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:




    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.”




    * 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!


    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: Writing courtesy of Bigstockphoto


    About the author

      Mary Jaksch

      Mary Jaksch is best known for her exceptional training for writers at WritetoDone.com and for her cutting-edge book, Youthful Aging Secrets. In her “spare” time, Mary is also the brains behind GoodlifeZEN.com, a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

    • Many thanks another impressive posting new crack software . Exactly where otherwise could everyone obtain that type of facts ordinary ideal way of writing? I’ve got a speech next week, and i am to the search for these kinds of info.

    • I am pursuing doctoral candidate and I’m writing a research paper these days. Writing your heart out in a blog is quite easy and natural but when it comes to research writing, the need of professional arises. The complexity of format, writing styles and guidelines made me contact a writing and editing expert.

    • Jony says:

      Also check out the freelancerstock.org. This is now home to the newest freelancer website and the first 200 users get 20 dolars bonus also freelancers and publisher

    • Hi Mary,
      Don’t know where to start. After reading your post I started to think why you are not me and why I am not like you. This is the difference between blogger and good blogger.
      BTW I hope one day I will be someone like u.

    • katrina says:

      I am currently working on a novel about the disintegration of a marriage and it’s eventual redemption.
      I’m about 1/3 of the way into it yet quickly losing my motivation. Any thoughts?
      Here is the beginning:
      Dixon had his right hand between Eliza’s legs. He had come into her room laying down on the bed to read. Always a bad sign. She let her eyes close. The feigning never sat well with her, making her body tense. His hand brushed over her breast, down her stomach and then further below, his fingers exploring her. She opened her eyes and slowly tilted her head toward her husband. He was still holding the Cruising World in his left hand. Dixon saw her staring at him. “What ?” he asked. “Stop,” she replied and pushed his hand away. She was not comprehending the duality of his fondling her and reading his magazine simultaneously.

    • Zack says:

      wow meaningful

      I find myself intrigued. I’m feeling cold. I want to know what major changes will happen to this character. it will be helpful.

    • I’m currently working on the second book of my YA fantasy series NEW AVALON. Here’s a #TeaserTuesday I posted a few weeks ago: http://www.andreabuginsky.com/teaser-tuesday-new-avalon-book-2/

    • Here is a link to a recent fiction work I did just for practice. I’m trying to find “My Voice”. My writing really starts half way down at “Prologue” the first part is for my own reference and reminder. http://authorfun.blogspot.com/2014/03/prodigal-son-returns.html

    • Hope says:

      Well, My first work (short story)has just been published.
      Here is the opening paragraph:

      ‘Every where is white!’.
      ‘Every where is white!’
      Oluebeube repeated.
      As though she was singing one of her favourite nursery rhymes .
      Transfixed on the wide open wooden door, she refused to move.
      She must not step on those white things, she seemed to say to herself.

      It was published on line on StoryMondo’s website: http://www.storymondo.com/lost in the ice/Hope Nwosu. I am currently working on my second novel (the first is yet to be published) and a couple of other short stories. I was also thinking of starting a blog but I have not gone beyond getting a name for it.

    • Melanie Bateman says:

      I hope I’m not too late. I’ve never commented before but I don’t this would be a perfect way to get some feed back. I am in the middle of massively editing a fictional novel. This is the opening paragraphs. Let me know what you think:

      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, shivering, and pressing the icy metal barrel of his pistol to his jaw. Few moments in Stanley’s life could be deemed more appropriate to begin. Perhaps the time he stood dumbly under approaching headlights, feeling Lena shiver against him, and bewildered by a recent out-of-body experience he had lived through. Or the instance where, still slightly inebriated, he sat speechless in his library, having found himself five hours earlier than when he had entered it. However, to reduce any obvious confusion to the reader, Stanley Becker’s story begins 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.

      • The following are my first thoughts, I’m a novice, so take them for what they are, just ideas.

        I find myself intrigued. I’m feeling cold. I want to know what major changes will happen to this character. I’m routing for him to find a reason to live and not pull that trigger, or for the trigger to misfire and he is saved, even though he’ll feel as though he failed at first, it will lead to an epic journey of discovery for him….

        Those were all my first thoughts.

        I’m intrigued by this too because it “breaks the rules” a bit with some information dumping and telling back story too early if this is in the beginning of the book. And yet it does “hook” me right in and I want to know more which is exactly what the first paragraphs are supposed to do.

        One small thing. But I feel the moment changes between “… to his jaw.” and “Few Moments…” I’d start a new paragraph there visually.

        I’m not sure about this… I’ve read it both ways… But I wonder if you could just simply leave out all the backstory and put that back in later in bits and peices, maybe as part of conversations. Maybe he (or some other character) over hears these details later. “You know this isn’t the first time he’s tried to off himself. There was the time…”

        I’ve learned that there is no rule saying paragraphs can’t be one short sentence by themselves. It’s a way of highlighting a phrase without making it bold or altering it. That could be interesting to play with.

        I’d consider just deleting this entire section and avoid confusing the reader (if you put it in their, you knew it might at least subconsciously):

        Perhaps the time he stood dumbly under approaching headlights, feeling Lena shiver against him, and bewildered by a recent out-of-body experience he had lived through. Or the instance where, still slightly inebriated, he sat speechless in his library, having found himself five hours earlier than when he had entered it. However, to reduce any obvious confusion to the reader

        And it would look like this:

        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, shivering, and pressing the icy metal barrel of his pistol to his jaw.

        Few moments in Stanley’s life could be deemed more appropriate to begin. Stanley Becker’s story begins 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.


        Or maybe even move it around some and play with the timing of each phrase like this:


        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, shivering, and pressing the icy metal barrel of his pistol to his jaw.

        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.

        Few moments in Stanley’s life could be deemed more appropriate to begin.

        Stanley Becker’s story begins at the approaching end of his life.


        AGAIN…. just random ideas that jumped out at me. I’m actually still just beginning at this creative writing thing myself. So take my ideas with a heavy grain of salt. Just some playful fun from a readers perspective.

        • Melanie Bateman says:

          Those are actually really good points, I’m so glad you mentioned them. I’m actually editing the whole story now so I’ll take them into consideration. This is what I needed, a reader’s perspective.

          The only reason why I mention other situations in which to start the story is because I gave my narrator a personality, and he/she sometimes gives comments like this throughout the whole story. It’s just something I’ve been playing with. But you gave me a different understanding on paragraphs. It really gives it a different emphasis on the idea when you end it in the right place.

          Thanks so much for your comments!

          • Glad to help. Have you read “Writing Fiction For Dummies” yet? Those books always sound so cliche’ but I’ve been toying with transitioning into fiction for several months now and I’ve picked up 5 or so books from the public library on it. This was actually the best one so far. I posted some notes of the highlights I wanted to remember in my fiction practice blog.

            Most of the things I noticed in my reply I learned from that book. I don’t think I would have noticed any of it, or known how to say it if I did, if I hadn’t read it. Put that one in your library.

            Come back to this post and leave a new reply to this comment when you complete your edit. I’d love to hear how it turned out.

            Here are the notes I put for myself on that book:

    • My short story collection, “WRITER’S BLOCK”, is available on Amazon’s Kindle for 99 CENTS http://ow.ly/unMCI

      • Hi Cathy, I have wondered about doing this. Do you find people are more likely to ‘try’ your work when they can get it for less than a dollar? I’d be really interested in your opinion as pricing is always a tough issue.

        My kindle books are up for a few dollars but that’s still a reasonable commitment from people if they don’t know my work. Perhaps a cheaper taster would be an idea.

        I wonder if others on this site have opinions too?

        • I am replying to myself as I just went to buy this book. It told me it was 1.24 (I am not in the US so they always charge more) and then, when I clicked on pay, it gave it me for free. Is this a promotion you are doing? Either way, I am very much looking forward to reading the stories.

    • The opening of my fantasy novel, where a frightened young man stands between a fallen god and his revenge on all of creation.

      He woke to the sound of thunder.

