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I saw these photos on i09  and I thought they were excellent pictures to help with writing.

Here is one that I’m going to use to work on a short story later today when I do my 750words:

You can find the photos either through the Professional Photography Blog or i09. The photo’s are by Vladimir Manyuhin. Once I’ve written and edited the short story inspired by this photo, I will post it. I would love to see any short stories that you can write based on one of his photos. And would publish them on my blog for all of my nearly 1000 readers to see.

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It is not any mystery that my favorite authors are Earnest Hemingway, Nathan Englander and George Orwell. Why do I love those writers more than I love other writers? I love them because they write in a way that allows me to be drawn into the world, where I can easily see the Ministry of Truth and Obrien’s face, that I can’t picture myself as Winston but I can see everything he is doing like I’m one of the people tasked with watching his telescreen feed.

What these writers do is they show us what is going on rather than tell.

Nathan Englander from The Tumblers

Great Read

Great Read

Mendel toasted her silently and, and after the blessing, sipped at his scotch, his first in so very long. He let its smoky flavor rise up and fill his head, hoping that if he drank slowly enough, if he let the scotch rest on his tongue long enough and roll gradually enough down his throat, then maybe he could cure his palate like the oak slats of a cask. Maybe then he could keep the warmth and the comfort with him for however much longer God might deem that they should survive.

George Orwell from 1984

Best Book EVER!

He took down from the shelf a bottle of colorless liquid with a plain white label marked VICTORY GIN. It gave off a sickly, oily smell, as of a Chinese rice-spirit. Winston poured out nearly a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down like a dose of medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnest Hemingway from Hills like White Elephants

Great Writer!

‘Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?’ [the girl said]

He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.

‘But I don’t want you to,’ he said, ‘I don’t care anything about it.’

‘I’ll scream,’ the girl said.

The woman came out through the curtains with two glasses of beer and put them down on the damp felt pads. ‘The train comes in five minutes,’ she said.

‘What did she say?’ asked the girl.

‘That the train is coming in five minutes.’

The girl smiled brightly at the woman, to thank her.

As you can see, they really go out of their way not to say anything directly to the reader. You can see from Englander that Mendel hasn’t had any scotch in so long and that he might not have eaten any food in a while also that he is savoring the drink because it might be particularly good scotch. And Orwell has Winston drinking some terribly disgusting gin that he doesn’t want to drink but seemingly needs to. Then there is for your review, Hemingway’s very famous Hills like White Elephants where you can see so many different problems going on with these two including the apparent age and maturity difference between the man and the ‘girl’ as well as their knowledge difference and the apparent change in language.

All of these passages are subtle. They don’t just throw out the information for you, it makes you a detective and places you actively in these stories and makes it into a story that you can read again and again.
Now as a contrast let us look at something from Twilight: New Moon.

Bad Writing = Big Bucks

I skipped breakfast, in a hurry to get out of the house as quickly as possible. I wasn’t entirely able to avoid my dad, and so I had to spend a few minutes acting cheerful. I honestly tried to be excited about the gifts I’d asked him not to get me, but every time I had to smile, it felt like I might start crying.

There are so many ways that she could have written this in order to show the reader that Bella is upset and wants to get away from her father rather than this. So many ways that I might just show you what I would do. Of course who am I to bash Stephanie Meyer apparently bad writing makes big bucks.

To compare lets check out Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnwhich is written in the first person as is New Moon.

Huckleberry Finn

Just Huck and N-word Jim.

I didn’t answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn’t come. I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, but i warn’t man enought — hadn’t the spunk of a rabbit. i swee i was weakening; so i just gave up trying, and up and says:

“He’s white.”

Did you see the difference, how unlike the way Meyers just puts out how Bella is sad, Twain makes you work a little to realize that Huck is scared and nervous and trying to secure himself in the lie hes about to tell but Twain never just out and out says that he lets you picture it in your mind more.

So for the exercise:
You can try writing the paragraph above over into as many or as little paragraphs as you want. Or you could try the below situation with as little telling as possible.

The Situation:

A husband has just been fired but does not want to tell his wife but he comes home early. The wife has her lover upstairs but doesn’t want him to know about that either.

Try it and enjoy!

Will post my effort next Monday.

Also post your efforts and send a link so we can show the efforts of budding writers.

And remember buy from Amazon.com because Barnes and Nobel sucks.


Mallory pulled on the wooden rake handle using all of her strength to bring the dead, decaying leaves towards her. She huffed and brought her sweaty arm to her sweaty forehead in an attempt to relieve herself. She huffed and sighed and went right back to raking the leaves into a pile before her. She worked at it diligently clearing the area around the tree stump. Her long brown hair felt like a hand rubbing her back as it swayed across her back while she worked.

Mallory Picture #1

“Ms. Jones,” a man’s voice asked as she looked up to see the face of the overseer.

“Yes, Mr. Riley?”

“Let’s pack it up.”

Mallory gathered up the pile of leaves into a black plastic bag and gathered up the edges into her hand tying a thick knot. She flung the bag over her shoulder and walked over to the work truck. With a grunt she chucked the bag into the back of the truck and smiled, her day was done.

“How many hours do I have now Mr. Riley,” she asked as she opened the door to the truck cab.

