Category Archives: Re-blogged

Items of interest from other blogs, woe:-)th visiting

Thursday photo prompt: Spawning season(recycled and updated) #writephoto

writephoto-14-nov

I stood at the side of the lake scanning all around the horizon, “yes, it’s all quiet, “I thought, “so I can get this awful costume off. I have collected what I came for, well, he did really,” suppressing a slight  giggle at the un-intentioned pun. Reaching between my legs I released the carefully concealed catch and the smooth, dry-textured, false skin started to split open. With a little effort, due to the tightness of the fit, I was able to peel the head and torso over the top of my crest to hang like a deflated balloon around my waist before rolling the lower half down my legs to the ground. It lay on the bank, a shapeless, porcine mass. My whole body shuddered,  “Yuk, ” I thought, “how do they look at themselves in this, it’s creepy. ”

The air felt cool against my scales and once more checking that the shore was deserted I picked up the bundle and walked down to the water’s edge. Eagerly slipping into the cold waters I prepared to swim down to the bottom where the committee, would be eagerly waiting. Once again I, like few others successfully, had completed my task and the technicians would be able to continue their work.

I thought about my encounter the previous evening with the one interesting looking specimen who sat alone looking rather bored. He did manage to raise a smile when he caught me looking at him, even more so when he imagined a welcoming smile in return. Perhaps he must have thought that his luck was in when he felt that I started coming on to him. It had been hard work trying to convince him that  my intentions were purely to come out, have a few drinks and  hopefully a good time with a little romance thrown in.  In our carefully contrived conversation I had established his capacity to satisfy my needs. He had once been married with a family but now alone and in need of some company. He could never have guessed the real reason for my eagerness.

If he could see me now he would swear that it had all been a bad dream, very bad, after he had stopped retching of course. No doubt  he would then have had a very long shower, alone this time, before throwing  all the bedclothes in the machine to wash  away any lingering memories. Even the funny video camera he had used, for reference purposes, his words not mine, would have been thrown away I’m sure.

I had been a little worried at one stage, wondering if the sample I needed would ever be collected but we eventually  got a large enough amount deposited correctly. Now I was able to carry some more of this essential human sperm back to the colony where it would help in our next spawning. Not too many more trips and there would be enough of our hybrids, each spawning more successful and Earth-race like than the last. Then they would be able to break free from the waters. Their newly developed breathing organs would be  strong enough to start the colonisation of the planet so meticulously planned and prepared for after our escape from Mars..

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Filed under Flash fiction, On the lines of romance, Otherworldly, Re-blogged, Self compositions

Worth bearing in mind

Is your blog accessible to blind computer users?

My thanks to Chris Graham (AKA The Story Reading Ape) https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com, for drawing this article on why much of the internet is inaccessible to blind people to my attention, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-49694453.

As many of you who follow my blog will know, I lost the majority of my eyesight at 18-months-old. I am unable to read print and use software called Job Access with Speech (JAWS), which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to use a Windows computer or laptop. For anyone interested in finding out about JAWS, please follow this link, https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/jaws/.

The article linked to above, details a number of problems faced by blind users of the internet, many of which I have experienced whilst navigating the World Wide Web. For example, the piece explains how blind computer users can be faced with unlabelled links on a webpage meaning that what is heard is next to useless. I have myself been faced with a page where JAWS reads “link, link, link”, meaning that the only way in which I can ascertain what the content of a particular link may be is by clicking on said link. This is, obviously a very tedious undertaking and, in many instances I have given up on the site in question and visited a more accessible alternative.

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Turning specifically to sites hosted directly on WordPress (such as my own blog), these are, on the whole accessible. For example all the social media sharing buttons on kmorrispoet.com are labelled so anyone using a screen reader such as JAWS will hear “Twitter, Facebook” etc voiced by JAWS. Likewise the comments form is clearly labelled as such meaning that anyone logged into a WordPress account can easily post a comment.

In contrast I have found that many of the self-hosted WordPress sites are not as accessible as those hosted directly on WordPress. For example I often come across unlabelled sharing buttons on self-hosted sites so the only way in which I can determine what the button in question may be, is by actually clicking on it.

Whilst some comments forms on self-hosted sites are labelled with fields such as “comment”, “your name”, “email address”, others are not. In the latter instance the JAWS (or other screen reader user) is forced to guess what each field is or, more often simply to give up on their intention of posting a comment and navigate away from the site/blog in question.

In my experience the vast majority of bloggers care about their readers and wish to ensure that everyone is able to access their sites equally and enjoy the same ability to participate in discussions. However, unless a blogger is themselves blind (or knows a blind screen reader user), its perfectly possible that they have little (if any idea) as to how blind web users access their site/blog.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has links to useful guidance explaining how webmasters can ensure that their sites are accessible to those with site loss. For anyone who is unsure whether their blog and/or website is accessible, you may find it helpful to visit here, https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/independent-living/accessible-website.

Kevin

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Filed under Factual, From the heart, Re-blogged

Flash Fiction February 2019 from Fictive Dream

The submissions window for Fictive Dream’s Flash Fiction February 2019 is now open. 

During Flash Fiction February we will feature a new piece of flash fiction throughout February 2019. That’s a new story, every day, starting on 1 February for the entire month. As always we’re interested in stories with a contemporary feel.

We’ve put a squeeze on our usual word count though, so only stories of between 200 – 750 words please.

Read our Flash Fiction February submission guidelines here.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

For those of you who prefer to write longer stories we remain open to standard submissions (500 – 2,500 words). 

