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Below are the 14 most recent journal entries recorded in The Writers' Cave's LiveJournal:

Thursday, September 30th, 2004
11:10 pm
fractured and broken
a quiet night between the sheets
innocence lost and hope that fleets
laid in a bed of broken dreams
blood flowing down in hot, hot streams

I turn to you and pierce my skin
scan your dark eyes and look within
crystal clear and ruby red drops
streetlights pour in and the pain stops

fractured heartbeat, wounded and weak
don’t bother to run, just don’t speak
I’ve got to mend the dream that broke
so sit silent, and let it soak
Friday, September 3rd, 2004
11:42 pm
White Dress (Revised)

Diane rolls over in bed and squints at the clock: two A.M. and the memories still haven't stopped. They're especially bad tonight, coming in long, relentless clusters. She gives up trying to sleep and sits up. Her husband Shawn shifts slightly, and she freezes. Will he wake up? So what if he does? What's he going to do, beat her? He's not Mom. But an irrational old fear gnaws at her until she decides not to feed it. She gropes the night stand for her glasses and fishes under the bed for her slippers. Then she sneaks out, quietly closing the door behind her.

She wanders the house searching for a secluded place where she won't disturb anyone. She finally settles on the stairs. But she still listens for footsteps to signal trouble. All she hears, though, is a ticking clock and the roar of memories.

Eventually, her memories stop, but the feelings linger. So she paces the house to burn anxious energy. She pauses at a window to watch the snow falling. Everything looks crisp and clean, but she knows this white blanket is just a funeral shroud for the barren filth below it. She's looking at a beautiful lie, like her wedding dress years ago. Suddenly, a new cluster of memories begins.

Friday, August 27th, 2004
11:32 am
Blue group
I think most of you are already in the Yahoo group for fans of Blue October. A lot of members have had difficulty with the format of that group, so we're experimenting with a Live Journal Community. I've made everyone here a member, so you can check it out and start posting if you wish. You can view it here:
Thursday, August 26th, 2004
10:22 am
Checklists for Editing

The exercises in the book I'm reading are getting a little long to type up, so I'm going to start posting the checklists for each chapter instead.

Again, this is from Self-editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King.

Chapter 1 Checklist: Show and Tell

  • How often do you use narrative summary?  Are there long passages where nothing happens in real time?  Do the main events in your plot take place in summary or in scenes?
  • If you do have too much narrative summary, which sections do you want to convert into scenes?  Does any of it involve major characters, where a scene could be used to flesh out their personalities?  Does any of your narrative summary involve major plot twists or surprises?  If so, start writing some scenes.
  • Do you have any narrative summary, or are you bouncing from scene to scene without pausing for breath?
  • Are you describing your character's feelings?  Have you told us they're angry? irritated? morose? discouraged? puzzled? excited? happy? elated? suicidal?  Keep an eye out for any places where you metion an emotion outside of dialogue.  Chances are you're telling what you should show.  Remember to R.U.E. (Resist the Urge to Explain)

Chapter 2 Checklist: Character and Exposition

  • Look back over a scene or chapter that introduces one or more characters.  How much time, if any, have you spent describing the new characters' character?  Are you telling us about characters that will later show up in dialogue and action?
  • How about character histories?  How many of your characters' childhoods have you developed in detail?  Can some of these life stories be cut?
  • What information (technical details, characters' past histories, backgrounds on locations or families) do your readers need in order to understand your story?  At what point in the story do they need to know it?
  • How are you getting this information across to your readers?  Have you given it to them all at once through a short writer-to-reader lecture?
  • If the exposition comes through dialogue, is it through dialogure that your characters would actually speak even if your readers didn't have to know the information?  In other words, does the dialogue exist only to put the information across?

Chapter 3 Checklist: Point of View

  • Which point of view are you using and why?  If you want continuing intimacy, are you using the first person?  If you want distance, are you using third person, or omniscient?
  • Do you move from head to head?  If so, why?  Would your story gain power if you stuck with a single viewpoint character or broke your scenes up at appropriate places with linespaces to make this possible?
  • Take a look at your language.  Is it right for your viewpoint character?  If not, should it be?
  • Look at your descriptions.  Can you tell how your viewpoint character feels aobut what you're describing?

Current Mood: sick
Tuesday, August 24th, 2004
11:54 am
it's only the beginning..and it's quite short
creative writing assignment...simply a short story. the syntax is really forced and odd in some places..

20 years old, patron of three psychiatric hospitals before the age of eighteen, and now she found herself applying for a job in one. Something about them entranced her, appealed to her voyeuristic side. She wanted to surround herself with other train wrecks, people empathetic to her "situation". That’s what she’d taken to calling it these past few years, her "situation", and why not? She’d left her family at seventeen, abandoning a promising college career just to get away from an overbearing father, and spent the proceeding three years jumping from relationship to relationship trying to fill the gaping wound seventeen years of no dad had left.

