If You Can’t Think of Anything to Say…

…open a dialogue box and start typing, wot wot! Ready to find out what this blog post is about? ME, TOO!

There’s the old adage: if you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Let’s twist that a little, shall we? Let’s face it, I’m a little twisted anyway. Or maybe reword it is a better phrase:

The Internet is full of trolls: don’t feed them, and don’t become one. TROLL in the DUNGEON. TROLL IN THE DUNGEON…thought you ought to know *faints* (For all you non-Harry Potter people, I feel great pity.)

or

(To the tune of the hit single “Radioactive“)

I’m typing up
A quick response
To Rude_Butt_Number_One_Idiot
He’s really ticked me off now
Grr! RAWR!

I’m raging on
I’m calling names
He’s the one you should really blame
This is it: I’m reporting him. Whoa-oo!

I’m logging off

This tool’s got the best of me
I’m throwing fits (and my TV)
Welcome to a new rage
User webpage
I need to disengage
This day and age

Whoa-ooo, Whoa-ooo,
I’m over-reactive, over-reactive
Ooh, oohh,
I’m over-reactive, over-reactive

(bridge)

Anger’s got me snowed
The site has banned him and I
Don’t feed the trolls
They’re on ev’ry site

__

Thoughts on trolls? Ever dealt with one?

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

Advertisements

The Wind Was a Torrent of Darkness

That got your attention, didn’t it? I like poetry. That dazzle-me line opens Alfred Noyes’s poem The Highwayman. And a poet’s gotta dazzle. Fiction writers, too. Especially in that blasted-hard first line. Yes, the last chapter of your book sells your next book. The first chapter though…*shudders*

I’m not going to write about how to write a killer opening sentence, especially since my blog isn’t 100% geared toward writers. I’m also not going to blog a bunch of awesome opening lines. Nope. That’s been done a million times. What I AM going to do is play a little game. I am going to POMP-UP or POMP-DOWN some famous first lines and see if anyone knows what the heck I’m talking about.

Ready? No? Too bad. (*Changed for spoilers)

Mystery lines:

  1. That time past was full of paradoxes.
  2. ‘“Yuletide shan’t be Yuletide with the absence of gifting,” bemoaned X.*
  3. Any man with good money needs a woman.
  4. The chance of taking a stroll during a particular day was non-existent.
  5. Two big to-do Italian families hate each other, but their kids have a thing for each other. Woe!

Are you able to guess any of those? Leave your thoughts in the comments, if you would be so good to do so, my friend. There’s a good fellow…or fella! …er, nvrmnd.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

P.S. This post’s image is a hint for #4

P.P.S. It’s also meant to freak you out just a little.

P.P.P.S. Not a hint for #4 after all. So, yeah, just meant to freak you out.

Book vs. Movie: Lord of the Rings

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…It’s the battle of the ages! In one corner we have thhhhhheeeeee NOVEL! In the other thhhhhhheeeee MOVIE!”

CUT TO: men placing bets, popcorn salespeople hawking their popcorn, as they do.

“Our first contenders: Book Legolas vs. Movie Legolas. Let the match begin, and things!”

*bell dings*

Book Legolas notches his bow and shoots an arrow, which hits its mark.

Movie Legolas notches his bow with two arrows, slides down a set of stairs on a shield, shoots, and hits his mark

The points would seem to go to ML (Movie Legolas), BUT…

“Oh no! It looks like Movie Legolas pulled an illegal move. Apparently even in fantasy, some things need to be kept within the realms of believability (which spellcheck is telling me isn’t a word)…go figure.”

Round Two!

Book Legolas: *says next to nothing, is just cool*

Movie Legolas deals himself the death blow…

*horses whinny and paw at the ground*

Movie Legolas: “The horses are restless.”

One, two, three! HE’S OUT! (You say that in boxing, right? Yeah.)

Movie Legolas is decreed the Elven King of Obvious and is forthwith banished to Boredom! Long live Legolas of Bookdom!

__

This post brought to you by the writer who is bored and should be sleeping.

A Watched Pot BURNS!

