Friday, July 22, 2011

Journaling: Friday Fiction...Ink

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Ink."  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


The ink well tipped over on the desk and black ink spilled out across the pages, dripping onto the floor.  The cat who had jumped on the desk, thus knocking over the well, sat there licking his fur--unconcerned at the mess he had made.  The writer, who was so hopelessly blocked, sat with her head in her hands, despairing over the loss of her hard work.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Journaling...Hospital


Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Hospital--Write about a time you were in the hospital (as a patient or visitor.)


I was in the hospital last summer for nine days.  I had severe cellulitis in my leg and developed a staph infection.  I was on IV antibiotics which had to be administered through an IV line placed in my arm internally.  The day I came home, I had an allergic reaction to the medicine and spent the 4th of July in the ER.  All told, I was on home health care and IV antibiotics for six more weeks.  I lost a lot of hair, but thank God, I didn't lose my leg.  I very well could have or, at worst, I could have died.  I was one of the lucky ones.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 7/20/11 and Journaling...School

Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper 
until drops of blood form on your forehead.  ~Gene Fowler

Well, I made the decision to not do Camp NaNoWriMo after all.  I just can't commit to writing that many words per day right now.  I have a blog event next week--I'm hosting a read-a thon--and I'm still looking for a job and I leave on vacation on August 3 so I have to get packed and ready for that.  Have to pack for myself and for my two sons.  Fun times ahead...I hate packing for trips. =O(

What I have going on now in terms of works-in-progress:

--My current idea had to be tweaked once again.  I determined it was not going to work the way I had planned so I have to take the research in another direction.
--meanwhile, I came across another idea that I'm in the process of testing its feasibility.  Not sure if I'll work on both or run with just one at first.

My goals:

--I'm going to do research, but I'm also going to start writing and research as I go.  I'm starting with a very small word count of 500 words per week.
--daily journaling (see today's entry below)
--I'm also going to work on one, maybe two, short stories for a couple of contests I'm going to enter.

Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  School--If you could have changed one thing about a school you attended, so that it became a better school, what would you have changed?


While I loved the school district that my elementary, middle, and high school were a part of, I really wish they would have had an orchestra program in addition to traditional band.  I tried the clarinet in fifth grade, but didn't like it.  I know I would have loved to learn and play the violin or cello.  I think the school would have been all the better for having an orchestra.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Journaling: Friday Fiction...Torch

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Torch."  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


He grabbed a torch from the castle wall and ran down the stone steps.  He had to get to the watchtower to sound the alarm.  Up on the ramparts, he had seen the huge row of riders and armed men marching toward the castle.  He ascended the steps of the watchtower.  As he neared the top, he stopped suddenly.  A look of horror crossed his face.  He turned slowly and began to tumble down the steps.  There was an arrow sticking out of his back.  When he landed at the bottom of the tower, it was driven further home.  As he lay dying, all he could think of was the terrible fate of the castle.  Without the warning of impending invasion, the castle and its people were doomed.




Also, I won another One-Minute Writing of the Day for my Friday Fiction piece using the word "Straw."  Yay! Here is what I wrote, in case you missed it last week:

The straw in the abandoned barn smelled musty and damp. He didn't care though. Any place was good enough for him as long as he could hide safely. He looked down at the iron shackle still hooked on his ankle. The master had kept him chained because he knew he was a runner. Somehow the chain had been weak and he was able to break it with a hatchet easily. He had been on the run for days before finding the barn. He climbed into the loft and settled down behind some bales of hay. He could hear the baying of the dogs in the distance. He could only pray they would not search the barn. As it turned out, a futile prayer.

Thank you to C. Beth for awarding it to me once again.  I'm honored!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Journaling...Loss


Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Loss--Have you ever grieved the loss of someone you had never met in person? If so, write about that. If not, write about, well...anything else!


