Posts Tagged ‘voice’

Voice Week 2013: Racing

Posted: November 8, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
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And there’s the finish line. Let’s kick it in and put this one in the history books. How much did we raise today? I think it was ten thousand dollars, total? That would pay for some of Brenda’s treatments and her medicine. I can’t believe how expensive it is.

One step closer. All of us, taking one step closer to a cure. That’s what it’s all about.

Next week I have to drive Brenda to the doctor for her last round of chemo. I hope this is the last one. Please, God, let it be the last one. It will be.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “racing” from Voice Week 2013 at Be Kind Rewrite.


Voice Week 2013: Racing

Posted: November 6, 2013 by writingsprint in Drama
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Ah, there’s that finish line. I love this part. Look, there’s my wife! Hi, honey! I’ll wave and ham it up a little bit. I earned it.

Bummer, looks like my time’s off about ten minutes from my run in DC. I’ll have to figure out where I messed up. Probably when I got sick on mile seven. That’ll teach me to eat alfredo the night before a race. The pasta was good energy but the dairy sat in my stomach all night. I knew better. Ah well. I’ll knock the minutes back off in the next one.

People ask me why we do it. For me, it’s the quest. It takes months to train for, weeks to get over. We don’t get a golden fleece at the end, but there’s a golden medallion, and I do love putting it on.

This post was brought to you by the prompt “racing” from Voice Week 2013 at Be Kind Rewrite.

Voice Week 2013: Racing

Posted: November 4, 2013 by writingsprint in Slice of Life, Writing
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I can’t believe I’m about to finish a marathon! My legs feel like jelly and my lungs feel like flapping burned newspaper, but you know what, I really don’t care because this is so fucking cool! God, I’m tired. And it’s making me laugh.

I see the finish line! Should I kick it in? Why not. I may throw up but I know I’ll make it. Hee hee hee, check out the nut job sprinting the last hundred yards! Oof… ow… maybe this isn’t such a good idea. Nah, tell you what, what’s ten more seconds of pain. Wait a second… I’m going to walk backwards over the finish line. And a one, and a two… and a three!

This post was brought to you by the prompt “racing” from Voice Week 2013 at Be Kind Rewrite.

Your Insight Is Precious

Posted: September 15, 2013 by writingsprint in Essay, Writing
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writing voiceLast Wednesday, Brain Pickings had an article on Neil Gaiman’s advice for aspiring writers. One resonates with me:

Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices — you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell — because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you.

There’s a perspective inside you that’s special, and we want to hear about it. You don’t think you have any special ideas? I’ll bet your best friend and your spouse would disagree. Out of all the hundreds of people they’ve met in their lives, they picked you to be the person they care about the most. Why is that?

The story that you tell and the way that you care about it is unique. Every story in human history has already been told. The way it’s been told, the author’s unique perspective and their insight into, is what’s changed.

When I was still in college, I started working on a fantasy novel. I worked on it for three years. One day I finally admitted that I didn’t like the story. I liked the characters well enough. The hero was cool, his girlfriend was a spitfire, the villain was awfully evil, but the trappings of the story – the wizards, elves, and dragons – read like every other novel I’d ever read. I didn’t care. I realized that if 22 year-old me, sitting in a creaky apartment on a beautiful day in a building that my mother thought should be condemned, had invented wizards, they wouldn’t be old, and they wouldn’t have pointy hats.

I wrote a scene about a wizard who was sweating and barefoot. He had short hair and he wasn’t wearing a shirt. For him, working spells had his mind burn like a flexing muscle. There was nothing epic about him. He was standing in the patch of a back yard behind his cottage in the woods, talking to his younger sister about the dragon he saw while hunting. The dragon was muddy brown, about the size of a bear. It didn’t breathe fire, but it did roar as it flew over him. She was amazed. He thought it was cute that his sister got such a kick out of it. I loved his relationship with his sister, and the sweat.

Ask yourself: what’s magical to me? What scares the hell out of me? What would be a cool super power, if I had to invent them? If nothing’s coming, maybe you’re looking at where you think you should, or where you think is popular. What means something to you? Maybe not even the biggest thing; what’s on your mind today?

Here’s why your perspective matters: even though it’s different from mine, we can all relate to it. Even people who don’t like what you wrote can relate to it. The chance to walk in someone else’s shoes appeals to everybody. If you put Queen Elizabeth alone in a room with six stilettos, she might not try them on, but she would think about it.

An acting coach once told our class that we are all the prince, the queen, the pauper, the slave, the priest, the whore, the madman, and the sage. Everything that any of us feels is a mixture of four basic emotions: mad, sad, glad, and fear. I don’t know what it’s like to be brain surgeon, but I know what it’s like to solve an intricate problem where I have to keep my cool, when it feels like everything hangs by a thread. I’ve never been a general in the army, but I’ve made decisions that hung around my neck for months. Both brain surgeons and army generals had their hearts broken when they were teenagers, and cried when their children were born. That said, they saw them through different eyes.

Your insight is precious.

