Round Robin – Part 3

Susan wrote part 3 —

Staring into the phone screen, Cathy dared not look up to see if the nerdy guy had that, Oh, so this girl is crazy look on his face.  Her heart beat painfully in her chest and she felt short of breath. She heard the rustle of fabric and flinched seeing the guys hand reach for her phone.  Panic beat wings against the walls of her stomach and her feet obeyed the command for flight.  Turning, her face met the edge of the open door behind her.  Her boots struggled for purchase on the shiny institutional linoleum and the weight of her backpack sent her head banging onto the cold tiles of the floor as fireworks exploded behind her eyes. As everything faded to black, Cathy thought, That sounded just like a bat hitting a homerun ball.

The sensation of floating registered as awareness crept back over her body.  Then the realization of being held in someone’s arms sent her eyes popping open.  The world tilted and shimmied as the man carrying her bent forward preparing to drop her. Cathy jackknifed upward and began climbing over the shoulders of the man holding her.

“Hey!  Whoa. Stop it. I’m not going to hurt you.” Strong hands clasped Cathy’s waist as she scrambled for a foot hold and grasped blindly for something to aid her climb.  Her right foot connected with something soft as both her hands twisted soft strands of hair.  She began to fall backwards and instead of fighting to get loose she wrapped her legs and arms around the man and tried to twist to land on top.  Physics conspired against her as her head once again met an unyielding surface and the finale of all fireworks blasted behind the night dark sky of her eyelids.

Something icy landing on her face brought jolted Cathy into awareness.  Her hands flew up to remove the dripping lumpy mass covering her hammering forehead, sightless right eye, throbbing nose and fiery jaw.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”  A very grouchy male voice growled to her left.  Cathy squinted with her one good eye and gasped seeing the nerdy guy from the hallway sitting in a wingback chair with a loosely tied bag of ice draped over his head and another planted on the vee of his legs.

“What happened?”  Cathy croaked as she warily watched the man adjust his ice hat.

“You mean other than me trying to help you and bringing you here to recover from your fall and in thanks you practically kick and claw me to death and then try to knock me out with that pointy chin of yours, nothing.

“I don’t have a pointy chin.” Cathy said before realizing how ridiculous, in light of her circumstances, it sounded.

“Right.  This lump on the top of my head says otherwise. Never mind. Whoever you are hiding from is not going to find you here because I already disabled your phone’s GPS.  So unless you want me to call the cops to sort this out and they bring the paramedics to check you out and take you to a very public hospital, you should tell me what is going on. I have resources you can’t imagine and, being a card carrying nerd, I have the knowhow to sneak into places and find things like a modern day Sherlock Holmes.  By the way, that happens to be my name.”

Cathy sat up and the ice bag plopped onto her lap soaking her jumper with icy condensation.  “Your name is Sherlock Holmes?”

“Only part of it. Holmes Connan Darrow to be exact, but my friends call me Con.  Sometimes they call me the Wrath of Con.  Get it.  Like Star Trek, because I like my revenge served cold over a computer keyboard.” He said with a smile and an amused twinkle in his dark eyes.

Cathy felt herself relax for the first time in days. Maybe meeting this guy was just what she needed to get out of the mess she was in.

 

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Round Robin – Part 2

Part Two of our Round Robin Story presented by Michelle:

 

Cathy paid the cashier for her cocoa and left the line, looking for a quiet table in a corner.  The bag she carried could pass for a book bag, and did in fact hold a few books as well as a notebook, so she blended in.  She spotted a group of giggling freshmen girls leaving a table in the back, and sped up to take it just in time.  She slid into a chair, hung her bag on the back, and sipped her cocoa.  Now what?  She didn’t see anyone she recognized.

Her phone beeped an incoming text.  She slid it out of her bag and thumbed open her message.

I know where you are.  Keep quiet.

She looked around the room again, a shiver crawling up her spine.  Several students had phones out, texting or reading messages.  But nobody she knew.

