Archive for December, 2013

New Picture Prompt: The View

In reality, this photo was taken from the top of Willis Tower (usually still known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago, IL, USA. If that doesn’t strike a chord with you, write from your own perspective. Happy writing to you! 🙂

Memories: Replacement

The memories always came back the same way. I would be going about my daily life and someone or something would remind me of them: my two close friends who were no longer my close friends.

Don’t worry, they didn’t die or anything. They were simply replaced in my life. Not that anyone could replace them…not really, anyways.

The memories, vivid as they were, shut everything else out. If I was having a conversation, I would go on auto by saying “yes” and “uh-huh” repeatedly. If I was working on something, my fingers would keep moving but no longer have a purpose until the memory played out.

It was sort of like being tasered. Or what I imagine being tasered might be like…

The last memory that had accosted me was still laying somewhere in my mind, like a lily pad in a pond.

I let myself explore it once more.

“You know, Cathy, I couldn’t imagine not having you in my life. I don’t know how that would even work!” My friend Beth told me as she plucked a leaf from a tree and admired it.

Todd piped in with, “It’s odd, but I think I actually agree with Beth, here.”

“This is so unfortunate, I think I’m simply going to fall to pieces,” Beth replied as she ripped the leaf she had to shreds.

I laughed at them, throwing my hair back and noticing the trees and just how tall they were. I wondered how many other groups of friends had walked along this path.

“I’m so glad I can trust you two,” I told them warmly. They smiled back at me and at each other but their smiles didn’t last nearly as long as mine did. I didn’t even wonder why, at the time.

I know why now.

They were never really true to me, oh no they weren’t. They were only using me. And in the end, I was only using them until I found their replacement.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas to our readers

Merry Christmas to our readers

Writing for the Holidays

by: Rebecca Taylor

For this month’s writing reflection, I decided to share with you all of the wonderful things I like about when writing about the holidays.

 

  • You get to incorporate the food into the story and make your readers smell it, taste it and try it right along with your characters. If there is a food mishap, they might laugh or cry too. Maybe, your character gets invited to multiple Christmas meals, and mixes them up, so instead of bringing her cranberry gelatine salad that everyone has been hoping for, for weeks, she shows up with a tortiere.
  • Emotions can run high in a story all year round, but when it comes to the holidays, tension tends to be higher. Maybe last Christmas, your character had a major break-up and is now soured against the holidays, or her boyfriend has had to be away on business all year round and she will now be able to have his undivided attention over the holiday season.
  • Christmas is the time for miracles, so whether you write about something divine or a new holiday perspective, amazing things could be in store for your characters.
  • There are so many holiday symbols that can be incorporated into your story – mistletoe and love, snow in places you don’t often see it, Santa Claus and believing, stars and wishes, Christmas trees and ornamental memories. The list could go on forever. Some of these scenarios have been used before, but have some fun and choose one and make it your own.

 

I hope my holiday thoughts have inspired you to write your own holiday story. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas this year. 

Remember the Unmentionables

There are blogs and books and and conferences  out there that seem to know it all. Visit their website, pages or location and it’s filled with the advice of what seems like seasoned experts who went to some Worldly Writing Academy and have gained Great Knowledge.

What I think writers forget to remember (myself included) is that no one knows it all. Writers forget the unmentionable fact of how, while you could define the word writing and picture the act of writing, it is an intangible concept.People forget about the disclaimer the author inserts on how the tricks and tips they are giving are simply what worked for them and not necessarily what works for everyone.

I think that, once in a while, we forget that there is no Worldly Writing Academy and that sometimes we need to forge our own advice. That sometimes Great Knowledge and the intangible degree from WWA is not something you study for. Its something you practice at.

Its all about looking at the unmentionable fact that no one knows it all. We write to learn it all.

3 Websites That Could Boost Your Writing Session

I cannot lie; sometimes the internet is a big distraction when I write. Sometimes I disconnect my computer from the Wi-Fi signal so I won’t have the urge to check Facebook if I hit a rough spot in my story. On the other hand, the internet is filled with countless resources for writers. Here’s three sites I’ve found to be especially helpful.

1. www.wordle.net

I have a lot of fall back words – those boring, vague and cliché things I type when I’m feeling lazy or just unimaginative. Some of my apparent favorite words are lame things like very, few, rather, and quite. With this site, you can create word clouds based on the most common words in your manuscript. This is extremely helpful, since it is much easier to strengthen your word choices once you know what your weak ones are. Go to the website, click create, paste in the text of your story, and discover your fall back words.

2. www.culturecrossing.net

Ever written a story set in a country where you’ve never gone? Wondering if what you wrote matches the real life culture of the location? Culture Crossing will provide you with information on many cultural issues specific to that country. This site is not made specifically for writers, but it offers fascinating information that will help you get the details right.

3. www.pinterest.com

Pinterest. I saved my favorite for last. First, let me start by saying that Pinterest should be used in moderation. No using it for when you are just too lazy to write. Use it for occasional inspiration. Seriously, there is real danger in becoming a Pinterest addict.