      It happened rather suddenly. Brinn Ea Drihallin’s sleep had been like death, his empty mind floating in a black void where all had been still . . . quiet . . . enveloped in a silence of deep darkness. But something crept into that void and marred the place. Something disturbed the nothing. At first it was only a distant murmuring, far away in the vacant darkness of his mind. But the murmuring grew stronger, changing into rumbling vibrations that became more concentrated, coalescing as if taking sentient form. As they intensified, the vibrations called across the trackless void within his mind, demanding to be heard. The vast black emptiness that had been perfect in its solitude was now marred by the tiny sound, and the sound sent ripples through the dark, like a stone disrupting the glassy surface of a still pond. A sense of wrongness poisoned the black void, and his mind turned at last and focused on the sound. Immediately he recognized what it was, and that knowledge pulled him instantly awake. His mind sprang from the dark recesses of dreamless sleep. There was no grogginess to shake off, no cobwebs to clear from the caverns of his mind. Sleep for him was no more than a pause in conscious thought. Now awake, his senses heard and felt the low rumbles slamming against the rock walls surrounding him, penetrating through wood and stone to echo even in the dimmest recesses of the sleeping castle. That sound, that vibration, had been the wrongness poisoning the perfect black void of his mind.

      Thunder was seldom heard in Eilean Reul.

      Thunder was very rare.

      Very bad.

      The dead are waking.

    • Dale Tucker says:

      Here’s the first bit of a piece of fiction I’m writing:

      I was a girl of sixteen when I began taking excursions into the jungle. The jungle was a stretch of dense woods just west of Circleville which sheltered the Scioto (pronounced: sigh-OH-duh) River. I lived in the town of Circleville in a comfortable house with my Mama and brother, Henry. I was not unhappy. Still, I was not satisfied living my life safe and closing my eyes to the trouble all around us. This my Mama did not understand nor did Henry though he tried.
      Once my Mama said: Luann! Some things just are! They belong to God and it’s up to him to fix them, not us! I said, But Mama God ain’t doing nothing about it. Aren’t we supposed to help those who can’t help themselves? Ain’t that what a Christian does? You will not blaspheme in my house! said Mama in a stern tone. That’s how most our conversations went about the indigent folks living in the jungle. After that I stopped asking Mama for food. I just took it.
      My first excursion happened after I met Lilly and little Waylon. Waylon was Lilly’s tiny baby boy. He was so small, he seemed like he couldn’t be more than a week old.

    • Dear Mary,
      The piece I would like comments on is ‘Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden’, which is currently at ‘the top’ of the blog. It is not fiction or light reading; it is long, >6,000 words, and not that many people would be interested in it.
      Although it appears to be about a ‘religious’ topic, it actually is not because I am using an entirely psychological point of view combined with basic logic to look at this story.
      I also feel strongly that women might like to read this as I myself enjoyed what I discovered as I unravelled it and at last made sense of it.

      What I would really like is comments about how readable it is, or at all.
      Many thanks,
      Cathryn Speck

      PS I realize I am not a blogger per se; I actually want to write a book and mount it on a website, but it’s taken a while for me to understand this.

    • Don Bates says:

      Michael, sorry about the poor typing, e.g., bady for badly, but I’m sure you get my points.

      • Thanks, Don.
        Sorry, I took so long to get back with you. I do greatly appreciate your input. I work a lot and so I haven’t had a lot of time to check my emails.
        Actually, that character is a prophet and does play a major role in the novel. There are many characters in the novel, but he’s one of the two major ones. He’s not Christ, of course, but as a prophet, he is closely connected to our Lord.
        Thanks for the grammatical help. I’ve always loved literature and creative writing. But, crazily, I HATE grammar. Diagramming sentences, etc, was never my cup of tea. I like what you did, and probably will incorporate much of it.
        Thanks again!

    • Don Bates says:

      Hi Michael

      I’m guessing from your goal statement that this is a Christ-like figure or maybe Christ himself come back to earth. I’m guessing, too, that it’s a story more for young people than adults. In any event, I like the repeated “old”; in fact I added one more. It conveys his age in no uncertain terms. I also made your verbs active, which I think strengthens the flow of what you’ve written. But these are my edits. What you want to say and how you want to say it is what counts most. Use them or don’t, but keep writing until your story is done, his mission is complete.

      Here is my modest edit of your paragraphs. Unfortunatey,Word tracking doesn’t appear in these threads so you’ll have to do a more rudimentary comparison of these graphs with yours.

      “The old man was walking again. He was dressed in old blue jeans with holes in the knees, old Nike running shoes, and an old raggedy white t-shirt with a cross on the front. On his back, he carried his old and scarred duffel bag. Inside were his few worldly possessions: changes of clothes, sleeping pad, blankets. Because of his bum leg, he limped. [explain why he has a limp, e.g., Decades back, he fractured his leg while descending a mountain and it healed bady because he set the bone himself] He used an old staff as a crutch as he made his way around his current objective [“around his current objective” is vague; you need something more concrete, e.g., “toward his next destination”].

      “Because of his bedraggled appearance, many thought he was a vagabond. Most people looked at him warily. Few made eye contact. Fewer still smiled. Almost no one spoke, which was OK with him. He was on an urgent mission and idle chatter only got in the way.”

    • I am currently working on a end time prophecy Christian novel centered around the USA. It’s slow going between working 60 hours a week, writing an occasional blog, church, and family time. Here’s the first two paragraphs. Comments are welcome. God bless:

      ” The American Apocalypse

      Chapter 1
      Sunday, November 17th, 2013

      The old man was walking again. He was dressed in old blue jeans with holes in the knees, old Nike running shoes, and a raggedy white t-shirt with a cross on the front. On his back, he wore his old and scarred duffel bag. His few worldly possessions, changes of clothes, a sleeping pad, and blankets were in it. Because of his bum leg, he walked with a limp. He used an old staff as he made his way around his current objective.

      Because of his bedraggled appearance, many thought of him as a vagrant and a vagabond. Most people looked at him with wariness in their eyes. Very few would make eye contact with him. Fewer still would smile. Almost no-one would bother to speak. That was OK with him. He had a mission to carry out. “

    • I am writing a YA novel which is about a summer love that becomes the changing point in the heroine’s life.
      These are my opening lines…

      There is nothing like returning to the place that holds your most cherished memories.
      After a long gap of three years, I was returning to Sreepuram, to my granny’s house and the euphoria that was brewing inside me peaked with each passing minute.

    • Ntando says:

      Challenges Accepted!

      Nothing can stop me,
      Nothing will stop me,
      Nothing has ever stopped me.
      Need I say more?

      Or is it how I use my time that will
      determine whether I stand up to life’s
      challenges or not?
      One thing I know for sure is I have a
      beautiful legacy to create!
      Out of my time account I shall withdraw
      loads of it,
      And then from there I will buy talents,
      ambitions positive energy and a damn well
      excellent work ethic.

      I am aiming for my prestige.
      So to all the challenges watch out for
      Iwon’t back down without a fight so all
      challenges take a hike or buy a kite.
      Because you will need to escape me once I
      start building my goals,
      My own empire of just pure success,
      And a kingdom of positive energy.

      Since I know life is what I make it I’m
      gonna give it my all.
      Shift my goals from my imagination into
      reality…my reality.
      Anything is possible.
      Nothing is impossible.

      Ntando Sibiya

      Some Poetry from my Writer’s Network Account http://www.writers-network.com/index.cgi?m=1&view=226135

    • ngb says:

      Hi Lori Shafer! I’ve tried several times to reply directly to your comment, but they aren’t showing up. I’m sure at some point they’ll annoyingly list back to back :-). Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for your suggestion. I completely agree and am truly grateful for your feedback. Thanks!

    • Hello,

      I am finishing my first novel. “November Fox” to be released later in 2014.

      Goodness, what a marathon process of learning the craft while doing it! Draft after draft pouring my entire soul into the pages then editing…intensive yet amazing journey!

      Thanks so much to Mary and Writetodone for tips along the way over the past 3 igloo bound years.

      It is a sci-fi parable novel for young adults. Between dimensions of consciousness to hopefully inspire readers to consciously create more of their reality and find their true life purpose.

      I am releasing it as a multi-media novel with videos and music to better bridge to the media driven youth of today:)

      Here is the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv7_pceqsg0

      Many thanks for watching it if you take the time to do so, Esther ♥

      • Ntando says:

        Wow! Esther! Amazing Ideas and amazing video! I swear your book will be best seller!

