Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 20

Powerful Woman Writer AwardBefore I get to the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the week, I wanted to thank Deirdra Eden for awarding me one of her fantastically pretty homemade awards - the Powerful Woman Writer Award.  It’s very much appreciated!  I just wish I could wave my hands and have my stories magically written!  

Now here are the tweet tales for the week:
 
5/23 – Her life was an argosy of broken promises and shattered dreams that could sail down ‘denial’ and sink in an ocean of despair.
 
5/24 – Broke, but desperate to look great for prom, she employed her sartorial skills. Unlike the movies, her dress was more Vile than Vogue.
 
5/25 – “I thought it was germane to our friendship to tell him I slept with his wife.” “Dude, no. Especially not during your wedding toast.”
 
5/26 – I whisper in her ear, “I’m going to osculate you now.” She puckers her lips, and I smile at how destiny brought together 2 word nerds.
 
5/27 – The vagaries of when she remembered to fix dinner through her alcoholic haze made Tim so adept at cooking he grew into a famous chef.
 

15 Minute Tweet Tales

5/28 – Mortimer was not a paradigm of knighthood, but he still took up one of the fallen swords and defended the king until his last breath.
 
5/29 – She adjured her son not to marry that woman after the PI dug up her past. He refused to listen. A year later he was alone & penniless.
 
The noteworthy word for this week is osculate – what a terrible word for kiss.  Nothing romantic about it at all.  I can’t see that one becoming a word I add to my everyday vocabulary. 
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales? 

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 19 + #writemotivation

#writemotivationI didn’t post anything about my #writemotivation progress yesterday because there’s not much to report.  A big part of the reason is my iPad arrived in the mail last week.  I’ve never had a tablet before, so when I took that sucker out of the box, it practically made that celestial/angelic choir noise.  How the heck was I supposed work on my rewrite when I had such a shiny, new toy to play with?  But I think the novelty had just about worn off now, so I’m hoping to make some serious progress these last two weeks of May.

And now here are the 15 Minute Tweet Tales for the past week: 

5/16 – Tina decided to indagate which jerk was letting their dog poop on her lawn. It was a crappy way to get to know her new neighbors.
 
5/17 – The hidebound principal refused to listen to the students, so they dressed in drag to protest the firing of their transgender teacher.
 
5/18 – She mollycoddled her dog so much his feel hardly ever touched the floor; thus he got so fat his feet actually can’t touch the floor.
 
5/19 – Desiring his wealthy lifestyle, Tom attached himself like a remora to Dickie, forgetting the fish never drain their host to death.
 
5/20 – When his wife invited the new neighbor in for coffee, he realized he was whipsawed: he’d never told his boyfriend he was married.
 
5/21 – He insulted her. She flounced across the room to slap him. He caught her arm and kissed her. Kim turned off the rom-com in disgust.

15 Minute Tweet Tales

5/22 – After 10 yrs of marriage, he worried about his pick-up skills falling into desuetude. In truth, he’d never had any, just a fat wallet.
 
Two words I really loved this week:
1. Mollycoddled because it is so fun to say, and also because my sister’s dog is named Molly, and she is definitely the most coddled of all the Rish family dogs. 2. Flounce because it is such a Southern Belle word, and as a Southern gal, of course I was taught the proper way to flounce out of a room at a young age. 
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?  How did you progress with your #writemotivation goals?

National Flash Fiction Day

Today is National Flash Fiction Day (NFFD), which is a day to celebrate the art form of the very short story.  I love writing flash fiction - it’s a fun challenge to create characters in such a small space and still get the reader to care about them and their situations.  Also I’ve always been a fan of twist endings, and flash is the perfect medium for twists.  

I regularly participate in flash fiction competitions held by NYC Midnight, which is where I met the fabulous writer Rachael Dunlop.  Rachael is part of the team organizing Flashpoints to celebrate NFFD, so I heard about this fun writing activity from her.  Flashpoints combines the public spontaneity of a flash-mob with creating and sharing a story.  The full explanation is here, but basically: you go somewhere public, get inspired, scribble down a very short story, and leave it for someone to find.  This sounded both exhilarating and a tad bit scary to me (no editing? no deleting and retyping every word choice 20 times?), so I was on the lookout for the right time to Flashpoint (does it work as a verb?).