"Okay, and what about college?"

She looked up, startled. She hadn’t realized that was going to be a factor in her being hired. "Well, I am enrolled at UD," which was true, apparently her old SAT scores were still applicable, "and I have sophomore standing."

Her inquisitor’s face remained blank, "What experience do you have in this field?" She’d known this question was going to come, she just wasn’t sure if her "experience" was going to count for or against her.

"As I said, I’m enrolled at UD, and am majoring in Psychiatry. Umm…also, I…I was actually a patient here several years ago. Needless to say, that lead to some intense studying on the subject of mental health on my part, and I consider myself fairly well-read for a layperson on the subject," all of this fell out of her mouth at the same time, and she hardly expected it to be understood.

Her inquisitor cocked an eyebrow. "Is that so? How many years ago were you a patient, exactly? I expect you are well aware of hospital policy…" his voice took almost a menacing tone, as if the last thing in the world he wanted was for her, a former member of the dregs, to be moved up a spot in the mental health caste system.

"Yes sir, I am. I was last a patient three years ago, and, unless it’s changed, I believe policy is that you cannot return here, be it with AA, NA, for a job, until two years have passed."

"Correct..." she couldn’t help but notice that he seemed a bit miffed at her being so well prepared, "finally, why do you want to work here?"

Current Mood: aggravated
Tuesday, August 17th, 2004
1:33 am
untitled part of a writing assignment
in the bright days
of our wasted youth
we seek the truth
behind the lies
of our eyes
and the veil of time.
We dream
of the nights
where we hide
our eyes
in the dark
in the shade
we sleep
in the deep
dark leaves
of this imagined tree
of knowledge.
Good and Evil
may only be dreams
or nightmares
of some screaming
little girl
waking in the nights
where we hide
we may find
the answers
That seem nothing
in the day.
The moon
makes us see
the things that we dream
move through the scene
like reality.
And we seek
the redemption
of the day
but we fear
the sun,
so we hide
in the night
that we worship
give the faith
of this wasted youth
it gives new meaning
to the thought
we are dreaming
and makes it all seem
Monday, August 16th, 2004
9:29 pm
Shall I introduce myself?
My name is Erin. I don't consider myself much of a creative writer. I am much more of a reader than a writer. I do indulge in poetry anytime inspiration strikes and it turns out alright, but my prose leaves much to be desired. I hope to become an editor at a publishing house and maybe one day start my own company, but we'll see. Had I any of my work at my fingertips, I would post it for dissection, but that will have to wait.

Great idea, by the way. (=
Sunday, August 15th, 2004
12:43 pm
Writing Exercise: Characterization and Exposition

The second chapter of the book I'm reading continues to emphasize showing rather than telling, particularly as it pertains to characgters and exposition.

Here are the exercises from chapter two of Self-editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King:

A. How would you develop the following character through a series of scenes?  Keep in mind that the scenes don't have to be consecutive and that some of the material need not be included at all.

Maggie had reached the cusp of her childhood, that gray area between girl and woman when she could be either, neither, or both almost at will.  There had not been (and probably would not be) a lonelier time in her life.  She could no longer associate with children, whose interests now bored her.  But she wasn't comfortable with adults, for she still carried the energy of a child and couldn't slow herself down to the adults' pace.

And so she found herself trapped between the banal and dull, trying to shape her life with only the help of her contemporaries, who were as adrift as she was.  Given all this, was it any wonder she sometimes seemed, well, exasperated (and exasperating) to her parents?

B.  Now try the same thing with a passage of exposition.

The country had changed over the years.  It had all started with the George Washington Bridge, which finally put the west side of the Hudson within commuting distance of New York City without the bother of trains and ferries.  Then had come the Tappan Zee Bridge, a second artery running right through the heart of the country.  It was only a matter of time before the family farms were turned into developments and the little two-lane roads becmae four-lane highways.

Fred could remember when Nanuet had only one traffic light.  Now it had a string of twelve of them on Route 59 alone, mostly in front of the mall.  (The Mall!)  And Route 59 itself was well on its way to becoming a continuous string of malls and shopping centers, all the way from Nyack to Suffern and beyond.  It had reached the point where shppoers outnumbered residents three to one on a busy day.

Friday, August 13th, 2004
9:11 pm
Writing Exercise: Show and Tell

I'm reading the book, Self-editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King.  Each chapter has exercises at the end, which I thought I'd share.

Chapter One: Show and Tell

Spot the telling in the following and convert it to showing.  The answers (at least, our answers) appear at the back of the book.

A.  "Mortimer? Mortimer?" Simon hedges said.  "Where are you?"

"Look up, you ninny.  I'm on the roof."

"What in blazes are you doing perched up there?"

Mortimer Twill explained to Simon how his long-awaited cupola and weather vane had finally arrived.  He just couldn't wait for Simon to install the gadgets, so Mortimer had decided to climb up to the roof and complete the installation himself.  He was still sorting through the directions.