When he came on the movie scene, I fell instantly in love.  It wasn't just looks; it was his personality and the promise of what would come.  Who am I talking about?  Heath Ledger.  When he died, it was one of the saddest days of my life.  He was my favorite actor.  I felt like I had a connection with him.  It's hard to explain.  In the film, "The Patriot", his character's name was Gabriel.  I so admired that character and his portrayal that I named my older son Gabriel.  Kind of a legacy, so to speak.  I miss a person that I never knew, but I did know that he had great promise.  It was acknowledged with an OSCAR. So sad that it had to be awarded posthumously.  I do a tribute post to Heath on my blog every year on the anniversary of his death.  He deserves to be remembered.


You are greatly missed, Heathcliff Ledger.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Journaling...Peace

Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Peace--For you to consider your environment a peaceful one, what is the most important element it must include?


I absolutely must have complete silence.  By this, I mean no yelling and bickering boy noises constantly in the background.  I love my boys, I really do, but sometimes I really need a Calgon tidal wave to take me away!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Journaling...Layers

Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Layers--Respond to the prompt, "multiple layers."


The multiple "emotional" layers of being a writer:

  • determination
  • exhilaration
  • despair
  • mania
  • pride
  • excitement
Did I miss any?


Sunday, July 10, 2011

ROW80 Check-In 7/10/11 and Journaling...Love/Hate

I didn't check in on Wednesday because it was only two days from the starting date and I didn't accomplish anything anyway.  Yeah, the Camp NaNoWriMo thing is not going so well so far.  I have my novel pretty well fleshed out in my head, but I'm having issues with actually putting words on paper.  I'm also realizing that I may have to throw in the towel on it, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I have not made that decision yet.  I'm going to give myself a little more time to commit.  So, revamped goals:

  • I need to write about 2400 words a day now if I'm going to meet the 50,000 word goal.
  • daily journaling (see below for today's entry)
  • work on flash fiction story (haven't decided 100% if I'm going to enter this month or not)
I have to keep telling myself...keep on keeping on.  All is not lost until you let it be.



Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Love/hate:  With whom (or with what) do you have a love/hate relationship?


I love books and I love reading.  I hate how slow I read, how backlogged I am on review books, and I really hate how I let myself get distracted from reading...TV and internet being the culprits.  So that could also be a love/hate relationship with TV and the internet! That's a whole other story....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Journaling...Friday Fiction: Straw

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Straw."  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


The straw in the abandoned barn smelled musty and damp.  He didn't care though.  Any place was good enough for him as long as he could hide safely.  He looked down at the iron shackle still hooked on his ankle.  The master had kept him chained because he knew he was a runner.  Somehow the chain had been weak and he was able to break it with a hatchet easily.  He had been on the run for days before finding the barn.  He climbed into the loft and settled down behind some bales of hay.  He could hear the baying of the dogs in the distance.  He could only pray they would not search the barn.  As it turned out, a futile prayer.


Inspired by my current read, Roots by Alex Haley.

Journaling...Houseguest and One-Minute Writing of the Day 6/24/11



Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Houseguest--Write about a houseguest you've had, or a time you were a houseguest.


My Mom and I were just talking about this the other day.  When she still lived in Michigan, she would come down and visit me at least twice a year.  I had a nice little guest room for her (before I had kids).  It was so nice to wake up with her there.  Sometimes she would be up first, making coffee.  Sometimes I would get up first and go in and wake her up.  Although it's wonderful having her living in the same town now, sometimes we miss the special feeling of those visits.

