Random Wednesday: Writing Pet Peeves

What would be my writing pet peeves?

This is actually a tough topic for me because I do believe there is a difference between pet peeves and bad writing. I see bad writing often, and I’m just as guilty for not catching grammatical mistakes, punctuation, spelling – you name it. Sometimes I feel my mind works faster than my hands can type and what seems like a logical thought reads like smash-your-face-against-the-keyboard nonsense.

Not too long ago I sat in on a presentation for writers and the topic was pet peeves, the guest speaker was an editor.

Some of my notes list:
-Don’t start a story with dialogue.
-Don’t have someone “reflect” upon themselves in a mirror. (Very cliche)
-Don’t start the story with someone waking up.
-As well, don’t end a chapter with someone going to sleep.

But here is where bad writing and pet peeves collide.

I’ve read many flash fiction pieces by my peers on this blog journey who start with dialogue and the story turns out really well. I don’t favor starting with dialogue in my own writing but I feel that’s my personal style choice, I would never say you can’t or it doesn’t work because you physical can start a story with dialogue and sometimes – it does work.

Not to mention, when timing is key to the story, it’s okay to start with someone waking up.

Groundhog Day: The entire movie is full scenes of someone waking up and ending with them falling asleep. Sure it’s a movie, not a book but, you see my point.
SPOILER: Gum in hair morning situation exacerbated by sweater falling in sink post skateboard slippage.

However, novel writing has a tendency to be formulaic. And this is where I see one of my pet peeves – following the formula only to have it result in bad writing.

At some point in the novel (usually about 75% of the way through) is going to be a “point of no return #2”, “the second pillar”, a point when the novel is at risk of ending on a limp note so you have to spice it up…

Good writing: This leaves you in suspense, driven to finish the book because how on earth is this going to be resolved?!

Bad writing: (this really happened in a book I read) “Let’s kill the child of the main character though the child served no purpose in the plot and barely had any character development, and then everyone just moves on with the lives afterward – the end.”

Formulas are okay but don’t neglect the story.

Remember, we’re writers, the whole point is to tell the story.

Speaking of story tellers, visit some of my favorites and their take on pet peeves:

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Kayleigh Jones

Kellie St. James

Gwendolyn Cease

Jessica Jarman

 

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Random (Wordless) Wednesday: Happiness

When it comes to this blog I try to stick to writing nonsense and my own weirdness. The topic of happiness makes me think of my personal life which I tend to keep a little more private, especially when it comes to a “wordless” post which means – pictures.

I won’t (and most likely never will) post pictures of my family. But they make me happy. Very happy.

My husband is amazing beyond words. We’re best friends and we love each other an unmeasurable amount. Just yesterday we discussed how my newly learned word of “garrulous” can be used to describe me about the time he looks me deep in the eyes, holds my face in his hands, and says, “Seriously Jess, you’re tired. Go to bed.”

My daughter and I have conversations which warm my heart. Here is an example from Saturday:

Daughter: Mom, pink is a regular color, right?
Mom: Um, yeah? I suppose it is.
Daughter: And white and black, too?
Mom: I guess. I mean, if those are regular colors what is a nonregular color?
Daughter: -thinks- Red.
Mom: Red? Why red?
Daughter: Because red is a primary color.

(Note: My daughter is smarter than I am because I would not have thought of that answer. I would have answered something along the lines of “Chartreuse.” Her logic is much more solid and she isn’t four yet.)

And my son. He’s just a little guy but his laugh is infectious. Since he was born, he would smile and giggle in his sleep. Now he does it all the time and it doesn’t take much to get him into giggle fits. Yesterday his daycare teacher told me, “I’ve never had a baby laugh as much as he does.” He is so sweet. It makes coming to work or taking time for myself very difficult.

Well, this is a wordless post after all and since I’ve wrote in lieu of pictures for privacy reasons, here is a picture from Cyanide and Happiness.

It’s a butt shark.

I don’t know what that’s about but I’m okay with it.

Visit the other ladies who most likely have less wordy, wordless posts.

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Kelly St. James

Gwendolyn Cease

Paige Prince

Flash Fiction: The Creeps

If you want a band that’s British in the Guy Ritchie film sort of way, look no further than Radiohead.

