Guest Bloggers

What are you telling yourself?

Guest Blogger Ted A. Moreno writes about description versus story and making up stories: Do you have a habit of making up stories? We know some people who have a tendency to exaggerate the truth. We think we know what is real. But do we really? Something that happened to me this morning: I was out for my morning walk when a police officer pulled up alongside of me in his car. He asked me my name and for my ID. He said that they had been looking for a missing person that had the potential of hurting themselves and that I fit the description. I gave him my ID, told him I wasn’t the one he was looking for and he drove away. Now, let me tell you a story. I was taking a walk, minding my own business, when a police car passed me. I nodded to the…

Just Write

Which Oz character are you?

As you know, there are two sides to every story (sometimes more, depending on the number of characters involved).  Let’s look at The Wizard of Oz, the movie version, with different perspectives,   different points of view. The Wizard: Wise and knowing? Or a fraud? Dorothy: Sweet and innocent? Or a spoiled orphan? Uncle Henry: Owner and Farm Manager? Or just a guy doing what he likes to do? Auntie Em: Home Sweet Home and apple pie? Or bossy? Hunk the farmhand/Scarecrow:  Simple minded? Or observant and resourceful? Hickory the farmhand/Tin Man: A hunk of machine parts? Or kind and sensitive? Zeke the farmhand/ Cowardly Lion: A coward? Or a leader? Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West: Mean and ornery? Or misunderstood? Glinda The Good Witch of the South: Too good to be true? Or conniving (why didn’t she tell Dorothy about the shoes when they first met?) Toto: Just a…

Just Write

Use emotional experience for fiction

“Vietnamese American Vu Tran says when he writes fiction, he is less concerned about using any ‘factual experience’ he has had, but instead seeks to relate the ’emotional experience’ he has lived.” — The Writer Magazine, December 2015 When I read this, I sat up and paid attention. “Aha,” I thought, “Brilliant idea to tap into the emotional element of an experience and bring that into fiction writing.” Vu Tran used a traumatic event in his life to explain a pivotal character in his fiction. “. . . fiction writers can often have more impact if they draw on their emotional experiences rather than just relating what actually happened.” Vu Tran used this philosophy when writing Dragonfly (set in Las Vegas) while in Chicago. “. .. the distance from Las Vegas worried me at first. But I decided the emotional memory of Las Vegas  . . . allowed me to…

Quotes

When we accumulated silent things within us . . .

“What is the source of our first suffering? It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak….it was born in the moments when we accumulated silent things within us.” ― Gaston Bachelard I first learned of Gaston Bachelard from my writing teacher, Terry Ehret, with her response to my poem, “What I Learned.” Terry wrote on my paper, “Here’s a quote from Gaston Bachelard (French philosopher) that your poem makes me think of.” I’m no poet, but it’s been fun to dabble.  Click on Prompt #221, to read “What I Learned.”  (scroll down)

Places to submit

Conjunctions . . . submit if you dare.

Conjunctions is accepting submissions for the Fall 2016 issue, Conjunctions: 67, Other Aliens, a collection of works of literary science and speculative fiction: innovative short stories, poetry, and essays that explore the vast precincts of unfamiliarity, of keen difference, of weirdness and not belonging. “’Alien’” is a powerful and flexible word. Aliens are Other, aliens are the stuff of science fiction and fantasy, aliens are traditional literary figures who, when we witness our ‘normal’ lives through their strangers’ eyes (think Frankenstein), cause us to see ourselves anew. Indeed, we become the unfamiliar ones. ” “Conjunctions on the Web features an ever-expanding constellation of innovative fiction, poetry, drama, interviews, and other work by some of the leading literary lights of our time. . . We are always adding new selections to our current inventory of contemporary writing. ”

Prompts

Know your characters intimately. Prompt #255

How to flesh out fictional characters . . . Give them depth . . . Get to know them intimately. Let’s say your fictional character has just received devastating news such as a job loss, death of a family member or close friend. How does he react? What are her immediate thoughts? What actions does he take next? Imagine your fictional character had an epiphany about a betrayal, a loss, an old grievance. . . something new has been revealed. What does he or she do? Take a few minutes to write about the purpose this character serves in the story. Ready?  Just write!

Guest Bloggers

Components for a great story – by Guest Blogger Francis H. Powell

Guest Blogger Francis H. Powell writes about creating a great story. Confronted with a blank screen, poised to  tap away,  how to go about creating that great story. Perhaps one primary consideration is the theme.  Maybe the theme should  be a ghostly shadow within the confines of the story, not screaming at the reader, but there none the less.  It may make the reader think about their own lives, there might be a moral to be learned, but a writer should not take on the role of a preacher. Then there has to be a plot, all the conflict or struggle that the main character or characters go through. The conflict should develop in intensity and excitement, reaching some kind of climax.  If you are writing a novel there may be a number of conflicts interspersed, but a short story will have only one principal conflict. Moving onto story structure, …

Places to submit

Broad Street seeks writing that shows the truth in a new way

Broad Street magazine is “always looking for more talent . . .  so if you have an interesting piece of nonfiction—poetry, essay, reportage, memoir or other writing—or art” . . . Submit! “Nonprofit semi-annual magazine featuring true stories told in many different ways. Seeks beautiful crafted poetry, essay, reportage, memoir or other writing that present the truth in a way that’s new and special.” — The Writer magazine, June 2015 Submisssions/themes, see if there is something just right for you. Upcoming theme: Birth, School, Work, Death (submit until April 1, 2017 for spring/summer 2017 issue). The Seven Ages of Man have become the Four Ages of Humankind.  We’re born, we learn, we work, we die. Broad Street has conceived of a four-part magazine with several features exploring each phase of life.  Give us your origin stories, your schoolroom struggles, your cubicle frustrations, your tales of passing on.  Where has this road taken you?  …