea that there was such a difference in style until I went back and re-read the first few chapters. What I saw startled me.

When I taught high school English, the students had to read "The Scarlet Letter." What a tough book! I had to sit and read it with a dictionary by my side. My poor students were really suffering! I found some sections in my own writing that were nearly as difficult. Grant you, I was not incorporating words like "physiognomy", but I did use "ephemeral&qu…
Twilight Time

This story was originally written about several characters I had in the online video game, Ultima Online. The place names are taken from that game. Character names other than my own, have been changed.

Night fell softly over the island of Moonglow as a young girl eased the window to her bedroom open. As silently as she could, she crept down the trellis near her window and landed on the ground, the only sound a whisper of the wind in her hair. Her dark eyes gleamed in the moonlight as she looked up at her home with a small sigh of regret. Her face formed lines of resolve as she shouldered her pack and turned resolutely on her heel away from her house, her home, her mother, her life. As she made her way slowly to the Moonglow moongate, she thought on the past days events which had brought her to this pass. A small sigh escaped her as she wandered along the familiar trail from the Lyceum where she had lived the 15 years of her life.

"If I had just not asked again, may…
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Writers new and old sometimes have trouble finding a place to start. We are full of all kinds of ideas, and jot them down in an effort to keep track of them. Getting these ideas into a cohesive whole can be trying. As an A.P. English teacher, I had to take high school students into the unstable world of creative writing. It was a scarey trip for all of us! I used several exercises both for these journeys and for less creative projects.

One thing I had them do was a character sketch. Sometimes the character was from a book we were reading, others were character types I gave them and they had to write a description. I do not claim to be an expert at anything but my own little world, but I have found a few ways to get fourteen through seventeen year olds to write. I’ve incorporated the same exercises for myself, so I know they work for adults as well.

Pick a character you want to develop but are having trouble getting hold of:

Start by giving him or her a name.

Decide on his age.

Hair …