e3941297e17226345b367b4f61e62e3e98e44947f806b5be70

    What Are YOU Writing?

    What are you working on right now?

    A novel? Your best article ever? A poem? A film script?

    Maybe you’ve just finished something you’re really proud of? Or you just can’t tell whether it should get a Pulitzer or be thrown into the trash?

    Here’s your chance to share and discuss with each other what you are writing about.

    Whet our appetite with the opening paragraph of your future bestseller or give us a link to your best article. Tell us: what are you writing at the moment?

    Who knows, your piece might even attract the notice of a major publishing house!

    Here are some guidelines:

     

    Writers:

     

    State what aspect you’re working on. For example, you might want to say, “Here’s a link to my article “Whatever.” I’m currently working on eliminating superfluous words.”

     

    Commenters:

     

    * When commenting, first list everything you really like about a piece.
    * Only then offer careful suggestions.
    * Treat each other with respect, friendliness, caring, and honesty.
    * Remember that we are all still learning.

     

    Now it’s over to you. Take a deep breath. Then jump into the comment section and bring out your treasures!

     

    Note from Mary Jaksch, Editor-in-Chief

    Dr. John Yeoman, founder of Writers’ Village, is offering readers of WritetoDone an amazing opportunity: FREE ACCESS to the first four weeks in his story coaching program, Writers’ Village Academy. If you write fiction (or even non-fiction), this intensive free training is an opportunity you won’t want to miss! Click here for details.

     

    About the author: 

    Mary Jaksch is Editor-in-Chief at Write to Done. Grab her FREE report How to Write Like an A-List Blogger. Mary has helped thousands of students successfully create outstanding and profitable blogs at  A-List Blogging and is the blogger behind Goodlife ZEN.

    Image: Woman writing courtesy of Bigstockphoto

     

    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com. Grab her latest all new course Blogwriter's Bootcamp 2.0 or a copy of her free report, How to Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet in Less Than 5 Hours. In her “spare” time, Mary’s also the brains behind AlistBlogging.net. and GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Eric Neural says:

      First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if
      you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
      I have had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.

      I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually
      wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas
      or hints? Thanks!

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    • Johnnie says:

      You actually make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I
      find this topic to be actually something that I believe I might by no means understand.
      It sort of feels too complicated and very
      extensive for me. I am taking a look forward on your next submit,
      I’ll try to get the grasp of it!

    • Matt H says:

      I’m working on a memoir written in vignettes and essays detailing the three years after I graduated high school, during which time I became addicted to painkillers and heroin. The memoir begins at the end (my “rock bottom”) and then goes back to detail how I got there. I’m working on keeping it short and showing versus telling the themes and motivations. I use a short, choppy prose style to convey some of the underlying aspects of addiction. This is the opening vignette:

      Syke text me at 8:30am said his buddy Ben was officially a father. The guy we got arrested with. Been to rehab multiple times. Arrested multiple times. Biggest junkie I knew. A father.
      Irrelevant.
      But it woke me up.
      The thought occurs to me that I still have some score.
      Get up.
      Step over Ryan.
      Enter bathroom.
      Acquire heroin.
      Spoon.
      Needle.
      Lighter.
      Cotton.
      Belt.
      Stick substance to spoon.
      Draw water into syringe.
      Squirt onto spoon.
      Flick Bic.
      Heat spoon.
      Mix.
      Bubbles.
      Dark, dark brown.
      Drop cotton into liquid.
      Place needle.
      Draw.
      Raise.
      Flick.
      Remove bubbles.
      Repeat.
      90 units.
      90.
      90.
      Belt.
      Locate vein.
      Insert syringe.
      Verify.
      Inject.
      Success.
      Remove.
      Belt falls.
      Toss syringe.
      Turn.
      To exit bathroom.
      3
      2
      1

      • Sam says:

        high respect and kudos if you’re beyond that phase!

        this read to me more like a prose poem. i’m not sure whether your memoirs are
        more for therapeutic reasons or to be published (or both), but to go on in that style
        will take up an awfully lot of space with very few words. i think you could use that exact
        same style more laterally than vertically.

        • Matt H says:

          Thanks for responding Sam. The entire book isn’t written that way, some of it is more lateral, as you put it, within bigger paragraphs and there are definitely sentences with more than three words. As the narrative progresses the sentences and prose style become more and more like the above. That scene you read, being the kind of denouement of the story is where it all culminates and why it looks like that.

          Thanks again, let me know if I can read anything of yours.

          • Sam says:

            understood. sometimes a change of style can cause an undesired change of effect. so if the “vertical” mode suits
            the style you’re shooting for, then that’s what’s best and i’m all for it. thanks for the very kind offer, too.

    • Shaun Ebert says:

      This is my opening piece of a book about an army soldier unknowingly experiencing mental health breakdown. I hope to get soldiers (or their friends and family) aware of the subtlety of its effects and the wake it leaves behind:

      Prologue

      The afternoon had a curious beauty to it. The gorgeous mingling of orange and amber was entrancing. The smell of chlorine from the pool and the sound of grackles sending their calls to a future mate made it a serene setting. Soft stones, settled into cement steps leading to the second floor of the apartment complex, made a makeshift recliner which dug into my backside. Smoke from the last few drags of the cigarette made evanescing twirls into the September air.

      “Put that weapon at port arms, Private! You like your rubber ducky don’t you?!”

      The stirring wind flowed through the oaks trees and they sway like a mother holding a newborn. They peppered the inner court of the Rancier Apartments in Killeen, TX.

      “…I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Driving back and forth, back and forth between Belton and the base. 0600 formation time and I cannot be late.”

      Things could not be better right now. The beautiful fade-in of the grackle call had a singular tone to it. Some sounds stand out more than others in life and this was one of them.

      “All of this going on and there are still two years left in this enlistment. I want to go home…”

      The sound of the birds for some reason were louder than normal. This headache hurts and it simply won’t stop.

      “Two more years…”

      Why am I shaking like this? This headache…

      “You will not graduate basic training if you do not finish this, Private Ebert!”

      “Private Ebert, you are late again! You have extra duty!”

      The sound of everything was too loud. I barely felt the heat from the shower water between the shakes, the unbridled fear, and the inability to make a complete thought.

      “Two more years…..”

    • Eric says:

      I’m working on my first novel about college students attending to balance their lives as student and thief.

      I really hope you guys enjoy.

      https://theliberatedzoo.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/the-million-scholarship-faith/

      • Eric says:

        Attempting*

    • I have recently published 3 eBooks on Kindle from my ‘Casey Book Series’ about a 13 year old growing up in the 50’s.

      1st paragraph of: CASEY Part 1 No Time to Duck

      Casey reached for the whiskey bottle with a shaking hand. It looked harmless enough glittering in the soft light from the campfire. Its green glass and bright yellow label with a clipper ship on it, made him wish he could just climb inside and sail off to some distant land. It wasn’t like him to get into predicaments like this. Ever since Katz showed up, things had been changing. When she wasn’t around he was the same old Casey – but when she was around he found himself saying and doing the stupidest things. “Well, here she is, and I’m about to do the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life”.

    • will says:

      I’m working on a short novel right now and this is the first paragraph.

      I got out of the car and slammed the door. I couldn’t believe that he just ran into my car like that. Didn’t he see me right there? I walked around to the front of my car and looked at the fender, it was smashed in and covered with yellow paint, yellow paint from his car. We were on the shoulder of the road and cars were racing past us, one after the other. The road was loud and I had to get close to the man that had just run into me, but he wasn’t walking toward me, he was just standing there. I started to walk toward him and I passed his driver side door and that was when I saw it–a blood covered knife sitting on the front passenger seat.

    • Karel’s boot-heels clattered against the ancient marble floors, sending echoes around the timeless, high-vaulted corridors, as he raced towards the bedchamber of his dying uncle. His foppish hair flapped in blond disarray; his dress uniform collar hung loose, ripped open at the neck; his short, ceremonial cloak fluttered in his wake. In his head, his uncle’s feeble and fading voice called out his name.

      The guards were forewarned of his approach by their neural implants. They stepped aside, slapping their palms to their energy weapons in salutes that he ignored. He threw himself against the great door of his uncle’s chamber, bursting it open in his onward rush. He staggered forward and halted, trembling and gasping for breath.

      Faces turned to him. Faces of family, of enemies, of friends. He read their expressions of sympathy, of triumph, of caution. The Emperor’s personal chamber was one of the few places in the vast, sprawling territory of the Pax Diktat, that was totally Dark. No monitoring devices, no neural implant, no communications device of any kind would function here.

      He knew his uncle could not have called to him. He also knew that none of those here could communicate with him except by gesture, by expression, by voice.

      The tension was palpable. Karel’s survival might depend on his ability to read these people of the Imperial House and to remember the support and slights over the past century of his life.

      But none displayed by gesture. No-one moved to offer a gesture of comfort, of welcome, or of caution. No-one dare reveal allegiances at this moment, when all hung in the balance. He stood bent over, hands on his knees, sucking in huge drafts of air. That air, like the silence, was oppressive. He sucked in the overpowering scents of death and fear and power, undisguised by the body perfumes of a pampered class. Sweat trickled down his face, ran stinging into his eyes, as his heart beat against his ribcage like some demented drummer seeking escape. The huddle parted, revealing his uncle’s emaciated body lying upon silken sheets, and leaning low over him, not a surgeon, but Sandiego Ravichandra.

      That outsider was not of the House, nor had he any qualification to be at the Palace. He had no title, no duties, did not fit into any hierarchy, but his manipulations made him the true power in the Pax Diktat, the “imposed peace” that had become an Empire. Ravichandra was not the power behind the throne. In all the important ways, he was the throne. He waved back the others – who had historical rights to be present – with a slight and almost effortless gesture. Karel was amazed at how readily they obeyed, with eyes cast down or the occasional glance at him or at Stacia, his cousin. This man’s power had grown in the unsettled hours of imminent succession. He must be contained, somehow. Karel made the commitment to himself, to the House and to the people of the Empire.

      Now, that man stood alone at the bedside, his head bent low, his eyes closed in concentration, his ear close to the dying man’s lips as they uttered something no-one else could hear. The old man’s yellowed and bloodshot eyes fluttered closed and the silence became somehow even deeper.

