Category Writing Tidbits

A Long Time Ago, In Another Lifetime

cup-of-soda-1328372“I just need to get an extension until the 15th, after that, we can pay the full amount,” I tell the woman behind the desk. He had told me to come down here to the gas company to get an extension on paying the bill. He said they would be less likely to say no if I went in person rather than going to the payphone on the corner to call, like I’ve done in the past when the bill wasn’t quite so far behind. Sure, easy for him to say, since I’m the one who had to walk the fifteen blocks in threadbare shoes in the middle of February with sleet outside to get a damned extension on the gas bill.

Can shoes be threadbare? I wonder while waiting for the woman to tap something into the keys of the large keyboard in front of the amber-colored screen of the computer monitor in front of her. When I came in here, all I wanted was an extension of a few days, but I figure asking for an extension until the fifteenth would be better. Give them something to negotiate with instead of just telling them what I really need. The woman refuses to extend me. She says I must pay at least a little bit of it right now. I feel in my pocket for the coins in there, knowing they’re not even close to enough to touch the monthly winter gas bill.

Then again, it’s unlikely Carlos* is going to have the money no matter what day I get the extension until, but it’s better to ask and do what he says than to face his wrath.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but the computer won’t...

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Reviews Mean Nothing to a Writer (or they shouldn’t)

I suppose one of the hardest things for me to get across to writers has been that they should not read the reviews on their books–for so many reasons. The main reason, how, comes down to my post I wrote called They’re Not For You! In this post, I talk about how book reviews are written from the consumer perspective to other consumers, and the only way their reviews can be written is the same way your book gets written: with bias based on personal experiences.

How do I know? Well, how about, one of my books that was written based off a real-life experience, in which a reviewer said, “No man would ever do that….” and I have to laugh, ’cause I know two men who did it! Or another who said a line of dialogue that was actually spoken in real life was unrealistic. But then I turn around and in a review two days later, someone says that my story was completely believable and that what she loved the most was how the dialogue was so much like real life conversations.

One person said I used the word ‘giggle’ too frequently, to the point that she said if the main character giggled one more time, she was going to throw the book or something… I searched the entire novella, over 70 completed page, and the word ‘giggle’ (or any derivative or conjugation thereof) appears exactly 7 times in the entire manuscript. Nice, huh?

Or when another person tells me that the story is completely unre...

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The Foolishness of the Lake

The rays of the sun reflected off the lake surface, in shimmering, brilliant strands. The group of girls stood near the pond, changing into swim clothing after the long hike and horse ride down the path through the woods.

The lake was not swimmable, for the water was too murky, too dirty. Not from pollution though, just a natural murky, mud filled lake-hole. While the sun shone brightly on it, and the reflection of the surrounding trees was gorgeous, the water itself stank of fish and dirt and sludge.

However, just a few feet from the lake was a gorgeous natural hot-water spring. The girls from the scout troop were preparing to soak their tired, wearied bodies in the hot springs.

Each girl slipped in, one by one, to the warmth of the crystal clear water. After several minutes of relaxing and gossipping that teen age girls are prone to do…one girl screams, and for no apparent reason, jumps out of the hot spring.

Then a second girl screams, and then a third. Before you know it, the entire scout troop has jumped out of the hot springs and are dancing around in circles, jumping up and down screaming, and running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

Was the water too hot?

No...

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Not Enough Time

Newly married, she wanted to take a honeymoon, just a short trip so they could spend time together, even if just for the weekend. When she asked him if they could, he responded, “We’ll have time for a honeymoon later. I just started this new job, and we need the money for the house.”

She was disappointed, but she understood.

A few years down the road, she said to her husband one evening, “I want to have a baby, a son or a daughter, our own little family. Can we talk about having children?”

He replied, “We’ll have plent...

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Expectations (Flash Fiction Piece)

Flash Fiction: Jim wasn’t expecting a letter, but Laura wasn’t expecting a visitor either. Neither got what they expected.
He had not been expecting the letter. Jim wasn’t surprised to receive it; after all, his wife had told him she was filing for divorce, but that was months ago, and she hadn’t made any moves. He sighed and put the unopened envelope from the attorney’s office on the table by the door, tossed his keys, and then shuffled to the kitchen in search of a stiff drink.

The whiskey poured and still burning his throat, he picked up the phone and dialed seven digits he had memorized but had never before dialed.

