The Craigslist POSTER

choad

DUDE. You are SO fucking ANGRY that this CHICK doesn’t want to SCREW you. ALSO you use a LOT of capslock. Like, a lot.

This thing is all over the place. BUT I feel like it could be FUN to see the conversation that PROMPTed this post. If writing ABOUT that interaction TICKLES your fancy, please post a link in the comments below!

RANDOM CAPS LOCK ‘CAUSE WHY THE FUCK NOT?!

The Fishbowl

One of the best ways to develop character is through object placement. What kind of stuff would you find in your character’s bedroom? You can tell a whole lot about people by the things they surround themselves with.

The Prompt- Write about a character who has a fish tank, but fills it with something unusual or frightening. How did they get it? What is inside of it? What happens if you stick your fingers in?

Sunday Writing Prompt

fishbowl

Melanie always felt a bit odd going to the Fishbowl to do her homework. In the dank, warm basement room filled with computers and surrounded by glass, she always felt like there were eyes on her. Watching her check her e-mail. Watching her write her essays. Watching her waste time playing solitaire. She was just imagining it, of course, but she couldn’t shake the feeling. It was like being the subject of a The Police song. Every breath you take, every space you make, I am watching you… Yet here she was, her spine a-tingle, because her laptop had crashed, and her Victorian English essay was due in ten hours. Procrastination, and even trips to Best Buy, were no longer allowed. It was time to work.

*     *     *     *     *

She was perfect. Even watching her open up a Word document, those graceful fingers deftly maneuvering over the keyboard, was a beauty to behold.

His green eyes devoured her every movement – subtle movements, since she was stationed in front of a computer screen, writing an essay. She typed furiously, leant her cheek upon her hand, flipped long brown hair over her shoulder, and typed some more. Referenced some books. Checked her e-mail.

Was there anything he wouldn’t enjoy watching her do?

He supposed there was only one way to know for certain.

*     *     *     *     *

When the grumbling of her stomach became too loud and painful to ignore, Melanie decided to take a break. Images of greasy concoctions, available within the span of a few blocks, danced through her mind. (Clement Clarke Moore would not approve.) She was beneath the naked, grasping branches of an oak tree when it happened. Pain of a different sort affected her stomach as strong fingers dug into the soft flesh of her waist, pulling her back roughly. A hand over her mouth, holding a wet, damp rag. Melanie reached for the moon peeking through the tree branches above her, a muffled sound escaping her as the world turned black.

*     *     *     *     *

She was cold, and her limbs were heavy. Reaching her hands out to search for the blanket she must have thrown off while sleeping, Melanie found she was… lying on concrete? Her eyes shot open.

What. The…

She sat up on a concrete floor to see… glass. Surrounding her. She was in a rectangular box of glass, like a still-living Snow White in a glass coffin made by dwarves who got the specifications wrong. She reached out towards the ghostly Melanie visible before her, leaving hand smudges on the cool glass.

Focusing outside of the glass box, she quickly spied a camera. Awesome.

“Hello?” she called out, her voice wavering, sounding small in the cavernous, empty basement. “Hello?! Is anyone there?”

Clumping footsteps sounded on the stairs. “You must be hungry,” a deep voice said. The clumping produced a bearded, middle-aged man, holding a pizza.

Melanie’s stomach grumbled. “No, I’m fine,” she said. “But I kind of need to leave. I have an English paper to finish!”

The man frowned. “I’m afraid I can’t allow that.”

Of course not. Well, she had had to try, right?

“What do you mean? I can’t fail English. My father’s an English professor; he’ll kill me! This paper is worth 40% of my grade.”

“Oh, I’ll let you finish your paper. I just can’t let you out.”

Melanie blinked a few times. Nope. Still didn’t make sense. “Pardon?”

“But first, you should really eat. You’re much too thin.” The man climbed a ladder, placing the pizza in a hitherto unnoticed pulley system, which he then proceeded to carefully lower down to her. She removed the food, briefly wondering if a hunger strike could lead to her release.

“You don’t get out if you stop eating. But I will get you a laptop in an hour so you can work on your paper.” The man sat down on a folding chair, looking at her intently.

