Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Writer Needs


By Cindy Keen Reynders



In 1943, Abraham Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs. These are theories about mental health and human potential. His philosophy suggests that once people have met the basic needs of shelter, food, etc., they branch out to connect with others and accomplish in different areas. For fun, I translated those five levels of growth progression into what we need as writers.

In order to survive, Maslow said people need to have basic needs met such as food, water, sleep and air. Writers first need something to write with; paper and pencil, typewriter or computer so we can record our stories.

Next Maslow said people need safety, security and shelter. Some of us may have jobs to enable us to buy food and clothes, to maintain our homes and cars and to afford health insurance. Or we may be retired and have a steady pension to cover basics. Possibly we have significant others who provide financial stability. Here's a fun possibility, maybe we inherited wealth or won the lottery, making us independently wealthy. I think writers also need a dedicated area to write in, such as a desk in the corner of the family room, a place at the kitchen table or maybe even their own office.

Maslow said social needs aren't as necessary as the physiological and security needs. However, once the first two needs are fulfilled, people begin to reach out for friendship, companionship and acceptance. For writers, I would say that at this stage, we begin to connect through social networking sites dedicated to writing or we begin to join writers groups and attend meetings, attend writer’s conferences and possibly join critique groups so we can receive feedback, recognition and acceptance as recorders of the written word.

Once the first three needs are satisfied, Maslow found that people needed to validate themselves by building their self-esteem. For writers, at this point, we may feel confident enough in our abilities that we begin to submit our work to writers’ contests where we will hopefully receive enough positive feedback to improve our scores, enabling us to eventually place in a contest or possibly even win. At this point, writers are probably confident enough to submit their work to publishers, weathering the rejections, until eventually pieces begin to sell.

At the top tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this level happens when people are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others and interested in fulfilling their potential. For writers, this is where the rubber really hits the road and we begin to spread our wings. We write to please our own muses, not someone else's muse. We challenge the boundaries of our imaginations, we take on more difficult plots and our characters become deeper. We have found our voices, and we are comfortable with our writing skills and what we know about the craft. This is where our writing seems to take on a life of its own. By the time we've reached the fifth level, we are only limited by our own imaginations. In essence, we strap on wings and let our writing soar. As long as we keep our eyes on the finish line, we have nowhere to go but up.

Maslow's theory states that once our basic needs are met, we have an innate need to succeed and accomplish things. What are you striving for? What do you need to make it happen?
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Cindy was born in Portland, Oregon and has lived all over the United States and also in Japan. She has visited Canada, the Philippines, the Caribbean, Samoa and New Zealand. Her Saucy Lucy series books are The Saucy Lucy MurdersPaws-itively Guilty and A Killer Slice. She also writes an urban fantasy line for Angelic Knight Press, and the first book is titled, The Seven-Year Witch. Cindy has won or placed in different writing contests. She has also written for and edited many newsletters. Additionally, she has sold several non-fiction magazine articles to "True West" and "Wild West." Cindy lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her husband Rich. She works as Laramie County School District 1's marketing specialist and writes feature articles for the Public Schools Chronicle."--Amazon Her website is www.cindykeenreynders.com and from her website, you can also link to her blog or visit her on Facebook. Her latest book is A Witch at Midnight,.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Putting the Pro in Protagonist


by Gary Fearon, Southern Writers Magazine Creative Director


Writers often use the words "protagonist" and "hero" interchangeably, and for good reason.  If we look at the actual definitions, we can see why:

PROTAGONIST: The leading character in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text.

HERO: A person who is admired for their courage or noble qualities.

When we create the lead character in our story, we want it to be someone the audience likes, respects, and cares about.  We do that best by giving the protagonist heroic qualities.

Not to say that our lead needs to leap tall buildings in a single bound, nor do they even need to leave the house.  They need only possess one or more character traits our audience will look up to.  We admire a character who's witty, smart, talented, or humanebasically the same qualities we like to see in people, not to mention ourselves.

We've all read books or seen movies where the main character was none of these things.  Actually, we probably never finished those books and we turned the channel when we realized the protagonist was someone we simply didn't find likable or relatable, someone we didn't care to spend the next two hours or three hundred pages with.

One of the few movies I ever walked out on was a 1990s flick by a well-known director in which the protagonist had multiple personalities.  The subject matter looked interesting enough, but it only took twenty minutes of this guy going back and forth between annoying personas possessing no redeeming qualities among them, for me to decide to sneak into a showing of 3 Ninjas instead.  Had the protagonist done anything to make someone care about what happened to him, I might have stuck around.  But in this case, he wasn't a hero, but merely the central figure of the story.

