Tag Archives: writing prompts

10 Things I Like

Photo of cinderella fairy tale in Efteling

Photo of cinderella fairy tale in Efteling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As part of a writing exercise I’m listing 10 Things I Like, just so that you can have a chance to get to know me a little more. When I write or read, these are the things that settle in the back of my mind. The scent of cut grass will bring me instantly back to my childhood and remind me of my deceased father mowing the lawn. The thought of Lobsters and Chicken Barbeque makes me reflect on my younger days of growing up in Pepperell and attending the annual Fireman’s Muster.

I love dogs and wolves. I can’t stand not having a dog in my home. They are more than just four legs and fur that barks a lot. They mean security, friendship, and family. Birds of Prey like owls have an inner wisdom one can’t begin to fathom.

Finally, you can see, I’m a BIG – Walking Dead Fan. I love Game of Thrones just as much, except I’m not watching the HBO series, instead, I’m reading the books.

  1. Watching the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, I love how the writers have built the characters through relationships and survival
  2. Game of Thrones is another great example of Character Building. Also a great example of World building.
  3. Fantasy and Historical Fiction – To me they both belong in the same category. When I think back in history, even though I know it was just a fairy tale, my thoughts wander to Cinderella and Red Riding Hood.
  4. Fresh cut grass or the smell of hay – neither gives me allergies, I would be miserable if it did.
  5. Dogs and wolves are companion pack animals. Packs are equal to family, which is why dogs are considered man’s and woman’s best friends.
  6. Owls and other birds of prey are symbolic – wise and powerful
  7. Thunderstorms and Rainbows – power and forgiveness
  8. Lobster Bakes with steamers and barbeque chicken is the ultimate cookout venue fare.
  9. Gazing at cloud covered mountains from a distance and wondering how long it would take to climb to the top and how far could one see in the distance.
  10. Walking on the beach at the Ocean is peaceful and pleasant for meditating.
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Why Do I Write

I write because…

There are stories to tell

Places to go

Things to do

People to meet

Experiences to be had

Events to share

A voice to be heard

Feelings to be felt

Worlds to be built

Fears to overcome

Battles to be fought

Spirits to be found

Lives to create

Romance to be found

 

How Many Words Does it Take to Make a Novel?

Have you ever wondered how many words it takes to make a novel?

I just picked three of my favorite books and did a simple count equation, added them all together and divided the sum by three. The average I came up with was 83421. This means to me that my stories are falling short of novel status. I need to learn more about my characters below their surfaces. It is time to start digging deeper.

I need to find out what their secrets are, what they fear and what they dream about. All these things make them tick and keeps them going.  A bunch of dominoes waiting to fall. If the right one falls, everything can fall apart for the hero or the heroine. How much should they lose before they take action?

Life is full of conflicts, even in historical stories. Back then it was constant war. Most people never lived beyond forty. With the biggest cause of death being killed in battle. The second cause of death was a disease. Then came starvation.

Getting inside a character’s head can be a bit scary. You’re about to experience the same thing the character is going through. Loss of family and homes, being alone in a world filled with constant battles to stay alive. Where is the safe haven?

These things are some of what I have avoided in the past when writing. Now, I’m about to embark on this new character encounter. Learning to see through their eyes all the stumbling blocks they will need to face. This must be one of the reasons some writers will write the end of the story first. That way they can remember that the story does have a potential to have a happy ending.

What does word counts mean to your writing?

Do you ever feel like you fall short of your goals when you write THE END?

Bear and a Biter

Flash Fiction 

by Linda Nelson

Jason’s hands shook while he tried to hold the screwdriver steady against the screw. He only had a few more hours to go before the sun would be up. It had been years since he last put a bike together. The darkness made it hard to see as he assembled it by the light of a flashlight.

He had to be quiet or they would hear him. That was the last thing he wanted. If they heard him, it could be the death of him. If only he had a better place to build this thing, like a garage, shed or some type of shelter. Instead he was outside, in the open, hidden only by trees and brush. They’d come too if they saw the light.

