Thursday, August 25, 2011

Howdy, Folks!

I want to get right into the nitty gritty, but first just let me say: LFWG is Awesome. If LFWG were any awesomer, it would explode.
Karen has had two books published recently, titled Yard Monsters and Food Intruders. They are so beautiful, they make my heart sing and my stomach wobble, and are perfect for middle grade fans of grossology. They are available from Amazon  here and here.
Because two books is not nearly enough for our wonderful Karen, her book (co-authored with her son, Joshua Leet) Civil War Lexington:Bluegrass Breeding Ground of Power is available for pre-order here.
Our very fine Stephen Zimmer's latest, The Seventh Throne is now available here. LFWG came out in force for his book signing at Joseph-Beth, and a fine time was had by all. Plenty of give-aways (which were mostly won by Angela and her family) capped off a fun evening.

Now on to our last meeting, which was held on August 17th.
Two new faces joined the ranks and we very much hope that we didn't scare them off. Welcome to Deborah and Betsie! For our writing prompt, crayons were drawn out of a box, and writers had to use the color names in their writing samples. Here they are!

World's Worst Color
By Karen
I refuse, absolutely refuse to wear that awful shade of green yellow - we call it Windstream green. Almost any other color is better. Even Tickle Me (Elmo?) Pink, though I'm not going to call it that. I like Pacific blue best - my favorite color.
So guess what color everyone got me for my birthday? You guessed it. Windstream green. I got dishes, cups and potholders in that disgusting shade of green yellow. I got 2 shirts, 3 pair of socks, a notebook, set of desk holders for pens and a robe - all in Windstream green. Worst of all, I can't return any of it - or burn it either. The kids would be so disappointed - heartbroken. So I will be wearing the worst color in the world from now on - seasick green, bilious green, baby diarrhea green.
Maybe they'll wear out fast - I can only hope- or maybe spill ketchup on them? It's worth a try anyway.

Pacific Blues
By Angela
"Well, that just tickles me pink!" Mom shouted.
"I held the phone away from my ear. "Really?"
"Sure. A cruise - you'll love it! The stiff sea breeze, the endless blue of the Pacific..." Mom waxed poetic.
I snorted. "By myself?"
"It's a cruise for two, Jeannie. You should take... someone."
"You, for example?" I didn't try to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. The idea of a Pacific cruise with my mother was unspeakable, if not unthinkable.
Last time I went on a cruise," she mused, "your late father and I had wild strawberries at the Captain's table..."
"My late father? Had to remind me he was dead didn't you?"
"Shut up, Dear. No, don't take me on a cruise. You'd only ruin my good time flirting with all the unattached men. Take a man yourself."
"Which one?"
Mom chuckled. "Let out you've won a cruise, and you'll be able to take your pick!"

By Deborah
She sat on her porch, watching the grass as the green yellow of drought began to show the signs of hardship. The heat! They'd moved here to follow her husband's dream, He'd always wanted to be a cattle farmer. The green had begun to yellow soon to be brown, dead. The trees were beginning to look bare. Distance seems to grow further the hotter it got. The pacific blues of her home helped her beat the heat.
She made her way to her tickle me pink kitchen. Her favorite color, her personal domain in the house, still made her husband cringe.

By Me
It was the Greens again, and betting on them would be a huge payoff. Carl strutted over to Book and held out his ticket. Book's nose looked like a wild strawberry stuck on his face. Ridiculously small. Terribly red. The cadets buzzed around them, crowing madly in their triumph. Book handed Carl his lettuce and smirked at him. "You wanna put that back on these guys or are you taking another team?"
Carl didn't want to answer where the winning team could hear, so he just smiled and scribbled 'Pacifics' on a scrap of paper and handed it to the giant man. He peeled a few bills off his growing wad and handed them over.

Cadet Blues
By David
Sea sick, home sick worse
Pacific, blue seas for months
The recruiter lied

For next month, we've chosen the theme: Villains (MWAhahahaha!). Write up some antagonist fiction and bring it on down to the next meeting of LFWG on September 7th.
In the mean time... is anyone feeling the need to get together next Wednesday (August 31) even though there is no meeting? Maybe at a coffee shop or restaurant? Get back to me and we'll set something up.
Happy Evil Writing, 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Updates and Info from the long lost Fishbowl blog!

