Archives for July 2015

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An 11th Grader Whose Poetry Is Inspiring the Internet

Anyone who says no one likes poetry should talk to 17-year-old Chanie Gorkin.

This 11th-grader from Brooklyn turned a school assignment into a poem that challenges not only how we write but also how we think. The message and the creativity of her poem has made it a viral success. You may have seen it on Facebook or reddit.

“Worst Day Ever?”

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Now read it from bottom to top, the other way,
And see what I really feel about my day.

If you’d like to read more about Ms. Gorkin, check out “Brooklyn Girl Behind Viral ‘Worst Day Ever’ Poem Speaks Exclusively With 1010 WINS” from CBS New York.

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Twice upon a time…

Here’s your writing prompt for the day: Twice upon a time, when our world neared its end

environmental-protection-544198_1280

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A Book Festival Sounds Dangerous and Wonderful

Alasdair Peoples’ Are You Going To The Edinburgh Book Festival 15-31 August 2015 ? makes me want to shape my vacations around book festivals and author tours. Not that I needed much encouragement. Anyone want to go to Edinburgh?

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But I Love That Scene!

Sometimes you’re writing or editing, and you realize that a scene you’ve written isn’t driving the plot or helping with characterization. It’s not building the setting. It’s not even comic relief. In fact, it’s not doing much of anything except slowing the story down (One might even call it a tangent.).

So take that bit out. What’s the problem?

Well, the problem is that you really like that scene. You’re pleased with the dialogue, you’re proud of the imagery, and you like reading it. You don’t want to let it go.

I’m about to sound like a mother talking to a kid about a broken toy: if you can find a way to fix it, you can keep it. If there’s a way to link it to the plot later or to add some important characterization or even to move it so that it doesn’t feel like it’s slowing the story, then, it’s fine. My only caution is don’t weaken the rest of your story to fit one scene in.

If your story is strong, and it works together, it’s usually best to remove the scene that isn’t working. Especially if you found the problem in a finished book. If you can fix the problem by taking the scene out, take the scene out (Remember – that’s only if it’s not important to the plot, characterization, or setting!).

Now, that doesn’t mean that you delete this scene that you really like. Dialogue, imagery, fun to read – if it’s got all that going for it, why not turn it into a short story? You can send it to a magazine, use it on your website, or put it in a book of short stories involving the same world or characters. You might even write a spin-off novel/novella with one of the minor characters as the new protagonist.

Think of it like a 2 for 1 deal: your story gets fixed, AND you get a new short story to use. Win-win, right?