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Taking a Shot in the dark

Well, after many requests and several new writers asking for help, I have decided the begin the Rough Writers group again. I feel that working with all of you was beneficial to me as well as for you. 

The question is: Do we meet here at my office in person, or do you wish to work online? The day I officially have free is Friday evening, though I can try working in a group on Sunday evening after 6. I think once or twice a month is sufficient.

Leave a comment if you wish to do this.

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Liebster Award

Liebster Award

by Ladybug (Cici)

I saw a video that Rob and Jeff at Status Creative did about Michigan.  Before you see it I need to explain a few things. First: it was an open cast call. Anyone who wanted to participate could. Two: the people in the video had a say in where to film. Thirdly, and most important: They only had one week to film in 50 cities and a four minute video to put together. This was the challenge put to them by the Pure Michigan Board and backed by Chrysler. Personally, I thought they did an great job of it  and I admire them for it. They included links for you to find out more about each city they filmed in. And now for the link: http://youtu.be/Puv-wGYbcPM

Mr. Truepenny

My name is Sophie Etoile and my friend Jillie says I have faerie blood. Maybe she’s right.

Faeries are supposed to have problems dealing with modern technology and I certainly have more than my share of trouble with anything technological. The simplest of appliances develop horrendous problems when I am around. I can’t wear a watch because they start to run backwards, unless they’re digital, then they flash random numbers as though the watch’s inner-working has taken to measuring fractals instead of time.

If I take a subway it’s sure to be late. A bus is just as likely to have a new driver than not, who will take a wrong turn and get lost. One time I got on the number three bus heading south on Lee to downtown and somehow we ended up heading north to Foxville.

I also have strange dreams. I used to think they were the place my art came from, that my subconscious was playing around with images, tossing them up in my sleep before I put them down on canvas or on paper. But then, a few months ago, I had this serial dream that ran on for half a dozen nights in a row. A kind of faerie tale that was either me stepping into faerie and therefore real with its own rules and parameters-which is what Jillie would have me believe. Or it was my subconscious making another attempt to deal with the way my mother abandoned my father and me when I was a kid.

I don’t know which I believe anymore, because I find myself going back to that dream world from time to time and meeting the same people I first met there. I even have a boyfriend in that place, which probably tells you more than you wanted to know about my real social life.

Rationally, I know it’s just a continuation of that serial dream and I’d let it go at that except that it feels as real as anything I do during the day, sometimes more so.

But, I am getting off on a tangent. I meant to introduce myself to you and here I am giving you my life story. What I really wanted to tell you about was Mr. Truepenny.

The thing you have to understand is that I made him ups. He was like one of those invisible childhood friends, except that I deliberately made him up.

We weren’t exactly well-off when I was growing up. When my mother left us, I ended up being one of those latchkey kids. We didn’t life in the best part of town. Upper Foxville is a rough part of the city and it could be a scary place for a little girl who loved art and books. When I got home from school I went straight in and locked the door.
I’d get supper ready for my dad, but there were a couple of hours between my arriving home and when dad finished work, longer if he had to work late. We didn’t have a T.V., so I read a lot, but we couldn’t afford to buy books. on Saturday mornings we’d go to the library and I’d take out my limit of five books which I’d finish by Tuesday, even if I tried to stretch them out.

To fill the rest of the time I’d draw on shopping bags or the pads of paper that dad brought home from work. That never seemed to occupy enough hours so one day I made up Mr. Truepenny.

I would daydream about going to his shop. it was the most perfect place that I could imagine. Dark wood and leaded glass windows, thick carpets and club chairs with carved wooden based reading lamps strategically placed near the bookshelves. The selves were always filled with real leather-bound books and art folios. There was an art gallery in the back of the store.

The special thing about Mr. Truepenny’s shop was that all of its contents existed only within its walls. Shakespeare’s The Storm of Winter. The Chapman’s Tale by Chaucer. The Blissful Stream by William Morris. Silas, Steinbeck’s companion collection to The Long Valley. North Country by Emily Bronte.

None of these books existed, of course, but being the dreamy sort of kid I was, I actually dreamed that I was reading these ‘lost stories.’

The gallery in the back of the shop was much the same. there hung ‘lost works’ by the masters that saw the light of day only in my imagination. Van Gough, Monet, da Vinci, Homer and Cezanne.

