Tag Archives: Writing


Well, which is it?

We’ll see when we get there. I think there’s enough meat in the outline for more than a short story. But as I said, I’m rather rusty at long form. Maybe it’s only 25k words. Maybe it’s 100k. I’m certain it’s not a Stephen King special.

Ask my editor, I’m not sure yet.

Note: find an editor. Well, no, finish a draft and then find an editor.


Bromo-Seltzer for the Soul

So today’s Daily Prompt is another winner, one of those lovelies that draw an immediate “Uhm…well…I got nothing” twitchy response.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you wouldn’t give to anyone else? Why don’t you think it would apply to others?

I could sit here, paging through the long term memory (the “search” function of my brain is very inefficient and slow) and seeking a useful example. That sometimes does turn up results, hours later–as many of last month’s posts will indicate. My brain does get there (eventually), but it’s like an uphill trolley. There must be a more efficient way?

So I’ve decided to offer myself the following advice:

Stop looking for free plot idea advice and just write.

When the prompts turn up these duds (as they often will), discard the prompt and just start writing something. Maybe you can come back to the prompt later, after the slowly chugging subconscious process of your brain turns up an idea. Maybe you can adopt a different idea entirely (Writing 101, 365 days of prompts, even :gasp: your very own ideas!!)

You’re being a lazy slug and leaning on these prompts too much. Just stop it. Attitude adjustment is in order, stop whining about your First World Problems. No editor is breathing down your neck demanding 5000 words on this topic by the end of the day. You’re doing this stuff because you enjoy writing, dummy. If DP fails to noodge any easy gimmicks loose, well, you’re just gonna have to think o’ something all by yourself. Wah wah wah, poor baby.

Shut up and write.

I have no idea if anyone else needs advice like that. Gosh I hope not; I sincerely doubt I would give it to you.

I always reserve self-ridicule for, well, me.

^ Ooh, look, I’ve constructed a bromide! Two points!

RecDave Seal

Come to think of it, this entire post may qualify.

Uh oh. Who opened up the Reactionary Grape-nuts?

A restaurant that removed your favorite item from the menu, a bad cover of a great song… Write a post about something that should’ve been left untouched, but wasn’t. Why was the original better?

Oh man, the avalanche you’re going to receive from this one. Us old guys, the rotary phone generations…everything was better “back then”, they had radio shows telling them so almost their whole lives. Remember radio shows?  Compare-and-contrast Amos ‘n’ Andy to Rush Limbaugh and ding! There’s your topic.

Wally and the Beav? No, modern television kids can’t stand up to the pure light (heavenly chorus fanfare) that shone from Wally and the Beav at all times. There’s your topic.

Cars–your little efficient four-cylinder, you know, is greatly inferior to my classic Cadillac V-8. Hell, back then we could afford 10 MPG! There’s your topic.

French fries, remember how those highly salted artery-clogging grease sticks tasted? This week’s mmm good(?) mono-unsaturated soybean-oil fries don’t stand a chance!

Education–paying so very much more and receiving so very much less.

Do we really need the lists of things that were better? All of the topics are done to death, and it’s all Old Guy Yelling Get Off My Lawn Damn Kids Cane-waving anyway, isn’t it?

Why encourage living in the past? I can carry my entire (used to be) 600 pound Vinyl record collection in my back pocket! And it’s grown an order of magnitude larger in the process!

Things change, and thank heavens that they do. We all suspect Those Damn Kids™ have our civilization teetering on the brink of collapse, but Socrates and Plato had the same worries (well, sort of, in a paraphrased kind of way).

But maybe we need to worry lot less about what Those Damn Kids™ are up to, and a lot more about what the Old Guy Congresscritturs™ are.

RecDave Seal

Give The Kid A Break

Mother Nature responds!

Yesterday, your pet/baby/inanimate object could read your post. Today, they can write back (thanks for the suggestion, lifelessons!). Write a post from their point of view (or just pick any non-verbal creature/object).

Uh oh. Winter called, she has some comments about that trolling you did yesterday.

I talked to my wife for just a few moments this morning about this assignment. “I don’t really have a point of view for Winter”. She responded “Easy! What did that guy say, Mother Nature is a Bitch.”