        • Hey Ntando. Thanks so much for your support….REALLY appreciated…:)

    • The link to my articke that goes in time to the origins of writing.

    • I have many open projects, but I am currently working on “The Day My Shadow Tried to Kill Me,” an MG urban fantasy. The first draft is not yet complete but I should be finishing the final chapter within the week (and then I will move on to the edits).

      Title: The Day My Shadow Tried to Kill Me
      Genre/Category: Fantasy/MG

      Blurb: Gabby is just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life until one day, she isn’t. Magical things start happening around her, beginning with her shadow taking on a life of its own. Gabby would think this was cool, if it weren’t for the fact that her shadow was trying to kill her.

      First few paragraphs:

      We don’t spend much time paying attention to our shadows. Until they do things we aren’t doing.

      This morning, it was sunny enough that my shadow was following me as usual. As I walked to school, I noticed it wasn’t moving exactly the way I moved, which didn’t make any sense. It took bigger steps than me, so I started to watch more closely. Then it scratched its head when I wasn’t scratching mine.

      Magic is real. I never understood that until it happened around me.

      • Ntando says:

        Interesting idea Rebecca! I like your creativity and how the story goes!! You are talented!

    • Raghav says:

      I am currently writing about the seo factors working in 2014 after google is sending notifications to those who are using guest blogging for bad reasons

    • Don Bates says:

      Start of two stories:

      1. Now that I’m dead, I can tell you how and why it happened and where to put the blame. I’ll give you a couple of hints. It wasn’t old age and it wasn’t my health but everyone thinks that’s the case because, to summarize their perspective, it couldn’t be a person — who would kill such a nice guy? Who, indeed? Or what? And why did they think I was a nice guy?

      2. I walked into my usual neighborhood haunt and sat in my usual corner stool where I could see the door, no one was behind my back, and I had a clear shot at the giant flat screen hanging on the opposte wall. As I ordered my usual pint of Guinness, the owner Rory came fumbling up beside me and says, “I want you to meet another guy was in Nam.” I bristled. The last thing I wanted to do was talk to someone who had been involved in such a depraved disaster. Was this the guy who was going to expose me as a fraud, a bullshitter, a wannabe? Christ, I told myself, here we go again. Why did you start this shit to begin with? I looked back at Rory and said, “I aint in the mood” and dug into my memory for the facts cause I knew he would push a meeting no matter what. He liked to use his bar to make connections. Good for business, it was. And he thought Vietnam vets were so cool. Here we go again, I thought. The guy will ask me where I served, what unit I was in, where I had been, whether I had seen any real action unlike the millions who went to Nam but never did. How would I get out of it this time? What if I failed? I drained the Guinness with a few big throw backs, practically dislocating my neck.

    • 338Lapua says:

      I’ve been working on a near future military fiction book based around three special forces groups called Kraken Ops, Phoenix Recon, and Hades Brigade. It’s set in 2020 and the team’s have high-end but still possible technology and equipment.
      Here’s the Google Docs link, please read and comment, I need feedback!
      https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vhzy3yRAl8DgQPjAToboWhsyxFDz1 BK7_e1aXI4l4aI/edit

    • George says:

      Here’s an intro to a post I’m working on – Hope I didn’t offend anyone : )

      I have some bad news.

      I don’t think you’re gonna like it.

      The truth is,

      Nobody cares about you.

      Not your friends, not your boss, not your boyfriend or girlfriend. Not your mom, not your dog, not your fish, not even me. Nobody cares about you.

      It’s not just you. Nobody cares about me either. Try and tell yourself that I’m wrong, that people do care about you, but you’d only be lying to yourself. Nobody likes a liar either, so you’re not making your situation any better.

      Nobody cares about anybody.

      Do you want to know what everybody really cares about?

      They care about how you make them feel.

      • Well, you’re right in thinking that some people will be offended by the cynicism, but I’m not one of them 😉 As far as your writing is concerned, your style is concise, clear, and to the point. Good variation of sentence and paragraph structure. I’d be interested in reading the rest of it.

        • George says:

          It won’t all be that negative don’t worry! Haha

    • I am proud to say my 2nd book just got published by AMERICABOOKS.COM
      FOR details about the book and ordering info please follow below info when
      doing a search.
      http://www.americabooksnet/ 9781630344875
      This is strictly an adult novel/material not suitable for all ages,
      Thank you in advance for your interest.

    • Harry Kingaby says:

      Brewing, stewing, jotting ideas, frantically scrawling brainstorms onto paper. This is the extent of my writing at present. I have a novel in the percolating stage. The nucleous is at the front of my mind and I bombard it with stimuli from the pen of other writers to video clips and conversations. The beast is hungry and needs to feed. Soon, I’ll take up a blue (always blue) ballpoint and launch myself upon the paper, letting it out, setting it free.
      In the meantime I will write.

    • Ntando says:

      Wow! Your site is awesome and inspiring! And your articles always keep the reader interested! You will go far man!

    • Ntando says:

      Very interesting. 😀 And I like the way you use description to it’s full potential, the title is also pretty awesome. I encourage you to definitely publish this novel!

      A while ago Ntando posted…

    • Kristie says:


      Here is a link to my article: http://www.careeraddict.com/en/6439/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-work-abroad

      It is my first anecdotal piece. I am wondering if it I have managed to balance giving it a personal voice as well providing something useful?

      Many thanks to anyone who provides feedback.



      • Kristie Kwok, congratulations on having your article published two days ago in Career Addict. Yes, you struck a balance between personal voice and providing something useful.

        I like the way your article is divided into “hurdles.” I found your Hurdle #3 question a little awkward, but it made it past an editor. I might have written, “If you decide to work overseas, do you know how long you will be there?”

        Writing articles while working is a great way to boost your writing platform. Keep on doing so.

    • Tenley says:

      This is the opening to my first novel, which I recently finished the second draft of.

      Count to three with me, but don’t make a sound. That was my mistake: the breath I took a little too loudly. Gimmel echoes with those mistimed exhales, with those taps of nervous tongues. I should really break that habit.

      • Ntando says:

        Hmmmmm I like the suspense and mystery behind this opening. 🙂

    • Vince Nakovics says:

      this is my rough opening to my novel – it has a series of murders and a mystery within a mystery.

      It is Friday morning, 0530, overcast with a light drizzle. I am up as always and lying on my bed waiting for the click on my alarm clock to tell me it is 0600. I do not need the alarm. I am ready to start my day. Wash up, brush my teeth and comb my hair. Get dressed, work pants, tee shirt and a nice flannel shirt that is well worn complete with stains and burn holes. Breakfast: coffee 2 cups preferred with some sort of toast, maybe eggs, maybe not depends on how I feel. By 7 AM I am in the shop, by 8 AM I am in full swing, forge is hot; steel is being hammered to meet my latest design.

      The world is on hold until at least 10 AM. I will catch up over coffee with my wife when she gets up and we have coffee together. Turn on the TV, Fox News, CNN and the Local News online. Wife and I are on slightly different schedules. Globalization, 24/7 somebody somewhere needs something. She does work for several non-profit organizations and a couple are based overseas. The money is good and the hours are flexible.

      I scoop up the local newspaper, I only get the Thursday and Friday editions though they insist on leaving the Saturday issue as well, off the front driveway. If it had been raining they would have drove up the drive by driveway and tossed it on the front porch. The paper had an odd article about a Blacksmith in Pittsburgh, PA having been burned alive when his shop went on fire. You don’t hear much about Blacksmiths in general let alone one burning alive. The name of the shop Hossman’s Forge. Holy Shit! I know the guy who owns that shop, Jerry Hossman. I met Jerry doing an article for the local Blacksmith Association and we have stayed in contact ever since. I am hoping it is not him, but who else would it be. The Fire Marshall has not released any further details at this time. It was a 3 alarm fire and of some concern because of all the fuels: coal, charcoal and gas tanks in the building. Luckily there were no explosions from the gas tanks, which will aid in the investigation. Fire Marshall Jack Evans did say that he personally had inspected Jerry Hossman’s shop several times and always found it to be very neat and tidy and is surprised that this happened. I did a search online for any other sources with different info, but found pretty much the same report all over.


