June Writing Bug: What’s Next on the Agenda?

We did it! Yay! ¡Lo Hicimos! 

Now that I’ve shown my age ( 😉 ), let’s talk about writing, and writing A LOT.

After wallowing in my own self-pity for many months due to the incessant beast that is writer’s block, I’m happy to announce that I’ve caught the writing bug! For the last two months I’ve been writing nonstop, posting almost every day for April’s A to Z Challenge and May’s Short Story a Day Challenge, and during the first week of May, I also participated in the poetry challenge, #fapalywo. My followers have slowly started to come back to visit, now that I’ve assured them I won’t disappear again. It feels good to be back to form.

But now it’s June, and I don’t want to wear myself down by committing to another month-long writing challenge. I could already feel it starting to become a burden toward the end May. I was reaching for good short story ideas. The last week and a half of prompts weren’t all that inspiring, so I really had to force myself to write something. The ironic thing is the stories I posted in the last week of May seemed to have been the most popular. That is truly a confidence boost, so thank you. (You really like me!)

One of my goals for May was to write a new short story to submit to literary magazines. I haven’t had anything published since 2015, mainly because I haven’t written anything. For the second half of this year, it is my hope to change that. Unfortunately, that will have to wait at least another month, because I didn’t get to write the story yet. I have an idea for what could be a strong story. To give you the basic premise, it’s a redemptive tale about a wayward woman who wanders into a church service one Sunday morning and has a life-changing experience. I’m still working out the details in my head, but while that story is still in progress, another rose to the surface while I was deep in the trenches of Short Story A Day May.

In short story #10, “I Can’t Stay,” I was exploring a story that came to me in a dream a few years ago about a woman who is running from her current boyfriend and has a “chance encounter” with her ex/the one who got away. I brought it back and expanded a little more with short story #31, “To Rewind Time,” and I think short story #26, “A Mother Still,” will also be a part of that story arc. So I will spend this month further developing the story and bringing it all together, and hopefully by July, I’ll be back to submitting to magazines and receiving more rejection letters than acceptance notices. (Hey, you gotta laugh at these things sometimes).

One portion of the Short Story A Day May Challenge that I really enjoyed was novel week. It not only gave me the opportunity to do some further sketching for my NaNoWriMo novel, Lost Boy, but I also got to revisit some characters I haven’t looked at in two years: Jessica, Whitmore, and Bruce, from my 2015 A to Z Challenge melodrama, Love PoetryAnd it gave me a wonderful idea—Why not write this novella (which I should have finished in 2015) for Camp NaNoWriMo in July? Camp isn’t as strenuous as the real deal in November; at least here we can choose our own writing goals, so if I don’t make it to 50,000 words, I won’t be a total failure. Camp will also prepare me for writing (and hopefully finishing) my first novel, Lost Boy, for NaNoWriMo in November. (My heart is pounding just thinking about it!)

So I took fifteen minutes to sketch out a quick outline for Love Poetry, which is slightly different from what I posted back in April 2015 but not too much, and for July (so you don’t think I’ve disappeared again), I’ll be taking a chapter out of fellow blogger, Marquessa’s, book (I hope she doesn’t mind), and while all my focus will be on completing Love Poetry for Camp NaNoWriMo (what’s ironic is that I first attempted to write this novel back in 2014 for, you guessed it, NaNoWriMo 😀 ), I’ll be re-posting my 2015 A to Z Challenge, along with other Whitmore and Jessica related stories (because I have more than a month’s worth). If you’re a new follower since May 2015, you’ll be getting a treat, and for those of you who’ve been here a while, a blast from the past!

Getting back to June, I have a few ideas on where I want to take this blog moving forward, but I need your help.

First, I am overdue for another serial story. If you want to check out previous (completed) serial stories, read the Buried Series from the beginning here, and my 2016 A to Z novella, 26 Husbands—26 Unusual Deaths here. I thought my next series would be Oceanview, but while attempting to write Part 3 for one of the Short Story a Day prompts, I went completely blank. So that story goes back to the drawing board for now. However, I did write a few stories that are a little more developed and could possibly be expanded into a series. Below are the links to those stories. Which one do you think I should turn into a series? Vote in the poll, and I’ll reveal the winner next week!

For the Sake of Humanity


Dreams are Real

One Night Stand (from the “White Jesus” story line)

Dry Spell


Was there a story not included above that you would like to see in a series? Not a problem. Let me know in the comments, and I’ll consider it in the voting too.

