Saturday, June 15, 2019

WEP June 2019 Challenge: Caged Bird

 This month's WEP/IWSG writing challenge popped up in my e-mail, distracting me away from 'regular' writing. I was intrigued by the new collaboration between these two online writing communities, so here's my entry, a flash fiction following the theme (353 words). NOTE: This is a blog hop. Please see the links below and have fun reading where this month's prompt takes a variety of writers!

"Caged Birds"

Myrtle quick-stepped to keep pace with the tour guide leading their small group along the jungle trail. Myrtle was eager to see everything despite the humidity pressing down on her and George’s slow pace a few lengths behind.

Freed from their tiny cabin in the bowels of the cruise ship on an overnight excursion, they hiked along a mountain path to a nature preserve high in the Honduran hills. Here, parrots flew free, their red and turquoise and yellow feathers flashes of light in the intense green jungle. The birds wheeled through the trees, calling to each other. A few landed in pairs to preen.

As the light faded, the small group gathered at the nature preserve's open air patio to drink tea and talk about what they’d seen. Myrtle slipped her ice cubes into a large pot that held a fern. She wasn’t sure about drinking the water or the tea.

At dusk, the bus with no seat belts took everyone back to their hotel. Myrtle chattered all the way past the patio filled with red hibiscus and up the winding stairs to their second floor room, the windows open to the garden below.

“Did you think, George, you and me, that we’d ever see anything so wonderful as those birds?”

“It’s why we came,” said George. “That and to celebrate fifty years of marriage.”

“I know, George, but the parrots, they were so beautiful. I read somewhere that they live longer in a cage than they do in the forest.” She took George’s hand. “I read they mate for life.”

“And that’s like us, dear.”

She smiled. “Maybe we can get a parrot when we get home. Think of it. One of those beautiful parrots to wake us each day.”

That night, Myrtle slept close to George, surrounded by layers of mosquito netting, dreaming of parrots and the journey home. But in the morning, George did not wake. Myrtle sat beside him in the quiet of their room, holding his hand, now cold.

“Ah, George,” she murmured. “We got to see the parrots. They belong here. Not in a cage, George. Never in a cage.”

Full critique acceptable: 350 words.

Scarlet Macaws (Matthew Romack, Wikipedia)

For more information about WEP, click: Write...Edit...Publish or for IWSG, click: Insecure Writer's Support Group. Write on! 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

IWSG: Writing into the dark . . .

Just this last week, I read Nora Roberts' Black Hills as a model for writing romantic suspense. With the first paragraphs, she established her characters, the setting, the mood, and the story conflict with precision. I read her story because I wanted to study what made her romantic suspense so compelling for readers. Then I found out that she has written 225 books. Oofta, as my Hollywood mother would say.
We writers shimmy around our stories. Sometimes, the words pour out and sometimes they just stop. In my quest for more efficient writing productivity, I track words daily, use chapter summaries, scaffolding instead of outlines, and I imagine what my characters would say to each other. Sometimes I get caught up more in revision than writing. But, I persevere and hope to meet a very modest daily word count. Even when I revise and even when I draft.
I wonder what writing process Nora Roberts uses. 

And then a writing friend said, "Beth, you seem so organized. I never realized you are an intuitive writer. Have you heard of Dean Wesley Smith's book, Writing Into the Dark?"  Kaboom! Thank goodness for Amazon. Within 3 days, I had my own copy. My favorite advice so far? "Write one sentence," says Dean Wesley Smith. "Then, write another sentence." And, for the first time in decades, I heard someone truly say, "There is no one right way to write a novel."  Did I mention he's written over 150 books?

This merry month of June, the IWSG's question is: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

I'm never sure why something I see along the way sticks and somehow morphs into a story. But that germ pushes me to write speculative fiction, historical fiction, and now romantic suspense. One sentence at a time.

Why not click your way over to the Insecure Writer's Support Group and read what others have posted? With thanks to Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte for hosting IWSG this month!

And a very special thank you to Dean Wesley Smith -- and Nora Roberts.