Prompt Me With Your Best Shot #writerwednesday #writerslife

Photo credit: Foter.com

Actually, no, you don’t have to prompt me…

Since I jumped back into the writing pool, I’ve never really suffered from writer’s block.

Don’t be jealous or anything. It’s only because I’ve had 18 years worth of stories rolling around head during the time I wasn’t writing.

Right now, my personal writing issues are related to my aversion to creating outlines (and that will be the topic of a future #WriterWednesday post) and ending stories I’ve loved writing.

But I do sometimes use prompts as inspiration for scenes within a bigger story.

Besides the WP daily prompt, here are some of the sources I use from time to time:

Writing Prompts from Pinterest

Writer’s Digest

365 Creative Writing Prompts

When you need “prompting”, where do you turn? Feel free to share.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

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The Voice #writerwednesday #writerslife

This post is for the writers out there who are always ready, willing and quick to disbelieve that readers enjoy their writing.

Yeah, I’m talking to you...

“The Voice”.

As writers, some of us have it and some of us don’t.

To me, “The Voice” is the kind of writing that makes me lean into what I’m reading. The kind of writing where I can actually “hear” the writer’s tone, rhythm and cadence of their words in my head.

It’s almost as if the writer is a friend sitting across from me at the coffee shop talking to me.

“The Voice” can be raw with emotion, drip with sarcasm or be as gentle as a whisper. And with each and every sentence, that voice is always genuine, vulnerable and authentic.

We all strive to have our voice shine through but like I said, some writers already have it and when we “hear” it, we should tell that writer. It could give them the boost of confidence they may need.

That’s what I plan on doing from now on when I hear “the voice” – when I hear it, I’ll say it.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

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This Is Who I Am – #writer #writerslife

Like I said in this past post, I don’t do selfies.

I much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it.

But since a few curious readers asked me “what I look like”, I’ve decided to post a photo.

A photo.

One photo.

A one time thing that will likely not happen again for a very long time.

And this photo may go POOF and then disappear when I revamp my blog in the coming months.

If you would like to see “who I am“, you’ll need to scroll down.

Yeah, scroll down.

Scroll down some more.

Scroll down some more again.

You’re almost there.

Okay, there you go…

This is who I am.

This is also who I’m interested in rediscovering.

Wait…what did you say?

I never said that the photo would be a “recent” one! 🙂

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

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Lessons from The Good Old Days #nostalgia #thegoodolddays

Yesterday, I wrote about the Good Old Days.

If you are a “younger” reader who didn’t experience any of what I listed yesterday, it probably sounded like a frightfully archaic time.

Yeah, I see the wheels in your head turning and thinking, “What was so great about all of that? And no internet? She’s cray cray!”

Those were good times because when I look back as a full fledged adult, I realize just how great of a training ground it was – hardships and all.

I won’t speak for any of the other “seasoned” readers here but I will speak for myself when I say that :

  • I learned the art of patience – like saving up birthday money over a period of years to buy something I really, really wanted which made the purchase sweeter and the buzz lasted longer;
  • I appreciated the non-material things in life – like hanging out listening to old stories of family/friends or taking a impromptu day trip across the border (5 of us piled into the backseat pre-mandatory seatbelt days) to Pizza Hut before they existed in Canada;
  • I understood the clear difference between “needs” and “wants“. Just because I wanted something didn’t mean that I would get it. And with South American/Caribbean parents, even if I could use my birthday money and they said no, I knew better than to ask “why”. “No” was a full sentence and no explanation was provided;
  • I learned that good behavior and manners were expected (and not always rewarded);
  • I developed reasoning skills by figuring out certain problems on my own and being self-reliant because my parents weren’t, wouldn’t and couldn’t be at my beck and call;
  • I appreciated the boundaries between work life and home life that my family tried to keep;
  • I understood that the more effort I put into getting something I wanted, the sweeter the feeling of accomplishment was when I actually did get it;
  • I enjoyed that every minute of each day didn’t need to be filled with “doing something” – it was okay to just sit back and do nothing sometimes.

Today, life is all about expediency with less efficiency...

Throwing money at the latest trendy gadget the moment it’s released when its not necessary to even buy…

Keeping up with or trying to outdo the Joneses because of FOMO (fear of missing out)…

Being trapped in an addictive loop of “fake busyness” that does nothing to advance the important things in life.

Yeah, I sound like an old fuddy duddy today but I’ve been witnessing some incredibly ridiculous ridiculousness these days as “Back to School” shopping has begun. 🤔

What positive lessons did you learn from the good old days?

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

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Catching “Feels” #writerwednesday #writerslife #feels 

Photo credit: Tamara Álvarez via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Like I said  in “All I Ask“, I’m answering questions I receive from time to time…this is question #3.

In a comment a while back, a fellow blogger friend from the 2017 A to Z Challenge, Geraint from Penguin Ponderings, asked me where I get my “feels” from in my fiction. I invite you to check out Geraint’s blog for some great stories. He also posts some beautiful shots of wildlife on Instagram.

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked that question about “feels”. I know what it refers to but not being 100% certain of what the proper definition is, I turned to the trusty Urban Dictionary:

“Feels”:

  • Shortened version of ‘feeling’, generally a strong emotional response;
  • A wave of emotions that sometimes cannot be adequately explained;
  • A word used to describe something that is intensely emotional on a level somewhere between you feeling empty and you on the floor in a ball weeping uncontrollably.

Okay, so I would not categorize my writing by that last one but you get the point.

