Poetry

We are only Visitors

I watched you

As you squatted down

On bended knees

Viciously you chopped away

At the grass and weeds

Then, in a sharp

Turn

Your hands become

Undeniably gentle

As you unwrap the orange

Plastic, festive wrapping

And cut down the stems

Of the bouquet

Made up of

Warm, yellow sunflowers

Bright, purple blooms

Soft, coral tulips

Wrapped in a cocoon

Of vibrant greenery

You fill the metal canister

With water and food

For the flowers

Carefully you slide in the stems

And play and rearrange

Until you are

Satisfied

With the display

Of love and affection

And remembrance.

Advertisements
Poetry

Rising

Wounded

I am wounded.

Pierced by words

That impale, sharp as glass.

Fractured

My confidence is factured.

Struck by phrases

That strike, hard as a hammer

Rise.

I will rise.

A Phoenix

Still smoldering and covered

In my own ashes of defeat

I will

Rise.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Responding to Criticism

Have you ever experienced that soul-crushing moment when you pour your heart out into prose and some one, usually an ambiguous someone, turns around and criticizes everything you’ve done? Often with more insult than advice?

Well then, congratulations, you’re a writer!

And if you hope to continue along in your journey as a writer, you are bound to have this experience again and again.

And again.

I know, that is not exactly reassuring, but don’t worry, there is good news coming! We have to first ask, why is criticism so common? Are we really that bad at writing? (Well, a writing group might not hurt . . .) But really, the reason behind most criticism is the fact that writing is subjective. 

Yes, there are general rules that all writers must observe. And yes, writers should present their best version of themselves in their writing. However, on a whole, writing is subjective. That is the only way to explain why some people absolutely HATE Harry Potter while the rest of the world loves it. It also helps explain why one of my readers loved my book while the other did not care for it at all.

Writing is Subjective.

Everyone has different tastes. For instance, I will never like horror novels, never, they are not my thing. So while I might hate that type of book, it does not make it a bad book to everyone.

Before you decide to submit your work, you need to prepare yourself for feedback both positive and negative. THERE WILL BE BOTH.

Here are a few ways that you can and should respond to criticism:

  • First, you need to anticipate a mixed review. Maybe the book is perfect in your eyes, but your readers will be seeing it differently, so allow yourself to acknowledge mixed reviews.
  • Next, you need to read through a shield. What does that mean? If someone is being overly-critical, read through their comments, ignore the rude insults, and cherry-pick out whatever can actually be constructive. Usually there is at least one suggestive that you can work on.
  • Finally, after picking out what you can work on, forget the rest! Don’t spend days wallowing over the negative feedback and don’t allow it to corrode your writing!

 

Have you faced rejection or negative feedback?

How did you respond to it?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

One Year Blogging Anniversary

I received my official notice from WordPress yesterday that I have been blogging on WordPress for over a year now!

I can’t believe that it has been a year already! I feel like it was only months ago that I started to consider blogging and then when I first posted by blog post, I thought, this would never work. That first month was so rough and so uncertain, but now, a year out, it was so worth it!

I have posted over 250 blog posts! I have gained 1,800 followers! And more importantly, I have found an incredible writing/blogging community here on WordPress that is irreplaceable! The friendships I have formed here have encouraged my growth as a writer and I am so glad for that decision I made a year ago to embark on this journey.

Poetry

Write (A Poem)

Write,

Come on, it’s not that hard

“Her eyes like the sun, scorching like Hell”

Not very good.

*

Write,

Come on, put something down

“His hands like velvet, choking me”

Not much better.

Write,

Come on, poets do this everyday

And yet,

When I try to write the words

I don’t know what to say

*

I could languish away

Never quenched by the poet’s water

Cascading, flowing, gushing, vomiting

Into a dry savannah

*

I could starve to death

Never satisfied by the poet’s love

The incandescent touch that

Grates and chafes

*

Write,

Write me something beautiful and revolting

Something appealing yet grotesque

Write, about anything.

*

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

My Writings, Short Stories

In the Depths

My body hits the choppy waves with a large splash.

Right before I submerge entirely, I hear whooping and hollering from the deck above.  How those savages cheer on my death, wrapped up in their own ignorance and fear.

Then the noise is gone, as is the light.

These canon balls chained to my ankles care even less than the men upon that ship that I cannot breathe. I struggle, even knowing how useless it is, but I cannot help it. I do not want to die. I pull through the water with my arms, my arms that they cruelly left untied as if to mock my efforts. I am not strong enough to pull against these weights, I continue to sink.

