Short Story Sunday 89

SSS Imagination

            Jesse walked into the living room where his younger sister was sprawled out across the floor. She laid on her stomach scribbling on a white piece of paper. Crayons and markers surrounded her, some rolling away from her without her noticing.

Jesse let out a sigh. Someone was going to come in here and trip over something.

“Stacey, what are you doing?” He shoved his hands into his pockets and walked closer to her watching his every step.

“Drawing,” Stacey replied nonchalantly without bothering to take her eyes off her paper.

“I can see that, but what are you drawing? You look very busy over here.” Jesse wondered. He tilted his head too look at her paper which was upside down from where he stood. He still couldn’t make out what she was trying to create, though.

“I am super busy.” The four-year-old replied. Her tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth as she dropped her red crayon and picked up a blue marker.

Jesse bent his knees and squatted down beside her. “Can you tell me about your picture?” he prompted one more time.

He still couldn’t quite make out what Stacey was drawing. There was a huge colored-in orange circle in the middle of the paper. Four brown lines stuck out of it as though they were arms and legs, but the circle didn’t have a face. Small, yellow triangles surrounded the circle in all different directions as though they floated around the circle. The top half of the background was colored in red while Stacey currently worked on coloring the bottom half blue.

“I don’t get it.” He added, scratching the top of his head.

Stacey sighed putting down her blue marker. “This,” she pointed to the circle, “is an alien. He is in space, but the space is on fire.” She pointed to the triangles and then to the red background.

“The triangles are space?” Jesse asked in confusion.

“Stars,” Stacey replied coloring the bottom half of the paper blue again.

“Clever. I’ve never seen stars look like that before.” Jesse nodded. “So the red is fire because… space is on fire. So what’s the blue?”

“Water. Alien is going to put out the fire. Everyone knows that water beats fire.” Stacey chuckled as though it were completely obvious.

“Ah,” Jesse nodded. “Well good job with that. It looks good.”

Jesse stood up and carefully walked out of the room stepping over stray coloring materials. The picture made no sense to him. To be inside the mind of a four-year-old would be an amazing thing for sure.

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Writing For Free

Why do you want to be a writer? Is it because you love creating stories to tell and sharing them with the world? Is it because you want to be rich and famous after you’re on the best-sellers list?

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Whatever the reason, being a writer is not an easy job. You don’t write a bunch of words, send it to a publisher, they publish it on the spot, it sells, and you get a ton of money.

I’ve always been torn between being a teacher or being a writer or possibly trying to do both. I can’t express how many times people have said, “Be a writer. They make more money.” Unfortunately, that is not the case. If writing were that easy and made a ton of money, every person in the world would be an author and we’d all drown in books… now wouldn’t that be nice?

Writing does not equal money. It doesn’t matter how many books you sell; unless you’re on the best-selling list or you write the next Harry Potter series, you may have to look for a day job and write on the side.

Writing is not about the money. It’s about sharing stories whether they’re fiction or nonfiction. Writing is a way for people to escape reality, get creative, and exercise their imagination.

You need to love writing. You need have to a passion for it.

You don’t want to write. You need to write.

Further Reading:

11 Frequently Asked Questions About Book Royalties, Advances, and Money
Do You Like Or Love To Write?
Why We Write: Four Reasons

You Are the Protagonist

“Every lie is built upon a kernel of truth.” –Henry Spencer, Psych

Fiction is a lie. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there is no Hogwarts, no Narnia, and no Shire. We all wish they exist (especially the men), but alas they don’t. We’re stuck on Earth with seven billion other people–95% of those other people don’t even know you exist.

Without these fictional places and characters, life would be pretty boring. There would be no imagination, no creativity, and no pretending. Such a sad life.

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However, if fiction doesn’t exist… where does it come from?

Surely J.K. Rowling didn’t actually attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a past life and of course C.S. Lewis didn’t discover a new world in his wardrobe when he was a child.

They created and imagined it. So, where does that creation come from? I’m going to point you back to the top of this post and look at a quote from my TV Dad, Henry Spencer (from Psych) who once said, “Every lie is built upon a kernel of truth.”

Fiction is the same way–authors put a little of themselves into their writing. It is from there that inspiration sparks an idea. An idea becomes a novel.

I’m sure if you knew your favorite author personally, you would be able to pick up small truths here and there in their fiction. For example, YA author Sarah Dessen is coming out with a new book this May. As her husband read the novel, she tweeted:

Writers have a way of taking reality and playing around with it until it’s something no one has ever imagined. However, they’re still sane enough to throw in a few bits of real life.