Also in June I’m doing a test trial for a new Flash Fiction writing challenge. Last year, I hosted a short-lived challenge, Moral Mondays, which was fun, but too much of a commitment for me at the time. I may be shooting myself in the foot here, but I’m bringing back the Monday challenge, because we all need a little Monday motivation, right? This challenge will be One-Minute Fiction. As the title suggests, you’ll be challenged to write a flash story in one minute, no more no less, based on the prompt (a word, a phrase, a photo, whatever I’m feeling for that week). Sound promising? It should really light a fire under your bum and set you up for a whole week of writing! If it’s a success, I’ll keep it going; if not it’ll end June 26. (womp, womp )

Other June personal blogging ideas:

  • Throwback Thursday – Share a post (fiction or poetry) from the past.
  • Fright Night Friday – Post a frightful (thriller, suspense, paranormal, etc.) story or poem every Friday night. (You already know I love a good ghost story.)
  • Book Reviews – I have a lot of book reviews in my arsenal. I think I might reserve these posts for Saturdays.

So what do you think? Are you excited for June? Do you think writer’s block is plotting its revenge? Would you be interested in purchasing Love Poetry if I were to self-publish it? Do you plan to participate in the one-minute fiction challenge? Are you looking forward to the next serialized story? Or maybe you’re waiting for me to mention the one left unfinished…I’m being really secretive about it.

You’ll see why in due time… 😉

By the way, are you enjoying these beginning of the month goal setting posts? They’re my way of holding myself accountable, but sometimes I think I’m just talking to myself. Prove me wrong and leave a comment!

Mayday! Mayday! Writer’s Block is Going Down!

We’ve all heard the saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” right?

Well, my April showers started at the end of April last year. After finishing my A-Z theme of Grandma’s 26 Husbands—26 Unusual Deaths (which you guys really seemed to love), I descended into a nasty case of chronic writer’s block. In hindsight, I believe I had become obsessed with topping 26 Husbands. The series had become so popular, and I wanted to continue that popularity with something even better. Unfortunately my perfectionism was at its peak also, and eventually I crashed, flipped over, rammed into a tree, exploded, and burned.

My posting became erratic, and eventually I disappeared from blogging altogether. I couldn’t force myself to write. Everything my pen produced was total rubbish (according to editor bitch), and if my writer’s block relented enough for me to start a new project, it came back with a vengeance so catastrophic, I was never able to finish.

But that all changed this year. If last year’s A to Z Challenge put me in this crud, then this year’s A to Z Challenge would get me out of it, and that’s just what it did.

This year’s A to Z Challenge was all about planning for NaNoWriMo, another project I’ve unfortunately never been able to finish. For 26 days—yes, 26 days—(some days were harder than others, but I stuck in there), I wrote outlines, character sketches, and back stories. I brainstormed on themes, conflicts, subplots, stakes, and resolutions. Last night, I finished—yes, finished—with my zealous “Z” post, and I only want to continue. It may be be the end of the April A to Z Challenge, but it’s just the beginning for me. I still have a novel to write, and I’ve never felt so prepared for NaNoWriMo in my life!

But it’s not just NaNoWriMo, I feel reinvigorated to write any and everything! Writer’s block, hear me roar!

The end of April marked not only the end of the A to Z Challenge, but also the end of National Poetry Month, which means that May is . . .

Short Story Month!

Ahh, short stories, my first love. I’ve been writing them since I was old enough to write, been reading them for even longer. I haven’t written a new short story to submit to literary magazines in a long time. Speaking of submitting to literary magazines, I haven’t submitted anything to a magazine since 2015 (yikes)! So in honor of Short Story Month, I’ve challenged myself to keep this writing buzz going and write a complete short story that I hope to submit to some magazines and get back on my publishing journey. I’m giving myself a whole month to write just one story (probably between 3,000 and 5,000 words), which is plenty of time to produce something great! I’ll be posting weekly updates on my story status for you guys just to assure you that I won’t let writer’s block win, but in the meantime I have a couple of treats for you.

Also for May, I will be participating in the short story a day writing challenge. Each day, I’ll post a micro fiction tale between 100 and 300 words. There is an optional prompt, but I can’t guarantee I’ll stick to it; it just depends on how the prompt inspires me that day.

I also want to exercise my poetic pen (since I didn’t get a chance to during NaPoWriMo in April) and jump back into #frapalymo, which is now called #frapalywo. If you’re unfamiliar with #frapalymo/#frapalywo, it’s a German poetry writing challenge, translated Frau (Miss) Paulchen’s Lyric (Poetry) Month/Week. It’s usually held every May and November, but it looks like she’s changed the May challenge to a series of week-long prompts (the first one was back in February) leading up to the big shebang in November, which I won’t be able to participate in because of NaNoWriMo, but I can still do the week-long challenges. This first week of May, the prompt is “noise.” So stay tuned for seven days of NOISY POETRY!

It looks like I have a lot to do for May, so why am I still talking? I’d better get started—we’re halfway through the day already! I’ll be back soon with a new story for Short Story A Day May. Writer’s block won’t hold me down!

Sunday Photo Fiction: Love and Sacrifice

Brianna squinted her eyes to read the rusted plaque. “I never understood how a town could have a statue this size at the center of its only park and nobody knows what it means.”

“I’m not surprised. Crescent Falls is a town you leave, forget about. There’s nothing here. We don’t even have a Walmart. What town doesn’t have a Walmart?” Craig said.