‘That guy’, near as I can figure, is Dr. Andrew Fassbach (Elyes Gabel, World War Z):

Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one’s better. Or more creative. Like all serial killers, she can’t help the urge to want to get caught. What good are all those brilliant crimes if no one takes the credit? So she leaves crumbs. Now the hard part, why you spend a decade in school, is seeing the crumbs. But the clue’s there. Sometimes the thing you thought was the most brutal aspect of the virus, turns out to be the chink in its armor. And she loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths. She’s a bitch.

Kind of chillingly prophetic, given the current Ebola scare…ain’t it?

Anyway, good old chilly, bitchy Mother Nature takes her swings in today’s post. Keep your heads down, this could get ugly.

Continue reading Mother Nature responds!

Winter, you suck.

Here it comes again, six months of grey, cold, wet, shovels, ice, accidents, commercialism, religious competition and general buffoonery. No sunlight, no break in the cloud cover, just grey gray grae until May.

Can’t get anywhere in a reasonable time, can’t commute safely, can’t stand the insincere “Happy Holidays!” from the happy happy sales clerks.

Can’t purchase anything without muscling your way through noisy, smelly crowds of humanity, and fighting for those precious few parking spaces miles from the store (in a snow drift).

Can’t get the damn car to even start, because it plunged deep into sub-zero last night. Can’t get your packages delivered on time (because the Delivery Vans also can’t get anywhere). Doesn’t matter, you’re plowed in anyway.

The Television Professional Plastic People glee at every parade and event, with their pristine polished enthusiasm. Let’s start the advertising blitz a month earlier this year, everybody loves ads! Shill it, shill it, media hoes! Ho ho hoes.

The glass is half full or half empty. My friend Bob likes winter. My friend Bob needs psychiatric examination.

I mean, come on, the guy is a cat-warmer!

I’ll be over here Grinch-ing and Humbug-ing. Let me know when it’s a civilized month again. July, maybe.

RecDave Seal

Yes, I swear at weather


Mama mia, that’s a spicy meatball

Galileo*, Turing, Einstein, Servetus, and the list goes on.

If “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor”, then an important question that needs to be asked before we choose up sides for the softball team: Who decides? Politicians in particular have a stunningly bad track record for picking winners and failures.

Should the MGM execs kill off Mickey Mouse in 1927, or allow Walt a chance to fail?

The Michelson-Morley experiment was a failure that changed the scientific world (and for which Michelson won a Nobel—for a null result!). Scientists as a whole view failure a bit differently from the rest of us; it’s often the failed experiments that lead to the next big steps ahead, that teach us the most.

There’s some inspiration to be drawn from historical failures, and sometimes even the close calls—so they can make a good backdrop thesis for those stirring inspirational speeches. Or a solid chapter for any book, I suppose.

*Yes, I know it’s not entirely as black and white in Galileo’s case as my 8th grade science teacher led us to believe. But now both the rationalists and the Church have plenty of apologists busily re-writing BlogHistory… Will history have any clear-cut bad guys left in another hundred years?

“Grand Moff Tarkin? Aw, he wasn’t so bad, he just had a mean old Darth breathing down his neck.”

RecDave Seal


Home of the Yellowjackets!

Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

The home I lived in when I was twelve…all right, near as I can figure, counting on my fingers, that means sixth grade plus or minus a year? ’74, probably. And sixth grade was Mississippi. So dad was still finishing up at Keesler AFB, and we were living off-base east of Biloxi (Ocean Springs? D’Iberville? Some place in Jackson county, anyway, the exact borders of a lot of those little townships were unincorporated at the time. Ask Mom.) Don’t argue with me, spell-checker, D’Iberville is spelled correctly.

Anyway, we were close enough to I-10 that I considered it ‘right in my backyard’, though is was probably closer to a half-mile away, or a couple of minutes for kids on bikes. On the both sides of I-10, pine woods. Streams, creeks (one creek literally pushing the property line in our backyard). Dad raised rabbits at the time; we had rabbit hutches and an Irish Setter. My friends kept turtles, frogs, toads, snakes and pretty much any other living animal we could catch. We spent a lot of time terrorizing the local wildlife.

Enormous humidity, heat. Lots and lots of swampland in a ten mile radius. Skeeters from hell.

