Writing Is Like… Playing

Remember using your imagination out loud in front of your parents or friends and not caring about whether people are watching you or not? Yeah, I miss those days too.

Writing Is Like Playing | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

You’re Using Characters

I’m almost 26-years-old. I still have my action figures from when I was young. I still have my stuffed animals too. In fact, I still collect stuffed animals. I’m always creating characters in my head and having conversations with them. That’s one of the things I love about writing. I’m bringing my characters – some I made up or fan fiction – come to life. I can give them a voice and give them an adventure.

You’re Using Your Imagination

We all talk to our imaginary friends. We all wish we were someplace we’re not. We all wish we had superpowers or something of the kind. Writing allows you to take your imagination to new heights. It allows you to bring it to live and live the life you want, even if it’s just for a little while.

You’re Sharing It With Others

By writing down you’re imagination, you’re sharing it with others. Whether you get it published or just post it on your blog, others are reading it and being absorbed into your world. You’re teaching others morals from your story. You’re sharing life lessons and how to be imaginative with children. You’re allowing people to love reading. In the end, it brings us all together.

What are some ways writing reminds you of playing? Does it remind you of anything else? 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 277: Follow (Part Two)

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

If you haven’t read Part One, you can do so here. Last week, you guys chose to have the characters check out the banging by the window. Here is part two.

Another banging at the window came, shaking the wooden boards that held it together. Luna shrank back stepping away from the window while Alex grabbed a poker from the fireplace and pointed it toward the window. Felix watched this with wide eyes before holding a hand up motioning for her to stand down.

He crept to the window and peered above the board that covered most of the glass. He saw nothing. He ducked lower and peered before the plank.

Felix turned back around with a shrug. He didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried that the banging must have just been the bugs or maybe the wind.

Alex let the poker go lip, her face twisting in frustration. Luna looked as though she were about to pass out.

None of them spoke a word or dared to breathe loudly. There still could have been something out there, but no one was willing to suggest it out loud.

“I know you’re in there.”

Felix looked back over his shoulder at the window. He heard Luna gasp from behind and Alex possibly take out another tool from the fireplace. He crept closer to the window.

“If you want to live, follow me.”

Felix furrowed his brows. He couldn’t make out who was standing outside. The window was tinted with dust and there was only a small crack at the bottom, Felix could barely hear him speak.

“If you want to live,” the voice said louder, “follow me.”

He walked away from the window and Felix turned to the girls. “Did you hear that?” he said quietly.

Alex nodded.

“You’re not going out there, are you?” Luna asked, stepping forward.

Felix shrugged. “This could be someone in the same boat as us. Someone who can help.”

“Or it could be a trap,” Alex suggested.

“He could have sent the bugs,” Luna added.

“I don’t think anyone can really ‘send bugs,'” Alex said, rolling her eyes.

Luna glared at her. “Have you seen the size of those things? They’re not normal. Something altered their DNA or their mechanical. And where did they all come from?”

“Bugs lay eggs and nearly 100,000 of them are born,” Alex stated.

“You know what I mean,”

“Girls,” Felix interjected, putting a hand on his sister’s shoulder. “I’m going to go outside and check what’s going on.”

“Don’t you dare,” Luna snapped.

“Alright,” Alex agreed. Luna shot her another glare, though the new friend just shrugged in response.

“We haven’t heard any buzzing in a bit, so I’m thinking the bugs moved on to a new location. Let me just see what this guy wants. He might be able to help us,” Felix explained in an attempt to convince his sister.

Luna shook her head. “Or he could just be trying to kick us out of our hideout so he can have it to himself.”

“Oh, please. This is the worst possible shelter,” Alex grunted.

Felix, ignoring Alex, looked Luna in the eyes. “I will be right back. I promise.”

Without waiting for a reply, he turned his back and exited the house closing the door behind him. Luna stared at the door as though it would open back up immediately. She looked over at Alex, who sat dwn on the couch.

Alex shrugged. “And now we wait.”

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: Set The Scene 16

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

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Set the Scene | Writing Prompt | Creative Writing | Writing Community | Creative Writing Prompt | Scene Prompt | Setting Prompt | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based in the setting mentioned above: At home.

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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August & September 2019 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

Here is the updated list for August & September 2019 writing submissions. I try to find submissions and contests with no fee (or on the cheaper side at least), which is surprisingly hard. As always, if you know any places that run contests and accept general submissions that are not on my list, please let me know and I’ll check it out to add it.