How did he know she was here?  She knew technology could be both a curse and a blessing.  Right now it was the former.  She had a thought and quickly left, leaving her cocoa on the table.  She headed for the technology building.  If she could find the right person, maybe she could find someone to help her.  She had money and she would use it to her advantage.

She adjusted her bag over her shoulder, glancing behind her every few minutes.  Luckily the campus had good lighting and she found the right building in no time.  She could see lights through the windows and quickly walked inside.

She followed a long hallway until she reached a door with light shining through to the hall.  She stopped at the doorway and peeked in.  It looked like a meeting of some kind.  Probably geeks anonymous or some such.  She dropped her bag, spilling out books and notebooks.  A couple young students came over and helped her pick up her things.

The one nearest her asked, “Are you looking for the Technology Tomorrow meeting?”

Cathy looked him in the eye and hoped she had the right kind of nerd she was looking for.

“Um, actually I was wondering if someone could help me with my phone.”  Her voice came out soft and shy and she brushed her blond hair off her face, giving him her best smile.

“Oh, sure.  What do you need?”  The one who asked about the meeting handed back her books and she slid them into her bag.  He was tall with short dark hair and a five o’clock shadow.  Handsome, if not slightly nerdy looking.  His companion handed over what he picked up and returned to the meeting with a shrug.

“I was wondering if the GPS thing was working in my phone?  Do you know what they look like?”  She slid out her phone and looked at it like she was trying to figure it out.

“Oh, sure.  It’s just a little chip.  Are you lost?”

She whispered, “No, but I don’t want to be found.”

Round Robin Story – Part 1

We decided to try a posting experiment! We are doing a Round Robin Story: one person begins the story and passes it to someone who passes it on and the 4th person must finish. Please read along the next 4 days and offer your feedback. Bev begins the story:

 

Part One:

Will God still love me no matter what I do?

The temperature dipped below her comfort level, and the sunset made everything seem cold even if it wasn’t.  Cathy felt as if she would burst if she couldn’t talk to someone soon. But who? Who would care to hear one word from her? She had carried this burden for too long now, and it was time to get rid of it.

She looked around the room. The school cafeteria teemed with people carrying their dinner trays and looking for tables. They laughed and chatted with their friends, relaxed and comfortable at the end of the school day. That made her feel even more the outsider. The stacks of books and rows of backpacks that lined the walls around the room just made her feel worse. How could she have made such a mistake? What would all these people think if they knew?

It all began so innocently. Even though it was over two years ago, she could remember the day vividly. Every single detail. She wore her brown suede boots with cream-colored tights and a brown leather jumper. It was her favorite outfit and had cost way too much. Lucky for her, she worked at the dress shop and got a discount and could use the store’s lay away plan. She paid for that jumper for six months before she got to wear it, but it was worth it. The double take Jim did when she walked by wearing it was worth a million bucks.

He wasn’t the most gorgeous man on campus, and he didn’t play football, but he had what her mother called “quality.” He just seemed to know the right thing to say and the right thing to do, and she was smitten from the start. It was a perfect day. He brought her a coffee and they talked about a book they both had to read for an English class. He asked her to go for a walk and they crunched their way through the autumn leaves and enjoyed the smells of fall in the air. They were together all day.

 

My Imaginary Friend

Editors note: This post is a reprint from our former blog Bredkrums.  Hope you enjoy it!

While out writing away from the chaos at home recently, I happened to read two separate articles that mentioned the same concept. Both articles mentioned inventing an imaginary reader to keep in mind while writing your projects (mostly fiction in this case). Why did they say this?

Know Your Audience

Both article writers said that instead of writing to just any reader or all readers, to instead narrow your audience to one specific person that you can make up. Having an imaginary reader of your work will help you focus on keeping your content consistent without surprising or frustrating your reader. They said this also helps you focus on your specific audience, not to the masses. And it may improve your writing to know who exactly you’re writing for.

So, after reading these articles, I decided to make up an imaginary friend or a “reader” from my audience.

