"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Joy

Welcome one and all to Friday and this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to find out what it's all about, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt was joy, and I'll be honest, it was a tough one for me. I looked at the word and my mind went completely blank. So I hope you enjoy it, and if it sucks, you know why.

Joy? She couldn't summon a time in recent memory when she'd felt anything akin to joy, and listening to her friend only made her feel empty. Why were things going so wonderfully for her when all she felt was misery?
Her friend looked at her, waiting for a response. She forced a smile on her face, pretending to feel a happiness she couldn't remember.

There you have it. Like I said, this prompt was a really hard one for me, so I hope you enjoyed it. If you'd like to read past week's editions, just follow the links below. Your comments are always welcome in the comments section below. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Truth About Guidance

Tonight I'm having another meeting with the current Writer in Residence at the public library. So far, it's been going really well. His help has been invaluable. Which got me to thinking a lot about guidance.

When you're an emerging writer, there's a lot to be desired. You don't have a lot of publishing credits, your writing/editing skills aren't quite where they should be and, if you're like me, you suffer from a crippling lack of confidence. You need help that you can trust, a hand to help guide you through the daunting process of building a successful career in writing. Which is why I think mentoring is so important.

Meeting with my first Writer in Residence, Alice Kuipers, was crucial for me. I know I wouldn't be where I am now without her. I would have given up long ago, curled in a little ball under the covers. She prepared me for the disappointments, the extreme amount of work and effort required and gave me gentle encouragement. But I'm not done needing guidance. In fact, I still have a long way to go. So, I'm meeting with the current Writer in Residence. And I'll probably meet with the next one.

Don't be afraid to seek out help. Apply for mentorship programs, visit your own local Writer in Residence if you have one. Classes and workshops are great, but nothing can make up for the one on one attention you receive from someone who's been there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Craft Fair!

So, if you follow me on twitter, you probably already know what I was up to this weekend. I got in touch with my own inner domestic goddess and hit up the local craft fair. I have to say, craft fairs are generally not my cup of tea, but I had a lot of fun! I got a lot of great ideas for this year's homemade Christmas with the family and it was fun seeing how creative people can be. I saw some adorable Christmas tree decorations made from old light bulbs, sleek, modern wreaths made from yarn and homemade beef jerky for the dog. It was so much fun! I even went home and did some work on my homemade Christmas gifts afterward (and then felt incredibly inadequate). But the highlight of the fair? Definitely Crochet by Megs.

I don't know if it was the adorable baby booties, the neat little crocheted Christmas tree ornaments or the stuffed animals (who am I kidding? It was the stuffed animals!) but I fell in love with her booth. It was so bright and colourful, you just wanted to touch everything. The best part? She has a shop on Etsy and does custom orders. If you'd like to check out her shop, just go here.

In the mean time, how cute are these?

Ah!!! I Want!!

Green Eggs and Ham Kindle Cover? I die with the awesomeness.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Feast

Welcome to the end of one hellish week. I've been sick since last Friday, so you better believe I'm happy the week is over. I'm finally feeling like I'm on the mend, so I genuinely have cause to celebrate. And what better way to do that then with Five Sentence Fiction? This week's prompt is feast. If you'd like to learn more, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Enjoy!

She could hear the humming calling her to the kitchen, the same tune her mom used to hum when she was cooking.
The table was laden with food, the aroma pulling her closer, making her mouth water. She reached out with trembling fingers, desperate for a taste, looking up just in time to see it. 
There, just beyond the table, standing in front of the stove, something was cooking and humming merrily. And it was definitely not her mother.

Voila! I hope you've enjoyed this little piece of fiction. If you did, and you'd like to read more, just check out the links below for previous editions. If you really enjoyed it, I hope you'll share it with friends. And if you'd like to make my day (and my weekend), I hope you'll follow this blog and come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Your comments are welcome (and much appreciated!) below in the comments section.

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Still Feeling Crappy

I have to plead for patience this week. I woke up Monday morning feeling a lot better, but by the time I got home from work I felt horrible. I had the worst sinus pain I've had in a long time. I spent the entire evening wishing I could pull my teeth out with pliers. Still feeling crappy the next morning, I stayed home from work. And it was a good thing I did, because I was miserable. By noon it had developed into a flu as well so I was able to add throwing up to my list of symptoms. (Lucky me!) So, obviously I haven't had time to write a proper blog post.