August & September 2019 Writing Submissions | Writing Contests | Creative Writing | Short Story | Flash Fiction | Poetry | RachelPoli.com

August 2019

Genre: Short Story (new writers only)
Website: The Masters Review
Deadline: August 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: First – $3,000

September 2019

Genre: Any
Theme: Self-published ebooks only
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: September 3, 2019
Entry Fee: $125
Prize: Grand – $5,000

Genre: Any Fiction
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: September 16, 2019 (early-bird)
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: Grand – $2,500

Genre: Essay
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: September 30, 2019
Entry Fee: $10
Prize: First – $1,000

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Laughter is the Best Medicine
Website: Chicken Soup
Deadline: September 30, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: The Golden Years or Second Wind
Website: Chicken Soup
Deadline: September 20, 2019
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes, but amount is not listed

Genre: Flash fiction and short fiction
Website: CRAFT Journal
Entry Fee: N/A

Genre: Fiction or narrative nonfiction
Website: The Masters Review
Entry Fee: N/A (for New Voices – new, unpublished writers only)

Genre: Short fiction, flash fiction, memoir, or poetry
Website: Split Lip Magazine
Entry Fee: Free (only during certain months)

Genre: Flash Fiction (53 words only)
Website: Press 53
Entry Fee: N/A
Deadline: 21st of every month (new prompt given on the first of every month)

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Your piece must have been rejected for publication or failed to win a prize at a literary competition in order to qualify.

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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Short Story Sunday 276: Contain (Part One)

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

Felix propped a couple chairs against the front door and wiped his hands on his pants. Dust flew around the room with any sudden movement they made and the house they ran into was filthy. It was clearly abandoned a long time ago. At least, he hoped it was… the last thing he needed was a stranger popping out.

“How about the couch?” Luna asked. She stood in the middle of the room hugging herself. She shivered with nerves but her face flushed with heat.

“The chairs should be enough for now. We might need the couch for later.” Felix replied. “Besides, this might be an okay play to stay the night. You can sleep on the couch. You’d be most comfortable there.”

Luna glanced down at the couch and gave it a disgusted look. It was leather, but the holster was scratched up as though a monster had come through and destroyed it. She wasn’t even sure what color the couch was supposed to be – brown, maybe? Whatever it was, it was faded. There was a thin layer of dust covering the whole surface of it as well.

“We have to make due, Luna.” Felix said exasperated. He knew exactly what his twin sister was thinking from the look on her face.

“Are we going to die?” Luna blurted.

Felix swallowed a lump in his throat. He didn’t know how to answer that. He wanted to tell her no, they weren’t going to die. However, their house and hometown were destroyed. They were on the move with no where to go. They had no money, no food, and this was the best shelter they could find. They haven’t come across another human in days. At least, Felix thought it was days. He had lost track of time.

There were no more days, only darkness. Whatever caused the bugs to come, it blocked out the sun somehow. It was hard to tell if there were clouds in the sky or if it were the bugs.

“You’re not answering me.” Luna sighed. She sat down on the couch. The cushion sunk pretty low but for some reason she didn’t even care.

“I don’t have an answer for you.” Felix shrugged. “I’d like to say we’re going to be fine, but mom and dad and… I just don’t know. I don’t even know what’s going on.”

Luna buried her face in her hands for a moment. She drew in a deep breath and then looked back up. She cracked a smile. “We’re going to be okay.” She said. She stood and walked over to the window. She pulled her sleeve over her hand and wiped away some dirt on the window. The bugs were swarming all around the house. There weren’t going anywhere for a long time. “Someone needs to contain them.”

“Who?” Felix asked. Now he sat down on the couch. He nearly fell over when the cushion sunk so low and he grabbed hold of the edge to balance.

“I don’t know. There must be some military or police around, right?” Luna asked. She hugged herself watching the bugs, listening to the buzzing getting louder and louder as they flew above the house.

“I hope so.”

“Are they following us? I feel like we haven’t been able to lose them at all.”

“They’re attracted to something.”

Luna jumped at hearing a strange voice. Felix too jumped from the couch and stood beside his sister. A young woman emerged from the other room.

“What they’re attracted to, I have no idea. I’ve been holed up in this house for a long time.”

“We’re sorry, we didn’t know anyone was here.” Felix apologized.

“No need to be sorry,” she shook her head. “We’re all in this together. It’s not like I’m going to toss you out and make you find a different shelter.” She smirked. “I’m Alex.”

“Thank you,” Felix said with a sigh of relief. “I’m Felix and this is my sister Luna.” Luna gave Alex a small wave.

“How far have you guys come? Is it just the two of you?” Alex asked. She walked over to the window and looked out.

“Just us, unfortunately. We’ve been walking for days. We’re not really sure how far we’ve come.” Luna explained.

“You and me both. I’ve been here for a while but I’m sure I’m a long way from home.” Alex stated. “It was quiet here and I wasn’t sure what to do next or where to go. I waited too long though and then the bugs made it here. They’re on the move, but like I said, I don’t know why. I don’t know what they’re trying to get to.”

“I wish we knew where they came from.” Luna added. “Maybe we could herd them back to where they came from or catch them or something.”