      There came a long pause, then Ravichandra gently closed the Emperors’ eyelids with steady fingertips and stood erect.

      All waited for the words of confirmation. “The Emperor is dead.” And then the surprise. “Long live the Empress!”

      Voices rose in response, “Long live the Empress.”

      Ravichandra scanned the room for the silent ones, although he already knew who to examine.

      Around the room, heads bowed, all except Karel’s and that of a plump, yet stately woman delicately wiping her eye, as if mopping her tears. Behind the perfumed silk of her veil, her eyes twinkled, not with tears, but with a delicious malevolence, as they fixed upon Karel, the Emperor’s nephew and, until now, the heir apparent.

      She spoke in a preening, high-pitched voice, dripping with glee. “Good of you to join us for my annunciation, Prince Karel.” She stressed his title.

      A hand rested firmly on his arm. A whisper hissed in his ear, barely audible even to him. “Take care, brother.”

      He remained motionless for a moment, then stepped forward to the bedside, disregarding the gentle restraint and the warning. Ignoring the new Empress totally, he bent to kiss his uncle’s forehead. He felt the fever’s residual heat upon his face. There was still a life in the old man, but it was only the microscopic virus that had wastefully destroyed its host.

      Karel touched the golden sash his uncle still wore to the last, the public signal that no further rejuvenation was possible for even the greatest of men in the Empire, that his days were numbered, that this moment was approaching. But forewarning does little to ease the pain at the end.

      And now, Stacia was to be Empress. Karel wondered how long his own life would now last.

      • I forgot to add – this is the draft beginning of my scifi novel-in-progress, SUCCESSION!

    • Sukumar Karmakar says:

      (I wrote this blog)

      Everything rests on other something.

      “All right. I can respect that, I can see, that’s the law of nature’’, she uttered with a sigh, sitting alone on sea beach.

      ‘’But one over the other is not acceptable!’’.

      Her voice in mind had spoken louder than those noisy breezes. No one overheard. No one as such was beside her then. And she didn’t even observing anything. Her gaze was nowhere fixed. She was seeing nothing but those eyes were blinking in nothingness.

      Head filled with elsewhere.

      ‘’Your cell is ringing’’, a voice shattered her.
      ‘’Phone!”, she looked surprised at the stranger – a not very old man.
      ‘’Yes, your phone, many times’’, and pointed by his eyes.
      ‘’Oh!’’
      She took it, flipped the flap, saw the name of miss call & closed it again.

      ‘’Hey, wait for me’’, she shouted at that guy as he already had gone a little far from her towards that wavy water,
      ‘’I fear rough open sea’’

      —Holiday.

    • I finally found the time to compile my draft of Rex Appeal, my WIP. Rex Bailey is shapeshifter. He’s not a werewolf. No, his alter ego is a border collie, and as such, he has a dogly nature. He lives to serve others before himself. Now, he thinks it’s finally his turn to have his day, that he will inherit the ranch belonging to his mentor and live life on his own terms as a sheep rancher. But the rancher’s long lost son breezes back into town with his overly-timid wife to steal Rex’s inheritance out from under him and tear it apart for his own personal profit. Now Rex must save the farm, save the girl and save the day–without getting neutered in animal control. It’s a light and humorous tale of betrayal, murder and spousal abuse.

      Here is the first few paragraphs of my overly long first “chapter”. If you are interested in more, check out my blog where I posted the entire sequence.

      Rex Appeal Chapter 1

      Rex Bailey sat in a hard plastic stacking chair in the waiting area of the Hair Today salon, staring at pictures of pixie-faced models wearing garish lipstick and hair that looked like it had been designed by squirrels. It was bleach day.

      Every other month, he called a taxi to drive his grandmother downtown from their tiny home in the outskirts of the city to her favorite salon. There, Manuel would perform the professional maintenance work that made the all the men fall madly in love with her. Or so she said. Every time Grandma Bailey would insist that she could handle this trip by herself, that he should take the opportunity to spend time with friends for a change. And every time Rex would claim to have important business in town, a comic book he needed, or some school supplies. In reality, he didn’t trust his mentally vibrant but physically frail grandmother to safely make it into the city and back without an escort, and they both knew it.

      Manuel’s “Platinum Package” took several hours to complete, so Rex was free to run his cover errands for a while before Grandma Bailey was ready to go home. He had already visited the book store, the comic shop and the movie store. Now, having spent his savings from skipping lunch all week and most of his allowance as well, there was little for him to do here but read, fidget and wish this particular responsibility was over.

      Grandma was sitting in the second of four cracked red vinyl chairs while Manuel applied bleach to her hair. The acrid stench filled the small salon forcing Rex to take shallow panting breaths until it was over. The best thing was to sit still, minimize his movements and hope that it would be over soon. Of course soon was relative. He knew from frequent experience that he had another 45 minutes of bleach fumes and styling spritz before he could take her home.

      “Men are dogs,” his grandmother was saying. Rex rolled his eyes. She pulled that out at every opportunity. It was one of her favorite things to say, summing up her relationship to the world and to the opposite sex in three succinct words.

      She was explaining how her neighbor Anjelika Falconi had been left in a bad way by her son-of-a-bitch husband. Mr. Falconi had been sent upstate due to some sort of legal troubles Rex couldn’t quite understand. It seemed to involve money and laundry, but Rex didn’t have any idea why tidy currency should be such a crime. It certainly wasn’t in the Bailey household where doing the wash was always part of Rex’s weekend chores. And other than the occasional random pocket change, it also was not as lucrative as his grandmother made it sound.

    • Annette Taylor says:

      I am working on a short story and managed to get a professional line edit. It is a romance and i am going to enter it in Goodhousekeeping’s All About Love Contest

    • Nick Bryant says:

      I have been writing and rewriting a junior fiction title for about three years. Because it will be a series of four books, I have found the need to write large swathes of the last three books while trying to finish the first. I suppose this is why it’s taken so long to complete book one even though it’s only about 20,000 words.

      Opening paragraph of book one:

      Elsie Potts lay awake in bed. Every time she nearly dozed off, another bump or scrape would rouse her. What was that? It sounded like little footsteps pattering around the shop downstairs. She heard her father get up to investigate, but just like the previous six nights, he found no culprit. However, someone or some thing was playing tricks on the Potts’ because certain household items were not where they had been left earlier that evening. This caused no end of consternation for the family and a week of little or no sleep left them all exhausted.

      Happy to take on any comments, good or bad.

    • Jazmin says:

      I’m only fifteen so I just write whatever pops into my head 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

      Despite the little man in my ear, telling me I had been foolish and headstrong, I couldn’t muster up an ounce of regret. All I knew was that Chris looked like he was seriously going to hurt April and I couldn’t let that happen. After that my brain went on auto-pilot and I had no control over my fists.

      The sharp throbbing in my eye almost made me remorseful though. I winced, fisting the cover of April’s couch cushion next to me.

      April herself came sashaying in a few moments later with ice, all swishy hair and blue eyes. I couldn’t help but grin at her like a fool.

      “You’re an idiot, Michael,” she stated simply. I smiled with only the left side of my mouth and took the ice off her. Carefully, with long, nimble, pen holding fingers that weren’t made for fighting, I placed the ice against my eye, almost moaning at the instant relief it provided.

      “Better?” she smirked, sitting on the coffee table in front of me and staring at me. I felt like I was being interrogated. I couldn’t look away from her big blue eyes though. They weren’t entirely blue. There were little specks of green dancing around the edges like gate crashers. Close enough to be associated but not close enough to be definitive. Her eyes looked like little ponds and I almost expected to see a fish poke it’s head out.

      When she clicked in front of my face, I was brought out of my reverie. Immediately, to make matters worse, I felt my ears go bright red.

      “Maybe you have a concussion,” she said with worry evident in her voice. I felt like going to find Chris again.

      “Um, no. No concussion. I promise,” insert nervous chuckle. “Just a little distracted, that’s all.”

      “Well, if you’re sure,” she said uncertainly. I nodded in place of confirmation.

      “By the way, the noble heroics and brilliant idea to swoop in and save me, the damsel in distress, is totally falling on deaf ears,” she said flippantly, her gaze on my face steady.

      I felt my cheeks lift in an involuntary grin, all fondness and mischief.

      “Oh really?” I asked, lifting my eyebrow as my older brother, Mark, had taught me.

      She nodded and lifted her hand to check her nails.

      “Definitely. Knights in shining armour were never really my thing. I was always into the bad boy.”

      I couldn’t help my snarky reply. “I guess that’s why you were with Chris.”

      She looked up at me sharply and rolled her eyes.

      “You wouldn’t get it.”

      Now I was curious.

      “Explain it to me then,” I challenged, adjusting the ice so I could use my other hand. My right one had gone numb from the cold.

      She bristled at the insinuation of my reply and sat a little straighter.

      “I wasn’t with Chris for Chris. I was with Chris for me.”

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    • India says:

      I am currently writing short stories for my blog and I am also writing a fantasy novel called, When the Shadows Take Over. My blog is wickedpencils.blogspot.com and I am looking forward to your feedback.

      I am only 13 years of age, but I have been told my work is beautiful. What do you think?

    • I think it’s wonderful that you are giving people the chance to spout a few words about themselves, Mary!

      I’m currently working on three projects, but I won’t bore you with the details. I will say, however, that my first project is nearly completed, and RISKY ISSUES (a book of short stories) should be available on Amazon by the end of this month!

      What are you working on, Mary?

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    • Caitlin O'Connor says:

      This is the opening paragraph of the prequel I’m working on for my series.

      She woke up, she knew this because the dream was gone, its light and beauty replaced by an absolute darkness that was colder than any winter. Something hard was beneath her and something heavy lay on top of her, she could feel it against her body as her chest slowly rose and fell. As she exhaled she felt the warmth of her breath flow over her face, bringing sensation back to numbed skin, it felt nice until she realised that her face must be covered as well.

    • Hello there, am actually working on a new book, “When you get double-barreled”. It’s basically on mastering fear and anxiety as a writer. The concept is based on my experiences as a writer, and i want to use it touch the lives of other writers. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when am through.

    • alexander says:

      I started writing in June 2010 and set myself a target of writing a million draft words in three years. I reached the target in January 2014 and am now working back through the words on a major self edit.

