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.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Three lanes of practically motionless traffic on the northbound side of the interstate. On the opposite side of the barrier he had seen a convoy of emergency services speed by. Finally, he crawls past the flashing red and blue lights scattered around the overturned vehicle blocking southbound traffic. The doors were cut off and there was far too much blood on the broken glass.

His stomach began to turn as he was overwhelmed with a sickening feeling. Not so much by the sight, but by the way the passersby gawked at it, like this tragedy was some sort of spectacle.

Above is an entry to this week's 100 Word Challenge

Friday, May 18, 2012

The End?

Everything had been destroyed. All he had ever known was left in ruins. All he had to look back on was the remains of rubble and his own memories, which appeared to be fading more and more by the day. For a long time he thought he might be the only one left, but now he wasn’t so sure.

His days were spent traveling and scavenging for supplies. For anything that could help him survive one more day. He would look for any signs of life, but that always ended with nothing. All logic told him there was no one else. That he was left to spend the rest of his existence aimlessly wandering this barren wasteland.

It was what happened after nightfall that made him start to believe that he wasn’t alone. As he sat in the darkness he would become overwhelmed with the feeling that he was being watched. The more he tried to ignore it the stronger the sensation became. As he would lie still in his camp for the night it appeared the shadows would move, and he was even sure he had heard voices…screams in the distance.

This was a response to this week's "Friday Fiction" at The One-Minute Writer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The News

She sat him down to tell him the news. She had been playing this moment over and over again in her head for the past week since she found out. She still didn’t know what to say. She knew what she had to say, but she was clueless on how to get the words out. Where was she going to start? Was she going to be able to get through it without crying? How was he going to react? She opened her mouth and everything she planned on saying was gone. It was like someone else was speaking through her and all she could do was standby and listen to what sounded like the rambling randomness of someone else’s words.

His head was spinning as she spoke. It seemed like she couldn’t keep a straight train of thought, and he couldn’t keep up with anything she was saying. One minute she was talking about how much she had been looking forward to prom, and how she had already picked out the dress that she would never be able to wear now. Then she went on about graduation and going away to college. How for the entire four years of high school she pictured the dorm room she was never going to see. After all that she said something about rite of passage, or missing out on it, or something.

He was completely lost, trying to decipher the hysterical ups and downs of whatever it was she was trying to say. Then, all of a sudden, it was clear. It was as if he cracked the hidden code in her speech and he was able to finally see the whole picture. It was with that realization that the trouble set in. Her voice faded into background noise behind his own thoughts. After that all he heard were individual words...

Dizzy spells...




This post is a response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge . The word this week was ‘trouble’.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Least Likely

He sees something in her she doesn’t even see in herself. Something that makes him want to be with her more than anyone else he’s ever met. Her hidden attributes, which were unwittingly exposed to him, changed him forever. He hardly knew she existed before. Now, he couldn’t imagine a life without her.

He was always strong and confident. She was always more comfortable staring at her converse when she spoke. She never thought anyone would see her as he does.

All the girls throw themselves at him. Why me? she wondered. I'm shy. Fragile. Not his type at all.

The "100 Word Challenge" brought to you by Velvet Verbosity

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


He stared into the dark emptiness of the eyes across from his own. They filled him with a sense of familiarity, but with that he felt no comfort. When he looked deeper into them, hoping for answers, all he saw was a cold blankness that instilled uneasiness and fear in the depths of his existence. It was a feeling that the more he focused on the more it overwhelmed him and a shudder coursed through his body.

As he widened his view of the face he was examining he saw lines that came with age and thinning gray hair tousled on his head. With the narrow cheeks that led to a firm, chiseled jaw he still projected a bold masculine presence despite his obvious age of seniority. He knew the face, but he couldn’t recall anything else about it. Looking at the man in front of him he couldn’t remember the simplest detail. No name, no birthday, whether he had children or what he did for a living.

As the frustration took over his mind and body the shaking came back. A tear ran down his cheek as the sense of loss and loneliness embraced him. He grabbed the closest object he could get his hands on and threw it at the taunting face in front of him.

The sound of shattering glass resonated through the room and the shards fell into the sink. He broke down and sobbed over the now hundreds of tiny reflections that looked up at him. A frantic knocking came upon the door. When he opened it there was a frightened looking older woman who instantly started inspecting him for injuries and asking him what happened.

“I’m sorry ma’am,” he responded through his tears. “The man in the mirror is just such an enigma now. He got the better of me.”

“It’s okay,” she said as he sobbed in her arms. “It’s me, your wife, Judy. It’s all going to be okay.” She cried, knowing she was lying.


The trifecta word this week was enigma

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just friends

This weekends trifecta challenge is to write three truths and a lie in 33 to 333 words.

