Category Archives: Writing Exercises

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 2017

That’s right, I’m doing it again. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) is right around the corner, and I’ve committed to doing it again this year. I’m taking a short break from my Otherworld Trilogy to start my Murphy Family Mysteries series. So, what book am I doing this year?

Murphy'sLaw of theJungle

This will be the first of many mysteries for the zany but endearing Murphy family. I’m not letting myself do a whole lot of over-planning for this one. I’m trying to short-circuit my perfectionist tendencies that usually make me bog down in my writing. This year, I intend to make steady progress and have an extremely rough draft to work from by November 30.

What tools do I have in my arsenal for this November? Here’s a short list:

  • LOTS OF COFFEE
  • A Basic Idea of Where the Story Is Going
  • The 5KWPH App/Technique Developed by Chris Fox
  • My Bullet Journal/Planner
  • Pens
  • Papers
  • Notebooks
  • Supportive Family & Friends Who Will Hold Me Accountable Via Our Facebook Group
  • My Awesome Word Count Widget In the Sidebar of My Blog! →
  • My Fantastic Blogging Community
  • Some New ADHD Management Techniques I Learned from Overcoming Distractions by David A. Greenwood
  • My Amazing Friend Lacey At The Creative Kitchen & Her YouTube Channel (Daily Check-Ins Are Totally Going to Happen)
  • My Trusty, Well-Worn Copy of A Writer’s Guide to Persistence
  • Did I mention COFFEE?

Well, that’s about all I have for you guys right now! 🙂 Stay tuned for all the NaNoWriMo shenanigans!

For Excellent Writing Resources, Check Out WritersDigestShop.com!


I'm a Writer's Digest Affiliate Now!

confetti

I’m really excited about this news, you guys! I absolutely LOVE Writer’s Digest products, and I use them all the time. When I get my own YouTube Channel set up, you’ll see me reviewing them there pretty regularly. So, this is me just giving you a heads-up that I may now make some revenue if you choose to click certain Writer’s Digest links you find on my blog!

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I’m a Writer’s Digest Affiliate Now!

confetti

I’m really excited about this news, you guys! I absolutely LOVE Writer’s Digest products, and I use them all the time. When I get my own YouTube Channel set up, you’ll see me reviewing them there pretty regularly. So, this is me just giving you a heads-up that I may now make some revenue if you choose to click certain Writer’s Digest links you find on my blog!

Free Shipping on $25


Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 3

 


Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 2

 


Honing Your Horror Workshop: Part 1

Here’s the video from my first writing workshop hosted at The Creative Kitchen in Bay Minette! HUGE shout-out to the owner, Lacey Collier, for working with me and hosting my events!


Are You Called To Write?

Have you ever had a thought like this? Man, I’d really love to write a book someday, but I have no idea where to start.

I used to have similar thoughts, but I worked my butt off over the past 11 years, and I’ve been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Noir Nation No. 3, as well as having self-published A Collection of Reflections (poetry) and Frost: An Otherworld Tale (my debut novel).

If you love a good story, that love is all you need to become a writer. I’ve invested a lifetime of passion and thousands of dollars in learning about writing craft and the publishing industry, and I’d love to share what I’ve learned with those of you who have an inner storyteller begging to get out.

If you’d like to learn more, you can reserve your seat at my upcoming writing workshop dates HERE. The workshops will be held at The Creative Kitchen in my aweome hometown of Bay Minette, Alabama.

Here’s a fun exercise for those of you considering attending the workshop (or anyone who wants to join in, for that matter):

Describe your worst fear in a single paragraph, but there’s a catch; you cannot name your fear in the paragraph. Post your answers in the comments and we’ll try to guess your fear!


Work It #16 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Pick a recent criticism you’ve received. Write a rant. Really go for it. No one ever needs to see this, so there’s no need for censorship of careful language. Let it out. Rip the page with your pen. Bleed your pain dry.

Next be your own kind mentor, receiving the rant. Write a gentle letter back to your ranting self, offering support or encouragement.

Then, if you’ve received a recent critique that left you feeling raw, after geting some necessary distance, try to look at it objectively. Identify whether the critique is asking for something you just can’t deliver or whether it simply touches upon a feeling inside you, such as disappointment because you thought you were finished. Read the critique as if it were written to someone else. Can you find a point or a place of agreement? See if you can’t take just one small piece of the feedback and run with it.