To me, that shows readers what the authors are into; things they like, things they don’t like. Often, when writers add themselves into a story, they get added in as a character. For me, I’m usually the protagonist. My protagonists tend to either have a similar personality, looks, age, or sometimes a mixture.

It doesn’t have to be a character, though. It can be anything like an object, a setting, a plot, or even an occupation. I tend to have a character who writes or teaches for a living because those are two of my passions.

I think that makes writing all the more fun and reading all the more like a puzzle. The questions will never be answered unless you talk to the author personally, but I’m sure there are some novels out there that would be easy to try to guess. Some truths are easier than others.

Further Reading:

7 Authors Who Wrote Themselves into Their Work
What’s Your Opinion?
Six Real Life Authors Who Made Themselves Into Fictional Characters

“Working” On Vacation

Every year my family and l go away for the weekend after Thanksgiving. It just happened to become tradition a few years ago and it’s great to get away for a weekend in the middle of work and school. It’s a nice break.

I am not a light packer. Anyone who knows me personally in real life can tell you that. I would pack the entire house if l could. Example: l have three unread books on my Kindle. Before we left l bought a fourth one. Because you know there’s that .5% chance that l would happen to read and finish all three books in two days with time to spare and how tragic would it be if l ran out of something to read? Now, keep in mind that l brought my Kindle in an attempt to save space by not bringing physical novels. So it kind of balances out… l guess.

Anyway, l brought my Detective Florence 2 manuscript along with two notebooks (one blank, one with the outlined notes), the notes and outline for the first novel, blank index cards, blank post-it notes, and about five pens with four highlighters and two sharpies. Again, you need a plethora of pens because there’s that slight chance they will all run out of ink in two days.

Back to the point… l did some editing yesterday and l plan on editing today as well. Now that NaNo is over, l plan to finish editing the second novel, type up the next draft of both the first and second novels, outline the third, and then write the third. I’m in for a fun ride.

So l’m texting my friend yesterday and she asked how l was doing and such. I told her l was editing.

Her response: “Why are you writing while on vacation?”

Now let’s discuss…

I love writing. I am going to do it whenever and where ever l can. It relaxes me. I don’t see it as work. Sure, it would be nice to write full-time for a job, but whether that happens or not it will always be a passionate hobby of mine.

To be honest, l think vacation is the perfect time to write for a few reasons.

1. It’s a new environment. I tend to write at my desk at my house in my office/den l share with Kris. Sometimes, in the same room, l will write on the couch using the ottoman as a desk. Sometimes l go in my bedroom. When home alone, l’ll go in the kitchen or dining room. I even write while taking a bath. If l get a moment alone at work l’ll jot down notes. You can write anywhere you think of.

2. There are barely any distractions. When writing at home l have the Internet. There are many websites l am on that l can get to with a click of a button and before l know it, it’s time for bed. There’s also the cleaning. The dusty room around me just stares me down and it bothers me. There’s mail to get–l love getting the mail. I don’t know why, l never get anything good. If l’m not at work l usually keep an eye out for it. There’s also video games, friends to see, homework to do, etc.

3. There are no other responsibilities. Kind of like the previous point, there is no real cleaning to be done. As long as l clean up after myself before l go home, l’m good. I don’t have to worry about doing homework. I don’t have to worry about anything so my mind is cleared up for everything.

4. It’s relaxing. Why write next to the heating vent at my house when l can write next to the fireplace? There is no fireplace at my house; therefore, l cannot write to the soothing crackling sound. Well… l can, but those sounds are on websites. There’s no pretty flame or heat so it’s not the same effect.

I’m sure there are many more reasons, but this is what l can come up with for now.

My friend loves that l write and she supports me with it. She’s always asking how my novels are going, what they’re about, etc. However, she knows l want to write full-time which would be my career. Career is work. Therefore, she thinks writing is work. Technically yes, as it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a long process and such.

What she doesn’t realize is how much fun it is and how people need a certain passion for writing. Writers don’t see writing as work. Writing is just using the imagination and being creative.

How Do You Describe A Book?

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Books open your mind. They broaden your horizons. They expand your vocabulary.

Books bring you to a whole new world. They give you a sense of adventure. They make you laugh, cry, and send chills and tingles up and down your spine.

Books unleash your inner creativity. They give your imagination a run for its money.

So answer me this: why are there people who do not like to read?