Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Yeah, it’s been interesting thinking about this scenario that Michael Downing has provided for us.  (And yeah, it’s kinda fun giving you a different link to Michael Downing with each post.)  Anyway, here’s the latest version of his first assignment.

(To see the actual assignment check this post)

That’s Not My Name 

As Joe lay there, I thought, “Should I have warned him?  A small heads up?”  But no, that’s not my way.  Some call me Fate, some Free Will – I guess it’s all in your stance.  Makes me no mind, I don’t step in. 

 Who knew a girl would bring Joe down?  Truth is, I may have. 

 When the door swung in and he felt no one in the room, felt the chill breeze, he did not think, “I’m done for.”  And he may not have been.  Joe’s a Free Will guy.  That’s me.  He knows is path is his choice.

 That girl – she was so like the ones who had been there with want, with need, with a hole in her gut, a hole in her arm, a plea on her lips.  And yet, she seemed not like them – like her need was so deep, it could be her time, her chance.  He’d been where she was, could show her the way. Joe could, but she chose to leave.

 Joe looked out – made a Free Will choice.  He climbed out and walked her path.

 Kris is a Fate girl.  That’s me.  I save her from blame, from guilt, from her own life.  She knew Joe would come, knew they would be close. 

 Joe caught up.  “Uh, Kris, right?  You should come back. We can help.  I can help.”

 She smiled.  Held out her arms, kissed him

 As Joe lay in the snow, he thought, “I used to dream this.”


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So, I haven’t posted in quite a while.  Work piled up, travel to see my girlfriend, the needy cats requiring lap time – oh how to get it all in!  The blessing I guess, is that this year I didn’t disappear because of SAD.  I got a wonderful light that has been like a Goddess-send.  It imitates sunlight and according to medical research, triggers chemicals that trick my body into thinking it’s summer and so I have more energy and am just happier.  Love that!

I’m taking a writing class over the next few weeks with Michael Downing, a New York Times Bestselling Author.  That feels a wee bit intimidating.  But, in previewing the books he’s asked us to read before the first class, and the writing assignment he’s given us, I think this is going to be WAY fun! 

As a matter of fact, the first writing assignment has me so excited that I may write it several times.  My girlfriend and I had lots of great conversation about it over the holiday break, looking at our first assumptions regarding the scenario, and then deliberately thinking of alternatives.  She’s quite the writer herself, so deconstructing the assignment with her really helped me think way, way, way outside the box! 

I thought it would be fun to post the work I’m doing for this class here, and invite you (whoever you are) to play along!  So, without further ado, (I actually looked up the spelling of this word and found that there is debate as to whether it’s ado or adieu,) the assignment:
There is a woman in a room.  There is a door, a window, and a chair in the room.  A man comes to the door.  He says, “We’ll be with you in a few minutes.  Don’t open the window.”  He leaves.  He returns.  The window is open.

The assignment is to write a story that begins after the man returns.  For this exercise, you can assume that readers know everything in the scenario, so you don’t have to account for that material.  Your story begins as the man returns and sees that the window is open.

The technical requirements are these:

–No more than 250 words.
–Past tense.
–Third person (limited or omniscient; the idea is simply to use the convention of a narrator who is not a character in the story)
–Use only monosyllabic words. (Really.)

Okay, sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  So now, here is what I wrote on my first go-round, before my girl and I had deconstructed the scenario:

Frank came back.  “You had to do it.  I told you not to.”

“Of course,”  She had the smile of a cat in fresh cream.  “No rules for me.”

He went to the sill.  The ground five flights down was wet and slick with oil. Drops of rain caught in his hair.

“Be hard to get free, then.”

“Don’t bet on it.” 

The sound of her breath came close.  He felt her warmth on his back, her hand at his belt.  “No Rae, I won’t play.” 

“Oh, I think you will.”  She spun him to face her, took his mouth with her lips, her length full force on him – just a lean, just a push.

When Bill came in, the sound of the rain was dull behind the glass, and Rae was in the chair, the gun snug in the small of her back.

“Where’s Frank?”

“He went out.”

So, I know, it’s debatable as to whether this is truly past tense.  But, Oh My Goddess!  I had so much fun writing it!

Tomorrow, or the next day, or just soon, I’ll post another version.  In the meantime, come play with me and post yours!

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yep, I’m in.  And you know what that means.  Either I will drop off the face of the earth for a month or I will be posting here more often just to get away from the agony of 1667 words per day without feeling guilty.  Great program, by the way – check it out:  www.nanowrimo.org 

So yes, if I don’t write again soon, I’m thinking of you, but I haven’t made my word count, so I can’t come out to play 🙂

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Okay, first off, there’s been a ton of snow here and you know it’s bad when you post a large sign on your front door that says, “Will pay for shoveling” and no one comes to make some money.  On a Sunday.  When the kids don’t have anything better going on.  So, I went out and shoveled my own stuff.  While I was shoveling, I was remembering back about a hundred shovels ago, when this winter started and how accomplished I felt when I had the shoveling done.  I relished the task.  Now, it’s hard to get up that kind of enthusiasm.  But I did start to remember to be here now and to shovel with intent.  I shoveled the walkway and porch with the mail lady in mind, knowing how grateful she would be to have a safe space to walk.  Walking on ice makes your back hurt even if you don’t fall, because you’re always tensed up for it anyway.  I purposely made easy access space for the garbage pickup guys, who must hate their jobs in the snow.  And I practiced gratitude that I can do this thing, and when no one answered my sign, I wasn’t shut in and helpless.  Shoveling the snow – with intent.  Hmmm.  Something new every day.