    • Carolina says:

      This is the first paragraph of what maybe the first chapter of my memoir. I am considering submitting it my eventual book for publication one day, but have not yet committed myself to the overwhelming task. For now, it’s something I am enjoying doing. Please let me know if the paragraph hooks the reader into wanting read on.

      I entered Planned Parenthood, looking over both shoulders, making sure had no one I knew had seen me enter the building. The receptionist asked what I was there for and I told her in a whisper that I was there for a pregnancy test. I sat and waited for an eternity it seemed. A nurse called my name and I followed her, avoiding eye contact. She handed me the pregnancy test strip and told me to go into the restroom and pee on it. I had never taken a pregnancy test like this before. With my other pregnancies, my urine was sent to a lab and I waited a week for a rabbit to live or die. If it died, it meant I was pregnant. I had killed three rabbits in my lifetime. Poor rabbits. Now, 14 years later, a woman just pees on a stick and waits for it to change colors. I came out of the bathroom and handed her the stick. Then we waited for the color to change from blue to pink, or pink to blue, I can’t even remember. It never changed. I remember asking her to wait a little longer, as I felt my eyes begin to well up with tears. We waited, both focused on the little stick. She broke the silence and said, “You’re pregnant.”

    • ngb says:

      Hi all! I am in the midst of turning the 1st draft of my first novel into my 2nd draft! It is titled, “The Longest Commute”. I haven’t come up with a proper summary yet, but here’s the gist: A young, married couple have to fight their way back home–and to each other–when a viral outbreak in New York City turns fellow citizens into non-discriminate killers.

      Here’s the first page:

      It felt like I wasn’t breathing, but as far as I knew, I was alive so I had to be. I stared at the blood on my hands as it glistened under the fluorescents. Only made it worse. My head spun as it tried to catch up. I closed my eyes to calm myself and saw Marnie batting her lashes over her big brown eyes. I remembered how she’d feigned a pout while the corners of her mouth threatened to give her away. How could that have been just this morning?
      “That’s why I have you isn’t it? To protect me?”
      Her words echoed in my head as I pictured her full lips—unable to keep up the charade—dazzling me, as always, with her smile.
      Her smile.
      The image dug a hollow into my chest. An emptiness that had the expectation of filling only with the pain of loss.
      My name. The urgency. Eyes flew open and my heart ramped up even higher from the delivery. I turned toward the source and followed Alex’s shaky finger as she pointed to the ground.

      I’ve also been posting short stories on my blog while editing to work on my writing skills. I believe the link for the most current Fiction Friday will show up under this post. Thanks!

      • Like it, especially the line “The image dug a hollow in my chest.” Very original. I would change the emptiness line from “of filling” to “of being filled” – I found the wording a bit confusing.

        • ngb says:

          Hi Lori! Thanks so much for the feedback. Your advice was spot on and has been applied. Thanks again!

          **This is day 2 of trying to reply, so if all of the other attempts suddenly appear, I apologize**

    • Hi Mary, thank you for this opportunity. I’m doing some final revisions on my first children’s fantasy novel Secret of the Golden Heart. This is my opening:

      Kristian leaned over and puked. He wiped his mouth and cuddled Nick to his chest. Nick wagged his tail and licked Kristian’s chin. Kristian glanced back to see if they had followed him. He hobbled to the small rowboat laying on shore near the pier and tipped it over. He and Nick scrambled underneath it. They’d be safe here for the night, and Kristian would feel close to his dad.

    • Hi Mary,

      I am actually going through the editing process and book development process of my soon to launch book, “The True Writer’s Life: Discovering the Author and Finisher of Our Faith”. Moreover, while that is in the production process, I am also working on a blog series that will eventually transform into a another book called, “The 21 Qualities of a Successful Writer: Develop Them and Become the Writer That Everyone Wants to Read”.

      Anyone that may be interested can review my announcement blog post that the following link (I am currently up to quality #9, and the links to each of those post are available within the one link below):


      • Ntando says:

        Wow! Your site is awesome and inspiring! And your articles always keep the reader interested! You will go far man!

    • K.J. Von Gurtler says:

      Since spring has finally sprouted, I thought I’d write an ode to the dying bees. 🙁

      Yo, I Love You, Honey

      Yo, to be a bee,
      yellow and black,
      back to back,
      call me “Pollonese.”

      I’m bizzy, buzzy, fuzzy.
      My queen’s a little sluzzy,
      just need a little honey
      to be the king, my cuzzies.

      I softly settle on a petal,
      snort that sweet nectar
      with my ebony septar.
      I shoot up like a shuttle.

      Oh, yo. Loaded! Bloated.
      I’m at maximum expansion.
      Home to the gilded mansion.
      Drop swag till she’s coated.

      I know her bee’s needs.
      I know how to succeed.

      Wait, what’s that?
      I hear a rat-a-tat-tat
      Pesticide homicide
      No. Pesticide genocide.

      Days go by.
      We say our goodbyes.

      Taste the wasteland.
      It’s sour.
      No flowers.
      Our final hour.
      We’ve been devoured.

      Yo, to be a bee.
      Wasted on honey,
      flying high
      in a pearly sky.
      Nowhere else to be.

    • I write a blog featuring advice for men dealing with stress and and anxiety. Here is my latest post on tips for social anxiety sufferers using the gym – http://brolax.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-social-anxiety-sufferers-guide-to-the-gym/

      • Well done, Joe. Straightforward, informative, and helpful. My only advice would be to proofread a bit more carefully – you’ve got a handful of minor grammatical errors (to when you mean too, that kind of thing.)

        • Joe Bamforth says:

          Thanks for the compliments Lori. I’ll be sure to go through my posts with a fine toothed comb from now on.

    • I’ve completed several chapters of my historical fiction work on the life of Katharina von Bora, the escaped nun who married Martin Luther. What follows is the prologue. I’d appreciate any feedback.

      October 1505
      Brehna Cloister, Germany

      “Papa, wait! Papa!”
      The young girl ran through a large doorway, past the entrance gate and onto the dirt road. “Don’t go! Please, Papa!” She willed her legs to carry her faster. But her six-year-old limbs were not fast enough.
      Stopping at the gate that had clanged shut only moments earlier, all she could see of the horse-drawn wagon was the slatted, wooden back. Squinting and shielding her eyes from the sun’s glare, she could barely make out the shape of her father’s shoulders and tattered hat, as the conveyance moved farther into the distance.
      In another moment the familiar image disappeared completely from sight.
      “No! Papa-aa-aa!”

      At this Katharina awoke. Heart pounding, eyes heavy…
      She sat up and peered through the darkness. Faint light from a quarter moon shone through the row of small windows high upon the wall behind her, allowing her to see only shapes. She blinked away tears, and recognized the dismal dormitory where she had spent the past twenty-seven nights. It was then she remembered.
      Only a dream.
      “Katte, are you unwell?” From the bed beside her a girl whispered. “Or does this place still frighten you?”
      Quickly she wiped her eyes and nose with her sleeve. “I am well, Ilsa. Danke.” She swallowed hard. “It was only a dream.”
      This selfsame dream had haunted her for the whole of the past month. Yet she knew, no matter how often she tried to deny the fact, this dream was real. As was the weeping.
      If I owned a single potted flower, I could water it with my tears.
      Within less than a year’s time, Katharina von Bora lost her mother to a fatal illness, and her father to the greedy wishes of his new wife.
      Should I ever marry a husband, I will keep our children close to my side, and I will press upon the man whose name I bear to do only good for his family.

      • ngb says:

        Not a genre I normally read, but I found this very interesting. Beautiful read.

      • Debbie Croft, I took a look at your blog and it is beautiful.

        I admire those of you who write historical fiction. To have written about Martin Luther’s wife in the 1500s is a wonderful accomplishment.

        In your prologue, I might start with your last sentence and have it in quotation marks: “Should I ever marry a husband, I will keep his children close to my side, and I will press upon the man whose name I bear to do only good for his family.

        You could then work back to the other details. I would write “he” in place of “the conveyance” and “same” rather than “selfsame.”

        You write very well. Keep on with it while you also home school your children.

        • Thanks, Barbara, for your suggestions and praise! I’ll keep those in mind.