A few weeks ago, my brother and I had a sneak peek screening of our latest short film High Heels and Hoodoo at the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, SC.  We had dinner with out-of-town family members, which finished sooner than we anticipated, so we ended up at the screening over an hour early.  I was pacing to burn off nervous energy and trying not to fret, when out of the blue I remembered Flashpoints – what a perfect way to distract myself!  

Jocelyn with Flash Story at Indie Grits

I glanced around the lobby of the theater at the other people waiting to see the films, and the idea for a story popped into my head.  I pulled my handy-dandy notebook out of my purse and started scrawling.  When I was done, I took a picture of it “in the wild” like the Flashpoints website requests.  I also took a close-up picture so I could transcribe it for sending to Flashpoints.  And I even took a picture of myself with it because I was all dressed up and since that so rarely happens I needed a photo for posterity.  Then I left it in the lobby – I pity the poor person who tried to decipher my chicken scratch.

If you’re interested in reading the “masterpiece” I wrote that evening, you can find it here on the Flashpoints website.  

It was a fun exercise, and I encourage all my writer friends to take a moment today to write a quick short story in celebration of National Flash Fiction Day.

Do you enjoy writing flash fiction? How are you celebrating National Flash Fiction Day?  Are you thinking about finding your own Flashpoint? 

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 18

#15ttThis past week seemed to fly by!  It’s hard to believe it’s already Tuesday again and time for the roundup of the 15 Minute Tweet Tales from the past week.  Happy reading!

5/9 – While cleaning the litter box, she finds evidence that exculpates Rex from raiding the trash, so the cat replaces him in the doghouse. #15tt

5/10 – They’d been best friends forever, but as she breathlessly tells him Joe asked her to prom, he’s nonplussed by the ache in his chest. #15tt

5/11 – After reading that cyberpunk novel, Jen tossed her phone and computer in the trash & vowed to live simply. The machines just laughed. #15tt

5/12 – She spent so much time trying to obviate every little thing that might go wrong in her life that she never actually lived it at all. #15tt

5/13 – When the subway breaks down, Tim sings ad lib to entertain everyone. His mom thinks it’s adorable. The rest of the crowd? Not so much. #15tt

5/14 – Her random nightly hook-ups did little to palliate her broken heart, but she hoped he’d hear about them and be consumed by jealousy. #15tt

5/15 – Her lab co-workers adored her jocund personality: the perfect facade for stealing biological weapons to sell to the highest bidder. #15tt

Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

It's All About Character

#writemotivationIt’s Monday, so it’s time for another #writemotivation goal update.  Last week, with hat in hand, I had to admit I had done nothing to make progress on my WIP.  Sigh… not a great start to the month.  So what’s the progress report for this past week?  It’s a weird one actually.

On the one hand, I didn’t even crack open my WIP document, so a purist could say I made no actual progress.  But with the character work I did this past week, I think I’ve made more progress on my WIP than I have since that frenzied NaNoWriMo month when I wrote the first draft years ago.  With the insight I gained into my characters, this past week will go a long way toward improving my novel.

I’ve always been a plot-driven writer, but with recent feedback, I realized the characters in my WIP were more cardboard-y than I thought.  So at the advice of a fabulous critique partner, I sat down to do some serious character homework before jumping into the rewrite.  I found one of those character worksheets online with tons of questions about appearance, mannerisms, likes, dislikes, etc., as well as the extra important goals, needs, wants, motivations questions.  In the past, I’ve dismissed these type of things as kind of silly – I mean I’m making up these people in my head, of course I know who they are, I don’t need exercises like interviews or POV diary entries to get to know them better.

However, as I started going through these questions for my five main characters, I realized I didn’t know them as well as I thought.  I knew them in the way I needed for the plot to work, but I didn’t know them well enough to make readers see them as three dimensional people because I didn’t even see them that way myself.

I sat there rolling my eyes at how ridiculous it was trying to come up with a favorite book for one of my characters when she was never going to be reading or even talking about books in the novel.  Just to fill in the blank, I typed out The Hunger Games because it’s a book most teen girls read.  But before I moved on, I wondered if she would actually even like the book.  All of the sudden it hit me – she would LOVE it.  She’s the type who considers herself cutthroat enough that she thinks she would easily win the Hunger Games and look fabulous while doing it.  So then I realized: it’s not about knowing your character’s favorite book, it’s about understanding WHY it would be your character’s favorite book.  Yeah, it took me a while, but I finally got there.  