“Who are you?” Melanie asked.

“Just an admirer,” he replied. His eyes stared at her, too-focused and unwavering, and she grabbed a slice of pizza to have something else on which to focus.

Help a Writer Out

Hello WordPress community and people of the internet! I am working on a short story, and could use some help writing about the worst night out ever.

worst night

Please, share your stories – your personal stories, or a friend’s, or perhaps crazy things you’ve read on the internet. Right now, my scene is a little dull, so I’m looking for inspiration to make it better.

embarrass

Thank you for taking the time to read this post; I hope to read your comments soon!

A Quote I Like from Fight Club

‘Why should I believe any of this?’

It happens that fast..

I say, because I think I like you.

Marla says, ‘Not love?’

This is a cheesy enough moment, I say. Don’t push it.

Chuck Palahniuk does a great job of writing about subject matter in a way that remains interesting, and never gets too sappy. Some might argue he occasionally goes too far in the other direction (I do not agree with this assessment, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion).

I just finished Fight Club, including the Afterword in my version, and find it interesting that the author considers this book a love story. There are many elements to Fight Club, but if I had to write a paper about themes/meanings/etc. of the novel afterward, I never would have thought to write that it is a romance. Actually, I still wouldn’t, even now that I know it is his intention.

He also mentions that he essentially considers Fight Club a re-write of The Great Gatsby. Also interesting, because I don’t know that I would classify The Great Gatsby as primarily a love story, either.

Thoughts? What do you think of this quote? What do you think of Fight Club (book or movie)?

R.L. Stine – Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Read Him

I recently stumbled across this short, brief interview with children’s horror writer R.L. Stine. These are two excerpts from the interview I want to keep/remember:

When you write, for example, about a hideous mask that the heroine can’t take off, are you writing about some deeper theme?

I didn’t really think of that. When my son was little, he was trying on a green Frankenstein mask and he was pulling it down over his face and he couldn’t get it off. And he was tugging, tugging. I thought, “What a great idea for a story.” I should’ve helped him. I wasn’t a good parent that day.

I love his commentary, “I wasn’t a good parent that day.” We all have those moments.

What do kids say when they write to you?

That’s one of the best parts of writing for kids. I get wonderful mail, tons and tons. Here’s a couple classic letters:

“Dear R.L. Stine, I really love your books but can you answer one question, why don’t the endings make any sense?”

“Dear R.L. Stine, I’m huge fan of your books. Your friends and family are proud of you, no matter what anybody says.”

“Dear R.L. Stine, I’ve read 40 of your books and I think they’re really boring.”

That’s my favorite.

Kids are hilarious.

On Definitions & Decisions

I recently read a post pondering how to define a writer, which, to me, appears to actually be considering the definition of an author. A writer is a person who writes, whether those words create drivel or the most glorious sentences ever placed on paper or computer screen. To me, that is all a writer is, though, to be fair, there are certainly qualifying adjectives that can be used to differentiate those who write well from those who write…less well.

#diplomatic

#diplomatic

Yet the idea of exploring what it means to be an author intrigues me. With the e-book industry, with website platforms such as Amazon and iTunes, it seems that it is becoming ever easier to become published. Previously, I would have said that was all it took to become an author – become published. Yet traditionally, there has been a distinction between the traditionally published and the self-published.

divide

Is this still the case? I heard an NPR segment that discussed the lack of stigma and sometimes higher pay that comes with self-publishing, as opposed to traditional publishing, which is more difficult if you’re not a celebrity or already well-established author.

The face of a NYT bestseller.

The face of a NYT bestseller.

A well written piece of writing is a well written piece of writing. Yet sifting through the published and the self-published pieces to find these well written pieces can be a significant challenge.

You CAN find good writing, but it can be a lot of work.

You CAN find good writing, but it can be a lot of work.

If you really want to share your writing with the world, theoretically, it is more likely to be received well if you are able to go the traditional publishing route. Traditional publishing means that you have people who are already familiar with, and fans of, your work (agent, editor, publishing house, etc.). Traditional publishing also means that the publishing house will solicit feedback via issuing ARCs, alerting the reading community through Twitter and newsletters, etc.