Pinterest has a variety of already compiled boards of writing prompts. My favorite is Amanda Patterson’s Writing Prompt board. Also, Pinterest is great for finding pictures of potential characters, settings and objects that spark something in your mind. There are boards out there for everything. For example, there’s a board with currently over 700 pins of brunette characters. What if there’s a story idea waiting for you there? For a previous story, Ghost Town, my character Talia and her ensuing story was inspired from one picture on Pinterest. Read the full story and see the pin that inspired it.

Do you see how there can be countless stories waiting to be told?

 

What online resources do you use?

Memories for a Hero

**Previously published by Perspectives Magazine**

by: Rebecca Taylor

           It is cold outside and snowflakes are dancing around the window making patterns on the glass. Inside, I am warm. The electric fireplace is on and the Christmas tree is aglow with its colourful lights and decorations. My friend just placed me beneath the tree’s beautiful branches. I am wrapped in gold paper that shimmers and am ready to be opened tomorrow if my recipient makes it home as he plans. I am a photo album filled with special memories collected by my friend fourteen year old Janey Merritt. As Janey worked on me, I could feel the emotions surge through her fingertips. The love she has for my recipient, her father, Lieutenant Peter Merritt fills me. The pictures and captions she has created swell within me. I am filled from cover to cover. The anticipation is everywhere in this house, I can feel it sitting down here with the other gifts. We sit together all waiting for our turns to be unveiled come morning. Each package is different, but we all have a common goal, to have our recipient enjoy us and be happy with the choice our giver made. 

            “Is it morning yet?” asked a small present wrapped in paper with a reindeer design on it.

            “Not yet,” I reply, “if we are quiet, Santa Claus will soon be coming and then in a while, the family will get up. I hope Lieutenant Peter makes it home in this snow.”

            “I’m scared,” said a present that was sitting inside a gift bag. What if Mrs. Merritt doesn’t like me?”

            “Why wouldn’t she like you?” I asked.

            “I don’t know. I’m a sweater and Timmy wasn’t sure if his mother would like me because I’m pink and he liked me better than the yellow one but….”

            “It’s the thought that counts,” I answer, “I’m sure she’ll like you. Everything I’ve seen of her tells me she’s a great person. I’m filled with photos of her and the rest of the Merritt family.”

            Just then the light outside the house came on and the gifts heard the thump that comes with the closing of a car door. This was followed by the rattling of the doorknob in the kitchen and the blowing snow that whooshed into the room. Lieutenant Merritt closed the door and walked into the living room in his military uniform to look at the splendour of the tree, which cloaked us.

 “It’s good to be home,” he said speaking to the room, which was empty except for us, the tree and the furniture.  The lieutenant placed some packages beneath the tree and then he quietly walked up the stairs. Later on in the night, Santa Claus came and gave us some more friends to get acquainted with.

The business of Christmas Day settled upon the Merritt family as it began to get light outside. When the children, Timmy and Janey greeted their father, their lasting hugs brought tears to my eyes and I had to rush to dry them because nobody likes a soggy present and I knew that Janey wouldn’t appreciate having the special gift she had worked so hard on be ruined by my waterworks. I was excited at the same time because I knew that I was the perfect thing for a man like Lieutenant Merritt. He has all the material possessions he desires and a family that adores him. Me, I am a souvenir of his life and what makes him special to his family and especially his teenage daughter.

When breakfast was finished, both Mrs. and Lieutenant Merritt’s parents joined the Merritts and the family settled into the living room onto the chairs around the tree to open the gifts below. When it came time for my grand opening, Janey handed me to her father and then stood by his side to watch him open it. He tore back my paper and was met with my face, which held a family photo taken the previous spring. He opened me up to find the message that Janey had written to her father. It said, Daddy, to the world you are a hero because you’re a soldier who has to go and fight to protect everyone’s freedom. You will always be my hero because you’re my Daddy. I want you to have this album for when you can’t be with us, so you can remember all the good times we have and come back home to us. Love you always, Janey. Lieutenant Merritt set me on the table beside him and stood to embrace his daughter once again.

“Thank you, Janey,” he whispered tears spilling from the corners of his deep blue eyes. “You, your mom and your brother, are my heroes because you’re the ones who are here having to deal with me being gone so much. I will always treasure this album, whether I’m overseas or home, it is precious. I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Daddy,” answered Janey.

I had to struggle once again not to let the emotions of this wonderful day get to me. Later that evening, Lieutenant Merritt sat by himself in the living room, I sat on his knee and he looked over my pages, admiring the photos some of which he had never seen before. I have missed so much, he thought, but that is a sacrifice that I agreed to undertake. My daughter couldn’t have given me a better present. Having my children be born was the best gift I have ever received. They are so precious to me. I pray that I will always make it home to them and my wife, so that they will not have to face what life is like when you lose someone you love. I’m going to make the best of my three months leave and let them know how much they mean to me. I’m going to make memories that could fill another album. Feeling Lieutenant Merritt’s love as he looked through me was an amazing feeling. I have discovered that Christmas is a very special time of year, one where people try to choose something to give those they love that has enough meaning to show how they feel. Miracles really do happen at Christmas. The snow could have kept the Merritt family apart but they ended up together for this special holiday. I feel blessed to have been able to spend it with them. I’m looking forward to my life with the Merritt family.  I know that I will be treasured forever and that is an wonderful feeling.

           

 

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