“Um, let me see here,” he looked at some pages clipped on a clipboard. Flipping through the pages he said, “Well, today was six and a half hours but I’ll round that up to seven for yah. So, that makes about … let me see. That makes 80 hours give or take an hour.”

“80 hours?” she huffed and jumped into the truck.

“How many more do you got left?”

“Like a hundred I think.”

“Damn, well, you’ll get through it, better than jail, right?”

“I guess,” Mallory said looking out of her window as the trees whooshed past her, the truck bumbling down the road occasionally throwing her up into the air.

***

Mallory thought back to that night. Her hair had been much shorter then and she was looking forward to going out with her friends. She was wearing her red racing dress, with the stripes down the side, fire truck red stockings, and a pair of black converse all stars. She was wearing makeup, shiny red lip-gloss, and glittery blue eye shadow.

She remembered how she was walking around in downtown Claironville, walking up Main Street past all the locally owned shops. She was smiling waving at the different people that she had known since she was a little girl with pigtails.

As she reached the movie theater, she saw Sean standing outside smoking a cigarette.

“Hey Sean,” she said smiling at him. “What’s up?”

“Nothing,” he said. “What’s up with you?”

“Just trying to get drunk or something.”

“I can help you with that or something,” he said as he pulled a leaf out of her hair.

“How much?”

“How much you want?”

“I got like 20 bucks,”

“Aiight, I got you,” he said as he put his hand on her shoulder and they walked away.

***

She was sitting on her bed now, holding a large brown piece of paper. Her brother had given her a book on origami when he visited her in rehab. Lyle was such a good brother and son. He never let his parents down as she had done. She was looking at the instructions to make a dinosaur.

***

They had been in the park, Mallory and Sean, snorting Ketamine and smoking cigarettes when Sean got sick. She looked around for a phone and couldn’t find one.

***

She began folding the paper to make the creases necessary to make the dinosaur. At this high level of origami preparation creasing was a necessity, it would avoid tons of unnecessary rips and repeats.

***

Sean looked pale and he eyes rolled back. Mallory just wanted to lie down, she felt so good, almost like she was up above the trees looking down at her and Sean.

“Okay, man up,” she said to herself as she forced her body to run. Her muscles ached, her body just wanted to slump down onto the black, smooth, road. She screamed as a big white SUV stopped just inches from her head. Mallory fell back onto the pavement, she felt so good, and the ground was so soft and comfortable.

***

She began to form the head of the dinosaur. She was almost finished, her fingers barely shaking as she made the intricate folds necessary.

“Sean’s sick,” she said as she smiled and began to drift off to sleep. “He’s in the park.” A voice began to speak to her asking her questions, telling her not to go to sleep.

***

She placed the finished dinosaur on the table. “I miss you Sean,” she said as she looked out the window past the trees and even further still.

Dinogami Picture #2


In college, the classes I hated the most were ones that began with a scheduled amount of writing. Usually somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes each class time, it seemed so structured and I hated it. I hated it because for me, I felt that writing was like art, like a cool riff that people produce from nowhere. That writers would just walk down the street and suddenly be struck by the writing bug and sit down and write all 200 or so pages of a novel.

Orwell, being awesome

It never occurred to me that, Orwell and Hemingway did not have the ability to carry a typewriter with them. Moreover, even if they were just struck with an idea while walking down the road, they probably still spent time just writing because it takes practice.

What finally changed my mind about it was when I had the privilege of hearing Nathan Englander speak to my creative writing class about his writing process. He said that he carved out time in his day to write and to sum up a perfectly awesome and inspiring conversation that he sits there for two hours no matter what and just tries to write something, because maybe after 1 hour and 40 minutes you are struck by inspiration. Nathan Englander is the greatest writer of this century. His short story The Twenty-Seventh Man was inspiring to say the least; I have to listen to him.

Greatest Writer of the 21st Century

Seriously, I have not yet read his Novel The Ministry of Special Cases but his collection of short Stories For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, which contains The Twenty-Seventh Man, is amazing. So amazing that I list my favorite Authors as George Orwell, Earnest Hemingway, and Nathan Englander, if you have not read at least one story by each of these authors I implore you to do so. However, if you have read every single twilight novel and none of the great authors I have listed, I suggest that you remedy that situation and I weep nightly for you.

Now a professor of mine suggested to me once, when I questioned him about how to release myself of my block that I use pictures and images to create a story.

Below are two images: That I hope will inspire you. One should be the beginning picture and the other should be the ending image, I will leave it up to you to choose the order. The Goal is to start the story at one picture and get it to the other. Enjoy!

Philip Kuhns - Velociraptor

VA State Park Staff

Special thanks to Flickr,  VA State Park Staff and PhilipOrigami.

Look for books by Nathan Englander on Amazon.com (I’m not loving BN right now, I’ll tell you soon.)


Starting on Tuesday, August 16th.

I will post a writing prompt of the week.

I am hoping that readers and writers will enjoy this.

The goal is 700 words on the writing prompt. I am going to do some various different things to get us all going to write more.

The goal will be for me at least to post the 700 word response to the prompt by the Friday of that same week.

I would love to see submissions from my readers and I think it would be fun.

Hopefully at some point we can have enough people responding to do a contest of some sort. Which would be fun for all of us!

So remember on August 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm I will post the first writing prompt.

If you want to participate, it’s 700 words any genre you like! If you don’t reach 700 words, it’s okay.

Enjoy!