I hope to be feeling better soon, and don't worry, I'll still be posting this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction on Friday. So, thank you for your patience!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

This was my plan for this weekend:
- Get up reasonably early
- Clean the house (it's disgusting)
- Catch up on the ridiculous amount of laundry littered throughout the house
- Walk the dog
- Blog
- Edit manuscript
- Help my sister get ready for a craft fair next weekend

This is how my weekend actually went:
- Friday at work develop a dry cough
- Get home from work and notice my throat is really sore.
- Make pad thai and decide that a good night's sleep will cure what ails me
-Wake up Saturday morning feeling like death warmed over
- Spend the entire day in and out of consciousness on the couch, eating oranges and ingesting liquids. Get exactly nothing done
-Wake up Sunday feeling mildly better, feel accomplished for having taken a shower.
- Go to sister's house where I accomplish a mild amount of helping
- Return home, put in a load of laundry, decide I'm Superwoman and deserve a nap on the couch

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Business

It's Friday, which means it's time for this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. This week's prompt was business. Enjoy!

She shook out her hair, admiring the new color. A quick glance in the mirror confirmed her transformation, just a few small changes and she'd become an entirely new person.
The apartment had already been wiped down, every trace of her was gone. She pulled on her gloves, picked up her suitcase and turned to leave; but not before placing a small card on the kitchen table. In her scrawling handwriting it read: "Nothing personal. Just business."

All right, I hope you enjoyed that. I welcome all of your comments below, in the comments section. If you'd like to read past editions, just follow the links below. If you particularly liked this edition, or this blog, feel free to share it with friends. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Secret Love

Can I tell you a secret? I know I'm a grown woman and my tastes should run a lot more... intellectual, but I love animated movies. I can't explain it. Maybe it's my appreciation for a good fairy tale, maybe it's because I'm really just a child at heart. I don't know. But I love them.

This past weekend I watched Arthur Christmas, and it was adorable. And last night? I watched Brave. Both fabulous movies. I especially like Brave for young girls, there's no cheesy love interest and the main character is a strong role model. But mostly, I loved them both just because they made me smile.

As I like to tell my husband, when I want to think, I read a book. When I want to turn off my brain, I watch a movie. And it's easy to do with an animated movie. They're sweet, adorable and cheerful. Dramas, horrors, they just stress me out. When I watch a movie I'm trying to relax. Stress is not a welcome part of the picture. Not that I don't read books to relax as well, but it's a different kind of relaxation, more immersive. When I read a book, I'm being transported, I'm along for the ride. When I watch a movie, I'm a spectator, an entirely different experience.

What about you? What do you do to relax? Are you an animated movie nut like myself?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Snow Day

Friday night it started to snow. It snowed all through the night and off and on all the next day. By the time it was done we got between 10 and 15 centimeters of snow. Naturally, I spent most of the weekend inside, curled up in front of a fire. It was the perfect time to write, locked away from all the distractions of the world in a warm, cozy nest. But did I? No. I barely did anything. In fact, for a good portion of Saturday I just lay on a blanket in front of the fire listening to wave sounds. Yep. That's me. Making great use of my time.

But that's the hard part of being a writer with a full time job. You never truly feel like you should be relaxing. There's always something you should be working on, something you should be writing, something you should be editing. And I have to admit, there's a lot I need to be doing. And if it isn't writing, it's something else. My house is generally always in a state of chaos. I do my best to stay on top of it, but amidst the countless tasks on my to do list, cleaning ranks pretty low on the priority chart.

So, every once in a while (okay, maybe a little more often than that) I have a slip up. I spend the day lounging on the couch watching old episodes of Happy Endings and The New Girl (PS. How great are those shows? Seriously, I can't get enough). And that's okay, just so long as I remember what's important and what I really want out of my time. Because relaxing is one thing. Being a lazy slob is another.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Character

It's Friday. And if you don't know what that means by now, then you haven't been paying close enough attention. That's right, it's time for Five Sentence Fiction. This week's prompt is character. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try yourself, just visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. All right, let's get to it!

I noticed him right away, even across the crowded grocery store. He was bent and knobbly, with wild tufts of thick white hair standing out in all directions. His eyebrows were just as bushy, shading most of his twinkling eyes from view and his skin was crowded with wrinkles. He carried a short wooden cane, and as he turned slightly to talk to the cashier, I knew immediately. The old man was me.