It is July. The end of July, even. So I shouldn't be telling you just now that the theme for July was Memento Mori, should I? I should have posted info from the last two meetings already. I should have posted writing prompts and assignments for July.

Sorry, friends. I turn into a pumpkin in the summer time.

Instead I will post writing prompts from the July 20th meeting, give you the theme for August, and (hopefully) get those creative juices flowing with an assignment.

David was in charge of the writing prompt on Wednesday, and here's what he brought us: "The bright Light, the tunnel, the floating up and seeing one's own body...ya da ya da ya da....How could we have been so wrong? about all of it. Would it have mattered? If I had only known....."

Red Scare
by David
...that the world is really ruled by the lady bugs. Crimson armored terrors enslaving all lower life forms. The second circle insects obey without question, carrying out their orders with brutal efficiency. Silent. Secret. Deadly work. The people lived in the light for so long and then the darkness.
The red darkness that blotted out the sun. The swarming pestilence that devoured the food, They had even converted all their mighty machines to run off fuel from crops. Easy targets. Naive prey. It took a mere decade. Total annihilation. The age of information and technology set as the red sun rose in the morning.

by Jack
 I'm drawing a complete blank. And perhaps that's it. A complete blank. At the end of it all. It's what you see just outside your field of view. Nothing. Even if there is a hereafter of some sort, why would I understand it any better than I do the here and now. I see an afterlife of angsty, confounded angels and spirits, no more content, no more blessed or damned than they were in the world they left. Do angels have therapists? Wellbutrin? Do they sleep well or do they lay awake, get up from their clouds to go lay on the sofa in their celestial living rooms until daybreak?

 by Angela
"Dude!" The hand on my shoulder, my foot slipping on the curb. "It's your turn now!"
 "My turn?"
 " 's over. No need to cross now."
 Oddly, the morning fog seemed to obscure the street I needed to cross.
 "Dude!" the stranger repeated. "Go back, not ahead. There's nothing there for you now," he indicated with his head.
 "I've got to get to the bank..." I began.
 "No you don't. Not anymore."
 "What? There's been a financial disaster?" I joked -- ok, half-joked.
 "No need for money here."
 "I wish!"
 "Dude. That part is over. This is the next part."
 Despite the fog, light began to dawn. "What, I'm dead then?"
"Dude, what is death?"
 I chuckled. "You forgot your own line," I quipped. "It's 'What is truth?'"
 "Right. anyway, there's no street here, dud, no light, and no need to cross anything."
 "So what do I do?"
 "Go back," he said.
 "Wait... don't I get to go toward the light?? Did I screw up that bad?"
 He grinned and now I saw the glint of a gold tooth and the shake of his dreadlocks. "You're one of us now. The darkness and the light are both alike."

 by Me
 If I had only known it wasn't about the CGI effects, the floating Peter Pan  moment. They were there to be sure. The most important thing -- the sound.
 I could hear my mother's voice. She was crying and singing at the same time. I felt I had abandoned her. Betrayed her. I could hear the words of the song "You are my Sunshine." Was it memory? Was it now? I could hear the sound of cars rushing past, but it wasn't cars after a moment. The sound resolved itself into the sound of flights of wings. Thousands rushing in my ears, but her voice underneath it all pulled on me, pulled me down. Carried me away. And the betrayal vibrated down my fingers into my eyes and throat. As they vibrated there, they burned away, and my greatest failing burned away also. The wings rushed through me and I was good.

Good job, everybody. Gold stars for everyone!
For the month of August, we have a CINQUENTA CHALLENGE (imagine awesome reverb here)! Here's the idea: Write a cinquenta (50 word short story) using at least 17 of these 39 words. Why 17, you ask? Because Angela said so. Why are there 39 words to choose from? Because each of the attendees at the last meeting gave a list of 10 words, but David and I both had the same word on our lists.

Any form of these words is acceptable: lunar, spin, hostile, irrefutable, point, mix, backhoe, torque, potent, transmission, candy, banish, paintbrush, greyhound, goofball, snowflake, grunge, inflammable, drench, Oreos, book, trade, human(ity), red, desecrate, time, exhaust, carry, clothe, light, montage, sample, bosun, cheese, undone, wire, linen, buoyant, pantomime.
You can send your cinquentas to me, or bring them to the next meeting. Have fun! Oh! And extra points if you weren't at the meeting but can guess which word appeared on two word lists.

