IWSG: Titles Are Hard

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It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means <drum roll> IWSG Day!

This month’s optional question is: which is harder to come up with, a book title or the name of a character? To me, the obvious answer is

Title of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Character names can be tricky. I once changed a character name to be more authentic, despite feeling as if “she” wanted to be called another name. I firmly believe in accepting what my characters say to me, except when I don’t.

Titles on the other hand…. Yikes. One thing I learned from non-fiction copywriting: sometimes you need to start at the end. Sometimes, it’s best to put off the title or intro paragraph until you know what the story is “really all about.” I don’t always know what I’m going to say until I’m done saying it.

Titles are tricky. Characters can change, and characters don’t always have to match their names. But titles are forever.

What do you think, fellow writers? Which is harder to write? Do names just come naturally to you? I wish they just came naturally for me!

IWSG: I Heart Fantasy

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Hard to believe it’s February already, but it is. That means today is IWSG Day and a week before Valentine’s Day, which makes it the perfect time for this optional question of the month.

February 7 question – What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Okay, I may not write fantasy most often, but it’s the genre I love most, because I love creating new worlds. I love exploring new worlds when I read, too.

Every genre can and should have interesting characters. But in fantasy you get interesting worlds built on nightmares and dreams. Some of my favorite world-builders are authors like George R.R. Martin, Mercedes Lackey, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Octavia E. Butler. One of the things I love about these authors is that the world is a major plot point, like another character with motivations and secrets to uncover. At times, I find the world more interesting than the characters.

For example, in the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien uses the idea of the Undying Lands to navigate our fears and hopes about life and death. We hope those we love are in a “better place” maybe even the place they were always meant to be. At the same time, we want to think the are still with us. I love the tension between this place and wherever mortals actually go when they die. It’s just one of many ways he uses setting and world-building in a way that wouldn’t be possible in another genre.

I don’t write fantasy most often, because it’s hard. Creating a world is hard work. Salutations to all the writers who have gone before and pulled it off.

What about you? What’s your favorite genre to write and read? Is it also the one you write most often? Do you love fantasy too?

Happy IWSG Day and Happy February!

Cracked

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PHOTO PROMPT © Victor and Sarah Potter

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Cracked

They have the picture perfect life on the surface, all smiles and sweetness.

Then one day, the peace is shattered by footsteps, a tentative tapping on a door. Something cracks. A distant door opens. The homeowners slowly, carefully make their way over. You never know who to trust at times like these.

“Who are you?” one asks.

“My car broke down. I was wondering-”

“Come inside. I’ve got you.”

Into this perfect world, beneath its surface, the visitor disappears, never to be seen again.

“I love it when they come to us, mommy.”

“Yes, honey. Me too. Now eat up.”

….

Re-entering the Friday Fictioneers fray after a long absence. For more stories, click the blue frog!

IWSG: New Improved Resolutions

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Happy New Year and Happy IWSG Day!

Hard to believe 2018 is here. Not sure about everyone else but here in the Northeast U.S. it’s been super cold and now they’re throwing out scary words like “bomb” to describe the weather. Fortunately, I’m not on the coast but the cold has made getting out of bed and working more difficult.

Not that I really need an excuse.

My main resolution this year is to treat writing like a real job with real hours. I got this idea from a Great Courses lecture I listened to called How to Read and Write About Any Subject. I feel like I’ve made a habit of setting unreasonable goals in terms of deadlines I know I can’t possibly meet, so – for now – more attainable goals in terms of hours a day seem better. That way I force myself to do something while (hopefully) setting up a pattern of success.

Another resolution I’m making now is to more regularly blog. I’m going to say once a week and not just on IWSG Day. Maybe one flash fiction a week. I’ll have to think about that – but I will resolve to do it. Because I have so been neglecting this blog. Okay and true confession I had to take a long break away from social media following a certain presidential election. Because there’s still a part of me that feels like – if not for Facebook and Twitter…. But I need to bounce back. The Internet needs positive voices more now than ever. If not mine, then definitely others. Fight the power and all that.

