Writing Prompt #152

For this week’s writing prompt, I’m still in sci-fi/space theme mode. Just to forewarn you, I might be for a little while longer yet.

Photo by Edvin Richardson on Pexels.com

As is the usual, I went with the first image that struck me. I had the stirrings of an idea for an episode for my original series, or at least a part of it – the pilot is the thing in need of a rewrite.

So what does this bit of imagery spark in you? Feeling inspired to take on this week’s Writing Prompt Challenge?

I look forward to seeing your creations! Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Note to self:

I had been doing so well, and then I got deterred somehow. I lost my motivation even as I found myself unusually satisfied with what I had been producing. I decided to take some time, recharge my batteries, but I have yet to find my center, my norm.

I’m not sure what happened.

Too often I have found myself in long lulls of not writing. I didn’t feel inspired. I let outside forces influence my productivity. And here I am, all these years later, still waiting, still hoping, falling back into old patterns.

Nope.

I refuse.

If I want to be a professional, I have to show up like one. I, currently, have the luxury of writing what I want, when I want, but that is not always going to be the case. I want to be a working screenwriter, and I have to remember, it’s about discipline.

It’s about routine. And you all know I’m all about routine.

When I sat and worked on the flash fiction pieces for the Writing Prompt Challenge, I felt like myself. It was freeing and satisfying, and it was a reminder that I have a purpose.

I have an external deadline, the move back to California, to get my writing in order. I have goals that still need to be met, and that won’t happen without discipline. I can’t will their completion into existence. I have to put in the work. No more flying by the seat of my pants.

I’ve talked about this before, the showing up, the holding yourself accountable, but also the being kind to yourself. Not all days will be multi-page days, but hopefully, most of them will offer progress, to some degree. Setting time aside to create is a step in the right direction. It’s the discipline to be in that space even if you don’t feel like it, because you know it all comes down to you.

We’re driven by the passion for our art, even when we don’t feel it, it’s always there, deep down (sometimes), so we need to entice it to come out and play just by being there.

So what tips and/or tricks do you have to keep up with the discipline? Share with the community! And Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #26

I made an off-handed comment a couple of weeks ago that maybe one of my goals for the year should be to get to accepted writing prompt #50, which meant I had to write 14 new pieces before year’s end. Since I don’t have anything else on my plate at the moment, here we go!

Maybe this will get me back “in the mood” because it’s been a barren landscape for too long again now.

I’ve taken to writing flash fiction – free writes, done in half an hour or less with little forethought or editing and under 200 words, if possible.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Rebel

Three hundred years after its release, and nearly two hundred years of darkness, and they still wanted to call them lightsabers or tools of the Jedi and the Sith. Star Wars not only became a story passed down from the last generation of the sun, but also a cautionary tale which many of the Elders had adopted as part of the rules of our new society. An unintended side effect the creator could never have accounted for. It had been widely believed that we would eventually move to the stars in an age of flying cars and interstellar travel, but humanity never got that chance. Unexpectedly the sky went dark and the science fiction world of a galaxy far far away became just that, fiction, instead of a hope for the future. Our lightsabers, too, offer us protection by harnessing the light as we make our way toward a new rebellion, for no matter the age nor the environment, there will always be those who wish to create a new empire and those that oppose them.

Photo by Navneet Shanu on Pexels.com

The Lock

We had made it through a series of trials meant to deter us, meant to challenge us or destroy us. Judging by the size of the lock, whatever might lie beyond it must, in all likelihood, be the final step, the grand prize, victory at last. Treasures beyond imagining, fortunes untold, riches and wonders…how could it not? The mehanism presented a particular challenge as it was submerged, in its entirety, under twenty feet of water. We came prepared for every eventuality, but as some of the tests had proven fatal, we had come to the end shorthanded. Hunreds, if not a thousand years underwater should surely offer us some goodwill, one would hope, and one would risk everything to discover. 

Photo by Csongor Kemu00e9ny on Pexels.com

The Saint

When they erected statues of his likeness across the land, telling stories of his heroics in an effort to honor his “good deeds” they failed to mention how many people had been falsely accused and murdered for their supposed crimes. Women were the first to be cast a sideways glance, they always were. Men and their small minds, a deficiency they did their best to overcompensate for with violence, this “saint” among them. A woman in power, a community of women, a woman who still practised the old ways, a woman who could read, a woman with a house cat, a woman with a birth mark, there was no end to the list of potential reasons for her to be found guilty, dragged from her home, questioned without any hope of being found innocent, tortured…they threatened those with inferior intelligence, and their pride would never allow such a slight.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Pexels.com

Stairway to Nowhere

It was a marvel. A place of mystery. A place the hopeless traveled to endlessly in anticipation of the blessings it was believed to bestow upon the faithful. It was a deception. A lie.

The stark contrast of the structure against the blue sky was always awe inspiring. It was the first hint, the blur, like a mirage in the distance that caused the heart to swell. They had finally made it. Their prayers would be answered. Their afflictions healed. If only they believed. If only they were worthy. If only they were willing to continue on just a few steps more.

