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Kurt Vonnegut Wisdom: My New Year's Gift to Writers
As the days of 2017 span out before us, I wanted to share a short clip from Kurt Vonnegut on the shape of stories. It is instructive and humorous. In fact, many of you may have seen this clip before. It's not like it's unknown. The video is worth watching, even if it's not your first time. So, this is my gift to you as we begin to focus on our writing plans for the new year.
For those of you looking for my post on National Buy A Book Day, scroll down below this post (after you read it). In this post, I'm responding to the first challenge in the Platform Building Campaign. Here are the guidelines followed by my story: Write a short story/ flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count. If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count) Absence The door swung open, creaking on unused hinges. Rachel leaned forward and studied the man slumped in the chair across the room. “Sam?” Her voice croaked. She swallowed and tried again, a little louder. “Sam?” The balding, elderly man jerked awake, snorting. She giggled at the memory of the sound. H
In my last post, Character Development: the Johari Window , I introduced the Johari Window as a tool for developing your characters. It's important that your character not know everything about their situation. These unknowns can lead to an intriguing story and create possibilities for conflict within the story. How do you use the Johari Window? In this post, I thought I'd provide a simple example of the Johari Window with a character most people know: Harry Potter. Below, I have filled out the Johari Window as it might appear within the first few pages of book 1, Harry Potter and The Sorceror's Stone . The Johari Window based on Harry Potter and The Sorceror's Stone Three of the quadrants in this window reveal what Harry doesn't know about who he truly is and what happened to his parents. I could add a lot to the quadrants representing what he doesn't know, but I hope this gives you an idea on how a Johari Window might be used. What do you d
Last week’s post celebrated several conflicting interpretations of a flash fiction piece I wrote. Unfortunately, we rarely experience miscommunication issues with joy. When I speak, I want synchronicity of understanding with my audience. Is that hard to achieve? Yep! An incorrect interpretation creates a miasma that fills in the lacuna in our words. Did you understand that sentence? You might try to interpret what I meant through context, or maybe your mouth oscitated in shock, while you thought, “Barbara's talking about communication issues, and she tosses difficult words in the mix?” A simpler version of my sentence above might be: An incorrect interpretation creates a stinky mess that fills in the gaps in our words. (FYI, oscitated means gaped .) Simpler words increase the chance you’ll mirror my meaning, but they don’t guarantee it. We bring our own experiences to the conversation, throwing everything off because the significance of a word for me is different