"Come on down before you kill yourself," Simon said.  "I swear I'll put them up for you this afternoon."

B.  I'd known Uncle Zeb for years, of course, but I didn't feel like I really knew him until that first time I walked into his shop.  All that time I'd thought he was just kind of handy, but looking at his tools--hundreds of them--and what they were and the way they were organized, well, I could see he was a craftsman.

If you're in an ambitious mood, take the following bit of narrative summary and convert it into a scene.  Hint: feel free to create any characters or elaborate on the settings.

C.  Once you got off Route 9W, though, you were in another world, a world where two streets never met at a right angle, where streets, in fact, didn't exist.  Instead you had "courts," "terraces," "ways," a "landing" or two.  And lining these street-like things were row on row of little houses that could be distinguished, it seemed, only by the lawn ornaments.  Travelers who disappeared into the developments had been known to call taxis just to lead them out again.

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004
5:48 pm
Contests: Deadlines before Sept. 15

I thought it would be nice to have a monthly thread for upcoming contests. Here are some (but not all) from the 2004 Writer's Market.  Click on the hyperlinks to view contest guidlines.  If you know of other contests, feel free to add them in the comments.

Anthology Annual Contest

Glimmer Train Press

New York Stories

Skyline Magazine

Writers' Journal

11:53 am
The writer in me....
Sabrina here (or brina if you prefer) I write, therefore I am, Haha....
I've been writing my whole life, when I was young before I could actually physically write I'd tell the words to my mom and she would write them down.

I've been activly journaling and writing poetry since about the age of 10-11, the poetry was something I kept private for the most part, (I've had two pieces supossedly published through poetry.com but I didn't buy the anthologys so I have no proof one when I was 14 and another last year) but until joining the BOOB last year, I never felt comfortable just laying my art out to be critiqued or misunderstood but there was enough support and like minded writers there that I felt comfortable sharing pieces that I considered very emotional.

Writing to me has always been a form of release, poetry to me is a beautiful way to dispose of some less then beautiful feelings, I consider it my art and my sanity....the journaling is for when can't get the feelings to happen as a poem, or when there is too much feeling and a poem would be overwhelmed by the subject.

I have over 200 pieces of poetry and want to eventually have some of them published as a compleat book, I have no desire to use my art to make money, I consider myself to be an "aristocratic poet" meaning that I write for my own pleasure and that of my social circle as opposed to fame and fortune, but to have a bound book of *my* poems would be very cool even if it wasn't sold.

I figure at some point I will take some of my poems and arrange them into a manuscript and have them produced by a vanity press, at this point I'm just trying to decide which poems to put into the book and weather or not any of them need to be changed....I hope to show this group some pieces that I've had problems with or don't like the flow of in hopes that I can either be told how to fix them or that they are alright as is.

my inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.....the blue sky, the stars, my mentality and emotions....the way my friends behave and the way they react to things....I can be inspired by just about anything and its rare to find me with out a notebook and a pen.

Current Mood: contemplative
Monday, August 9th, 2004
5:41 pm
HI! Dee, in case you couldn't tell.

My introduction: (Stella's idea)
I've been a writer for years... I've always loved writing, no matter what kind. I didn't realize that I had creative writing running through my blood until I ran into the Blue Board. As a kid I always wanted to be a writer, but that dream got sidetracked, very sidetracked. Now I've given up my legal career and my main source of money making. My goal now is to chase my dream of writing. I'm going to spend the next 6 months (while I'm on unemployment) to work on getting published and getting my Masters. That's why I think this group is a GREAT idea. I'm also registered to start school on my birthday (August 30)! This is my first time in the Creative Writing department. I'm technically not even in the department, but they let me register for the classes anyway, and I'm incredibly excited about writing what I love to write for my classes.

I encountered a book on novel writing and the main piece of advice found in Chapter 1 was this: write what you like to read.
I like to read fantasy. I can't put a good fantasy book down. SO! After pondering that advice, I realized that it's pretty true. I've got some great ideas for fantasies. It's helped me narrow my crazy wanderings into a good solid path. However, I'm still stuck writing in pieces. I do pages here and there, a scene here, a mystery there. So I'm struggling with that and I'm hoping to have that ironed out soon.

As for my inspirations, I love doing research for my writing. I love reading short fantasy stories, I love hunting down old ghost stories and vampire tales. I love researching stuff about weird pagan religions, since that's the main branch of my characters, not mine.

So there you have me as a writer. Any other questions?

Current Mood: hungry
3:56 pm
I think we all know each other as friends, but I don't think we've discussed writing much. What kind of writing do you do? What is your writing experience? What are your goals? What do you want from this group?
Sunday, August 8th, 2004
6:55 pm
Welcome to The Writers' Cave, a critique group for writers who are interested in publication. We are not here to simply encourage one another, but to offer suggestions for improvements.
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