See you soon!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer's no Bummer

Two girls and a guitar. And an iPad was a rousing success even if only one other person besides the two girls was there to hear the new song. The crowd went wild. Just for fun, we'll be performing the song again next time, just so everyone can hear it. More songs are upcoming: details at the end of this post.

The next meeting of LFWG will be on Wednesday June 15th. "Flowers" is the theme for June. David will (hopefully) be providing the writing prompt for next time. At the last meeting, Angela and I choose three random words form a random book on a random library shelf and used those words to inspire our writing during a ten minute writing prompt. There were, as I mentioned above, only three attendees, but the writing samples came out great. The three words randomly chosen were: You, Never, and Africa.

Here is Jack's work.
You've never been to Africa. Or Australia. Or freaking Canada for that matter. Why exactly do you have a passport? It is kind of handy when you're filling our W-9s. It's only one document which establishes both identity and nationality as opposed to one for each, typically a driver's license and a social security card, but those both fit in your wallet, much easier to pack around should you suddenly and unexpectedly get hired and need to whip them out. Likewise, crossing a national border would require a minimum six hour drive or a plane flight, not likely to happen on the spur of the moment to already have the damn thing. $100 and an afternoon at the post office gone. Some day, you say. Africa. Australia. Tibet and the Temples and the jungles and deserts and mountains.
*a note on Jack's handwriting: wow. It took me over a half an hour to decipher this and I'm not sure I got every word correct. Sorry Jack.

This is Angela's work.
"You never take me anywhere." she grumbled.
"What do you mean, I never take you anywhere? We went to Sears last weekend!"
"That doesn't count!" She glowered across the table, her arms folded in her typical pugnacious stance.
"What - you mean like a vacation? Didn't we go to Six Flags a couple of years back?"
"Four years," she corrected. "Four and a half. And Six Flags is only eighty miles up the road. I mean a real vacation. Like... Florida or something. Or New York. Or... hell, Africa!"
"Africa!" he shrieked - yes, men do shriek when properly motivated. "Who the hell goes to Africa on vacation?!?"
"The Holmans went to-"
"Oh, is that it?" The shriek had become an oral sneer. "Mark Holman took his teeny bopper fourth wife somewhere and you just can't let me forget that you might have been his girlfriend once if you hadn't settled for a taxi driver?"

This last one is mine.
"Africa is the place I go to in my head when you are being a shit."
"I'm there. It's savannah or jungle or whatever, and I look out over the yellow grass or vines and monkeys and you are not there."
"Monkeys live in South America, Sweetie."
"Monkeys live in my f-ing head if I f-ing say so."
"Fine. Monkeys, grass, jungle. But not me."
"Exactly. You would never put yourself in Africa."
"It's a third world continent."
"Water. War. Famine... Ringing any bells?"
"I'm not there for real!"
"Look, the fact is that when you are a shit, I go to Africa."
"I heard you. like now?"

For the next meeting of LFWG, I'd like to have another song ready for you guys. The last one turned into a very sweet little love song. For the next one, I'd like a break up/heartache song. Comment on this post with your ideas, broken heart stories and revenge fantasies, and I'll get cracking. Jack started the ball rolling for everybody with these words: "You can call me if you need somebody to blame. You can call me if you need somebody to shame." The more you tell me, the more interesting the song will be.

Happy writing, and sunny skies!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hearts, Flowers, Unicorns, and a Guitar

The next meeting of LFWG is this Wednesday at noon! The theme for June is FLOWERS. If you were at the last meeting, you know that we worked on a collaborative song, and GUESS WHAT? It will be debuted this Wednesday in The Fishbowl. I'll have my guitar, and Angela will bring her amazing iPad and play bass. So ya'll come!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Writing Prompts and Illicit Substances

Writing Prompts first, my freaky darlings, then we can get on to the second half of that title.
Karen was in charge of prompts for the month of May, and she came up with a great one for the last LFWG meeting. Each of us picked an object in the room and wrote about its future.

This was Susan's first time at LFWG, so her work gets to go first.

by Susan
Battered and threadbare, the bag hangs in the closet. Doors open and close, coats come and go, time stretches, days fade in and speed by. Then the bag is pulled out, knocked against walls and bodies, stuffed with books and electronics, and tossed over a shoulder.

