Tag Archives: writing tools

“I would…But” A Writing exercise and my little stab at humor.


When I am in a rut like I am right now with my writing I often try to jump-start my brain with a Writing Exercise or two.  The next few posts will be focused on breaking past that block and showing you the results of my own exercises that I am trying.  As I have said in the past in my other posts there is no such thing as writer’s blocks just more of what I would call a writing malaise if you will.  So here is one of my first attempts to get out of it and start being more productive with my Novel and Short stories…

I like to often challenge the brain by forcing me to come up with a solution.  Be it a short scenario or situation to get out of, a cause/affect, or an  if/then kinda thing.  I wanted to have fun with that concept  a little so I decided doing it in a joke format called ” I would …But”  … so here goes my little stab or stabs at humor. They are in the order in which they were created first btw.  My goal was Ten..my brain was hurting a little towards the end. Hey its hard to be funny!   I hope I don’t make you suffer or groan out loud too much…:).

1.  I would call you an ass but you’d take it as a compliment.

2. I would say I love you but you might hold me to it.

3. I would say my ships about to come in but I just found out it was called the Titanic.

4. I would love to have sex with you but the sign above your head says now serving No.4 and I’m holding No.99 and I just can’t wait that long.

5. I would say you are the most beautiful woman in the world but I just had a sex change so I would be lying.

6. I would give strippers more money but they hate it when I try and make change for a five.

7. I would say the state of the world as a majority is mostly apathetic to the causes that face our planet on a daily basis and that we as a human race need to stand up and say enough is enough, let’s fight for what we believe in and have the guts and determination and discipline to stand behind our principles to forge a better brighter tomorrow for ourselves and our future posterity  but then again I don’t really care to leave my couch much.

8. I would like to thank my esteemed colleagues,co-workers, and friends who I climbed over and stomped on that helped make this all possible but for the life of me I cannot remember any of their damn names.

9. I would be a junkie but I am afraid of anything going in my nose, or needles into my arm, I would be a prostitute but I’m afraid of committment for cash, to much pressure to  perform I guess, I would be an alcoholic but I may be forced to go to AA one day and I just hate crowds and public speaking.

10. I would like to write a book that at least half the world would gush over and ooh and aw at it but I’m thinking I would have to kill about  7,640,000,011 Billion People to make that happen…dammit make that 7,649,000,012…I missed one!

Well there you have it…hope you enjoyed it as much as me…and I didn’t really enjoy it all that much myself…I’m just trying to jump-start myself as I said….

I will do another post soon to jump start my brain called Toilet Tuesday….its where I go into my bathroom at work with a pad and pen, push the button on the exhaust fan for  10 minutes and see what I come up with for a quick short story…and yes.. I am serious I will be seriously doing this…just you wait and see… I hope it’s something good. ( and no I am not actually going to the bathroom while I’m in there…I’m just using the timer function….sheesh what do you take me for)

Till next we meet…:)

Write what you know…but what do you know?


People always say in writing, write what you know, write what you know.   First, I am not sure what I know . There are a lot things bouncing around up there that I’m not even privy to until my hands hit the keyboard or the ink sticks to the paper.

I know a few  things . I know I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer  but neither am I the dullest. I don’t hail from a  major college like Harvard, Yale, or MIT,  but I do know how to enquire, to investigate , to search and use the tools at my disposal. I  have not traveled the world over experiencing and knowing wonderous places and cultures but I do know I can daydream like nobody’s business and  that gets me there just fine.

I do know one thing very well;  at least I think I like to think I know.  And that’s people.  One such people is my wife.  (and yes that was on purpose)

For anyone who follows me on here you know that I mentioned that my wife underwent a major surgery back in Mid-July.  Since I have known her my wife has been a very strong woman;  in willpower and spirit anyways, unfortunately her body just doesn’t always want to agree with her at times  it seems.

I will not wax on to much on how this is her fourth ambdominal surgery in the last twenty years,  and that each surgery is very invasive and painful for her, with each having a long recovery time.  She is without a  doubt one of the strongest women I know.  She could be Wonder Woman’s  twin sister with blonde hair as far as I’m concerned (especially in the chest area) but I digress.

I just wanted to relay that sprinkled throughout  our life and time together, I found how truly strong and courageous she is. Each heroic moment from her  has inspired me to this day in my l writing for what I want any strong  person I write about to be like and exemplify.