Then there were all the trinkets and gewgaws that fascinate every child. The matriculated aluminum fish whose scales were painted orange and purple. The blue glass ball that you could see your future in if you had the patience to gaze into long enough. The toy soldiers that walked when you wound the key in their back.

Mr. Truepenny himself was a wonderfully eccentric individual who never once chased me out for my inability to purchase. He had a Don Quixote air about him. he was tall and thin with a thatch of mouse-brown hair and round spectacles, a rumpled tweed suit and a huge briar pipe that he continually fussed with, but never actually lit. He always greeted me with genuine affection and seemed disappointed when it was time for me to go.

My imagination was so vivid that my daydream visits to his shop were as real to me as when my dad took me to the library or Newford Gallery of Fine Art. But it didn’t last. I grew up, went to Butler University on student loans and the money from far too many menial odd jobs. I “got a life,” as the old saying goes. I made friends, got a job and began painting in earnest. I was busy. There was not tome, no need to visit Mr. Truepenny’s shop anymore. Eventually, I simply forgot about it.

Until I met Janice Petrie.

Wendy and I decided to stop at the market to do our shopping together on my way home from Wendy’s apartment. Trying to make up my mind between green beans and broccoli, my gaze lifted above the vegetable stand and met that of a little girl standing nearby with her parents. her eyes widened with recognition, though I’d never seen her before.

“You’re the woman!” she cried. “You’re the woman who’s evicting Mr. Truepenny. I think it’s a horrible thing to do. You’re a horrible woman!” Then she began to cry. Her mother attempted to calm her glancing at me apologetically. Finally she bustled the little girl out of the store still sobbing.

“What was that all about. Sophie?” Wendy asked me.

“I have no idea,” I replied, shaking my head. But, of course I did. I was just so astonished by the encounter that I didn’t know what to say. I changed the subject and that was the end of it until I got home. I dug out an old cardboard box from the back of my closet and rooted about in it until I came up with a folder of drawings I had done when I still lived with my dad. Near the back I found the ones I was looking for. They were studies of Mr. Truepenny and his amazing shop.

‘The things we forget,’ I thought looking at the awkward drawings. Pencil on brown grocery sack paper. Ballpoint ink on foolscap.

I took the drawings out onto my balcony and lay down on the old sofa I kept out there, studying the drawings one by one. There was Mr. Truepenny, writing something in his big, leather-bound ledger. Here was another of him holding his cat, Dodger, the two of them looking out of the leaded glass window at something on the street. A view of the main isle of the shop, leading to the gallery at the back. The perspective was slightly askew but it was not half bad considering I was no older when I did them than was the girl in the market today.
How could she have known? Mr. Truepenny and his shop were something I had made up. I couldn’t remember ever telling anyone else about Mr. Truepenny, not even Jillie. What did she mean about my evicting him from the shop?

I could think of no rational response. After a while, I set the drawings aside and tried to forget about it. Exhaustion from the late night before soon had me nodding off. I fell asleep only to find myself on the streets of Mabon, the made up city where Mr. Truepenny’s Book Emporium, Wonders and Art Gallery resided. I’m half a block from the shop. he area has changed. The once neat cobblestones are thick with grime. Refuse lies everywhere. Most of the storefronts are boarded up, their walls festooned with graffiti. When I reach Mr. Truepenny’s shop I see a sign in the window that reads, CLOSING SOON DUE TO LEASE EXPIRATION.

Half-dreading what I would find, I open the door. The silver bell above the door tinkled dully. The shop is dusty, dim and much smaller than I remember it. The shelves are almost bare. The door leading to the gallery is shut and a closed sign is tacked to it.

“Ah, Miss Etoile. It’s been so very long.” I turn to find Mr. Truepenny at his usual station behind the front counter. He is smaller than I remember and looks shabbier now. His hair is thinning and his suit threadbare, more shapeless than ever.

“What…what’s happened to the shop?” I ask.
I’ve forgotten that this is a dream. All I know is the awful feeling I have inside as I look at what has become of my childhood haunt.
“Well, times change,” he says. “The world moves on.”

“This – is this my doing?”

His eyebrows raise quizzically.

