Archive for October, 2012

Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick . . .

Posted in The Random Zone on October 26, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

Alrighty writers, let’s be honest, our worst enemy can be summed up with two of the scariest words in the English language: WRITER’S BLOCK. Whew. Okay, now that we’ve got that off of our chests, let’s go ahead and be honest again. Ready? Here goes: IT HAPPENS TO ALL OF US.

Who? Me? No!

Well . . . Yeah, okay, me.

It’s true, it happens to all of us in some form or another. I know personally, I get stuck the most when I simply haven’t wrote for awhile and everything feels a little stale. Now, make no mistake, I never forget my storyline, my plot, my conflict, the scenes, or my characters. Dear Lord, not my characters! Those select few that are priveleged enough to be called so are forever stored in my memory like stone, completely infallible and unwavering. Some might think me a bit touched, because once created, these special people are, well, just that. People. They become so real to me that I speak of them as though I’ve known each and every one of them my entire life. “Oh no! Mr. Smith wouldn’t do that! He’s far too noble and much too much a gentlemen!”

But, I digress . . .

No, I don’t really forget much pertaining to the things I write, it’s more like I forget how to write after a certain period of time. You see, writing is a lot like sports. (No really, it is.) And you have to keep those muscles “warm,” you must constantly stretch and flex those muscles, or they freeze. Thus, you forget. That’s when you might read your own words and find yourself saying aloud, “how awful! Who wrote this?! I mean seriously!” No? That’s just me? Really?

Okay, so we’re not all ready to be brutally honest with ourselves yet. Don’t worry.

I’ll wait.

Anyway, I’m not too proud to admit that the dreaded “block” has been happening more often than not to me lately, and I’ve found that the more it happens, the longer it takes for me to warm up and get my muscles stretched out again. They’re like rubber bands anymore. If not pulled tight consistantly, they just snap right back. Fortunately, I’ve come up with a new (to me) way to combat these sore muscles. Here’s a CLUE . . .

First, tear up a plain piece of paper into a bunch, (and I do mean a BUNCH), of little pieces. Next, take a few minutes to write down the names of all your main characters on some of the pieces and place them in a pile together, then set that pile aside. Repeat this action for main places in your story, and then once more with types of scenes to write. (i.e. love scene, fight scene, death scene, etc.) Now you’ve got the makings to begin the most fun game of “Clue” ever.

You can most definitely do this by yourself, but I found it a ton of fun to do it with someone who knows my stories nearly as well as I do. Namely, my husband. It made it more fun for me, because I got to share the joke when I pulled out of a box that I should write a love scene between two related women. My husband as well, found this to be extremely humorous to put it mildly. 😉

Now, no one is saying that whatever you write must be set in stone. That would really just sap all the fun right out of this new game. No, I envisioned this to be more of a warm-up, a stretch for my sore muscles, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. It made me smile. It made me laugh. But, more importantly, it made me think. And that is something I greatly enjoy doing. Because, for me, thinking opens up brand new worlds that you, as the reader, get to glimpse from time to time.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the view. 🙂

The Only Thing To Fear

Posted in The Random Zone on October 19, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

In the dictionary, fear is defined as “something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension.” We all have things that we fear, things that we are afraid of, but recently, I got to thinking, (and sometimes, actually, quite frequently that can be dangerous), what do I fear? Well there’s a laundry list of things waiting to be checked off; the dark, heights, falling, spiders, paper cuts, and the odd Sesame Street character that my children seem to LOVE for reasons I will never understand. But . . . what do I really fear? What sends my heart beating like helicopter blades? What puts my stomach in knots with just a thought? And what makes tears form at the back of my eyes when those fears become reality?

Pain.

Failure.

But first and foremost, and the one I am choosing to focus on for the time being: Haters.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this modern slang term, urbandictionary.com refers to it as a “person that simply cannot be happy for another person’s success.  So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.” At first, this may seem like something extremely silly to be afraid of. Why worry about a person who has nothing better to do than sit around and tell people how awful they are out of sheer jealousy? Then again, maybe it is something to be worried about. After all, no matter what you do in life, I would like to hope that we would put our heart in something we enjoy doing. And, if someone is going to do nothing but tear down something that we believe in, something we have put our soul into, then, shouldn’t we be a little afraid?

Well, I’m not here to say either yes or no, because, truthfully, I’m not sure I myself even know the answer yet. Of course I worry about the people who will only find the faults in me and in my work that I have put so much of my effort, time, and heart into creating, but, is there something even bigger to fear from these people who refuse to see past all of my “wrongs?”

Yes.

I feel like writing, whether for fun or as a career, truly is a window into the author’s soul. And when someone reads the words, they’re reading a much bigger message hidden between the lines, a message about the person who puts those words on paper. But when you’re jealous, when you’re a “hater,” you don’t get that message. When you’re a hater all you see is the wrong. When you’re a hater, all you care about is tearing someone down. When you’re a hater . . . you lose.