    • Bonnie says:

      My husband and I were married for eleven years before our daughter was born, so I’m writing an informal memoir (in the form of a journal) to tell her about our experiences before she came along. My parents were married for a few years before I was born, but I only got bits and pieces about that part of their lives. I feel like I would have understood them better if I’d known more about the people they had been. I want to give my daughter that chance to understand how her father and I came to be who we are.

    • Thank you. I just completed Deception in Plain Sight, which centers on a wealthy naive woman who falls for a handsome, charming and cunning man. He will not only awaken her sexual inhibitions and manipulate her into marrying him to get to her trust fund, but he will also put into motion the destruction of her parents’ billion-dollar empire that has been in the family for over four generations. Release of the book is set for summer 2014.


      He wore a grey pinstriped suit, a light blue shirt and a dark blue tie. He looked into the mirror and could not help gloating. I look great and will have that chick eating out of the palm of my hand.

      He dashed down the stairs and opened the door. Seeing her, he almost had an erection. “Christine, it is so nice to see you. You look amazing.”

      “Thank you, you look like a million dollar executive,” she said. He is starting out on the right foot.

      “Please, allow me.” He took her hand, kissed it and escorted her into the living room.

      She started to feel horny, but the chandelier distracted her. “Is that a Waterford?”

      “Yes, it is. You know your chandeliers.”



    • Chris Mauns says:

      Hello future best sellers! 🙂

      I’m thinking of changing my description.

      I changed it a little bit on Smashwords. Original on Amazon, which one do YOU think is better? Or are they both rubbish? 😉


      I would be happy for any feedback on Description. The sample has MANY pages too if you want to comment on the writing.

      In return I would be happy to have a look at/comment on YOUR book/draft.


      /Chris Mauns

      -Author of Men are from Mars, Women are Insane

      • To be honest, I wasn’t gripped by either. I don’t like being told in a review how entertainingly and well it is written – though I am sure yours is!

        And they were too long. Maybe a quick two sentence intro and then a few bullet points as to topics covered BUT with no further explanation or why buy the book?

        Then a one line zinger to make laugh at the end and press the Purchase button.

        But I’m not your target readership. So what do I know?

        • Chris Mauns says:

          Thank you for your reply Rosemary! 🙂

          Of course you should be honest. I wrote a new one that I think is much better, hopefully you will too.
          And as for you not being the target audience, I was sure I was going to get heaps of angry emails from women, but in fact it was the opposite! 80% of my fan mail is from women and they really loved it, yet another example of how unpredictable women are! 😀


          Does your woman do things that go against all rhyme and reason? Is she a smoldering volcano always ready to explode? Why does she keep on buying shiny things?
          Women really are insane, and this book will teach you how to be in a relationship and keep at least SOME your sanity/freedom.

          This little guide to women starts from the very beginning by explaining what a woman really IS by comparing her to better known everyday objects like a Computer, a Rock, and a Parrot.

          Learn about:

          * different types of women
          * common relationship problems
          * fending off marriage/kids
          * signs that your relationship is heading for doom
          * how hormones screw up your sanity
          * why marriage is a scam and
          * much, much more!

          After reading this book you will also know how to choose the best specimen, what love really is, and how to ensnare a beautiful woman using only your beard!

          I know it all sounds too good to be true, but don’t take my word for it!

          Here are some other peoples opinions:

          “Hilarious Book! Every guy should read this!
          Chris tells some very funny stories and has a good solution to dealing with 1/2 of the world’s population.”

          John Holley

          “This book was a hilarious and pretty accurate read. I look forward to reading more books by you. Good job! “

          Charli W

          “I haven’t laughed so much in years. Being female I must admit some of the laughter was evil as I recognized other women I know (not me). Definitely a great read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes to at least smile.”

          Author Linda Arditto

          “Don’t buy it!! I FORBID YOU! It’s a waste of $2.99!!”

          Your woman, just before she flew off on her broom to buy yet another $50 handbag (using YOUR money!)

          Buy this book NOW before she comes back, NOT because you aren’t the man of your own house, but because you prefer peace and quiet over having to fight off a blood crazed bird pecking for your last remaining eye.

          • I much prefer this structure. The bullet points work well for me.

            Yes, if I wanted a book about this, I would at least stop and have a look at this one based on the new blurb.

            • Chris Mauns says:

              Thanks again Rosemary!

              Also for putting your feelings aside and being professional. 🙂

              //Chris Mauns

    • Hello Everyone: I just finished writing “The 3 Fundamentals of a Self-approved Life” which was published in ONE LIFE MOMENTUM. I’m also working on finishing my non-fiction book which will be published later this year. And will be followed by a program of the same name.
      Check it out;

      • I really like the opening section (first 7 paragraphs). It’s inspiring, well written and engaged me to read on.

        It gets a little confusing after that. To me sentences like “Awareness is the gatekeeper of truth”, “DO from being, don’t BE from doing” or “You are love seeking expression” don’t really mean very much.

        I wholeheartedly agree with your three fundamentals; I just think they could they could have been elaborated on in a more straightforward manner. Perhaps use your own voice more in the same why that you do in the first section. For example – “I’m about to lay some butt-kicking wisdom on ya” – that really grabbed my attention.



    • Recently started querying my second novel, a romantic comedy entitled “Just the Three of Us.” Nibbles but no bites yet. Here’s the blurb:

      Meet Kathy, a thirty-seven-year-old drifter who’s constantly on the move: to new towns, new jobs, and new relationships. Imagine her surprise when she’s befriended by lifelong friends Sam and Jim, attractive young men who, though ten years her junior, are far more settled than she thinks she’ll ever be. Cheer them on as their three-way friendship succumbs to passion, then passion to romance, and romance to…well, surely it couldn’t be love. Could it?

      I’ve posted the first 10 pages on my blog here:


      Would greatly appreciate any comments!

      • Lori Schafer, yesterday following your commentary about my blog I replied to you saying you are a wonderful writer and have produced an abundance of material while working as a part-time tax practitioner and a part-time writer. Best wishes for continued success in your writing career.

        With regard to your proposed blurb, I would ratchet it up to show more excitement. Perhaps you could use your novel’s opening sentence, “Wow! You’re fast!” as a starting point.

        Yesterday when I read the opening of Just the Three of Us, I didn’t notice you are using too many “he said”s,” “I said”s and too many adverbs such as “I answered enthusiastically.” In another draft some of them could be eliminated which will make reading your novel easier.

      • I posted on your blog yesterday to say I enjoyed the excerpt very much. I hope it got through. I am not very techy.

    • I’m relatively proud of myself. I have two projects going. An essay for a possible career change and my annual piece on Opening Day and the Seattle Mariners. I’m two weeks ahead of schedule on the baseball piece and consider it fairly well done, but laid down for a few days for it to “rest.” The essay is coming harder but reigniting skills from writing term papers in college.
      I share the first couple of paragraphs for Hope Springs.

      The last time the Seattle Mariners were in the playoffs was 2001. An epic 116 wind season was derailed in the aftermath of the WTC attacks. Well that and the disappearance of the bats and timely pitching. The last thing we saw was our World Series riding off into the sunset with another suitor. We’ve barely sniffed the post season since then.
      Though the playoffs have expanded to add another wild card round this year, expectations that the Mariners will be relevant in September are almost nil. Fortunately the Seahawks, taking their Super Bowl Champions tour will be kicking off about then. And over on Montlake the Chris Peterson regime will be unveiled to a revitalized Husky nation. The Mariners participation in a pennant race would blow the minds of the sports locality, but don’t hold your breath.
      Still, there is enough simmering in the heat of Peoria to stir the appetite of any true Mariners fan. It is spring, and no pitches have been thrown in anger; everyone is in first place on opening day.

    • Barbara Blum says:

      I’ve recently completed a book (for the 3rd time) about how our family was affected by my eldest son’s injury during a mission in the Israeli air force. I don’t have a website but would be happy to email the manuscript to anyone interested in reading it. I’d greatly appreciate any comments.

      The book opens with the following paragraph:

      “Yitgadal ve yitkadash shemay rabba…”
      “That’s my father’s voice!” declared Moshe happily. The Lord smiled and opened the gates of heaven. And Moshe nearly burst with pride.
      Here, his very own father was standing on the stage at the air force ceremony on Israeli Memorial Day, and was reciting the Kaddish, the blessing over him and over his fallen comrades in arms. And his father felt that his blessing was accepted, and felt a direct bond between himself, Moshe and the Lord.