I never think about protagonists without remembering Blake Snyder's terrific book on story creation, Save the Cat!, which spells out the importance of having your main character do something "nice" early on so that the audience will bond with him/her.  This is something we can accomplish even for an antihero.  In fact, many a protagonist starts out as a self-consumed, errant figure, which makes their character arc that much more dramatic in the end.  But all the same, a well-told story will establish early on that there is hope for this person, by helping a kid find his cat or performing some other kind gesture.

By the same token, we want our hero to have flaws.  Perfect protagonists are boring.  Make sure your hero has vulnerabilities everyone can identify with; weaknesses than can take him/her down.  Kryptonite only goes so far as a threat, but human conflict is the stuff of legend in fiction.

Any time a reader picks up your book, they're hoping for a story that will envelope them.  When you give them a relatable protagonist they can share an adventure with, and ultimately prevail with, the real hero is you.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Realism Writing


By Michael Snow


For me, writing thriller novels has always been an arduous process. I don’t have the ability to sit at my desk and dream up terrific plots and twists. My writing involves a combination of world events and things that happen to me in real life. Writing novels requires feeling and emotion to create realism, just as writing music does.

I use events that in some way touch me, and in doing so, act as a catalyst and become the background for interesting reading material. I’m a pilot, and years ago, I worked with a guy that was on duty September 11, 2001. He was flying to the United States from London, and was denied entry into United States airspace after the attacks. He diverted to a small town in Canada, along with about sixty other airliners. The town quickly ran out of food, and local fishermen went out to catch cod to feed everybody. It’s this type of event that is so simple but powerful in its message – people working together after such a tragedy. I prefer to use these stories for my particular writing style.

Some of the material has happened to me. In Rumours of War, while crossing the Atlantic Ocean, a jet experienced an engine failure. This actually occurred to a plane I was flying, still hundreds of miles from the coast, and believe me, I couldn’t think of anything else until we got the plane on the ground. It was a small part of the book, but that suspense – sweat dripping, heart pounding terror, is what I’m able to draw on and build into the story.  Writing suspense requires the ability to draw out the suspenseful event. Give the reader a nibble, but don’t let them have a bite, until the very end. Good suspense requires delay, but delay with realism, and realism has to have emotion to be believable.

Drawing on personal events and emotions in our lives is paramount to writing the book you hope for – the one the reader can’t put down. Your background, interesting events that touch us in our lives – these can be built on, they provide fodder for the storyline. And best of all, these events contain the realism and emotion needed to make a great book.

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Michael Snow has been a commercial pilot for twenty-five years. He works for both United States and international companies all over the world, including peacekeeping arenas in the Middle East and Africa. His work in Sudan led to the premise for Rumours of War. Michael lives with his wife and children on the Gulf Coast.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How I Maintain a Writing Career with Bipolar Disorder


By Vicki M. Taylor


When I was asked to guest post for Southern Writers, I pondered the topic I would write about for a few days. Then it came to me. What’s more near and dear to my heart than writing? Living with Bipolar Disorder. So I put the two of them together and managed an article about how I maintain my writing career with Bipolar Disorder. I hope that you find something in it that inspires you.

I have Bipolar Disorder. But it doesn’t “have” me. I am an award winning author and blogger. I create stories for a living. I love what I do. Some days the writing comes easy and the words flow effortlessly from fingers to keyboard. However, there are times when I’m struggling with a bipolar episode that the route from mind to fingers is blocked and detours run rampant through my mind.

It’s like that in my head. I have roads that lead straight from thought to fingertips and then when a Bipolar episode occurs, whether it be mania or depression all kinds of detours occur in my thought patterns and I don’t know if I can make out the writing thoughts I want to express or if I’m even going to get a clear, coherent thought out.

But, I persevere. I won’t let the Bipolar get me down. Ever. I write anyway. I write because I have to. I write to get the characters’ voices out of my head and give them a life of their own. I write to keep me stable.

Living with Bipolar and writing requires a lot of planning ahead of time so that I have something to work on during my down cycles. Editing is easier during those times when the writing doesn’t come as easily. I find that I remain much more stable when I get an opportunity to write every day. It’s my release. It’s cathartic.

During up or manic times I can write like a fiend. The ideas and words flow so fast sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it all. I have filled three four-inch binders with ideas about stories I want to write. I do this just to get the ideas out of my head. I’ll see an article in the newspaper, or hear some snippet of conversation, or even have a dream that needs to be told and every one of those ideas go into the binders.