In their delusion, they would walk on, blind to the danger that awaited them at the top. With so few who had endured, if the stories were to be believed, if they were even true, there was no part of the tale that told of the sacrifice required. The reason the pillars ran red.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Faceless

Seeing faces in everyday objects was commonplace. There was a term for it and everything. What they didn’t talk about was what it meant when you could only see faces in inanimate objects while the faces of loved ones started to disappear. Visual sensory overload was becoming just as commonplace in a world that so heavily relied upon that as a means of communication. Words started to dissolve into shortened versions of themselves, acronyms, and emojis. Whatever might be easiest. Emotion, tone, connection…things of the past. So it was no wonder that eventually those who might be recognizable would start to blur into the background and become faceless. You know what? There’s an emoji for that. 

I just found the line I wrote when I first saw this image: I was one of those people, the ones who always see faces on inanimate objects, so you can imagine my surprise, perhaps horror is a better word to describe the feeling of when I stopped seeing faces on people.

And finally, I found this among my notes. I had the stirrings of an idea a while back, but clearly got interrupted – I didn’t even finish the sentence.

Troubled Water

The legend of the Lady of the Lake is a well known tale. The Arthurian legend is among the most notable which is why so many people, for generations, have sought, and failed, to discover Avalon’s true location. We would not be counted among them. We had been meticulous in our research. We were confident in our findings.

Had only luck been on our side. Had only our confidence been enough to carry us.

Upon traveling to the mystical land, strange things started to happen, accidents, or so they could have been construed. Deep down, I think we all knew…

~ * ~

I hope you’ll join me in the Writing Prompt Challenges! I look forward to seeing your creations! Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #151

On Wednesdays we wear pink, and we also enjoy a new writing prompt!

I’m trying to get my head back in the game to conquer a new rewrite of my sci-fi pilot to get it “show ready”, hence a prompt for this week’s challenge that will hopefully get the idea mill whirling.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I like the upward lighting and the possibilities that such a photo poses. Are you feeling inspired? Want to join me in a little writing prompt challenge?

Whatever you create, I hope you’ll share! Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

Sometimes I need reminders. I need assurances. I need to take a deep breath and remember the good times.

This happens, on occasion, when I’m in a lull.

It’s easy to look at others’ success and compare, but that is not a wise course of action. There is no cause for jealousy in a field that is meant to inspire.

Whatever your creative pursuit, there is room enough in the world for all of it, and we should be cheering one another on for the accomplishment because we know what it took to get there.

Besides, taking the time to be bitter and resentful is just taking time away from being creative and making your own mark.

So (note to self) stop seething and focus on the task at hand (which is?), whatever that may be…

Happy Writing!

Writing Tip Tuesday #7

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Outlining.

It’s not my favorite thing.

I’ve read a number of tips from professional writers that speak highly of the technique and its mastery; some of them writing such detailed outlines that they nearly rival a first draft.

I tend to write a bare bones outline – each act and a variety of incidents I have in mind. I enjoy getting lost in a story and allowing my characters to tell me what’s going to happen next. This may not be to most prudent course of action, especially in a time-crunch sort of situation, but I’m not under those types of constraints and pressures to produce…yet.

On my last screenplay, I chose to try something new – a reverse outline. Well, that’s what I’m calling it.

I don’t know if this is something I learned about along the way (I mean, there are so many things in my head who knows where they’ve all come from at this point), but it made sense to me at the time, and I did find a few holes with this technique, so I thought I’d share.

After my first draft was done, I created an outline based on the written text. I made note of each event, each change of scene, any important detail, and any topic that might need to be addressed further. When I was done, I had an outline that revealed any shortcomings and from there I could fill in those blanks.

From this vantage point I was able to see if events were happening too close together, and if I should incorporate a new scene or two to spread out the action. I found ideas that may have been introduced but lacked follow thru. I discovered conversations between characters that were too long, long winded, or not detailed enough.

It made the rewrite a much smoother process.

Yes, I know. It probably would have made the first draft an easier process as well, but that’s not how I write. A rough draft outline so I know the major beats and where it’s supposed to go is how I work, right now.

Yes, yes, I know I should probably be practicing for the work ahead, but I like to be surprised by the journey.

So what do you think of this trick? How do you prepare to write a draft? Share your tips below!

Happy Writing!

Quote Monday

I am happy to announce the completion of the first rewrite on my new script. And I have to say, I’m fairly pleased.

There it is again, that feeling. Satisfaction.

The Nordic people are known for a particular approach to their work – it can always be better. This is something I definitely echo.

It took a long time, too long, in fact, to be satisfied with my first screenplay. This new one is number six, so maybe it has something to do with that. It’s not my first rodeo. Big question mark.

It took a little longer than it should have to get through the rewrite. I’m not sure how else to explain it, but I had this feeling that I would be aimless when I was done. Still sort of do.

And that’s where discipline comes in.

I was not motivated to finish the draft. I would be sad to be done with it. And yet I knew it had to be done. It’s not like I don’t have a number of other projects waiting. And so I pressed on.

Some days flowed better than others. Some days I was lucky to rewrite more than one line.

So often I’ve heard, and I’ve probably shared it as well, that we have to show up even when the muse hasn’t. Writing is a practice. We have to do it every day. Blah blah blah.

Surprisingly enough, it’s true.

We (I) really should listen to those who have come before because if we waited for inspiration and motivation, it would probably never happen. To be a writer we have to be diligent. We have to embrace routine. We have to show up, and then we’re there when the muse visits.

Nothing has to be perfect. Nothing ever will be. We can do our best, I mean that’s what rewrites are for, and hope that it resonates with those in a position to make something happen.

So Happy Writing! 😉

Have an accomplishment you’d like to celebrate? Have you chosen discipline over motivation? Let’s cheer one another on!

Writing Prompt #150

One hundred and fifty writing prompts.

Goodness. I feel as if I should celebrate.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I started sharing imagery aka writing prompts as a means of escaping my own writing, to break the routine, to try my hand at different styles, and to spark my imagination. I am embarrassed to admit I have only written 36 so far. Maybe a new goal can be to try to get to 50 by the end of the year?

I call what I write flash fiction. I try to keep them around 200 words with little forethought or editing, just a way to write without censoring myself. If this sounds intriguing, scroll through the images I’ve shared, and give it a try. And then celebrate that you created something new, and please share it.

I look forward to seeing what you create!

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

I was going to try to count how many quotes I’ve shared now; take note of which topics of positivity and encouragement I’ve been peddling all these years.

There have been a lot.

I had to stop at some point because I was wasting time instead of writing.

I started the quote section of my blog because for a long time, when I came across a really good one, I would post it on my cork board above my desk. I needed inspiration, often because it wasn’t to be found elsewhere, and figured there were probably others like me, who just needed a word of encouragement to continue on their creative journey.

The quotes I choose are generally related to the way I, myself, am feeling at that particular moment. Maybe I chose one because of something I talked about with someone during the week, and sometimes, like this week’s quote, it is for a particular someone who I know needs to hear it.

The Sis has been struggling for a little while now. Her career path is unique, mentally taxing, and physically tough sometimes. It has both a number of pros and cons, but recently the negatives are starting to far outweigh the benefits. We had a conversation the other night, one in which I told her that I didn’t think she was happy, and that no job is worth that.

Day jobs take up a lot of our time. We sometimes spend more time with coworkers than our own families. So it should at least bring some measure of pleasure with it. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of changing jobs without some risk, there are a number of other factors why people stay, but if you are truly unhappy, it is something to reconsider.

I have been unhappy in most of my jobs. Why? Because none of them were what I actually wanted to do with my life. Now there’s a death bed regret. Luckily, I have someone who is supportive of my dream, and now it’s my chance to return that encouragement.

Hence a quote of the week that hopefully offers that inspiration.

I hope you have someone who supports your dreams; at least one person you want to make proud. The Sis is that for me, and after all these years, she deserves the reward that comes with that dedication. And now it’s her turn to find that dream for herself.

Need a cheerleader in your corner? You know where to find me! 😉

Writing Tip Tuesday #6

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’m not sure how I first came across this idea of SMART Goals, and if you’d like to learn more beyond my summary, a search will provide you with lots of information. SMART is an acronym for a system to help you achieve better results. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound.

I am all about the goal setting. Those of you who have been with me for a while now know this. If there’s a better way to go about achieving them…I’m all for it! And I thought you might be too.

It’s one thing to write down your goals – an elusive idea of possibility – and to have an external deadline, it’s usually what I need, to feel some pressure, it’s another to create a plan of attack, one that will help you visualize the path to success. To get down to the nitty gritty of goal setting, we have to be honest with ourselves and what it is we truly want.

Whether it’s a writing goal or another creative endeavor, choosing the goal we wish to pursue generally has a number of precursors, and a lot of forethought.

So here are the steps:

Specific: What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important to you? Be, as the word suggests, specific in the goal you wish to achieve.

Measurable: How will you know when it’s accomplished? What is the finish line to achieving this goal?

Achievable: Is attaining the goal realistic? Is it reachable? This is about being grounded in what is possible. Of course, I would never deny anyone reaching for the stars, we are dreamers, after all.

Relevant: Is this the right time to pursue this goal? Is it worthwhile? I’m not overly fond of the use of the word “worthwhile”. What I am fond of is the opportunity to achieve one’s goals. Dream big!

Time Bound: Set a target date. Find an external deadline. I like them. It offers a window of opportunity, something to work towards. I have often found that a hard line in the sand is a great way to feel the compulsion that only such a constraint can provide. A little fear. A little stress. They’re great motivators.

One of the notes I made, in addition to those above: Beware of goal setting that allows someone else to have power over it.

Good advice.

And then, like the image above, you can celebrate when you accomplish your goal. If you’ve used this method before, please share your thoughts. If you have any other goal setting tips, please share those as well.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Happy Writing!