      The opening papagraph of the first book is

      Even the small black spider in her web stretched across a dirty corner of the ceiling would be hard pressed to put a precise age to the hermit like, tall, thin man sitting at his small, old, faded, mahogany writing table. His long white beard makes up for the lack of hair on the crown of his head. He rises and places another dry log on a fire burning behind a fire guard in a stone grate low down in the middle of the only masonry wall in his small home. The deep red embers of the fire crackle and spit, angry at being disturbed. Sparks and flame light up the rest of the low ceilinged, rough timber constructed room. Shuffling back to his writing table on his longer return path, stooping to miss roof beams, the man stops at the other side of the room. He holds the slender hand of a gaunt faced woman sitting secure in a structure similar to a hooded sedan chair but without bearers. He gently kisses her cheek and strokes her long grey hair before she says.

      A start …..

    • I’ve just epublished three short stories under the title “Not entirely inanimate” http://amzn.to/1sUetuT . They’re available on Amazon for PC and Kindle and on CreateSpace in paperback. These stories are inspired by how we give life to the things around us and how they sometimes take on a life of their own.
      The extracts that follow are from “Shimmering”, a story which is based very loosley on my own experiences as a Kirby vacuum cleaner demonstrator.

      … Angela chuckled cynically to herself, stepping to one side, as her co-trainees cheered enthusiastically.
      Francis was laughing and cheering too, hailing the wonder-model, vacuum cleaner supreme. Effortlessly he swept the latest model up off the floor and pirouetted with it in front of the group. For a fleeting moment the vacuum cleaner was an ethereal creature in a shimmering silver dress.
      As the other trainees gathered around Francis, they reached out to stroke the Gusty. Angela searched their faces for even a flicker of kindred spirit. And found nothing. Francis and his Gusty had bewitched them.
      “Probably brainless, and about to be brain washed,” she concluded. “And I’m at least fifteen years older than most of them.” She felt completely out of place. She’d under-estimated the kudos of working for Gusty Wonder Cleaners. …
      …Later that evening she sat in the dark, going over the week’s events in her mind, ‘Plot and character ideas’ resting in her lap along with an illustrated edition of “The rime of the ancient mariner”. It was a work that she loved and she’d been reading it earlier – for the umpteenth time. Before settling down to read she had taken her cleaner out of its box and polished the stainless steel body. Moonlight suddenly streamed into the room and the Gusty, still lying on the floor rug, shimmered eerily, like a sleek, silvery sea creature, for a moment no longer totally inanimate. Startled, Angela switched on the lamp and reached quickly for her notebook …

    • Shragi says:

      Here’s the opening paragraph of a short story I’m working on. As a matter of fact I worked on this story on and off for a few months but it was meandering so I rewrote it from scratch with almost no descriptive sentences.
      I think the main character, Chaim, still needs more personality:

      “They didn’t know it then, but one of the people entering the banquet hall that night wouldn’t go home alive. Had they known it though it wouldn’t have changed anything, the world must go on, the yeshiva had a lot riding on this dinner, the scholarships they awarded their needy families were funded by this dinner.”

      http://www.frumsatire.net/2014/04/27/give-one-more-for-the-yeshiva/

    • Ian Miller says:

      The project that I am now in the middle stages of revising and editing is the third in my trilogy “Gaius Claudius Scaevola”, and is titled Scaevola’s Triumph. The premise behind the trilogy is that in the 25th century, the only way to reverse Earth’s civilization being wiped out by aliens was for the historian Pallas Athene to send a message back in time to manipulate a Roman Legatus so that he would be taken to the planet Ulse, where he would get help. The first two books (Athene’s Prophecy and Legatus Legionis) involved involved persuading Scaevola to study science and prove the heliocentric theory.

      Scaevola’s Triumph opens with Scaevola, his sister Lucilla, his wife Vipsania and his friend Timothy waking in the cell of the alien ship that abducted them from Earth. When an android finds out what has been abducted Scaevola is seen as the equivalent of a Galileo, and is taken to Ulse, where he finds himself on the losing side of an interplanetary war. All he has to do is to save an advanced civilization, he has exactly what they need, but neither he nor they know it.

      Not exactly a Pulitzer prize-winning novel, but it shows the principles of logic, the trilogy shows what science is about, and if you cannot easily work out why a Roman Legatus could save an advanced civilization in an interplanetary war, then there is something else to interest you.

    • What a fantastic opportunity. Thank you. What follows are the opening two paragraphs (sorry for the cheat) of book two of my ‘Cloven Moon’ trilogy. Honest opinions are always welcome.

      It took only a few days for Byrun to become a point of interest for neighborhood children and the more wary adults. It wasn’t that the long-legged man begged. Hamblin, a walled town of nearly four-thousand souls, in the westernmost Lah-to province, boasted at least two-score beggars living in its streets and alleys. Nor was it that the newcomer couldn’t see. Such oddities had happened before and the inured citizens were familiar with much worse; the maimed habitually failed to startle the fortunate. Rather, his loss of vision represented eldritch machinations; forces to be worshiped, feared, and gamed resided slightly beyond each of their lives. Deeper mysteries than a new-blind beggar propelled the curious to gaze and whisper at the sudden appearance of this newest mendicant in their midst. Gossip ensued.

      Rumor conjoined fact such that even the slow-thinking Rantoul, the pox-nosed butcher could play with the pieces and elaborate on given theories as to the man’s origins. Byrun wore the leggings and thin shirt of a soldier and he wore sturdy boots to protect his feet. “There’s something wrong with his feet,” Rantoul offered to his apprentice as he sliced a rim of fat from a pork side just two days after Byrun appeared. “And that bandana round his head? Lidless eyes is what I heard. That’s a sure sign.” The butcher then winked knowingly.

    • Patricia says:

      I’m working on a ‘coffee table’ book of all things. I sail my fabulous yacht Mojito, love to travel and to tell stories about the places I see. Obviously photographs, and lots of them illustrate these stories. The places I write about is not your average tourist destinations either. Places like the ‘Oldest Lighthouse on Earth’ http://wp.me/p3okvN -An active volcano in the Aeolian Islands north of the Straights of Messina.

      ” Like any party, the fun starts after dark.

      Three-thirty am. My alarm clock goes off. Sliding from bed I pulled on shorts and a T-shirt. I didn’t sleep much. Every twenty minutes or so a jet took off, roaring overhead. A few seconds later it’s gone. Then a sound like popcorn popping or like Rice-Crispies snap-crackle-pop when you pour milk over it. Then silence. Until twenty minutes later.

      The deck is covered in fine ash and sand. Gritty footprints follow me. Anchor chain rattle onboard. Ink black sea against indigo sky. A shimmering path leads us towards the oldest lighthouse on earth. The same lighthouse that guided Odysseus towards the Straits of Messina on a gale-swept winter’s night. Not a man-made structure. But an active volcano on Isola Stromboli. One of seven Aeolian Islands, north of Sicily. Aeolus was the god of the winds. He is still responsible for swift and terrible gales in these seemingly calm waters.

      The mountain sigh, steams, huff and puff twenty-four hours a day, every day. Working up to a full eruption every ten years. Unlike Mount Edna or Vesuvius who builds up rage until one day they blow there tops.

      As we round the headland the raging mountain spits fire. Red hot stars shoot into the black sky. Falling in sprays of oranges, yellows and reds. Fire balls cart-wheel three thousand feet down a black slope. Splashing into tho ocean and sinks with a sizzling pop…”

      I plan to combine real stories and poems about the places I see in a beautiful book with lots of photographs.

    • Wyldkat says:

      Alicia Chaves walked slowly up the narrow stairs of an office building near the historic district of the town of Leesburg in Virginia. The building was old, dating back to somewhere around the middle of the 19th Century and had the architecture to show it; tall baseboards and narrow wood paneling that was only waist high ringed the staircase while a broad wooden banister guarded from accidental falls on the inside. The walls were decorated with photos, portraits taken at a local studio, hung both to give warmth to the otherwise stark white walls, and to advertise the photographer. The effort was wasted on Alicia. She had neither the time or the money to have formal portraits and pictures of children only reminded her of what was missing in her life. The landing at the top of the second floor was narrow, perhaps four foot across. She glanced around, uncertain which way to turn. To her left was a door, with a brass plate and a real estate agency name mounted to the left of the door, in front of her was an open door that led to a small wrought iron balcony overlooking the street. On her right was a third door with a frosted glass window bearing a quartered circle in black, red, yellow and white and the name Four Winds Detective Agency stenciled below. She headed toward the third door, pausing again to look around her. She almost turned back, afraid that yet again she would be placated but find no real help. She took a deep breath then knocked on the heavy door. If they would not help her, then she would find someone else who would.

      • Wyldkat says:

        Sorry for the missing data. The site was giving me problems.

        This is the opening of a Urban Fantasy my sister and I have been working on. We’re getting ready to the second draft.

    • Steve says:

      I’m really a cartoonist and illustrator but sometimes I write short pieces either for publication or just for my own enjoyment. This is a self-published first attempt at humorous writing. It deals with my experience of redundancy.
      Fell free to shred it to bits 🙂

      http://www.stevebonellocartoons.com/2/post/2013/10/youre-redundant.html

    • Steve says:

      I’m really a cartoonist and illustrator but sometimes I write short pieceseither for publication or just for myself.
      This is a self-published first attempt at humourous writing. It deals with my experience of redundancy.
      Fell free to shred it to bits 🙂

      http://www.stevebonellocartoons.com/2/post/2013/10/youre-redundant.html

      • Sam says:

        …then you should write more. very strong prose beyond being humorous, i feel.

        i also read the toon at the bottom of the page. i would LOVE to be the little guy
        with a thought bubble to answer Mr Stuffy’s question…ha!

        • Steve says:

          Thanks for taking the time to read it Sam. And thanks for your kind comments too.

          • Sam says:

            it was literally my pleasure.