Writing has been a part of my life forever. I learned to read and write at age four and have been telling stories ever since. I love to journal. It keeps me sane. I can get out all the thoughts be they negative or positive about how I feel in my head and life. I think it’s a good idea for all writers to have a journal. You can keep your writing skills up and capture ideas and snippets of stories. I know a few people who journal on line, but I like the book and pen approach. It keeps my writing skills current and I like the privacy. What’s in my journal stays in my journal. It’s that most private part of me where I can totally be myself.

Having vivid dreams for me is a part of having Bipolar Disorder. I have a love/hate relationship with my dreams. I either love them because they jumpstart stories for me or hate them because I dream up a great story and then by morning, I’ve forgotten most of it. There are times, though, when I’ve been able to stay in the dream/wake stage and capture every word of a wonderful dream. In doing so, I have the entire plot and storyline for a great book. This has happened several times and for two of the books, that have been published: TRUST IN THE WIND and OUT FORJUSTICE.  I love that part of my bipolar and how it works intricately with my writing. So much positive work can come out of having a mental illness. I just have to know how to harness it correctly.

So, that’s what I do, every day. Work on harnessing the positive out of having Bipolar Disorder. It helps that I maintain a Wellness Recovery Action Plan and use it every day to determine my mood level, track triggers and follow the action plan to stay stable every day.

Stability is important for me as a writer. It means I can keep up with my promotion, work on new books, and stay active in my social media platform. It means I can write. And, I take advantage of doing that every day, whether I’m writing on the next book or keeping up with my blogs. I maintain my personal blog athttp://vickimtaylor.blogspot.com and a writing coach blog at http://vmt-yourwritingcoach.blogspot.com so that I can stay an active writer.

For those writers out there who struggle with the written word, I applaud you. For those who struggle with mental illness and still maintain a writing career I give you a standing ovation. You are my hero.
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Award winning author, Vicki M. Taylor writes dramatic fiction with strong, unforgettable, real women characters involved in real life situations. Vicki M. Taylor attacks the hard issues and brings them to the forefront with a deftness that outshines most other authors. Her ability to sink her teeth into these headline issues and pull the reader into the story makes her one of the best authors of this new century. No issue is too controversial for Vicki. Murder, teenage suicide, domestic violence and more, you'll find Vicki M. Taylor's stories not only give you the harsh realities of the character's life but she wraps you up in their private emotional lives as well - daring you to not care, not feel, not read. She lives in Florida with her husband, their American Eskimo dog, and Sun Conure parrot.
Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/vicki.m.taylor Twitter:@VMTwriter



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cow Appreciation Day and Your Writing?


By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine


Maybe it's only in America that people willingly dress up like farm animals to get free fast food on a certain date. We are quirky that way. A southern fast food chain deems a certain day in the summer as "cow appreciation day". Why would a restaurant make this an event? They serve chicken not beef, so this is to encourage people to eat more of their chicken. Note, this is not on Halloween when it's not uncommon to see costumed adults driving around in bizarre get-ups. You will definitely embarrass yourself if you want to get anything free to eat.  A full cow costume worn into the restaurant will get you a full free meal but a partial costume will get you only an entree. 

Just stop and think about how you could incorporate this, dare I say, farcical opportunity into your book to move your story along.

Your book's adult character locates a cow costume but no children to help minimize the embarrassment. Dressed as a cow, gets barked at by their own dog. While locking their door, neighbors out to get the morning paper stop, mouths open, gawking and stare while half raising a hand in a tentative greeting. Cow clothed, trying to fit behind the steering wheel your character finally manages to shut the door. On the way to the fast food chain an accident occurs. It's not really an accident but the responding police officers can't stop laughing. The rest is up to you the writer. Have fun writing your scene. 

Janet Evanovich's, Stephanie Plum character, includes food escapades throughout her very successful bounty hunter series.  In "Finger Lickin' Fifteen", she writes scenes with Mr Clucky, the local chicken restaurant's mascot, which is side splitting hilarious. 

The next time you see the dancing pizza guy playing fake air guitar on the busy corner trying to sell pizza, remember he could have a place in your book to move your character forward. What if he is really an undercover DEA agent? Then how about the person dressed as Uncle Sam trying to get you in to do your taxes? What if he was really a mob hit guy?

