IWSG – 2/1/17 – How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

insecure-writers-support-group-badgeThis is my initial response as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It is not because I am an anomaly, one of those writer’s who exudes so much confidence I never doubt my ability. No, in truth I am just as full of questions about my ability as anyone who puts together a collection of letters with the hopes it will be recognized as a work of art as anyone.

I have been blogging on WordPress for about 4 1/2 years, so I have seen the IWSG logo for a while now. Why I have not taken the initiative to join before this time is one of those questions with an easy answer. No one wants to admit their doubts. None of us willingly steps up to declare that the possibility of irrelevance scares us into submission too often. But I am growing as a writer as I cross the many hurdles that are real and imagined. I want to rub elbows with other doubters as I also connect with those who have won the battles that lay before me.

I also want to answer the question posed this month: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? I think it has made me more critical. I see more plot holes as I look at other works. This includes movies and television as well. I can distinctly remember a plot hole in a television series I loved and still to this day I think about it. It is not very often I will stop reading a book, or watching a program or movie, but it does happen, usually because something is either so out of place or the plot just does not capture my attention.

I find myself taking mental notes now when I read authors I really like, taking apart their characters and plot devices to see how they tick. I want to be able to make such a good story that my readers will crave more of my writing. I expect all the best writers operate this way, so why not follow their lead?

I enjoy any opportunity to connect with others in this solitary world of writing. While it can be a lonely pursuit, opportunities like this narrow down the field of folks to ones willing to share a piece of their world. It is difficult to share your struggles with those who do not face similar obstacles or challenges. They just look at you like they are thinking “why do that to yourself?” Because I have that desire burning deep inside me, although you cannot see it or understand it, I think.

So I think that will do it for my first IWSG post. I look forward to meeting all of you over time and who knows what kind of connections I might make here?

An Irish Fall – FFPP – 01/05/17

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He would always remember that day in October when he saw her auburn hair for the first time. Even the beauty of the North Carolina section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, something he had anticipated enjoying for the first time in his life, could not outshine her. Her face was angelic, like something in a catalogue of porcelain dolls.

But it was her voice. That lovely Irish brogue that captivated him. She acted shy at first, but he realized it was more like coy as she found her footing with him through their conversation on the overlook. What he expected would be a ten minute pit stop easily morphed into an hour long date with his destiny.

Carey did not believe in fate. He was a Christian, feeling that any positive experience was sent by God. Allison was that and more, he was positive of that by the time they shared the gorgeous sunset. He drew in a quick breath when she leaned in to let her lips touch his. Was that fireworks bursting in his head? Or was it just the thrill of someone new. He was fine with any explanation.

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This is my first try at Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. It is a weekly writing challenge designed for both the flash fiction newbie and the more experienced writer. Using the provided photo you are budgeted 200 words to make your story. I live about 90 minutes from the Linville Aqueduct, which is the inspiration for this week’s prompt.

Gears for today – FF -1/06/07

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Photo Credit: Sandra Crook

 

It took years to raise the money. Bake sales, birthday calendars, doughnuts, basically anything that could be monetized was put into the hopper as a device to raise the necessary money. But it was the awarding of the recognition as a historic site that finally granted the proper impetus to allow the renovation to succeed. The wood was new, but the steel sections were original.

Barry could feel the hair on his arms bristle when it came time to give the big wheel its first action in sixty-three years. If this happened without fail he would have work for years.

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Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Carrie Me Over – Sunday Photo Fiction – 01 Jan 2017

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“So she will signal us it is okay by dousing the lights?” Cal asked.

“Yes,” Mike nodded. “When the lights go down that means she has reached the control room where she can also disable the electric gate. Once that happens we are home free.”

“If she doesn’t get caught,” Cal stated the obvious, the worrisome part of all of this adventure. So far Carrie was regarded as a friend to the state, an asset really. Her father was the man in charge, so she had great latitude in her movement, one of the big reasons Mike befriended her.

Being labeled as subversive meant their lives would never know freedom. Mike and Cal could not stomach that kind of life, so they were about to embark on a harrowing attempt to race the thirteen miles from here to the border and freedom. If they could get out of this first enclosure. Everything depended on Carrie and her stealth.

Cal looked at his watch and back at the lights. It was past the time they agreed on for her to make her move. Had there been complications? Was she discovered? Was she really with them?

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The Target in the Haystack – FF – 12/16/16

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“Is he still holding the rifle?” Jared asked.

“Yep!” Kelly said into her phone. She looked around the corner of the barn to see Farmer Dave pacing the porch.

It was a harmless prank, one Jared needed to complete to join the fraternity. But now he was stuck in the feed ring where hungry horses were quickly destroying his cover. If he was exposed to Farmer Dave he would be arrested if not shot for trespassing.

“How long ago did he feed them?” Kelly asked. ‘They are eating like they are starved!”

“I sure picked the wrong place to hide!”


For Friday Fictioneers

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How Can You Forget Reality? -FF 12-09-16

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Photo Prompt Copyright Lucy Fridkin

 

“Even with this virtual reality thingy it’s impossible to imagine,” Haley said. She slowly turned as she watched the scenery.

“You have to consider the fact no one thought it would come to them either,” John replied. “Hawaii was just a non-descript chain of islands, not even thought of as a state on that morning.”

“Imagine waking up to see the sky full of death!” Haley replied.

“Yes, many people had their lives taken on that day. Seventy five years makes a lot of people forget the horror.”

“How could you forget?”

“Sometimes you have to so you can live!”

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ph1207Today is the 75th anniversary of the most devastating attack in U.S. military history. Also the impetus of the United States entering the Second World War. Pearl Harbor is something we still remember, even those who were not alive at that time. We cannot let this and other lessons fade as we move on with our freedoms. It is because of those who fought and died in these times we can do what we choose today.

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Resistance Truly is Futile – SPF -29 May 2016

Sunday Photo Fiction is another weekly photo prompt fiction exercise I try to join frequently. There is a collection of writers from the right side (in relation to us) of the Atlantic that deliver a different perspective and flavor to story telling here. Allistair Forbes is the host and if you are not familiar with his work you are missing something special.

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When we started the resistance we knew we had to develop our own method of communicating, some way our enemies could not decipher. The world wide web was out, mainly because it was no longer present, part of the loss when the electromagnetic storms ravaged everything with a chip or transistor.

Luckily there was paint, gallons and gallons of paint. We designed the code in a way that it did not match with any known written cipher code. Then we began to use it in places that we knew the enemies would see it and try to paint over it. We wanted the code to only be effective for hours, sometimes 24, but others as few as 12, or even six. But it was enough, we knew to look often.

Our abilities confounded our adversaries and we beat them at every turn. Before six months passed we had nearly defeated them and driven them back to their own borders. Until they managed to lay a trap for our bravest and most daring painter who tried to send too many messages in too short a time. He was right, if he had succeeded the war would have ended. But now we have to find another way. Our enemy used him against us, making him signal us back with our own words.

The PIES! Of all the messages they could have chosen, that was the one that sent chills through out our ranks. It was as effective as one hundred bombs!

 

 

The 1% Strikes Again! – FF – 27 May 2016

The Friday Fictioneers photo prompt is live, come join the fun!

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Photo prompt copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Are you sure this will work?” Millie whined. For eight days every word from her lips was like this. Drew knew being stranded on a deserted island was not the idyllic honeymoon he promised, but who could predict a boat consuming fire?

“It is our best hope. In my nautics course at university I studied these exact currents. From here they flow back to the mainland.”

“But what if the glass bottle finds rocks?” Mille asked. “We’ll die here!”

“Darling there is only a 1% chance the current will direct this toward rocks,” Drew assured her.

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Caught – Sophie Marceau Mystery for Ronovan Writes Friday Fiction – 20 May 2016

This is my third turn with Ronovan Writes and the Friday Fiction prompt. Basically Ronovan gives us a one word clue to utilize in building a story. Perhaps I am taking the easy way out, but I decided to give my established character, Detective Sophie Marceau a new series within this weekly challenge. I invite you to check for previous chapters in the links that follow this week’s story. This chapter follows the theme of: Caught

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Tom turned his head quickly to look at Sophie who never offered a compliment easily, especially to someone she barely knew. But here they were surveying the scene of a crime where a stockbroker was murdered outside the gates of a horse track and the unlikely had just happened before his eyes.

Sophie caught his gaze and quickly communicated through her crystal-like emerald eyes for him to cool it. He shook his head as if to clear his thoughts and saw her expression ease in response. Sophie had her eyes fixed now on the newcomer and gave Penelope Crenshaw, the medical examiner a quick nod to give her some time with the young woman. Penelope slid her arm through Tom’s to lead him away as Sophie began to speak to Casey Ritter, the new addition to Penelope’s team.

“What do you see unique about this?” Sophie asked. She listened as the early-twenties something young woman began to analyze her recent find. She was impressively methodical as she established parameters to isolate the type of material, weave, color family and more possible identifying qualities. The girl seemed not to be baffled at all about what she saw, even withdrawing a magnifying glass from a nearby satchel to squint at a particular oddity.

This is familiar,” she said looking up and toward nothing particular as she allowed her mind to sift through the memories to isolate why she recognized something on the scrap.

Sophie waited patiently, enjoying the process through the young woman and her meticulous nature.

“There!” Casey said pointing in the distance. Sophie spun one hundred eighty degrees to look down a long pathway toward the stables where the live stock was contained. Casey took off half-jogging down the lane with Sophie trailing behind a few seconds. Both were somewhat winded when they stopped a quarter of a mile later to see an array of racing team logos on banners over their horse’s stalls.

Casey’s face was screwed in thought as she looked between a trio of logos, trying to decipher what her trained brain had signaled about the scrap of cloth. Sophie was glad it was just them standing here, because Tom’s process was to pester you with questions that actually inhibited your thought process instead of moving it forward. She could see a similarity in Casey to her own processes. She watched the girl’s eyes, seeing her mentally eliminate on e of the three options. She could identify the change because Casey now gravitated only between two logos, a multi-lined graphic of a racing horse and another with a rose wreath around a black horse image.

Casey dropped her head, staring at the evidence bag which held the scrap of paper she had secured before and then she studied the logos again. Once, twice, three times she did this. Then her eys narrowed on the scrap before she quickly fixed on the first logo. Sophie could feel the hair on her arms bristle as Casey’s smile grew.

The young woman snapped her head toward the stall for Grumman’s Racing and made a bee-line for a group of men huddled nearby. As she approached the five employees looked at her questioningly and then when she had covered another ten feet of ground one of them broke free and took off in a sprint.

“Tom!” Sophie shouted as she gave chase. She could see the guy running, but felt like she had little hope of keeping pace. Just before he cleared a corner of the barn area to make a dash for the parking lot a blur from the left tackled him to the ground. When Sophie drew even she stifled a laugh as she watched Casey twist one of the man’s arms behind his back. With her other arm she pulled his jacket up to show a section that was torn just below the team logo. She allowed Sophie to help her hand cuff the fellow, stand him up and then she pulled the evidence bag from her pocket and compared the sample to his jacket.

“It’s a match!” Sophie said.

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Chapter 1 – A Guest Appearance

Chapter 2- A First Time