    • David Bella says:

      I’m currently working on a science fiction novel. I’m probably around 1/3 to 1/2 through my first draft. My opening paragraph is:

      He was horrified by what he saw when he ducked into the nearest building to get out of a sudden downpour. She was naked, as befitted a slave, standing on a platform about a meter above the bidders. He walked closer to her to see her face since she was looking down. He would have taken her for a child of about twelve but her bald head and lack of eyebrows confused him. High cheekbones and almond eyes bespoke an Asian ancestry but her light violet or lavender skin and red-violet eyes belied her humanity.

      • Sam says:

        this seems like a story i would enjoy.
        but if this is your opening paragraph, i feel “horrified” and “confused” may benefit from being shown rather than told (and no, i’m not a ‘show, don’t tell’ nazi! telling is perfectly fine on occasion). i stated that because the reader may get a closer feel for your mc by actually ‘seeing’ his reactions.

        the sudden, unassociated “she” threw me a bit also.
        you could do better, but maybe:

        “He was horrified by what he saw when he ducked into the nearest building to get out of a sudden downpour–a naked, female slave standing on a platform about a meter above the bidders.”

        just a note: a lot of “be’s”.
        befitted
        bespoke
        belied
        all in one paragraph gives a “stuffy” feel to the prose to me. sounds more fantasy than SF.

    • Kirsten Schuele-Van Aken says:

      This is the opening paragraph of my novel, I am working on getting th outline from my head onto “paper”.
      There is something different about the air in Torrigan Forest. At least that’s what all the travelers tell me. What exactly the difference is depends on the traveler. If I ever leave the forest, perhaps I’ll find out. The whole forest is restless these past few days. Even the unflappable Maimonides has his dark brown, hackles up. He knows what’s going on. I wish he could share his knowledge. Sometimes the intent way his silver eyes watch me makes me think he is trying to. Maimonides is waving his tail in the long established “follow me” signal. I must go.

    • A paranormal romance. I have finished writing it and am in the editing stage… http://www.rainaschell.com/

      Elisabetta Moretti, a naïve Sicilian thief leaves home for the first time and travels half way around the world, on a ship, to find answers to who she really is. When she discovers the man she always thought was her father murdered, she uses her paranormal abilities to search for the brother she has never even met. A dashing photographer captures her in his lens and her already upside down world is flipped on its side. Not knowing whom to trust, with the mafia on her tail she tumbles through unknown waters falling deeper and deeper, completely out of her depths. What will Lizzy find when she reaches her final destination? The family she ultimately longs for or another dead end? Will the handsome photographer be strong enough to remain at her side?

    • Margarita says:

      I’m working on a novel (about 2/3rds done) that I’m still figuring out how to categorize (chick lit meets Memento with shades of David Lynch).

      I also have a blog I update regularly in which I transcribe my actual diary entries and add my present-day commentary. I’ve been thinking about adapting them into some kind of teleplay, and welcome any feedback on what elements from the blog would carry over well into a script, or just general feedback on the blog itself. Thanks!

      http://diaryproject.me/

    • Shadab Husain says:

      My post to inspire the blind…will work on everyone. Please leave your comments!

      Why you aren’t living as you want to

      Your friends urge you to forget your beloved who had dumped you and you too feel you should carve a new path of life – yet you continue to crave for her because you hope that one day that cruel creature will heal your wounds with her angelic love.

      Alas, if you had cut the hope of having her back, it would have freed you from the prison you have caged yourself into.

      Alas, if you had known that you’ll never be able to look as the sighted, it would have freed you from the prison you’ve caged yourself into.

      Alas, if you had known that winning the approval of others is bullshit, you would have been more courageous despite your blindness.

      Alas, if you had known that living on your own terms is bred in the nature of successful people, it would have made you more confident despite your blindness.

      Alas, if you had known that most folks around you fit in mediocre class, you would have formed a solid faith in yourself despite your blindness.

      But do you know the core cause that has prevented you from living the life you deserve and desire for?

      No, it isn’t your blindness.

      It’s actually your inordinate desire of impressing others.

      Whether it’s your choice of not using a white cane or avoiding other task (asking for water in a gathering, attending parties, going in front of people, buying medicines) it’s your desire of conveying to others that you aren’t a substandard human because of your blindness.

      In the process of impressing others you do things that put you at a loss: you ignore your inner voice and you try to run away from your real nature – but in vain for you’re often caught red-handed.

      Remember the last time you spoke to someone not realising he isn’t there? But you’re strong-willed (or obstinate) and don’t give up the desire to impress others.

      The only way you can live a liberated and adventurous life with fire sparkling in your eyes is by impressing only one person.

      Any guesses who that person can be? Relatives? Neighbours? The beautiful lady who dumped you and flew away to prey upon someone else?

      No.

      The only person you should strive to impress is your own self. Your mind, your soul, your subconscious, or whatever you call it. And you can’t fool it by taking no actions and only repeating to yourself that you’re courageous, confident, smart, because it’s intelligent and hence sees the harmony between your words and actions.

      It may have happened with you that your friends and family members had told you that you’re good. But deep down you would have felt as if you don’t deserve that admiration.

      Why?

      Because your reality isn’t hidden from your inner self and on getting something wrong it shouts that it’s a lie. If you’re able to impress your own self, the person who is recording your each action since decades and who knows you better than anyone, you won’t care a toss about the approval of others.

      Impressing your inner self isn’t easy. You’ve to dare yourself to do things that you fear and find difficult. You’ll require throwing away the challenges that terrify you. Challenges that bombard your mind with horrifying thoughts. Challenges that make you feel as if you’ll be crushed.

      It’s difficult, but the dividends you reap will be superb. At each step of your journey to impress your inner self, keep the following advice in mind:

      Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash. General George S. Patton, the Commander of the U.S. Third Army in World War II

      Make a decision: do you want to remain imprisoned because of your inordinate desire of impressing others? Or do you want to look strait in the eyes of life and live with an enviable fire around you?

      http://www.eyeway.org/?q=why-you-aren%E2%80%99t-living-you-want

    • Doug Romig says:

      This is the prologue to my novel New Fallen. It is a supernatural mystery. Please keep in mind this is the sequel to Angelcide. Thank you for any and all feedback.

      A green glow began to fill the space around Kafplee, causing a rare look of panic on the face of the demon. It was accustomed to causing panic in those encountered. This was an unwelcome role reversal. There had been stories circulating about something new going after demons, but none who had seen anything was around to tell. All that had gotten back was word of a green haze that was left, like an afterglow where many devils had disappeared.

      Kafplee was not going down without a fight no matter what this was. The angels claimed to have taken out the beast who had consumed so many, but could they be trusted? What if they were now using the annihilator as an agent to destroy their enemies? What the heaven was happening?

      “I know you are here. Show yourself, coward!” screeched the twin mouths of the hellion.

      A subtle chuckle filled the ether around the demon. “And why would I do that?” came the soft voice that seemed to be everywhere. “I am your judge, jury and will carry out your sentencing. You are guilty.” More soft laughter seem to come from everywhere and nowhere as the Spiritscape became greener than its usual amber.

      The demon found new fear as the soft sounds created a sense of foreboding that had not been sensed since the defeat of the Demonslayer. What was this thing that could play hide and seek and still cause fear? Kafplee did what all but the most powerful demons did when faced with an unknown enemy – run! No matter where the incubus moved, there was a green fog blocking the way. It was like the voice knew where the demon was going. With desperation grasping Kafplee, a mad dash through the mist seemed to be the only option.

      Knowing the demon’s strategy, the mist enveloped Kafplee before the plan could be implemented. Now Kafplee experienced another new sensation: immobilization. The soft, terrifying laughter seemed to be coming from within as pain permeated the core of the demon causing an anguished cry and a flood of curses. The blue essence of the demon was bleeding through the many gashes appearing on the Hadian.

      “Now, now,” came the voice. “Watch your language, Kafplee. You never know who may be listening.”

      A screech came from the mouths of the demon. “Just do your worst and send me to Hell. I will be back and find your ass no matter how long it takes!”

      The silence was deafening. For a moment the devil thought that all sound had been stolen and that was its torment. Blue oozing wounds appeared from nowhere but were everywhere on the surface of the devil. Then a sound filled the green haze that stopped Kafplee from even feeling fear. There was nothing to describe the dread of the demon when the voice spoke again.

      “What makes you think I will send you to Hell? You are now part of my collection,” laughed the voice. The green glow encompassed and filled the demon. Kafplee screamed silently.

      • Love it! I had a slight problem keeping track of who was who but that happens sometimes, it may have been just me.

        In particular I like the name Kafplee and the last sentence, Kafplee screamed silently as well as your titles.

        • Doug Romig says:

          Thank you for the feedback. The name Kafplee came to me when begging my coffee maker to hurry. I was pleading for caffeine.

    • Suey says:

      I am in the process of planning my first novel. This is the first paragraph.

      He had never struck her with such force before. Geli reeled backwards covering her face with her hands. Blood poured from her nose and she could feel the instant swelling where the bone had been broken. Her eyes filled with tears as she stared at him in disbelief. His face was red as he stood there trembling with anger. He took a step towards her.
      “You have betrayed me,” he said.

    • David J. Michael says:

      I am researching a history of the Albany Post Road in New York State. It runs from Manhattan to Albany, and is now known as a section of US Rte 9.

      If you live in southeastern New York, you’ve driven it, you’ve shopped along it, and you don’t think twice about it.

      U.S. Route 9, also known as (and originally named) the Albany Post Road, is older than the United States. It is older than New York, or even Niew Amsterdam. It was originally a native American hunting path, winding up the shores of the present day Hudson River. The path became a road, quickly co-opted by the first Dutch settlers. It was the main commerce route of the day, and was extended to Albany as the state grew into one of the original thirteen colonies. In colonial times, it was known as the King’s Highway, although many roads in New England also bore that stamp of official Royal approval.

      The King’s Highway was the most vitally strategic road in the fledgling United States during the War for Independence, it being the only thoroughfare with which the British could divide New England from the southern states. Many of the incidents upon which the future of the colonies relied, were played out along this road.

    • David J. Michael says:

      I am researching a history of the Albany Post Road in New York State. It runs from Manhattan to Albany, and is now known as a section of US Rte 9.

      If you live in southeastern New York, you’ve driven it, you’ve shopped along it, and you don’t think twice about it.