Sixth grade would be the Year of the Smart-ass. Miss Pleasance and St. Martin. You see, coming out of a military grade school (quite good) and going to a southern MS middle school (really, really bad)…my first year at St. Martin had me a) competing for valedictorian (finished second, barely) and b) winning the science fair. Effortlessly.

My fifth grade math teacher, Mr. Watanabe, had been feeding me on HS algebra books. Sixth grade students at St. Martin were probably operating around fourth grade level equivalent to anywhere else in America. MS schools were not good.

Miss Pleasance was nice enough, as I recall she was very supportive. Maybe too much so?

I coasted through sixth, seventh and eighth grades. I didn’t crack a book again until college. And if I have any tendency toward egomania, know-it-all-ness; it was born of sixth grade. Imagine I was a pretty damned annoying brat, at that age. Did I ever grow out of it?

Anyway, we’re living in the past, again. If these projects have any serious shortcoming, it’s how often they focus on retrospectives.

RecDave Seal

The answer is blowin’ in the wind

P1000164John walked slowly, enjoying Sara’s presence at his side and the warmth of her hand in his. Everything just seemed so perfect, from the light breeze carrying the scent of fresh-cut grass to the sunlight highlighting Sara’s golden hair.

A pair of joggers ran past, very attractive young ladies. But John’s eyes didn’t follow, just this once. John was admiring the trees, and a pair of red squirrels chasing each other, chattering. “This is just perfect,” John breathed.

He paused for a moment while Sara sneezed, then wrapped one arm around her waist and squeezed gently.

John smiled as he and Sara passed a park bench, where an elderly lady was knitting a small, red sweater. As they proceeded several steps beyond the bench, the wind shifted and John suddenly found himself helplessly choking back laughter, tears running down his face.

That old woman…oh god, what had she been eating? Oh man that is foul!

Sara was in misery. Poor John, he seemed so eager to make a walk in the park into the perfect date. As they strode together, hand in hand, Sara tried to concentrate on something, anything but the pounding in her head.

Her sinuses were filled, grass and mold and pollen were apparently everywhere in the park today, she could barely breathe as she clutched John’s hand more tightly.

A pair of joggers ran past, looking like tramps in their little tight jogging shorts, and they could both use much better sports bras. Sara missed her twenties, and the perfect tight little body she’d had then, but even in her prime she’d never had boobs to match those. She closed her eyes against the brightness of the sun.

“This is just perfect,” Sara heard John say, and just wanted to punch him hard; bastard was probably looking over those bimbos. A pair of squirrels were fighting, chattering angrily at each other, headed for a brawl in the trees, no doubt.

Sara sneezed and wished for a fresh Kleenex, damn allergies. To her dismay, John decided to side-hug her just as she felt the warning signs of an impending nose drip. God, not now.

As they strode past an old woman on a park bench, Sara tried to force a smile. Don’t think that was very successful, she thought, I’m just too miserable right now.

Sara blinked through allergy-teared eyes as John suddenly broke into a laugh, bent over and…crying? What in the hell?

Lucille calmly knitted the sweater for Timmy, her newest grandson. Counting calmly to herself, her mind drifted away from the knitting as she looked about at the park scenery.

The usual squirrels, trees and joggers. Lucille was a regular; this bench and she were old friends, familiar and comfortable with each other.

The buzz of the lawnmower over the next hill was soothing, another familiar sound of the  park. Lucille like the way the park smelled after the lawn was mowed.

Lucille nodded as two young co-eds from the local college jogged past. Familiar regulars, pretty things, believe they ran through here yesterday.

Another pair of lovers walked toward the bench, Lucille looked them over. Smiling young man, looked happy. But the young lady was frowning, trouble in paradise? Her young squire not treating her right?

Lucille frowned at the young man, her silent appraisal falling several chilly points down into ‘disapproval’. The young lady sneezed violently. And it looked like the uncouth youth copped a feel, and the young lady grimaced in Lucille’s direction as they passed the bench! The poor dear.

Just when Lucille couldn’t have a much lower opinion of this young creep, he glanced at Lucille and suddenly began crying with mirth.

“Well, I never!” she thought, as she furiously began gathering up her knitting.

RecDave Seal

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.