And now to the manifestation.  I try to manifest things in my life all the time and it’s not unusual to receive what I want.  It kind of seems matter of fact, now.  Common place.  A few months ago, I picked up my figurative pen and started writing seriously.  I put it to the Goddess that I would like to be an active part of a writing community.  On Friday, I received an invitation to join a small, rather exclusive writing group.  I met the woman who started it at NaNoWriMo and mentioned to her that I would be interested in joining them when they had an opening.  She was really honest, saying that there were a few people who were “ahead of me” and that it could be as long as a year.  They are exclusive in that they work hard to keep the group small, with personalities that mesh well, and they don’t often open it up for new people, because they want to build a safe space to share in.  I like the woman who runs it and I’m sure I will like the others in the group. Writing styles range from chick lit to inspirational, with everything in between.  Oh , and they want a commitment that you will bring some writing you are working on to each meeting.  Another validation that I’m really a writer.  I guess the next step is to get something published!

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Today one of my students came and asked me if she could interview me for one of her Girl Scout badges.  It’s been a long, long time since I was a Girl Scout, and I’m actually kind of proud (in a geeky sort of way) to say that I was a Girl Scout up until my junior year of high school.  I was one of those girls who had to have all of the badges, too, so I worked really hard at getting them.  Some I loved, some I didn’t, but looking back, I realize that trying out all of those new things because some book told me I could, made me rather fearless.   Some of those badge requirements asked for things it never occurred to me I could do.  But it never occurred to me that I couldn’t either.  So I did.  I’ve continued to run my life that way.  If I want to do something, I do it – or learn how.  Girl Scouts gave that to me – and it probably helped that my mom was the troop leader. 🙂

Oh, the little girl and her interview?  Well, there are many things I do and feel really competent at that I would guess she wanted an interview about. And I know the badges have changed and kept up with the times, so I thought maybe the Career badge, or the Current Events badge (I am her social studies teacher), but no, it was the Writer’s badge.  She had to interview an author.  I offered her the emails of a couple of published authors that I know, one who even writes children’s books, but no – she wanted me.   So I guess I’m a writer – heck, I’ve got the Girl Scout stamp of approval!

And on a totally unrelated note.  I have just had the most amazing piece of chocolate ever!  Go here:   Chocopology Order the Burnt Caramel and Hawaiian Sea Salt Bar.  Make coffee.  Enjoy together.  Then send one to me as a thank you.

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You know, I think that NaNoWriMo has changed me in a significant way. Not that by itself , but participating while I am in this place of self-evaluation – this act of making over my outside life to match my inside beliefs. I have found that I look at stuff differently. As a participant and voyeur. I take stuff and store it for stories. And I’ve found that I like the stuff that’s inside my head. I want to write it down. I want to share some with others, but mainly I just want to put it out there. I think that real authorship may become part of my future. Or at least the sincere attempts at it. I don’t think I can kid myself that this is mere dalliance on my part any more. It’s scary to think it’s serious. I’ve successfully avoided it for years. Hmmm. What kinds of scary desires are you avoiding?

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It’s like being back in college. With a paper due. Tomorrow. And I’m way, way, way behind. Except that I’m not in college. There is no paper due. And I’m behind, but in a very manageable way. I’ve done this to myself. NaNoWriMo. I started it on a whim. The closest thing to fifty thousand words I’d ever written was my Master’s Thesis and it was only seventy-five pages. That’s roughly 18,750 words, although, since it was a giant Web site, most of it was hand-coded html, so I get a little more cred than the average bear.

So I’ve got 12,000 words more to write. The beginning of my story is funny, fast paced, on track and fun. The middle, oh my Goddess, the middle – it’s gone somewhere that it will take months to recover from. Now I’m headed toward the end, and you know what? I think it’s going to be longer than 50,000 words. But I know how it will end, and hopefully it will be good.

About the process. Some days I didn’t write. Most days I did. I started behind and never caught up, but never really fell too far, either. I’m feeling grateful for that. I set a hard goal, and I’m meeting it. And I’m meeting the other goal – it’s stress free. I’ve been able to knit (I actually made a pair of socks this month, and a pair of handwarmers) I’ve gone away twice. It’s been good. The only thing that has fallen behind is housework, and that is not really a function of my writing, but I’m using it as an excuse.

On a day when others are celebrating the European Invasion of North America, anhialating several cultures that existed here before they did, I am quietly celebrating my ability to realize a hard goal, without obsessing on it.

My other piece of gratitude will be toward my friends, those who are here and those who are not. For what they bring to me and most especially for what they allow me to bring to them. It’s all about the service, folks!

Today’s reading: The Road from Coorain by Conway

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Kinney

Today’s Music: Savage Garden, Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, and Diana Krall

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