Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina – 

Can someone please tell me why companies INSIST of fixing things which were never broken in the first place only to things muck up? It is so infuriating! If any of you have Yahoo as their email provider, you know what I am talking about. Did they even test their new upgrades before rolling them out? If they did, they need to replace their entire testing department because they failed miserably! The “move” feature doesn’t work at all. If you want to put items from your inbox into a folder, you need to drag and drop; but if the item is in your sent folder, you can’t even do that. When composing an email, the contacts feature is not working properly. The search feature is on the fritz. And these are only a few things I have encountered thus far; undoubtedly there will be more issues. UGH! Okay, I’m done complaining. Thank you for listening.

I had my critique group last night and, as usual, it was an enjoyable evening. We had an O’Henry-esque piece, where the ending surprised most, a horror short story which made me rethink the dinner I had planned for tonight, and a rather graphic account of the preparation of a sacrificial ram for a feast which turned everyone’s stomach. Other readings brought us to picturesque Penobscot Bay, a bank heist, a hysterical dating website debacle, and I offered up chapter ten of Simply by Chance for review. The library kicked us out at nine, so we adjourned to a local ice cream shop and read the story we did not have time to read while at the library. It never ceases to amaze me how dramatically diverse our group is, both in personalities and in writing styles, yet (most of the time) we all manage to get along, support and encourage each other.

One of the things pointed out to me in the piece I read was the question if “preaching to the choir” and “boggle the mind” were actually a phrases used in the early 1800s. I really did not know the answer. Turns out “preaching to the choir” was first used in the 1970s. I assigned Fred, the man who pointed out “preaching to the choir” didn’t hold water, to the task of finding me an alternate phrase I could use. A perfect substitution to the word “boggle” was offered by the group and I have already replaced it in my text. One of the group member, Steve, came up with the perfect name for the group of villains in my story. Todd had me scrap one sentence, and that one small change made all the difference in maintaining the flow of an entire chapter. These are just a few examples of how this group has helped me with my writing. These folks are worth their weight in gold. I have learned so much from them and I truly feel I am a better writer because of them.

Today I am going to be doing some house cleaning, both figuratively and actually. I have laundry to do, but I also need to handle some business things like going to the bank and mailing off my submission for the 2014 Indie Book Awards. So, even though it’s early, I had better get started. I hope you have a fabulous day and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

You wake from a dream that was so real…

It was the night after Christmas and I woke with a start, sat bolt upright, coughed and gasped for air. I clutched at my clothes truly expecting them to be wet for I could still taste the briny sea water in my throat and nose. My heart continued to pound and my legs shook as I made my way to the kitchen for a glass of water to flush the nauseating taste from my mouth.

It had been quite some time since I had had such a vivid dream, a dream where I was actually transported, a dream I was able to recall with complete clarity. I did not want to think about the last time, and I knew I would not be getting anymore sleep that night, so I flopped down on the couch and flipped on the television.

As I channel surfed from one inane infomercial to another, images of my dream assailed me; the glorious day, the hot sand, the crystalline water which slowly and unexplainably began to recede. Then, on the horizon, a strange anomaly appeared. Indistinguishable at first, then realization struck and the screaming and running started. I had almost made it back to my hotel before the wave stuck. It caught me and slammed me into a grove of trees less than fifty feet from the hotel’s front door. Somehow I manage to pull myself out of the rushing water and up into the tree. I watched in horror as a mother, clutching her young child, was swept past. What was once a breathtakingly beautiful tropical paradise, was now a mass of raging water, and all I could do was frantically cling to the tree and fervently pray it would not give way.

As I tried to shake the disturbing images from my mind, a breaking news story flashed across my television screen. Tsunami devastates Thailand.

As much as I hate to admit it, this is a true story, one which still leaves me shaken.

Your Next Challenge is:



You have 10 minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.