Tag Archives: creative writing

True Story Flash Fiction Contest: When a Lot of Nothing Happens

Silhouette-policeofficerEarly yesterday morning,  I was still in bed in my pajamas, and my teenaged kids were still in their pajamas, and my son tentatively knocked on my bedroom door.

“Mom,” he said, “there’s a police officer outside the house.”

Curious, I went downstairs to see what was happening outside. I live in a very quiet, suburban neighborhood, where a lot of nothing happens. But what my son meant was that there was a police officer at our front door! My heart started beating faster as I opened the door.

“Can I help you?” I said.

I hadn’t heard a siren and the light wasn’t flashing on the top of his car. What was wrong? Did something happen with one of the neighbors?

He said, “I found this on the sidewalk in Sea Cliff and it has your name on it.”

Oh shit. What did I do? What was he handing me?

“Did you write this check?” he said.

A check? Did I write a bad check?

I took the check he was handing me and looked down at it.  I had indeed written this and given it to somebody the day before.

“Um, yes,” I said. (As you can see, first thing in the morning I’m  loquacious and bodacious in my verbal skills!)

I felt the blood pounding in my ears as I looked back down at the check.

“They must have dropped it,” he said.

I don’t know why, but I blushed as I looked up at the tall uniformed police officer.

“You drove from Sea Cliff all the way to my house, to give me a check that you found on the sidewalk?” I said.

He said,  “I thought it was the easiest way to get it back to you.”

What?

“Um, thanks.” I said (still astounding everyone with my verbal skills).

“No problem,” he said, “Have a nice day.”

And he turned and went back to his police car. I closed the door and faced the group of pajama’d teenagers who were now clustered behind me, trying to hear what was going on.

“He drove from Sea Cliff to our house, to give me a check I had written to somebody yesterday, which they had apparently dropped on the sidewalk.”

There was a moment of silence as we all just stood there taking it in.

Ok, writers and kibbitzers and know-it-alls: How would you have written this true story? E-mail me your version by noon Friday (EDT), July 19th and the “winner” will have the pleasure of having their story posted on my blog on Monday! Must be 400 words or less and please include a 3 sentence bio with your entry. (E-mail entries only. Don’t send me a story in “comments.”)

Thanks to all the people who played with me! The contest is now closed.

Check back on Monday, July 22nd to see who won! 

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Friday Ramble: On Getting Personal With Your Writing

ravenous_brain_rectOh. Em. Gee. (hahaha, yes, I just did that!) I’m such a bad blogger. I should be flogged as a blogger who hasn’t  posted in TWO AND A HALF WEEKS. But alas! Since I’m the boss of me and the boss of this blog, there’s nobody to order the flogging. And that’s right, being an expert on psychic self-flagellation (which is of the psyche, not done telepathically, all you word whores out there), I’ve been beaten up about it enough already. Ok. I’m done with this part.

Let’s move on to today’s ramble (hopefully about something having to do with books/writing/publishing, but probably about whatever the fuck I feel like talking about):

So, I haven’t really felt like talking about anything, which is kind of why I haven’t been blogging. And, dear readers, you know that what I mean when I say, “I haven’t really felt like talking,” it’s just that I want to blab about bullshit that isn’t blog-worthy for theblabbermouthblog, because I never really “don’t feel like talking.”  So, as the eponymous blabbermouth that I am, I’m going to blab/blog about whatever I want to anyway. That’s right, because as I said before, you’re not the boss of me.

So.  WTF is up with that show Princesses: Long Island? They’ve managed to deeply offend me in just about every way they can. I watched about 3 minutes of the show by accident the other night, as I waited for one of my Sunday night shows to start. In 3 minutes I was offended as a woman. As a feminist. As a Jew. As a Long Islander. As someone born and raised in Freeport. As someone with half a brain in my head. Then I started reading the shit storm that hit the interwebs, by all the other offended people. That show, the people who are in it, who created it, and who air it, are like cultural Bernie Madoffs. That show will do more to fan the flame of American anti-semitism than all the skin head parades and radical Jihadist websites of the past ten years put together. It turns my stomach and let me say right here and right now: that show just ain’t the way it really is. To read people who are way more eloquent than I, see this New Yorker article and this Huffington Post blogger.

Now, how does this relate to writing? (Just watch this! It will be like magic, how I can actually make a connection that exists only tenuously at best!) Did I write the blog post that I was supposed to? Did I write the blog post that I thought would sell? Did I try to gauge the industry’s receptivity to my blog post? No. I wrote what was there for me. I wrote something I felt called to write. I wrote something I had to; where I had something to say that wouldn’t stay quiet. And THAT, my friends, is what you should be doing with your fiction, too.

Now, I know that many of my (parenthetical) asides are snide, or snarky, or go for the joke, but I’m actually serious about this. Tell the story you have to tell. The one clambering to get out. If there’s no story like that for you, search for one. Try writing prompts (see my colleague Stefanie Lipsey’s fantastic website) or register for my writing retreat to kickstart your creativity. Go to a writing conference or join a critique group that will hold you accountable for producing something. But whatever you do, don’t try to figure it out with your logical brain because you’ll probably write shit that way.

Ok. I’m done rambling. And I’ll try to do better by you, my lovelies. I’ve hereby recommitted myself to regular posting on the blog, whether I’m feeling inspired or not. Because apparently (see above) I can start writing about just about anything and bring it around to writing/books/publishing.

 

 

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How to Deal with Rejection 101

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The following email exchange really happened. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

 

 

Me to my client:

Hey <Nameless Client>,
FYI, <Editor 1> at Big Publishing House and <Editor 2> at Another Big Publishing House both passed. 😦
L.

My client to me:

I feeeeel like a real writer now!! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

Me to my client:

You feel like a real writer because I just told you about two rejections?! You’re a weirdo. 🙂

My client back to me:

Well, you know…it’s humbling and all. I’m pumped to work on kicking my writing up a notch. I’m sort of anticipating many “passes” so I want to get something new (and hopefully even better) done so that if  <INSERT NAME OF FABULOUS MANUSCRIPT>  isn’t the one, I won’t take 7 years getting something else out.
 

So, what can we learn from this, besides that we are both stupid with smileys? First of all, holy shit, right?! I mean, what a great attitude! Part of the business of being a writer is expecting and dealing with rejection. Welcoming rejection though, is a whole other ball of wax. It’s ‘kicking up a notch’ what rejection means, or rather, doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean you don’t ever expect to get published because your current manuscript is getting passes. It doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. It doesn’t mean you suck. It just doesn’t mean any of that. This client took a pass as acknowledgment that she’s finally “arrived.” She welcomed getting rejected because it’s part of being a real writer. Rather than being bummed out, she took it as a call to action to take on writing something even better the next time. Wow. I’d probably just cry or something. One of the greatest things about having the privilege of working with my clients is that I have the opportunity to be inspired by these creative people, not only in the area of writing, but also in the area of being a great human on the planet.

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