I'm sure by now, you are thinking about everyday things we see, ripe for writing into your story or book. I turned the cow scenario into a story which will appear in the next anthology book of CCWriters2. Today, I'm trying to find a cow costume. No not really, y'all, but maybe a cow hat? But which one do I choose?



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Embracing a New Identity or Not


By Sherrie Giddens and JP  Kline 


How many writers want to start over? Embracing a new identity may not be as difficult as you think.

After publishing several children's books and branding myself as a family friendly author, I wandered down the path of YA fantasy. Writing in this genre presents a challenge to the brand I have built. My first story, Valgrid, brings the reader face to face with a massive loss of life. It isn't something that I can, in good conscience, offer side by side with the titles I have written for preschoolers and early elementary school children.

I had to develop a persona under which I could publish my new work. After several months of research, I settled on JP Kline as the pen name. Although I have shared this pen name with a few friends and family, I encourage it to have its own life outside of my personal life. I find that I give myself more creative freedom when I write anonymously than I do when using my own name.

I made the decision to use a personal page on Facebook, JP Kline Author, rather than a business or fan page. This helps me avoid the fee for promoting and allows me to connect with readers on a more personal basis. It also eliminates the constant reminder for fans to like and share my posts. Readers can send a friend request or subscribe and I have the ability to connect with individuals by sending friend requests as well.

After setting up JP Kline's Facebook page, it was time to start networking. She began hanging out on pages frequented by authors writing in similar genres. JP was on a mission; she "liked" several pages and made daily friend requests. A link to the new Facebook page was placed inside the eBook version of Valgrid. Within a few days of publishing, friend requests started coming in. It is a good feeling to know that JP Kline is alive and doing fine.

Next, was to set up a new Twitter Account, JPKlineauthor. Connecting on Twitter does not come naturally for me. However, JP Kline is jumping in with both feet and beginning to see some followers.

Visiting my author's page at Amazon has been almost painful. Valgrid sits alone, waiting for the second book in the series to join it. It is a lonely looking page and it may give readers the impression that JP Kline is new to writing, if they only knew. However, I know that in time it will be sporting several titles and starting over will have been worth the effort. I will continue to write under my real name while JP Kline enjoys the gift of anonymity.

Starting over may make you feel a little queasy. However, I think JP Kline would say there are times when it is necessary. Embracing a new identity has made me a better writer. What would it do for you?

This post was written during a time when, as any entrepreneur introducing a new service, I was enthusiastically embracing the challenge of integrating a pen name into my writing and publishing business. However, as can often happen, JP Kline (my pen name) came face to face with Sherrie Giddens (me) and was struck down by the reality of the situation.

After several months of dividing my time in writing, marketing, and editing, I finally had to admit that it was not working. My reasons for choosing a pen name were still valid, but the ability to maintain both writing personas in a professional manner and do so in a way that allowed each to grow to their full potential, was lacking to say the least.

Over the last several weeks, I have been in the process of rewriting any scenes that would be too graphic for my family friendly style, and republishing my JP Kline titles under my real name. This is allowing me to once again concentrate all of my efforts in areas that will best serve my readers as well as my writing career.


Starting over is not an easy task, but it is important for any business owner to recognize when changes are needed and to act in a way that best serves their business. If you have ever considered adding a pen name, I hope my journey has helped you in some way. While it may not be for me, I am sure there are those who can multi-task in a way that would make it beneficial for their writing career.
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Sherrie Giddens is a family friendly author, Life offers various experiences and opportunities to us all. Sherrie Giddens uses her experiences within the business world, as a homeschooling mom, an entrepreneur and business owner, along with her Christian life, and creates titles of interest for the whole family.You and your children will be thrilled to read her fiction and nonfiction titles ranging from books on marketing, for the business minded individual, to picture books for toddlers. Readers can rest assured; they will never be exposed to material that is less than family friendly in any of her titles. All titles can be found at her author's page.  http://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Giddens/e/B006MW3Y6M/
Sherrie also enjoys photography and travel. She took the glacier photo near Anchorage Alaska.  I found it interesting that a forest and a frozen glacier could survive side by side.  Our lives are similar, we suffer terrible losses and glorious blessings, but we survive. She also took the old bridge was moved to a park near our home.  It sits on level ground, going nowhere or anywhere, depending on how you look at it.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What about the Author?


By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine


My job entails reading-from magazines to books. Always looking for better ways to present, help and promote authors.

As most of you are aware, Random House and Penguin were two of the biggest publishers, now they have merged. They will be the world’s largest publisher. Where does that leave Hachette, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins?

