355 Poetry, Poetry, Poetry, Writing

We’re Back With a Big Announcement!

UPDATE: today’s leg of the festival has been cancelled because of the weather. See you all tomorrow!

Hello again! I know it’s been a while, but we’re officially back in business with a new, cute urban design! If you’re reading this in RSS, you should pop by and check me out.

Also! I’m here with an awesome announcement of a new venture getting kicked off this weekend.

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I tried this out during my book event for ‘Pickled Miracles’ — someone gives me any three words, $5 and five minutes of their time, and I will write a one-of-a-kind original poem. The customers who took part were very pleased with the results and I had a great time with it.

This will be available online soon, but in the meanwhile, if you’re in the Greater Pittsburgh area today or tomorrow, I am going to be at the Plum Community Festival with Rust Belt Creations selling these tailor-made pieces of writing in several unique notecards. Stop by and see me!

Plum Community Festival
Friday, June 23rd 5 to 10 pm
Saturday, June 24th 4 to 10 pp

Larry Mills Park Plum Soccer Fields, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15239

 

Creative Advice, NaNoWriMo, Writing, Writing Tips

Editing a Monster: Index Card Therapy

I’ve mentioned before that I’m still editing my monster of a novel I did during last year’s NaNoWriMo. And y’all? I do not like editing. I am not good at it. Ask me to write something – anything – any length – and I’ll do it. Ask me to take that mountain and whittle it down into a terrarium, and I lose my damn mind.

As I consider this crazy, meandering thing, I’ve found that I have a lot of characters. So I’m trying a technique that uses a tool I’ve read about many writers employing when they are working on books: index cards.

Here is the process I’m using. For now. Until I get tired of it. But you might find it helpful!

  1. Take an index card. Write the name of your character on the blank side, including possibly a picture if you have one or a brief physical description.
  2. On the back, it’s bullet list time. Write down what part you want that character to play — are they the hero? The villain? Someone’s foil?
  3. Next, write down what they want, ultimately. Their best case scenario. Where they seek to find themselves.
  4. Write down a few of their favorite things and who they are most linked to in the story.
  5. Write down what you like about the character. Maybe it’s their dialogue. Maybe it’s just the fact that they seem like someone you would want to be friends with (or, on the other hand, someone you’d like to be running from).

Now, take the cards and lay them out on a table or flat surface. How does your cast look? Did you struggle to find things to write about them? Are there characters you could put together into one MEGA AWESOME CHARACTER FUSION? If your book was a movie, would you want to see it?

Over the next few weeks leading up to NaNoWriMo, I’d like to talk more about my editing process. If there are any aspects to this you would especially be interested in hearing about, leave me a comment here or head over to my Facebook page! Or Twitter! Or homing dolphin!

Poetry, Writing

A Little Something

Trying to sort of organize myself creatively speaking, so here is just something small. A pair of haikus inspired by the nice break in weather we’ve been having in Pittsburgh.

:: #Sunset at #RiverviewPark in #Pittsburgh with #deer flocking around the #Observatory.

A post shared by Katie Pugh (@bohemianonrye) on

The sun still shines down
But it has become friends with
The promise of fall.

The still-green grass grows
Slower now, preparing for
The leaves’ homecoming.

microfiction, Writing, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Four Stories About Love

(This was fun! Stay tuned for whatever is coming next!)

There were three people on opposite sides of the park. An expanse of green spread out between them, dotted by picnic baskets, umbrellas, babies taking shaky steps. Above, a blue ocean of sky. They couldn’t see one another well, but they waved all the same.

They made up stories about each other. The old man was a war veteran. The young boy was his grandchild. The two women and the girl were a new family, brought together by love.

The stories were happy ones, and there were some truths in there, but it didn’t matter. It was a perfect day.

The yeti said ‘I love you’ with mushrooms brought to the seashore, and the mermaid always smiled. He would kneel down and she would braid his long, mossy hair with seaweed, and he chased the gulls away when they dove at her shimmering tail.

The mermaid said ‘I want you here with me’ with abalone and clams. He would build fires at night on the beach and dig tidal pools for her to lounge in, and they watched the stars shine and fade.

And even when her breasts sagged and his hair fell out in clumps, they still remained together.

“Please don’t go,” she said to him, through the tears only a seven-year-old in love could show. “Please don’t move. I’ll let you play with all my toys. As much as you want.”

“My parents are making me. We’re going to Alaska. I’ll send you pictures,” he said, as stoic as a nine-year-old can be.

“But you’ll come back, right?” She blew her nose on his sleeve, even though he made a face. “You’ll come back and see me?”

“I think so,” he said, believing the words.

And every month, there was a postcard with a moose in the mailbox.

They lived in the house together, all five of them, and there was always tea and fresh-cut flowers and blankets in the winter. The house smelled like lemon, and when any of them hurt or felt pain, the other four would enclose them in a circle of love.

Of course, there was talk of the strangers in the beautiful house on the hill. About how their love was something to be feared, something to avoid.

But the yellow walls and brown shutters held tight and fast. Inside, the five needed only one another, and they were happy in that knowledge.

microfiction, Writing, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Ending and Beginning

“I don’t want a last meal. I want a bath.”

The guard vouched for him. The prisoner was old, what could be the harm? The guard, who had been a young man when he started in death row. The guard, who had grown to know the man who would die for a crime he didn’t commit.

