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Archive for May, 2020

Write this scene, any feel, writing style; any genre. This is a rough draft writing practice.

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

 

Paradise

 

The sun sparkling on the sea behind him in a dancing promise of hope fed into the lie that is the beach paradise. The breeze barely breathed on the softly swaying palm fronds. It was perfect. Each second we faced off it felt increasingly too perfect. Off.

This man, who refused to give his name, stood resolute in his defection from the normal. His eyes were narrowed in determination, or perhaps against the sun. His face held no real emotion. Not anger or determination. He just was.

“It’s all a lie,” he said. “Your world. The sea, trees, even this.”

He knelt and scooped up a fistful of sand. He stood again and held the fist out towards me as though I should take it. I could only stare at that closed fist. He waved it towards people in the distance, roaming slowly up the beach.

“They are a lie. Toxic.”

“They’re just people,” I said.

He shook his head slowly at my foolishness. He seemed saddened by my failure to see. This man, this stranger in a weakened paradise, thrust his fist toward me again.

“You would take strength from this… this false promise of a better tomorrow. It never gets better. It’s just another today. This earth,” he started letting the sand fall in a slow stream from his hand, “is weak. It’s is poisoned, pale.”

“It’s pale because it’s sand.”

He stared at me, pale sand trickling in a soft sieving from his fist.

My focus on his face and that falling sand, I did not see the twitch of his shoulder muscle preceding his body moving until it was too late. He had me by the shirt, fabric twisted in his fist as he yanked me off balance towards him, holding me up with seemingly impossible strength.

“I will show you then.”

My mouth gaped open in silent shocked protest; he rammed his fist at it. I was certain he meant to punch me in the teeth, but instead he was shoving sand into my mouth. I choked and gagged on the surprise of it, on its crunchy grittiness and the though in my head of its uncleanliness.

The sudden lurching of my heaving stomach felt like a gut punch. My eyes watered and my limbs felt weakened.

He released me then, letting me fall limply to the ground where I mewled and pawed weakly at the sand. The same sand that was inside my mouth, my throat. I coughed and it was sucked into my lungs, choking me with its grainy dust.

The burning foulness set in then, my tongue and mouth on fire, the sand eating through taste buds like dull acid.

Pawing at my mouth only made it worse. Mewling and simpering weakly in the sand, the granules clung to my hands and I only managed to shove more inside my mouth. My throat screamed with it and I moaned, gasped, inhaling it deeper into my tortured lungs. I couldn’t cry out. Could only gasp weaker as the strength and all of my feeble fight left me.

I lay in the sand softly moaning, stomach dissolving and lungs struggling. My nose was pressed against the sand, breathing in its subtle saltiness.

“If you are still here tomorrow you will be dead,” he said simply. “This place will poison you.”

He walked away and did not look back.

I would have swore I was already dead.

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Photo by Riccardo Mion on Unsplash

The other day I talked to a young budding writer with a kind of problem that can afflict writers of all talents, ages, and experiences. Perhaps especially so of a less experienced writer.

You might call it a writer’s block or any of a thousand names. This writer’s issue is that she gets through the beginning, the first two or three chapters, and then gets stuck. She is a linear writer, writing from start to finish, and at this point can’t push through the insurmountable wall that comes up.

She can’t think what to write next. Where the story needs to go. What the characters should do. It’s not for lack of thinking out the storyline. She does plenty of that, hours of planning, plotting, and working out an outline. She is convinced the writing is bad, the story, plot, characters, all of it. It needs to be fixed; that she needs to go back and not edit it, but completely rewrite it or even scrap the story altogether.

I’ve read some of this writer’s short pieces and she is not a bad writer. Inexperienced, yes, but not bad.

In this case, the block sounds like a combination of the desire for perfectionism and being filled with doubts. No surprise there. The story needs to be perfect before it’s ready for publication, no writer should settle for less, and doubt is natural.

The challenge is pushing past this wall to keep writing. For me, if I’m stuck, I’ll jump to writing another scene somewhere else in the book. Oh, the horror for a linear writer for whom that feels utterly unnatural and twisted.

 

So, how does a linear writer push forward without jumping scenes? I gave three suggestions.

  • Deeper outlining. Taking the outline to the next level can serve multiple purposes. Absorbing yourself in the details can help you forget the feeling of disappointment or failure with those first chapters. It grounds you in the story and characters. And, when you feel stuck because your mind won’t let go of those worries to let you write on, the more in depth your outlining, the more you give yourself to work with. You can’t tell yourself you don’t know what needs to happen next when you’ve detailed it in your outline.

 

  • Writing practices. I’m a fan of suggesting doing writing practices. Flash fiction, micro fiction, random scenery and scenes. My suggestion to this writer, who feels as so many of us do the drive to get this story done, was to use it for writing practices. Write little backstories about characters, places, and details of the world being created in the story. Things that will never be in the actual book and nobody is ever going to read. This will help with the character and world building, as well as finding her voice in the story. And the most important thing is that practice makes you better.

 

  • This is the toughest piece of advice. Get over it. That’s it. I’ve been there too, stuck and feeling

    Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

    like writing is impossible. You just can’t form the words in your head. You’ve inconceivably lost the ability to focus, to think, to make coherent things happen in your head in relation to storytelling. You have to just make yourself get over it and force yourself to write. Write something, anything. It doesn’t have to be good writing because editing fixes that. The challenge here is to get over the need for perfection, get over letting the self-doubts control you, and push on. Push through that wall and just write.

 

Keep writing, my friends.

 

 

L. V. Gaudet Books:

Do you know #WhereTheBodiesAre?
Disturbing psychological thriller

Learn the secret behind the bodies.
Take a step back in time to meet the boy who will create the killer.

Everyone is looking for Michael Underwood. HMU picks up where the Bodies left off, bringing in the characters from The McAllister Farm.

Sometimes the only way to stop a monster is to kill it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Garden Grove project is a hotbed for trouble. Who wants to stop the development?

They should have let her sleep. 1952: the end of the paddlewheel riverboat era. Two men decided to rebuild The Gypsy Queen.

12 years ago four kids found something in the woods up the old Mill Road. Now someone found it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vivian Munnoch Books (and Roxy the photobomb):

 

They heard noises in the basement.

They thought it was over. Then Willie Gordon disappeared.

It started with a walk in the woods … on a stupid boring no electronics and thank you very much for ruining my life camping trip. Madelaine’s life will never be the same.

Roxy aka The Big Dumb Bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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