Goals [October 2019]

Goals October 2019 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I haven’t read any books for a long time. I’ve been doing research on some things which are technically reading books, but I haven’t read any fiction or the like. It’d be great to get back into the swing of things this month, but I think my plan is to just start reading again. I may or may not have any book reviews for the month. I might start that up again in November. I’ll certainly be trying to read something though. Even if it’s just one or two books.

Writing

Writing too has fallen to the wayside. I’ve been making a list of what needs to be done for each of the novels I’m working on and started to break them up into months. I’m figuring out what I need to work on this month and beyond through 2020. I’m sure things will change, but as of right now, I have a tentative plan. Also, NaNoWriMo is next month so I think that will also help me get back into the swing of things.

Blogging

October may look a bit like Swiss cheese. My original plan was to start blogging daily again this month, but September was busier than anticipated and I got sick for the last week. Needless to say, October is not ready at all and it’s already the first of the month. So, I’m going to take this time to catch up on some things. I actually have some ideas for 2020 so I might start implementing those and really get back into the swing of things come January. But I’ll still be here posting when I can. I’m hoping I can start posting daily again in November, but we’ll see how things go.

Overall

2019 has been a crazy year. So much has happened in the past few months that it’s too much to explain and even though I’ve lived through it, I can’t wrap my head around most of what’s happened. There have been good things and bad things and my writing and blogging have taken a blow due to it all. I’m ready to get back into my routine and bring things back to “normal” and what they were before. I’m just going to take it slow.

What are your goals for this month? Do you have any big plans? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 284: Hook

Short Story Sunday: Hook | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“The importance of the first line or the opening paragraph or even the first chapter is to hook the reader in.” Mrs. Terris stated pacing in the front of the classroom. She held up the current book they were reading in their creative writing class. She was a firm believer that people needed to read a lot in order to write, but Jane didn’t necessarily think that was always the case. Sure, reading helped, but she didn’t believe it was a requirement to write well.

Needless to say, Jane didn’t expect her first creative writing class in college to be like this. She had expected to learn the craft of writing and test it out for herself through writing her own short stories and maybe even begin a novel or try out poetry or something. Instead, they were reading novels and then discussing what makes them so good. The thing was, Jane didn’t care for most of the stories her professor picked out so she wasn’t learning much.

“I want you guys to pick out a sentence or two from the opening the chapter that you believe was the hook to get you to read more.” Mrs. Terris explained further.

Jane sighed. This better not be an essay assignment.

“Just write a quick paragraph about why that phrase hooked you into reading more of the book.” Mrs. Terris explained.

Jane stared at her copy of the book sitting on the corner of her desk. She didn’t like the book. She only kept reading because she had to do it for homework. If she had found that book in the bookstore herself, she would have read the back blurb and put it back on the shelf not giving it another thought.

So, she rose her hand.

“Yes, Jane?”

“What if you didn’t like the book?” she asked bluntly.

Half the class turned their heads to look at her while the other half looked onward at their professor, curious about her reaction. Mrs. Terris looked at her puzzled and held up the book higher for her to see – as if Jane as mistaken or thinking about something different.

“Jane, this is a classic.” Mrs. Terris stated.

“Yeah, and?” Jane replied. “I didn’t like it. It wasn’t an entertaining read for me and I didn’t get anything out of it.”

Mrs. Terris paused for a brief moment. She put the book down on her desk and leaned her back against it. She looked at the class with a curious gaze. “Is there anyone else who didn’t care for the book?”

A few of Jane’s classmates slowly raised their hands, scanning the rest of the classroom. It was almost as if they were afraid to voice their opinion about such a classic tale.

Mrs. Terris nodded. “Okay, that’s fair. The thing with reading books is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we all interpret the words differently. That’s why, as an author, accepting rejection is a key piece to being a writer.”

Jane straightened in her seat. She was aiming to be an author, that’s why she took creative writing classes. So far, Mrs. Terris has just analyzed other stories. She felt as though she had just opened a can of worms but it might be in her favor this time around.

