Category Archives: writers challenge

The Whiteboard, part eight

Welcome  to all my news fans and followers…if you are just now getting into The Whiteboard, you have a bit to catch up. We are about to start on Part Eight. If you want to read part seven go here

The Whiteboard Part Eight by ©Kim Smith

throat

Anne rose from bed on Friday morning to go to the bathroom, and as she always did, she glanced at the mirror.

Black marker dotted her throat as if someone had drawn the dashes to create a pattern to slice it open.

She screamed in terror.

High on the mirror was the handwritten note of the writer.

“Live or die, the choice is yours.”

She clutched at her throat and tried to wipe off the hateful ink, but to no avail.

Panicked, she grabbed a washcloth and wet it with water. She tried to remove the marks, even to the point of scrubbing her neck until it became red and inflamed. The marks faded only slightly.

It was like she’d been tattooed in her sleep.

Who had done this evil thing? She looked at her reflection in the mirror. No answer there.

What did this even mean?

“You know what it means,” she told her face as she looked at herself. This was terrifyingly real. The writer had somehow broken into her home, accosted her person, and written on the mirror without her even stirring.

“How? How did this even happen?” she questioned aloud.

She strode to the door. Locked from the inside, and just as she’d left it. She strode to the windows. None had been jimmied.

What if this writer had come and done this to her personal space while they had the keys and she’d been too overwrought last night to notice? She’d thrown her clothes on the floor, slipped into a teeshirt, and gone to bed.

“I never even brushed my teeth.”

What if the writer had taken the liberty of making copies of her keys? It would be a small matter to follow her home, and let themself in while she slept. They had done their damage and let themselves out again?

That didn’t seem as plausible as her first thought about coming in while she still worked. She re-entered the bathroom and gazed at the writing.

Who hated her so much?

She turned her head and looked at the marks on her throat again. Whoever this was had started this assault out so innocently, and now had invaded her home.

Anne strode to her bedside table to call the police. Abusing her whiteboard was one thing. This was another.

__________________

Hope you are having a great day! Be sure to share the link on your social media accounts.

Welcome to the continuing saga of Anne and her whiteboard. In the first two segments she has been exacting revenge on the writer who has mysteriously begun writing on her board by returning commentary.

You can find part one and part two at these links:

Part one

Part two

The Whiteboard Part Three by Kim Smith ©2017

SAGA

The next day was Wednesday, and Anne always stopped for a cafe coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel. This little mid-week excursion put her in her office later than usual. She hoped her mystery writer had been paying attention and thought they could enter her office later to do the writing, incognito. She had begun to suspect this invisible visitor was a part of the maintenance team, however, and likely did their mischief at night.

The board bandit–whomever it turned out to be–was no dummy. He or she knew how to get in and get out.

Even though it was closer to eight a.m. it was still very early by office standards. To her dismay, the board was wiped clean, It was so clean she ran a finger over it to see if it held any residue. It didn’t.

“What is really going on?” she asked aloud to the empty room. “Guess you didn’t care for my reply, eh?”

It was time to get to work. She’d been lollygagging long enough. She pulled open her spreadsheet and played with the numbers waiting to be inputted. After a successful morning, whereby she solved many problems and felt quite satisfied with herself, she trotted down to the office kitchen to make her lunch.

She never believed that the board writer would strike in the middle of the day. But when she returned, picking broccoli out of her teeth, and contemplating another attack on numbers, the whiteboard’s content was illustrated in tiny black birds flying all over it.

The words, (so familiar to her), were lyrics to the song, Blackbird, performed by the Beatles. They crawled down the board toward the bottom. The writer apparently had too much time on hand, had been given too much opportunity to use Anne’s office to indulge in crafting quite a spectacle.

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night…”

This was absurd and had gone on long enough! She wanted to stamp her foot in anger. Instead, she strode angrily to her desk to sit down hard, her chest heaving. She would have to start locking her door each and every time she left the room from this moment on.

She took deep breaths and resisted the urge to wipe the board clean. No need to be hasty. She tried to understand the art, the writing, the song, and find some meaning. Nothing came to mind immediately, so she set to her work, and as she completed a task that afternoon, she stared again at the tiny black vees representing black birds.

“…take these broken wings and learn to fly…”

Who is this person, this writer? What did they hope to accomplish by assaulting her board every day? Was this simply a prank? And why these words? What did it all mean?

“…All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise…”

Disgusted, she rose, went to the board and cleaned it off. Then, she stomped down the hall to her nearest neighbor, Beatrice, to see if she had noticed anyone come into her office during lunch. Beatrice was such a kind soul. If she’d seen anything, she’d be sure to let her know.

~@~

Thanks for reading this excerpt this week, everyone. It’s fun, isn’t it? And free! haha. Please join me in a few days when I will post up more of this story, this saga of Anne’s. And if you like a saga, then please be sure to (click here>>> visit my Amazon page and read more of my work. 

 

How to Write: Endings

Our How to Write series is coming to an end. It’s been a fun month-long venture. I hope you have gained a little insight during it. If you haven’t checked out all the posts for this series, you can do so here : CLICK HERE

This last post I wanted to talk briefly about endings. And yes, they are very important. Sometimes endings will bring a reader into the next book, give them the ultimate satisfied feeling, or leave them wanting more more more. Either way, endings can win a reader’s heart and as we all know, once won, you will have a reader for life.

So, what is the ending supposed to do?

Most of the time an ending wraps up all the threads that the author started winding during the beginning and twisting during the middle. The best way to ruin a reader’s enjoyment of the book is to NOT wrap up all the story lines. (unless there is a sequel on the way) — imagine a story where a woman is seeking her birth parent and you seek with her all through the book, through the false leads, the almost caught-and ultimately defeated story, only to get to the end to learn that her birth mother lives in the next town and all she has to do is go to her house. But wait. NO! that can’t be the last page! What happens?