Okay, that title is a little melodramatic, yes? Yes. But what in the name of Asgard am I talking about? Glad you asked…

I have mentioned that I hate waiting. I hate waiting for the mail-carrier to come in the afternoon or early morning or late evening or WHENEVER SHE FREAKING DECIDES TO SHOW UP WITH MY PRECIOUS…You get the point. I also hate waiting in lines, waiting for my mom to get home from work so we can spill details about the day’s events. And I hate waiting to share my books with the world.

Guys, this is bad news. First drafts SUCK. They’re supposed to. Anne Lemott (forgotten how to spell) said it well–or was it Hemingway? I don’t know, but it’s freakin’ genius ’cause it’s true: The first draft of everything is s..t.

To tone it down and censor it (as I do for my younger readers): The first draft of everything stinks. We don’t parade our body odor around proudly, do we? No, of course not. We shower, we put on deodorant, we spray on cologne. We don’t impatiently skip all that hygiene because we hate waiting to get out the door. Why? Because besides our stench offending those around us, WE DON’T WANT TO EMBARRASS OURSELVES.

A watched pot on a burner still boils. But if you touch it without proper safety equipment, you will get burned. Here’s how this translates into the writing life: If you share your ideas, your first draft, your first paragraph, your first sentence too soon (before polish and proper gestation–yes, I used that word. Sue me), you will most likely get burned or burnt out.

If the person you’re sharing your first draft of…stink with doesn’t appreciate it or have the reaction you wanted, that can sink your hopes and let your old enemy Doubt creep back in and drag you under the boiling water (because I hate wasting a good metaphor.) “Oh, they didn’t like it! That means it’s horrible! Oh noes. I am a terrible author! This is a terrible book. I quit! I quit this book and I quit writing. Period.” Melodramatic? Maybe. But I’ve been there.

That’s why I need to let my pot boil and watch it boil ALONE. When the time is right, I’ll add all the fixin’s that are missing from the first draft, stir it up, thicken it up, taste test, and then…

Dinner is served to the beta-readers!

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

___

Do you share your ideas and work too soon? Tell me I’m not alone in getting discouraged by lukewarm reactions.

Waiting

I hate waiting. I need to be patient, but…as the old saying goes: I want patience…NOW!

I feel like half the writing game is waiting. Well, maybe a third. I let an idea percolate in my brain and WAIT ’til it’s better developed before I write it. Once I’ve written the crappy first draft, I WAIT a few weeks before I tackle it again in rewrites/edits. Fast forward several steps…I hit submit and WAIT ’til the publisher/agent/editor gets back to me (this can take weeks to half a year or more.)

Note that I am not blaming the publishers/agents/editors; they’ve got their plates full, that’s for sure. But what do I do while I’m waiting?

– WRITE SOMETHING NEW. Distraction is key. Plus, new words means I’m that much closer to having something to send out again.

– CHECK MY EMAIL. Because, you know, that publisher might respond early. But, ooh, look! Spam.

– READ A BOOK. Writers must be readers, after all. We’ve got to study our craft. Plus, bookish people are sexy. Yeah.

– KEEP UP SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. Connecting with readers is vital. You gotta build real relationships and trust. I can’t say I’ve made one sale from Twitter or Facebook, and that’s all right. I have some spiffy new friends through the www.

– CHECK MY EMAIL AGAIN. It is important to obsessively check email accounts several times a day. You never know if a Nigerian prince has moolah to send your way. Then you can forget the whole writing thing and relax on a beach somewhere.

– WATCH MOVIES AND MOVIE TRAILERS. Sound lazy? It’s not. The trailer to the first Sherlock Holmes movie trailer (Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law) broke me out of the Writer’s Block Prison I’d been stuck in for a year.

– LOOK AT ART. You can do free virtual tours online. Art can keep the creative juices flowing in a steady stream.

– CHECK EMAIL AND WEEP COPIOUS TEARS BECAUSE THE NIGERIAN PRINCE BLOCKED YOU AFTER YOUR MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. *sniff*

– ATTEND THE THEATRE. Live action shows, baby! Let them creative juices saturate your brain.

– AUDIT COLLEGE COURSES/ATTEND FREE FUNCTIONS IN THE COMMUNITY. This is more than busywork. It’ll make you more well-rounded person.

– HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS. Writing is a lonely business. Don’t neglect people in your life. Their support can mean so much.

– TALK TO YOURSELF. Sometimes you are your own best company. Take yourself on a date and discuss your latest work in progress. This is a great excuse to order two desserts.

Keep your pen on the page,
Beth

__

What do you do when you have to wait?

The City: A Slice of Life

In honor of this fairly bad day, I offer up this little vignette. Enjoy.

#

The city, in all its infamy, loomed before Cindy, the one, the only, the fabulous…But it mattered no more. Cindy was a has-been, a washed-up star of the moving pictures before they became talking pictures.

Where there ought to have been wonder, Cindy looked around her with disdain. “Can’t they clean things up?” she thought, like she was still somebody. Someone. Something.

The buildings climbed heavenward, and the farther into the city she strutted, the taller they grew. It were as if someone, God maybe, had taken a giant watering and willed the dead concrete to sprout roots and reach for the stars.

Cindy had been a star, a bright, shining star. And now what was she? A black hole?

“Move it, a-hole!” a balding buffoon barked at Cindy, who had just stopped to light a cigarette.

So, Cindy was an a-hole. “And what does that make people who live in this city by choice?” she wondered.

She changed her mind about the cigarette, dropped it to the busy sidewalks and watched as some elderly slut in heels ground it down unwittingly. The ashes scattered beneath many quick-moving feet, and blew into oblivion, caught in a stray wind. It was a metaphor for her life: all hot one minute, withered to nothingness the next.

In her mind’s eye, she was back in her childhood home, all dressed from head to toe in satin. Cindy’s skirt was blue, the top white with a blue sash bow tied around her left arm. “You’re my little star,” Mother said as she nursed the youngest, Sarah, a golden-haired child with no sympathy for Cindy’s drama.

“I’m going to act on the stage when I’m big,” she told her older brother, James, who snatched the nosegay right out of her hands and held it aloft. “Jimmy, give it back. It’s mine, from my many adoring fans.”

“You’ll never make it on stage,” James laughed, passing the nosegay to their younger brother, Clark. “You’re too dim.”

Dim, Cindy thought as she now stared at the graffiti on a brick wall in a back alley. It reminded her of that moment in her childhood, the moment when she had decided once and for all that she would prove James and her father that they were both wrong. And now here she was, in a big, strange city with no money and no name and no star.

She thought of her father, James Senior. He had been bald for all of her existence, and maybe then some. A stern man, he had unsuccessfully forbidden her from pursuing a career in film. “It wouldn’t last, Cynthia,” he would tell Cindy. That was before they found the cancer in her throat.

He’d been right: it was all hopeless, cigarette ash in the wind. Maybe she’d take up writing song lyrics. “My career is dead.” In this day and age, it could be a hit, an anthem for a generation. My career is dead. Dead, mute career-woman walking. She slumped to the ground and wept.

A Frayed Knot and a Short Story

This is where a joke could possibly be inserted. But this isn’t funny. This is serious. I’m serious: my nerves = frayed.

You see, one of the sad truths about being a writer is that we take things too lightly and too seriously at the same time–at least, I do. “What is she taking seriously now?” you ask. Good question:

– Twelve things out on submission, waiting for an answer

– Writing/publishing future

This song

And I am a bundle of nerves. But if I were very serious and very stressed, I would be writing my book right now and not worrying over publishing. A treadmill walk, isn’t it?

So, to end this rambling/weird post, here’s a micro fiction that I wrote. I hope it stresses you out and makes you laugh, because I am so stressed and need a good laugh right now. Behold:

The Ice Cream

She sat in the park and at her ice cream slowly. It had been given to her by a stranger jogging past. Just the end of the cone, mind, and it wasn’t chocolate. It was Strawberry. Mm. Daisy’s favorite.

What would Mom think? What would Mom do? Try to grab it out of her mouth, no doubt. Maybe even make her throw it up. The thought made Daisy hurry and finish that treat before Mom got back.

Daisy saw Mom down the way and quickly scarfed down the rest. She smiled at Mom innocently…tail wagging.