“I met this girl and she said I was evicting you.”

“I don’t blame you,” Mr. Truepenny says. I can see in his sad eyes that this is true. “You’ve no more need for me or my wares. So, it is only fair that you let us fade.”

“But you…that is… you’re not real.”

I feel awkward saying this because, while I remember now that I’m dreaming, this place is like one of my faerie dreams that feel as real as the waking world.

“That’s not strictly true,” he replies softly. “You did conceive of the city and this shop, but we were drawn to fit the blue-print of your dream from,” he paused. “Elsewhere.

“What elsewhere?”

He frowns, brow furrowing as he thinks. “I’m not really sure myself,” he tells me.

“You’re saying I didn’t make you up out of dreams. That I drew you here from somewhere else?” He nods. “And now you have to go back?”

“So it would seem.”

“And this little girl, how does she know about you?”

“Once an establishment is open for business, it really can’t deny any customer access, regardless of their age or station in life.”

“She’s visiting my dream?” I ask. This is almost too much to accept, even for a dream.

Mr. Truepenny shakes his head. “You brought this world into being through your single-minded desire. now it has, Had, a life of its own.”

“Until I forgot about it.”

“You have a very strong will,” he says. “You made us so real that we’ve been able to hang on a decade longer than we should have been able to. but, now we can no longer stay.”

I can see there’s a very twisted sort of logic involved here. It doesn’t make sense using the waking world’s logic. I think there are different rules in dream-scape. After all, my faerie boyfriend can turn into a crow.

“Do you have more customers, other than that little girl?”

“Janice Petrie. Oh yes. Or at least we did.” He waves his hand to encompass the shop. “Not much stock left, I’m afraid.” That was the first to go.”

“Why doesn’t their desire keep things running?”

“Well, they don’t have faerie blood, now do they? They can visit, but they haven’t the magic to bring us across or keep us here.”
It figures, I think. We’re back to the faerie blood thing again. Jillie would love this.

I’m about to ask him to explain it all more clearly when I get this odd jangling sound in my ears and I wake up, back on my sofa. My doorbell’s ringing. I go inside the apartment to Open the door to a FedEx delivery.

As I sign for the package I ask the courier, “Can dreams be real? Can we invent something in a dream and have it turn out to be a real place?”

“Beats me lady,” he replies not blinking an eye as he retrieves his signature block. I guess he gets all kinds.

I now visit Mr. Truepenny’s shop on a regular basis again. The area’s vastly improved. There is a cafe nearby were my boyfriend Jeck and I go for tea after we’ve browsed through Mr. Truepenny’s latest wares. Jeck likes this part of Mabon so much that he now has an apartment on Carthage Street, the same street as the shop. I think I may set up a studio nearby.

I’ve even run into Janice, the little girl in the market who brought me back her in the first place. She has forgiven me, of course, now that she knows it was all a misunderstanding. she lets me buy her an ice cream from the soda fountain sometimes before she goes home.

I’m very accepting of it all. you get that way after a while. The thing that worries me now is what happens to Mabon when I die? Will the city get run down again and eventually disappear? What about its residents? There is all these people here now. They’ve got family, friends, lives. I get the feeling it wouldn’t be the same for them if they had to go back to that elsewhere place that Mr. Truepenny was so vague about.

So that’s the reason I’ve written all this down and had it printed into a little folio by one of Mr. Truepenny’s friends in the waking world. I’m hoping somebody out there likes us. Someone who has just enough faerie blood to keep the place going. naturally not just anyone will do. You have to be a book lover, a lover of old places and tradition as well as curious about the new.

If you think you are the person for the position please send a resume to me in care of Mr. Truepenny’s Book Emporium, Wonders and Art Gallery on Carthage Street in Mabon. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Challenge #5

Write 75 words or less on what TRADITIONS means to you.

The dark-haired woman behind the desk had been reading and rereading the same two pages of the report on her desk for twenty minutes. Her eyes were wide with disbelief. One hundred years wasted! She contemplated the irony of the timing.