Creep by Radiohead is the song for this prompt (the soundtrack to many people’s 1993) and if you’ve been following my Doctor Who and Titty Sprinkles obligation here and here, you already knew this was coming.

I’m not exactly sure where it is going.

Scary thought.

Save yourself with one of these exit points for a more thorough literary endeavor than what is about to happen below:

Bronwyn Green

Paige Prince

Kris Norris

Jessica Jarman

Part Three:

The Doctor runs, disco balls in hands, for the back of the building. Tom follows quickly behind him where Miss Sprinkles struggles with the vanity mirror.

“Move,  Tits!” Tom yells back.

“This is heavy and shut up!” Once Miss Sprinkles catches up she notices Tom staring out the opened back door while The Doctor has disappeared into a blue telephone booth just beyond. Not feeling there is time for anymore questions, Miss Sprinkles forces Tom out of her way and runs after The Doctor, stepping in the booth behind him.

This clearly, was not a telephone booth but rather, something much more.

“What is this thing?” Miss Sprinkles hugs her mirror.

“A police box. And no! It’s not a police box. It’s a TARDIS, a ship, my ship, and it travels through time and space and speaking of time, I may have miscalculated how soon company would arrive through the fissure but it seems they are here and we might need to reevaluate our plans. Slightly. Just slightly. A little more than slightly. A far amount more than slightly – slightly. Don’t let go of that mirror! That still might be handy. Oh wait, you didn’t say it.”

“Say what?”

“What do you think of my TARDIS?” The Doctor smiles and puts his hands in his pockets.

Miss Sprinkles looks around and is overwhelmed by the pillar of moving parts in the center of the room and the extensive console full of odds and ends which seem to be an incapable combination of buttons, levers, and switches to be of purpose. But one thing was undeniable. “It’s bigger on the inside than the outside.”

The Doctor hops from foot to foot rubbing his hands together, “I love that part! Yes! Now we can get to work. Where is Tom?”

Running back toward the door, The Doctor pushes Miss Sprinkles out of the way. The growling has stopped. Miss Sprinkles tries to see around The Doctor but once he feels her presence behind him, he quickly closes the door and holds her by the shoulders for a moment. He says nothing, squeezing with a force that makes her shoulders form a shrug. The Doctor leaves her there to wonder, the question with an unspoken answer hanging in the air.

From the console, Miss Sprinkles doesn’t notice from where exactly, The Doctor pulls out two rabbit ear style antenna. One of which, he quickly runs over to her and straps to the top of her head before putting the other on himself.

“I just realized I’m so frightened I’ve been standing in the same spot this entire time.”

“Do you have your mirror?”

“Yes.”

“Tom’s mirror is laying on the ground just outside the door. I want you to stand closely behind me. I am going to borrow your mirror to cover myself and once we get to Tom’s mirror I will hand this back to you. Use it like a shield. Hold it directly in front of your body so the Creep’s will see a reflection of themselves and not notice your, what kind of pants are those anyways?”

“Leggings.”

The Doctor pulls his sonic screw driver from his coat and quickly scans Miss Sprinkles legs. Reading the side of his sonic screw driver, he frowns. “Lycra. Never liked lycra.”

Miss Sprinkles twists her face, “Really? Right now? You are going to judge me for the fabric of my pants while wearing an antenna on your head and sporting a bow tie! Not to mention the I-don’t-even-know-what is out there and we’re in a spaceship that looks like a phone booth!”

“Police box.”

“POLICE BOX!”

Reaching up, The Doctor adjusts the position of the antenna strapped to his head. Forcing one rabbit ear antenna straight up and the other, slightly angled to the side. “The antennas are for survival and bow ties are cool.”

With an large inhale of breath Miss Sprinkles holds herself tall but the yet to be spoken barrage of expletives is cut short by  The Doctor turning quickly on his heal and walking through the TARDIS door, back to the unknown. Miss Sprinkles moves quickly to shadow The Doctor with his long strides and abrupt movements. His height blocks her from seeing what is near and she finds her self struggling to look around him as he moves unpredictably. The brief break from the noise when they opened up the door looking for Tom was replaced by electrical static. A deafening, nerve awakening, static. The Doctor stops and motions for her to step in front of him and take the vanity mirror.