“There’s too many to catch. They’re too big to herd.” Felix countered with a shake of his head.

“We can’t squish them so the only thing I can think of is the light.” Alex said.

“The light?” Luna repeated turning her attention to the stranger.

“Think about it,” Alex began to explain, “the sun was blocked out as soon as the bugs came. I’m not sure if that’s coincidental or not. I’m not sure if it’s the bugs’ fault. But I know there are some bugs that are attracted to light and they bring themselves death by getting zapped. If we brought the sun back, then maybe the bugs would disappear or disintegrate or something.”

Felix hummed to himself. “You know, that’s not a bad idea.”

“But how in the world are we going to bring the sun back?” Luna sighed.

Felix turned to Alex. “Have you thought further on your idea at all?”

Alex shrugged her shoulders. “Well, that’s the problem. I have no idea how to get the sun back. But maybe, now that there’s three of us, we can think of something together.”

A banging came at the window causing the three of them to jump.

Words: 1,005

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 49

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: "I'll go with you!" | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue: “I’ll go with you!”

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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Goals [August 2019]

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

Reading

I’ll be reading and reviewing nine books this month. I have a list of books I want to read – whether I’ll stick with it or not, I don’t know. Though I’ve been utilizing my local library more often lately and my to-be-read pile keeps on growing.

Writing

I’ll be working on a couple of different projects this month, as usual. I’m going to do some final edits for Crossroads so that I can publish it on Wattpad in September. In addition, I’m working on the next Sunday Morning collection as well as the first book in my mystery series.

I made a list the other day of all the books I want to work on. The list is growing and I’m trying to give each and every one the attention and time it deserves without working on so much at once. I’ll probably write a different blog post about that soon enough though.

Blogging

I’m still making some changes to the blog, such as updating the pages and post templates. In addition, I’m trying to get this month’s blog posts done as well as some other posts done for the future months.

Overall

August is going to be a busy month. I have a lot of work to do outside of writing and blogging, so I’m definitely going to need to find a new balance for the month. I’m going to try to come up with some sort of schedule to keep up with this work, around all the other work I need to do. New month, new goals.

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

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July 2019 [Wrap Up]

Wrap Up July 2019 | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I read a good amount this month. They were mostly books that were on the shorter side, but I think that’s just what I needed in order to get me back into a reading groove. I read a lot of good books and all the reviews were posted on schedule – eight of them, which is great!

Writing

My writing was pretty good this month thanks to the 85K90 challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. I made excellent progress on my next Wattpad story, Crossroads. I’m looking forward to finishing that up and diving straight into the edits within the next couple of days.

Blogging

Thanks to my vacation, I got super ahead with my blog posts. So July was all set for the rest of the month plus a little bit of August!

Overall

It was a pretty productive month. Super busy, but it was great.

Posts To Remember

1. July & August 2019 Writing Submissions
2. Housesitting For A Week
3. Getting Out Of A Funk [Mental Health Mondays]

How did July treat you? What did you get done? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up

I tried something different for Camp NaNo this session. I decided to log in hours instead of words. It has been, to say the least, interesting. Here’s my Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up.

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap Up | Creative Writing | Writing Challenge | Book Update | RachelPoli.com

Starting Strong

Instead of writing 50,000 words this month, like I normally do for all Camp sessions, I decided to edit Crossroads. Of course, at this point we all know how that turned out. I ended up re-doing everything and did a total rewrite. So, in a way, I probably could have logged in words instead of hours.

However, because I was planning on editing I decided to count my hours. I set my goal for 31 hours so as long as I worked on the novel for at least one hour a day, I’d be happy. It’d get me into a routine at least. This worked beautifully the first week of Camp. I consistently worked on my novel for one hour every day.

A Little Lag

Then week two came along. Everyone calls week two the slump. It never really has been for me, but this time? Oh, yeah. It’s not even that I was really in a slump, per se. I just kept putting off working on the novel. I had so many other things to do that I kept telling myself, “I’ll get to it after this.” Before I knew it, the end of the week was near and guess what? I had logged in zero hours.

Luckily, I sat down on a Saturday and worked on my novel for five hours straight. I had a few epiphanies while doing so as well. This didn’t completely catch me up though. I was still three hours behind after this. I figured, if I worked two hours a day, I’d be able to easily catch up.

Crunch Time

Not only was I behind, but I was going on vacation the last full week of July. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to work on my novel while on vacation. I mean, I guess I could have, but I wanted the break anyway.

So, the week before, I scrambled to get some hours in. Now, I have just a couple more hours left to go with just a few more days left in the month.

I’m pretty sure I can do it.