“Some of us can’t up and leave like you.”

“I’m asking you to come with me.”

“I can’t leave my mother. Her dementia is getting worse. Yesterday she called the police, told them I broke in!”

“There’s nothing you can do for her.”

“I’m not abandoning her in a home.”

“So what? We wait until she dies?”

Brianna raised her hand and slapped him across his face.

Craig lowered his head and rubbed his chin. “OK, I deserved that.”

“Yes.” Brianna returned her gaze to the statue. “I imagine this woman was a warrior for her people. She protected them, loved them. I need to be that for my mother. Even if that means losing you.”

The two stood in front of the statue, arms by their sides. Their knuckles grazed, but neither moved to hold hands.

Word Count: 200


This is part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story using around 200 words based on the provided image.


Breaking Up Is Always Done Through Music

Rebecca and Jeff sit in the gazebo overlooking the shallow stream. Jeff takes out his pick and strums a soft ballad on his guitar. Rebecca closes her eyes and sways with the music, humming and moving her hands with the waves of the stream below.

He picks up the tempo, strumming harder—a crescendo of notes falling into place. She twirls her head with the melody.

Suddenly, the music stops. She feels thin, dry lips against her own. She opens her eyes and looks into his.

“I wish you were older,” he says.

I wish you weren’t married,” she says.


word count: 100

Second time. I think I’m getting better at this! This is part of Friday Fictioneers. Click the froggy icon below to add your link and read others.

Copyright – Melanie Greenwood
Copyright – Melanie Greenwood

Haibun Thinking: “I never did mind the little things . . .”

I never did mind the little things, which is why I don’t understand why my boyfriend is so angry with me. He’s pacing around our apartment throwing glasses, plates, punching walls. He says I don’t appreciate what he does for me—weekend getaways to small towns with very little to see but a nice hotel, dinner at expensive restaurants that serve half-sized entrées, random gifts of jewelry I’ve never worn. I don’t remember asking for these things.

“I just want to make you happy!” he screams.

“What is happy?”

He punches the wall again. It is an uncomfortable substitute for my face. He plants his teeth into his bottom lip, stares at me with slanted eyes.

“You want a jerk? An asshole? That’s what you’re used to, right?”

When have I ever said that, I wonder. My ex-boyfriend was sweet. He took me to Barnes and Noble, let me pick one book, and read the first chapter to me while we sipped on lattes in the coffee shop. Was I happy then or did I just enjoy being with him? Loved his smell, his touch, how the words dripped from his lips like honey as he read?

“You’ve been abused so much, you can’t even see when someone actually cares.”

“Those holes came from your fists,” I say, pointing at the walls.

He doesn’t answer, continues pacing. I watch his feet as he stomps across the carpet. I don’t want to look at his face—the puffed out cheeks, the flared nostrils, brows so furrowed, his eyes are practically closed. What have I done to make him so angry? Why can’t he see the girl he wants to pamper isn’t me?

He’s standing by the door now. “Don’t ask me for nothing else.” He leaves, slams the door behind me.

I never wanted
silver, gold; just a poem blooming
on a tree in Spring.


This is part of Haibun Thinking — A weekly challenge asking you to write a Haibun, a Japanese literary form that combines  a narrative (prose) and a short poem or haiku at the end. This is my first time trying this, and apparently it hasn’t been getting a lot of participation because the hosts are thinking about closing it, so please click the link below and add your stories! 


Sunday Photo Fiction: Skull Tattoo

Johnathan knew there was something different about Majorie when he saw the skull and crossbones inked across her lower back as he bent her over the bed. For a girl with such a pretty name, there was nothing pretty about her. She had black flames tattooed on her arms. Her hair was jet black and cut short into an uneven bob. Her eyes were naturally green, but she only wore black contacts. When he asked her if she was Goth, she frowned at him.

“Why would you say that?” she asked.

He wasn’t sure how to respond, so he let it go. He honestly didn’t care what she was or what bizarre phase she was going through. Their relationship was purely sexual.

Johnathan traced the lines of the image on her back with the tips of his fingers. “Are you a pirate?” he asked.

“Mmmm,” she moaned. “I’ve been a bad, bad pirate. Make me walk your plank.” She arched her back.

Johnathan wrapped his hands around the front of her thighs and pulled her closer to him. Back and forth, they rocked on the edge of the bed. Johnathan tilted his head back and let Majorie’s dirty words motivate him.

“Your plank is so hard. Beat me with it!”

He moved faster. As he approached orgasm, he looked down to watch his finished work, and instead he saw the skull moving, it’s eye sockets squinting, the mouth in the shape of an O, as if he were fucking it and not Majorie.

Johnathan fell back, hit his head on the the edge of the dresser. Majorie turned around to the commotion behind her, and all he saw were her eyes, missing the whites, black as coal.

Word Count: 287


This post is part of Sunday Photo Fiction & yes it is over 200 words. 😦 Writing flash fiction is actually much harder than it sounds.