Well obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball, nor do I wear a turban, but the real question is “How will this affect authors?”

What will happen if, say, mystery books become the hot new fad? Will the publishing houses still want romance, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.? Or, will they want to jump on the bandwagon and roll out as many mystery books as they can.

Let’s face it; the publishing industry has gone through tremendous changes. For the most part, they are in uncharted waters. They have to recreate their thinking. This isn’t any different from what companies all over the world are doing, rethinking how to run their businesses and create profits. It isn’t like it was in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. For the most part, authors didn’t have to worry about how to promote and market their books, the houses set up all of that. Publishers today aren’t picking up authors and spending thousands upon thousands of dollars to promote and market their book. That is done for only a few authors.

So the question goes back to, what are authors to do?  You’ve written a book, it’s been published. If you want it to sell, you are going to have to promote the book. You’ve heard writing is a business. That is truer today than ever before for authors. Many new authors use Facebook and a few other Social Medias to promote their book thinking this is the best way, some even think it is the only way. What they are doing is limiting their book sales. Social Media is just one outlet to promote your book…it is not the only, and possibly not the best way (the jury is still out on that part), it is just one way. Let’s face it, how does an author know how the buyer of their book heard about their book.

Because it is a business, you have to introduce your book to as many people as possible, to do that you have to use many facets.

Remember, the more people that hear about your book, the better chance you have of selling your book.
  


Monday, July 22, 2013

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BECOME WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN


By Patricia Sands


The first time my Bridge Club officially gathered was an evening in 1969, but we had been partying together for years. The most recent time will be tomorrow evening although only five of us happen to be in the same vicinity. After more than forty years the friendship shared by the ten women of my Bridge Club is very much alive and well in spite of geographic distances interfering with the frequency of seeing each other.

Seven years ago, I was wintering in Florida with my newly retired husband. Unfortunately he was also newly unable to play golf or tennis. I found myself with time on my hands. A lot of time. I began writing The Bridge Club.

Initially my writing was purely for the amusement of my Bridge Club friends but, as others read excerpts, I was encouraged to consider publishing. Seriously? Could I?

Writing a book had never been on my agenda. A photographer all my life, I had told stories through my photos. I had been a teacher. Everyone said I left the longest voicemail messages. Perhaps I could write a book.

The support of my Bridge Club was loud and unanimous. A novel was conceived.

Bridge is a fabulous game. Challenging, exciting, frustrating, demanding, it requires honesty, concentration, teamwork, and communication. You play the hand you are dealt. Not unlike life.

But in The Bridge Club, as it says on the cover: “It was never just about the
cards.”

It was life I wanted to write about. The strong supportive non-judgmental bond, which the true friendship of women delivers: like that of my Bridge Club. My editor urged that readers want to see conflict and drama between women. I argued this is a stereotype often applied to women and their friendships and I refused to fall prey to it. Often friendships are true, honest, and strong. Often the issues we face in life do work out. That was the story I wished to tell.

Becoming knowledgeable about the business of publishing involved a steep learning curve. Queries were sent. Rejections received. Some interest was generated. “A year and a half before we may get to it,” I was told.

“I’m too old to wait!”

Becoming a self-published author in my sixties has been a satisfying, stimulating, and demanding experience. Writing is what I will do for the rest of my life.
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Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. Most winters are now spent in southeast Florida where she definitely feels the southern spirit! With a focus on women’s issues and ageing, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship. Encouraging women of all ages to stare down the fear factor and embrace change, she has heard from readers ages 20 to 83. Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013.She has recently been invited to lead an 11-day tour of the south of France for 14 women in June 2014 with the Women’s Travel Network.You may contact Patricia at her Facebook Author Page or her blog where there are links to her website, Twitter, etc. She would love to hear from you!






Friday, July 19, 2013

Like Southwest Airlines – When You Just Have to Get Away


By Cheri L. Thacker

My husband asked, “Did you pay the bills?”  My son yelled, “Where’s my resume?”  Sweet Pea inquired, “How about this costume?”  The booster president begged, “Can you sell Boston butts?”

Simultaneously, I had six other people trying to relay urgent information.  I couldn’t hear them over the chaotic din.  The difference between each group was that one was inside my head while the other was in my face.  I needed a break.

I’d turned my focus back to my novel.  Taking advice from my last writers meeting, I’d found pictorial representations of my characters and pinned them to a bulletin board.  I house-hunted online and found the perfect home for my protagonist, right down to the pictures on the dining room wall. I’d Googled the murder location and printed a satellite view.  It hung below the handcuffs my murder victim would be found wearing. I had a visual representation to draw me into my work, which opened the creative floodgates.

