#WeekendRewind: How To Master Show, Don’t Tell

I’ve noticed my current work in progress, Love Poetry, has been bogged down with a lot of “telling.” Looks like I could use a refresher course…

We all could.

K.M. Allan

Ah, show, don’t tell. One of the most spouted pieces of writing advice, and one of the most confusing.

When I first heard of it, I had no idea what it meant. Surely writing that my character “rose from her chair and walked across the room” was showing? Yes? No? Maybe? No. It’s a no. A hard no. It’s “telling” the reader what the character is doing (and in a very uninspired way).

Showing is using your words to create a picture in the reader’s mind. It’s using words to put them in the moment, to allow them to feel as if they are the characters. That it’s them “pulling their tired bones from the stiff seat and shuffling across the dusty floorboards”. It’s all about forging a connection between the reader and the characters. And it isn’t as confusing as you think.

How To Master Show, Don’t Tell

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What to Write for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming soon, and I’m considering taking the dive once again.

I don’t know why I continue to torture myself like this…

But I haven’t done any kind of planning or brainstorming, and although I have I plenty of works in progress (including a novella I’m considering giving a total revamp) half-baked ideas, and a current novel I haven’t yet started on, I want this potential NaNoWriMo novel to be 100% new.

Nothing I’ve started and stopped and started again…and stopped again.

Nothing that was once a passion but, after a year, has now become an afterthought.

Something my editor brain won’t overthink to the point that it’s debilitating.

Something I can approach as an adventure rather than potentially the next great American novel (that will only disappoint me when I read it again).

Something absolutely brand spanking new.

But what?

Maybe it’s because it’s almost Halloween, but I’m thinking of doing a ghost story. Nothing too scary, but something definitely spooky.

What do you think?

Tell me, what story should I write? I want to step out of my comfort zone a little. I’m sick of writing sad romance. Maybe a different genre will give me the boost I need to get to 50,000 words in one month for the first time ever!

It’s Worth the Mess: 3 Reasons to Keep Creating

Originally, today was supposed to be a Work in Progress Wednesday. I was going to post for you an excerpt from my current (and never-ending) WIP, Love Poetry, you were going to love it, I was going to be motivated to keep on writing and finish, and overall, it was going to be a happy day. Then I read the excerpt again…

Let’s just say I have a “mess” on my hands. A hot damn mess. Good thing I have Miss Candice here to encourage me to keep working on it.

Keep working, I shall. Check out her post if you, like me, are struggling with a messy project. 🙂

I came for the soup...

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly . . . until you can learn to do it well.” ~Zig Ziglar

have always been a believer that anything worth having is definitely worth fighting for. Having healthy relationships? Worth fighting for. Having security? Worth fighting for. Having victory in maintaining faith? Worth fighting for.

I could go on and I am sure that you could add several things to the ‘worth fighting for’ list. But one thing I have often lost the fight in (because I didn’t show up) was in learning new avenues of creating.

Why? Because more times than not I was afraid of failure. I wonder if you can relate.

The thing about being a creative person–the thing about being human–is that the beginnings of all of our successes begin in a mess. We don’t begin walking with elegant or confident gaits. We fall and we scuff…

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Waiting for Him to Call

It’s so easy these days to creep…

Even our government does it.

Don’t think for one second that the CIA isn’t watching you with your hands in your pants through your TV. It could be a matter of national security; they must watch.

And they’re also slightly turned on by the way you feel yourself. Moan a little louder, touch a little deeper, spread your legs a little wider. Really give them a show.

Social media makes creeping even easier. Twitter? Anyone can destroy your reputation and career just by digging up old tweets from ten years ago. Purely despicable or only joking, it doesn’t matter, in this era of the easily offended, you are swiftly lynched by the PC mafia.

And there’s no place to hide on Facebook. Remember that guy you gave your number to on that dating app? He used it to look you up. They can do that, you know. If you have your number posted on Facebook. And you do. Like a dumbass. So, he found your page and clearly saw something he didn’t like. That’s why he hasn’t called. Maybe you’re not as attractive on Facebook—all those poorly lit pictures of you half drunk, highlighting all the bad angles, you were tagged in in by your friends from college, friends you barely talk to now. Or maybe he found a status update from when you were 14 years old—- though he didn’t bother to check the time stamp— (racially insensitive, bigoted, homophobic, you pick, we’ve all posted at least one) that could ruin your reputation and career, if you had one.

So you sit on your couch, with your hands in your pants (though you’re dryer than your phone at this point), Hulu and chilling by yourself because you’re too cheap to get Netflix too, wondering if it’s possible to get any lonelier than this.

Tomorrow, you will break your own record.