After that, it was fun filling out the rest of the character worksheets.  It didn’t feel like homework anymore because it was no longer a chore to do just to say I did it, instead these characters were becoming real people in my head.  It wasn’t always easy, but as I went through figuring out the answers, I got to know things about my characters I never expected.  And I also discovered things that are going to make plot issues come together and make more sense than they do now, which is a very good thing.  So even if there was not any actual physical progress on the WIP this past week, I feel like I accomplished a lot.  So now this week I’ll be jumping in and figuring out how to get all this new insight onto the page.  

Do you use character questionnaires/worksheets before you start writing?  How do you get to know your characters in a way that makes them feel real?  How did your writing goals go this week? 

Tweet Tales Tuesday Week 17

15 Minute Tweet TalesAfter the insanity of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, we’re back on track this week with the 15 Minute Tweet Tales roundup returning their regularly scheduled Tuesdays.  This post has two bonus tweet tales to accommodate the shift from Sunday back to Tuesday.  Enjoy!

4/30 – A fleer briefly flitted across her face as he chewed with his mouth open. Why couldn’t her friends have better taste in blind dates?
 
5/1 – His conciliatory body language contradicted the intense speech he delivered about why he shouldn’t have to put down the toilet seat.
 
5/2 – Hips too wide, skin too pocked, the casting director sighs when she walks in the room. But when she speaks, her duende is undeniable.
 
5/3 – With ironic synchronicity, the wife poisoned her husband the same night he shot her. And they’d seemed like such a loving couple.
 
5/4 – He vowed to live by ahimsa & believed plants were living beings too; although starving to death was the ultimate betrayal of that vow.
 
5/5 – Tim told the auto-barber he’d dye for a new hair color, but robots don’t understand paronomasia, so he’s buried with blood-red hair.
 
5/6 – Sue tried to convince her doctor to subtract a tare of 20 lbs. since her skin’s a container whose weight shouldn’t count against her.
 
5/7 – She hated when she had to substitute at the Wizardry School. Giving children magic wands made their flapdoodle even more tiresome. 
 
5/8 – Magic is wielded by the distaff line, but only men can claim the throne. The hermaphrodite became the most powerful ruler in history.
 
I was a big fan of two of the words this week: duende - both because of what it means and how it feels in your mouth when you say it, and flapdoodle – because it’s FUN!
 
Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?

Alphabet Insanity

Survivor A to ZLast month I participated in my first Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and now it's time for the Reflections post - I have to say the experience was both awesome and awful.  Much like NaNoWriMo (or giving birth so I’ve been told), I hated it while it was happening and swore I’d never do it again, but now I’m looking back on it with fondness and already looking forward to the next one.  

Even though all the hosts and previous participants kept advising us to write our posts in advance, my bestest buddy Procrastination convinced me that was crazy talk because nightly adrenaline-fueled blogging sessions are the BEST!  Turns out they just made me feel drained and resentful.  By the end of week two, I really wanted to throw in the towel (and forever abandon my blog), but I’m a real stickler for finishing what I’ve started, so I kept slogging through. And now I feel such a fabulous sense of accomplishment, and I’m (mostly) proud of the posts I wrote.  And since I’m still relatively new to this whole blogging thing, I learned a lot about what I liked to blog about and what other people like to read (unfortunately, not always the same thing).

Instead of one overall theme, I broke it down by days of the week: obscure Netflix movies on Monday, writing tips on Tuesday, a free-for-all on Wednesday that turned out to be mostly about my dogs, television on Thursday, short films on Friday, and I wrote very short stories on Saturday.  My favorite days were the ones where I talked about movies and television, but the days I had the most blog traffic and comments were the writing tip days followed by dog post days.  

Writing tips being the most popular posts really surprised me.  I’d actually been avoiding those types of posts in the past because so many other writer-bloggers cover tips and advice on writing who are funnier/more insightful/have more clout than I do.  The fact that people responded so positively to my writing tips posts has me considering writing more in the future.  

I do have to mention I was a little disappointed about the “return on my investment.”  I spent A LOT of time commenting on other participants’ blogs, and I’d say only about ten percent of those people ever visited mine in return.  Since I’m such a goody-goody rule follower, I get frustrated when others don’t (even if it’s just common courtesy blogging guidelines).  Plus, since I don’t use Blogger, I can’t have the Google Friend Connect widget on my site; and people don’t seem to follow blogs via email or RSS feeds (both these numbers only increased by a few over the month of April), so I didn’t gain a horde of new followers like I was hoping at the start of the month.  Although both these things could be a commentary on my blog posts, so I’ll definitely be re-examining my posts to make sure I’m providing interesting and/or worthwhile content.    