I wanted to spend hours with my characters, but the tug and pull of family made me feel like a twisty rope-toy yanked between the mouth of a terrier and his owner.

So I retreated.

Retreat, according to Dictionary.com, has multiple meanings. The most familiar is “to withdraw.”  I needed to do that.  It also means “a place of seclusion.”  I needed to find that.  Retreat also refers to an “asylum, as for the insane.”  One of my characters spends a month in a mental facility, and I’d joked about doing a stay as research.  (I’m not as keen on that idea as I let on.)

If you feel like a chew toy, a self-made retreat may be your best option if your budget doesn’t allow for a customary retreat.  I took a week get-away but yours could be a day, or a weekend; whatever your time and budget allows.  Here are a few tips.

For lodging, check “out of season” tourist destinations within driving distance.  Try relaxing, scenic locations that inspire. I found a bargain in Branson, MO through Dropkicktravel.com—a site specializing in condominium rentals for $500 or less for a week’s stay.    

Minimize outside communication.  Avoid social media.  Designate a time to touch base with family and ask them to contact you otherwise only if it’s an emergency.  Put your phone away.  Keep the television off. ·        

Create an itinerary that focuses on creativity rather than word count.  Look around and write descriptions—settings, weather, people you observe, emotions—that can be used in later writings. Take a prompt book.·        

Read.  A lot. 

Make time each day for physical activity.  Take a walk, swim, or guided hike.  Avoid “touristy” events but don’t be afraid to check out local history, and landmarks.  Story ideas may lurk. 

When you return home designate daily “retreat time” and apply the same principles from your retreat.  I’m putting a sign on my office door—“On Retreat in Solitude, USA.”

Hey, I’m a writer.  I can go anywhere I want.  I just don’t want to go insane.   
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Cheri Thacker is a humor columnist and freelance writer.  Her short story, “The Butterfly Wish”, appeared in Mused Literary Review (Fall 2012).  She regularly contributes articles to The Bartlett Weekly, a Commercial Appeal publication.  Her humorous blog, Crumbsnatcher Tales, follows the antics of Mama Bread Baker and her Crumbsnatchers, which in no way resembles her real life managing a family of six plus two dogs, one cat, and a fish.  www.CrumbsnatcherTales.com”



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Slinging It High


By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine


My old friend David and I love to share stories. We grew up in the same area with similar backgrounds. We went to the same college and have worked for the same company for over 20 years. Many times when we visit we begin to spin tales some true, some not.

At one particular visit we were having lunch along with the CEO of our bank. The CEO was from the east coast so he was not familiar with our upbringing. David and I began sharing some childhood stories as he sat in silence. I thought he wasn’t interested and never gave any thought to his silence. I later found his silence was due to his attempt to determine which story was fact and which fiction. Later that day he asked David if those stories were true. It just so happens they were and David found the CEO was amazed to hear that.

David and I come from a place where it is said, “We sling it high and make it stick on occasion.” David is one of the best. I once saw him coming across the company parking lot on crutches with a brace on his leg.  As he approached his vehicle I could tell he was having trouble maneuvering and was obviously in some pain. As he sat back in his seat with his feet on the pavement I asked what had happened to him.

David said he had been home watching TV and a commercial came on for skydiving lessons. It was something he had always wanted to do and the price seemed right, three jumps for a $100.00, so he signed up. He went to the airport, went through the ground school and was ready to jump.

The first jump from a small plane with an instructor alongside him every inch of the way, went off without a hitch. He was thrilled and couldn’t wait to get back up there for the next jump. The second jump went well until the landing. David came down wrong and twisted his leg. He now had weeks of rehab ahead of him before he would be able to walk without the crutches. His main concern was that third jump he had paid for. He was not sure if he had the courage to take the jump but didn’t want to lose the money.

As I listened to David’s story I felt his pain. I encouraged him to get back on the horse and take the third jump. As I was about to suggest he stick with the rehab and follow the doctor’s orders he started laughing. I knew then he had me.

He told me he had taken up riding a mountain bike and took a spill over the handlebars. In keeping with our history I told him to never tell anyone that, stick with the skydiving story. It beats a bicycle tumble anytime.

David should be a writer. He can so easily do what many writers do, take an everyday common experience and make it exciting, or as we say, he can sling it high and make it stick on occasion. Many times the stories that stick are the best sellers.