Today the whole planet was celebrating the first interstellar travel ship to leave Earth to visit other solar systems one hundred years ago today. It’s new quantum drive system unproven beyond their own system was later surpassed several times over. But, the excitement of that first ship leaving to look for intelligent life in the Milky Way galaxy had driven the planet’s inhabitants to a frenzy of UFO sightings and reports of contact. New religions based on the theory that there were intelligent beings “somewhere out there” began to spring up overnight pinning the citizen’s hopes on an unknown race of beings that could ‘rescue them and help them reach other galaxies’.

And now Hau Ling, the President of Earth Federation, was going to have to inform the inhabitants of Earth that the last inhabitable planet had been explored and there is no other intelligent life in this galaxy. “We are all alone,” she murmured to herself. “How do you tell 60 trillion people their dreams have been shattered? They will be devastated!”

She rose and walked to the windows as dawn approached. She liked watching the sun rise above the horizon and the variety of color that washed the sky with a broad brush. One hundred years ago the colors were more vivid, she remembered. The pale colors now were caused by the graying of the atmosphere with pollutants of the lives of 60,430,900,000 people.

A combination of anti-aging vaccines and disease eradication had brought humanity to overflowing despite the lowered birthrate in most of the Earth Confederation’s Nation States. War had been eradicated along with the diseases that would have thinned Earth’s population and minor squabbles were controlled in small arenas that kept civilian lives safe.

Hau Ling turned at the sound of her aide entering the room. General Ramaine Intua was the epitome of diplomacy even at this early hour. Only his eyes betrayed the puzzlement of being summoned at this early hour. Hauling waved him to a chair by the desk as she seated herself. “General Intua, I want to discuss the report you sent to me last night and the implications to this planet’s citizens.”

In the last assignment you were asked to create an outline.  Expand the first chapter idea by creating opening paragraphs including the ‘hook’ for your story.

If you have a separate work that you want to work on please create an outline for that project then create the opening paragraphs as above.

Reading assignment will be e-mailed separately and will have to do with July 12’s discussion and assignment.

You can see my assignment in the Written By Rose section.

Newsletter 6-18-2010

I know with summer here and vacations looming, the children are home all day, it is hard to get some writing time in.

A few suggestions from the pros:

1. Schedule an hour every morning before everyone else is up or at night after they have gone to be. Set your alarm and treat it as a business appointment!

2. Sit the children at a table (kitchen table, coffee table, play table or even a card table) and ask them to write a story for you or draw a series of pictures to illustrate a story.

3. Spend at least 15 minutes each day in imagery…visualize your characters and what they are doing at that moment of the day. May help the plot line and certainly it will help you get to know your characters, their quirks and flaws.

4. If you get stuck set the story aside for a day or two and work on cleaning your work space,  or kitchen, filing stories or something near by! -Rose

Welcome to Kailey Williams, Jessica Reuter and Cecilia Brown, Jade Walker, Steven Krum, John Tyer and Gena Shadden, all of whom have joined our group this month. We are growing by leaps and bounds! All the more important to net work during the two weeks between meetings. Take a moment of your day to peruse everyone’s blog and write encouraging notes to them. Use the RSS feeds or request an e-mail updates and you will know when anyone posts a story or assignment.

Hirosan Speaks Out!

Harold  Tietjens spoke about the importance of outlining your work before you start the job at hand. Why? Several reasons.

1.  When there is considerable time between times you can sit and write (in the writing world that can be anything more than 24 hours!) it will help you remember where you were and where you are going.

2. Second it keeps your characters from wandering off on tangents you don’t intend for them to go. This keeps your story tight and within the word limits.

3. You can use outlines for anything from scripts to short stories as well as for books.

4. You can outline general ideas or down to character flaws if you want.

5. Your chapter outline can be used in your cover letter to editors to show them you know exactly where your story is going.

6. Scripts are a form of outline. Try to get a hold of one and take a good look at it.

7. Comics are another form of outline. The panels are like a storyboard for a movie. They show the characters, action, dialogue and setting all in one frame.

8. The three parts of a story or book are the Introduction (of characters, setting, antagonists, etc); the body (where the main conflict is revealed and action escalates) and the Conclusion (or the reveal, tie it all up; where the ends of the story are neatly wrapped up).

9. In newspaper reporting note taking is a form of outline in that it tracks your information so you can out it all in an order that makes sense. In reporting you do your research first then write down questions you want to get answered then get the answers.