The water gets darker, but still I sink through the depths. No longer do I only feel the pressure from within my lungs, but the water that surrounds me is also pressing in. It slams against my head, squeezing against me like a vice. Still, I continue to sink. Unable to stop myself, I try to gulp in air but only swallow water. The salt burns as it snakes down my throat. I start to choke and black spots speckle the dark water that surrounds me.

I never thought this was how I would die.

Out of the depths, I hear a sound, the sound that truly signals my demise. I hear the singing of angels and demons mixed together. Their voices are heavenly, but their tune is dark and full of rage. At first, I am afraid, but then as the voices cascade over me, I no longer fear death and willing allow my heavy eyes to close.

There is pressure on my lips and suddenly, my lungs expand with air. The weight from my ankles is released.

There is pain in my legs, the pain of slashing and tearing and burning. Once I was cold, but now I am hot as the heat radiates up my skin, crawling up my thighs, racing between my ribs, tearing into my mind.

The voices continue their song, it grows louder and beneath it, there is a hum that speaks a warning.

I can breathe, but the pain, make the pain stop . . .

Silence.

The pain is gone. I open my eyes, shocked by many things. The first is how clear my vision has become. The second is how clearly I can see the creatures that surround me. Hundreds of women, with pale skin and iridescent tails float in the space around me. Their hair, dark and light, swirls around them and reveals bright golden eyes. When they smile, their teeth are sharp, but their eyes are kind.

When I look down, I am not surprised to find that my legs are gone, replaced by a scaled tail that swishes beneath me. My sharp teeth grind against each other in my mouth as I continue to breathe easy within the depths.

“You are one of us,” she says, her husky voice coated by salt.

Far above us, we see the shadow of a ship sailing away, carrying my would-be-murderers. The woman in front of me flicks her eyes toward the bow of the boat, and raises an eyebrow. I understand.

This is my initiation.

Without a second thought, I turn tail and glide through the water toward the ship with my new family at my side.

We are coming.

Woman's long hair head above the water at Banana Beach

 

***This short story was written in response to a prompt that I found on Pinterest.***

SOMEONE WRITE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<<Okay, Im writing it now

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Author Tip 101: Never Stop

So, they tell me you want to be an author . . .

Image result for hermione book gif

That means you should be doing 1 of 5 things: brainstorming a new story, writing/drafting, editing, researching publishing houses (or self-publishing methods), sending our query letters or submissions.

One of my favorite creative writers, Derek Updegraff once said:

Keep writing. You are a writer, not a submitter. Once you’ve written pieces and submitted them for publication, forget about them and start writing something new. You haven’t produced your best work yet. When you finish a new piece of writing, admire it, take joy in it, and then submit it and move on and write something better.

Being an author does not mean being famous or going to book signings every other week (although that could be super fun). Being an author means never giving up and never stopping.

In my own experience, I have discovered that writing is a cycle. While I am waiting to hear back on The Agency Games, I have re-worked, edited and submitted a children’s series to various publishing houses. I probably won’t hear back for six months but that is kind of the point of submitting this early. That way, when I finish working on The Agency Games, I can hopefully jump straight into my next project!

submission

  • Have you brainstormed that new story idea? Great! Start writing!
  • Have you finished drafting that story idea? Fantastic! Start editing!
  • Are you working on editing your story? Good, start look around online for where you might want to submit it.
  • Have you found a publishing house that you want to send your work to? (PAUSE! Make sure to read all of their fine print and rules) Great! Now, send out your work.

Have you sent out your work? Yes? Then why are you just sitting there? Start working on your next story!

Happy Writing Everyone!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Know Your Source Material

While this tip is mainly for non-fiction writers, it is applicable for you fiction writers too!

For scholarly, nonfiction writers it is so important to know your chosen text better than the back of your hand. Insights and epiphanies come on the 10th or 20th time when re-reading a series not the 2nd or 3rd. This is because every time you read, you gain a new insight, and then the next time you read the same story your view will change and you will read the same events in different light. So keep on reading again and again.

And AGAIN.

While some people prefer to make handwritten notes in the margins, I use color-coded post-it-notes. I do this for several reasons. 1. I can assign different colors to different ideas. For example in the picture below yellow post-it-notes mark something to do with the physical body, pink marks morality and blue marks trauma. These are the three topics through which I am analyzing Katniss’s agency. No doubt when I get into additional characters I will have to add more colors. 2. The post-it-notes give me more room to write out my thoughts than the margins do. 3. If I see a large grouping of post-it-notes in one section I know to more carefully re-read those portions. Of course everyone’s strategies might be different but this is mine.