“Hello?” the gruff voice on the end of the line answered.

“Larry gave me your number?”

“Yeah,” he barked.

Jim finalized plans on the phone, and then took he his whiskey bott...

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Is Money Really Necessary?

396185_money_money_moneyI was talking to the good doctor the other day about fantasy worlds, because I have this one novel I’ve been working on for about five or six years now that I’m writing just for him, because he wants me to. He loves the idea, the concept, the universe, everything I’ve shared with him about it, including the first seven chapters, which I have completed. This is a fantasy novel. It’s not my genre. I don’t read fantasy usually. I have never written fantasy. For the most part, I don’t watch fantasy. I do, however, dream and fantasize fantasy frequently and have all my life. He says that is what stands to make this the best sci-fi/fantasy novel ever: because I won’t be rewriting the same old storyline that has been told in different ways hundreds or thousands of times. I won’t be using the stereotypes just because someone else did it well, or won’t be derivative of someone else’s universe, etc.

But we all know there’s nothing new under the sun, no matter which universe, solar system or galaxy we are in. Even the fiction ones. But how we tell a story, how we bring the characters alive, that makes all the difference.

But at the same time, we have to be believable...

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Uhm, You’re the Writer

Today, I was doing a read-through of a book today. I sometimes get ‘dislodged’ from the universe of a book and have to go back and re-read it to get into it. This book, I was reading along, two characters were in the midst of a conversation. I love these characters. Their interplay with one another is good. They are best friends, attorneys who have a practice together. Their conversation had me wondering what was going on with something in the book… I was really into it, and then suddenly, the words stop.

I was pushing the down arrow, and there were no more words. I looked at the page numbers and there were no more pages.

I said, “But… who...

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Famous Books Written by Ghostwriters

There are many famous books or book series out there with an author’s name on the cover that differs from who really wrote the book.

How would you feel if you discovered Rowling didn’t really write Harry Potter, but instead, some ghostwriter was hired to write the book, paid a flat sum, and then Rowling was used as a frontman? After all, she has a near rags to riches story, is a mother of children and that’s the target audience for the book, so perhaps she was a good choice to use for the image of Harry Potter.

Would it change how you feel about that book series?

Well, never fear, since it seems Rowling is indeed the author of the Harry Potter series. However, what is not common knowledge is that many of the popular and well-known book series were indeed written by ghostwriters.

Nancy Drew Myster...

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Writing Legalities: Things Indie Authors Don’t Always Think About

Did you know that fonts are copyrighted and that you can’t just use any font you want on the cover or interior of your book without licensing it or getting permission? You either have to choose one in the public domain (and be certain it really is in the public domain), or you have to pay to license the use of the font, create your own font, or else get written permission to use a font for your book, especially if you plan to sell it anywhere.

Did you know that the images you find online through Google Images or other online searches are not free to use just because someone posted them online and that they too are copyrighted to the photographer who took the photo? You, again, have to get written permission to use them.

Did you know that going to the free stock photo sites online and choosing pictures there for your book cover might not work, because each image uploaded by the photographer might have different licenses attached to them, and you might not be able to use them, even though they say they are free to use, if you plan to sell your book commercially to more than a certain number of people or to reproduce a certain number of books, or else you have to make a derivative work of or change the image in a tangible way to use it and on and on and on.

The p...

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Just Another Day In Writersville

I’ve come to the conclusion many times in the past that I am not normal. You who have known me for years online or on various social networks probably already knew that. It’s really hard to hide a lack of normalcy, and I make absolutely no efforts to do so. I’ve never been normal. I’ll never be normal. The difference between how I was a child and young adult and how I am now is simply one very important thing: I embrace who I am now. Other than that, I’ve always just been me. No excuses, no apologies, what you see is mostly what you get, me.

Not everyone is going to like me. That took me some time to be okay with. I am a pleaser, strangely enough, and I want everyone to be happy and love me just as I am. But I know not everyone is going to do that. When I get caught up trying to be something I am not, trying to be who I am not, I become unhappy. When I am around people who don’t like who I am and I act like myself, they are unhappy. So really, it comes down to, I intend to hang out with and associated with people who can love me for and embrace me because of my weirdnesses and differences and personality than to hang out with people who will accept me or tolerate me in spite of them.

I had to tell a friend of mine toda...

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