But even though I felt a bit bummed about the number of new visitors, I have to say quality without a doubt trumps quantity.  I met some fantastic new folks over the month of April:  wonderful blogs I discovered and now look forward to reading and people who found my blog and became regular and insightful commenters.  So even though some nights had me moaning about writing a new post or sad that my numbers weren’t spiking, I am so happy I participated because otherwise I never would have crossed paths with these amazing people.  They were so worth those bleary-eyes nights of trying to think of something to say!

I want to thank all the wonderful hosts of the challenge (especially Arlee Bird for thinking up such a tortuous and rewarding challenge) for all their hard work.  And thank you to everyone who stopped by during April to read my babblings – it means a lot to me!

ABC AwardIn other alphabet-related news, Jeri at JeriWB Writes gave me the ABC award.  Since the ABC stands for “Awesome Blog Content,” I was extremely honored - thanks Jeri!  Jeri blogs about writing, teaching, and even restaurants, so swing by and check out her blog.  I’m supposed to use all 26 letters of the alphabet to say something about myself and then pass it on, but 1) these blog awards are one of the few times I actually do break the rules 2) the past month of abecedarian antics has me alphabet adverse, so I’m just going to suggest people read my A-Z posts since they reveal a lot about me.  

Write MotivationOne last piece of business before I sign off… Monday means it’s time for an update on my #writemotivation goals.  I must shamefacedly admit I have made no actual progress on my WIP.  However, I did have a lot of other stuff that needed to get done, which I have now completed, so hopefully with no other tasks to provide avenues of productive procrastination I will now be able to make some real progress.

How was your experience with the A to Z challenge?  Are you already planning for next year?  Did you make positive progress with your #writemotivation goals? 

It’s #writemotivation Time Again!

#writemotivationBetween the Blogging from A to Z challenge and temporarily moving my 15 Minute Tweet Tales roundup posts to Sunday, I just finished writing a blog post every day in April.  For a procrastinating, occasional blogger like me, that’s HUGE.  But now I kind of desperately want a blogging vacation.  In fact, I was planning to stay away for at least a week.  But today is the first day of the latest #writemotivation goal-check month, so I really needed to post my goals.  It’s actually pretty simple this time because there is only one that matters:

FINISH THE REWRITE OF MY WIP!!!!

And when I say finish, I actually mean finally start the rewrite.

January was the first #writemotivation month, and it was so helpful for me to finally be accountable for my writing goals.  In fact, because of all the encouragement I got from the group, I have kept up with some of my smaller goals like writing a tweet tale every day and posting on my blog once a week.  However, I let some of the biggies get away from me.

I didn’t sign up for March #writemotivation month because I knew I had too much going on with movie stuff to be able to write, but I’m so glad May is a goal-check month because it’s time to get serious about this rewrite.  Yeah, I’m pretty sure I said that last time too, but this time I really mean it (you can tell because I bolded, italicized, and underlined it).  If you happened to visit my blog last Wednesday, you know a fire has been newly lit under my butt, and it’s time to stop dawdling.

I know I really should break this one goal into smaller weekly goals so it’s easier to gauge my progress and keep myself accountable.  But since I need to add scenes and do some character brainstorming in addition to line-by-line polishing, I’m having trouble figuring out the best plan of attack.  But I’m working on it.

I also realize if I want to do this rewrite right, it's lilkely I won't actually finish in a month.  However, I won’t feel bad about that as long as I am making serious progress.  But if I spend the first three weeks talking about rewriting and then start rewriting in a mad rush the last week, I will be very disappointed in myself.  

So I’m looking forward to some #writemotivation cookies when I need some encouragement and some whip cracking when I’m being stupid.  And I’m excited to cheer on everyone else.  Here’s to a great month of meeting our writing goals!

Are you participating in #writemotivation?  Any specific goals (writing or otherwise) for the month?  How do you keep yourself writing when there are so many fun distractions?

Photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Zombie Zeal

Freya with the letter ZWe’ve finally made it to the last day of the Blogging from A to Z challenge!  There were definitely days I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end, but I’ll save that for my reflections post next week. For now, it’s Movie Monday and the letter is Z, so you know what that means - zombies!!  Which is kind of ironic considering I feel a bit like a zombie after a month of daily blogging.