He pushes her ahead of him a few feet. “Remember, cover your body so if they look at you, they will see their reflection and think you are one of them.” The Doctor then crouches down and slides the mirror Tom was holding toward him. Tom however, is no where to be found.

Miss Sprinkles expected the worse and kept her eyes down, looking around the ground for footprints back tracking toward the club as if Tom had ran back inside and was safe but she found no path returning to the club door. At worst, she looks for his body. As her eyes move from the ground upward she sees them moving from the forest. They were as far as the eye could see. Creeps were surrounding her and The Doctor. Their bodies were cords, wires, exposed copper, forming appendages of legs and arms. Their heads were radios, TV’s, and she swore one of them was a microwave.

“Doctor.” Miss Sprinkles whispers and with an edge of panic after no response, “Doctor?”

The forms stop moving and all equipment faces her. The radios tune, the TV’s flash, and the microwave beeps as if buttons were being pressed. The microwave creep takes a step forward and dings as if time were up. At once the radios and TV’s call out in a voice that mimics her own. “Doctor?”

_______

Visit back on 2/1 for Part Four!

 

 

 

Random Wednesday: Doctor Who, Miss Sprinkles, and the Prompt

We didn’t do this last year but that doesn’t necessarily mean this is a “new” thing. I’m not actually sure if it’s new but it’s new to me!

Prompts. Or as this has been named “Promptly Penned.” You’ll be seeing one of these each month from here on out for 2016. For this month the prompt is, “Some choices are easy, like fudge ripple or butter pecan, some choices aren’t. Can you guess which one this was?” (Note: Rules? With these prompts, there are no rules.)

Until my Doctor Who, Titty Sprinkles obligation is shored up we will be picking up where we left off. If you not sure where exactly that is, well, you can catch up on timey wimey nonsense with sugar tits here.

Or you can jump ahead and go straight to the good stuff by visiting these ladies.

Kris Norris

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Paige Prince

Kayleigh Jones

Kellie St. James

 

Part Two:

Tom rustles through an oil stained cardboard box, digging through miscellaneous tools before pulling out long Phillips head screw driver.

“I’ve got one of those.” The Doctor pulls out his device and shows it to Tom, pressing a button for it to emit it’s signature sound. “Mine’s sonic!”

Tom holds up his screwdriver to compare, “Mine’s bigger.”

The Doctor’s smile fades, “Yes. Well. It seems you are right on that account.” With defeat, he slides his sonic screwdriver in his coat pocket.

Miss Sprinkles has changed out of her robe and now wears tight leggins and a cropped shirt. In the middle of the stage, she adds small hand mirrors to the pile of vanity mirrors, and full length mirrors she has already pulled from the dressing rooms. Taking a small break from her collection, she hops down off the stage and peeks outside.

The light in the forest has grown, and grown very quickly, since last she looked. Noises, terrible grumblings, deep and unfriendly, seem to get louder as the light illuminates the trees closer to the club. Miss Sprinkles closes the door quickly and grips the door handle. She knows holding the door will not stop what might appear on the other side and her only chance of saving them might actually be the funny man in the bow tie. It all seems so surreal and immensely odd. The hair on the back of her neck begins to rise when she feels someone behind her.

“Why should we trust you? How do we know you didn’t come from the light?” Miss Sprinkles asks The Doctor and loosens her grip on the door, suddenly feeling an urge to run from the strangeness and the unknown.

He answers calm and smooth, almost soothing. “Some choices are easy, like fudge ripple or butter pecan, some choices aren’t. Can you guess what is out there? Even I sometimes feel it would be best to leave. Let the mystery be. Let the ugly parts of the universe stay ugly. But I’m The Doctor and that’s not what I’m about to do. Trust me. Trust me for tonight…and maybe the future… and brief glimpses of the past.”

“What?”

“Okay, that part is a little complicated. I have a relationship with time.”

“And the universe?”

“Yes.”

“Are those dancers at another club?”

“No.”