“With that said,” Mrs. Terris continued, “if you enjoyed the book, I want you to do the assignment I just said. Pick a sentence or two from the first chapter that hooked you into reading more of the story and write a paragraph or why that phrase worked. If you didn’t enjoy the book, I want you to choose a sentence or two in the first chapter that you believe was meant to be the hook and then write a paragraph about why it didn’t work for you. Or why the first chapter as a whole didn’t pull you in.

“Then,” Mrs. Terris continued on, “I’d like you all to take the sentence that you choose and use that as a first sentence to write your own story. How would you use that phrase differently to hook your readers into your own story?”

A boy in the back of the class raised his hand. “Does it have to be the very first sentence of the story?”

Mrs. Terris teetered her head for a moment. “No, I suppose not. Fit the sentence into your story where you see fit. Just make sure it’s early enough in the story.”

Jane grinned as she wrote down the assignment. She was thankful to finally have a creative writing assignment in her creative writing class. This was what she was expecting.

This was certainly an assignment she felt confident in doing.

Words: 787

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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5 Quotes From Sarah Dessen

5 Quotes from Sarah Dessen | Author | Creative Writing | Quotes | Inspirational Quotes | RachelPoli.com

1. “Sometimes it seems safer to hold it all in, where the only person who can judge is yourself.”

2. “Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that’s what makes you strong.”

3. “You can’t always get the perfect moment. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can under the circumstances.”

4. “Sometimes, we just have to be happy with what people can offer us. Even if it’s not what we want, at least it’s something.”

5. “You can’t make any one person your world. The trick is to take what each can give you and build a world from it.”

What’s your favorite quote from Sarah Dessen? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 283: Bend

Short Story Sunday: Bend | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Grant stepped out of his pick-up truck and pointed to the river bend as Hazel stepped out of the truck on the other side. He drew in a deep breath and grinned. “Can you smell that?”

Hazel nodded her head. “I smell something… dirt, maybe?”

Grant smirked. “Come on, Hazel. I love camping and I want to share this experience with you. I used to come here all the time with my dad.”

“You make it sound as though your dad is gone.”

“I don’t mean to. I know you say you hate camping, but you’ve never been before. I just want you to experience it and if you don’t like it, then we’ll never do it again.” Grant said. He stuck his hand out to his girlfriend. “Deal?”

“No deal,” Hazel took his hand and he led her down to the stream. “I’ve never been camping because I’ve had no interest in it and I don’t think I’m going to last out here. But I don’t want you to never go camping again because of me. If I really don’t like it, I’ll still come with you once in a while.”

Grant kissed the back of her head. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Hazel replied, “but I might kill you by the end of the weekend.”

“Have you ever skipped rocks before?” Grant asked ignoring her comment.

Hazel narrowed her eyes. “Yeah, I skip rocks in my above-ground pool…”

“Alright, alright. No need to be snippy.” Grant chuckled. “Find some flat rocks.” He let go of her hand and started looking on the ground.

“Shouldn’t we build the tent?” Hazel asked pointing to the truck. “Or build a fire or something? Doesn’t that keep bears away?”

“Oh, I found one.” Grant said still ignoring her. Though now he was wondering if this was such a great idea. This whole weekend might be filled with Hazel panicking and him trying to calm her down and convincing her they won’t get eaten by bears.

“Great.” Hazel sighed. “How is that little rock going to protect us from the bears?”

“Calm down, would you? We’re not going to get eaten and the rock is for skipping.” Grant got behind her and pushed her toward the water.

“If you push me in…”

“Would I really do that to you?”

“Yes,”

Grant hesitated. “Well, not right now I wouldn’t.”

“Gee, thanks…” Hazel grunted.

Grant, without another word, put the rock in her right hand and held onto her arm from behind. He did a couple of swinging motions before telling her to let go of the rock. She did and the rock plopped into the river.

“Huh.” Grant stood up straighter. “That was a lot more romantic in my head.”

Hazel burst out laughing. She turned around and gave Grant a kiss on the cheek. “You’re a delightful idiot, you know that?”