Like many others who write fiction, I get my “feels” by tapping into experiences and situations that have challenged me. Usually, I don’t have to dig that far.

I enjoy taking a scene to the basic underlying emotions that we all have, translating those feelings beyond words into “visuals” and having those scenes resonate enough to provoke a physical reaction…hopefully.

For me, a “feel” is successful if I find myself rewinding or rereading a certain part of a movie or book over and over again.

If I get the very same “pang” in my chest each and every time I reread or rewatch, that’s a “successful feel” for me, like that final fight scene of JLo’s movie “Enough” or Maya Angelou‘s “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and her other autobiographical books.

Emotions are emotions:

  • that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know that you aren’t safe (“The Things Women Go Through“);
  • washing your hands clean of someone you used to love for good and finally meaning it (“Gone“) ;
  • allowing yourself to give into sweet temptation and not caring about the consequences (“Straight, No Chaser“); or
  • shutting yourself down to cope with the consequences of a bad situation (“Stronger“).

“Feels” are all about the good, the bad and the ugly of our emotions.

And what about you? How deep do you dig to get the “feels” for your writing?

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.

 

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

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What Genre Are You? #amwriting #writing #writerslife

 

Like I said  in “All I Ask“, I’m answering questions I receive from time to time…this is question #2.

Well, Felicia from Nesie’s Place beat me to the punch with a question I had planned on tackling next month on a #WriterWednesdays but she’s quick on the draw like that and I like it! Always full of great insight, I encourage you to check out her blog here and while you’re at it, you should pick up one of her three books. Yes, I said THREE books!

There is no time like the present…

What Genre Am I?”

I already know that the closest genres to my writing are Romance and Women’s Fiction but after a little digging, I’m still not sure into which my writing would fit. Would it be Women’s Fiction with heavy dose of Romance for added flavor?

We all know what Romance is but do we know how it differs from Women’s Fiction?

“A romance novel focuses entirely and completely on the romantic relationship and guarantees a happy ending for the heroine and hero. Women’s fiction focuses on a woman’s journey, wherever that may take her and whatever that may encompass. Though usually emotionally satisfying, a happy ending is not an expectation…The confusion between women’s fiction and pure romance sometimes occurs because the above elements of romance and a happy ending may also appear in women’s fiction. Yet, neither is a requirement in that genre.” – Writer’s Digest
“The Rules of Romance Novels are clear. The narrative must revolve 100% around the two characters involved—the Hero and his heroine (the H/h) and it must always (always always always) end happily….it must be About The Romance, keep all other elements as secondary, and it must end on a happy note with a little angst thrown in for good measure and satisfied fans. “Women’s fiction” is a much broader category with a single rule: a woman’s experience is at the heart and soul of the narrative. This woman can fall in and out of love, she can cheat or get cheated on…she can be young or old or in-between and it could also be set just about anywhere or any time…” – Writer’s Digest

It’s clear that my “Living to Die” novella falls into the “Women’s fiction” category with no fuss and no muss. But my novella wasn’t a creative piece I had planned on so it doesn’t count. It just developed organically during the A to Z Challenge because of something I was experiencing at the time.

But as for the stories closer to my heart and always on my mind, the ones I have planned for my characters, only time will tell where those will fit. Writing realistic and flawed characters (who sometimes have no regrets about those flaws)…Characters who could be living next door to you…A little cliffhanger or two…Issues of “diversity” sprinkled…That’s more my style…

But what about stories that provide the male protagonist perspective like Tyler? Would that still considered as “Women’s fiction”?

If you know the answer, feel free to tell me.

In the meantime, I’m going to follow the advice that someone gave me recently:

Stop thinking about it, write your story and figure out the genre later.

All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews

 

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Summer Nights #blogging #summer #writing

Photo credit: Ian Muttoo via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

July 1 … Happy Canada Day, eh!

It is already officially summer but it has yet to fully cooperate.

40 degrees Celsius with the humidity followed by cold and torrential rain that knocks out the power like today… 

The bright side is that at least there’s no snow!

Montreal summers are short and we take full advantage of the few months that we do have. Summer in the city means festivals, festivals and more festivals. This city is the place to be!

2016 was my year of trauma and drama and I didn’t get a chance to enjoy anything except a lot of stress and dusty mess. If you were with me last year, you may remember that I ran away from home because of it – twice.

This July, I won’t be unplugging completely but I will be spending less time online.

I’m feeling the need to step-back, enjoy some summer nights, gaze at the stars from my balcony, focus on other things like my edits to “Living To Die” and building up my email list.

Much of the “new” posts this July will be “spontaneous and barely edited” stuff I wrote while I was away on holiday a few weeks back. Posting stuff that I haven’t edited to death and that is semi-unfiltered is totally not me but I’m prepared to face that fear.

So though it will look like I’m online posting almost everyday on WP, I really am not. That’s what the “Scheduled” function is for, isn’t it?

July will also mean spending less time blog reading so don’t think that I’ve forgotten you. But when I do drop in to say hey on your blog, please be sure to save me some barbecue and a cold beverage!

While I’m at it, I’ve temporarily logged out/uninstalled Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest and there may be other apps to follow so if you contact me via these platforms, you won’t get a response for a while.

But I’ll still be responding to comments via the blog,  my Twitter (@simplymarquessa), my email (simplymarquessa@gmail.com) and my newsletter list.

That’s the plan Stan.

Take care and enjoy your July!

 

M  xoxo

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

 

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