Category Archives: Yes, I Exercise!

Writing exercises

Afterdeaths, Audios, and Anthologies

All right. It’s alliteration time already. Although all I want is to advise you about the amazing events approaching in my author life, I also want to attempt to do a little exercise in alliteration.

As you know, the Afterdeath series has an audience that is aching for another novel.  Believe the author when she says she’s addressing that very need. Turning Point, with its alternating point of view chapters, has afforded itself the admirable station of being over halfway done with edits. Anyone who is following my publishing tendencies may already have noticed a lack of publication in February. Let me assure you, this was not an accident. I decided to focus my actions on accomplishing a fully edited Afterdeath Book 2 before attempting another short story for publication. And not to fret. An audiobook is in the near future.

Audiobooks are amazing. Anyone can sit and listen, and they don’t have to stress their eyes at all. Now, Weights is almost finished as an audiobook format, and will be available sometime in early march! I’ll be sure to announce its arrival on my blog and all other social media I attend to. And if you want an email sent straight to you when it’s available, by all means, sign up for my email list. You’ll attain my short story, “See You Tomorrow” for free when you do.

And don’t think Afterdeath and audiobooks are my only accomplishments. An anthology is in the near future as well. Spokane Fiction Writer’s Group is planning to publish a collection of paranormal short stories. I’ve already read 5 of them, and have heard about all of them, and all I can say is the stories are astounding!

As a final note, I have to bring this up now, simply because I attempted this, (probably annoying) tactic of alliteration today. Another short story that I am announcing soon is titled, “An Acceptable Future.” This story is exciting because it’s the first in a series of Adult Scifi “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories and novellas. Although “An Acceptable Future” doesn’t allow readers to “choose” yet, it is actually based in the same universe as other soon to be written “Dark Tales” are in, a great many of which shall have a choice associated with them.

And with all that, I’ll at last let you free from my mind-numbing yet–yes–amazing alliterating blog post.

Have adventures. And appreciate all authors.

The Museum

Well, I figure it’s late enough in January that none of you are going to assume I put down “post on my blog” as one of my new year’s resolutions. What I did make as a new year’s resolution was to try and improve my writing, and right now I’d like to share a metaphor and tell you about a writing exercise I’m working on. Metaphors are great in writing, but the other day I came up with a metaphor… for writing.

The Museum.

Imagine you’re the curator of a museum, filled with beautiful and brilliant pieces of art. Every day you wander the halls, enraptured in the fantastic works of artists throughout the ages. You not only see the beauty in the workmanship, but every piece of art seems to tell you a story, one that touches you deep in your heart. One afternoon a group of students comes in for a tour. They’re from a school for the blind. As you begin your tour, you realize that the only vision of these works of art that the children will get must come from you and only you. The words you choose will determine if the children will be able to appreciate the art or not.

What are you going to do? You could tell them what a painting looks like, but is that really what the painting is about? You have spent a lifetime admiring this work. You know how it makes you feel, what stories it brings to your mind. How will you ever be able to translate that to your students?

mona-lisa-690203_1280

In this metaphor of mine, the curator is the writer, the blind students are the readers. They are coming to you to be enlightened, edified, educated. It’s your responsibility to find all the words that are going to paint the picture, not in someone’s physical eyes, but in their mental eye.

So there’s my metaphor. And not only is it a metaphor, but it could even be a very interesting exercise. I’ve got two ideas for this exercise, either,

  1. Write as if you are the museum curator, describing any painting you wish, from the Mona Lisa to Starry, Starry Night. Tell the story that you see in the picture, don’t just describe the way it looks.
  2. Write as if a scene from your novel has been turned into a painting by a famous artist. Who is the artist? How has he set the scene? What is happening, and how do the people look? Has the artist succeeded in capturing the emotions of the scene?

Feel free to post your exercises in the comments if you’d like. I’m excited to see what you all come up with! Have fun, and enjoy the writing.

Nosy Neighbors

Time for my first “Yes, I exercise” post.

It’s a busy world. We all need exercise, right? Well. I’ve decided that the best exercise for me is writing exercises. I don’t have to get off the couch. I don’t have to sweat…(unless it’s hot out and the AC is broken.) All I have to do is make sure to lick the grease off my fingers before I touch the keyboard. Here’s the exercise, and stay tuned afterward for a little more information about it.

Eden

“What seems to be the problem?” I asked as I shifted my weight to my left foot. It had been a long day, and I had the feeling it was about to get longer. I hooked my thumb in my belt and Mr. Jordan frowned at me. It was a bad habit I had. It made people uncomfortable when a cop had his hand so close to his gun. I was a newbie. I was still getting used to the fact that I had a gun on my belt.

“Nothing. No problem at all, officer,” Mr. Jordan answered.

“That’s not the story we heard from Eden Hope.” That was my partner, John Lopez. He looked as Mexican as they come, but he didn’t speak a lick of Spanish, and he hated it when people called him Juan.

“Yeah, well Eden is always complaining about something or another. There’s no problem at all officers, really,” Mrs. Jordan responded.

Just then Eden opened her front door and walked across the street to us. Mrs. Jordan’s face went sour as her neighbor approached.

“Good morning, officers,” Eden said as she stepped up to John’s side. She was inappropriately named. I think of the name Eden and I see some drop dead gorgeous woman, slender, long blonde hair, something like that. Eden Hope could only hope to look like that. Her hips stuck out like the wings of an airplane. The auburn color of her short hair obviously came from a box, and the crop cut did nothing to hide the rolls of fat on her neck or the black hairs that dotted her chin.