When he took him to the small bathroom, his final act of mercy was unlocking the cabinet of cleaning supplies, dropping the keys down the toilet. The bleach and ammonia would do the rest.

“Thank you,” the prisoner said as he started to breath.

Fie found the ring in the carrot patch. She slipped it into the pocket of her dirty coveralls before going back to the weeding.

Then, it was a bouquet of roses in the cabbage patch, blood red and fragrant as day. She let them sit, save for one, which she placed in her wide-brimmed hat.

As she dug around the sweet potatoes, she found small, foil-wrapped chocolates, dirt clinging to their ribbons. The truffles melted on her tongue.

“I was already yours, you know,” Fie said, kissing the scarecrow’s cheek. “I’m not going anywhere.”

His silent stitched mouth continued smiling.

microfiction, Writing, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Program

The doctor made the robot to look exactly like her. It wasn’t perfect – on the contrary, it had all her acne, her gray hairs, her fifty-two scars. Its voice had her gravelly rasp, her eyes the not-quite-color of evergreen. By the time she was done, she could barely stand to see it.

“Now what?” the robot asked.

“Just go be me.”

“To what end?” Its head inclined, curious.

“I want people to think I’m okay. I don’t want them to watch me die.”

The robot nodded.

“Just pretend until you can’t anymore,” she ordered, ushering it out the door.

microfiction, Uncategorized, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Squeak

Tippy kept a home for the ghosts of small pets. When the Jehovah’s Witness knocked on her door and saw Boogers the rat run through her ankle, he passed out cold.

She brought him inside, and, shooing away the ethereal birds from the couch, set him down. He woke up to a cup of tea, a biscuit and a surly specter guinea pig named Horace.

“I don’t understand,” he said, as a non-corporeal boa tried to wrap around the sofa leg. “Why…?”

“It’s easy for little lives to be forgotten,” she said. “Someone needs to remind them of their importance.”

microfiction, Writing, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Absurdity Squared

The plummet from the twenty-third story was surprisingly short. There was barely time to get accustomed to the rush of wind, limbs sprawling, the upward rush sending Tom topsy-turvy until he hit the ground, the whole journey taking three seconds before impact with the ground.

“Dude. You all right?”

Tom looked up at Finn standing over him. Well, his remains. Now, Tom was standing in the exact same clothes, and they watched his body fade into nothing.

“How many lives do you have left?”

“Five. I picked one up by the Starbucks.”

“Why’d you use one?”

He shrugged. “Slow day.”

“It looks like you’re having a burrito.”

The husband and wife looked up at the sonogram with vacant expressions, and as the doctor moved the wand over her jellied stomach, they could make out the curve of the tortilla wrap, the satisfying elongated roundness.

“The tests show beans, cheese, guacamole…ah, and chicken.”

He squeezed her hand as her eyes filled with tears.

“As you progress, we’re expecting sour cream. Maybe lettuce.”

She ran her hands through her hair, face tightening. The doctor smiled comfortingly.

“Just so long as it’s healthy,” the husband said, and she nodded, relieved laughter bubbling forth.

 

 

 

microfiction, Writing, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Four Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, the spare for the heir was betrothed to a terrible prince in an effort to unite the families. The princess begged for it not to be, but they were married in the sweltering heat of August.

On her wedding night, she cut the prince’s throat with a cheese knife and ran into the cursed wood. There, she confronted a coterie of monsters and won their hearts.

Both kingdoms burned in the bright light of her vengeance, and the blood glowed in the streets.

Every monster deserves to pen their own ending.

The fairies sat in the shade of the mushroom, counting seeds and watching the sun rise. The world woke up with the trill of songbirds, and the neighborhood cat stalked after a field mouse, disappearing in a blur of gray in the grass.

The fairies held hands and saw that the leaves were beginning to change, green bleeding out into crimson, earthbrown, mustard. They pulled their vole capes close as the wind changed, and the harvest moon turned a pale white.

When the winter came, they parted on the backs of birds. They promised they would meet again in spring.

Even in the deep snow, the man heard the bear approach, giant paws sinking into the drifts of white. “My cave collapsed,” the bear said. “I have nowhere to go. Let me stay with you this winter.”

“I don’t have much food,” the man said, setting down the axe he used to chop firewood.

“I will not need to eat,” the ageless creature said, dark eyes swimming. “Only a safe haven.”

Against his better judgment, the man opened his door and ushered the great beast in.

There were no wishes granted for this, save warmth and company in his heart.

The Earth fell for the comet, and it watched wistfully as its beautiful tail arced through the darkness of space. “Come closer,” the Earth whispered. “Just for a time.”

The comet laughed and sped away but came back in time. It considered and said, “If I do this thing, I will hurt you. It is inevitable.”

“I do not care,” the Earth said. “Just grant me a moment with you, and it will be worth it.”

The comet’s embrace was one of fire and thunder, ¬†and the Earth smiled even in the face of destruction, its final joy a shattering.

 

microfiction, Writing, Writing challenge

Microfiction: Sight

The psychic saw everything before it happened.

They picked up an umbrella even when the sun was bright, ignoring the stares because they knew when the storm was coming.

They held the elevator open because they could tell the woman running towards it needed this one win to keep from drinking that night.

They moved the chair so the little boy didn’t trip and bash his head on the bookshelf.

And when the beautiful stranger said, “Will you come eat with me?” they knew that their heart was at risk, saw the tearful goodbyes, broken promises, and said ‘yes’ anyway.