Tag Archives: writing

Weekly Smile 58 #weeklysmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

It’s been a weird week so far and I haven’t gotten half as much done as I wanted to.  There are some large stones that I put into the jar first so at least I got a few things done (I don’t have room to talk about that time management paradigm).  One of the large rocks I literally lifted was exercise.  OK, that pun didn’t work as well as it should have, but still, I have been forcing myself to make time to run and to do weight exercises.  The thing is, it makes me feel great!  I never understand how “ungreat” I feel until I get back into the routine.  It takes a week or two to get back into it, but once I do I can’t figure out why I stopped (this time I stopped because i fell of a cliff, but that’s another story ;) ) Continue reading

Expressing the Inexpressible Part 2

Trent's Eye

After “talking to someone on the blogs I decided to try an experiment.  I wanted to write poem to express the inexpressible.  It is possible some of my poems had done this,but this was the only time I sat down with this odd goal in mind.  What I tried to do is increase the rhythm of the poem with the intensity of the words, to build the feeling as the poem built.  You can read “When I Think of You” to decide if I succeeded.

So on Thursday I wrote a post about poetry being able to express the inexpressible, to say things for which no words exist.  Of course I fell flat.  The only way I could think of doing it is by showing examples and maybe two or three people looked at the examples.  It isn’t a new idea,of course.  We express ourselves in poems and others can relate to that expression.  I ended the post by saying i should try the same thing in prose.  So, of course I did.  Try, that is. Continue reading

Expressing the Inexpressible

I love the beach...

Here is a confession: I am not a life long poetry lover.  Funny thing, my mother is a poet and has written poetry her whole life, having a some published and even having an internationally known composer use some of her poems for art songs.  But me?  No, I’ve never been much of a poetry lover.

“But Trent,” you say, “you post a new poem every week on your blog!  You read other people’s poems and make nice comments.  Are you hypocrite, just writing and saying things for some evil purpose?”

Of course not. Continue reading

Ready, Set, G…Uhm, Hold On

hand

I have no reason to procrastinate.  I spent an hour or two last week discussing my short stories with my mom.  After our discussion I went through the list of stories I have written and came up with a final list for my short story collection.  Last night I copied each story I chose to its own Word file so I can start editing.  In my opinion the stories are still pretty much just first, rough drafts.  Some are more polished than others, but some are very rough around the edges.  I want to do at least one rewrite, possible two, on every story and do up to three or four drafts of some of the roughest.

So, where to begin?  I know, start at story #1 and do a second draft.  If I feel momentum, I might write the third draft, but then move on to story #2 – I want to attack each draft with a fresh mind.  Sounds easy. Continue reading

A Question of Names

woman portrait

When you write fiction, how do you come up with the names of your characters?  As I’ve been reading through my short stories once again I’ve been looking at names.  As I look at the names, that question about naming occasionally comes up.  Why did I choose that particular name and what would happen if I changed it?

First a few little details.  Between the short stories I’ve posted here, including the flash fiction and 100 word “Friday Fictioneers” stories, and the stories I have not posted, there are well over 200 stories that combined to more than 250,000 words.  Of course, if I toss in the two books I’ve written, at about 80,000 words each, we are talking about a lot of names, a huge number of names, perhaps thousands of named characters.  Sometimes it bothers me when I find a repeat, but over all I think I did a pretty good job keeping unique names. Continue reading

Different Times and Places!

Magic Wand 3 (color)

“Space and Time will be my toys and I’ll create whole worlds and universes.  I’ll visit dinosaurs and slay dragons, travel to the stars and serenade princesses.” (excerpt from my illustrated short story, The Magic Wand –  B&W versioncolor version)

Let me take you away, through time and space.  I’ll wave that magic wand and create a universe for you.   I have already created quite few – see here for some examples!

Today on Valentine’s Day I am paying tribute to my love for writing and the imagination :)

 

A Word on Words! And a Question….

Fiction

This is a bit of nothing, just a quick homage to words, words in an attempt to portray the wonder of words. As readers and writers we have a love affair with words. We dance to their music in our ear and savor their delicious flavor in our mouths as we speak them. We delight in a new word or a clever combination of them.

One of the things that I’m often curious about is vocabulary. More specifically, how many different words have I used in a story? Are there any tools out there that people use? I write in MS Word. It gives a total count but it doesn’t tell me how many unique words I’ve used. I’ve played with a few different online tools. I’ll admit that I only did a few quick searches and tested just a small sampling, a handful or so, of different online tools. Of these, this was my favorite:  http://wordcounttools.com/   Yeah, the name says it all. Continue reading

The Unwritten Backstory (Again)

First step on a long winter's walk - Photo by Trent P. McDonald

(Originally posted December 27, 2013 – One of my first posts it received only one “like”…)

The stereotypical author is often pictured hunched over a beat-up old typewriter creating his or her magic on the spot, pounding ideas furiously onto the keys.  Of course today the “typewriter” has a softly glowing flat screen.  Well, this picture isn’t me.  I do most of my writing during my frequent walks.  Time banging on the computer is needed mostly to transfer the already written story from my brain onto the page.  Sure, I do a lot editing on the PC, but for a major revision I once again put on a comfortable pair of shoes and head out the door.  Storyline, major plot points and even the nitty-gritty of word choice are worked out on foot.

During my strolls I tend to think beyond the finished product, particularly when it comes to short fiction.  I often create a much larger, more detailed story and then whittle it down.  A lot of what gets cut might be called “backstory”.  Although deleted, it’s always kept in mind, influencing the final work. Continue reading

It Started With a Dream

The Hamlet Symphny - Alt Image

It started with a dream. And a very strange dream it was (*read the dream at the end of the post). It jumped around and didn’t make any sense and yet seemed real. I thought about it as I went through my morning routine. On my drive to work I wrote a little story in my mind based on the dream. By the time I pulled into the parking lot I had it pretty much down. I also realized it was more of a single scene than a standalone story.  i was thinking four, perhaps five, parts.  I took a break from work midway through the morning and cranked it out as fast as I could type. The scene was in my brain, I just had to type it out. I took less than 30 minutes to type and post the more than 1800 words of “The Halley Branch (Part 1)”.

For a few days it continued like this. I would think of the next chapter as I drove to work. Half way through the morning I’d take a half an hour break to write up what I had planned on my drive and post it. After the forth part I realized the story was going to be a lot bigger than originally planned, perhaps book length.

After about the fourth or fifth part I started doing a lot of the writing at home in the evening. Continue reading

Stories Untold and Books Unwritten

My Book

While watching the news a few weeks ago I was reminded of an old book idea I had decades ago. The basic idea of the book was thought out in 1988 during a period of prolific writing. Well, I wrote a half dozen short stories, bought a typewriter, and typed a few out, so while not prolific, it was a time that I actually did more than just dream about writing. I totally rewrote the book in my mind over the years 1993 – 1994, but I’m pretty sure the plot point that involved the trial of a racist police officer who had shot some unarmed black citizens was there since 1988.

Have you ever remembered an old plot line or unwritten story and asked yourself why you never carried through with it? I’ll admit it happens way too often with me. The reason I say “way too often” is the fact that until recently I’ve written far more stories in my head than I have actually written out. Continue reading