Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Nature of Love

Nick stood on the trail that he frequented so often with his father when he was a child and stared at the two trees that had grown tangled together. His father loved those trees. Every time they hiked that particular trail his father would just stop and look at them in fascination. Nick never really understood why until one Sunday when his father stopped to admire the trees and he finally asked him.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” his father responded.

“They’re just trees, Dad.”

“You have to learn to look deeper,” he said. It’s not what they are, it’s what they symbolize.”

“What are you talking about?”

His father took a deep breath, then, with a smile he said, “They remind me of your mother.”

“How can trees remind you of Mom?” he asked in a very confused tone.

“Because every time I look at these trees I think about the love between us. Think about these trees. Originally they sprouted from the ground separately, but as they grew they found each other. The more time that went by the more and more they grew together. It was something they couldn’t avoid. It was just nature. That is what true love is like. It is the strongest force of nature there is, and every time I see these trees I remember that.”

At eleven years old, Nick just thought his father was being overly dramatic. Now, almost fifteen years after that summer when his father explained love to him, he stood on that same trail, looking at those same trees, but this time he stood with the woman he had been dating since his freshman year of college. He explained to her that when he looked at those trees they made him think of her and their love for one another. He told her they inspired him to live and grow with her forever. Then, he turned to her and took her hands in his as he lowered himself to one knee.

The above is a response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word this week was remember, and as always, we had to use the third definition.

It has been a long time since I have participated in a Trifecta Challenge. I have also greatly neglected my blog. I have decided to write here more often, and what better way than to take part in such a great exercise.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Long Time No Post

I've been telling myself for a long time that I need to blog more. I really do want to blog more, but there is always something else to do. I know that sounds like an excuse, and maybe on some level it is, but I just don't seem to have enough hours in the day. Between trying to spend some time with my family, work, writing, and every once in a while squeezing in some sleep...I'm beat! But I have decided that I am going to get around to blogging more often.

In the past I have used this blog for flash fiction and writing prompts. I miss those, and you might be seeing some more of them. They are fun. They are a great way to practice the craft of writing as well as a nice break from my WIP's. But I also want to do more personal blog posts. I have done a lot of thinking about what I want to post about. I've thought about doing posts on craft, posts on self-publishing, posts on marketing yourself and your work...but that's all been done before. Now I'm not saying you'll never see those types of posts here. There's a good chance you will. But what I really want to do is just write.

So this post is nothing more than a motivator. A promise to myself. I figure now that I wrote this I would be a liar if I don't keep up with it.

I feel good about this. Let's see where it leads.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Don’t Just Write…CREATE!!!

When you write any type of fiction you are not simply telling a story, you are creating an entire world. A world that is completely unique and filled with anything you can imagine. This could be rather simple or extremely difficult depending on the genre you are writing. If it is going to be a magical land of fantasy it may take a lot more planning and detail than if it is a more contemporary representation of our world. Either way, a setting has to be created and all the details need to be planned out in a way that will make sense.

Next is the creation of the characters, but in doing this you are not just creating characters, you are creating people. They each have to be their own person with their own distinct personality. You want to create characters that the reader can believe in. Characters your reader can in some way relate to. They need to fit into the world you created and be believable in the story you are going to tell. If the reader cannot get into the characters, they will never get into the story.

Finally, there is the story itself. This is the essence of your creation and is going to bring all the other parts together as a singular entity. This is the part that becomes a little more difficult. Although I said as a writer you are creating this entire world and everything in it, you do not want that to be the feeling you give to the reader. When you are creating all these elements and fitting them together you want to give the reader the feeling that they have entered into something that is real. You want them to be uncontrollably pulled from their own reality and into the story. You want them to feel like they were invited into a world that exists completely independent from them. A reality that was there before the story took place and will continue to go on after it is over.

These are some of the things that can make a good story a great story. You don’t want your fiction to feel like fiction. When readers relate to the story, and care about the characters, they enjoy their reading experience that much more.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Short Story: Dead or Alive?

This is my first attempt at making a real blog post. Most of my others are fiction based or responses to prompts and challenges. With this one I am just going to write. Hopefully I don’t bore you too much.

What happened to the short story in American literature? We all remember growing up reading the classics. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Washington Irving and so many more, but it seems like there aren’t any new short stories out there. Well, there are…

The problem as I see it is not that there aren’t any new short stories being written, it is that the culture of reading has changed a bit in the United States. Everyone seems to always be looking for that next big hit. The trending novel that everyone has to read. I get that, but as a result I am afraid the way people look at stories has changed.

When people look at short stories today (and this is purely my own opinion) I feel like they don’t look at them as books. Well you know what America… You shouldn’t…but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect for what they are. The short story is not meant to be the next big craze. It is meant to entertain. To give the joy of a satisfying story, with good characters that you can relate to, a strong plot, and do so all in a single sitting. That’s not easy. From a writer’s point of view that can actually be very difficult. To tell an entire story in a limited number of words, and get in everything they need to, one could rip their hair out. When you write, you create an entire world. You create people with individual lives and personalities. There is a lot that goes into it, and to set a limit on how much detail you can use in articulating that world is challenging.

The good news is that the short story is still alive and well. Thanks to the modern technology of eBooks and self-publishing, there are so many amazing indie writers out there making their stories available to the world. However, short stories are not only an art of the indie writer (although they are my personal favorite). Plenty of mainstream writers, such as Stephen King, T.C. Boyle and too many others to name, are still putting out shorter fictions between novels. So check out Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, or whatever your favorite book source is and check out the short story section. Remember…it doesn’t have to be long to be a great. And even if it’s not the next earth-shattering, teen loving novel…it might one day be a classic.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Night in Camp

This is a continuation of a previous post "The End"

As he slept he had the same recurring dream that he had almost every night. Well, the nights that he slept. It was the beginning of it all. He was home with his wife and daughter when the explosion happened. He still didn’t know what it was, or where it came from, but it was the last memory he had of his family. The last memory he had of anything before this.

When the flash took over the sky he threw himself over the only two people in the world that mattered to him. After that, in the light that overtook the world, everything went black. When he woke up he had no way of knowing how much time had passed. He saw no signs of life and he was surrounded by rubble. When he remembered what happened he dug through the rock for his girls. He dug through the remains until his fingers bled, and then he dug some more, not stopping until he collapsed of exhaustion. He screamed their names as he realized they were gone. He found no sign of them, or anyone else for that matter.

That’s when he began to wander through the remains of the city. Everything had been crumbled to the ground. When he reached the outskirts, there was still nothing. What wasn’t destroyed was just left to decay. He grew determined to find out what happened. He had to know what caused this. If there was anyone else left.

He jumped awake with cold sweats and shaking. Again he was overwhelmed with the feeling of being watched.

“Who’s there?!” he shouted at the darkness while he jumped to his feet.

There was no reply, but he was almost certain he saw the shadows move again. He shined his light in the direction of the movement and there was nothing. He was done sleeping for the night. He packed up to be ready to move at first light.

The above is a response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week's word was decay.