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Sat, Jan. 10th, 2009, 11:12 am
everstone: New Community

If you want to join a micro/flash fiction community which has more recent updates, go to four2four, a community for stories 424 words or less (which otherwise has no other restrictions). We're hoping to build a bigger member base, so we can all help each other out by being supportive of each other's writing.

Mon, Jun. 4th, 2007, 03:42 pm
dominosmitelvis: Some drabbles for your mercy!

I stumbled across this community when searching for places where I might find advice and get some proper critiques for my Flash Fiction pieces. I have been writing a lot of Flash Fiction recently, and am looking to improve my abilities in the area.

Scanning through the community, it also looks like a good place to prepare for any novel writing months I might partake in. ;)

I'll try and critique around, but I don't have much knowledge for poetry.

Without further ado, my works:

Name: Driven to Witchcraft
Word Count: 235
Notes: The only one of these three with potential for a larger story, my personal favorite! ;)

("Now the time has come at last...")

Name: Three Pounds, Sixty Two Pence.
Word Count: 146

("The wind blew...")

Name: First Kiss.
Word Count: 276
WARNINGS: Slash (Homosexual relationship)... think of it as fan service.
Notes: I am not particularly fond of the way this one turned out, the interactions don't feel like they fit...any advice?

("Can I kiss you?")

Wed, Feb. 15th, 2006, 08:05 pm
crume: Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing

Originally uploaded by crume.
Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle
from the New York Times, Writers on Writing Series.

Being a good author is a disappearing act.


These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules. Still, you might look them over.

1. Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s “Sweet Thursday,” but it’s O.K. because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks. . . . figure out what the guy’s thinking from what he says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . . Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words maybe or sing a little song with language. That’s nice. But I wish it was set aside so I don’t have to read it. I don’t want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.”

3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.

The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But said is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated,” and had to stop reading to get the dictionary.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” . . .

. . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs.”

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”

This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories “Close Range.”

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

Which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not one adverb in sight.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

Unless you’re Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you’re good at it, you don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

And finally:

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy’s thinking or doesn’t care. I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue.

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing. (Joseph Conrad said something about words getting in the way of what you want to say.)

If I write in scenes and always from the point of view of a particular character—the one whose view best brings the scene to life—I’m able to concentrate on the voices of the characters telling you who they are and how they feel about what they see and what’s going on, and I’m nowhere in sight.

What Steinbeck did in “Sweet Thursday” was title his chapters as an indication, though obscure, of what they cover. “Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts” is one, “Lousy Wednesday” another. The third chapter is titled “Hooptedoodle 1” and the 38th chapter “Hooptedoodle 2” as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck is saying: “Here’s where you’ll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, and it won’t get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.”

“Sweet Thursday” came out in 1954, when I was just beginning to be published, and I’ve never forgotten that prologue.

Did I read the hooptedoodle chapters? Every word.

Taken from elmoreleonard.com without permission.

Fri, Jun. 25th, 2004, 10:59 pm
fitzwinter: (no subject)

I need to follow some footsteps. First, I need a little help finding them.
I’m writing a novel with different first person POVs for each chapter. I’m quite happy with what I have already accomplished. Unfortunately, this next chapter I’m working on is frustrating because of an attribute the character didn’t reveal until I had already started writing.
Don’t you just hate that about good characters? Jerks! Thinking they can just write themselves…
Right—on to the point of frustration.

I have Hamilton narrating the events at a wedding reception, taking pride in the knowledge that he’s able to control his urges and only sip at the champagne. Most everyone else is doing their best to reenact the Masque of the Red Death as far as he is concerned.
Hamilton gets up to leave, placing the glass down on the table creating a sixth liquid ring in the tablecloth.

The difficulty? I decided mid-chapter that Hamilton would indeed be a in-denial functional alcoholic! I don’t know if I will be able to add subtle clues such as the liquid rings throughout his chapters or not. Other characters will know, but they won’t know the degree of his addiction nor will they interact with him most of the time.

Does anybody know of any books out there, written in the first person, involving an addiction (alcohol, drugs, Nintendo!) in which the narrator is unaware of his or her addiction while still aware of their surroundings and actions?

The closest I can think of is Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but that doesn’t quite match what I’m looking for.

Any suggestions out there? Please?

Wed, Apr. 21st, 2004, 08:40 pm
crume: (no subject)

Not to be a bore, but we need to do a serious membership drive, as well as to post more often our writing, in any form that it is in so that we as a community can help critique and help elevate our writing.

So, go forth and bring back people, post often and always leave a critique --- positive and constructive criticism.

Mon, Apr. 19th, 2004, 10:03 pm
crume: (no subject)

Writing on the Brain Joseph Epstein

I was recently asked what it takes to become a writer. Three things, I answered: first, one must cultivate incompetence at almost every other form of profitable work. This must be accompanied, second, by a haughty contempt for all the forms of work that one has established one cannot do. To these two must be joined, third, the nuttiness to believe that other people can be made to care about your opinions and views and be charmed by the way you state them. Incompetence, contempt, lunacy—once you have these in place, you are set to go.


From Commentary Magazine

Wed, Feb. 4th, 2004, 05:47 pm
mrsbinkie: (no subject)


Thu, Jan. 29th, 2004, 10:04 pm
crume: word of the evening - opprobrious

I was sitting at my little coffee shop (mine!), eating the most delicious french tart (if only it wasn't blueberry!) when I decided to start writing. I haven't been writing in quite a while, which I know is beyond reproach, but I started writing, basing it (very, very) loosely on a meeting I had today. It's really choppy and doesn't have any flow or context, but I really enjoyed writing it.

Jowls move with stalted motion--flapping to the tune of the untuned harmonica that is his voice. Whip-like, his tongue lashes out, slithers along his lips and is back, before his voice continues.

His teeth stand out from his over-enunciated jaw, curved, like the high-banked curve at an indy-car race. His top row chomps up and down on his words, leaving teeth marks in every syllable.

Speaking from his non-existant experience, he takes command of the room, barking non-sense and defining the most simple words, as if his captive audience were compesed of children. Pacing back and forth, his barrel chest leading the way like the prow of a barge on the Hudson. He slices through the air with his arms, orating some grand soliliquy that no poet or playwright would dare defecate on paper. The others nod in agreement, as if mouthing the offensive phallus that is his speech, placating his opprobrious mind. The toxic sewage that flows from his mouth in sick brown sentances enters the mind and its stench is not to be easily purged from nervous tissue where it seeps and stagnates.

Mindlessly aware, the group listens, having no other choice but to subject themselves to the full brunt of the odious attack.

Comments? Critiques? Do you want to continue the story, go ahead! Just thought I'd share somethind I wrote moments ago . . .

Tue, Dec. 30th, 2003, 02:45 pm
mrsbinkie: (no subject)

Touch it.
You know you want to.
You can't stop looking at it.
You know what it's like inside.
You want to touch the smooth surfaces it is blessed with.
You want to make it yours.
You want to savor the feel of it on your fingers.
The way it makes you feel.
The way you feel inside it.
Yes, that's it.
It's yours.

Touch it.

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