      Thank you.

    • Julius says:

      The opening paragraph of my free story:

      Mrs Devonshire was sitting on the edge of the sofa, straight, her hands flat on her thighs. She was shaking. This was understandable because I pointed my gun at her chest. I was sitting opposite her, in a comfortable armchair. My hand wasn’t shaking. I wouldn’t be able to do my job properly if I couldn’t manage the stress.

      You can read the whole story for free at http://juliusbutcher.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/finish-the-job-free-short-story/

      I’m a newbie, just starting to build a platform, so any advice would be appreciated. 🙂

      • Lauren says:

        I really like where you are going with this. The opening does make me want to read more. Part of me thinks that you should make the narrator more conversational.

        Example: Mrs. Devonshire was sitting on the edge of the sofa, hands flat on her thighs. She was shaking. Of course, this was understandable because I had my gun pointed at her chest.

        Hope that helps!

      • Good story, interesting plot, but I agree wih Lauren – it needs some rewording. Some of your sentences don’t flow smoothly, and you need to get rid of the comma splices. Great potential for a longer work if it was just cleaned up a bit!

        • Julius says:

          Thanks for the advice. I’m still trying to find my voice, and reading back my earlier writing I can see what you’re saying.

      • ngb says:

        Lauren pretty much wrote exactly what I’d intended to say. Definitely intrigued.

      • Nils says:

        Taught beginning. Interesting twist in the middle. Ending that leaves one thinking. The protagonist is quite the entrepreneur…and admirable…(in a twisted kind of way). One hates to admire his (or her..perhaps?) ingenuity and ability to use others intentions to his own advantage. Who’s the next target? And, perhaps what kind of predicament will be encountered when a detail is missed?

        Don’t stop. I liked it. It could develop in so many directions.


    • I am working on a paranormal novel. Still on the first draft.

      Guiyan kept jogging around the human-like brain of the system like one in a grave need of emptying her bladder. She couldn’t afford to stop again lest the lightwalls scanned her soulcrest too.

    • I would like to mention that I have 2 books out
      that were published by AMERICASTARBOOKS.COM

    • Ntando says:

      Hey people! 😀 Yes! I’ve been running a blog for 5 months now, it’s a blog that motivates people to banish negativity from their lives and summon the positive forces from within to live the life they want to live…
      Here is the address:

      Feel free to give me feedback whether praise or criticism and thank you 🙂

      Ntando Sibiya (@TheMotivator92)

      • ngb says:

        Love the energy of your blog. The world is definitely in need of more positivity. Nice work!

        • Ntando says:

          Amazing short story ngb!! The suspense was pretty cool and you kept my interest through out. You have a brilliant talent for writing! Keep Up The Great Work!

          • ngb says:

            Well you have made my morning Ntando! Thanks so much!

    • I’m currently working on a horror / sci-fi short story called ‘Watcher’.

      Here is the opening section –

      I was in the bathroom, breathing a sigh of relief at the negative result from my pregnancy test, when it appeared – a flickering semi presence of black that was suddenly reflected in the mirror behind my worry worn face.
      Despite everything I’d seen and heard on TV over the previous few weeks, I screamed – dropping the test results and clutching the sink for support as I did so.
      I closed my eyes. ‘Matt!’ I shouted.
      I heard the bathroom door open behind me and Matt said in a desolate voice, ‘Oh sh*t. That’s it then, you’re going to have a baby. My life is officially over.’
      I gritted my teeth. Well, that cleared up how he really felt about “us” having a baby.
      ‘No, you b*stard. Up in the corner.’
      And then I heard him gasp, ‘A Watcher. Holy f**k.’

      Any feedback much appreciated.



      • @Rich, if you need a beta reader for that story sign me up. 🙂

      • Julius says:

        I sign up for beta reading too, the opening is cool. 🙂

      • If I picked this up in a bookstore, I’d definitely go on reading.

    • I am halfway through my ninth novel. It is about a young woman who receives a parcel after her grandmother dies. No one knows where the object came from or who originally gave it to the grandmother. Neither is it clear why she has sent it to her grand daughter. She makes the decision to ditch the life she currently has and hates and to set off to recreate the journey her grandmother made fifty years ago through Europe. Her purpose is to find the gift giver and discover her grandmother’s secret. Her grandmother’s purpose will gradually unfold.

      Chapter One

      When the parcel arrived, Emma left it unopened on the hall table for three days. It had the hard edges and squat shape that she associated with Marcus’ gifts. He specialised in the kind of thoughfulness designed to highlight every one of her flaws, while kindly offering a solution. His thoughtfulness both oppressed and charmed her. The default assumption that she could never look after herself as efficiently as he could was one that her family had long shared. She assumed they had good reasons. She resented it when he appeared to join in the assumption, without the excuse of having known her throughout her admittedly haphazard childhood.

      The package sat in judgement on her each morning as she rushed past, late for the bus and minus an umbrella, despite the UK experiencing its wettest autumn for fifty years. And it watched her in pitying silence as she arrived home each evening, string-haired and shivering.


      • Lauren says:

        I like the idea of this opening. We are getting to know not only Emma, but Marcus as well. My issue is that it feels very generic. There is a lot of telling in the opening paragraph. Instead, I think more needs to be shown. Instead of telling us that Marcus and her family don’t think she can take care of herself, save this for a scene and show that to the reader.

        Right now, I feel the beginning of the story drags a little. Try putting a strong scene in the beginning–the moment she receives the mysterious package.

        Hope this helps! Sounds like this is a good read.

        • Hi Lauren and sincere thanks. I made the package sit there judging her as she is a very passive person who doesn’t face up to things.

          But I can very much see your point. All my novels had quickly written first chapters just to get going and then they were rewritten at the end. When I come back and do this, I’ll pay very close attention to grabbing the reader.

          • Very passive people are common and believeable, but not usually very interesting to read about. I’m sure it’s possible to write a fascinating novel with a passive protagonist, but I think it’s easier to keep the reader interested if your protagonist gets out there and protags.

            • Don’t worry, Sheila, by the end of the novel she’s going to be protag-ing for England. The journey she takes through Europe isn’t just geographical.

              One of my novels, The Cinnamon Snail, has a protagonist to whom the concept of a backbone is entirely foreign. She is designed to annoy. By the end of the novel I like to think she has grown one. And that novel is selling steadily.

              But not until I took on board a lot of advice similar to yours and kicked her into shape.


            • I liked your opener, Rosemary. It got me very interested in a character who might be passive enough to feel judged by a box’s shape, and what life events made her that way. Plenty to develop in a story, IMHO anyway 🙂

            • Thanks, Joanna. Right now, I couldn’t give all the answers to those wonderings even if I wanted to. I have never known how a novel would finished until 90 percent of the way through.

            • Finish, not finished. I need a proof reader.

            • Oh that sounds much more interesting. And I should have mentioned that I’m very impressed that you’ve published 8 novels.

      • First, I have to admit, “hooking” the reader isn’t my strong point. My writer’s group buddies and my editor have told me that more than once, so it’s something I’m working on.
        But I liked your opening–it’s subtly mysterious. I feel I already know the main character, and I like her. Plus, I love your descriptions, especially in the last paragraph. I can’t wait to read about her grand European adventure!
        In defense, though, of a stronger opening (because we’re writing for our readers, and not just to build a personal collection of solitary, original works by ourselves), readers today do want us to give them a reason to turn the pages.
        Yes, you could start with the package arriving. Or with her getting soaked by a car splashing through a puddle, or…
        But it’s a great start with tons of potential! Really!

        • That’s helpful and very kind. Looks like I need the perfect balance between a punchy beginning and a bit of mystery. This is an amazing site. Kind strangers taking the time to help each other. Thanks.

          • I have just finished reading your Global Citizen blog post. Since a look at your blog let me know you have also lived in Denmark, you are indeed a global citizen. I love your post about the globes in a bookstore in your present location – Canberra, Australia.

            After I read the dialogue in Chapter One of your ninth novel, I went to your site on Amazon and then I understood – you are writing juvenile fiction.

            Think Madeleine L’Engle and keep on going.