Play Me

Play me like a guitar—
Let your fingers pluck and caress;
Strum my strings until
you find the right chords
to echo my parting lips;
Let your tongue curl as you
feel the rhythm loosen your limbs;
Make love to me in acoustic riffs.
I’ll tell you when to stop—
Our song isn’t over yet

#ThrowbackThursday Fiction: To Rewind Time

I remember that he’s married now, so I ask about his wife.

“Pregnant,” he says.

I wait for details, but he only adds, “Very pregnant.”

Out of decency, I think to congratulate him, recite some drivel about how happy I am for him, how I wish him nothing but the best—all lies.

“How’ve you been?” he asks. Such a generic question, but there’s a hint of genuine concern in his voice, as if he’s picked up on my misery. I make no effort to hide it, and he had always been empathetic toward my feelings, even when he was the cause of my grief.

I look up into his eyes, and their weariness makes me feel safe. Reason would convince me that his visible tiredness is because of a demanding wife who, big with child, has driven him to take extra shifts—ringing up chips and smokes for night owls and runaways like me would be less strenuous than whatever hormonal crisis is unfolding at home—but I hold on to hope that seeing me again for the first time in five years has brought him to hate his own life, as I do mine.

“I’m being stalked by my boyfriend,” I tell him.

He laughs at what he thinks is an obvious joke, and a customer I don’t hear approach from behind taps my shoulder. His touch sends a surge down my arm as if I’ve just been electrocuted, and I feel I could literally jumped out of my own skin. I drop my bag of nabs along with the liter bottle of water onto the floor and curse under my breath for allowing myself to get distracted.

“Excuse me, ma’am, I didn’t mean to scare you,” he says. He bends down to help me, but I shoo him away and quickly gather my things—I’ve stayed too long. What good will it do me to explain to an ex—one who’s happily married—that I’ve continued making bad choices, even after he was out of my life? I’d only be giving Craig more time to find me and force me back into his bed. I’ve wasted enough time; I must leave.

But I make the mistake of turning back before I exit the door, and he stares at me as he takes cash from the other customer.

I am still frozen by the door when the man brushes past, giving me a faint smile as he exists, and we are again left alone in this silent gas station convenience store save for the hum of the coolers on the back wall to remind us that we are still being watched.

“Why don’t you call the police?” he asks.

I’ve tried. Even as they promote campaigns to end domestic violence, to look for the signs, to pay closer attention to the most subtle ones, they don’t believe me. The absence of physical scars doesn’t help, and the fact that they know Craig further discredits my case.

“He is the police,” I say.

“Damn.” He drums his fingertips against the counter. I notice the nails are clipped too close to his skin, and I wonder if he still makes a habit of chewing them. He turns his head toward the short-circuit television, which displays the security camera footage in the store, and I step back, just out of shot, as another customer walks in, drawing the air conditioning outside with a draft. The bell above the door jingles, and I glance down at the time on my wrist watch. Fifteen minutes and counting.

“Hey.” He comes from behind the counter, and in two strides he is inches from me. I can feel his warm, steady breath blow just above my forehead. I forget how tall he is. He towers over me. I remember how he frightened me at times, even more when we argued. Now his eyes show a fierce anger, the deep amber in his irises pops out as in those of a predator, and all I want to do is fall into his arms like a damsel.

“I get off at eleven. Will you wait?” he asks.

I know I shouldn’t, and it’s selfish of me to keep him from his growing family, to worry him with my own feeble problems, especially when I’ve done this to myself. My eyes roll closed, and I imagine how different my life would be if five years ago I had only said those four simple words he was desperate to hear come back to him as he cradled the velvet ring box behind his back.

Original posted on May 31, 2017.

I Think, Therefore…

I love you . . .
I think.
I’m pregnant . . .
I think.
Two words at the end
of a statement that make its surety . . .
questionable.

And yet, was it not Descartes
who only needed the assurance of thinking
to know that he was?
And is not God called the Great I AM
because His thoughts are unsearchable?
And what is in your mind but
memories of me and us and where we
might be had things played out differently?

I think about it more than I ought,
and I’m never quite sure—
So, maybe you can ease my conscience.

Tell me, what do you think of me in this dress?
And how confident are you of the words
that escape the gate of your lips?
Think . . .
carefully—
Then speak—
And maybe our love will BE.

The Struggle Is Real

I’m struggling, y’all. Struggling to find inspiration. Struggling to write something worth reading. Struggling to write anything that won’t get decimated when my trigger-happy finger presses the backspace key. I can’t even think of a good Monday’s #1MinFiction prompt. Hence why there hasn’t been one for the last two weeks.

I guess I’ve been busy. I got a new job editing “science-y” articles. I’m not a “science-y” person, and the “science-y” lingo is frying my brain. Who knows if that’s the true reason for this current bout with writer’s block, but that’s the excuse I’m going with for now.