This bike was a lucky find for him. He’d been on foot for nearly a week when his car had run out of gas. That was when he and Carrie found themselves going different ways. She was now his dearly departed, yet she still followed him from a distance that he hoped to widen by miles.

All had been going well up until they came across what had been a roadblock on the highway. Unfortunately for the officers, their tactic didn’t work in their favor.  The dead had gotten them, eaten them or, just bitten them. So much for keeping the virus contained. Was there no safe haven left? Carrie had told him there had to be somewhere they could go, somewhere safe. But what if she were wrong?

He promised her he would keep looking. She opened the car door, saying how she needed to go pee. Figuring if she remained close to the car, nothing would happen to her. But she never saw the Biter two car lengths away. It grabbed onto her arm and pulled her from the car as she began to climb back inside, sinking its teeth into her arm.

There was nothing Jason could do for her. Of course, he was scared. He was scared of the Biter and now he was afraid of her. He couldn’t keep her in the car with him now that she was bitten. She would be one of them in a few hours. He couldn’t risk it. The Biter ripped her from the car and he stomped on the gas, leaving her behind. He could still hear her screams for help. That was two weeks and states ago. Since then he had to give up the car that ran out of gas and made it on foot.

He rarely slept. When he did, he tended to sleep in a tree, out of their reach.

This was the last screw he needed to tighten. A branch cracked close by. Jason stopped what he was doing, holding his breath, he waited and listened. A rasping sound would come from the Biters. He wasn’t sure if it were breathing or throat gurgles he had heard. But one could hear them coming, most times.

There was that crack of the branch again. Jason didn’t want to take any more chances. He pocketed the screwdriver and grabbed onto an overhead branch, pulling himself up. He didn’t stop there either. He kept climbing until he had some distance between himself and the ground. Here he would stay until daylight. Then he’d be able to see clearly in the distance and know if the Biters were close by.

One more crack, then the sound of a Biter coming close to the base of his tree. Maybe the Biter could smell him, but that was unlikely. Biters were walking rotting flesh. Nothing smelled as bad as them, except for the bear it stumbled across. Jason peered down from his branch and watched the showdown between the bear and the Biter. He wasn’t sure at first, but the bear did win, tearing the Biter to pieces with its claws, never once affected by Biter. Apparently a bear hide was pretty thick and effective armor.

Bear and a Biter – Copyright © August 26, 2015 by Linda Nelson

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I hope you enjoyed my little story. Writing about zombies is out of my comfort zone. They say that people need to get out of their norm from time to time to widen their horizons. If you can’t tell, I’m a Walking Dead Fan. I also fell in love with Fear the Walking Dead that aired last Sunday night. I love the shows because it’s not all about the zombies. It’s about survival and relationships and the writers have created well rounded characters.

If you did enjoy this story and you’re looking for more to sample before trying one of my many novellas, you can find Time Pieces: A Short Story Collection free on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Apple. Look under my above tab for books if you need the link to your favorite store.

ROW80:

I haven’t been working much on my work in progress. I’ve been messing with my blog again. And as you can see, playing with a bit of flash fiction. I did hit my word count today of 500 words +, so I guess I’m heading in the right direction and away from my Writers’ Block.

I don’t want to call it Writers’ Block. How about empty head syndrome. Time to fill the well and think up new ideas. My character in my work in progress has been behaving like a stalker. I don’t want that. So, it’s time to stop where she is at and make her take a big swallow and step out into the light. Something big has to happen to make her realize, its now or never and your never going to be able to turn back the clock to the way things once were. Get over it sweet heart and move on with your life. I don’t know what she’s waiting for? Me? Maybe – I like the unexpected. I have to catch this character off guard. It’s the way I act.

I will continue to ponder on how to motivate my character. Until then, I’ll keep on writing some thing. It might not be the work in progress, but it is something.

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If I Could Dedicate a Moment in Time?