John cleared his throat. He looked ill. “Are you the one who called, ma’am?”

“Yes. I would like you to arrest these two.”

I raised an eyebrow. “On what charges?”

“They have a dead body in their home.”

Mrs. Jordan’s jaw clenched.

“How do you know this?” John asked, then rubbed his nose.

“I can smell it. Day and night. Any time the wind changes.”

Just then the wind changed. I certainly smelled something, but it was too close to be coming from the Jordans’ house. I almost gagged.

“You can’t smell anything but your own stench,” Mr. Jordan growled.

Eden stepped forward, and John was brave enough to put a hand on her shoulder and keep her back. “Please, Miss Hope. Let’s just see if we can figure this out without any trouble.”

Eden glowered at him, but she folded her arms and stepped back. “I don’t smell like rotting flesh, Robert,” Eden said.

John cleared his throat again and looked away.

“Look,” Eden turned to address me now. “All I know is that these two moved in, they had some old man come over one evening, and he never left. After that the neighborhood started stinking. They killed him, I tell you, and his body is rotting somewhere inside that house.”

I bit at my lip, it wasn’t so much a gesture of indecision as it was an effort not to hurl. “I’m sorry Miss Hope, but there’s really not much we can do about this. You say the old man never came out, but perhaps he left when you didn’t see him.”

“He didn’t. I have security cameras on my front door and they happen to overlap the Jordans’ front door. The old man never came out.” The wind shifted again and Eden stuck her nose in the air. “See? There! Don’t you smell it?”

I wasn’t really brave enough to take a deep breath, but I did sniff the air a little. There was certainly something unpleasant on the breeze, and it wasn’t coming from Eden’s direction. Perhaps the lady was right.

“Hey,” John said to me, then motioned me away from the group. We stepped out of hearing range and John frowned. “What do you think?”

I shrugged. “We should probably look into it. I mean, she does have the video.”

John shook his head. “It’s nothing. She’s just a bad neighbor. Besides, do you know all the paperwork this means if we pursue it?”

I pursed my lips. Avoiding paperwork didn’t seem like a good reason to ignore a complaint like this.

“Just like Mr. Jordan said, she couldn’t possibly smell anything other than herself.”

I had an uncle who lived on a farm. Every time I went there all I could smell was cow manure and muddy hay. Uncle Tony said the place didn’t stink at all, except when a cat died in the rafters. He could smell the dead cat, just not the cows. I opened my mouth to mention it when Mrs. Jordan spoke up.

“Can we please get this over with? I have something on the stove.”

John took a deep breath then exhaled. “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, Mrs. Jordan. Go ahead and get back to your stove. Miss Hope, there’s really not much we can do.”

“You’re kidding me.” Eden raised one eyebrow at him.

“We’ll make sure to file a report and if any of the other neighbors mention anything then maybe we…”

“All the other neighbors are gone. All moved out a long time ago.”

“Why?”

Eden just shrugged. Mrs. Jordan said, “Nosy neighbors?”

“Have a nice day, Miss Hope,” John said.

Her response was not the customary one that followed a statement like John’s. He ignored the obscenities and headed back to our patrol car. I walked back a little more slowly. Before I reached my door I heard Mrs. Jordan say, “You’re going to regret that, you freak.”

I watched them in the mirror as John drove away. That was the last time I ever saw Eden Hope. The case stuck with me a long time, and several years later I went back there. I learned that Eden had mysteriously disappeared some time ago, and even though her sister had cleared out the house and sold it on the market, the neighborhood still kept that funny smell for years.

So this exercise was inspired by one of my Spokane Fiction Writer’s Group exercises that we do every month. The prompt was to write a scene that had dialogue with four or more people. I decided to write it in first person mainly because it cut down the number of names I needed to say in order to tag the dialogue. And speaking of dialogue tagging, I tried to use beats instead of using “said” or other tags.

Overall it was a fun little exercise. I certainly enjoyed writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it. And, why not? If you’ve got time, or if you’re stuck in a little bit of writer’s block, go find a way to write a scene with more than four characters speaking. Let me know how it turned out.

Have fun and enjoy the writing.

Sylah

L.P. Masters Writes

Here’s a fun little piece I wrote a few years ago, just for laughs.

Sylah

Sylah should have felt fear, but all she could think at the moment was, “isn’t this a fitting end?” as her balance tipped over the edge of the catwalk railing.

J.D. scrolled the mouse down until he reached the bottom of the page and saw that there was nothing more written on the book.  “So…What happens next?”

“I don’t know!  I haven’t written it yet.”  L.P. answered, waiting impatiently for him to move so that she could find out what happened next.

“You mean you don’t know what happens until you write it?”

L.P. thought about that for a moment, then said, “Pretty much.  Yeah.”

“Then how do you write the book?”

“The characters write it for me.”

J.D. had a touch of mocking in his voice as he said, “The characters! Ha.”

At that moment a slender, blue woman walked up, grabbed J.D. by the hand and moved him out of the computer chair, then she sat down and started typing,

Her arms flailed about, searching for something that would stop the inevitable fall.  She scratched the face of the woman who had tripped her in the first place, caught someone’s sleeve and felt her blue fingers slip from the fabric. At that point, she knew there was no stopping.

The blue woman stood up and looked at L.P. “It’s sounding good,” she said.

L.P. smiled, then reached over and shut J.D.’s mouth.