The Last Cakeball
by Ginny
The last cakeball, surprisingly enough, was left in the tin after the celebration. Angela was sure everyone would eat them all, and would have , herself, but they were extremely rich, and she could only enjoy one without them starting to cloy.
So there it sat among crumbs. The lid was closed and the box taken back home to the refrigerator, in the hopes that someone would enjoy it later. But no one did.
A week went by, and the variance of temperature in the refrigerator allowed the chocolate to flow and flatten out, leaving exposed cake base.

The Pen in My Hand
by Karen
What a limited future. This pen is one of the few objects in my life that will not outlast me. I suspect much of the grocery store food items have a longer shelf life than any of us do.
How odd to see our belongings outlive us - by centuries even. To think of this pen gives me some sense of satisfaction, of closure, I will not hand it down to a grandchild. It will not show up in future photos or in a museum display. It will not see flying cars or jet packs or the end of the world.
I will throw it away - next week, next month, sometime, soon. I will, barring act of God, not pass it on to live long after me.

by Angela
There's one mint Oreo ball left, so Jessica pops it into a baggie and puts it in her purse. For long hours, nothing happens. Then Jessica hops into her van and drives to choir practice. She has a tray of confections, and she takes the mint Oreo ball out of the baggie and places it among its cousins. Very possibly one of the tenors (Zach? David? Christopher? - Ephrem would, but he's not there because his stepdaughter has a concert...) picks it up and eats it. His praise is lukewarm, so Jessica tells him that she didn't make that one, but nobody believes her.

Now, on to the illicit substances. Because Ginny had recently gotten a contact for her book, we had a little celebration in the Fishbowl. (Food is not allowed in the Fishbowl. We did a bad, bad thing.) Angela brought mint Oreo balls, and I brought Knock-You-Naked Brownies. Yum was had by all!
For June, David was given the task of deciding on the theme and writing prompts. The theme is FLOWERS.

Next meeting of LFWG is on June 1st at Noon. If I have gotten my voice back by then, I'll debut the 'song' we worked on last time.
Love, Peace, and Taco Grease!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Howdy, folks! Yesterday we had a meeting, and if you weren't there, you missed some fun. Karen is in charge of writing prompts for the month of May, and she brought a great one courtesy of Writer's Digest.
"Ever read a book that's all over the bestseller charts and walk away from it unimpressed, wishing someone would've rejected it from the get-go? Or maybe you read about an author who was rejected 47 times before actually getting his or her bestseller published and think, I wonder what those rejection letters said? Well, here's your chance to have a little fun..."
Here are LFWG's responses to this prompt.

By David

Dear Ms. Crocker,
After many attempts to replicate the highly technical but rather bland works in your submission, we regret to inform you that we cannot publish your book. It made our stomachs curdle on many occasions. We found the language inaccessible and sometimes down right esoteric. The food was of the lowest caliber - peasant food, really. We wouldn't feel comfortable serving anything from your book to our dogs or cats. We hope that you will choose to stay out of the kitchen. Maybe you could take up sewing or macrame. Just promise the world you will take your red checked apron off.

By me

Dear C.S. Lewis-
Found your book about the wardrobe to be a bit over the heads of readers. What we are currently looking for is bravery stories, real boys' material, and all that sword and talking animal nonsense combines the worst of Winnie the Pooh and Snow White.
Some Editor

Dear C.S. Lewis-
I told you to cut the sisters from that book. Too much girly - family stuff. And the white witch/Edmond business is a bit racy  if you ask me. Let's concentrate more on the fighting, but set it in England and more modern, please.
Your Agent

By Angela

Parsons Publishing

Dear Mr. Boccaccio:
We thank you for submitting your work The Decameron to our house. However, it does not meet our needs at this time.
The frame story is no longer the prevailing style nowadays, and a single contiguous novel is far closer to the tastes of our readers than a collection of unrelated stories. Furthermore, several of your tales seem to be critical of the Church. Our publishing house is not interested in provoking the ire of the College of Cardinals at this time.
However, we encourage you to continue writing, and possibly consider sending some of your short stories to our periodical "Sex and the Plague."
Angela Borgia, editor

By Karen

Dear Sir/Madam-
We regret to inform you that the novel you submitted Harry Porter, etc. did not fit with our publishing needs at this time. Unfortunately, we feel your work would not appeal to a wide enough audience. Since we produce mass market books, your efforts would not fit our wide spread distribution needs. For instance, would girls be interested in the story of a boy wizard? We think not. This project just wouldn't catch on or prove very popular.
In addition, fantasy books just don't sell these days. Fantasy has become out-dated.
Perhaps if you changed your focus, included a female protagonist with a dead parent and added some strong female role models you could try again.