Then again, I don’t really want to use it as an excuse, because I actually like my job… A LOT. Some nights, I sit up and think, “Wow, I actually made it. I actually found a job in my field. And it has benefits. Paid vacation. Paid holiday. An optional work from home week for the Fourth of July! All that money I wasted, er, paid (am still paying) for a degree actually means something now! Shoot, maybe I’ll get my degree framed. Maybe I’ll hang it up on the wall!” And it’s nights like those when I feel most inspired to write again, and I post encouraging tidbits like this.

But the fiction has been few and far between, the poetry even less. I don’t know why that is, I don’t know why the creativity in me is so spent, especially when the ideas have all been there. It’s the writing, the writing . The turning it into an actual story or poem, a piece of art (because what are writers if not artists?) that just can’t come together for me.

Recently, I received an email from Camp NaNoWriMo. Yes, camp is starting again, and I want to use this year’s camp to find my drive for writing again. Writing something, anything, even if it’s just 100 words a day, even if those 100 words are total rubbish, at least they’ll be rubbish that I wrote and rubbish that I was confident enough about to hit publish for. And no, I won’t wait until to July to get started. Any more waiting, and I’ll just talk myself right out of doing. I’ve been talking myself out of doing a lot of things for far too long. That ends today…

Getting Rid of August To-Do Lists

I’ll admit . . . I’m still on vacation. My brain stayed behind in Alaska while the rest of my body returned home. It’s been a struggle getting back into the swing of things, especially when all I can think about are bright blue glaciers, mountain goats and black bears, sea lions, whales, salmon, sharks if you can believe it, the jagged edges of mountain sides, the calming teal color of sediment-enriched glacial melt, hiking through the Alaskan rainforest, conoeing towards mighty rivers of ice, making bids at art auctions, buying too much jewelry, being rocked to and fro by the waves of the Pacific ocean, meeting the literal man of my dreams and not having the courage to talk to him. Oh, Alaska! I want to go back!

But it’s time to get back to business. I’ve kept you waiting long enough. I know you’re dying for an update on the Love Poetry novella, so here it is . . .

I’ll be completely transparent with you. I don’t want to say I fizzled out . . . but the second half of July got very busy very fast, and while on vacation, I decided to say “Screw it!” with all my self-imposed deadlines. I didn’t come on a week-long cruise to Alaska to be camped behind a computer the whole time. So I tossed my laptop to the 40mph catabatic glacier winds (not literally—my entire life is on that thing!) and decided to enjoy my once in a lifetime (hopefully not) luxury vacation.

Oh, by the way, I’ve decided I want to move to Alaska. I don’t know how bad winters are in that part of the last frontier, but the summers are amazing!

Anyway, getting back to what’s on the agenda for August. Right now, I am currently purging myself of the things that have taken me away from my writing for much too long. By the end of August I hope to have the majority of those burdensome projects off my plate.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2.0 is definitely a go because I am determined to finish this novella once and for all! Basically, I’m just gonna pick up where I left of and keep writing until I’m finished (and nip this problem on never finishing what I start in the bud) like it’s still July. I’ll try to post excerpts here, if nothing else, to keep myself accountable.

Other posts you’ll see from me this month: Monday’s One-Minute Fiction will be returning, and for the next several weeks, they’ll all be Alaska themed (because as I said earlier, my brain is still there). Also coming back is Throwback Thursdays—quickly becoming a staple for my Thursday posts.

But, because I promised to be transparent, I’ll admit you really won’t see much from me in August. My #1 goal for this month is to de-clutter my overcrowded to-do list. I always seem to have so much to do and never enough time to do it. It’s times like this when I often consider quitting my day job, or at least picking up some part time work so I can dedicate more time to my writing, but then bills . . .

Seriously, I don’t know why I always do this to myself. Clearly I’m not superwoman. And if I’m being honest, having a day job isn’t what’s holding me back, because what’s my excuse for the weekends? And while I sleep (or try to sleep) eight hours a day and work another eight hours, why are those last eight hours of the day never enough? I’m not good at managing my time. Which is sad, because my goal for this year is to get better organized, and with more than half of 2017 gone, I fear I’ve gotten worse. I’ve been back from Alaska a full two weeks now, and I still haven’t put up my suitcase, or folded my washed laundry from the trip (drastic temperature differences prevents me from just wearing them to get rid of the pile).

But I will hold onto the hope that purging myself of the weight of time-consuming projects I no longer have a passion for will finally free me up to do what I love . . . and clean my room.

On another note, I’m revamping the Lovely Curses blog. I wouldn’t call it an overhaul per se, but since reading this very insightful article, I’m finally going to do what I should’ve done over a year ago—back when I first had my writer’s meltdown—and that is create a blog content plan.

This is another reason why I’ll be relatively absent for the month of August— because I’m busy writing posts for the next six months! What types of posts will I be focusing on? The typical fiction and poetry of course, as well as more 1MinFiction prompts, frightful Friday ghost stories, serials, throwbacks, and more!