            • Hi Barbara,

              Other way round but yes, I live in Denmark and am homesick for my place in Canberra!

              I have two books up for 8 to 12 year olds – The Chocolate Star and Jasmine Moves In. Just a couple I wrote a while ago for my daughter.

              The other four – The Cinnamon Snail, Sunshine State, The Feijoa Tree and The Wattle Birds are all women’s fiction. This current one is too and I have three more about to go up in the same genre once the covers are finished. I’d love to write for children but it’s a speciality I don’t feel I am equipped for.

            • Rosemary, I’m sorry I skimmed too fast and wrote too soon and said it backward. Thank you for the clarification. Thank you also for telling me who your readers are. I think it is delightful that you wrote The Chocolate Star and Jasmine Moves In for your daughter. I imagine she is thrilled about that. Your book, The Cinnamon Snail, reminds me that I have friends in Kansas City, Missouri who named their daughters Cinnamon and Jasmin.

            • Hi Barbara, I am just grateful to anyone who takes the trouble read my blog! Thank you. I think many of us may have started by writing for specific others. I am currently writing for my eight year old son as he has an invisible monkey called Pom Pom who is demanding short stories about himself. I’ll put them in a book one day.

              But when it comes to writing for children about deeper things, I’d need some training, I suspect. I don’t know if there are many authors who handle writing for different audiences and different genres and do all of them well. Maybe there are?

              Cinnamon and Jasmin made me smile. As did friends of friends who named their four daughters Faith, Hope, Charity and Barbara.

    • Hi folks! Guess I should have unchecked one of the boxes below–I am NOT the author of this post (http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/sxsw-2014/).

      I’m sure it’s great, but I don’t want to take credit for something that isn’t mine.

      • Scroll back to a post by Barbara McDowell Whitt on March 21, 2014 at 8:31 am and Joanna’s reply at 8:36 am to see the Commentluv post to which she is referring. Doing so will also enable you to see the remaining posts in this very helpful series of writers’ work and writers’ comments started this morning by Mary Jaksch.

        And the SXSW post is by Rebecca, not Roberta, as I stated there.

    • Lauren says:

      I’m currently working on my first novel. I’m working on creating tension without being over dramatic. I’m always afraid I sound cliche. Any advice would be wonderful. Thanks!

      She shifted, her legs sticking to the leather seat in the summer heat. It was late. She shouldn’t be here, especially not with him. He spoke of his wife. He told her of the long blonde hair, the feminine laugh, the free spirit–things he now missed. Lana looked at the clock, vibrant against the dark dash of her car. She stared at the numbers–solid, yet elusive. She reached out to touch its face, but Raymond caught her hand. She turned to face him, his eyes dark and soft. His five o’clock shadow vivid in the late hour. The air in the car hung heavy with musky wood and faint floral. He squeezed her hand and pulled her closer. In between the sound of cars swishing by on the road, crickets chirped in the nearby park. Her breath was nervous, energized. The simple touch of his hand prickled her nerves. Her heart felt foreign as it beat a new rhythm in her chest.

      • Julius says:


        This short excerpt is interesting, it creates an atmosphere. One thing if I may say: vary the length of sentences. When the moment seems like eternity, and her breath becomes nervous and her heart start to beat a new rhythm in her chest, to catch this amazing moment long sentence works better. Short sentence is tension. A strange beat.

        • Lauren says:

          Thanks, that’s very helpful!

          • Lauren, I like your short sentences. Since you are working to create tension in your first novel, your excerpt shows you have a good grasp of it. You are a good writer. Make the most of it.

        • I like the short sentences as they are pacy and capture the tension present in the car. I agree a mixture can be good or it can be too staccato.

          I’d like to read more about this couple.

          • Lauren says:

            I’m really glad it is an interesting enough scene to keep people interested. Thanks for the great advice.

        • Agreed with Julius’ comment re: atmosphere, intrigue and sentence length.

          I would add try to vary sentence structure as well, especially how you open them. Most of yours began in a subject-predicate format.

          Good luck!

          • Lauren says:

            Thanks for pointing that out. I seem to always get into a pattern when it comes to sentence structure.

            • We all have something we fall back on, Lauren, whether we are aware of it or not. My characters tend to ‘stare’ 🙂

    • John Prill says:

      I am writing a series of books based on the other artifacts of the Bible. (Moses’ staff, Noah’s tools, David’s sling, etc.)
      The first book takes place 40 years ago, the others in present day EXCEPT for little bits of extrapolation of the items after their significant usage. And one of the books is going to be an origin flashback story to multiple periods, so there’s that too.

      No idea what the final word count is going to be, but I’m around 35k for book 1, 26k for book 2, and just did 3k for one chapter dealing with Rahab and the red rope for book 4..

      Because the Ark isn’t the only thing mentioned in the bible, and Indiana Jones shouldn’t have all the fun of finding things like that to himself.

    • Jevon says:

      I’m querying my fantasy novel, Guardian of the Cursed Crown. It’s about a king who disregards all warnings and better judgement, digs his beloved Gwen up from her grave and embarks on a dangerous quest to revive her.

      Here’s the opening paragraph:

      The stench of filth offended Larsen’s nostrils, overcoming odours of decay and moss in the unkempt cemetery. It easily identified the person who approached from behind, stepping weak like the light of a lone candle in a cave. Larsen gave no sign of interest, knowing that there was no threat. “Why so sad, my king?” said a cracked voice.

      • Quite a concept, Jevon. Would never have come up with it myself.

      • Ntando says:

        Very interesting. 😀 And I like the way you use description to it’s full potential, the title is also pretty awesome. I encourage you to definitely publish this novel!

        A while ago Ntando posted…

    • I am working on the last part of my first English novel. It is made up of four parts and I am trying to find an editor which is not an easy task in my country Egypt. I appreciate all comments and any attempts at helping to locate a good editor. Here are the opening lines:

      “All I need is some privacy; and a couple of hours every day, without interruptions. I have done this before and I was then pregnant and over—exhausted and… stressed. I finished my M. A. in less than a year and I can, yes, I can finish my PhD through all this”, Hala murmured to herself as she moved nervously from one room, to another. She had developed the habit of talking to herself when she was alone, discussing her plans and reminding herself of the chores she had to finish. She looked like a monk going studiously through some sacred rituals, though she was only cleaning up after breakfast, stuffing the white laundry into the washing machine and opening the windows to let the morning air and the sun come into the apartment. Salem’s words “any man can jump from the street and be with you if you open the balcony and leave it unattended” kept resounding in her mind every morning. Especially when she had driven the children to school and went back home instead of going to the university, the words rattled like an army of mosquitoes buzzing around in her skull. She never imagined that living on the ground floor could be such a frightful experience. “Mother was right about this too!” she told herself as she closed the shutters in the children’s room and opened the balcony in the living room. Salem somehow managed to keep her on the alert all the time, even when he was not around. Her mind and body were always tuned to the fight or flight mode; there were always reasons to worry and fret over one thing or another.
      The image of her family’s fifth- floor big apartment with the high ceilings and huge windows left open till sunset kept jumping into her mind. She missed every corner of that place; her room, which she shared with Ahmed until she was twelve; her father’s big office with the view of the garden and the book shelves stuffed with his medical books and his students’ dissertations. Flashes of memory kept presenting her favorite objects and people: the big swing in the balcony where she sat on 3amo Sa3eed’s lap to read the books he brought with him every Friday, the sunny kitchen where she and Ahmed joined Daada um Bahgat on the colorful cloth rug and watched her peeling potatoes and preparing vegetables for lunch, and her father’s desk which she was allowed to use in Thanawya Amma.

      • Dale Tucker says:

        Abeer, very nice work. I like the descriptions of the main character’s activities within these spaces you also describe as a way of getting to know our main character. It’s sort of like looking through her window and forming an idea about what type of person she is. I like it. One suggestion: instead of having her flash back to memories of her home with her parents why not just describe them you know as back story? That way you don’t have to keep telling the reader that she had this memory or that one which make more work for you as the author and is a bit of a distraction for me the reader. The voice of this piece is refreshing; and the simple style is intelligent and respectful that your readers get what you are doing. I hope this is helpful.