If you would like to try your hand at Reject-a-Hit, and see it here on the blog, send it to If you'd like to submit one (400 words max) to Writer's Digest, email it to wdsubmissions and put Inkwell: Reject a hit in the subject line.

The rest of the meeting was spent working on projects by Karen (Civil War, anyone?) and Angela (Climactic scene in her novel). David read another of his children's story books, and I brought coloring books. It was a fun a productive meeting, and I hope to see you all next time, May 18th.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Road to Russia...

is the name of the piece by Barrage that we used for our writing prompt on Wednesday. For some reason, I can't find a link to it anywhere. Let's see if these writing samples give you a feel for the music.

by Angela
The girl put the headscarf down on her forehead to obscure her eyes. In the unfamiliar trousers she felt uncomfortable, different, but she stove to act nonchalant.
The marketplace was teeming with livestock and people. She crushed herself between two fat merchants and slipped several oranges into her scrip before anyone noticed.
"Boy!" someone shouted, but she was off, dodging between men and slaves, thrusting her tiny form into cracks in the crowd as a mouse. Someone might follow...
She dashed into the next street, the Nimandra Rua, where shirtless men sparred with blunt wooden swords, past the men's chorus shouting on the corner, and through a small, dark doorway in the wall.
"I have food!" she announced.

by David
The music again. No please not the music. Strident. Chilling. How have things come to this. I can't even think back far enough to life before. Before they came. Before I ended up here.
And yet the violin plays on... The bell no longer tolls. The piper no longer plays but the violin calls...

by Karen
(First makes me think of "Fiddler on the Roof," frantic and rapid violin - also of movie "Young Sherlock Holmes" music)
Most of all I think of a Civil War battlefield, of men of foot charging in the face of near-certain death, of men dashing at one another, so close their musket tips almost touch, of men rushing onto one another's sabers.
When the tempo increases, the battle grows more and more fierce, me falling badly wounded, men dying face down in muddy ditches, men dropping in lines, still in formation.
Horses being spurred forward, being shot out from under them, horses piled by the dozens on the battlefield - easier to shoot the men riding them, horses screaming their pain.
At the most frantic moment, the battle ends, so many dead they won't even be counted, only put into a mass grave by the hundreds.

by me
Playing with fire. She knew she was, but didn't care. The warnings were, to be honest, a spur. Getting out of the house was the trickiest part, but she remembered the one squeaky stair and skipped it. Her heart raced in the freezing moonlight. She could hear the voices carrying in the night, and felt her house looming behind her as she set off down the forest path.
She stopped just inside the ring of light cast by the dancing fire and looked at the white faces and bare chests around her.

Could you begin to hear the music in your head? Karen is in charge of writing prompts next month, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with.
In other news, the theme for May is night time. In the next day or two, I'll be posting April's last Cinquentas, if you'd like to submit one, I'll post it as long as I get it by tomorrow. For May, I'll publish haiku, so start sending them to me!
Thanks, and have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Cinquenta!

Here's one from our friend Ginny:
The Thlothians

The Thlothians are personable enough, and their language was easy to learn. They have three fingers on each hand and it looks peculiar to me. On their spacecraft they looked appropriate enough, but when they helped me with my ship, I realized why they have problems: they can’t hold pliers.

Just a reminder: The next meeting of LFWG is this Wednesday at the Beaumont Branch. I hope to see you all there. Body parts are still the theme for April, and please be thinking about themes for next month. Thanks!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Are they Still Updates if they are Over a Week Old?

I had to (sadly) miss the last LFWG meeting, my daughter was in rehearsals for a musical. I missed a fun writing prompt, a new person showed up, AND the theme for the month is body parts.