No matter where I go or what I do, it doesn't matter how many people come in or out of my life, you are and always will be the most amazing person I've ever met.

No matter how many sunrises or sunsets I witness, the countless night skies filled with glorious full moons, you are the most beautiful thing I have ever laid my eyes on.

No matter how much time goes by, or how much distance there may be between us, my love for you knows no boundaries.  It is eternal and unconditional.

Of course I understand...Just friends...That’s exactly what I want too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Shooting

This weekends trifecta challenge is to create a scene that involves three people and tell it from the perspective of each character using only 33 words for per person.

The following is my entry.


“POLICE! DON’T MOVE!” he hears from down the hall. Then, two shots ring out. He runs as fast as he can. He sees his partner shaking. The suspect down, with gun in hand.

“POLICE! DON’T MOVE!” he hears from behind him. He turns to see only one cop. Taking his chances he lunges at the officer. He pulls out his own weapon. Then, everything goes black.

“POLICE! DON’T MOVE!” he yells as loud as he can. The suspect grins and violently jumps at him. He saw the suspect pull it out. He stepped back and instinctively reacted. He shot!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Move

It all started when her father came flying through the door and ran into the dining room where everyone was eating dinner. He was so excited that he left the front door wide open and didn’t even waste the time taking off his overcoat. He threw his briefcase down on the floor somewhere between where he came in and where his family was sitting, and he grabbed his wife right out of her chair. He squeezed her in his arms and spun her around like they were the only two people on a dance floor. For a man that was always so organized and grounded this was very out of character and had Lisa very concerned. Matt and Rachel, her younger twin siblings, were only eight years old and were starting to giggle at the way their parents were acting.

“I got it!” their father yelled. “I got it!”

“Oh honey, I knew you would. I’m so proud of you,” their mother responded joyfully.

A strong sense of concern was beginning to form in the pit of Lisa’s stomach. “Got what? What are you guys talking about?”

Realizing the whole family was looking at them, Lisa with confusion and the twins with innocent smiles and laughter; they stopped their private celebration and addressed their children.

“Everybody sit down,” their father said. “Your mother and I have some great news for all of you.”

They all took their seats, but just from the feel in the air Lisa knew there was something about this she wasn’t going to like.

Her father went into great detail telling them about the job interview he had a few weeks back and how he knew he would be perfect for the job. He talked about how he and their mother didn’t want to mention anything to them about it because nothing was set in stone, and there were a lot of people after this one position. After about twenty minutes of him giving background information he said the words again.

“I got it. I got the job.”

Her mother gave him another hug, and her brother and sister started jumping up and down telling him they were happy for him. She sat quietly for a minute. Something didn’t make sense and she was trying to pinpoint what it was. She felt like there was more to it that wasn’t being said. Then, just like that, it hit her.

“Wait,” she said. “What job did you get? What job could you have possibly gotten? You are already the Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago division field office. What else is there after that?”

“You’re right. There is no other job in my current office for me. The job I just got is much bigger than that. Much more important than that. I just got assigned to be the new Assistant Director of the Cyber Division.”

“That’s great Dad. I didn’t realize any of the directors jobs were here in Chicago.”

Her parents became silent after she said that and almost instantly a cold chill ran up the back of her neck.

“It is here in Chicago, isn’t it?” she asked.

Well, no dear,” her father finally answered. “It is going to involve a lot of traveling for me, but my main office is going to be at the FBI Headquarters building in Washington D.C. We’re all going to be moving to Virginia.”

“Virginia!” she yelled at the top of her lungs. “I am not moving to Virginia. Everything is here, my boyfriend, my friends. I’m a junior in high school, you’re really going to make me leave now and start over in a new school for my senior year.”

“Well, not quite your senior year,” her father responded. “We are leaving in two weeks.”

“What?!” she yelled one last time before she got up from the table and stormed out the front door.

She called her boyfriend Jeremy and told him to meet her at park down the street from her house. When he pulled up at the corner she ran to his car and explained everything to him while he drove away. They went straight to Lake Michigan, their favorite place to be together, and he held her while she cried.

“I don’t want to leave you,” she cried.

“I know baby. I don’t want you to go either. We are going to figure something out. I promise. We will spend every day together until you leave, and hopefully by then we will come up with something.”

He held her, and she continued to cry with her face buried in his chest until they ultimately fell asleep under the stars, something they had always talked about doing but under the circumstances it didn’t seem as special. The next morning they woke up and spent the whole day together. She didn’t want to go home, she didn’t want to do anything but curl up tightly in his arms and forget about everything that was happening. She always felt safe in his arms, and she hoped that his embrace could make everything go away. They took out his father’s boat, which was docked at the lake not far from where they had spent the night. He went out far enough into the water that they could just shut the motor off and calmly drift for a while. He held her and she cried for most of the day.