“I’d like to think so.” Grant agreed deciding to take it as a compliment.

“It seems like we both need some practice skipping rocks.” Hazel stated. “I bet, by the end of the weekend, my rocks will go much farther across the river than yours.”

Grant grinned. “You’re on!”

The two of them pushed away from each other and spent a good chunk of their afternoon scurrying about the shore in search of flat rocks, tossing them into the river, but none of the rocks going very far.

Words: 568

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Fall Blog Party [September 2019]

2019 September Blog Party | Blogging | Bloggers Connect | Blogging Community | Blog Party | Blog Link Party | Link Party | Writing Community | Writers Connect | RachelPoli.com

Welcome to another blog party! Happy September!

In the comments below…

  • Introduce yourself and your blog name.
  • Share one thing you love to do in the fall.
  • Link to one (1) blog post of yours – this can be your latest post, your favorite one, most popular, whatever. Just link to one and people can explore the rest of your blog from there.

After you comment…

  • Please be sure to check out blog posts from others. This is a way for all us to gain more exposure and meet new people. Please don’t just drop your link below and leave. Share the kindness and check out some other blogs.
  • Also, please feel free to respond to people in the comments and start conversations. Also, check back on the post periodically to see if anyone has responded to your own comment.
  • Share this post around especially if you know any blogging friends who could use more exposure – the more the merrier!

I’ll do my best to check out each and every one of your blogs for the day. Of course, while I’ll leave the comments open, I most likely won’t be checking blogs after this day is over (due to time and other obligations). So get them in now!

Remember… one blog post and check out other blogs from people you don’t know. This is all about connecting.

Have fun!

Happy connecting! Please share this post around for a chance for others to connect.

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Musical Mondays: Try Everything By Shakira

Musical Mondays: Try Everything by Shakira | Music Video | Inspiration | Inspirational Songs | RachelPoli.com

This is kind of an oldie at this point, but this is such a good song. (Zootopia is a great movie too!)

I fell in love with this song’s catchy beat, but you can’t beat the lyrics either. Zootopia had a great message about following your dream and never giving up and this song just puts that message into a catchy theme.

I used to listen to this song on a loop because it reminds me a lot of me. I often put too many things on my plate and I’m always wanting to try new things. I’m always wanting to create new things. I resonate with this song because I truly do try everything and with this whole writing and blogging thing? Well, I haven’t given up yet.

What did you think of the song? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 282: Set

Short Story Sunday: Set | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

“Everything needs to be just so.” Stella said. She placed the plates, utensils, and napkins down on the table. She backed away and took a mental picture of the place settings.

“No, they don’t. Trust me, no one is going to care where their fork is along as they have a fork.” Claire replied with an eye roll.

“No, this is our first dinner party as adults. We’re inviting our parents and close friends, I want everything to be perfect.” Stella paused to look at her roommate.

“I don’t think we should have a dinner party in the first place. Neither one of us knows how to cook.” Claire countered.

“We cook dinner for ourselves every night.”

“Yeah, we make noodles because it’s quick and easy and we have no idea how to cook.”

“Well, we need to learn.”

“I agree,” Claire nodded, “but I don’t think cooking a grand meal for all our close friends and family is a great time to start, you know?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Stella dismissed the thought with a wave of her hand. “I’ve picked out a couple of recipes from some cookbooks and we’ll test them out. If none of them go well, I have a backup.”

“What’s your backup?” Claire wondered aloud.

“Homemade mac and cheese.” Stella grinned.

Claire sighed. “Oh, yeah… mac and cheese. People are definitely going to want their forks and spoons to be on the correct side of their plate now.”

Words: 244

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Short Story Sunday 281: Stomp

Short Story Sunday: Stomp | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Mary entered her house as loud as can be stomping her feet through the hardwood flooring in the living room.

Her older sister, Audrey, was sitting on the couch reading a book when her sister stormed into the room. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.

“School was dumb today.” Mary growled. She kicked off her sneakers, tossed them into the closet as well as her backpack.