Angela played a piece of music by Karl Jenkins, and everyone wrote. I'm so sad I missed this. Since Angela is the only one who wanted her piece shared on the blog (YAY Angela!), here it is:

Thunderstorms. That's the problem with the Summer Solstice - you can't trust the weather. Kenaty remembered last year, just scattered showers sending the younger apprentices running for cover, but this year the lightning forked and thunder cracked, and water poured from the low, heavy, dark sky.
Only "experienced Technicians were allowed to fly, of course, in a storm. Kenaty slipped quietly close to the Senior House-Wizards and overheard their discussion - call off the races entirely? Postpone them til the morrow - but even Kenaty knew that was silly. So they decided to fly in a thunderstorm, restricting the list to experienced Technicians. And Kenaty, less than a year out from his Secondary Examination, not yet sixteen, drew his grey cloak close, covering his crisp, black curls with the hood. "Kenatis Technician," he spoke, assuming the court accents he had practiced, "of Boverim" - the opposite side of the Kingdom from his homeland. "Twelve years as Senior to Baron-mumble."
Soon after the starter's shout his carpet was already soaked, but he kept is steady, not flinching at the flashing and booming all around him...

Also this month, I opened the blog to submissions of Cinquentas, or 50 word fiction. This submission is from David (the new person I mentioned at the top of this post). He gets extra points for writing on the theme of the month!

Holding On to Tiny Hands
Abigail began to tire:  her energy depleted, the children gone.   The sun had not been seen since the firestorm.  The winter winds tore at flesh.  Daniel spurred her on.  They were down to their last bottle of water and it was almost gone…and only five finger-sized pieces of meat remained.

Here's my cinquenta.
Forgettable, but something wandered from her eyes and poked me hard in the chest. It's amazing what you will give when someone wants nothing from you at all. You can gaze back, wanting, and know that cold finger was not meant for you, but already it is far too late.

I'm still taking submissions for this month. Cinquentas only, if you please. The next meeting of LFWG is April 20th at noon. See you there!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Okay, writers, get ready to rumble! This blog is NOW accepting submissions for April!
Ever written a 50 word short story? LFWG calls these tiny flash fiction pieces Cinquentas. They are both fun and challenging to write. Send one to by April 6th and I'll post it. Send me more than one if you want to, but I can't guarantee I'll post everything you send me. You do not have to be a member of LFWG to submit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Has it been a week? Geez.

Sorry. That's all I can say. It's been a week since the last meeting, and I haven't posted a thing. Shame on me. Okay! Now that that's done, here are some updates.

The theme for April is: body parts. As in: The first thing I noticed about him was... Or, The severed finger lay in the little box... or anything else body part related. I'm looking forward to this one.

We did another fun five-minute writing prompt, and since there were so few members in attendance, my daughter Hannah sat in for the prompt. She's fourteen, and has written 8 novels to my 2. Prolific is an understatement. The actual prompt was the Subscriber's cover of Harper's Bazaar for March 2011. 
(see the second image on the page)

by Hannah
I got my boyfriend a job modeling. He said he wanted to see what I did. I modeled the most ugly clothes ever, but hey. It pays. They snapped picture after picture of him in that panda suit, and me in that shapeless dress and purple glasses. Then it was time to go home. "John." I said, tugging off the panda head. Blood poured from it as his severed head fell out of the panda's. The panda head grinned at me. I could feel blood running down my face before I knew no more.

by me (Jessica)
Purple visioned. Purple sighted. Fuzzy handed. He stays and I'm still going to go. My egg is too heavy for this chain, my hair too heavy for this dress. His hand is too tight. It's his panda year. He's his own yin and yang. Lucky.
Here we go again. "Walk. Too pose-y! Don't think. Just naturalle." God, I hate Michael. I hate China. "What eez this girl?" he says.
She is a girl with a damn panda.

by Angela
"Oh, come on. I really need to pick up some powder..."
"I tell you, not with me. Not dressed like this!"
"Cammie, everyone knows it's Homecoming!"
"Take off the costume, then."
"Janice, I'm only wearing a tank top and shorts underneath! I'll freeze! and besides, it takes forever to put back on."
"Take off the head part, then."
"What, and have EVERYBODY at Wal-Mart know I'm the Central High Mascot?? Not on your life. Not when my best friend is a major Homecoming Queen candidate. Go in yourself."
"Cammie, I'm wearing my Homecoming gown. I'd look like an idiot walking through Wal-Mart dressed like this! And the creepy guy in Cosmetics already ogles me whenever I buy makeup."
"You'll look like an idiot? What about me? Oh, OK, fine, I'll go in with you. But you'll have to lead me. I can't see out of both eyes with this damn panda head on."

After that, I read a piece I wrote several months ago called Candy Cane, in which bugs (our March theme) play an important role. It was a fun if lightly attended meeting, and I hope to see lots of you next time!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Did you ever give a character a nosebleed? Imagine, if you will, a cat burglar who gets nosebleeds. Or a serial killer who gets nosebleeds. Or any job where getting a nosebleed would be inconvenient or unsanitary. Janitor. Surgeon. Pre-school teacher. Caterer. Super Hero. Now what?
This is fun, right? The what-ifs of writing are almost the best part, don't miss out on letting your imagination have a good time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Perfect Storm

Bad things happen. A lot. To me. For instance, on Friday, I dropped a grocery bag full of cans and jars on my right foot. One of the cans hit the top of my foot with an audible "crunk", and a knot the size of... well, a great big knot rose on the top of my flattened flipper. I howled a little. I put a bag of frozen lima beans on it, and went about getting ready for my sons' birthday party. After the party all of my kids got sick. I know, that didn't really happen to me, but it felt like it did. I would rather be sick a hundred times over than for one of my kids to be sick, and not because I hate to see their little feverish faces. It's because I much prefer the sound of my own whining to theirs. Yesterday, I was trying to distract myself from the mounds of used tissues and popsicle sticks everywhere by playing Guitar Hero. Somehow, the guitar strap came undone from the butt of the guitar and it fell. The guitar. On my bare foot. The same one.
This time there was definitely howling. And some cussing and crying. The insides of my glasses were speckled with dried tears by the time I was able to get up off the floor. My foot looks so pretty.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, sometimes, characters need to live their lives amid a perfect storm of nasty events. It makes them more interesting, more human, and gives insight into the way they work. Try it. Your character might not like it, but chances are, you will.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I've been thinking about milestones for the last several weeks. My twin boys turn twelve on Wednesday, and I'm feeling triumphant. I made it past the diaper years and now we are in pimple territory. One of them wears a man's size 11 shoe. The other can give you any fact about the St. Louis Cardinals.

I'm not feeling maudlin, just surprised. Over the course of my three kids being babies, I changed somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,000 diapers. Sometimes, the days would stretch out in front of me, in a seemingly endless progression of sameness. But they weren't, and that's what I like about writing milestones. They give your characters a reason to reflect on the past, to have great heaving shifts of emotion and mood, and to reveal their inner workings to the reader.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Highlights from Wednesday's Meeting

Wednesday's meeting was a very productive one. After several minutes of catching up, I put out paper and Hello Kitty pencils and we all worked for five minutes on a writing prompt. The inspiration was the cover of America's Art, and the idea was to tell a bit of the painting's story using sensory details. I call that sort of writing 'being in the body.'
Just to show you what kind of talent we have in the group, writers have graciously allowed me to show their completely unedited, raw five minutes of uninterrupted work. Since the whole thing was my idea, I'll put mine out there first, and please  respect the fact that this work is the sole property of the writer.
Natural Philosophy by Jessica
The books are sliding again, and my hands are too sweaty to hold them. If not for the wind pushing against me, helping me avoid the scolding from father, they'd be in the dust. At least the air takes the smell of the robes away. They've been in storage the long winter, becoming more pungent, more uncanny with the blood of the dog we experimented on last autumn.
I felt every last breath of travel through its exposed trachea. I ached and gasped as it did. Father was unhappy. He makes me carry now, because his back is no longer straight. One day I'll be as bent and red eyed from the airs of the laboratory, from the weight of my robes, and the air.

Eloise Alone in Gray by Karen
Windblown - hair streaming back like ocean spray, dry & brittle from too much ocean wind, too much being out in the harshness of moor and woods, too much of everything. She is windblown in fact and also in feeling - her heart as dry and lifeless as the straw-texture of her hair.
Too many lonely days, too many empty nights. Too many hours filled with weeping and walking, tear tracks dried on her cheeks, too many heartaches dried up inside her until her heart is a lifeless as her brittle hair.
She asks the gray emptiness of dreary days - why? No answer returns on the wind, but she cannot stop asking - how else could she fill those bleak and barren days that creep by so slow she feels one day, soon, she will explode into dry fragments and blow away on the ocean spray.