So yes, like many other people, most of whom are probably too afraid to admit it, I AM afraid of the haters. I’m afriad that no matter what I do, that no matter how hard I try or how much my words mean, all the haters will do is what they do best. HATE. How do I convey my message to people who refuse to accept it? How do I let someone I’ve never met judge me on what they think is viable ground? How do I rise above this fear?

conquer [kong-ker]  

     -verb

to be victiorious; make conquests; GAIN THE VICTORY

The Hunt

Posted in Stories on October 17, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

Well readers, I feel horrible for delivering last week’s post so late. So, this week, I’m coming out with TWO posts! I hope this makes up for the delay and satisfies your “hunger” until next time . . . 😉

              My muscles were robotic as they moved my body to kneel next to the animal. I did not have to check to make sure it was dead; the smell of death emanated from it so strongly. Again, beyond my control, my fangs elongated and my lips pulled back to give me the best angle to sink my teeth into the soft flesh of the young deer. Hot blood immediately flowed straight through my parted lips, rushing down my desiccated throat. The small creature ran dry after only a short moment, but the burn raged on. I lifted my mouth from it, as excess blood ran down my face, off my fangs. I looked horrific as I watched myself in a dreamlike state. I looked like a monster.

            It startled me so that I bolted upright, suddenly awake. My throat burned for real, and I cupped my hand to it reflexively, attempting to stifle the pain. I needed to feed, that much I knew. But how to do it? Ian and Michael had gone on their trip to Canada, and they wouldn’t be back for days, I was sure. Anna was away at college. Mom and Dad were off hunting for the night, not due back until morning. What time was it? I rolled over to look at the clock, my hand still gripping at my throat. The neon bright numbers read 1:42. They wouldn’t be back for at least five hours or so, and I needed to eat now.

            I climbed out of bed and headed down the hall to Rebecca’s room, flipping on lights as I went. Surely she would have some spare blood just in case I decided I needed it. My mind felt like it was chasing itself in circles, going over the same thoughts again and again as I tore my way through her room, searching for the blood I was sure was there. After twenty minutes of mindless searching, consisting of throwing, ripping open, and destroying anything and everything I got my hands on, my thoughts began to drift in a very dangerous direction.

            Blood. I needed blood, and lots of it. But there was no blood here. Absolutely none. But . . . there was blood in me. Hot, sticky blood that promised to relieve the pain. I would merely need to cut a small slit somewhere that would draw enough blood. Just a taste, I tried to convince myself, just a small mouthful, and that will be enough until Mom and Dad get home to help me take care of this.

            Now I needed something sharp. My eyes rolled over Mom’s large vanity, covering most of the far wall. A piece of glass would be sharp enough to do the job. I lifted the small jewelry box she kept all of her earrings in and weighed it in the palm of my hand for a fraction of a second. I launched it straight at the long mirror without a second thought, and watched with morbid delight as it shattered into thousands of pieces. My fangs had elongated as I picked up a small piece, thinking only of my scorching thirst, and how this tiny fragment of broken glass would help me quench it.

            With a quick flip of my hand, I sliced a fairly deep gash into the long vein of my left wrist. Dark ruby blood spilled from it immediately, and the next thing I knew, blackness swallowed my conscious thought.

“Intruders”

Posted in Stories on October 16, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

Sorry for the lateness bloggers! As I’ve said before, life has an uncanny ability to get in the way at the worst times! But, as promised, here’s a snippet of something I’ve been working on for some time. I call this little moment in the story “Intruders,” as someone is present who most definitely shouldn’t be. Who, you may ask? Let’s find out . . .

 

My eyes wheeled instinctively around the large space, searching for the intruders I knew were here. The silence that echoed off the walls was just short of terrifying. It was wrong. It shouldn’t be this quiet. They were here. I could feel it.

“You don’t have to do this,” I said to the empty void in a tone just below conversational. “We aren’t what you think we are.”

Before my eyes could detect a presence, there came a harsh blow against the back of my head, and a stabbing pain erupted down my back. My knees had no choice but to buckle beneath me and my weakened body followed suit. Black rings edged my vision as I hit the floor with a harsh thud, and a very familiar voice chuckled quietly.

“Oh, you’re exactly what I think you are, bloodsucker.”

Do Something

Posted in Stories on October 7, 2012 by Johnnie Cougar

A Mr. Ben Franklin once said, “either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”

As an aspiring writer, every time I put the pen to paper, my greatest hope is that I will write something that will be worth reading. Since I have began writing at a young age, I never intended for anyone to see my work besides myself or maybe even some of my close family. Writing has always been a very private window into my head, but more importantly, into my heart.

In recent years, I have began to realize, that because I am pouring out every bit of myself into the words on the page, my writing no longer belongs to just me, and that is, unexpectedly, okay. I want to share my words with the world in the hopes that they will get the satisfaction out of reading as I did writing.

So for now readers, just stick with me. There’s a lot of stuff in this den to get on paper. I hope you find some of it worth reading.