    • In one-year-diaries in the first half of the 1960s I wrote nightly entries, never missing a night.

      They are transcribed here: http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/.

      My last entry will be April 25, 2015, 50 years to the date after I graduated from Park. My plan is to have A 1961-65 Park College Diary published and available for sale at the 50th anniversary reunion of our graduating class which will be a part of the campus Harvest Festival in the fall of 2015.

      • I like that plan, Barbara! All the best putting it together the way your creative mind sees fit!

      • Sounds like a great project! They’re well-written but also read like diaries, which gives them a very authentic feel. Pat yourself on the back for hanging on to these all these years!

        • Lori Schaeffer, thank you for your kinds words about my project which, as you have discovered, can be found at http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/.

          I took a look at your blog. You are a wonderful writer and have produced an abundance of material while working as a part-time tax practitioner and a part-time writer. Best wishes for continuing success in your writing career.

      • ngb says:

        What a fantastic idea! Best on the rest of the journey!

        • NGB, thank you for your kind commentary about my blog which can be found at http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/.

          I took a look at your blog. You have a lot going on – editing your first novel while also doing a weekly blog post (Fiction Friday) with short stories, poems and personal essays.

          I would tighten up the dialogue as well as the narrative in your writing such as that in today’s post. Condensing our words is hard to do, but doing it results in smoother prose. Best wishes on the rest of YOUR writing journey.

          • ngb says:

            Hi Barbara! Yes, you are so right. It is my hope that my practice of Fiction Friday will not only hone my writing skills, but my editing skills as well. Thanks so much for the feedback!

    • Ola says:

      The black receiver was picked up after the second ring. The winding black cable was moved aside, so as not to irritate the person holding the receiver. He looked at the red phone, with its rectangular array with black buttons. It was one of the first of its kind, when he received it as a gift from his mother.

      Well, that was the first paragraph.

      My goal is to finish the book, using stuff that I learn as I go along (currently I am in rewriting-the-whole-thing-mode)

      Greetings from Sweden and Ola

      • Hi Ola,

        My advice for what it’s worth, is never to write in the passive. It’s very tiring for the reader because the point of each sentence doesn’t come until the end.

        Just as a very rough idea of how I might have written it.

        “He waited until the second ring to pick up. He pushed the cable aside impatiently. The red phone, with its rectangular array with black buttons, was one of the first of its kind. One of his mother’s many gifts.”

        Obviously I am adding interpretation here and it is just an example. I’d be interested in any one else’s comments. They may totally disagree.

    • Pritani says:

      She had seen plenty of men die. Sometimes it was a quick thing, free of pain. Sometimes agonizingly slow, and bloody. This was one of those times.
      “Oh dear God, please have mercy on my soul. And forgive me, for I have failed the Empire!” The words in barely audible Greek were torn agonizingly from the mouth of the priest lying on the cabin’s dirt floor. The black stain on his shapeless wool habit spread to scarlet in the dust.

      • I would mind the word ‘agonizingly’.

      • I agree with Walter on the second “agonizingly”. Love the phrase “The words in barely audible Greek were torn from the mouth of the priest” – very vivid.

      • I agree with Walter. The word “agonizingly” jars in its given position.

    • I have just started querying my novel, The Last Whisperer. Here is the first paragraph…

      “Dance with me,” a voice said behind me.

      • Yanicke Forfang, your proposed title and first sentence are attention worthy.

        In your blog I find you are a little too wordy. I would eliminate your reference to that steaming cup of coffee. Too many writers have drunk too many cups of coffee.

        It is hard to condense. I work on it all the time. I use a Twitter hashtag, #writetip, and give a nightly “Don’t write….,” “Write this….” tweet.

      • Well that got me curious, anyway. I’d read on.

    • Julien says:

      Hey amazing writers 🙂

      This blog post comes at the perfect time for me. I have just finished my first blog post ever!

      I would love to hear anything that you have to share on it. I have not told anyone about it yet so I am really excited about it 🙂 Please let me know what you think, could be improved. I will be grateful for everything you have to share. I am sure I can learn a lot from all of you.

      Here is my blog : http://juliens1blog.wordpress.com/

      Kind regards,

      • I loved your last post. Keep going.

      • You should have perfection as a goal… long term. Take writing blog posts, for example: as you keep writing them, you will get better and better. You may never get perfect, because (I think) there is no universally acceptable definition of perfection, but trying does take you nearer with each step.

    • Thanks Mary.

      I’m recently self-published an anthology of children’s stories abouthte island I live on and now I’m translating it into Spanish (which is s l o w going).

      Each story is set at a different time (between 1493 when the Spanish conquored the island and 2034) and in a differnt part of the island. Since La Palma has the best night sky in Europe, the stars get mentioned a lot. I got professional artsists to do the cover and B&W illustrations inside, and I love the result.

      Here’s my blurb:
      Take a journey through La Palma’s turbulent past, into its present and out into the exciting future. Chedey will tell you how his world collapsed when the Spanish conquered the Island in 1493, Althay will explain what happened when the volcano erupted, Daida shares her visit from an extraterrestrial and Leyre will take you out into space. – See more at: http://dragontree.sheilacrosby.com/blog/the-seers-stone/

      Here’s the beginning of my favourite story:
      Friday Oct 2nd, 1959, Gallegos.
      The commotion in the hen house woke Daida up. Had a neighbour’s dog got in?
      She jumped out of bed and ran outside in her nightgown. They couldn’t afford to lose any hens—things were bad enough already.
      As she ran through the kitchen, Daida grabbed the frying pan. It was heavy enough to knock a big dog dizzy, if she could swing it hard enough.
      And if she couldn’t swing it hard enough—
      Daida refused to think about that as she tore down the garden, past the cabbages and the pig. She flung open the gate to the hens’ enclosure and stopped dead with her mouth open.
      It wasn’t a dog.
      It didn’t look like any animal she’d ever seen, even in a school book.
      It looked even less like a person.
      The creature was lilac-coloured, and stood a little taller than her mother. But most of it wasn’t solid. The three legs—if they were legs—seemed to be hollow tubes of wire mesh. The body was the same colour, but solid. And the head—she supposed it was a head because there was a nose with greeny tentacles in the middle and a mouth below it—looked like a wide triangle, with enormous ears stuck on at each end.

      • Sheila W. Crosby, you certainly have a vivid and far-ranging imagination as evidenced in your new fiction book for young people. You are fortunate to have lived, worked and written on the island of La Palma.

        Your nonfiction book, A Breathtaking Window of the Universe, about the La Palma observatory and the brilliant stars seen there, grabbed my attention. The fact that it is a second edition means you are doing very well as a writer.

        • Thank you!

          I originally came to La Palma with a 6-month contract, and 23 years later I’m still here.

          The first edition of the obseratory book was only 500 copies, so a second edition doesn’t put me up there with Joanne Rowling. But yes, I’m finally getting somewhere. You know, 20 years to be an overnight success.

    • Just published my first (free) ebook titled – Broke Again? on Smashwords. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/419039
      Also available for free on Barnes and Noble.

      • I write a blog featuring advice for men dealing with stress and and anxiety. Here is my latest post on tips for social anxiety sufferers using the gym – http://brolax.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/the-social-anxiety-sufferers-guide-to-the-gym/

        • Karen Bissenden says:

          I like how you address each issue, and the order you’ve chosen. I’ve worked out in and worked in gyms and your observations are dead on. (no bad pun intended) Did you want feed back on teeny things like spelling and punctuation?

      • This looks very interesting, Mitchell. I’ll be downloading the pdf or the file for Nook. Thanks so much for sharing it. I look forward to what you have to say on the topic, as I often feel that way.

    • Robert says:

      It was a peaceful little village,nestling in the most beautiful countryside.Then came the murder!

      • Nice opening. I’d lose the ! and stay subtle and deadpan.

        Only a very tiny thing.

        • A totally agree with Rosemary. Keeps the suspense more intense 🙂

    • I’m currently going through my MG novel before betas have it for one last time. Here’s the opening paragraph:

      Anna opened the barn door and smiled at Fancy. Two scents―sweet hay and horse surrounded her. The chocolate bay mare stamped her foot and stuck her head over the stall opening. Rays of sunlight spilled through the rafters.

      Any comments welcome. Thank you.

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