See? You are not a satisfied reader. You are disappointed. As a writer, you had better well have the sequel ready for order or you are so not going to like the way readers treat this book.

So… endings must wrap things up satisfactorily.

Another way to look at what endings do:

1. Give closure (does not end on a hook)
2. Entice a reader to check out another work by the author.(other books with similar genre elements)
3. Hint at the sequel to come. (leave on a hook)

I hope this has been of some help. Writing a good ending has a lot of facets. Writing a book in its entirety has a lot of facets. There is so much more to explore, I hope this series has at least gotten you interested in learning more about them.

We didn’t have a winner for the name the book contest, so I am going to do it a little larger next month with a kick-off contest for my new Caper Mystery series! Keep checking back on KimSmithauthor.com

How to Write: the first chapter

It’s day 4 of How to Write and today we are going to discuss that all important first chapter. There is a really great way to know what to put in one and I am going to challenge you to try it. What is this cool new challenge?

READ A CHAPTER

Not just any chapter, now, but one from a book that you think is like the one you want to write. The best way to know what goes in a first chapter is to read some that have already been written. I do not know what you are writing, but I am sure there are books out there like it, because, truly, there is nothing new under the sun. And guys, don’t just READ it, read it, but CONSUME it. Analyze it. Figure out what the author did in writing terms for that chapter and see if you can imitate it. Now, that is not an invitation to plagerize, goodness no. But heck, even carpenters all use the same tools. Writers do, too.

How to write the first chapter is very much like writing the first line and writing the first paragraph. You are unveiling the main character, setting them in their normal world, and introducing an issue that must eventually come to a climax at the end. There are so many varieties of ways to do this that I cannot possibly elucidate them all, but you should definitely try the read a chapter method and see what you come up.

By the way, I have completed the first chapter of this crazy thing I am working on for the blog, but at this time, I do not know how to get it to you to consume. I could record it as a podcast, but I believe that seeing it in text will teach more than listening to it in audio. So, I suppose I am going to have to put up a page for this blog book, and post it there. I will try this method and see how it works. If you have a better idea, please leave me a comment. I am considering this as a “wattpad” sort of story. You are getting first draft stuff here, folks. If you steal this work, you had better find yourself a good editor. (that is not an invitation to pirate my work, either!)

So, what else have I learned during the writing of this first chapter?

Well, introducing a main character and a sub-character has happened, setting has happened, and a sort of tiny corner of the plot has been revealed. Not too shabby, huh?

Here’s the intro to a subcharacter:


Meet Debra, Susan’s sister in law and probably her antagonist.

Debra Whiting waved to her from a window seat. The woman never went anywhere without dripping with diamonds and dressed to the nines. Today was no different.

As the wife of Simon Whiting, owner of a big-time investment corporation, Debra held sway in such a setting. She was known, well-known, by many of the city’s movers and shakers who seemed to think befriending her was the front entrance to getting to her rich husband. Her favorite latest charity seemed to be Susan, however, and she spared no words to show her chagrin at her lack.

I am not sure where I will go with this haughty woman, but I assume she will be a sort of devil about her little brother. This is not a new idea, but it is a fun one. I like to write mean characters just so I can turn them around later to show that they are still human with hearts that will break like any other.

SIDENOTE: I have created a page for this series, and you can find all the former posts linked here. Decided to put them on a page for ease of reading. I will also be putting up links to the chapters soon as well. Whew, my site is bulging.

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Up next…we need to NAME THIS STORY–got any suggestions?

Writer Recharge week three

Writer Recharge Week Three

WriterRecharge 2015
Once again hosted by Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, Liz Parker, Elodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren, Writer Recharge is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter.

So, we are already onto week three of #writerrecharge. It’s been a fantastic week for me.

So here is how the week went:

WRITE/REVISE : I worked on story beats again, this time figuring out length of story and where I think things might go. Then, I wrote over 950 words on The Galileo Strategy. This is most likely authorial throat-clearing and will be deleted down the line, but it is always fun to introduce characters and learn about them from actual writing.

READ/REREAD : I am up to page 115 in the George R.R. Martin novel, A Feast for Crows. It doesn’t have chapter numbers. Only chapter headings, or names. So I can’t tell you where I am in the book aside from the page number. In truth, I haven’t gotten very far since last week.

STRETCH : Reworked the print cover for Love Inn and have a second proof on its way. Got ambitious and STRETCHY and created a print version cover for Ten Tips my little self-help book. The proof for it will be here this week too.

SELF : The ice storm hit and I couldn’t get out so I was rather sluggish and didn’t exercise.

CONNECT : Posted Mr. James Smith’s review blog post and queued up his post for my Writer Groupie slot on Tuesday. Have two more interviews lined up but they are not a part of the Author Rodeo Roundup.

FUN : Made time to write. That was about the most fun of all.

This week, my goals are:

Write/revise: Get at least another 500 words written on The Galileo Strategy. Do edits for Deadly Array because I have them and need to get them done.

Read/reread: Try to get through another chapter of this big fat tome.

Stretch: Check out print proofs for Love Inn and Ten Tips and the swag for the signings are due in soon as well. Have to cut up postcards and buy a tablecloth.

Self: Force myself into something healthy. Either food or exercise. It has to be done.

Connect: Have found some folks online that I would love to have on the show. Thinking about emailing…

Fun: Monday night, TV and to bed early. Tuesday, have a funeral to go to and spend time with my kids, Wednesday – Empire and American Idol night, Thursday, write like the wind. Friday, read. Yes, all that IS fun.

So that’s me. I hope you have a great week!