Green clovers aren’t traditionally symbols of the yuletide, but they fit the color scheme well enough. Who couldn’t use a little extra luck this time of year?
#vss very short story
Ashley bounced with glee when she saw the little man in a green tux coat and top hat crawling around looking for something by her Christmas tree. Wow, she thought, presents and wishes, this is going to be the best Christmas ever. But her situation quickly turned when the angry leprechaun asked her where she had hidden his gold. This leprechaun was the keeper of the gold, chocolate-filled coins she had already pulled from her stocking and eaten.
Word Of The Day
I came across a great word while reading Alec Nevala-Lee‘s post this morning: Thinking on the page. Today’s topic was the work of Chris Ware. In the middle of a long quote from an interview with Ira Glass, Mr. Ware says:
It ended up lasting for seven years, which is why when you read the book, the first hundred pages or so are completely insensate.
The second I read the word insensate, I had to stop reading and look it up. I’m glad I did. It’s the kind of word that could cause some confusion if you don’t know all of its meanings. It’s also a great word for poetry and creating subtext because of its different meanings.
1. not endowed with sensation; inanimate:insensate stone.
2. without human feeling or sensitivity; cold; cruel; brutal.
3. without sense, understanding, or judgment; foolish.
As you can see, with only one adjective you can say someone is inanimate, cruel and foolish! What a word.
Today’s Poetry Prompt and Poem
In case you didn’t read #NaNoWriMo Recap And December Writing Plans, the poetry prompts I’ll be using this month and through the new year are part of MoSt (Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center) 10th Annual New Year’s Poetry Challenge. This is the first time I’ve participated and I’m enjoying the prompts. You can still sign up to participate and it’s FREE!
Prompt: Write a poem about the disappearance of things.
This is one of four contest topics for the 6th annual Modesto Poetry Festival. The deadline to enter your poems is Jan. 11, 2018. You don’t need to be present at the festival to win, but we sure hope you come anyway. Here’s a link to the festival flyer on our website.
I love this prompt! Especially since I can’t find my all-purpose tool right now and I really need it since my industrial sewing machine stopped working in the middle of a project yesterday. Why do things always disappear when I need them most?
Something is gone.
It’s not gradual.
You have it; then you don’t.
Often it comes back,
But only if you’re not looking,
Or you don’t need it,
Or you don’t want it anymore.
When something is taken,
Violently ripped away,
It leaves a hole, an empty dark space
That feels like it can’t be filled.
With enough time,
And more time,
Because the process started over,
And then, when you thought it was better,
The hole was there again,
Or at least as good,
Can take its place.
Since we’ve been looking at the big picture and obligatory scenes, I thought it would be fun to use what I learned last month with Mapping the Hero’s Journey by Arwen Lynch and Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo.
Since I hadn’t yet discovered the use of tarot cards when I wrote my draft for Throwing Stones, I decided to see what it would be like to use the cards, not as a pre-plotting tool, but as a strengthen-the-plot revision tool.
Here are the cards I pulled for Tshepo’s Hero’s Journey. Keep in mind I shuffled and cut, focusing on an aspect of the hero’s journey, between every card.
The Hanged Man reversed in the center is the theme card I pulled. I’m not going to interpret this at the moment, but will use it while examining my scene progression later.
I also used the number addition method for theme like I did on #NaNoWriMo Day 25. The total is 66: 6+6=12 which is The Hanged Man. I also continued to add to one digit: 1+2=3 which is The Empress, who I noted flew out while I was shuffling. I’ll keep her in mind as a secondary theme.
I also did a Celtic Cross for my Main Character:
I am happy to see that the reason for me writing this story is my connection to the spiritual/knowledge of the universe instead of fear of ending up destitute and homeless (like my nanowrimo draft Celtic Cross).
The Magician card sees you creating success in everything that you do. This is a Tarot card about manifesting your goals by utilizing the skills, tools and resources that are available to you. The Magician suggests that you will come up with creative ways to solve problems and you will be able to use your existing knowledge and networks to arrive at solutions. – Biddytarot.com
That sounds incredibly encouraging.
I’m glad I did this. As I drew the cards through the hero’s journey, I thought of the representative scenes in my draft. The story, as is, isn’t a perfect fit, but it follows more closely than I expected. I think these new tools, using the tarot cards for plot and scene, are already helping me focus on what areas need to be tightened up. There’s also a multitude of symbolic information for me to work with here. Exciting!
graphic by Anjela Curtis
Though speech tags aren’t usually a problem for me, this challenge is inspiring me to try something new. I’m thinking my MC has a chat with an inanimate object. That would be insensate. Or my MC could be chatting with someone who can’t talk: a mute, or someone who is gagged, or someone whose mouth has been magically removed.If I wanted to make this a real challenge, however, I would have my MC speaking to two other people and make each person clear to the reader through vocabulary and word usage alone. I think I’ll work on this today, or for the rest of the week (or month).
With today’s prompt, Anjela Curtis included a link to 5 Rules for Rocking Flash Fiction by Alicia Audrey, a guest post on diyMFA.
It’s a quick, informative read. I recommend reading it and then exploring the site further. They have articles on many of the topics I talk about here on Experience Writing like building tension in your scenes. They also have an author interview series.
Don’t Forget To Read!
Talking about reading author interviews made me think of a couple of great books I have and recommend. They were both given to me as gifts by people very close to me.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott – This book, a hybrid of memoir and instruction, is inspiring and informative.
Who’s Writing This?: Notations on the Authorial I With Self Portraits edited by Daniel Halpern- This book is an interesting study into an author’s vision of him or herself. Fifty-six authors share their thoughts on the self and self-portraits (some impressive, some not).
Happy Reading and Writing!