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July

English: Fireworks on the Fourth of July (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I could dedicate a holiday to a family member, I would dedicate the Fourth of July to both my Dad and my Brother. My Dad passed away sixteen years ago in January. He had been a veteran of the Korean War even though he had never been deployed. Dad loved Fourth of July. Almost every year we went to the local parade in Pepperell.
My Brother, who I have not seen in a while, is a Navy Veteran. He too was patriotic.
Cookouts and Fireworks are this weekend’s themes. My children are grown, and the puppies don’t quite enjoy the Fireworks. Seems the sound hurts their ears. I’ve yet to find hearing protection for dogs.
An area town set off their fireworks last night. Both dogs were set to barking up a storm in response. It wasn’t until we took them outdoors to show them that they couldn’t see the show from the house, before they calmed down. When I lit a sparkler, Keelaa looked on only to become bored by the thing within a few minutes.
They are looking forward to the food, like most dogs. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad.

Happy Fourth of July – Stay Safe!

Ugly Truck Survives to Drive Another Day

Chicken coop doorway

One of the three doors on our chicken coop. Taken for photo101 prompt.

Knowing something that is about to happen can be sort of freaky. But what if you did this all the time? Like when Melvin drove that old truck of his out across the pasture. He didn’t think anything of it. He’d done it time and time again to pick up the hay in the field. On this day, he had to hurry. A storm was brewing, the winds were picking up fast. Last thing he wanted was the hay to get wet.

A crack of thunder sounded off in the distance. He was sure he had enough time. Three more rows of bales and he’d be done. Just when he tossed the last one in the back, another crack sounded. This time it was much closer.

Lightning bolt!

Lightning bolt! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The frogs were out. An odd night for them to litter the field. They squished under the tires of the truck while he drove down the rutted dirt road. A flash of light lit up the dark sky. Black clouds billowed overhead. Melvin had that feeling again. Like he’d been here, done this. He slammed on the breaks for no apparent reason, or so he thought.

Twenty feet in front of him, a bolt of lightning struck a tree, snapping it in two. Had he not stopped when he did, he and his ugly red dented truck would have been flatter than a junk that’s been in a car crusher. He may have lost a day in his life by knowing his future, but did he actually lose a life? Instead, he merely exchanged one day for another.

By the way, the hay did get wet. But that story is for another day.

Where would I be without my Computer?

What a good question.

I don’t think that this would have been a problem four years ago before I started writing. I may have missed the online communities, but I would have gotten over that problem.

My computer has become the center point for all my writing. It’s my tool. I don’t think I would adjust well to switching back to a typewriter. The correction tape is such a thing of the past. I remember using it back when I was in high school, or the eraser pencil from way back then that tore holes into your page if you scrubbed that type to hard. I don’t miss typewriters at all.

Have you ever used one? If you have it shows your age. – he he he

But if you think about it – where would you be without your computer? Or tablet for that matter?

Would you be able to survive?

Five years ago, in southern NH we had a bad ice storm that wiped out power to a good portion of the state. We went without power in our home for 12 days. It was a nightmare. Back then we didn’t even own a woodstove. We quickly rectified that problem.

But not only was our power gone, our phone was gone too. I had to take my cellphone to work just to keep it charged in case of emergencies.

Now we own a generator. (Thank God)

If I didn’t have my computer I would be lost. The internet would be gone. My ability to create those amazing covers of mine would be gone. I would be reduced to using a typewriter and having holes in my manuscript from the eraser pencil. Spell check and grammar check would be gone, and I would be forced to mail – mail my manuscripts to a publishing house. I wouldn’t be able to self publish. Oh No!

Yup – my computer has become the center of my writing life.

What do you think? Do think you could survive in this day and age without your computer or tablet device?

 

ROW80 Update:

My goal for this month is to reestablish my blogging. I have been to lazy for quite sometime. I need to get back into the habit of posting twice a week.

What I’ve been up to: For the past few weeks I have been busy preparing Along Came Neil to hit the Kindle shelf. That is done.

Now I am going through each of my previously published works with line edits. I think I have seen an improvement. I just finished up the edits on my Teen Contemporary Series. My Orgarlan Series is up for the edits next. Once those are done I will be able to begin the next book in that series. (I can’t wait)

I am dying to get back to my fantasy world. I’ve had enough of the drama in a teen drug crazed world for now. If you’ve ever known an addict you would know what I’m talking about. It does get to you after a while. Fortunately my books are pretty tame to how they really are in the real world.

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