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!