What I’m really learning now, is to write shorter posts. Sticking to flash fiction, which I’m come to enjoy, between 100-300 words. On those days when the inspiration bug really hits me, I know I will more than likely go over, but the whole point of keeping it short and sweet is so I can have more time to write outside of this blog. Because, you know, my publication list is getting kind of dusty, and I know you all are waiting for that damn book! Plus I want to be totally free to write and just write, worrying about nothing else, this November when I participate in NaNoWriMo.

So enough chit chat! I only stopped by to let you know I haven’t disappeared again. (Don’t send out a search party!) I’m nearly done with the first purge, I can almost taste it! Camp NaNoWriMo 2.0 is underway. I’m already thinking up six new posts to get started on my blog plan for the rest of the year, and . . .  that’s it? That’s it. Don’t want to do too much. I am trying to trim down my to-do list, after all!

July Treats While I’m on Retreat

Have we reached the end of June already? Wow, this month just flew by, and with everything I’m preparing to embark on in July, it’s a wonder if I’ll ever see the sun again before mid-August. But I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, because these last three months I’ve been on a roll. Still, my epic meltdown was only a year ago, so I’m going to rein myself in just a little for July.

I’m Going Camping!

No, not outside. We all know I hate bugs. I’m talking about Camp NaNoWriMo. My decision to join Camp NaNoWriMo started in May. While participating in Short Story A Day, I was able to bring back to life some characters I let go dormant in 2015.

They’ve been revived, and my desire to finish their story has been revived too! What story am I talking about? Love Poetry, of course! This is a story I’ve been working on since November of 2014, when I first attempted the NaNoWriMo challenge. Back then, I only made it to a little over 5,500 words before giving up. This year, I want to get up to 30,000 words (about 968 words a day), and I want to FINISH! While it seems like a lot, many of the short stories I wrote in May were well over 1,000 words, and I wrote every day, so I have no excuse, especially since I have a plan going into this challenge.

I feel 100 times more prepared this round. First, I have lots of material right here on this blog to help inspire me, including my 2015 A to Z Challenge, and my recent epigraph poems that will remind me what’s supposed to happen in each new chapter. Then of course I still have the unfinished version from 2014 saved on my computer, which will help me get started, since I’m opening the novella with that same scene. Finally, I have my plot, which will tell me where the story’s going. Although it’s still a rough outline scribbled down on scrap notebook paper, it’s a rough outline of a completed story—something I didn’t have the first time.

While I’m away at camp, I obviously can’t dedicate the time I want to this blog, but fret not; I’m not abandoning you again. All July, I’ll be re-posting my 2015 A to Z Challenge. So for those of you who’ve never read it, you can get familiar with the story and the characters, and for those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning, this will serve as a refreshing treat. Although a lot of the story has changed since the A to Z Challenge (and I’ll tell which parts I’ve taken out, added to, etc.), it is still relatively the same story, so I think you will really enjoy this month-long trip down memory lane.

I’ll try to post Camp excerpts from time to time, mostly to keep myself accountable and to stay on track. 

What About My June Goals? Did I Meet Them All?

Before you ask, no, I still haven’t written that damn short story. But I do have an outline prepared, which is more than what I had at the end of May, so maybe by August I’ll have something new to submit to magazines.

Monday’s One Minute Fiction, was a success, if only just for me. It’s always good to have something to motivate me to write on a sluggish Monday morning, so I think I will bring it back in August. I truly love writing flash fiction. It has helped me so much in polishing my writing, making it clear and precise.

I love going back into my archives every Throwback Thursday and rediscovering posts I haven’t seen in a while. And you guys seem to love them too. I hate thinking that after something is posted, no one ever looks at it again. Throwback Thursday will definitely be back in August, and I’ll go even further back (which is really only three years), back when I first started this blog and had no idea what I was doing, just that I wanted to write and share my passion. Maybe I’ll even go back to those stories and poems that never made it online. Like that poem about the woman who strangles her husband while he’s eating a steak—my first “love poem.” 😀 Would you be interested?

I still want to do more Fright Night Friday stories. Conveniently, I haven’t been able to think of any scary good ideas lately, but I’m definitely bringing this series back after Camp NaNoWriMo, because I’m not me without posting at least one ghost story every week. I might even include a frightful badge! 😉

I’m re-reading some of my favorite books I read during my hiatus in 2016, so new book reviews will come soon, but let’s reserve those for September for the time being, just to give me some time to catch up.

And finally, what will be my next serial story? Well, it came down to a three way tie between Widow, For the Sake of Humanity, and Dry Spell—all my favorites! In terms of ranks, For the Sake of Humanity won out, so I will start with that one first, but I might end up doing all three at the same time, giving each series a designated day out the week. But that won’t come until August, because first I have a novella to write! Until next time!