Untitled by Jack
Windswept. It's hard to start anywhere else. She was indeed windswept - facing into a wind, staring down the wind. Defiant or determined? Steadfast, perhaps. Not struggling against holding her ground. Perhaps that is enough. Perhaps it is all we can expect or ask. Her boots hold firm to the ground. She resists, she clings.

Untitled by Angela
No rain yet, but the wind is fierce. She clutches the precious volumes to her chest. Even the heavy fabric of her cloak is whipping in the frantic air. No use to put on the bonnet - it would just blow off. Cold, she thinks, I am cold, but at least not wet. At least...
And she waits. She waits, her fingers numb, refusing to hide her hands and the books she carries. Will he come, or will her day be wasted even as her skin chills in the approaching storm? Will she leave at last with nothing but her books and the two pieces of jewelry she possesses, or must she turn back?

As you can see there are a few mistakes here and there, but as I said at the beginning, I wasn't going to edit anyone's work. Yay, us. We write, and sometimes we make mistakes, and then we write some more. I'm putting a gold star at the top of all these writing assignments, for the bravery it takes to share work like this.

The second part of the meeting involved sharing previously written work. Karen shared two short pieces that she is working on for submission, Angela read a short story on the theme of 'bugs' that one of her daughters had written, and the group was nice enough to listen to some pencil/paper writing that I've been doing at night that had two brief mentions of gnats in it.
All in all it was a fantastic meeting. Our next meeting is Wednesday, March 16th at noon. I hope to see you there!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Paper and Pencil

Howdy, Writers!
Today I wanted to put in a plug for two of my very best friends: Paper and Pencil. There's something magical about the scratch of sharpened graphite on an empty sheet that makes me so happy. I don't mind all the scratching out I do, all the misspellings, all the smudges and false starts. That's the beauty of the writing process right there in front of your eyes instead of tidied away by computer programs. Don't get me wrong, I could not live without word processing, but feeling the words get pulled from your brain through your arm and out the end of your pencil can be fascinating, magnetic, and uncanny.
I love a piece of paper and a pencil right before bed, when my guard is let down. Wonderful weird things happen. You should give it a try.

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Links

At the bottom of this blog I've linked to Script Frenzy and the National Ten-Minute Play Contest, and in the future there will be other links as events arise. If you have a link suggestion, let me know.
This year I will be participating in Script Frenzy, which is a month long challenge to write a 100 page script or screenplay. Two years ago, I wrote a musical complete with music and lyrics. I had a great time, and though I've never *done* anything with the script, it taught me to really pay attention to the way that people talk to each other. This year, I'm writing a screenplay about a girl named Spam.
I hope some other Lexington writers will be up for the challenge!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why is it called The Fishbowl?

That was one little thing I failed to mention yesterday. The reason I called this blog The Fishbowl is that inside the Beaumont Branch, there is a meeting room in the center of the building and three of the walls are glass. That's where LFWG meets, and we call it the fishbowl.
Another thing I need to mention is the purpose of this blog. This blog will:
  • provide reminders about upcoming meetings
  • announce themes
  • give information on community and national writing events such as National Novel Writing Month, The National Ten-Minute Play Contest, etc.
  • present selections from our members' work
  • link to our members' blogs or other outlets for creativity
  • provide a forum for discussion, criticism, inspiration and encouragement
  • make you want to write more (hopefully)
 Suggestion are appreciated, and come to the next meeting on Wednesday March 2nd at Noon!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Welcome to The Fishbowl

This is the official blog of the Lexington Fiction Writer's Group.
We meet on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at the Beaumont Branch of the Lexington, Kentucky, Public Library. The group is open to adults of all experience levels writing fiction of all genres, and we welcome new writers. Bring your work to share with the group, and be prepared to listen and give feedback to other writers in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
Every month, members of LFWG choose a theme to get the creative juices flowing. The theme for February is Food, and the theme for March is Bugs (think insects, listening devices, computer viruses, etc.) Not all members write on the theme for the month, and not all members bring work to share at every meeting. We have a great time, and would love to see you there.