Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

A New Occupation

In Fiction on March 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Zanzibar sunset

A New Occupation

The algae bobbed in the water, deep crimson and ragged, as if the gore of the fighting—the blasted bits of men lost to the war—were riding in upon the tide. Damian spat and looked across the bay. Far afield, lit by the setting sun, men worked the rigging and walked the decks of the warships, readying them against the rising wind.

Tabor’s no war vessel, boy, so if you’d rather ship out with that lot, get yourself cut in half by cannon fire, now’s the time to choose.”

Damian turned to find a man watching him, bespectacled, with a scraggy beard and bulging paunch. Read the rest of this entry »


Leo’s Escape

In Fiction on March 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

A Home-made car

Leo’s Escape

“Gee, thanks…”

Leo had been asking his parents to buy him a car for months. Nothing fancy, of course—he didn’t need a Ferrari—just something to get around in. He’d begged and begged, ingratiating himself, playing the good son, doing humiliating chores, but all for nothing.

Or so he had thought, until his father unveiled what he surely believed to be a terrific joke: a homemade jalopy, with rusted doors, salvaged seats and a shifter made from the head of a piston.

But suddenly Leo saw the car for what it was and whispered with utter sincerity:

“Thank you.”

This is my quick response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt this week. Click the blue guy to check out the other great stories!

Happy weekend everyone!

Related: The Hideout // Silence // The Pebble

Pinionpost Gets Resourceful

In Writing on February 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm

A picture of a dictionary viewed with a lens o...

It’s been a pretty long time coming, but I’ve finally started building out the Writer’s Resource section of the site. It’s in the early stages, but hopefully you’ll find a few useful things there.

What might those useful things be, you ask? Let me tell you!

  • Links to writing exercises, prompts and my favorite weekly challenges
  • Dictionaries, thesauri and guides for grammar and usage
  • Links to online collaboration tools
  • Resources to help you in both traditional and self publishing
  • And quite a bit more… Read the rest of this entry »

The Old Bagel Biddy

In Fiction, Writing on May 8, 2012 at 3:39 pm
Im Café

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there was anything she hated worse than backtalk it was sass, and these little bastards today were full of both, right up to their baby teeth.

The boy kicked his fat little legs against the booster seat.

Pbbfth,” he said.


“You’re sure you don’t mind, Batia?”

“Goodness, no, dear. You go ahead — we’ll be fine.”

“Thank you so much.”  Mrs. Dierbach leaned down and kissed her son. “Five minutes, I promise.”

“Take your time.”

Batia settled back into her chair and looked the boy over. He was patting his hands on the table, a line of drool marching unchecked down his chin. Read the rest of this entry »


In Fiction, Writing on May 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Standing in that room was like standing inside a giant collapsing lung.  The plastic sheets billowed in from the wooden frame, suffused with pink, organic light, rounded like alveoli by the gusts of a heavy wind.  The sheets cracked like tiny bones fracturing in the pressure of deep water.  Outside, the sea sifted into the pebbles along the shore and sucked at the spaces between the rocks, drowning breaths, though far away and out of sight. Read the rest of this entry »

Advice for new bloggers: Keep it up

In Writing on May 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm
Iridium fountain pen nib, macro.

This is a pen. Don’t use it on your computer.

A month ago I started this blog, gave it a name and wrote my first post.

I received an underwhelming four views that first day, and had few hopes I would ever do much better than that. But here I am, still going, and I’m glad to say my initial skepticism has been proven wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Great characters: Perfecting imperfection

In Writing on April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

In yesterday’s post, I talked about how you should be willing to put your characters through Hell – to punish them, hurt them, and generally make them wish they were dead (or, in some cases, just actually make them dead). This is important even for your best characters, your favorite characters and your most likeable characters.

But what does ‘likeable’ mean here? In everyday life, ‘likeable’ is more or less synonymous with ‘nice.’ Someone who is likeable is someone who does nice things, who says nice things and thinks nice thoughts. The best characters, though, are generally not entirely likeable in this sense. If yesterday’s post was about killing your darlings, today’s post is about making them deserve it just a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Kill your darlings (or at least make them wish they were dead)

In Writing on April 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Medieval torture rack

Medieval torture rack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The advice to ‘kill your darlings’ or ‘kill your babies’ is dispensed so often in writing circles that it ranks among the most over-used writing clichés (right up there with ‘show, don’t tell’).

What it means is that you need to be ruthless in your willingness to cut sections of your writing that don’t work to strengthen it — even if it’s some of your favorite stuff. If it doesn’t serve the piece overall, it’s got to go.

But I like to take this advice in a second way: as a directive to treat your favorite characters just as ruthlessly as your favorite sentences. You need to put them through Hell, run them through the ringer, and — if it serves the piece as a whole — kill ’em too. Read the rest of this entry »

In a perfect world…

In Writing on April 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I’ve posted a few writing exercises, but so far no straight up story prompts, so today I thought I would do exactly that!

Line art representation of a Quill

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine a perfect world. No one suffers, no one wants for anything, and no one sees any way in which the world could be improved. Now pretend you’re a writer in this world (if you think writers would even exist) and write the kind of story you think that writer would write. What would the story be about? Does it serve any function?

Get creative and try to keep to a 1000 word limit. When you’re done, comment with your story or a link to it.

Next week, I’ll choose a few and post them (with credits, of course) in a follow-up post!

Writing warm-up: Historical inaccuracy

In Writing on April 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

This Friday’s writing exercise is similar to last Friday’s, in that its purpose isn’t to generate a great piece of writing but to loosen you up and get your mind working. This week, though, you’ll be working on warming up your imagination — for plotting and character building — as opposed to stretching the limits of structure or syntax.

Rewriting History

The exercise can work in one of two ways, but in both cases your goal is to rewrite a small bit of history in the most absurd way possible. In approach #1, you attempt to answer any question to which you don’t already know the answer. Small questions generally work best — “why does Swiss cheese have holes?” or “who was the first person to eat a tomato?” — and the more far-fetched your explanation, the better. Read the rest of this entry »