He brought her home that night and she went straight to her room without speaking to anyone. They spent every day together after that and she made it a point to get home late enough that everyone would be asleep. She didn’t want to speak to them. She didn’t even want to see them. She knew there was nothing she could do about the life-ending situation she was in, but it didn’t mean she had to accept it and pretend everything was okay.

The two weeks went by faster than any other amount of time ever did and the inevitable day arrived. She still didn’t want to move, but she had no choice. Her father got a new job, halfway across the country, and she felt like he didn’t care about anyone else. He was just uprooting the entire family and moving to a new city. It was her last day in the house she grew up in. The moving truck was outside and men kept walking in and out of her bedroom taking away her furniture, her personal belongings…her life. She was miserable to have to leave her home town, all her friends, her school, but most importantly Jeremy. How could she leave Jeremy?

Once her room was completely empty it didn’t feel like it was hers anymore. She moved outside and sat on the porch swing, one of the few things the movers hadn’t taken away yet. She slowly glided over the porch when Jeremy pulled up in front of the house. She ran to him and jumped into his arms.

“I can’t believe this is it,” she said.

“This is not it. We have been together for three years and this isn’t going to change that. We are still going to see each other all the time. Not as much as we do now obviously, but all the time. It's 700 miles. If I have to drive out there to see you that is what I will do. I love you Lisa. I love you.”

She started to shake as his words set in. “I love you too,” she said through hysterical tears. “I love you so much.”

“It’s time,” her father said.

Jeremy leaned down and kissed her softly on her lips as he squeezed her tightly in his arms. As they parted she felt empty, as if part of her stayed with him. She took slow steps backwards towards the van, not taking her eyes off him, afraid she might never see him again.

“I love you,” she said as she climbed in and the door closed. The van pulled away from the curb and her eyes stayed fixed on him until he faded from sight.

To be continued…

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Chase

He chases her as she pants with exhaustion and terror.

He grabs her, rips at her flesh.

Pain searing through her body.

She cries out…“HELP!“

Nobody does.

She’s devoured by her savage stalker.


The challenge:

"Write a horror story in 33 words, without the words blood, scream, died, death, knife, gun, or kill. Good luck."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Betrayal at home

After two long tours he was finally going to be home. As much as he couldn’t wait to leave when he graduated high school, he was eager now to get back. When the train came to a stop he put his hat on, threw his duffle bag over his shoulder and with a deep breath walked to the door. The crowd outside jumped and cheered when they saw him emerge on the platform. He stepped off the train, walked into the crowd and was instantly surrounded by family and friends. People were offering handshakes and hugs while others just cried with tears of joy that he was home safe. Even those at the station who didn’t know him were taken by the power of emotion at the event.

His girlfriend jumped to him, wrapping her arms and legs around his body and squeezing him as if she would never let him go again. He kissed her and the spectators cheers became even louder.

This is what makes it all with it, he thought to himself. People like this are who we're fighting for.

After the roaring crowd died down he stood tall with pride and thanked everyone in the town for the amazing welcome. It was moments like these that made him forget about all the things he had been through. It reminded him there is still good in the world.

He climbed into a car with his girlfriend and again everyone cheered for him as they drove off together. When they got back to her house he tossed his bag in the corner and kissed her again. He dreamt of this moment so many times. Played it out over and over in his head. Finally he held the woman he loved in his arms again.

He looked at her with love in his eyes, reached into the pocket of his uniform, and ran his fingers over the ring he had been carrying for over six months. “I have something important to ask you,” he said nervously.

“What is that?” she asked in a flirty voice with her arms still around his neck.

“I…I...” Stuttering with even more nervousness he paused.

She giggled and said, “What is it baby?”

As he started to speak again he was interrupted by the ringing of the phone. Half relieved and half annoyed he reached over and answered it. “Hello?”

When he heard the other person’s voice he immediately knew who it was and spoke again without giving his friend a chance to say anything. “Tommy,” he said excitedly, “where the hell were you when I got off the train?”

As soon as she found out who it was on the other end of the phone her face became cold and concerned.

“Wait! Stop! You did what?!” he yelled.

She backed away from him and started to cry.

“But you’re my best friend, and she’s my girl. I can’t believe this.” He slammed the phone down and looked at her, this time with betrayal and pain in his eyes. “I loved you,” he said to her. “I went through hell over there, and the whole time you were doing that?!” He picked up his things and walked to the door. Before leaving he turned to her one last time, looked her in the eyes and said, “How cheap can you be?”