No automatic alt text available.

Also, while your source material should be your PRIMARY focus, you should always be reading other books, articles, blogs, etc on the same topic. Why? It’s smart to read what other people are saying and noticing. Sometimes you might agree and realize that there is nothing left to say on a particular subject. However, other times you may find something that you disagree with completely or something that was mentioned but never fully answered. In your own writings you can address such arguments and give more insight to previously ignored ideas. Also, if you realize that what you are writing has already been done, you can save yourself some time and effort by finding a new subject.

FICTION readers and writers: the same goes for you! Read what is out there, specifically books in your preferred genre. What are they doing that is working? What are they doing that isn’t working? Read like your life depends on it, because really, your career does.

Before writing comes reading.
My advice: read, read, read, read, read!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you liked today’s tip be sure to visit “Writing Tips” on my main menu for more tips and tricks! Have any questions about writing? Leave them in the comments!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Fear (6)

Originally, I only intended to do five of these posts. As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. I had thought of five:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities

However, my friends and followers had pointed out that there is a sixth reason often responsible for writer’s block that I felt needed to be addressed. This is: FEAR.

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Fear = Small Goals & Courage

adult, black-and-white, bodySometimes we feel that we are defined by that empty, blank page. It stares at us and we stare back at it. For one reason or another, we are paralyzed, unable to commit words to paper. Why? According to both Mia and TShaw, fear is a major factor behind Writer’s Block. Mia says,

I think, why writer’s might suffer from writer’s block: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success (yes, that’s a fairly common fear for writers, especially as most are very introverted). Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough.

Tshaw agreed, stating,

Fear that my writing is a waste of time.

Of course, both of these intelligent women were correct. Fear is a huge problem in a successful writing life! Perhaps it is ironic that the same week I am working on this post, my church spent an entire sermon focusing on courage. (You can read all about it here.)

In order to face our fears we must remember what courage is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting despite the presence of fear.

If you are feeling fearful, the best thing you can do is act regardless. Now, this is easier said than done which is why I suggest that you focus on small goals rather than large ones. When we fear rejection, or success, or failure, or really anything, the only way to fight that fear is to refuse to give it power. Sure, I could tell you to think positively, but that does not always work.

Truly, the only way to fight your fears successfully is to act in spite of them.

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry, Writing Tips

How to Write a Poem

A few months ago, I had someone contact me via my Instagram page because I had recently posted a love poem. This man asked me to write a love poem that he could give to his girlfriend as a gift. I suggested to him that he should be the one to write the poem, that it would mean more to her coming from him then from a random stranger. While he agreed, he was doubtful of his ability to write a poem. He did not even know where to begin. This got me thinking:

How do we write poetry?

After all, there are over 50 different forms of poetry and those do not include obscure, region-based forms. There are haikus, free-verse, cinquains, epics, ballads, sonnets, odes, limericks, and many more. While some of these forms are easier to play with, others have strict rules and guidelines such as stressed and unstressed syllables that must be obeyed.

For any beginning poet, I believe that free verse is an excellent place to begin because for the most part, the poet is free to experiment with their form.

Now, this is not to say that free-verse is beneath the other formal structures and forms (Although some poetry snobs might argue that it is). Any poetical form can be done well or poorly, it depends on the poet not the structure.

Back to my story, I encouraged this man to write down a few sentences describing the elements of his girlfriend that he loved the best and then to start eliminating extraneous words. Here is my own example:

I love the way that he holds my hand in public. Or the way he plays with my hair at home. I miss the sound of his laughter whenever he leaves and I look forward to the safety of his hugs.

Now, that doesn’t sound much like a poem, but let me start playing with it, getting rid of extra words and re-formatting the lines.

I love the way that he holds my hand in public. Or the way he plays with my hair at home. I miss the sound of his laughter whenever he leaves and I look forward to the safety of his hugs.

Hands held in public

Hair tickled in private

Missing laughter

Craving company of

His arms.

While this is a very simplified first draft of a poem, it is most definitely a poem. Therefore, I think I will stick by this advice. Want to draft a poem but not sure where to start? Try simply writing down your thoughts first, then eliminating and re-arranging and adding where need be.

Related image

What do you think of my strategy? Is it worth trying? If so, I would love to read YOUR attempts at this in the comments below.

Happy Writing Everyone

***A special shout out to WaltPage who encouraged me to blog about poetry!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.