“Why was it dumb?” Audrey continued.

Mary closed the closet door. “My backpack can stay in there for now. I don’t want to even think about my homework.”

“I say again,” Audrey sighed putting a bookmark into her book and closing it, “why was school dumb today?”

“I have a lot of homework.” Mary pouted. She threw herself onto the armchair slouching her whole body like a slinky.

Audrey scoffed. “Yeah, okay. Been there, done that.”

“No, you don’t get it.” Mary said sitting up. “I have homework in every single subject tonight.”

Audrey nodded. “Yeah, that happens. You’re in high school now.”

“But it’s the first day of school!”

“The teachers don’t care about that. They want to get down to business as soon as possible.”

“I have five tests tomorrow too.” Mary continued.

“Five? Out of seven classes?” Audrey wondered.

“Six classes. I have a study last period.” Mary clarified.

“Then why didn’t you get any of your homework done then? Or why didn’t you get a head start on studying? That’s the whole point of a study period.” Audrey couldn’t help but smirk. Mary was so exited to start high school just that morning. She had no idea what the next four years was going to bring.

“I got some of it done.” Mary replied calmly. “Really, I did.”

“I believe you.” Audrey put her hands up. “What are the tests for though?”

“Summer reading, the summer homework we had to do, and one test is a placement test… whatever that means.” Mary said rolling her eyes.

Audrey frowned sympathetically. “I’m sorry. I know it’s overwhelming. This isn’t what you expected at all.”

“No, it’s not. And I already have two projects assigned! Both are from two of the books I had to read over the summer. One is just an essay that’s due by the end of the week and the other is an essay along with some sort of presentation with visuals and stuff… that’s due in two weeks.” Mary ranted.

Audrey raised her eyebrows. Mary must have had some tough teachers. She didn’t remember the teachers in high school being this brutal when she was there – especially not on the first day.

Mary sighed. “Please tell me your first day of college was just as rough. I’m sure that’s ten times worse than high school.”

Audrey tilted her head to the side. “Why would you want it to be worse? You’re going to have to go through it someday as well.”

“I know, but I don’t care right now. I just need to know I’m not the only one having a tough time.” Mary said.

“You’re not the only one, Mary. College was brutal today.” Audrey stated.

“How are you so calm about it right now?” Mary asked in shock.

Audrey shrugged. “I’m used to it from high school, I guess.”

“Oh. Okay.” Mary nodded. She stood up and headed toward the kitchen. “Maybe high school really does prepare you for college then…”

Audrey watched her sister leave the room. Then she went back to reading her book. She didn’t have the heart to tell her sister that college was great. Her professor is really nice and they didn’t have any homework to do tonight. She also had a feeling Mary forgot that Audrey made her own schedule and she only had to attend school three days a week for four classes. She wasn’t about to tell Mary that just yet though. Audrey decided to let Mary get used to high school and settle in with the new school then.

Then Audrey would brag to Mary about how wonderful college is.

Words: 673

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 50

Last week’s writing prompt was a picture prompt. Check out some stories from fellow writers here:

  • []

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter: "Um..." | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue: “Um…”

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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Short Story Sunday 280: Game

Short Story Sunday: Game | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Scarlett sat down on her bed and put her laptop in her lap. She had a mug of coffee on her nightstand along with a glass of water. There was a bowl of leftover Halloween candy as well as a bowl of popcorn. Normally she didn’t like having greasy or salty food while she was on her computer or gaming because it was always a pain to wipe her hands after every bite and she didn’t want to get her things slippery, but she knew she was in for a long night.

It was Friday afternoon. School was long and boring but she had nothing to for the rest of the afternoon and absolutely nothing going on for Saturday. Her homework for the weekend was going to have to wait until Sunday.

She and her friends were about to embark on an epic journey and defeat the evil dark lord who was plaguing the land. This new expansion pack for the MMORPG she and her friends played all the time had been out for a couple of months. They had finally all saved their allowances and even did extra chores so that they could each buy a copy of the game – which was about 50-dollars.