Okay, so I’m obviously not going to share these things with y’all because it’s just too personal. I think the point of this exercise is to work out some personal kinks. Just know that I’m applying this Work It exercise to some critiques I’ve received for Frost over the years (some of them I even got in college when this project was in a much earlier iteration). I’m hoping that it will be an exercise in healing and improvement for me.


Work It #16 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Pick a recent criticism you’ve received. Write a rant. Really go for it. No one ever needs to see this, so there’s no need for censorship of careful language. Let it out. Rip the page with your pen. Bleed your pain dry.

Next be your own kind mentor, receiving the rant. Write a gentle letter back to your ranting self, offering support or encouragement.

Then, if you’ve received a recent critique that left you feeling raw, after geting some necessary distance, try to look at it objectively. Identify whether the critique is asking for something you just can’t deliver or whether it simply touches upon a feeling inside you, such as disappointment because you thought you were finished. Read the critique as if it were written to someone else. Can you find a point or a place of agreement? See if you can’t take just one small piece of the feedback and run with it.

Okay, so I’m obviously not going to share these things with y’all because it’s just too personal. I think the point of this exercise is to work out some personal kinks. Just know that I’m applying this Work It exercise to some critiques I’ve received for Frost over the years (some of them I even got in college when this project was in a much earlier iteration). I’m hoping that it will be an exercise in healing and improvement for me.


Work It #15 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence

Work It #15 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 15: Consider No Effort Wasted

Brainstorm a list of all the unpaid, unseen, unrewarded hours you’ve invested in projects, people, and writing. These may be things that haven’t “paid off” in your mind. When you’re finished, look objectively at each item on the list. See if you can’t come up with one “gift” each item on that list has given you. Even if the “gift” is something like “It made me realize I never want to do that for a living.” or “I learned to get back up after a fall.” Reward yourself for your hard work with chocolate, a movie, or something that makes you feel good.

  • A Collection of Reflections – The first work I ever self-published. I learned that self-publishing is harder than people think. and that I don’t love writing poetry enough to try to make a living at it.
  • My Blog – My blog has taught me that not everything pays off the minute you start doing it, but if you stick to it, you will eventually start seeing benefits from it. After years of working on this blog with no visible results, I now have tangible proof that it is touching people’s lives and inspiring them.
  • JukePop – It may not be a writing job with a paid advance, but it’s helped me realize I am a talented writer. I know I can reach readers. I have fans who follow me, and my longest-standing project, Frost, has over 4,000 +Votes.

Work It #15 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence

Work It #15 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 15: Consider No Effort Wasted

Brainstorm a list of all the unpaid, unseen, unrewarded hours you’ve invested in projects, people, and writing. These may be things that haven’t “paid off” in your mind. When you’re finished, look objectively at each item on the list. See if you can’t come up with one “gift” each item on that list has given you. Even if the “gift” is something like “It made me realize I never want to do that for a living.” or “I learned to get back up after a fall.” Reward yourself for your hard work with chocolate, a movie, or something that makes you feel good.

  • A Collection of Reflections – The first work I ever self-published. I learned that self-publishing is harder than people think. and that I don’t love writing poetry enough to try to make a living at it.
  • My Blog – My blog has taught me that not everything pays off the minute you start doing it, but if you stick to it, you will eventually start seeing benefits from it. After years of working on this blog with no visible results, I now have tangible proof that it is touching people’s lives and inspiring them.
  • JukePop – It may not be a writing job with a paid advance, but it’s helped me realize I am a talented writer. I know I can reach readers. I have fans who follow me, and my longest-standing project, Frost, has over 4,000 +Votes.

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 4

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 3 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe?”

I spoke through a yawn. “Yeah, honey, what’s up?”

I heard him take a shaky breath and sigh. “I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! Rick, are you okay?”

Another shaking breath on the other end of the line. “I don’t know.”

“How the hell did that happen?!” I could feel myself shaking, and saw the four women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. The physical therapist stopped speaking. All of them leaned in, listening. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze.”

I heard Granny moan. “Oh my God.”

“Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground.”

“Oh, Jesus, honey, I’m so sorry.”

Granny started crying. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both clapped their hands over their mouths and shook their heads in unison.

“I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

I started crying, too. “I’m so sorry, honey, I don’t know what else to say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of the revisions! Thanks!]


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 4

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 3 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe?”

I spoke through a yawn. “Yeah, honey, what’s up?”

I heard him take a shaky breath and sigh. “I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! Rick, are you okay?”