For now, I’ve been doing a lot of ghost copywriting and also writing romance under Not My Real Name. The idea of putting myself out there is scary. I guess, because I am an Insecure Writer!

How is 2018 going so far? Any resolutions? Any assessment and re-assessment of prior resolutions?

HAPPY 2018!!!

 

IWSG: Total Eclipse of the Heart

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This is my monthly post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, where once a month we get together and share our hopes, dreams, successes, and (yes) insecurities with regard to writing.

I’m in a strange place right now, a real strange place.  I recently denied to renew WordPress and this domain name for one more year. My pen name is my mother’s maiden name, not my legal name, and do I want to keep that as my pen name? Also, am I even still trying to write fiction? I’ve kind of – okay – given up. But not really. But it feels that way – if that makes sense. I am doing some heavy editing of one my favorite WIP’s after giving up on the WIP I was working on, because frankly I think it sucks. And I might need a while.

So I’m not sure. Like, about anything right now.

On a not entirely unrelated note, I (very last minute) made a trip to Fort Louden, Tennessee for my first ever total eclipse. Over two minutes of “totality.” It’s one of those experiences they say changes you – and I feel changed. It reminded me of a song I wrote  about the divine feminine and strength revealed in weakness.

The optional question of the month is whether we’ve ever been surprised by our writing. And those are the surprises that always stick out to me, those moments when I said more than I intended, when later (years later) I think back or re-read and think, wow, I had no idea how meaningful that would be to me personally years later. If only I could also write things which are meaningful to others. If only I had any clue whatsoever what to do next. That would be great.

For now, here’s a great song I definitely didn’t write (before my time! =D) But which I also thought of in a new light. So to speak. And it is exactly how I feel right now about writing and other subjects.

FF: Very Donkey Christmas & Inside the Locker

This is my post for this week’s Friday Fictioneers. I actually wrote two stories because somehow I found the wrong prompt (which I can’t find again) before writing the second story. The first story is the one in response to this week’s prompt. The second one is a bonus, I guess. =D Sorry. Having a really long week.

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A Very Donkey Christmas

Rachel only wanted one thing for Christmas: a brand new MP3 player loaded with all her favorite songs.

For the week leading up to Christmas, she was super nice: she only called her brother names twice. When he dropped a toy, she picked it up for him and only held it out of his reach for two, maybe three, seconds.

She was psyched. She was ready. Early Christmas morning, she crept downstairs and found

A donkey with a card attached to its collar.

Dear Rachel,
This is Wilbur. He was also bad this year.
Haw haw haw, Santa

Story two…

Inside the Locker

I used to believe the metal locker had everything. It was a gift from my father.

My mother finds me there, trying to figure out what to wear. I’m grown up now, almost thirteen.

“Something dark. It doesn’t matter.” She doesn’t get it.

“Something to bring him back. He said I could find anything.”

“Just another lie he told. Apparently. I’m sorry. Just get ready, okay?”

I am not okay. The locker is smaller than me now, but I wonder. If I climbed inside, would they bury me too? Of course not. I grab a dark t-shirt and jeans.

IWSG: November is Here!

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I seriously can’t believe it’s November already. After this, one more month to go before 2017. Time is flying for me this year. Writing wise, I have to be honest, I’ve been pretty down but I always get gloomy-feeling in Fall so I’m used to it, and this too shall pass. My traditional fall humdrums are kind of funny viewed from a distance, this feeling like everything is so dark and so terrible and that will never change. Now that I’m older I can laugh at myself and think you feel that way every year!

The question for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group this month is, what do you like most about being a writer? And that’s an easy one for me. I love creativity. I love making new worlds. Actually that would be the main reason I write, to get something new out of my system and onto paper. There is no feeling quite like it.

Hope you’re having a great November wherever you are. What’s something that brings you special joy and clarity? Are there things you can laugh about when you really need it?

Happy IWSG Day!