Categories
Prompts

One Story in One Sentence

We had a tradition at my high school on the last day of school. You’d dump all your papers from your locker in the main hall. They tried to stop it when I was preparing to graduate because it was a safety hazard to have loose papers on the floor in a hallway that everyone has to walk through. I still did it. It’s a tradition! No one has ever been hurt, but I know they were being proactive. Adults. Always taking the fun out of being a kid.

I found a freewriting piece from earlier in the semester from the workshop. We were supposed to tell a story in one sentence. My professor took volunteers to read what we wrote, and in an effort to try and participate, I read mine. She loved it, and the feedback I got was that it felt more like spoken word. So whatever.

I like freewriting. It tends to unlock things in your head that never seems to appear because you’re trying too hard. You have to do that a lot for the Artist’s Way. I don’t know if I should restart it or just keep going from where I left off. It has been a minute since I’ve looked at the book. I should probably start fresh.

Anyways, here’s the piece I wrote:

The tone of her voice remained unchanged, her eyes were wild and she was ten sheets to the wind – I’m pretty sure – to harp on it because she was so insistent that it was wrong, like all the people who came before her thought wrong, were wrong, y’all motherfuckers need Jesus, but if she could just shut that logical part of her brain down she’d know that the sin of pride was deadly and she needed to chill the fuck out, but that’s what happens when you’re new and you’re learning the ways that make this country great and I’m totally defending her now because I’m too empathetic to her, ’cause I was there once too and it’s hard to realize that no amount of knowledge or training will prepare you for the unknown.

write on, Guilliean
write on, Guilliean

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Categories
Craft Talk

The one where I meet my thesis instructor for the first time

In case you haven’t realized, I’ve been sharing some old posts from Raconteuse that are writing-related the last few Wednesdays. I think they’re relevant to what I’m trying to achieve here with Writeropolis, and I hope that you enjoy what’s here.

Her feedback was vital. I’ve been jumping the gun too much about the cinematic lens in my stories. I’m more worried about bringing forth the cinematic part of my craft to remember that I still have a story to tell. I’ve gotten that feedback before (film geek for life!) and while I cherish it, it’s also been working against me. 

She advised me straight up that I need to let go of controlling the story so much. I never knew I did that. I’m glad she called me on it. I’ve learned quite a bit about how my craft works in front of an audience because the workshop is essential.

But I don’t like the setup. You’re not allowed to speak when people are critiquing your work. You sit there, take your punches and edit the holy shit out of it. I definitely want a more collaborative nature in a workshop. Besides, it’s not like I have to incorporate everything they bash me on. But by asking questions during the session I can gauge where the story should go. 

It’s like they say: “All advice is autobiographical.” It’s so much easier to ding someone else for your own sins than to see them when they’re in you. 

I oftentimes have a hell of a time ending a story. It never comes naturally, it just sort of dies. I often know where I want a story to end BUT I never know when to walk away so it tends to end abruptly. I’m like “fuck it, I’m done with you. Blahhhh.” And I’m not doing the story justice.

There’s this rich, cinematic movie that plays in my head when I write. All I want to do is capture that in the story. But the actual craft of the story is lost in the process. So I definitely need to fine-tune my style that way. I’m simply too excited to share the movies in my head to focus on the story part.

She said my strengths were my humor, how I give away clues to move the story along in my dialogue and how “voice-y” I am. I’ve gotten that feedback before but it’s nice to be reminded.

Well, it’s true what they say. Writing is a very solitary career. I want to see what’s going on in the world, and not just in my head or on the page.

write on, Guilliean
write on, Guilliean

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Categories
Prompts

Tell us about your first teacher who was important to you

The first teacher I remember who meant a lot to me was Mrs. K from fourth grade. She had curly auburn hair that she wore bushily, and she was so kind and patient with everyone.

I was the only one who knew the answers and of course, she’d call on me all the time. The other kids hated when she chose me, but they were so busy being cool, none of them realized that all of the answers were right there on the page. I didn’t let peer pressure or those bastards cruel taunts of “schoolgirl” haunt my ears for long. As long as Mrs. K picked me, all was right in my world.

I remember winning a class competition where we could switch places with her, and guess who won? THIS GUY. She wrote in my journal (since we had to keep one every day) that she would vote for me if I ever ran for president. I had been bragging for ages that I was going to be the first woman president. Pretty lofty for a schoolgirl, haha.

Mom asked me if I wanted to give her something for Christmas – something I had never done for a teacher before or after – and we gave her a little Christmas wreath brooch at our classroom’s Christmas party. She loved it and wore it when it matched her outfit. I guess I had babbled on about how cool she was, and Mom had taken notice. I Googled her just now, and she’s still there! Fourth grade, red track, Mrs. Dorothy Kosiewicz, Fairview Elementary, Modesto, CA.

write on, Guilliean
write on, Guilliean

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Categories
Prompts

Top 10 Objectives for Writers

This list is for my fellow writers, on our worst days when we think too hard about the business side of things. I know I get like this sometimes. It just stabs its way into my heart, and I don’t know what I’m doing.

  1. Ignore your inner critic.
  2. Write first – edit later.
  3. Keep learning! Join a writer’s group, take a class, attend a conference.
  4. Make time to write every day
  5. Get published! Send out submissions… or decide to self-publish.
  6. Be you! No one writes quite like you
  7. Try something new: experiment with a different genre.
  8. Have fun! Enjoy being a writer
  9. Develop an author platform: social media, website, book trailers, blog
  10. Set goals: “a dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” Harvey Mackay
Top 10 Objectives for Writers

Is there some persistent thing holding you back from doing what you were born to do? Let me know in the comments.

write on, Guilliean
write on, Guilliean

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