I know what you’re thinking. You think your life is boring? Mine is, too. Show me how you cope. Think you’re too young? I remember how it felt to be young, or I think I do. Remind me what it’s like. Think life’s passed you by? I worry about that sometimes. Show me how you’re rekindling that fire, or how you’ve moved on. Don’t want to write about your own life? I try not to write about mine, too. Maybe it’d be fun to write something that happened to you, happening to someone else.

I’ll put my money where my mouth is: here’s my insight on bad ideas. Sometimes I think, it’s hard to write when I don’t have any good ideas. All that I have are the best that I’ve got right now. When I write about that, I think about digging a ditch in my back yard. I don’t want to dig a ditch. It’s back breaking, filthy work. But if you have to dig a ditch, you might as well put some music on, put your heart into it, and do a good job with it. I can dig a crappy ditch or I can dig a good one, where I say, “Yeah. That’s what I wanted to do,” when I’m done. Maybe your ditch story is wrapped around a son finding a way to bond with his estranged father. Or maybe a girl breaks open a shell and falls into another world.

The sooner you start writing with your own voice, the sooner you’ll start to feel comfortable with it. Then you’ll start to strengthen it. You’ll try new things. Keep what works. Throw away what doesn’t, at least for now.

Get started. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

Scene from a Hospital Room: Jenny

Posted: September 30, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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Who is this? It’s not mommy or daddy, or grandma or grandpa. Um… it isn’t the ladies who wear white and smell funny. I don’t know who he is. He looks scared or something. I wonder what he’s going to do.

Now he’s talking… his voice sounds quiet, kind of like how mommy and daddy talk to me. He seems nice. Wait, there’s mommy and daddy, I see them over there. Mommy’s talking to grandma and grandpa, and daddy’s looking at me. Hi mommy! Hi daddy!

Well, I’m really warm and cozy here, and everything seems okay. I think I’ll go back to sleep.

This scene is part of Voice Week from Be Kind Rewrite. Check it out!

Scene from a Hospital Room: Uncle Jerry

Posted: September 29, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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“Do you want to hold her?” Jerry’s mom asked.

“I… no, that’s okay,” he said. He knew this would happen. He’d never held a baby before, in his life, and he was afraid he’d drop her or do something else stupid. He knew he really wouldn’t, but… this was a baby!

“Go ahead. It’s all right.”

Jerry looked at Marie and Paul. Marie giving him an encouraging kind of smile, and Paul was just looking. Jerry knew he’d jump in if there was any problem.

“Okay. Help me out here.”

“Just take her in your arms… hold her head higher. There you go.” It felt weird. Somehow he thought she would be more compact, but she was so bundled under blankets that he could barely feel Jenny herself. Whatever. Jerry looked at the others and smiled. For some reason this felt like a rite of passage… but then it was, kind of. He wasn’t the father or anything, but now he was an uncle, and he’d never held a baby before. This was one of the most important moments of his life.

Jenny opened her eyes. Beautiful, ocean blue eyes stared at him.

Needless to say, in the real life moment, I was ‘Jerry.’

This scene is part of Voice Week from Be Kind Rewrite. Check it out!

Scene from a Hospital Room: Grandma

Posted: September 28, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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Becky took Jenny from Paul’s arms. Such a beautiful, tiny life. It seemed like yesterday that she’d been holding the little girl standing next to her, in a hospital room that looked a lot like this one.

“Look at her sleep. She’s so wonderful,” she whispered.

“Is that what I looked like?” Marie asked.

“Sort of. You were awake a lot. You wanted to know what was going on. But you were quiet like this when you did sleep, all curled up.” Her voice became hushed, and her chin quivered, as she tried not to cry. “She’s such a little miracle.”

This scene is part of Voice Week from Be Kind Rewrite.

Scene from a Hospital Room: Paul

Posted: September 27, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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Paul smiled as Marie hugged her parents. They exchanged some quiet words, then Marie gestured towards where he was sitting with the baby. “Oh, look at her,” her mother said. Little Jenny was asleep. He’d gotten the hang of where she seemed to feel the most comfortable in his arms. “Can I hold her?” she asked.

Paul half smiled, as he felt an ancient, protective instinct kick him in the ass. He didn’t feel safe letting anyone hold her other than Marie or him. Time to get over yourself… “Here you go.” Mrs. Phillips knew what she was doing, but Paul made it a point to stand up after she was holding Jenny.

Her father came over and hugged him, and he shook her brother’s hand. Paul kept one eye on the baby. Marie smiled and tugged at his fingers.

This scene is part of Voice Week from Be Kind Rewrite. Check it out!

Scene from a Hospital Room: Marie

Posted: September 26, 2011 by writingsprint in postaday2011, postaweek2011, Writing
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Marie came to her feet slowly as her parents and brother walked into the room. Her body still ached all over. Her legs felt rubbery. She went to hug her mother, and her father reached his arms around both of them as she did. “Glad you could make it,” she whispered.

They let go and she hugged her brother, who smiled a goofy smile and gave her a light kiss on the cheek. Marie smiled. He’d never done that before. He’d never been an uncle before, either.

“How are you doing?” her mother asked.

“Good, fine.” She hugged her thick bathrobe around herself. It was the terrycloth robe from home, her favorite, and it made the antiseptic, tiled hospital room feel cozy.

This scene is part of Voice Week from Be Kind Rewrite.