My Imaginary Reader

Naomi is a stay-at-home mom, 30, with two kids under five. She has an Associate’s Degree and would like to get an Early Childhood Degree when her youngest starts school. She is happily married, is a great mom but goes to bed exhausted every night.

She likes to go out with her friends for a movie and dinner or a night of scrapbooking. She loves her kids and takes them to the zoo and the park often. But her busy life leaves little time for fun reading, but when she can, she likes to escape in a good romance novel without swearing or anything to make her blush. Sometimes she buys an e-book, but she still loves turning the pages and using one of her many collected bookmarks.

Naomi and her kids go to the library almost weekly, and she checks out more books than she can find time to read. But she can’t help herself; it’s like being a kid in a candy store. But she loves free reading and thus is one of the library’s best patrons. She also finds books at second hand stores or yard sales and when finished with them, donates them to the library. If they can’t use the books in their system, they will add them to their quarterly book sales. It’s a win-win.

How This Helps You as a Writer

Now when I sit down to work on my novels, I have a person in mind and know that I can’t say or write certain things to disturb Naomi or jar her out of the story. It’s always the writer’s job to keep a reader reading and not make her stop. Having Naomi in mind will help with that considerably.

Naomi will help me stay consistent and keep me true to the plotline without deviating or going off in directions that won’t satisfy or make sense to her.

Your Turn

Who is your imaginary friend? Have you ever thought about coming up with a specific reader? We would love to hear about him or her! Please share in the comments.

Michelle

On Being a Writer

Dream of being a writer?

It’s not hard — you just put words on a screen or a piece of paper. That’s it. Right? Sure it is!

The next step is the tricky one. Having people read them. And enjoy them. And want to read more of them.

It has been 13 years since I starting writing materials for Children’s Ministry to sell. I started my website through many tears (it’s so easy to do now), I packaged the material so it would be easy to use, copy, pass out to staff, etc., and I registered to be a speaker at a large International Convention. So many memories are tied up in that sentence. You know what I mean — the struggles, the headaches, the frustrations. And the thrill and exhilaration of a completed project.

Then there was the first sale. I was so scared. My mouth said, “I hope you enjoy it and blessings on your Children’s Ministry.” My head said “Really? You want to pay money for what I wrote???” But I took her money. And many other monies at that first little conference.

Zephaniah tells us: “Do not despise small beginnings.” I head his voice in my head that day over a decade ago. And I still hear it today as I attempt something new, or push my comfort zone, or ____________ (fill in the blank for yourself).

Becoming a writer is full of small beginnings. Like getting up early and putting some time in. Sharing what you wrote with a friend. Reading out loud at a writers’ group meeting. Saying the words “I’m a writer!” Keep on going. One small thing after another and before you know it, you have a writer’s life pathway taking shape at your feet.

If it is in your heart, start putting words down. Too simple? Yup. It is just that simple. Get started. If you are already started — keep going. If you used to do it and have fallen into a slump, start doing it again.

There you go. You’re on your way. Now, what is your writing goal for this week? No goal, no action. No action, nothing to get excited about.

Let us know. We’ll be excited with you. We really will.

Patricia Meyers
You can find Pat’s author page on Amazon or visit her website at www.ChildrensChurchStuff.com

 

 

What do writers do when they don’t feel like writing?

This blog is written by four writers of Paddle Creek Writers Group. The title line was our assignment. And I am supposed to post today.

It is 4:14 am and I am finally putting words on the “page” on my computer screen. What do I do when I don’t feel like writing? Apparently, I just stall and put it off until the last second! Plus:

  1. I think about the fact that I should write.
  2. I scribble a few words in the notebook in my purse and count it as writing.
  3. I ponder.

Number three is what I’m really good at. Pondering. It is a great way to spend time not writing. It feels like writing. At times it leads to writing. Oftentimes it improves the final product if, and should, you ever actually get to the writing stage. And it’s fun because there are no editing rules. You can play with your thoughts as if they are balls in a giant ball pit. Just toss up the thought, throw another one up with it, give them a pop as they come back down and watch them bounce and soar. It’s fun. Not really productive, but fun.