This type of character is  a no-brainer for me. This character lives with me everyday and I am happy she has chosen this seat next to me on this  magical train called life to take us to wherever we wish to go.

She is but one character in my life that I look to for inspiration but she is by far the most important. She anchors it all down.

 Love this picture cuz it fits my wife perfectly..:)

 

And this one below…I loves me some Wonder Woman what I can say…

 

 

Kurt Vonnegut 8 Basics of Writing


 

  Kurt Vonnegut 8 Basics of Writing

Kurt Vonnegut created some of the most outrageously memorable novels of our time, such as Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast Of Champions, and Slaughterhouse Five. His work is a mesh of contradictions: both science fiction and literary, dark and funny, classic and counter-culture, warm-blooded and very cool. And it’s all completely unique.

With his customary wisdom and wit, Vonnegut put forth 8 basics of what he calls Creative Writing 101: *

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.

* From the preface to Vonnegut’s short story collection Bagombo Snuff Box

Above  Article was borrowed directly from: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1colHt/:1HF83LM3C:SFvA-CL-/www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/538/

Collecting your Thoughts….a writers advice on one GOT TO HAVE IT TOOL as you write.


Tools…

You need Tools to build things, whether it’s a book case,  a bed, or a barn…you need tools for the job.  You can’t hit a nail with your fist. Besides hurting like hell you won’t get anywhere  execpt bloody and perhaps a visit to the  emergency room.

Writing is the same way; certain tools are needed.  For many who write I’m sure that comes as no surprise. Stephen King says he brings his whole tool box from the garage  when he writes because he’ll never know what he’ll need.

For me, words are like gold when I write.  When I’m writing, I’m constantly trying to find that perfect string  of words, that when put together right, form a picture of a place,  character, an emotion,  or an action that grabs hold of the reader’s mind and puts them there right into the story.

Going back to Stephen King, I found that he is one of the masters at doing that. He is very good at looking at something in real life and flipping it to some analogous turn of phrase that you instantly connect to in your mind. I often seek to emulate writers like him and others. I have found one TOOL (method)  gets me close to that type of good writing; being observant about what I see, hear, smell,touch,taste, and then following it up by cataloging that thought down somewhere….anywhere….the memo function on my phone, a notepad, dictation to the phone, a napkin, on my hand (yes I did that once) or even literally telling your signifcant other to remember “this” until I get home  so I can jot it down.

Some thoughts strike like lighting about something you experience and you DON’T want to lose it.  You may not use it in the current story you are working on but you will surely have need of it in the wee hours of the night when you are searching for that one turn of phrase that will bring it all home in that one paragraph that you are  having sooooo much trouble putting to bed.

Words are not cheap so don’t let the gold coins dribble through a hole in your pants pocket to be lost and forgotten.  It’s great to be able to go to a cache of magical words and phrases that  you have saved up and rummage  through it once in awhile and say, hey that would work in this part.

So keep  the gold mine open and productive. I supremely HATE it when I forget something that was the coolest thing ever thought of on the face of this Earth.

Below are few of my “golden” words you might say about every day observations in life.  Some are direct form my own brain, some may be stolen you might say from family members, friends, or even strangers that I heard making their own unique observations that didn’t even know they were being original when they said them.  Don’t worry it’s okay to steal phrases from others; some of the best words and phrases come from an author’s relationships with others (not talking plagerism of course).  Let me know what your thoughts on the tools you use when writing:

Black and white striped sock

looked like the ribcage of a

rat lying in the gutter.

******************************

Her skin hung on her bones like

 a thin wrinkled suit on a hanger.

********************************

I called them bumbies, half bum,half zombie

because of their slow shuffling jerky walk

down the street in their tattered dirty clothes

**************************************

Somehow I feel I ‘m framed like a picture,

Bounded and contained, my limits  are set

at four corners, my face compressed

tight against the glass.

***************************************

I feel the sharpness of your eyes cut into

me keener than any blade could cut  the thinnest

hair in half.

**********************************

Btw the way did you notice how I picked a Phillips’s Screwdriver for my tool in the  title pic above…get it …because my name is Philip…he he he…..oh well..anyways..that’s my attempt at  very  obscure, very subtle  stupid humor…then I again it’s  not very humorous if I feel like I have to point it out to you guys…:)