So. I’ve been thinking about my prose a lot. (And about how I haven’t blogged nearly enough lately but that’s a blog post for another day.) Like most writers I know, my prose concerns me. Too flowery? Not flowery enough? Does it read like an encyclopedia? Am I boring people with my straightforward “he did this and this and then he did this?” It’s a tricky thing to get your point across without overloading readers. Or underwhelming them. So far I’ve only found a couple remedies for my lackluster prose.

One is obvious. Read more. It’s like the cardinal rule of writers. “Read, read, read.” And it’s true and good and other favorable things but what do you do when you’ve been reading like crazy and your prose still sucks? Trying to emulate a writer I love is one thing but it won’t make my metaphors more musical automatically. I can throw words around all day and never come up with that perfect simile to describe the way a character’s smile passes the border of charming and hops a train for creepy. Writing is not one size fits all.

So I sat and thought about my mediocre prose. And then I decided to do something drastic. Something I had pretty much sworn off.

That’s right. I… am going to try writing poetry. Again.

Most of you probably don’t know why this fills me with dread so let me explain. Way back in the land of college, I tried writing poetry. At the time I thought it was okay. And then I went back and reread it a year later. It was horrible. Beyond horrible actually. It was pompous and trite and poorly worded. It was bad. So bad that I’ve never shown my poems to anyone since and I’m generally pretty shameless about my bad writing.

So why am I going to write poetry again when I hated it so much the first time? Because I think that maybe just maybe it’ll result in something a little less sucky. Most importantly: maybe it’ll help my problem with lackluster prose. I’ve always been amazed with poets and their ability to say a lot in few words. I’m crossing my fingers the talent will rub off on me. If you have any spare fingers, maybe cross them for me too. I’d appreciate it.

In the interest of being a better writer I’m pledging now (you guys are witnesses) to write at least one poem every day. It can be crap. In fact it probably will be crap, until it’s not. Hopefully not all of them will be haiku (aka the other only poetry I’ve written in years, usually as jokes.) I won’t lie. I’m a little terrified but also hopeful. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a haiku to write.

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So, maybe it’s just me but sometimes when I’m writing I find myself wondering “exactly what DOES that look like?” Today was no different. In the process of writing some fanfiction (yes I write fanfiction when the urge strikes) I came upon a problem: What do burning/burnt feathers look like? And so like any good writer I asked twitter. 😀 Thank you for answering, twitter. And for warning me about the smell. It really was horrible.

But why stop there?

In the interest of fictional accuracy, I grabbed some brightly colored craft feathers and one feather that I found in the yard (I suspect it was from a mourning dove) and set out to burn things. Here are my findings:

#1. Feathers burn surprisingly well. And they also stink. A lot. Someone said they smell like burning hair and that’s probably pretty accurate.

#2. When feathers burn they actually melt and shrivel. There was a bit of bubbling on the last burning attempt and they ended up a big ugly black blob because multiple feathers melted together.

#3. The whole feather burns, including the shaft though that seemed to take a little bit longer.

Now, don’t you all feel so much more knowledgeable?

PS: If you guys would like more in depth info I have before and after pictures. Let me know and I’ll post them.

Video  —  Posted: August 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
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It’s Trifecta time again! This week’s challenge was a 33 word entry that included a color. Here’s mine:

The setting sun painted cobalt shadows beneath the oak trees. The first stars appeared on the horizon as the village took to their beds. Somewhere a wolf howled. And then there was nothing.

That’s right. It’s finally happened. I can’t think of a single clever title for this Trifecta post. I’m amazed I lasted this long. Anyway this week’s Trifecta prompt was the word crack. More specifically this definition of it:

And here is where I went with it:

Smoke sat on the night sky like an oily film. It obscured the full moon. An ugly curtain over the only decent light. There had been screaming earlier but now everything was silent. It wouldn’t last.

Someone had opened the door, just a crack, and Death had slipped through. Now the door was open, there was nothing to do but breathe. In and out. In and out.

Tomorrow the city would pick itself up and wipe the dried and dusty blood from its hands. They would collect the bodies that had once been friends and family. They would clean away the evidence of what they’d done.

But Sara wouldn’t forget. And she wouldn’t forgive either.

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Those of you who stalk me on twitter may have heard that I have an idea.

*cue shocked gasping*

For those of you that don’t know, here it is:

I’m planning to host a story collection on my blog later this year (hopefully in October). It has no name as yet because naming is really not my forte but it has a (loose) theme and I’m getting strangely excited about it already.

I used to paint. A lot. I had two solo shows and did a handful of other gallery showings of my paintings. But in recent years I haven’t done much and that makes me sad. Of course most of my creative energy is going to writing which is also good. Even so, I miss painting. This story collection is kind of like the kick in the ass that I’ve been missing.

The idea is relatively straightforward. I’m going to do twelve illustrations (maybe thirteen if I get really crazy). The participants get to pick one of the illustrations and write a short story to go with it. I don’t care how the picture figures in. It can hang on the wall of the main character’s house, it can be the cover of a book they saw once when they were five, or it can be something internal. It’s up to the story writers. When it’s time, the picture and matching story will get posted together. I’ll probably contribute a story of my own along the way. Guess I need to remember to draw myself a picture too.

So I hope this sounds entertaining to you all. I will no doubt be around to harass some of you into volunteering. Be prepared.

This week’s Trifecta prompt was to explain our writing process in three words. And here are mine:

Swearing. Flailing. Repeat.

 

I think this is my shortest post ever. XD

You knew it was only a matter of time. I wrote a Trifecta post with Taisce and Sef. I even made use of every single one of my allotted 333 words this time. Be impressed. This week’s prompt was the word crude:

3: marked by the primitive, gross, or elemental or by uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity

When the last guest had departed and the house was once again quiet, Taisce found Sef sitting on his bed paring slivers of plum with his knife. Fingertips stained pink with its juice. His legs and still booted feet stretched over the coverlet raising wrinkles like waves. Taisce shot them a thin frown but Sef only smiled.

“All done then, milord?” He popped another morsel of fruit into his mouth and smiled.

“It would have gone faster had you helped.”

“I don’t think you care for my variety of helping.”

“No. I don’t generally.”

“Then you have your answer.” Sef raised an eyebrow. “Come. Sit. If you ask nicely I’ll even feed you.”

“You’ll get sticky juice everywhere,” Taisce complained.

It was only after Sef began to laugh that Taisce realized how his words might be taken. His cheeks flamed as pink as the tender flesh of the plum. “Don’t be crude.”

“Twas you that said it, not me, milord. But I’d be happy to oblige in any case. Sit.”

Taisce shot him another warning glare before settling beside him on the bed. It was a rare moment of peace.

He watched Sef turn the fruit against the blade, the movement delicate and precise. When he was done he held up the piece to Taisce.

Taisce scowled.

“Open,” Sef said. “It’s sweet.” As if to prove it his sticky thumb dragged along Taisce’s lower lip, leaving a trail of sweet. His mouth followed a moment later, replacing one flavor with another. The fruit. The tang of wine. Sef’s knuckles dragged along Taisce’s cheek, down to his jaw.

Taisce stopped him there. He wrapped his own hand around Sef’s stained one. “I missed you.”

Sef drew back in mock surprise. “Such honesty from you, milord. Perhaps I should reward it.” He dropped another kiss on his lips. “What is it you would like?”

“Silence,” Taisce said with an answering warmth. Then he wrapped an arm around Sef.

Not another word was spoken that night.