Over the years (read decades there) I have had every experience of writing and not writing (like any other writer I am sure).

Through the first years of this century I could have written the e-book “How to Get Yourself Writing When You Do NOT Feel Like It”. It would have been 55 pages of practical how-to’s and charts and examples and my story of how I produced dozens and dozens of children’s ministry products. I was diligent and excited and productive and I loved it.

The end of the last decade if I would have written the same e-book it would have been 16 words long: “I really wish I knew because I have a ton of writing I want to do.” The end. Eighteen words if you count “The end.”

Oh the phases of a writer’s life. You can smile here if you are a writer. We all have the same stages. Yes, indeed, misery really does love company.

It’s comforting to know that my writer friends struggle with the same thing. It’s tremendous to have others to reach out to when you need to be encouraged or receive a kick in the seat of the pants. And it’s lovely to have someone who will say: “Let’s meet for lunch!” when you both know you should be doing something else.

At our writing sessions on Saturdays invariably someone (or someones) will not want to write a prompt. But someone will say “Let’s do it!” and we do it. And we are glad that we did. Then, when it is time to work on our personal projects, most of the time we set a timer and work away for a while then break and chat and work again. But sometimes someone (or multiple someones) has to be goaded into working (and, by the way, that someone can be any one of us on any given Saturday) so someone goads and we work. And we are glad for it.

And sometimes there is a void of someone to do the goading and we do this:

Monopoly Deal

Pathetic, aren’t we? But we have fun! And we do have written credits each of us so somewhere along the line we have actually written productively.

I read this phrase the other day “You can do hard things.” I love that. And it’s true. I can. And I have. And I will again.

Just not when the Monopoly Deal cards come out.

What do you do to get yourself doing what you don’t feel like doing?

Pat Meyers

http://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Meyers/e/B00FPIKPZ2/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1405676833&sr=1-2-ent

 

What do you do when you don’t feel like writing

Mark Twain once wrote: “Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out all the wrong words.” When I don’t feel like writing I look up writing quotes. I hope for inspiration but usually just wish I had thought of it first. That is when I get out a notebook and pen and try writing my own memorable writing quotes. They go something like this: “Writing is as hard as a two pound block of cheese sitting on a plate on top of the heat pump behind short attic door in your daughter’s bedroom. The gnaw marks are from when the cheese was soft or there is a very large rat living behind the other door.” Conclusion; writing is scary. That is not helping. How about this? “Each day a writer needs to use an allotted amount of words. If they do not exit the mouth, flow under the pen or plink onto a computer screen they pile up at the exit points and die of suffocation.” Now I need a distraction from imaging all those words gasping for air and crushing each other at the door of my imaginary Wal-Mart exit.

I pick up my Kindle and check my e-mail, wherein I discover I don’t even feel like weighing in on the current conversation amongst my writing group. They are venting their daily allotment of writing words with lots of capital letters and exclamation points. It is so loud I have to close up the e-mail and finger trot over to Candy Crush on my carousel. Since I am at level 107, five tries go supersonic fast. It will be two and a half hours before I can try again. What to do? What to do?

I know, I can hop on over to the Web on my Kindle and see how my two cookbooks are doing. Sigh. No sales again today. Now I know why I don’t feel like writing. I am not a writer. I am so discouraged I need a nap. If my nap lasts two hours and twenty five minutes I can have another go at Candy Crush.

Susan

What to do … what to do

Don’t feel like writing today? Well, join the club—we’ve all been there.

Who among us has never looked at her computer and said, “I can’t. I just can’t.” turned around and walked away? Who hasn’t choked at the mere thought of plunking down in that chair and trying to write a coherent sentence or stared at a blank screen and wanted to weep?

Well, fellow procrastinator, help is on the way. If you ever wondered “What can I do when I don’t feel like writing?” —read on.

There are, of course, the familiar and comfortable go-to’s. You could make lemon scones and a pot of tea (with caffine!), go to the gym and contort yourself, read a mystery, or —in desperation—wash a load of clothes.