A few months might be a long time to some but to others it’s not that long at all. Still, there have been no reports on anyone defeating this dark lord. People have posted on the online forums and discussed items they collected and certain things they’ve done in the game to prepare for the final boss, but so far no one has had any luck. So far, this boss was unbeatable.

Scarlett had been taking notes from these people online and writing down what has worked and what hasn’t. She’s also brainstormed some ideas she and her friends could try out and some items and status updates they could collect. They had been leveling up all their characters in the meantime. They weren’t as high a level as they could have been, but it was now or never. Scarlett was determined to be the first group to defeat this boss.

She had also heard reports that this boss took hours. There was a journey and tons of enemies to get to the castle, then they’d have to go through the castle and defeat a lot of enemies along with mini-bosses, and then it would be time for the dark lord. Or, that’s what people have been assuming. Most people haven’t made it past the third floor of the castle and there were only five floors.

Scarlett took out her notes and put on her headset while she waited for the game to load. She had told her parents that she was going to be busy for the rest of the night. She was expecting to pull an all-nighter with this one. There was no saving in the middle of the journey.

Once the game was booted up, Scarlett noticed that none of her friends were online. She leaned back against her pillow and unwrapped a candy bar waiting patiently. Then her phone beeped with a text message.

One of her friends had texted them all in a group message saying she wasn’t able to log on. Apparently, it was her parents’ anniversary and they wanted to go out to dinner. Scarlett pouted but didn’t respond as she noticed some of her other friends were replying.

One friend was relieved because they had forgotten they agreed to babysit their younger sibling. Scarlett’s third friend, and the final member of their quartet in the game, responded saying they mouthed off their mother and lost their computer privileges. (She lost her phone as well, but snuck it back and her mother hadn’t noticed yet.)

Scarlett sighed. She didn’t reply to any of them. She knew things came up, but she exited out of the game and shut down her laptop. She turned her phone off, shoved another candy bar into her mouth, and then opened her backpack from school.

There wasn’t anything left for her to do that night other than do her homework. Maybe her friends would be able to play Saturday night into Sunday. If her homework was all done by then Scarlett wouldn’t have to worry about it later.

But who was she kidding? She was just bummed because if she couldn’t play her game, she wanted to hang out with her friends on a Friday night. They were apparently all busy now… except for one who was most likely grounded. But what else was new with her?

A knock came at Scarlett’s bedroom door and her mother poked her head in. “Hi, I’m sorry to bother you… are you in your game, yet?”

“No, why?” Scarlett shook her head.

“Well, I was thinking and… wait, why is your homework out?” her mother asked confused.

Scarlett sighed. “They all just texted me. Andy has to go out to dinner with her parents for their anniversary, Cara forgot that she agreed to babysit her little brother and sister tonight, and Tori mouthed off to her mother again so she’s in trouble.”

“Oh,” her mother frowned. “I’m sorry, honey. That’s annoying. I know you were really looking forward to playing this game tonight.”

“I know,” Scarlett said with a shrug. “I guess we’ll just have to plan another time. What is it that you were going to say?”

Her mother hesitated to respond. “I don’t want to make you feel worse than you probably already do, though.”

“What do you mean?”

“I figured, if you’re going to stay up all night anyway, I was going to see if you wanted to invite your friends over for a sleep over? Then you guys could play the game and it might make things easier.” Her mother explained.

Scarlett smiled. “I’ll keep that in might for next time.”

“Maybe letting Tori out of the house would keep her out of trouble with her own mother too.” Scarlett’s mom laughed.

“I appreciate that you understand how important this game is to me. Thanks.” Scarlett said.

Her mother nodded and turned away from her heading toward the door. “I don’t get it, but I know you enjoy it. I want you to have fun even if I think it’s weird.” She winked. “Did you want to hang out with me and dad tonight? We could all watch a movie together.”

Scarlett closed her math textbook. “I thought I’d be proactive on my homework, but that sounds much better.” She grabbed the bowl of popcorn off her nightstand. “I’ve already got the popcorn ready.”

Words: 1,102

Check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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