Since joining in on The One-Minute Writer daily writing prompts on May 18, 2011, I have won the One-Minute Writing of the Day three times and the One-Minute Writer of the Week once! My latest win for One-Minute Writer of the Day (that I didn't even know I had won...duh!) was for the Friday Fiction prompt of "Watch" which I wrote on June 24, 2011.  Here is what I wrote which warranted me a win:

Richard had worked on the night watch in the Tower for years. He patrolled the required areas silently. He didn't like working in the Tower. Too many souls had passed through its doors to the scaffold. It was a dismal place. As he was passing the quarters which housed the prisoners of high status, he heard a woman's voice. He looked through the small window in the door and saw a slight, pretty woman on her knees, praying fervently. She had a courageous air about her and there was a strange heavenly light surrounding her head. He was astounded by the apparent strength emanating from her...she who was destined for the executioner's sword on the morrow. He hung his head, his spirit much afflicted, and continued down the corridor.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Journaling...Trip



Today's One-Minute Writer prompt is:  Trip--Write about a memorable trip you took before the age of 18.


When I was ten, my family went on a two week vacation tour of the New England states (some of them).  We visited Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.  We visited the Carnegie Institute, a marble quarry, a castle (Wilson Castle) that a man built for the woman he loved, and much more.  It was one of our best vacations! I so loved Vermont that I used to say I was going to move there when I grew up.  There's still time! ;O)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

ROW80 Round 3: Goals and Camp NaNo (am I crazy?)

Okay, here goes...Round 3! And I've really taken the plunge, into the lake.  Yes, that's the lake at Camp NaNoWriMo.  I have a feeling I may look like this by the time it's over!

So, my goals....

  • I'm starting late on NaNo, so my daily word count will have to be around 1850 if I want to finish by the 31st.  Of course, I know there may be days that I will have to double up, but I'm aiming for at least 1800 words per day.  (Initially, I'm going to research in the mornings and write at night, but my research is not too extensive so will probably only last the first week or so).
  • daily journaling through The One-Minute Writer (I'm not giving this up now).
  • Devin O'Branagan's Flash Fiction contest for July...a 1000 words or less story--due by July 15.
The story I entered in Devin's contest last month did not win.  I came in third place, but I did say I would share the story here on the blog.  If you would like to read it, go HERE.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote and if you voted for my story, an extra special thanks to you. =O)

Good luck with whatever you endeavor to accomplish this month!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Journaling...Friday (Saturday) Fiction: Stock

Today is Friday Fiction at The One-Minute Writer.  Friday Fiction was rescheduled for Saturday this week.  The prompt is Write a brief bit of fiction using the prompt "Stock".  From C. Beth...Friday Fiction is your opportunity to write a short (short, short, short) story. Many participants use more than one minute for Friday Fiction prompts, and I open up the One-Minute Writing of the Day contest to entries of various lengths.


It was her first starring role in a summer stock production.  Her dream role--Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.  She was incredibly nervous.  Her stomach was flipping and churning.  She heard the hush as the audience quieted.  The house lights went down.  She stepped forward.  The curtain went up.  This was her moment...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer at Grandma's--a short, short story

As promised, here is the story I entered in Devin O'Branagan's monthly Flash Fiction contest, which I said I would post whether I won or lost.  Well, I didn't win.  I came in third place.  No regrets though.  I enjoyed the experience and I appreciate everyone who voted and supported the contest.  I will probably participate again this month, although the visual prompt is quite a challenge (see it HERE).  Anyway, without further ado, here is the story...


Summer at Grandma’s
a story by Michelle Stockard Miller
   
     Summer vacation.  Two words that bring profound happiness to most kids, but not to me.  While other kids are making plans for the beach or going on trips with their families, I get to spend my summer break the same way I have since I was five years old--cooped up in my Grandma Ruth’s ancient house.  When Mom and Dad told me I was going again this summer, I was really mad.  
    “I’m thirteen.  I’m old enough to stay home alone.  Why do I have to go to Grandma’s again?”, I said.  “I hate it there!”  There’s nothing to do and the house is really creepy.”
    “Now Joe, you know your father and I work so many hours and we just can’t have you home by yourself all day doing God knows what.  We just feel that you’re still too young to stay by yourself, especially when we could end up working late some nights.”
    “Son, your Grandma loves you.  How can you say such things about staying there?” Dad said.
    “Sorry, Dad.  I just wish I could spend my summers having fun like other kids.”
    “Well, we’ll try to take some time off and maybe we can go on a trip somewhere,” Mom said.
    I had heard that story before.  They always said they would try to take time off, but they never did.  I resigned myself to my fate.