      U.S. Route 9, also known as (and originally named) the Albany Post Road, is older than the United States. It is older than New York, or even Niew Amsterdam. It was originally a native American hunting path, winding up the shores of the present day Hudson River. The path became a road, quickly co-opted by the first Dutch settlers. It was the main commerce route of the day, and was extended to Albany as the state grew into one of the original thirteen colonies. In colonial times, it was known as the King’s Highway, although many roads in New England also bore that stamp of official Royal approval.

      The King’s Highway was the most vitally strategic road in the fledgling United States during the War for Independence, it being the only thoroughfare with which the British could divide the divide New England from the southern states. Many of the incidents upon which the future of the colonies relied, were played out along this road.

    • Hey, Thanks for the chance to share. I just published, designed and wrote … The beyond single manifesto. Here is the link … http://www.sonyamacdesigns.com/2014/06/15/god-sized-dream-house-and-the-beyond-single-manifesto/

    • CharlenePetree says:

      Thanks so much for reading. Here is the first chapter of my novel.

      “YOOPERLAND TO DIXIE

      A Family’s Quest for a ‘Good Enough’ Life”

      Part 1 SUMMER

      By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
      By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
      Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
      Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis
      ~ The Song of Hiawatha, Longfellow, 1855

      Even in July there was a nip in the air. The bat cracked the ball soaring it toward the thick conifers.
      “Who wants popcorn?” the old man asked as he slowly stood fumbling through his pockets.
      “Me, me, me,” both girls squealed as they excitedly waved their hands in the air.
      “All right, all right. Now sit here and don’t move until I get back.”
      The gray man’s words evaporated into the crowd’s cheers as a stocky ballplayer stole a base.
      “Lookit! Your pop thinks he’s Max Carey or something. Do you see him over there on third?” he said while shading his eyes toward the setting sun and pointing a crooked finger in the shape of a bent twig. “He’s playing this high-class baseball like he thinks he has a rat’s ass in hell to get into the minors. What a fool he is.”
      And off he shuffled toward the snack shack leaving the girls alone.
      The older girl waved to her father as he glared toward home plate. The younger girl sat with her thumb in her mouth while gripping her sister’s sleeve with the other. Both girls’ curly light brown hair reflected the last bit of the sinking sun, as their eyes, the color of the black spruce their grandfather lumbered in the woods behind the ballpark, followed their father flitting to and fro between third and home base like a deranged butterfly.
      . . .
      Moving from Scotland to Iron River, Michigan, rich with virgin timber perfect for railroad ties for the Great Depression recovery, proved a good decision for John McGillis. As the Menominee County Lumber Baron, he organized the J.W. McGillis Lumber Company with a heavy hand.

      Stepping out of line meant stepping out of employment for anyone brave enough to deviate from his strictly enforced rules. Even a questionable side-glance could snatch a decent jack out of camp for good.
      Grady Smith understood this better than most since McGillis Lumber was his third camp in less than eight months. Jumping the railcars from Pennsylvania landed him in Yooperland where he planned to tout his superior lumberjack skills.
      Small in stature, but big in meanness, Grady’s “leave me alone, and I’ll leave you alone,” aura served him well. Anyone attempting a friendly nod or handshake soon realized Grady was not a man to reckon with. A friendly gesture was met with steel-like eyes resembling Civil War minie balls that merged directly into his furrowed forehead as he glared at his benefactor.
      His face had a habit of maintaining a ruddy hue that covered a mix match trail of stubble traveling down his neck. His arms, although short, were muscular from the memory of countless axe swings. His powerful legs never wavered from fatigue and were quick when called upon.
      Grady once attempted the logrolling games the men enjoyed in the summer, but the humiliation of falling kept him away. “Let the others look like fools, especially the ones that deserve it,” he thought.
      He fell into line easily among the seasoned jacks, as he was known as one to pull his weight. His team, responsible for crosscutting the trees, worked in tandem to bring the 150-ft white pine down to her knees. The tree’s blood-sap soaked Grady’s gloves as he sawed off her limbs one branch at a time. The branches were then skidded to the main trail using horses and then piled onto sleds hooked to a tractor that became her funeral procession to the sawmill.
      When the last severed tree part was secured to the tractor, the men headed to camp resembling cows leaving the pasture at the end of the day. Exhaustion stifled most tongues, but there were a few whose energy expanded the closer that got to the dinner bell. They were the drinkers, the rousers, the kidders, and the ones who sang and danced a little jig as they found nickels behind your ears when there was no music to be heard except for the whistling wind through the great pines surrounding the camp.
      Grady avoided these types, just wanting to get something in his belly and turn in. He had other plans and needed to think. Everything took calculation and precision – especially this plan.

      • Sam says:

        hi Charlene,

        though a bit narrative heavy, i liked how you interspersed a bit of dialog within to liven things up. i also feel you have a very strong voice (which helped me through the narrative).

        i found this sentence a bit “heavy”:

        “Both girls’ curly light brown hair reflected the last bit of the sinking sun, as their eyes, the color of the black spruce their grandfather lumbered in the woods behind the ballpark, followed their father flitting to and fro between third and home base like a deranged butterfly.”

        but loved this one:

        “His arms, although short, were muscular from the memory of countless axe swings.”

        • CharlenePetree says:

          Thank you, Sam – I appreciate your comments.

    • Hello, I would be very grateful for feedback on my Adam and Eve post on my blog at http://www.cezideas.blogspot.com.au – I am wanting feedback on my style and whether I ‘jump’ too much in the logic and lose the reader’s interest. It is a psychological/logical interpretation of a very old tale, and I would like women in particular to read it because I think it has something to say that is useful (and cheering). It is not your normal ‘blame women’ attitude at all. I would also like some feedback as to how to publish it for a wider audience.
      many thanks,
      Cathryn

    • I got an e-mail prompt by the WTD team to underscore what I’m working on. I typically jog out working experiments in writing on what I call an “overflow blog” – Godzilla Government. There’s no editorial guidance or hammer claw for my exploration so I just venture into radioactive and adventurous no-no territory and say frankly exactly whatever comes to mind. I don’t even source it anymore. I say what I think and often think no one reads it. I don’t what the hell people think of this blog, honestly. So in addition to shaping and dumping off ideas there, I am shaping up two different books: a How-To book and a childrens book. I am also taking some supplemental coursework on journalism to stay current. If you want to look into the writing there, for feedback or whatever, please visit: https://zillamod.wordpress.com .

    • A 1961-1965 Park College Diary

      Saturday, September 9, 1961

      Park College looks nice. On top of that, the family who is next to us in our motel has a girl who will also be a freshman at Park. She is Judy Percival from St. Louis. I invited her up to watch the Miss America pageant tonight. Miss North Carolina won. We left home at 9:30 this morning and got to Kansas City around 4:30. After we got a motel room, we drove downtown to take a look at Kansas City. We had quite a time squeezing my things in the car and ended up putting my trunk in the back seat. That meant Ann had to ride in the front seat with Mom and Dad, Phyllis and Virginia rode next to one end of my trunk, and I rode next to the other end.

      My last entry will be on April 25, 2015, 50 years to the date after I graduated from Park College (now Park University) in Parkville (suburban Kansas City), Missouri.

      My memoir-in-progress can be found at http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/.

      • Sam says:

        I’m had to laugh at myself because of the absolute horror I felt when I first read this…

        …then noticed it was a diary entry where it sounds perfectly natural.

    • Ron Boyce says:

      This is the opening to my (in progress) first novel entitled “The Grandmother Seed.”

      Eleanor Durant didn’t know when they had decided to kill her. But she knew why she was going to die.

      The road formed a parabola that opened out into the rolling countryside and enclosed a dense woodland populated by fast growing Willow, Alder, and Silver birch. Majestic Ash picked out the perimeter. The woodland consumed the early light of the breaking dawn, and darkened the landscape. Vehicles on the road either side of the woodland were hidden from each other’s view by the thick carpet of trees, until they crossed at the vertex that formed the bend in the road going from one mirror-half of the parabola to the other.

      The jeep came around the bend fast, Rhodes had achieved the element of surprise. Eleanor’s face betrayed her shock and bewilderment. Rhodes looked directly at her with cold concentration. His eyes, perfectly round fox-grey circles on a yellow oval, set deep back in dark sockets, reached out at her across the distance. The element of surprise has a brief life, and any benefit, or advantage gained by its use depends on what you do next. Eleanor recovered her composure quickly, she’d been tense and watchful from the moment they’d started the run, but hadn’t expected this. She’d seen that face before, and remembered the short-cropped ginger-red hair, clean shaven aquiline features, and that yellowish tinted skin. What Rhodes did next was what any good operative did, engage the subjects cognitive resources on a simple task and stop them planning, just like a magician – make them look one way and not the other. If they can’t plan, they can’t act. Rhodes made eye contact and put the Jeep on a collision path. Eleanor braked hard, tyres screamed in complaint against the wet road surface. The car twisted sideways, slowed, but kept moving forward. Pulling hard on the steering wheel, willing the car to stop, Eleanor stared, transfixed, at Rhodes. At times like these, when you are in the greatest danger, when you are at the greatest risk, when you have only yourself to rely on and the terror comes, something happens as your reality fractures. Time walks with you, and you find yourself in the space between reality and dream. You can’t hear, but you listen, you can’t see, but you look. The Jeep’s motion fooled the eye: advancing in little bursts. Eleanor’s subconscious was trying to make sense of it all, stretching time, to give her time to act.

      • N.E. Montgomery says:

        That opening totally grabbed me. The second part made me think of my friend John Dalmas, who was a forester before he was a writer – we always had to tell him to describe fewer trees because the rest of us couldn’t tell an alder from an ash. Something to think about.

        • Ron Boyce says:

          Hi NE,

          Many thanks for taking the time to read my words.
          I take your point in regard to the woodland tree descriptions. I’m pleased that my words had some captivating effect. I’d be interested to know what grabbed you.

          Kind Regards,

          Ron.

    • Right now, I’m editing my romantic short story.

      “God dammit Meghan, you stubborn red head! Don’t you dare let go!”