Or you could be really creative. Train a squirrel, knit a Bible cover, inventory and monogram your bed linen or join Ancestery.com and do 200 years of family history.

If none of those things float your boat, how about vacuuming under the couch? It’s been a long time since I did that; it might be an adventure. No? Sew that button on your husband’s jacket. It will be fun to watch him faint from surprise after being without it all these months.

Plant a tree. Take a long walk and run your plot through your mind over and over; you may have a breakthrough. Plan the menus for your Christmas parties—so what if it’s June. Bake that extremely complicated main dish you saw on Food Network. Look up your name on Google. Paint your fingernails green.

I saved the best for the last, however.

Pray for an electric storm to knock out your power. That absolves you of the responsibility for choosing not to write. (Yes, yes, yes I know—pen and paper. But that is so yesterday.)

The long and short of it is that if you don’t feel like writing you can always find an excuse. But Michelle is correct. Sadly, if you are a writer, you MUST write. There is no getting around it. So sit. Fingers poised over the keyboard. Get ready. Set. Go!

Bev.

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

The best thing to do when you don’t feel like writing is to—write anyway. I know; it’s hard. It takes focus and quiet. It takes ideas. But honestly, if you’re going to call yourself a writer, you have to write. That’s what writers do.

But for fun, what can you do when you’re not in the mood to write? Here are some suggestions that are writing related.

 

  1. Interview one of your characters
  2. Read writing magazines or a new writing book
  3. Organize your writing space or laptop bag
  4. Read through articles you’ve saved
  5. Start an idea file
  6. File all the loose papers laying around on your desk
  7. Research a setting for a work in progress
  8. Look for writing blogs to follow or comment on
  9. Read a book for fun
  10. Plot out a new story or article
  11. Look through baby books for character names
  12. Go to the library and check out books similar to what you write
  13. Search for agents or publishers

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Pros and cons of e-book versus printed version – the final chapter

We’ve been posting, over the last four days, what each of us wrote as we sat for our 30 minute prompt writing session using the prompt shown above. This is the fourth and final installment of the series:

“Thomas! Have you seen my glasses?” Dorothy called to her husband.

“Have you looked on the top of your head?” came the reply from the living room.

“Of course!” Dorothy answered running her fingers through her graying hair to see if they were indeed shoved on the top of her skull.

“Are they hanging around your neck?” Thomas’ rough voice told of his annoyance with being interrupted.

Dorothy looked at her blouse to see if she had stuck her glasses in one of her buttonholes or on the chain of her necklace.

“Not there either,” she called from the kitchen.

“Well, I give up,” he said.

“Come here then and tell me what this recipe says,” Dorothy requested.

“Can’t,” he said. “Busy. Use a cookbook on your Kindle. You can make the font large.”

“Good idea,” Dorothy said. She scanned the kitchen counters and table.

“Thomas?” she called. “Do you know where my Kindle is?”

“Is it on the counter?” he called loudly.

“Nope.”

“Book shelf?”

“Nope,” Dorothy answered, her voice coming from the study.

“Bedside table?”

Dorothy turned and headed down the hall to the master suite. “It’s not here,” she yelled. “Are you sure it is not by your chair?”

“I haven’t seen it,” he replied.

Dorothy visited the bathroom, the laundry room and the screened-in back porch.

“Well, it’s nowhere,” she stated standing right next to her husband’s chair.

“Did you find your glasses on your search?” he asked, slightly lifting his eyes from the book he was reading.

“Huh. That would have been a nice reminder if you had said that while I was running hither and yon.”

“Go look in your car,” was his next suggestion.

“Good one!” Dorothy headed to the garage bouncing her head from left to right as if watching a ping pong match scanning surfaces as she passed through each room.

“No glasses, no Kindle,” she announced upon her return to the living room. “You don’t look extremely busy to me. Come read this recipe for me. One half teaspoon versus One half cup is going to make a major difference in the outcome.”

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