I’ve always been a fan of zombie movies.  Zombies may seem slow and bumbling, but their sheer numbers and determination make then pretty dang scary.  Today’s Netflix Watch Instantly selection is called Zombie Apocalypse (in some listings there is a 2012 in the title).  For my previous Monday Movie selections, I picked ones I’d never heard of until the Netflix ratings predictor assured me I was going to love it (and the ratings were always right).  But in this case, Netflix tried to warn me off, saying, “Girl, you are NOT going to like this, turn back now, you could do so much more with this hour and a half, like trim your dog’s toenails.”  Usually I listen to Auntie Netflix because her rating system really ‘gets’ me, but I had another reason for wanting to watch this particular zombie flick.

Jocelyn Rish, Gary Weeks, and Brian RishTwo months ago, my short film Saying Goodbye was screened at the Beaufort International Film Festival.  While there, we met a charming guy named Gary Weeks.  He introduced himself as a screenwriter, but my sister thought he looked familiar, so we looked him up on IMDb.  Turns out he’s also an actor who’s played several parts we remembered, including Fiona’s paramedic boyfriend from Burn Notice.  We chatted with Gary several times over the course of the festival, and he was very nice; so since we are zombie fans, we decided to watch him in action as one of the main characters in Zombie Apocalypse despite Netflix’s dire prediction.

Well, the Netflix rating system enjoyed having another chance to say, “I told you so.”  As much as I wanted to like it because of Gary, I was not a fan.  I think Gary did a great job giving his character depth and pathos because I’m 99% sure none of that was actually on the page since the script was so bad.  It was as blandly typical as a zombie movie gets - a random group of survivors trying to… survive.  The dialog was cringe-worthy to the point I was embarrassed for all the actors who had to deliver the lines.  And there were actually well-known actors involved in the project like Ving Rhames, Taryn Manning, Eddie Steeples (Crabman!), and Lesley-Ann Brandt (aka the gal who left the buzz-worthy show Spartacus to be in American movies. Oops!).  I guess the producers spent their entire budget on hiring familiar faces because the zombie makeup and special effects were bargain basement terrible.

Zombie ApocalypseIt wasn’t all bad.  There were a few creative zombie kills, and the characters actually wore sports gear when wandering around to protect themselves from potential zombie bites (I don’t recall seeing that in previous zombie movies I’ve watched, but I’ve now added looting a sporting goods store to the top of my to-do list when the zombie apocalypse actually happens… ‘cause you know it’s coming!).  Also, there was one character who got some funny one-liners, but I actually think it was more the actor’s delivery than the lines themselves.  Annnd… that’s about it as far as bright spots.

So even though I thought Gary was a great guy, I can’t recommend this movie.  But I will be checking out some of Gary’s other movies and following his career as both a filmmaker and an actor.  

 

Have you seen Zombie Apocalypse?   What did you think of it?  Any really good zombie movie recommendations?  How Zonked is Freya with her letter Z (just like I feel!)?

Temporarily Tweet Tales Sunday Week 16

15 Minute Twet TalesI can’t believe there is only one more letter left for the Blogging from A to Z challenge. April has FLOWN by.  So this is the last time for the temporarily relocated 15 Minute Tweet Tales.  I’ll skip posting them this Tuesday (since there will only be two new ones and I am more than ready for a blogging break!) and return to the regular Tweet Tales Tuesday schedule next week.

4/23 – Fascinated by the body, Jim plans to be a doctor ‘til he discovers he’s really the scion of a mass murderer & ?s his love of viscera.

4/24 – I recall the vespertine waltz of fireflies from my childhood. The lack of dancing lights in my yard means The Darkness is winning.

4/25 – She bought candles that smelled like cookies and grass. Her womb was permanently empty, but her house could still be redolent of kids.

4/26 – She stared at her husband’s carpaccio and the raw meat made her pregnant belly queasy. She smiled. “You’re right, it’s another girl.”

4/27 – Her nescience about a proper diet for dogs led 2 a pooch 2 pudgy 2 toddle, so she carried him everywhere, thriving on his adoration.

4/28 – Anger flared at his admission, so she left before she did something indefeasible like thrusting that whore’s stiletto into his heart.

4/29 – Every so often, Judge Sue revisited the quondam life that paid her way through law school. The gavel gave her and the johns a thrill. 

Play along and write tweet tales for the above words.  If you’re willing to share, post them on twitter with the hashtag #15tt or add them below in the comments because I’d love to read them.  Any thoughts about this week's tweet tales?