      Meghan Christopher grit her teeth and glanced down at the jagged rocks that lined the cliff she dangled over. She needed to keep her body straight for the inevitable drop to the cold river water below. This was a bad idea. Very bad but—

      She looked up and stared into Rusty Cundieff’s hard, green eyes. He couldn’t hold onto her much longer, he was already half way over the ledge. “I can make it, Rusty. I’ll go down straight to the water.” Rusty was strong, special operations soldier strong, but—

      His calloused hand locked around her wrist. “Dammit, don’t you—” His fingers dug into her skin. “Meghan—” His voice growled that warning tone he reserved just for her.

      She inhaled and made a fist with the hand he had locked on her before she immediately twisted her wrist the way he taught her years ago to force a captor to release a hold.

      His eyes speared into hers before she strangely suspended and then dropped like an arrow to the water below.

      • I like it – a great opening to what sounds like a great story. The only part that threw me was where she makes a fist and then breaks free. It’s the best point in the story, but it was a bit difficult to follow the physical action. Could you maybe split it into two sentences? Or maybe replace the “before” with a “then” to make it a little clearer.

    • This is the opening of my novella An Alterrian Rebel, I just recently finished a round of edits.

      The city of Sheridan had once been the only city in the region of Garrett but when the former lord died and a new lord was appointed a new city was established much nearer the royal city. Thus the once thriving city diminished, many of the citizens moved to the new city, Winterhurst, or established homesteads elsewhere in the region. The people that stayed in Sheridan, however, never regretted staying. It was an oasis in the midst of tyranny, largely neglected by the lord as it was so far south they were not touched by many of the kings laws, thus the crops and herds thrived and the people prospered as well as they could with their limited economy.

      Phyl Kelsey sat looking over the town from her perch in an oak tree. She knew of the pain and distress outside as she had spent her life wandering from region to region before her father finally settled in Sheridan. She did not know who the regions lord was, or even who the king was, nor did she care. She was already of the poorest of the poor, what did it matter?

      • Sam says:

        i think the second paragraph would have been a stronger start, and the first interwoven in afterwards.

        • I agree with Sam – introduce the person first, and the city afterwards.

    • This is the beginning of a sports post based on my theme of transferring knowledge from elders to youth through baby boomer aged people.

      Always start with kids. None of that ‘just picked up a ball last year’ stuff. No one wants to see the Hakeem Olajuwon story repeated, the one where he plays soccer one day, picks up a basketball the next, then goes into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

      That’s career shorthand for ‘don’t make the rest of us feel like losers more than we do since we’ve been shooting baskets all our lives and you haven’t.’ We don’t need someone else showing us how easy it all is. One Olajuwon Dream Shake is enough.

      So start a kid in a smaller sport, non-revenue sport, a club sport on a pay to play basis. Take Crew for instance.

    • Actually, I’d love some objective feedback on the blurb I put together for my memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened. I’m not entirely certain the excerpt I chose works out of context:

      http://lorilschafer.com/on-hearing-of-my-mothers-death-six-years-after-it-happened-memoir/

      Much obliged for any opinions!

      • Sam says:

        knowing my speculative mind, i clicked the link “just knowing” it would be something too delicate to hold my interest. oddly, i found it rather compelling; i would read more. is this fact or fiction? either way, i liked it.

    • FourGrandmas.com is my “legacy” to my children and grandchildren to fill them with the answers they may ask as some period in time – questions always come up – what or why did this happen this way in the family – and so with pictures of the times and family members – it will leave a starting place for the next generation to continue on? Maybe ?
      I only wish all that I heard and seen as a kid – I would have written some facts down – to help remember and pass on.
      Check out April 3rd, 2014 “FOg and Storms” – on Fourgrandmas.com – that contains several days writing of maybe 500 words – each – of one of the trips we took
      Thanks for all the help and information you give to all of “want – a – be – better writers!
      M.E. Aldrich

    • TraciB says:

      These are the first few paragraphs of my novel Helene’s Hope, Book 3 of my Women of Atherton series (Helene is Chantal’s mother, by the way):

      “YES! Oww…” Chantal threw her hands into the air in celebration, then quickly dropped them to her stomach. The kick her unborn child leveled at her navel rivaled the one Garrett Hartley had just sent through the uprights.

      Hartley’s kick gave the New Orleans Saints a 31-28 overtime victory over the Minnesota Vikings, clinching the NFC Championship for the first time in the Saints’ 43-year history and sending them to Miami for Super Bowl XLIV. The baby’s kick, on the other hand, further upset a stomach already churning from barbecued ribs and strawberry swirl ice cream.

      Marc stopped in the middle of a victory dance. “Boo, you okay?”

      Chantal straightened and gave her husband a teary-eyed smile as she grasped his arm for support. “Honey, I think we should name the baby Garrett…”

      • I love the parallel you draw between the two kicks – what a great concept!

        • TraciB says:

          Thanks, Lori! I appreciate the feedback. 🙂

    • Jenny Burr says:

      this is the first paragraph of a novel that I am writing. I have submitted the first page into a contest and am waiting to hear back if they would like to read more.

      Benson Edwards crested the hill and stopped his car. He stepped out to look down on the town of Ashbury

      Creek. It was a small town, built by a creek bearing the same name. The view brought back memories of the

      area in which he was raised. That town, held nothing but bad memories and a life of poverty. He couldn’t wait

      to leave when he finished high school and he had not returned since. If not for his long time school friend

      being the principal at the school, he would not be considering Ashbury Creek as a possible film site for his

      movie.

      • Sam says:

        i don’t think there’s anything wrong with “crested” the hill, but it sounded a little strange to me.
        also, i don’t see anything ‘technically’ wrong with the prose, but for me, the “voice” wasn’t very commanding.

    • My new book A Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Success in Wealth, Health, Career, Education, Love, Place…and You! was recently published. It is available as a print and ebook on Amazon.com…and soon in bookstores everywhere. http://amzn.com/0991198301

      I am now working on completing two books by end of summer.

      One is “Startup to Finish: 50 Success Tips for Entrepreneurs from America’s Top Angel Investors.”

      As a member of the world’s largest angel group (and their marketing advisor) I have access to the top angel investors and Silicon Valley thought-leaders. This book is intended to help entrepreneurs launch more successful startups.

      The other is “A Career Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Successful Job Search and Career Planning.”

      My mentor is Dick Bolles, the author of the best-selling job-search book What Color is Your Parachute? I’ve studied career planning with him in intensive week-long classes at his home. I’m also the founder of The Career ReBoot Camp, an event designed to help job-seekers get up-to-speed with the skills they need to search successfully for a new job. I’m co-authoring this book with my wife Carol Ann, who has 17-years experience as a top executive recruiter.

      My contact information is [email protected]

    • My new book A Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Success in Wealth, Health, Career, Education, Love, Place…and You! was recently published. It is available as a print and ebook on Amazon.com…and soon in bookstores everywhere. http://amzn.com/0991198301

      I am now working on completing two books by end of summer.

      One is “Startup to Finish: 50 Success Tips for Entrepreneurs from America’s Top Angel Investors.”

      As a member of the world’s largest angel group (and their marketing advisor) I have access to the top angel investors and Silicon Valley thought-leaders. This book is intended to help entrepreneurs launch more successful startups.

      The other is “A Career Plan for Life: The 21st Century Guide to Successful Job Search and Career Planning.”

      My mentor is Dick Bolles, the author of the best-selling job-search book What Color is Your Parachute? I’ve studied career planning with him in intensive week-long classes at his home. I’m also the founder of The Career ReBoot Camp, an event designed to help job-seekers get up-to-speed with the skills they need to search successfully for a new job. I’m co-authoring this book with my wife Carol Ann, who has 17-years experience as a top executive recruiter.

    • Stories I Never Tell

      I never go back there.
      I know it will always be the same.

      c.

      The mattress had a big hole in the middle. I can’t remember if we each slept on one side of it or if we both fell in it together before the night was through. She was only small, so it probably didn’t matter much either way. At least not to so much to me.

      “Will you kiss me goodnight?” It was my little sister asking me with her sad eyes shining in the dark. They were innocent back then.

      “I have no one to tuck me in”.

      Funny how I can remember her face and those words spoken from a little girl over 40 years ago.

      So I kissed her. And I tucked her in. Every night at bedtime before we went to sleep.

      For a little while it worked. I could pretend to be the mother, and she could trust me. Then I got tired and somehow things were different.

      I was 6 and she was 4. I remember us older.

      (opening of a book I am writing about my childhood with an emotionally wacked step mother)

    • Zara says:

      I should be most grateful for any comments for this offering. It is the beginning of a short story – one of six I am thinking of publishing as an ebook. Thanks.

      ” Jason Crawley awoke. He stared at a ceiling he didn’t recognise and wondered, not only where he was, but who he was lying next to. What was her name? And let’s hope it was a her. Yes, it must be. He was, after all, Jason Crawley, definitely a player, if not God’s-gift-to-women, and an all round bon viveur, or good-time-Charlie, as his grandfather had called him in that quaint turn of phrase that old people use.
      He turned his head as carefully as he could and found himself looking at the back of a brunette with softly waved hair. Judging by the quality of the room’s decor, she was quality herself. Pity he couldn’t remember her name, or where they’d met. Or been. Given time, of course, such knowledge would come back to him but in the meantime he did know one thing: he needed to use the bathroom.
      Jason slid silently out of the silk sheets, found his pants and pulled them up as quietly as he could.
      “Morning, Jason,” said the girl. “Did you sleep as well as I did, my love?” “

      • Sam says:

        nice prose, Zara, but what’s the hook? it’s probably just me, but i didn’t see a thing that would make me go, “whoa, i gotta read on…” everything was so prosaic, i feel.

        • Zara says:

          Thank you, Sam, for your advice. I am rejigging as we speak so that the next time, I shall not only hook you, but reel you in and keep you in my net.
          Kind regards

          • Sam says:

            From your writing outside of my “complaint”, i have no doubt.

    • Everal Pardo says:

      Hello, am working on my first Book, a children’s book; here’s how its starts. Summer vocation is just around the corner and this is my last day in grade 5. I’ll be in grade 6 next term and every kid in school are anxious to get a copy of my journal But then you’ll have to pick up my second edition on ‘Be Yourself Kid’s Journal, Grade 6’ to read about that. Now school is almost out, an am looking forward to finish up my journal.

      • Sam says:

        hey Everal

        i’m on the fence: part of me says he sounds just a tad mature for his age, but another part says that maybe he’s just an intelligent kid.