Another shaking breath on the other end of the line. “I don’t know.”

“How the hell did that happen?!” I could feel myself shaking, and saw the four women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. The physical therapist stopped speaking. All of them leaned in, listening. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze.”

I heard Granny moan. “Oh my God.”

“Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground.”

“Oh, Jesus, honey, I’m so sorry.”

Granny started crying. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both clapped their hands over their mouths and shook their heads in unison.

“I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

I started crying, too. “I’m so sorry, honey, I don’t know what else to say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of the revisions! Thanks!]


Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 3

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 2 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

I could feel myself shaking, and saw the three women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of this revision! Thanks!]


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 3

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the revised scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 2 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to keep my eyes open, fighting exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it makes me sound like a jerk, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could be that tired.

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs quieted between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the cinderblock structure, whatever knocked over our shelf of tools and racecar parts was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan window out of the back of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places and dented the trunk. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is an understatement.

We spent the two hours before he had to go to work cleaning the shop. After that, I had to drag my ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 can’t bounce back from lack of sleep as well as it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving, but when the physical therapist took us into a room with a couch, I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked, the heavier my eyelids got. After a minute, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got muffled, but it was suppressed by the sleep that overtook me. I don’t know how long I slept before I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was drowsy.

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was at a job site.”

I was awake in an instant, and my heart started pounding with violence at the news. It pounded until I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh, my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

I could feel myself shaking, and saw the three women in the physical therapy room with me pale at my words. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned to ashes. My granddaddy’s truck and some poor excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they should pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I had an idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of this revision! Thanks!]


Work it #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 2

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the first draft of the scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 1 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the too-bright fluorescent hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could possibly be that tired, right?

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our small but cozy vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night long, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet sometime between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the open-faced cinderblock structure, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is a grave understatement.

So, we got two hours of sleep, he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving around, but when the physical therapist took us into a private room with a comfortable couch I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the overstuffed, floral cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked in her most pleasant, soothing voice, the heavier my eyelids got. After a few minutes, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a nagging sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got fuzzier and farther away, but it was suppressed by the dreamless sleep that overtook me. Some time later, I wasn’t sure how long, I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was thick and husky with drowsiness.

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

I was wide awake in an instant, and my heart was pounding so hard at the news that I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

I could feel myself shaking, and saw the other three women in the physical therapy room with me go still, breathless, and pale at my words. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I had a pretty good idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that so many people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of this first revision! Thanks!]


Work it #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 2

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to take the first draft of the scene from yesterday, and I’m going to apply step 1 of Jordan’s revision advice.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night. Every time my head bobbed, I would blink and squint into the too-bright fluorescent hospital lighting. I bet you’re wondering how I could possibly be that tired, right?

Well, our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced around our small but cozy vintage two-bedroom home, bayed, and howled all night long, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet sometime between 3:45 and 4:15 this morning, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out to the open-faced cinderblock structure, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby, and to say that he was upset is a grave understatement.

So, we got two hours of sleep, he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile Infirmary with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through my mind-numbing exhaustion and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16. I was fine when we were standing up and moving around, but when the physical therapist took us into a private room with a comfortable couch I was done for.

The moment I sank down onto the overstuffed, floral cushions and felt the morning sun beating down on me through the window, I knew I was doomed. The more the physical therapist talked in her most pleasant, soothing voice, the heavier my eyelids got. After a few minutes, I decided it would be easier for me to listen with my eyes closed. I felt a nagging sense of guilt as the physical therapist’s voice got fuzzier and farther away, but it was suppressed by the dreamless sleep that overtook me. Some time later, I wasn’t sure how long, I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s “Yea, Alabama!” ringtone. “Hello?” My voice was thick and husky with drowsiness.

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

I was wide awake in an instant, and my heart was pounding so hard at the news that I could feel my pulse in my fingertips. “WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

I could feel myself shaking, and saw the other three women in the physical therapy room with me go still, breathless, and pale at my words. I tapped the speaker button on my phone so my husband’s grandmother, mother, and sister could hear his reply.

“Cops say it looks like a Molotov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I had a pretty good idea of who would do something like that to my husband. I’d been trying to handle the problems I was having at work myself because I didn’t want to be the girl who cried wolf. I didn’t want to overreact. I didn’t want to be the histrionic personality that so many people assumed I was. My mouth went dry and my tongue felt like sandpaper as I struggled to work up the courage to reply.