For the elderly and the publishing peeps. Oh, and me.

For the elderly and the publishing peeps. Oh, and me.

Yet is this really still the case? If you are not a celebrity, or already an established author, how difficult is it to even get a traditional publishing contract? And with the ever-changing media climate, if you are able to get a traditional publishing contract, how likely is it that a traditional publishing house will use its resources for your book? I have heard rumors that the book tour, and likelihood that a publisher will push your book hard in terms of media, etc., are currently much less likely than in prior years.

book tour

So if you decide to eschew the traditional publishing route in favor self publishing, is this a better alternative? With self-publishing, you know all of the marketing is up to you. Yet you don’t have the contacts that someone established in the traditional publishing community will have, nor do you have the experience with regards to pricing, book covers, book titles, etc. Are you giving yourself more work, or saving yourself from over-reliance, and likely, a lot of rejection? Are you making your writing career more difficult, or taking it into your own hands, with the potential failure AND potential success entirely yours?

2013_Entrepreneur_Quote

I don’t know. I can see pros and cons in both instances, and don’t currently have anything I have written that is worth publishing, so I don’t have to make a decision. What are your thoughts?

Psychological Thrilla, Not Plain Vanilla – You Should Read This Book

I just read the review copy I have of How to be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman (fairly late, since the book was released in October 2013), and my initial reaction? Wow. A very good wow.

good wifeHow to be a Good Wife is the title of a nonfiction book Marta was gifted by her mother-in-law on her wedding day. She has lived by the directions in this book for years, and knows every word by heart. But lately, Marta’s not as happy in her marriage as she was at the beginning.

Or was she ever happy in her marriage?

You see, Marta’s been seeing things.

Her husband claims she hallucinates without her pills, and she hasn’t been taking her pills. With her son grown, at his own apartment relatively far away, it’s only Marta and her husband Hector in the house now. & Marta is ready to see what happens when she does not take her pills…

This book was great. I devoured it; if I wasn’t so set on actually passing the courses I’m taking this semester, I might not have stopped reading to come up for air. I like books with unreliable narrators. Can I believe what I’m being told? How objective are the other people interacting with the narrator?

I know what my opinion is of the veracity of Marta’s conclusion about her marriage, but one of the best things about this book is that it could be interpreted in many different ways. Or at least, in two.

I don’t want to give too much detail regarding the book, but I will say I really, really enjoyed it. 4.5 out of 5 stars – and the loss of half a star is really simply because I don’t think I will read it again.

Chapman has a spare style of prose, which I found delightful. I like prose that sparkles in its’ simplicity, that feels like stepping on fresh, crisp snow. This book talked about potential insanity in a way that was easily comprehended, which is a very difficult thing to do. This novel is Chapman’s debut, and it was a great first book. I will definitely be on the lookout for any future work of hers that is released.

You should read this book.

Please, recommend a book you have enjoyed in the comments below!

Please, recommend a book you have enjoyed in the comments below!

The Blank Paper is Winning

fuck the paper

Day 12 of NaNo, and I have an embarrassingly small # of words. Which is actually fine – I’m really busy, and if I failed my tax quiz so that I could achieve a specific, round # of words by the end of the month, that would be horrible (and I would lose the job offer I recently accepted and would have to spend another winter in Michigan, which would probably literally kill me, to be honest).

Still, I hate to fail, even at arbitrary tasks that I have assigned to myself.

I really want to get to a point where I can at least see where this story is going. I kind of know where I want it to go, but it’s also taking me to unexpected places – which is awesome, because that’s exactly what you want it to do, both for you and your reader.

Anyway, I’m going to keep working. There were also a few days when I didn’t write anything, which for some reason, has failed to increase my word count (sarcasm intended). BUT I am writing more than I would otherwise, which is good. Because school is very busy, and I could literally divide all of my time between school, work, and housework – but that would make me a very dull girl. And we all know what happened to Jack (unless you both read the book & watched the Kubrick movie, in which case, what happened to Jack is very debatable).

How is everyone else’s project going?