    • AnnaZ says:

      Here the Prologue it’s a fantasy novel called zodiac

      http://www.wattpad.com/53819166-zodiac

    • AnnaZ says:

      I am working on a new adventure novel. The prolonged short and not all that descriptive could you give me any advice.

      http://www.wattpad.com/53819166-zodiac

      • Sam says:

        hi AnnaZ,

        first off, i do like the simplicity of your style; that is, straight forward prose wo a bunch of frilliness to call attention to itself and away from the story.

        but yes, i see what you mean with your descriptions. but actually it’s very descriptive–just “tell-y” so. the descriptions are rather flat and simply stated with no life. that could easily be changed simply by more interaction within the details.

        for example, let’s say you want it known that a particular char has blond hair. rather than just say it, have something active going on in your description like something happening to the hair or the hair affecting something else. cliched, but perhaps something along the lines of, “the wind blew his/her blond hair.” Taking the active approach, you sneakily did several things:

        let us know it was a windy day
        let us know the hair was blond wo flat out telling us in a laundry list
        took the narrative from a passive event to an active one
        involved the sense of ‘touch’ as well as sight

        all from one single sentence. expand from that tiny example and i do believe you’ll breath in more life to your prose.

        • AnnaZ says:

          Thank you so much. That was just a rough draft and I will defiantly edit that soon. Thank you so much fir the advice

          • Sam says:

            you’re very welcome and i hope i helped a bit.
            i’d love a gander at the revised version when done.

            • AnnaZ says:

              I’ll try and get that to you

    • Harmony Chastain says:

      Hi! Long time lurker, first time poster.

      I’m working on a Femdom erotica novel. I’m posting the first little bit of dialogue of my opening scene. It’s dialogue, so it’s hard to gauge how much to post and stuff. I’m slowly putting the novel up on Scribophile.
      http://www.scribophile.com/authors/harmony-chastain/

      “Excuse me?” Laci Browning’s dark eyes narrowed at her assistant, her tone venomous. “You wanna run that by me one more time?”

      “I’m pregnant, Laci. Derek asked me to marry him. I said yes. His company is moving us to Seattle, and I want to start getting us ready for the move. Working here and trying to move a household is a little much. Then there’s the wedding to plan. Derek has also asked me to go ahead and leave my job so I’m not under so much stress, and I think he’s right.”

      “So, that’s it?” Laci pursed her lips.

      “Oh, hell no,” Myra shot back. “Don’t even give me that look.” Then she softened a little. “Look, Laci. I’ve been with you for ten years, and aside from the fact that you’re such an outright bitch…” Humor crept into Myra’s eyes. “It’s been great. I’ve loved working for you. But, girl, things happen! I just…”

      “Things happen?” Laci repeated back incredulously, overlooking the bitch comment. Of course, Myra could get away with that. “You’re telling me you’re knocked up and ditching me to get married…” She spit the word out as if it was poisonous. “To Prince Charming and birth babies and have picket fences and shit. Myra, what the hell?”

    • I’m concentrating on children’s songs and stories. My latest Mrs. Middlejoy story is posted at http://mrsmiddlejoy.com as a free eBook. (Mrs. Middlejoy is a church mouse who lives behind a Lost and Found Closet. She is godmother to six little mice. If you’re interested, you can hear the mice sing on the same site.) You can find sheet music for my latest song at http://musescore.com/user/194732/scores/195446.

    • I am 2/3 the way through with a first draft of my novel, Rex Appeal.

      Rex Bailey is a shapeshifter. He’s not a werewolf. No, his alter ego is a border collie, and as such, he has a dogly nature. He lives to serve others before himself. Now, he thinks it’s finally his turn to have his day, that he will inherit the ranch belonging to his mentor and live life on his own terms as a sheep rancher. But the rancher’s long lost son breezes back into town with his overly-timid wife to steal Rex’s inheritance out from under him and tear it apart for his own personal profit. Now Rex must save the farm, save the girl and save the day–without getting neutered in animal control. It’s a light and humorous tale of betrayal, murder and spousal abuse.

      Sorry I don’t have an excerpt on me right now. I’ll have to lift it from Scrivener. Will post later.

    • I am 2/3 the way through with a first draft of my novel, Rex Appeal.

      Rex Bailey is shapeshifter. He’s not a werewolf. No, his alter ego is a border collie, and as such, he has a dogly nature. He lives to serve others before himself. Now, he thinks it’s finally his turn to have his day, that he will inherit the ranch belonging to his mentor and live life on his own terms as a sheep rancher. But the rancher’s long lost son breezes back into town with his overly-timid wife to steal Rex’s inheritance out from under him and tear it apart for his own personal profit. Now Rex must save the farm, save the girl and save the day–without getting neutered in animal control. It’s a light and humorous tale of betrayal, murder and spousal abuse.

      Sorry I don’t have an excerpt on me right now. I’ll have to lift it from Scrivener. Will post later.

      • Sounds like an interesting story with lots of conflict. Curious how he will rescue the ranch.

    • PJ Reece says:

      This is the opening to a work-in-progress called THE WRITER IN LOVE. It concerns the writer’s obligation to deliver the protagonist to the heart of darkness. So, I open with a personal experience of finding myself in a very dark place — a chapter titled “What the Cheetah Taught Me.”

      I didn’t hear it coming. I had run out of film before it finished devouring the bait, so I retreated, but slowly, walking away through the elephant grass when it surprised me from behind by clamping down on my hand hard enough to hold me but not break the skin. The growl in its guts, I could feel the vibration if you can imagine that. It’s a funny thing when your life stops suddenly dead in its tracks, it’s not funny at all, because there you are for the first time without a future. As for the past, well, it’s your fault—my fault!—I had been carrying the bloody bait in that hand. Of course, the cat could smell it. I could see that now. I should have seen it coming.

    • phil dibble says:

      I am revising my book, “The Fundamental Things” which is a prequel to Casablanca… my editor so messed up the narrative that despite publication the book needs that revision and will be released under a different title.
      I am also working on a memoir entitled “The Buckwheat Chronicles,” a series of stories loosely based on my rather louche life.

      pdibble

    • My memoir, Tell Me What He Did, is a first person account of surviving childhood abuse – showing how I journeyed to healing. In the first scene I begin with a simple kid’s game to begin introducing characters, but the first sentence is telling because the end of the chapter shows one of my father’s “games” called hide the soap where he felt me up in the bathtub:

      I hate boys’ games.

      “Run!” I yell to Pam. “They’re right behind you.”

      She dodges the boys, races past Mommy’s vegetable garden, and heads toward the maple tree in her backyard. If she touches the trunk, we win, and the boys will finally have to keep their promise to play house with us.
      I kneel behind the shrub. My side aches with each deep breath. Using the hem of my shirt, I wipe sweat off my forehead.

      Steve sneaks behind Pam and drops the hula-hoop lasso over her head. She kicks and screams as her brother drags her to the cave, the cinderblock barbeque pit in my backyard, and rolls a pretend stone in front of the cave door.

      Pam beats on the rock. “I can’t escape. They’re going to eat me.”

      Hula-hoop in hand, Steve turns toward my hiding place. “I’m coming to get you.”

      “No!” I race toward the tree. Bobby’s guarding it, hands spread wide to grab me. Maybe I can circle around back.
      Looking over my shoulder to see where Steve is, I trip on a root, and fall. A piece of gravel jabs deep into my knee.

      I’m lassoed.

      “Wait a minute,” I say. “Let me see if I’m bleeding.”

      They stop dragging me, but don’t remove their lassos. I pull the pebble out. Good, no blood. The boys roughly lead me to the cave and shove me in with Pam.

      Rubbing my throbbing side, I glare at them.

      “Can we escape?” Pam asks.

      The cavemen laugh. “Never.”

      Pam and I pretend to be afraid. We tremble and huddle together.

      Steve pinches my arm. “Ugh, good meat.”

      “Owww.” I slap his hand away and bite back tears. He didn’t have to pinch so hard.

      Bobby rubs two twigs together to light a pretend cooking fire while Steve jumps around in a wild, caveman victory dance.

      • I love your idea for the opening, Heather – the “boys’ games” sounds like a great way to segue into the story. I’d be curious to read more if you feel like posting it – I’d love to see how you handle the transition.

        • I didn’t want to include the whole chapter, I felt I had put in too much as it is. I don’t mind you reading more not sure if it’s appropriate to put it up here.

          Have a blessed day.

    • Part of a chapter of a children’s story, “Ranch Brat”.

      I was mad at the boys! I picked up a rock and threw it. I’d show them who was or wasn’t a sissy. I had no idea I was such a good shot. A ground squirrel fell when my missile connected. I was devastated! “See what you made me do”, I shouted. while running home. I found a box, returned to the pasture, picked up the ground squirrel and carefully put him in the box. I sobbed my heart out as I was covering him up with a handkerchief, thinking the least I could do would be to give him a decent burial.

    • Sandra D says:

      Intro to my current drama novel. Does it interest you to want to know why this is happening?

      “Deny, deny, deny! You are a sorry excuse for a man. I can’t believe your trifling ass.” I mashed his head into the steering wheel. We started swerving. Out the corner of my eye, I saw bright lights and heard a loud horn headed in our direction. I hit my head on the side window from Tariq’s quick jerk of the wheel that landed us back into our lane. An eighteen wheeler speeds pass us on the two-way street, still blowing his horn. Smoke erupting from his tires while keeping control of it. His horn momentarily muzzled our voices.

      • Debbie M says:

        ok i so want to read that 🙂

        • Sandra D says:

          Thanks for your interest. It will not end with drama – the ending is an OMG! didn’t see that coming.

      • You had me at ‘trifling ass’ :0)

        • Sandra D says:

          Thanks for your kind words. It will have a lot of candy-bar scenes.

      • Too much happening! And beware the shift of verb tense from past to present ‘speeds pass [past?] us’.

        • Sandra D says:

          Found them. Thanks for your advise.

      • Oh yes, I’m interested! The potential problem I see here is that unless the situation is explained or the narrator is redeemed very quickly, he or she runs the risk of being unsympathetic – mashing someone’s head into a steering wheel not being the nicest thing to do 😉 You might think about inserting a phrase that makes it clear that the narrator’s opinion of Tariq and his or her subsequent action is justified. Also, you’ve got some grammatical inconsistencies in the “Smoke” sentence. But it makes a great intro – definitely action-packed.