Above is another trifecta writing challenge.  This week's word is 'cheap'.  As always we are using the third definition of the word.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Protest of duties

The following is a response to this week's Trifecta writing challenge

Protest of duties

In hopes of a treaty with the neighboring lands, the great King Archibald, Lord of the realm Garidus, offered the hand of his first daughter Princess Catarina to the son of his born nemesis King Ignatius. For generations war existed between the two realms and this was their chance to make a better future for their people.

Princess Catarina was a being of immeasurable beauty. She wore long blonde hair that when braided, which was the common style of one holding her title, it reached her waistline. Her eyes were of the most radiant blue anyone had ever seen and it was said that when looked upon by them one felt she could see the secrets buried in the depths of their soul. She carried herself with poise and spoke with intelligence. With all these qualities it was understandable that whenever she left a room she carried with her some hearts.

It was the day of the engagement banquet when she finally spoke her protest. She walked into the court, with her head down, and requested an audience with the king in private. Concerned, the king granted her request immediately and they went to the royal study.

“Father,” she said, humbled, with her eyes driven into the ground, “I beg of you, don’t make me go through with this union!”

“My dear daughter, I thought this was settled. It is for the good of the realm.”

“But father, Prince Brayden is such a, forgive my language, a vile creature.

“Catarina, what gives you such an impression?” he asked.

Still looking at the ground she said, “Father you have heard the stories just as I. The savage battles he’s led, the amount of carnage left by his troops. It is apparent he cares of no one but himself.” She paused then looked up at her father. “You say it’s my duty, but I want to marry for love, not for politics. I want to marry someone with a warm heart, and a clean soul!”

Friday, March 16, 2012


This weekend’s trifecta challenge is to write a story entitled ‘Lost’ in exactly 33 words. The word ‘lost’ can only appear in the title, not in your 33 words. For more details see the trifecta writing challenge at

My response:


Her voice echoes around him, resonating from every direction.

Impossible to pinpoint the source he cries out to her.

His scared voice trembles.

She can’t hear him!

Where is she?!

Where is he?!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Response to a writing prompt...

Thanks to a prompt from the blog Daily Writing Practice which can be viewed at

This exercises was a first line prompt and the following is what I ended up with...

There is a ghost wind blowing on an otherwise still, dead night.  It comes with no howl.  No rustling of the leaves.  No sign of its presence at all. None except the soul shaking chill it sends up his spine as he embraces her with every fiber of his being.  He refuses to let go, knowing it is going to be the last time he ever holds her.

His body shakes as she gently pulls away to place a soft kiss upon his lips. The shaking of his body explodes into a searing emotional pain throughout his entire essence.  She continues to pull away and the only thing he can do is lean forward in hopes to prolong the inevitable.  As the union of their lips break, so does his spirit.  She backs away without a word, only a single tear running down her cheek. 

He feels as if he should cry too.  He wants to cry! But he can't!  That chill that shot up his spin in some way must have frozen his heart.  Locking him in that moment for what felt to be all eternity.  She continued to step back, fading into the darkness.  Their eyes never left each other, until that final moment came and she was gone from his sight, and his world, forever. 

He still couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't feel.  What was he to do? She wasn't only his life, she was his being.  She was everything that made him who he was.  He couldn't go on without her so he made the choice not to fight the coldness.  He simply stood there, motionless, not thinking, until the darkness surrounded his body as well, being absorbed into nothingness by the vast unknown.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Dreamer

I have always been considered a bit of a dreamer. Growing up, no matter where I was, I could always just drift off into my own world. At school it was called day-dreaming, at home they called it an active imagination. To me it was just normal.

Naturally, because of this, as I got older I became interested in all sorts of writing in an attempt to channel this 'creativity'. Some I excelled in more than others, but eventually I stopped writing on a regular basis.

It had always been a plan of mine to write again, but it kept getting pushed back by things in 'the real world'. It seemed like there would always be time to write, and I could do it whenever I wanted. But if that were true, then why wasn't I doing it?

Then, one day at my 'real job,' in that 'real world' I was talking about, I transferred to a new unit in my company. There I met someone who had published a book of what he described as an original collection of urban poetry and story-telling. Instantly it came up in conversation and I responded with a statement that every writer hears all too often...

"I've always wanted to write a book."

He looked at me and said, "so why haven't you?"

I responded with just about every generic excuse you could think of and he simply said, "the only thing stopping you is you."

He was right! I found that simple statement to be immensely inspiring and that week I started writing again. I truly believe everyone has at least one great story inside of them. The trick is getting it out for the world to enjoy. Through that one statement I came to realize our biggest obstacles are ourselves and our insecurities.

Just as I have remembered my dream, I urge everyone who reads this to do the same. Face those insecurities that have stopped you until now and push through them. You may surprise yourself!