Write Something Every Week

It is no secret one of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury. He penned and published some wonderfully interesting work including ‘Illustrated Man’, ‘Dandelion Wine’, ‘The Martian Chronicles’, ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, and so many more.

He also left us with some inspiring and often amusing sayings. Here’s one of my favorites:

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Classified Ads

Punctuation, grammar, and spelling are all important ingredients in effective communications. When the rules of writing aren’t followed, the risk of being misunderstood increases, often with hilarious results.

Here are some “examples” from newspaper classified ads.

  1. I’m not sure why the person willing to help the uneducated would expect a response:

          “Illiterate? Write today for free help.”

  1. There’s a good possibility this mechanic is no longer in business:

          “Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once, you’ll never go                           anywhere again.”

  1. Is it possible this child day care facility has been closed due to abuse?

         “Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced back yard, meals, and                        smacks included.”

  1. I’m not sure this animal has found a home:

          “Dog for sale. Eats anything and is fond of children.”

  1. This store might want to contact Santa Claus or check a calendar for guidance:

          “Semi-annual after Christmas sale. Ends December 4th.”

  1. How much experience can such a young person have?

         “Three-year-old teacher needed for pre-school. Experience preferred.”

  1. Perhaps the person selling this set probably ran the child day care center mentioned in #3, above:

         “Mixing bowl set designed to please a cook with round bottom for efficient                            beating.”

  1. Not sure if Chester is going to miss his underwear or his dresser:

         “For Sale: Chester’s drawers.”

  1. Does this jewelry store deal in baubles, body parts, or both?

         “Today Only: Have your ears pierced and get an extra pair free.”

  1. I thought this was illegal in most places:

         “Great Dames for sale. Free crate for housing included.”

  1. I’ll bet this maid service gets great tips:

          “Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.”

  1. Sounds like a tiring but pleasurable place to stay, doesn’t it?

         “Our hotel has bowling alleys, tennis courts, comfortable beds, and other fun                      athletic facilities.”

  1. It’s a good bet this laundry lost some clients after placing this ad:

         “We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.”

  1. No telling what this pest control company would do to uncles:

         “Get rid of aunts. Our chemical does the job in 24 hours.”

  1. Finally! An honest used car dealership:

         “Used cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated. Come here first.”

  1. These crafts people might still be looking for a sale:

        “Christmas tag-sale. Handmade gifts for the hard-to-find person.”

  1. Sounds like she gives good, clean milk:

         “Wanted: Man to take care of cow that doesn’t smoke or drink.”

  1. I already have a swimsuit but I might just stop by this surf shop in Florida:

         “Our bikinis are exciting, better than others. Ours are simply the tops.”

  1. This big-box store might need a new public relations representative:

         “Our Superstore is unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled in                                inconvenience.”

  1. This odd-jobs person just might be worth the money:

         “Will oil your sewing machine, unravel your threads and adjust tension in your                    home for $1.00.”

  1. No comment:

         “For Sale: antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.”

Writer’s Block? No Problem. Peddle It Away

 

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I have several ways to overcome that pesky nemesis called writer’s block but my favorite is taking my bicycle out on the trails enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Riding invigorates both mind and body. I always return to writing after a long ride feeling refreshed and creative. (Thank you endorphins!)

Today I made a short ride of it covering a mere 12.75 miles, including a stop by Fayetteville’s beautiful Botanical Gardens to enjoy the scenery.

Now, back to writing.

Goodbye February!

RayBradburyOnWriting

February 29th has arrived, the month almost over, and my birthday is six days behind me. I’ve finally come up for air after spending the entire month working on wips (works in progress) adding new chapters to the second book in my Celtic murder mystery series, fresh stories in new worlds for my second book of short stories, additional poems for publication, all the while juggling life’s daily (and necessary) interruptions.

Where has the time gone?

Who cares, I’m writing!

Probably A Good Idea

Here’s a list of forbidden and off-limits titles, subjects, and story ideas originally attributed to a creative writing teacher for a class tasked with writing stories for children. Also seems applicable to anyone involved in creating flash fiction involving young readers and writers. Not sure if I should laugh or cringe.

  1. You Are Different And That’s Bad
  2. The Boy Who Died From Eating All His Vegetables
  3. Fun Four Letter Words To Learn And Share
  4. Hammers, Screwdrivers, And Scissors: An “I-Can-Do-It” Book
  5. The Kid’s Guide To Hitchhiking
  6. Curious George And The High Voltage Fence
  7. The Little Crybaby Who Snitched
  8. That’s It: I’m Putting You Up For Adoption
  9. Grandpa Gets A Casket
  10. Where To Hide Those Peas You Don’t Want To Eat
  11. The Magic World Inside The Abandoned Refrigerator
  12. Garfield Gets Feline Leukemia
  13. Fun Things To Do With Matches
  14. Strangers Have The Best Candy
  15. Your Nightmares Are Real
  16. Where Would You Like To Be Buried?
  17. Why Can’t Mr. Fork And Ms. Electric Outlet Be Friends?
  18. Places Where Mommy And Daddy Hide Neat Things
  19. Making Grown-Up Friends On The Internet
  20. 101 Fun Games To Play In The Highway
  21. You Can’t Hide It If You Are Stupid
  22. I Dare You! 101 Challenges To Prove You Are Not A Coward
  23. Trixie Goes To The Big City
  24. The Pop-Up Book Of Human Anatomy

 

Creating A Lovable Villain

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Check out the blog writersinthestorm for some wonderful tips in a short, well-written article about creating a lovable villain by award-winning author Shannon Donnelly (Under The Kissing Bough) as she speaks of “villains we love to hate and how to keep them from becoming a cardboard stereotype whose every action is predictable and boring.”

“Nothing marks a writer as a beginner as clearly as the cliché bad guy.

This is the bad guy who is ugly inside and out with no redeeming qualities—this is the “boo-hiss” melodrama mustache twirling villain. And this is an easy fix in any story.

What’s that easy fix? Lots of things can help, but here are five quick fixes:

5 Quick Fixes to Make Readers Love Your Villains” –Shannon Donnelly

The article is definitely worth the read and I found myself thinking of one of my villains as I read Shannon’s advice.

I won’t say the assassin in “The Mystery of the Death Hearth” is exactly a lovable creature. Parzifal is, after all, a person who makes a living by killing. But he does have depth; that is to say as the story progresses, more is revealed about his background, his parents, his past and the horrid conditions among the less-than-honorable slave owners that helped create his inevitable destiny as a professional killer. He also has present-day motives that go beyond the daily, murderous tasks given him by criminal bosses. Parzifal has plans, high hopes for a new life, and a mental image of possibilities beyond his current circumstances having nothing at all to do with underworld crime. Does he manage to accomplish those personal goals? Can he successfully break away and fulfill his dreams? No spoilers here but I almost found myself rooting for this man even though he can and does make my protagonist’s life miserable to the brink of death.

I encourage a visit to writersinthestorm and read the rest of the Shannon’s article. Very interesting and informative.

Your next villain will appreciate it, too.