I hope you enjoyed this latest foray into fiction. If you're not quite satisfied, just check out the links below to past editions. If you particularly enjoyed this post, I hope you'll share it with friends and maybe follow this blog or come find me on twitter, @MelanieKCole. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Beauty of Substitutions

Yesterday, a little spare time at the office found me (as it so often does) on pinterest. As I perused the unending selection of cute animal pictures, gorgeous architecture and DIY ideas, I came upon a recipe for something called Chocolate Cobbler. Thoroughly intrigued, I gave the recipe a read through and pinned it to make that very night.
However, my kitchen had other plans. When I opened my cupboards that evening I found them bare, and the countless ingredients I'd been positive were in there just a few short hours ago, were gone. It seemed my pantry had grown thoroughly neglected.
At first, I thought I was just out of brown sugar. Determined to make a go of it anyway, I searched the web for substitutions. Then I ran out of white sugar, followed shortly by the realization that I didn't have any cocoa. Suddenly my chocolate cobbler seemed pretty impossible.
Filled with despair, and with a half finished recipe sitting on the counter, I grabbed a spoonful of ice cream and slumped down on the floor to pout. But the ice cream just wasn't doing it. Dammit, I wanted that cobbler! It was time for more substitutions.
By the time I was done, it was a vanilla cobbler made with icing sugar. And you know what? It was yummy. My husband doesn't even want me to try the chocolate version. He likes this one. Which brought me to an epiphany about writing.
Perhaps you've heard the quote by Erin Morgenstern, "When in doubt, just add ninjas." I have it pinned above my writing desk. Well, last night I really understood how to put it into action. (Not that I added tiny ninjas to the cobbler. Although that would be interesting...) When things aren't working out and you're afraid your work is going nowhere, just make a few substitutions. Play with the recipe and add a twist or two to fit your needs. Because guidelines are helpful, but when you throw a few rules out the window, you wind up with something totally different. And maybe you'll like it a lot better than the original.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A New Lesson

This past weekend was a really productive one for me. I edited a few pieces of writing and finished the initial read through of the rough draft of my novel. Now I have a large stack of notes and a manuscript that's waiting for me to get down to business, and I have to say, I'm pretty excited.

I've written novels before. This is actually my fourth time writing the initial rough draft of a book. And as they say, practice makes perfect. (Although I'm far from perfect). My previous attempts all taught me something different. The first time taught me that I could do it. The second taught me about plot, what a story needs to be taken to that next step and how to tell when it doesn't have it. My third taught me about ideas, that they aren't as far away as you might think. And this time, I feel like I have a project worth getting excited about. This plot is much stronger than before, the characters are more developed, and I have all those practice runs to thank for it.

Don't get me wrong. This manuscript still has a long way to go. After intensive editing from myself, I plan to submit it to a manuscript evaluation service. I plan to put it through the ringer as many times as is necessary, until it's ready. Because now it's time for a new lesson, a lesson in editing. And I'm a very eager student.

What about you? Did you spend the weekend chipping away at the NaNoWriMo block? What are you learning through the process of creating a first draft?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Candidate

Welcome one and all to the first Friday of November. To all my fellow writer friends competing in NaNoWriMo, godspeed! And stop reading this blog and get back to writing! For the rest of you, welcome. Please, stay awhile. I hope you all enjoy this week's edition of Five Sentence Fiction. If you'd like to learn more about it, or give it a try, visit Lillie McFerrin Writes. Now, let's get to it! This week's prompt was candidate. Are you intrigued? Enjoy!

I suppose I should have felt lucky. I was chosen out of a thousand promising candidates to be a part of this experiment. But all I felt was pain... pain and the weirdest tingling all over my skin.
"What's happening to me?" I shouted, but no one could hear me through the thick, protective glass. 
Doubled over in agony, I could feel the change taking place. The doctor was right, I was becoming something completely different.

Ah, nothing like fiction to soothe the soul, am I right? Hopefully you enjoyed that, and if you did, I hope you'll follow this blog and/or come find me on twitter @MelanieKCole. Still hankering for some Five Sentence Fiction? Just check out the links below and read past editions. Have a great weekend!

Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Potions
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Flawed
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Detour
Five Sentence Fiction Friday - Tattered

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The New Website - Updated

This is just a quick post to let you know that yes, the new website is up and running. However, I'm not posting the link yet because there are still a few niggly bits that just refuse to cooperate. I'm not especially tech-savy, and I'm finding that Wordpress isn't as user friendly as I'd like. I don't know why it thinks I'm asking for the moon when all I want is to change font types, and center a few titles, but apparently it does. There are a few widgets that aren't functioning properly, and when I imported all my blog posts from here, they don't show up anywhere on the site. I can get to them from my dashboard but someone just visiting the site wouldn't be able to find them. So, it's a little like a magic trick, the act of the disappearing blog posts!

Long story short, I will continue to tinker with the website and in the meantime I will keep posting here. I wanted to let you know, because I hate appearing as though I didn't keep my word. The website is up as promised, it's just not quite to the standard I would like, and I refuse to let you guys fumble with an inadequate website. I'm hoping to have it finished within the next week or two, so stay tuned for more info as it becomes available. And a big thank you to all of you for your patience!