        • Sandra D says:

          Thanks for your input. The next two chapters get more in to why? I followed directions and only sent the first paragraph. I do understand what you are saying. Thanks for your great advise. Found the errors.

    • I tried clicking there but missed the place for feedback, so sorry, it’s here.

      First, thank you so much for giving away this valuable tome on writing. I appreciate it big time and you are undoubtedly going to reap much good karma.

      Two books in editing stage:

      1. Fantasy for teens about a girl from a parallel universe assigned to the Faerie Realm to be of service for 100 years. Upon return to home, it will only be 1 year later. Bad guys to battle as a consequence of a monster who creates them out of fun and evil intentions. Basically your sociopath bad guy at large.

      2. Women’s fiction. About a female psychologist who is flying into NY for a conference when a rainstorm re-ignites her childhood fears of such. Soon upon arrival at her hotel, she encounters a strange looking crone and from there is confronted by a mystery that takes our protagonist across the globe to Ireland and Spain in search of the solution. Added to the mix is the fact that she is psychic and how she uses these abilities to help her clients and to solve the mystery. Loosely based on my real life experiences.

      http://lorrainecastro.wordpress.com/

      Surrender to the idea that every moment of your life has been exactly perfectly orchestrated for your highest good, then hang on for a wonderful, magical ride. ~Lorraine E. Castro

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you for this opportunity My category is : Persian foods and life in Iran Here is an excerpt:

      My eggplant sauce looked pathetically thin, so I decided to add a spoonful of tomato paste. After dropping a large dollop in the pot and stirring, it looked better, so I added more, until I was happy with the consistency. Relieved and proud, I set the table and brought out our dinner. I waited for my husband to comment on the meal, and he finally did, asking me if it was spaghetti sauce.

      Lessons learned: there are few shortcuts in Persian cooking. Tomato sauce thickens stews and sauces, but a little goes a long way in eggplant dishes. I never made that mistake again. I planned my meals so the sauces had plenty of time to thicken through evaporation so it reaches that specific moment when you know it is ready. In Persian they say a dish is reseede, which means it has “arrived”.

      (Note: my website is almost ready)

      • Nice – I like how you share failures and lessons learned from them. I think that gives a heart and life to a cookbook.

    • Ash Malho says:

      Read my novel abstract at the link above or at below link and leave your comments

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1495938735/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1393120998&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=beyond+the+mountains+ash+malho&condition=new

      Cut and paste on your brower or type “beyond the boundaries by ash malho” to read synopsis.

      cheers

      • Sam says:

        please would be nice. 🙂

        • Ash Malho says:

          Please read Sam. that would be nice. Much appreciated.

    • Linda says:

      This is the first two paragraphs of my first novel. Two years before I ever started typing this baby a voice in my head (it was my main character, 5 year old Toby) kept calling out to me, he kept saying “Linda, you have to tell everyone my story. They have to know. It’s up to you.” He became very irritating and I kept trying to brush that inner voice aside but he wouldn’t allow it.

      So anyway, here’s just a smidge. Let me know what you think. It starts out sad, but the story ends up with a dramatic yet beautiful ending, full of hope and the miracle of families sticking together.

      HE AIN’T HEAVY
      Chapter 1

      Though the weather is still and hot this July night, 5-year-old Toby lies shivering on the bare dirty box springs. His father has redirected all the air conditioning vents so all the cold air for the entire house is blasting in on this one room, and on his little boy. The rest of the house is still and hot, stifling and humid. The rest of the family is hot and miserable, but no one dares say anything.

      But Toby has no blankets, no sheets, not even an extra bit of clothing to cover him. Toby’s beloved daddy Randy is very creative with his torture. Freeze him one day; melt him down with the furnace turned to high the next. These are just a few of Daddy’s little tricks, to exercise his control over his “bad little boy.”

    • Here’s the opener for my new novel. Do you think it will sell?

      “Has the bishop had her baby yet?”
      “No, she’s hit the campaign trail, on a ticket to ban corruption in the World Series, so she has decided to adopted an orphan Panda instead, to help her ratings.”
      “Will you tell the Mafia?” The Pope smiled gently. “Or shall I?”

      • Rebecca says:

        Very funny, John!

      • Sam says:

        frankly, i found that more creative and entertaining than quite a bit of stuff i’ve read on line and in other critique forums. at least you didn’t start right off with a weather, fashion, or background report.

        • Well, Sam and Rebecca, I tried to drop in the seven publishing triggers: sex, maternity, religion, politics, sport, animals and crime. It was my modest bid to trounce Dan Brown. I guess, I just need a few brisk scene shifts every three words
          like this
          and this
          and I’ll have a best seller!

      • TraciB says:

        Definitely grabbed my attention and left me wanting to know more about these people and the world they inhabit.

        • Ah, but would you buy the book, TraciB? If not, I can sell you a second-hand Panda 🙂

      • Very compelling! My only advice would be to split the second sentence into two. “…Series. She’s decided…” The combined one was a few too many different ideas for me – but that may be just me!

      • John, I think this stands alone as a complete nanofiction story 😉

    • Abby says:

      I write about whatever pops into my head or I get on my soapbox about. Eariler this year when Phil of Duck Dynasty fame made his controversial remarks, the whole country jumped on the anti-South bandwagon.

      It irritated me and this was the result. I don’t know if it’s good or not, but to me it is. I read it and I’m surprised it came out of my brain. LOL

      http://wizzley.com/dumb-southerner-stereotype/

      • TraciB says:

        Good post, Abby. I found it tightly written and entertaining. I left a comment there as well as here. 🙂

        • Abby says:

          Thank you Traci! I’m glad you thought it was okay.

      • Excellent post. Persuasive and very thorough.

    • i have been working with a very thoughtful Nigerian author and we have two books ready to publish: Returning Home Beyond The Slavery of Religion and Under The African Sky – A Collection of Short Stories. The descriptive outline of the books is provided on the website angelicconcepts.com

    • i have been working with a very thoughtful Nigerian author and we have two books ready to publish: Returning Home Beyond The Slavery of Religion and Under The African Sky – A Collection of Short Stories. The decriptive outline of the books is provided on the website angelicconcepts.com

    • Melanie Bateman says:

      Just finish editing my fantasy novel, let me know what you think, here’s a peek:

      There couldn’t be a better time to begin Stanley Becker’s story than at the moment he stood on the frozen stone wall of Kingston Bridge overlooking the river Thames, breathing the cold air of the winter night, and pressing the icy metal barrel of a pistol to his jaw.

      I have often wondered where it would be most appropriate to begin. Few other moments come to mind, but despite the significance they play, I chose to begin Stanley Becker’s story at the approaching end of his life.

      Before he found himself standing on the bridge, Stanley hadn’t contemplated what the best approach to ending his life would be, but he had assumed that a bullet to his head would be the quickest. What did he know about suicide? All he knew was that it would be rather unfortunate if he missed.

      • TraciB says:

        Melanie, the first and third paragraphs are strong and make me ask why Stanley felt the need to kill himself. The second paragraph pulls me out of the story; if it were me, I’d cut it.

        • Melanie Bateman says:

          Thank you Traci!
          I can see why it would be better without it, but I’m introducing the narrator, who is very much involved in the hero’s life without him knowing it. I’ve tried to cut it numerous times before, but I always come back to put it in again. I guess you’d have to read more for it to make sense, but maybe I can find a different way to integrate it.
          Thanks again.

          • I was also a bit thrown by the second paragraph – it took me a minute to figure out that it was the narrator talking. But I think you can solve that problem pretty easily with a better transition. I don’t know the context in which the narrator is relaying the story, but even a pair of quotes around the opening paragraph would make the apparently sudden shift in POV clearer. Something to think about.

            • Melanie Bateman says:

              That’s a good point, thank you. The narrator often pops in and out throughout the story, mostly talking directly to the reader, but I can see why it can be confusing. I’ll look into it. Thanks!

        • Agreed

    • This is the opening paragraph of my fantasy novel. I am currently working on the outline.

      Squire Rand Eldaar of the Scoth slammed the thick wooden door behind him as he ran from the armory. The door banged shut against the wooden jamb, but it didn’t slow the pursuit of the two companions who ran after him. Not even reaching for the bronze doorknob, both pursuers simply passed through the door, penetrating its oak beams and iron hinges as easily as light passes through a glass window. They emerged into a verdant yard littered with the trappings of weapons training; archery targets, straw-men propped up on wooden frames, and racks where swords and shields lay ready for practice. They caught sight of Rand just as he disappeared through the stone archway that led into the cobblestone streets winding higher up through Shadowyn monastery.

      • TraciB says:

        Definitely attention grabbing, Kenneth. I like how you packed so much description into one paragraph without slowing the pace of the action.

      • Sam says:

        Hi Kenneth.
        i like the way you started in media res. personally, as a reader, i can’t bear long boring starts with so much background before a story even begins.

        but a few things that jumped at me from the first reading were:

        “…it didn’t slow the pursuit of the two companions who ran after him.”
        i feel “who ran after him is already covered with “pursuit”. a bit of redundancy or over explaining.

        “They emerged into a verdant yard…”

        to me, that sounds a bit “writerly” and doesn’t sound like a natural voice. But i felt the rest of the sentence after the semicolon was very well done and i could totally picture the training yard.

        • I liked everything about this except for your use of the word “companions” when you’re describing the two people running after him. I understood what you meant – the men accompanying him – but the connotation threw me and for a second I was confused – were these his friends or his enemies? Great job otherwise.

      • Fast-paced! But I’d split that long paragraph into three terse ones and drop the gerunds – reaching, penetrating – and replace them with active verbs.

      • a says:

        Love the phrase “trappings of weapons training”

      • Kenneth Wells says:

        Thank you for the great feedback!

      • I jumped in here a little late but have to say I agree with almost all comments. Good opening all around so comments just seem to fine tune.
        Great attention grabber.
        use of companions was questionable–or at least confusing.
        Skip a couple gerunds if you can.
        Would love to see it if you’ve edited it.


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