Monthly Archives: October 2013

Charlie the Gnome – writing exercise

Another scene to keep the mind busy. These writing exercises build your mind and add muscle to your words. Not everything you write has to make it into publication. It just has to make you stronger.


Charlie was banging on the door, even as I argued with my mother.

“But Mom!” I waved my hands in the air. “Charlie’s like two-feet tall, and he galumphs around here like an elephant!”

Mom stood firm. “Fairies in this family keep their word, young lady.” Mom crossed her arms across her chest; her wings fluttered in anger. “I don’t care how tall Charlie is. You told him that you and he would visit the forest together, and now you’re going. So get to your room, and put on a flying outfit, because I’m answering the door.”

I stiffened. “But he brushes his teeth with foxfire, and he smells like feet, and his breath could knock a flight of fairies out of the sky!”

Mom wasn’t listening. She pointed at my room, and her eyes blazed. Then she walked to the front door an opened it: Charlie’s face filled the frame as he bent to look inside. “Hi!” His breath filled our front room. “Is Liliana ready yet?”

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Bob the Dragon – flash fiction

I write short scenes to keep my mind active. Nothing special. Just something to do.


“Bob. Hey, Bob, goddamnit! Get your skinny ass up here, you scaly piece of mud-born shit. We’ve got work to do!”

I put my pen down and stared for a long time at the last words I’d ever said to Bob before scratching them out of my journal. If I was reading this at some time in the future, I figured my future-self would know what kind of prick I could be; the exact words would be unnecessary fluff padding out the memory of finding Bob in the backyard, his internal organs removed, his tail skinned and the meat taken.

Bob was dead. That’s all that mattered.

I picked up the pen again and set it to the paper to instead record my mother’s thoughts. Even though her words were clear in my memory, I felt disconnected as I watched the loops and jitters as they took on my mother’s voice of accusation and recrimination.

“Bob loved to be rubbed under his chin, right where his scales folded into his neck. Did you know that, dear?”

She was so fucking smug. Of course I knew that Bob liked his neck rubbed. He was, after all, my fucking dragon. I knew everything about Bob that was worth knowing: he hated the neighbors, and had roasted their dog with his fiery breath; he thought the paperboy was a putz who deserved being eaten alive; he didn’t like shitting in the woods, because he was afraid a bear would get him.

Of course I knew, I thought, scratching hard at my mother’s words. I just didn’t like the gunk that formed under neck scales. That shit would get under my fingernails and stink like a corpse.

A tear rolled off the end of my nose and smudged the scribbles in my journal. Fuck. Mom wanted me to go with her to the pet store, and all I could think about was the corpse-like stink under Bob’s neck.

When you write

Take the time to look around. There’s a full life in between every breath you take. It takes only an instant for a match to flare and gift you with sulfur; a moment for a brick to fall and crash and shatter; less than a second to realize that he’s not worth the trouble of one more breath.

Think. What does it feel like when you know you can’t take one more step with that bastard beside you? What does it smell like when you’re sitting with your best friend in a coffee shop, crying over burnt hot chocolate? Did you hear anything when the last nail was pounded into the coffin of your relationship?

Use your senses when you write. Readers need a sense of place. They want to know about how good that cheesecake tastes – thick and creamy, with a chocolate crust. They want to hear the slap, when you cross his cheek with your palm. Hell, they even want to know what victory – or defeat – smells like, if you can just figure out how to put it into words. Give your readers a sense of place and time.

They’ll thank you for it by buying your books.

The Explosion

explosionThere are lots of times that I can’t think of the next words in the story or poem that I’m working on. When that happens, I just work on flash fiction – just little bits of fluff to keep my mind working. Below is a quick piece that I put together. I need to keep my mind moving, and really, I think this may work in a future piece.

I think it was the explosion that convinced me that I loved her. Prior to that moment, we were no more than friends. Good friends. The kind of friends who briefly hugged and kissed one another’s cheek when we met on the street, or shared bitter cups of coffee at local diner where we swapped stories about our latest love affair.

Previous to the moment of the brilliant flash of light and sound, I’d never considered myself in the arms of another woman.


photo credit: country_boy_shane via photopin cc

I really do – a commitment to writing

writingI want to write. I really do. The challenge is finding a plot.

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I start out with a character and a few sentences, and then I see where the story takes me. It’s worked out okay. I have a few short stories and hundreds of poems.

The poems are easier. Less than a few hundred words in a poem. And I can spend days on finding just the right words. But that’s not a problem. A few days – or weeks – really isn’t that much of a commitment. It sounds like a lot, to those who don’t write poetry. But trust me. Finding the perfect words in just under two weeks is easy.

But stories and novels take a lot longer than that. Months. Sometimes years. A year for me is a weighty commitment. Hell, most of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow, let alone three months from now.

So sitting down and starting a project that will be 50,000 to 150,000 words is really quite a task.

But I want to write. I really do.

I just have to find that story that will hold my interest for the year that it takes to write it. Of course, if it holds my interest, I’m betting it will hold yours.

Meantime, I’ll keep my day job. It’s a sucky place to work, and I hope one day to be free. But for that, I have to write.

I really do.

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc