Her’s Day Thursday

Her's Day Thursday3

 

Tuesday was one of my favorite author’s birthday and I didn’t even know it! I follow PBS on Facebook and it was until this morning that I saw an article stating that Beverly Cleary turned 100 years old!

Beverly Cleary

This woman, even though she has NO idea who I am, is near and dear to my heart. I credit her with helping me fall in love with reading.

Beverly Bunn was born April 12, 1916 in Oregon to Mable and Lloyd Bunn. Beverly lived on a farm with her family in a very rural part of Yamhill until she was about six years old and then moved to Portland.

Though she would become one of the greatest children’s authors, Beverly was not always a fan of reading. in fact, in grade school, she was placed in the lowest reading group–the Blackbirds. As she grew, she started to read more and eventually went to college to earn her degree in library sciences!

Beverly Cleary2

Her first job as a librarian was in Yakima, Washington. It was there that a young boy approached her and asked, “Where are the books about kids like us?” This spurred Beverly to pen her first book: Henry Huggins. 

This book catapulted Cleary’s career which led to her writing over 40 children’s books! Most of them featuring the titular character of Ramona Quimby.

Beverly Cleary Books

As a kid, I adored the Ramona books. I always thought Ramona had spunk and wanted to be just like her! I even signed my school papers: Jessica Akers, age 8! (And then 9 when my birthday rolled around).

So happy (belated) birthday, Mrs. Cleary! And thank you for the amazing stories!

Writer Wednesday

writer wednesday

Hey guys! Here is today’s prompt:

Give us the first sentence of these stories:

1. You’re walking down a quiet street and you notice a body lying in the gutter. You don’t know if the person is dead or alive.

2. You come across that same motionless body—and you notice a wallet sticking out from under it.

3. Now it’s a gun sticking out.

 

1. I picked up a stick and poked him, careful not to damage his Uncle Sam costume.

 

2. I gently pulled the wallet out from under him and took out the license, careful to not get blood on my hands.

 

3. I screamed, grabbed my phone, and dialed 911 while shouting, “The naked man is armed!”.

 

What would your sentences be? Got a prompt you’d like to see used on WW? Share in the comments below!

Writer Wednesday

Hello all!

No prompt/short story for today’s Writer Wednesday. I thought I’d instead give you some tips! There are many, many books out there that can help unleash the writer within as well as help you hone the skills you already have. Here is just a short list of books I think every writer should have in their arsenal.

 

1. Eats Shoots and Leaves

eat shoots leaves

A cheekily titled book that discuss a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners approach to punctuation. I actually read this in a book club! It was very informative (and quite hilarious!).

 

2. On Writing Well

writing well

This book is thorough and easy to read. It has help for just about any area of writing that you may be struggling with. A definite MUST have.

 

3. Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

writer's thesaurus

I actually own this bad boy! And let me tell ya, it has come in handy SO many times! After about three hours of writing, your brain starts to turn to mush. So it becomes difficult to find another word that means sad. Soon all of your sentences say the same thing: “She was sad. He was sad. The turtle was sad.” And that, my friends, is just…sad dismal.

 

 

4. Choose the Right Word

choose the right word

I also own this one! This book helps you determine the correct usage for certain words. Just look up the word, see the contect you need to use it in, and bam! you’re good to go!

 

Have you read any of these? Do you own any? Are there other books about writing you’d recommend?

Writer Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!

Today, I’m not going to write a story (I know, I can hear your disappointment) instead, I thought I would give some tips to my fellow writers out there!

Because, being a writer is tough. Sometimes, those creative juices flow like the Nile River and others, its like the freaking Serengeti. Plus, being a writer can lead to a lonely life. We have so many character’s voices in our heads, people think we’re a little nutzo.

Fry writing gif

So here are a few tips to help you deal with the common problems that all writers face.

 

1. There is no such thing as “writer’s block”. 

writing-bad

When I was in school and tried to write, there would be so many times I would spend hours staring at an empty piece of paper or an empty Word doc. I would think, “Ugh! This writer’s block is going to be the end of me!” It wasn’t until college that I realized something: writer’s block doesn’t exist. One of my professors put it this way: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There is such a thing as an apathetic person, a procrastinator, and ‘chair-butt syndrome’.” Basically, if you’re feeling stuck, push through, get rid of distractions, or do something active to get your blood flowing.

 

2. Get plugged in with a writer’s group. 

Lisa Simpson writing gif

If you want to get fit, you go to the gym or go to a yoga class. If you want to lose weight, you join Jenny Craig. If you want to learn to swim, you take swimming lessons. The same goes for writing. You’ve got to meet with people that have the same passions as you in order to learn. Plus, these groups have all of the “insider information” to various workshops, seminars, and contests going on for writers and poets. I’m a member of OCWI (Oklahoma City Writers, Inc.) and they are amazing! They meet monthly and give excellent tips for aspiring authors. Seriously, its worth looking into.

 

3. Use social media. 

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Follow literary agents on Twitter. Find authors or writer’s associations on Facebook. Check out blogs by publishing companies. Subscribe to a writer’s magazine. These people are in the biz and know what publisher’s are looking for! Plus, just about every publisher, literary agent, and author has at least one way to follow them on the internet.

 

4. Read. 

reading

If you want to be a writer, you absolutely MUST read. If you want to write thriller novels, read them! See what makes a great thriller! If you want to write young adult, then go to your library and ask the librarian for the most popular books. You have to do your market research and see what the public wants. You don’t have to write a story about a human falling in love with a vampire; look at the characters and the story line. What makes people like these stories? Do some digging!

 

5. Don’t let anyone stop you from pursuing your dream. 

wished to be a writer

Being a writer has something I have always wanted to be. As a kid, I’d write books and take them to school and have my teacher read them to my class. I was constantly putting on skits, dressing up as different characters, and making up stories (my parents can testify to that; ha!). I know, believe me I know, how difficult it is to write something, think its awful, and swear off writing. But if it is truly your passion, never give up! Sure, rejection letters may pile up and you may think, “Am I really a horrible writer?” But all you need is one “Yes” and THAT’S what I’m counting on. THAT’S what keeps me going. We can do this, buddy.

 

Writer Wed–Er, Thursday

Hey peeps!

Sorry for no post yesterday. It was mine and Huff the Hubs third anniversary! We took the day off and spent the whole day together! It was awesome. So I’m making up for no Writer Wednesday by having a Writer Thursday.

 

Here is today’s prompt:

photo (3)

 

Seven days ago, I won the lottery. Now, nobody will talk to me.

 

I thought winning the lottery would give me more friends. Instead, it drove them away. I wasn’t expecting to win when I walked into that Gas ‘N Go. I just needed to fill up my tank and maybe grab a Diet Coke. On a whim, I bought two scratchers. I never bought those kinds of things before. But they were just sitting there on the counter. I figured, why not?

 

I completely forgot about them until I cleaned out my truck two days later. They had fallen out my pocket and got stuck in between my seat and console. I took them inside, searched for a quarter, and scratched the first one.

 

I had to reveal three cherries if I wanted to win. I rubbed the silver coating off the first box: cherry. I chose another box and did the same. Another cherry. I picked a third box and started to get excited. A banana.

 

“Dang it!” I moaned, tossing the worthless paper into the trash. I grabbed the other scratcher. I chose my boxes more carefully this time.

 

The first box was a cherry!
“Yes!” I whispered.

 

The next one? One more cherry.

 

My hands shook as I chose the final box to scratch. I kept second-guessing myself.

 

The upper left?

 

 

Lower right?

 

No.

 

Bottom middle.

 

Yes, that one.

 

I scratched off the silver. I closed my eyes before I could sneak a peek of the shape. With my eyes still shut, I blew the shavings off the card.

 

“One, two, three,” I said aloud and opened my eyes.

 

A third cherry! A third cherry! I couldn’t believe it!

 

I did a happy dance and thought about what I should do next. Naturally, I posted on Facebook that I had won the lottery. People were quick to congratulate me. I told them I would take them all to dinner to celebrate and pay with my winnings.

 

I went to the store to collect my prize and then drove to the restaurant. But no one showed up. I waited for another fifteen minutes. Still, no one was there. Another thirty minutes passed. I saw many people coming in and out of the parking lot, but none of them were my friends.

 

I sighed and walked inside.

 

I told the young woman that was assisting me, “I won the lottery today.”

 

“Wow! Congratulations!” she said. “How much did you win?”

 

“Fifty dollars,” I said proudly. “Can I have a McDouble and a McFlurry, please?”

Writer Wednesday

A few months ago, I woke up with a sudden inspiration for a new book. All I had was the first few opening paragraphs. But, in my sleepy daze, I thought it was pure gold. I’m determined to turn these few paragraphs into a full-fledged YA novel. But I need some help. Here’s what I have so far:

 

“Get up you will.”
“Lazy you are.”
“A Jedi you will never be.”

 

My Yoda alarm clock was going off. I used to think this thing was cool. That is, until it started speaking to me in insulting nonsensical syntax at five thirty in the morning. I rolled over and knocked the green gremlin on his head (the Jedi equivalent of hitting the snooze) and pulled my covers over my eyes.

 

I really didn’t want to get out bed this morning. I contemplated telling my mom I was sick. It couldn’t be a cold, obviously; I didn’t have a runny nose or a cough. I could try to fake it but I was a horrible actress. Like Halle Berry in Catwoman, bad. I decided on faking a stomach ailment. Those were usually the best fake sicknesses to have. You didn’t necessarily HAVE to have a fever and all of your symptoms were internal.

 

Jackpot.

 

Why didn’t I want to get out of bed this morning, you ask? Because it’s the last day of school. For most high-schoolers, this is the day they look forward to more than Christmas. After all, next year, I’ll be a senior. All of my classmates are dancing in halls. But not me. I was looking forward to summer like I would a root canal.

 

 

 

Now, my question to you is: why would my main character not look forward to summer? There are NO wrong answers! Get to brainstorming, peeps!

Writer Wednesday

Its Writer Wednesday!

Here was today’s prompt:

prompt

My horoscope read: Company from out of town. Could mean trouble. 

It had no idea how right it was.

I hadn’t planned on hosting Thanksgiving this year, but after Mom broke her leg during her Senior’s Zumba and Aunt Milly ran off with her son’s baseball coach, I was called upon to cook. I had never so much as made a turkey sandwich, let alone an entire bird to feed my loud family from the Finger Lakes.  

I woke up at five to put the turkey in the oven. Sides were already simmering on the stove and I was about to take my second Xanax when I heard my phone ding. A new email. 

This one was from Uncle Charlie.

“Sarah,” he wrote.  “Be sure you have plenty of Milk of Magnesia for your aunt and me today. My irritable bowel has been flaring up something fierce and your aunt has been experiencing severe reflux due to the fact that a new BBQ joint opened up in town last month. See you soon.” 

I groaned. Why, WHY did I agree to this? 

Ah yes, I remember. because my mother is the Jedi Knight of guilt and can make anyone do anything she wants with just a wave of a hand and saying, “Oh, its okay. We’ll figure something out.” 

Note to self: be more assertive. 

I basted the turkey, stirred the stuffing, and peeled more potatoes.

I caught a few glimpses of the cast of General Hospital waving at everyone at the Macy’s Parade and checked my phone. I had a text from my sister. 

Her: Need help w/ n-e-thang?

 Me: No. But I think you could use some help in the grammar department. 

Her: Wut?

Me: Nothing. Never mind. I’m good. When are you coming over? 

Her: 2. But split’n @ 3. Got d8. 

Me: And Happy Thanksgiving to you. 

Note to self: Give my sister a dictionary for Christmas.

Sigh. 

A few more hours pass. The table is set, the turkey is primed for slicing, and the last dash of cinammon is sprinkled on the yams. 

Suddenly, the doorbell rings. 

Note to self: Go on a solo vacation next year during Thanksgiving.