    “How was your bus ride?” Grandma asked.  “Did you get anything to eat?”
     I had just arrived from my walk from the bus stop.  I was hot and sweaty from lugging my suitcase and backpack all the way..
    “It was fine,” I replied.  “I ate a big breakfast before I left.”
    “Well, I made some cookies and I’m making a nice pot roast for supper,” she said.
    “Okay.  I’m going to go up to my room and put my stuff away.”
    I trudged up the stairs to my room.  It wasn’t a bad room really.  Just a little old and shabby, like the rest of the house.  I put my clothes in the dresser and my suitcase in the closet.  Flopping down on the bed with one of the books from my backpack, I half read the words.  I knew it was only a matter of time before I started hearing the strange noises.  I was determined this year--no matter what--that I was going to find out what was making the noises.

    Grandma went to bed right after supper.  I waited in my room until I was sure she was asleep.  I grabbed the flashlight that I had taken from the kitchen and crept out.  The door to the attic was at the end of the hall.  I knew the noises were coming from the attic.  I just couldn’t figure out why Grandma had never noticed or mentioned them.  I opened the door and started climbing the attic stairs.  I could hear the noises more clearly now.  They sounded like scraping and knocking at the same time, along with a strange clink of metal.  I could feel a lump of fear rising in my throat.  I swallowed hard and continued into the attic.  I saw movement coming from behind a large trunk.  I approached slowly and my eyes widened in horror.  There before me was a girl about two years older than me, her chained ankles fastened to an iron ring in the floor.  She stared back in obvious astonishment.
    “Who are you?” I asked.  “Why are you chained in my Grandma’s attic?”
    She put a finger to her lips and whispered, “Be quiet or she’ll hear you.”
    “Who will hear me?”
    “Ruth.  She’ll hear you and I’ll be in big trouble” she said, looking terrified.
    “Okay,” I said softly.  “But tell me what you are doing here.  What’s your name?”
    “I’m Sophie, your sister.”  
    I looked at her in disbelief.  I was shocked.  How could I have a sister that I didn’t even know about?
    “I don’t have a sister.  You’re crazy”, I said.
    “Yes, you do.  I am your sister.  They’ve been keeping me locked up here since you were born.  They said they were afraid I would hurt you.  I don’t know why.  I would never hurt anyone.”
    Just then, I heard a sound behind me.  I swung around and there stood Grandma.
    “Joseph, step away from your sister”, she said.
    “Wha...why?” I said.
    Suddenly, Sophie was lunging for me.  Her eyes looked dead and she had huge fangs.  She was going for my throat.  Grandma grabbed me and pulled me out of the way just in time.  Sophie reached the end of her chain and was jerked back to the floor.  She crouched there, whimpering.

    Grandma took me downstairs and told me a frightening story.  One night when Sophie was walking home from the library, she was attacked by a vampire.  Two days later, she became a vampire herself.  She was fifteen.  By the time I was born, she had been fifteen for many years.  My parents couldn’t bring themselves to kill her because they loved her.  They kept her chained up in our house.  When I came along, they were too afraid that she would get loose somehow and attack me so they took her to Grandma’s.
    “But why did they have me stay here every summer if they were afraid she would get me?” I asked.
    “Well, she’s pretty secure here, Joe.  Her chains are made of pure silver so she can’t break them and there is garlic all around the inside of the attic door which forms a barrier of sorts.  That door is usually double bolted from the outside.  I must have forgotten to lock it when I fed her earlier.  I’m so absent minded,” she said ruefully.
    I was too numb to say anything.  What I had thought was another boring stay at Grandma’s had turned out to be much worse.  What was I supposed to do with a vampire sister?

The End