Stories

Flash Fiction: Glass

It’s been a long time since I’ve written fiction. Life’s been getting in the way–you know how it is–and I’ve been doing a lot of other types of writing (blogging, articles) and lots of editing, so getting back in the saddle has been a little tough. But today, something happened at my day job that inspired this little piece of flash fiction. And so was born this rendering of a young girl’s point of view on family violence in…

 

Glass

The shouting echoes inside my chest; it rings inside empty space. But I am not empty. Inside lives a cold, shivering ache.

From my safe place under the bed, I watch as strangers throw dishes, glasses, books, and the TV remote to the floor. They scream. They threaten. They are oblivious. They are blind. They have become monsters who do not see chaos and destruction; they do not care about the shattered glass and plastic pieces strewn across the hardwood floor.

I used to know those people. Their once familiar faces are now feral, twisted. One used to read me stories at night and chase away the ghosts I swore were hiding in my closet. And the other used to leave me love notes on pink paper in my lunch box. The other kids teased me because of those notes and, to save face, I would make a snide comment, crumple them up and toss them in the trash. But secretly…deep down in the black hole in my chest…I needed what those frilly notes contained; I needed a splash of color to soothe the ache.

That usually ended once I arrived home. I eventually learned that pink splash was like whitewash; it only masked our family secrets, only candy-coated my pain.

The front door closes. It’s suddenly very quiet.

I know what’s coming. The cycle, once begun, must play itself out.

Glass crunches underfoot. Perfectly manicured toenails encased in pink slippers appear outside my hiding spot. She sniffles, then blows her nose. By the time she bends down, her face will once again be one I recognize and love with all my heart.

“Jessy? Come on out,” she adds when I don’t move. ‘It’s okay now. You know how it gets around here sometimes. But it’s all good now. I—”

“Promise,” I finish, whispering to myself.

My mother finally gets down on hands and knees to reach under the bed.

I watch the manicured hand creep towards me.

The same hand that had thrown down our family pictures, leaving shattered glass, shining like clear spikes, on the floor.  

 

349 words

(c) 2019 Dyane Forde

Essays, repost, writing tips

Repost: The Truth About Slushpiles

I came across this article published on the Write For Kids website. It’s written by Mary Kole, a literary agent of a children’s book agency, but the information is pretty universal. So, if you want an insider’s perspective on querying so you can write the letter that could land you an agent, read on. 

 

 

Essays, writing tips

Achieve your 2019 Goals with an Action Plan

2019 is right around the corner, and that means ringing in the New Year with resolutions!

Now, don’t go off running for the hills. Everyone knows that to achieve goals, especially big ones, we need a plan. So, I thought it’d be fun…okay, maybe not fun…important to get us looking at our writing and editing goals for the upcoming months. To do that, I’m going to post my mini-action plan for 2019 as a means of motivating you to get going on achieving your goals. And, I’d love to see your plan. So, if you are feeling bold (and want some friendly accountability), post yours in the comments section below.

Alright, let’s dive in…

What are my 2019 goals?

  • Continue to build my freelance writing and editing business
  • Produce and distribute my digital magazine, the Lost Pen Magazine
  • Continue to outreach to and coach writers and other creatives
  • Improve the influence and reach of my other website, the Christian Creative Nexus

What challenges am I facing right now?

  • Not enough time to get everything done
  • Feels like I have way too much to do: overwhelm
  • Working on achieving my dreams while working full-time

How can I resolve those issues?

  • Set goals (weekly, monthly) and regularly reassess them
  • Create a list of resources and people to consult/collaborate with when I need help
  • Find time to rest and disconnect when needed

Where do I want to be three-six months from now? 1 year from now?

  • 3-6 months: have a steady stream of writing and editing jobs
  • 1 year: freelancing full-time

Final steps:

  • Evaluate the results at 3-6 months and then again at 1 year.
  • Determine how close I came to my goals and evaluate my successes and failures.
  • Create a new plan to build on my momentum while tweaking the areas I struggled in to better ensure success in the future.

 

winner

 

There you have it. Of course the plan will change and be adapted as I progress over the year, but at least I have a tool to get me moving in the right direction. Also note that I identified my weaknesses/problem areas and then built into the plan simple strategies to address them (sections 2 and 3). I’m fully aware that I don’t know everything—just reading the marketing articles on LinkedIn for 10 minutes is enough to make my confidence shrivel and die!—so I’d rather be prepared to meet any obstacles by having solutions on hand.

I hope you’ll join me and meet 2019 firing on all cylinders by creating your own action plan. Remember, every day spent is a day we can’t retrieve. Don’t waste time. Instead, get moving!

Essays

In Praise of My Editor

Wow! Editing can be a great experience, especially when you work with great people. Thanks to Lela Markham for the chance to work on her book and for her glowing review.

aurorawatcherak

An editor fulfills an important role for an independent author, providing an objective second pair of eyes on a manuscript that the writer cannot help getting too close to. And there are all sorts of editors available through a variety of sources. Some focus on content, some on copy-editing while others will take you all the way through the formatting process. Editors can be expensive, but consider them a business investment that will bring your book to the next level. An editor provides clarity and a new reader’s perspective on reading your book.

Manuscript EditingFor my latest book, I hired Dyane Forde of Christian Creative Nexus primarily as that objective second pair of eyes. Dyane and I had a previous relationship as writers under the Breakwater Harbor Books cooperative imprint. I knew she would be professional, caring and not avoid dealing with my weaknesses.

Her turnaround time was quick – less…

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