10. Any publishing company will use an outline form to create photo books as well as written works.

11. Even Role playing game books need to be meticulously outlined in order to make sure nothing is forgotten.

12. Types of outlines: Chapter outlines (rough idea of what each chapter is about); Character outlines (descriptive of character); Location outlines (descriptive of locations characters will be in); background (history) outlines.

Questions were asked and samples of work passed around for all to see.  If you have any other questions you can forward them via the office e-mail at GBG Publishing:    office @ GBGPublishing.com

Harold Tietjens

Harild Tietjens -Editor-In-Chief-GBG Publishing, LLC

Harold Tietjens has published ten books on the history of Transformers (yes the toy) and was the author for several comic books for the Arctic Press for nearly 2 years as well as art editor for 3 years.  He is also part owner of GBG Publishing.

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Assignment #6    Read: Killer Ideas  sent out last week.  Make a list of 5 ideas that excite you. Take one of those Ideas and make a chapter outline for the story.

My five ideas:

A series of short stories I could submit to SF magazine involving nebula titles… Cliffhanger style?

A series of Rose’s Adventures Prior to Tex?

A new super hero series for comic book in which the heroes live down to earth lives.

Flights of Fantasy series involving faeries (either comic strips, short stories or novels?)

A mini series of stories in which computers become sentient and find out how real magic works.

The Jelly Fish Nebula

The Jellyfish Nebula

One hundred years of space exploration have passed and mankind finally realizes the truth. We are the only sentient species in our galaxy. Tales of alien beings with great knowledge, coming to save us from ourselves, have been greatly exaggerated. Earth Federation President Hau Ling must make a choice. Can she bring Earth into a new age of understanding so they can become the very beings they had hoped to find? Or will Earth try to destroy itself in a new struggle for dominance and power?

Chapter 1 Hau Ling receives the 100th anniversary time capsule.
Chapter 2 Realization that 100 years of space exploration has revealed that Earth is alone in her galaxy.
Chapter 3 Earth citizens realize what that aloneness means & hope for alien rescue dwindles.
Chapter 4 Earth’s economy begins to rock
Chapter 5 Shannae becomes Hau Ling’s shadow to prevent assassination.
Chapter 6 Hau Ling realizes that Earth inhabitants must become the very aliens that they sought or destroy themselves in their aloneness.
Chapter 7 The ship is beginning to be built
Chapter 8 Intua hired to pilot  the first frontier ship to the Jellyfish Nebula to settle an Earth-like planet.
Chapter 9 War threatens to destroy earth’s chances of launching the frontier class vessel.
Chapter 10 Choosing the sleeper passengers and reading for war.
Chapter 11 Saying good-bye to friends and family.
Chapter 12 Launch of the Frontier class ship.
I chose o do only twelve chapters, though I am sure they will be considerably larger than I first intended. I want the story’s main theme to be what would people be like if they realized that they truly were alone in the universe and how would they be able to handle that aloneness?

“Our Heroes should  be bigger than life and our villains nastier than month old leftovers.”

-Rose Angel

“Assignments teach us about working toward a goal in a timely manner. I think it’s called a deadline!”

-Rose Angel

GBG Publishing’s card game ‘Spin the Issues’ has made one of the  game industry’s largest trade magazines this week! Rated as “So much fun it will make your head spin!”

Congrats to Mark on, not one, but two stories sold this month! Yea!

GBG Publishing will begin working with authors that want help locating places to publish their work. Author must provide a current bio and pic.

Make sure you have read “Killer Ideas.”

Make a list of five ideas for short stories (or books) that excite you. Yes, you can use one of those in the last assignment.

Take one of those ideas and write a chapter outline. (see pg 3 for my work)

If you have time expand on the chapter outlines so you will remember specifics you want to include.

Also if you have time , begin your first chapter. A chapter should be approximately 25 pages (give or take a few pages, LOL!) or about 7,500 words (again give or take a few dozen).

Check each other’s blogs. Comment on stories posted.

Please note that the group has decided to work with GBG Publishing in creating an author’s Prompt Deck. So bring in prompts, either descriptive, photographic, or drawings. Also be thinking of a better name for the deck than the In 750 Words or Less, that I came up with.

Write 75 words or less on what ACHIEVEMENT means to you.