Miss Sprinkles leans her forehead on the door and feels the cool metal. “I was really hoping the answer was, ‘yes.'”

Tom yells out to them, holding a large mirror. “I got the last one from the private rooms. These should be all of them now.”

The Doctor jumps in the air with a smile and claps his hands so loudly, Miss Sprinkles startles and hits her head on the door. “Fantastic! Oh! Did that hurt?” He pulls her head toward his face. “I’m sure it did. It’s fine! Should be fine! Looks fine! I don’t know, I’m not that kind of doctor. Alright everyone! Onward! Grab what you can and…”

Moving Miss Sprinkles out of the way, he opens the door to a very loud growl and just as quickly as it is opened, it is closed. “…and to the backdoor! This one…” Pulling out his sonic screw driver he shines the light at the handle and over the door itself for good measure. “…is out of commission.”

“What is it?” Miss Sprinkles eyes are wide.

“Not good.” The Doctor takes her hand and runs quickly to the pile of mirrors. Picking up a large vanity mirror with magazine cut outs of made up models still tucked in the chipped paint wood molding and forcing it into her hands. “It’s Creeps.”

“What are Creeps?” Asks Tom, holding the largest mirror from the pile.

The Doctor holds up two disco balls, “Very creepy.”

…..

Part 3 will be Monday 1/18 for our song flash fiction piece – Creep by Radiohead.

 

 

Random Wednesday: Memories of 2015

There are so many memories I could talk about.

As far as writing, my manuscript was completed in 2015 and I began my agent search. Still searching. Will be for a while I suspect but there isn’t one word of advice out there that tells you this is an easy process. It’s the make or break process. How well can you handle the long wait and the rejections?

I handle it well.

Well….well enough. I mean, I did wait forever for someone to ask me to prom and when no one did, I asked someone myself. He was very excited. Extremely “giddy” is the word I would use. When rumors started to come in, “You know, people are saying Steve is gay.” I confronted him.

“Are you gay? You better not be gay. I can get a straight date, I don’t need this to be a sympathy thing. I’M CUTE GODDAMN IT AND BOYS LIKE ME!”

He swore, “No, no. I’m not gay. This isn’t a sympathy thing because no one ask you. I do want to go to prom with you.”

We had a wonderful time. And then first year of college came around and during move in, he visited my dorm room. “By the way, I’m totally gay.”

GODDAMMIT STEVE!

-sigh-

I mean, I’m way too old for prom now but for the record: Someone might have eventually asked me and I am cute enough for a straight date. I just might be a little intimidating to ask out with my oozing charisma that is often confused with abrasive sarcasm.

That was really off topic about waiting and eventual disappointment. Back to 2015. No pun intended.

This was also the first year I maintained a blog.

Got that going for me.

But I did meet, is that the right word? “Meet?” I did socialize online (better) with new people who I find to be particularly pleasant and look forward to blogging and socializing online with more new people in 2016. Looking back at the blogs written this year, there was some really fun posts and amazing flash fiction pieces.

In my personal life my family has grown. When I’m going through my mental to do list I often think of the writing/blogs/chores that I am behind on. But when I’m rocking my baby boy and he reaches up with his chubby little hand, grabbing gently at my face I think to myself, “All that stuff can wait. I’m happy right here.”

…and hour later he is completely passed out, the feeling in my arm is gone, I have to pee like a race horse, and I come to terms that it wouldn’t hurt to change the laundry.

Family life in a nutshell.

But those moments don’t last long and having a baby is a huge memory I will hold dearly from 2015.

Well that, and this dream I had after watching Jurassic World which came out last year. I had a dream dinosaurs were attacking our neighborhood and I was running for my life. I kept dying over and over again with that one big IRex chomp-off-half-of-body-in-one-bite maneuver. Now, this actually wasn’t the problem with why I remembered the dream or why I thought it was so disturbing. It was because everyone was running pass me and I couldn’t catch up because my running style was much like Woody from Toy Story.

giphy

It was a horrific display of less than gracefulness.

Let’s leave that memory in 2015.

As always – the girls of your past, present, and future.