How did Camp NaNoWriMo go for you this month? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Short Story Sunday 275: Coffee

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

Penny walked into her local coffee shop. The café had just opened about five minutes ago and the line was already nearly out the door. Everyone was on their way to work or school so most of the tables were vacant. Penny loved coming at this time of the day because there was a certain buzz around the coffee shop. It was loud, but it was almost like white noise. It wasn’t difficult to concentrate. She loved the aroma of the café between the various flavors of coffees being made along with the freshly baked pastries.

She claimed her usual table by the window across from the main counter where people ordered their drinks. She took her laptop out of her bag as well as a notebook and a couple of pens. She had a lot to get done today. Her boyfriend had taken the day off from work so he was home and still sleeping. Penny wanted to have some peace and quiet to work on her writing without her boyfriend nagging her to hang out with him and go out and do something. She’d get herself a coffee, write a couple thousand words, and then head home with a pastry for him. Then they could spend the rest of the day together.

It was six o’clock in the morning and she knew he wasn’t going to be awake for another two or three hours anyway. They’d have the whole day ahead of themselves and she’d be able to get her writing time in.

Penny sat down opening her laptop and turning it on. She was thinking about getting a scone but decided to settle for just a coffee for the moment. Her stomach was starting to rumble with all the smells around her. Hearing other people say their orders and receive their drinks, Penny was beginning to wonder what kind of drink she wanted to get. Her boyfriend always got the same thing whenever they got coffee. He was pretty easy but Penny enjoyed a wide variety. It always took her a little while to figure out what she wanted to get. She never really ordered the same thing twice in one week. Of course, the holidays were upon her which meant the winter drinks were out. There were so many good flavors that she wasn’t sure what she wanted to get this morning.

An older gentleman moved out of line after ordering and paying for his drink. The cashier behind the counter puffed his cheeks out in a breath. Penny and him locked eyes and she they smiled and waved to each other right before the next customer got in their line of sight and began to order their own drink.

Penny looked to the door and noticed the line was now inside the café. She figured now was a good enough time as any to hop in line. She usually didn’t mind waiting for the line to die down. She was never in a rush to get her coffee and she knew she was going to be there for a while anyway that it didn’t matter if she got her coffee now or an hour into her writing time.

She was never one who needed a coffee to wake up. She was a natural early bird and only made herself a lot of coffee throughout the day because she thoroughly enjoyed the taste – and she loved holding onto a mug of coffee during the colder months because she was always cold.

The line steadily moved forward. Penny waited patiently. The smells were beginning to get to her. She had decided that she didn’t know what she wanted to get so she was going to let the man behind the counter surprise her. He knew her well enough since she was at the café just about every day. It would be interesting to see what flavor he would pick out for her.

By the time she made it to the counter, she greeted him with a smile. Though before she could give him her order – or allow him to make it for her – he dismissed her with a wave of his hand.

“You can move on.” He smirked.

“What?” she asked.

“Your drink has already been ordered and paid for.” He said.

Penny looked around the café and the people in line behind her were starting to look a little grumpy. She didn’t care though. She wasn’t even taking long. “What are you talking about?” she asked again.

She had heard of people paying it forward but she had never imagined that it would happen to her. Usually when someone paid for a drink it was then honored by that person paying for the next one and so on, right? Penny took out the money from her wallet anyway. This was the point of paying it forward, wasn’t it?

“Okay, then here’s a medium for the guy behind me.” She said and noticed a smile go across the gentleman’s face who stood in line behind her.

The cashier chuckled. “Thanks for paying it forward, but I think your boyfriend was just trying to surprise you.” He took the money and put it in the cash register. Then he waved her on again.

Penny looked over her shoulder and sure enough Oliver, her boyfriend, was sitting at her table. He was sipping a coffee and there was a festive cup beside her laptop.

Her jaw dropped and waved a goodbye to the cashier. “Oliver?” she said as she made it back to her table and sat down.

“I got you a peppermint, hope that’s okay. I don’t think you’ve gotten that kind this week.” Oliver grinned.

“Nope,” Penny smiled and took a sip. “Oh, this is so good. Thanks for this.”

“Of course,”

“But what are you doing here? You were sleeping when I left.” Penny inquired.

“I pretended to be asleep. I wanted to surprise you. I want to spend the day together, but I know you want to get this done. I brought a book.” Oliver pointed to a book on the table.

Penny nodded. “Okay, fair enough. Well, I’m happy to have you here with me.”

“Me too.”

“How’d you sneak into the café though? I didn’t see you at all. I was watching the line.” Penny said.

“You weren’t watching it close enough,” Oliver laughed. “I was right in front of you a couple of times and you looked right past me. You hopped in line while I waited for the drinks. Then I sat down and waited for you to get through the line.”

Penny pouted. “You made me wait in line all that time even though you had my drink ready and waiting for me?”

Oliver chuckled and took a sip of his own drink without a reply.

Words: 1,136

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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