[I’d love to know what you guys think of this first revision! Thanks!]


Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 1

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to just share my paragraph that’s in its first-draft stage.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night.

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?”

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #14 from A Writer's Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld – Part 1

Work It #14 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 14: Relish Revision

Choose a scene or a chapter or a paragraph that is in the first-draft stage (or write a fresh one). You’re going to do three drafts (it’s okay if you break this up over several days). Follow these steps.

  1. Make sure all the elements of a scene are included: The character has an obvious, consistent point of view; your sensory descriptions and imagery show setting and emotion; the action creates a sense of real-time movement and/or dialogue, and a plot goal is present, some piece of which is apparent in this scene.
  2. Cut all flabby, extraneous language, such as adverbs, adjectives, “telling” language, and pleasantries between characters. Hone your sentences. Strive for clarity and beauty.
  3. Add a “push-pull” energyof tension to any dialogue or interaction between characters.

Today, I’m going to just share my paragraph that’s in its first-draft stage.

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night.

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop.

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?”

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


Work It #13 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Work It #13 from A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

Chapter 13: Stretch Your Skills

  1. After you’ve strectched, answer each of these questions.
    • What’s your preferred form or genre to write in; i.e., the one you feel most comfortable in? Prose fiction, usually with strong genre influences, if not a clear genre. And my blog…I LOVE my blog.
    • What’s your next favorite? Short stories, but I don’t feel like my short stories have as much meaning or potential as my longer, more complex ideas. 
    • What’s the form or genre you’ve always been curious to experiment with but haven’t yet? Maybe memoir? I’ve always thought it might be cool, but I’ve never really studied memoirs or given any real thought to what I would include in one if I wrote one.
    • Which form or genre seems incredibly different or hard to you? I used to write poetry, but I don’t anymore. I don’t feel like I have the energy for it. If I had to choose a fiction genre that’s particularly hard for me, I’d have to say horror because I have an intense dislike for being frightened. I’m also not very into writing historicals. I love reading them, but I feel like it would require too much research to actually get one published. 

Can you guess where this is going? Give one of these new, scarier forms a try. I recommend you really stretch and go with the fourth entry in your list, but any will do.

2.  Try your hand at a short essay. Write a fictional account of a true event. Turn a bad day into a horror story. Take a warm moment and channel it into a poem. But please pick the one that feels a little bit challenging so you leave your comfort zone.

Oh, boy. I really don’t know what to do or what to pick. I’m instantaneously repulsed by the idea of turning a bad day into a horror story. Maybe I’ll pick that one. It’s just going to be a short fragment of stomething that could be expanded upon later. I’m going to combine writing a fictional account of a true event and turning a bad day into a horror story. 

I’ve had a hell of a day. By 8:00 this morning I was struggling to hold my eyes open, fighting abject exhaustion and trying to focus on what the physical therapist was saying about my husband’s grandmother’s rehabilitation exercises. I know it sounds kind of bad, but the harder I tried to focus, the more I caught myself nodding off after a long, sleepless night. 

Our black and tan coonhounds Bear and Bryant paced, bayed, and howled all night, as if there were a prowler in the yard, but every time we looked, we couldn’t see a damn thing. The dogs finally got quiet some time between 3:45 and 4:15, and then we heard a nerve-shattering crash out in the shop. 

By the time we made it out there, whatever knocked our shelf of tools and racecar parts over was gone. The shelf busted the Lexan back window out of my husband’s ’67 Camaro drag car. It gouged the crimson paint job in a couple places, and left dents in a couple more, and that was a damn bad way to start the day. The Camaro is my husband’s baby.

So, we got two hours of sleep, and he had to go to work, and I had to drag my exhausted ass to Mobile with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to learn how to properly do rehab for Granny. I tried to push through and stay awake, but my body at 26 just can’t bounce back from lack of sleep like it could when I was 16.

Then I got jarred out of my dozing off by my husband’s ringtone. “Hello?” 

“Babe…I know you’re at the hospital with Granny, but I just wanted to call and let you know that my truck burned to the ground today while I was away at a job site.”

“WHAT?! Oh my GOD! How the hell did that happen?!”

“Cops say it looks like a Malitov cocktail started the blaze. Everything that was in the truck is gone…burned completely up. My granddaddy’s truck, and some sorry excuse for a human being burned it to the ground. I don’t know who’d do something like that, but they better pray I don’t get my hands on their sorry ass is all I can say.”

He may not have known…but I sure did.


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