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Paige Prince

Kellie St. James

Gwendolyn Cease

Kris Norris

Kayleigh Jones

 

 

Flash Fiction: As Requested – Titty Sprinkles

First flash fiction of the year! And yes, this is how I’m going to start it out. If you are wondering this is the post that started it. From here, I have no more excuses.

Be prepared for a Doctor Who fan fiction and a companion with the stripper name of Titty Sprinkles.

“Give the fans what they want.”
-big sigh-
…okay…

But before we get going, here are the other ladies:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

Paige Prince

Gwendolyn Cease

Kayleigh Jones

01-2016 LightinForest

He crashed through the doors frantically searching with a bouncer quickly on his heels. Tall, thin, and wiry the man seemed to avoid capture with every attempt made. The bouncer trying to grab at an arm or a leg but always came up just short.

“Mirrors. I just need mirrors. Wow look at all the shiny things in here. I could use all of it. Every mirror and those shiny ball things over there and this pole.” The man jumps on the stage and grabs a dancing pole but with a hard tug the pole remains. “Or not the pole then. Seems it doesn’t want to come along. At any rate, you there, help me with some mirrors.”

“Hey, man, we’re closed.” The bouncer, too lazy to get on the stage himself, swipes a muscled arm at the mans leg and misses.

“What are these called? I like these. These will do wonderfully.” The intruder jumps in the air and attempts to grab at the ceiling.

A dancer steps out from the stage curtains, her blond hair tied up and wearing a robe. “That would be a disco ball and honestly Tom, what good of a bouncer are you anyway?”

Tom shrugs, “He got pass me. It’s been a long night, alright.”

“Tom then? Hello Tom. I’m The Doctor.” The Doctor smiles broadly and tugs a the sides of is tweed jacket. “And who are you?”

“Titty Sprinkles” Tom smiles.

“I could have answered the question myself, thanks Tom.”

The Doctor raises an eyebrow, “I’m usually the one who has to explain my name.”

“I’m too tired for this. It’s Miss Sprinkles for you both for the rest of the night. Speaking of which, we are closed, we’re cleaning up, and I’m not in the mood for trouble so what do you want?”

The Doctor grabs a chair from the side of the stage and positions it below a disco ball. “I need mirrors. It’s very important. As many as you can get your hands on including anything reflective like this right here. Well, this is a very sturdy chair.” He climbs on the chair and holds himself for a brief moment before attempting unsuccessfully to unbalance the chair with a slight wiggle motion.

“It’s a prop chair.” Miss Sprinkles answers.

“That chair as seen things. What do you need mirrors for?” Tom now leans against the stage and with curiosity making the best of him, he loses interest in pursuing the unwanted guest.

The Doctor pulls out a thin device, not much larger than a pen. With the press of a button the device briefly lights up and emits a seemingly electronic sound, passing it over the chair he continues to stand on. “What has this chair seen? It seems rather ordinary? How can you be so sure it has seen things?”

Miss Sprinkles shifts her weight, “Mirrors. What do you want with mirrors?”

Removing the disco ball from the ceiling, The Doctor tosses it from hand to hand. “Yes, well, it just so happens that behind this building pass the tree line is an intergalactic fissure. Someone, I’m not yet sure who, is trying to cross over to your planet. I need mirrors to try and reflect the light source back through the fissure to buy time for me to conclude who is trying to cross over, why -though I’m already very certain it’s not a good answer since these situations don’t usually resolve themselves in a ‘I need to borrow a cup of sugar’ type way- and lastly how to close the tear before it becomes a passage.”

“Yup, I’m out. Have fun.”

“Tom! You’re the one that is suppose to prevent people from coming in who aren’t suppose to be here. You let this guy in and then bail on me? Tom. TOM!” Miss Sprinkles runs after Tom, catching him at the door.

With the door open wide Tom is frozen, staring. A light can been seen in the distance, pass the back parking lot and through the trees. Miss Sprinkles sees it too and grabs a fist full of Tom’s shirt as a low growl seems to come from the light. Tom turns back into the building to find The Doctor removing another disco ball near the DJ booth, “Let me help you with those mirrors.”

Ran out of time. This story is to be continued because I’ll catch hell if I don’t.