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

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Filed under Events and diary dates, Re-blogged, Submission calls

Bad Moon Rising

Calling #Horror #Thriller and #Paranormal #IndieAuthors For #BadMoonRising

Spots are still available!

For the month of October, Books & Such will again be featuring Bad Moon Rising!  If you’re an indie author of horror, thriller, or paranormal books and would like to be featured, send me your info.  Free publicity, book sales (hopefully!), new authors to follow, and more books to buy – what’s not to like?

Each post will feature one of your releases, a blurb, author bio, social media links, buy links, and a short interview.  If you’d like to include a giveaway or have alternative ideas for your post, I’m open to suggestions.

This is the fourth year of Bad Moon Rising and spots tend to fill up fast, so if you’d like to be included, email me at tpolen6@gmail.com.

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421 ways to say said? Simplify dialogue instead… Courtesy of NOW NOVEL

400 ways to say said? Simplify dialogue writing | Now Novel

If you search for alternative dialogue tags to use in your story, you’ll find many lists. While some synonyms for ‘said’ read naturally (such as words conveying volume like ‘whispered’), others come across as overwritten and forced, particularly in the wrong context.

Here are 5 simple ways to avoid clunky overuse of ‘he said/she said’:

1. Decide if dialogue tags are necessary

Sometimes we say ‘she said’, ‘he said’ or ‘they said’ when we don’t need to. Just because it’s a writing device commonly used in dialogue doesn’t mean you have to use it. When you get to the end of a line of dialogue, ask yourself:

  1. Is it clear, from context, who is speaking at this moment?
  2. Do preceding narration and formatting (such as line breaks) help clarify who is speaking?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of these, you don’t need tags.

For example, you wouldn’t need to use dialogue tags in the following example. The narration beforehand makes it clear who’s speaking, and the details of the characters’ speech give away who says what:

She picked a bit of fluff off her top, looked out the window. He wondered whether he was boring her.

“You seem distracted.”
“Hmm? You’re being intense again, Guy.”

It’s clear from the narration, description and actions who is saying what in the scene. The girls’ actions make it clear she’s the addressee of ‘You seem distracted.’ Her response also gives us a sense of how her date says this.

2. Favour unobtrusive tags

The stranger the tag, the more colourful and quirky, the more it will stick out in your dialogue.

Ideally, your reader is getting as much clarity from what characters say as they get from howthey say it.

The infographic below (via The Puppet Show) has some good alternatives. Yet it suggests words such as ‘enunciated’ as a synonym for ‘said’. However, if you were to use this tag randomly in the middle of dialogue it would seem arbitrary.

280 ways to say said | Now Novel

For example:

“You seem distracted,” he enunciated.

Because ‘to enunciate’ means ‘to say or pronounce clearly’ it doesn’t completely make sense in this context, since there isn’t a clear reason for the boy to ‘enunciate’.

However, if clarity of speech were relevant to a scene, you could use this word as a tag as it would fit. For example:

“Speak slower.” The speech therapist’s eyes were stern.
“The w-wascal wabbit wan-” he enunciated, wishing each ‘R’ could be clearer.

However, you could achieve a similar effect other ways, too. For example, using ellipses, i.e. punctuation, to show concentration; pauses:

“The w-wascal … wabbit … wan … ” He wished each R could be clearer.

This shows the effort the character is putting in, thus you don’t need a dialogue tag necessarily.

When in doubt, a simple ‘said’ is often enough. Instead of letting different ways to say ‘said’ do heavy lifting, remember this sage advice from Toni Morrison:

‘I never say “She says softly.” If it’s not already soft, you know, I have to leave a lot of space around it so a reader can hear it’s soft.’

3. Use physical gesture and motion instead of ‘said’

Other ways to say ‘she said’ avoid dialogue tags entirely. You may draw attention to the character who has said a line by immediately following speech with that character’s actions.

For example:

“No I absolutely will not!” She banged the pitcher of water down on the counter so hard Sarah was surprised the bottom didn’t crack open.

It’s clear from just this line that a female character is in the scene with Sarah, and she’s furious.

The advantages of showing who said what via movement and gesture are:

  1. You can bring in scene setting elements (where the conversation is taking place and the objects surrounding characters) subtly. This adds detail and mental imagery.
  2. You can ground your characters’ conversations in a sense of place. This avoids dialogue that resembles heads in vats chatting away without bodies, movement or direction.

Ways to say said - Toni Morrison writing tips | Now Novel

4. Use ways to say ‘said’ that add atmosphere

Using gestures and actions such as the following, as outlined above, helps to lend character and emotion to dialogue:

  • She gazed out the window (this suggests being lost in thought, or perhaps longing)
  • He turned his away (suggesting withdrawal or retreat)
  • They elbowed each other and jumped up and down (suggesting children vying to be heard above each other)

Also think about ways to say said that convey volume and tone, i.e. atmosphere. Although Toni Morrison’s advice above is good (creating quietness using the spaces around characters’ lines), the occasional ‘she whispered’ has its place, too.

Synonyms for said that show volume include:

  • Quietly: ‘Mouthed’, ‘whispered’, ‘hissed’, ‘mumbled’, ‘muttered’, ‘said, under their breath’
  • Loudly: ‘Yelled’, ‘shouted’, ‘bellowed’, ‘screamed’, ‘roared’

The above words remind us that tags that indicate volume and tone are typically reserved for extremes – of tension, emotion or environment. A kid protagonist might whisper in a creepy graveyard, a pranked neighbour might ‘bellow’ in pure outrage. Yet these are suitable tags for climactic moments. Make characters bellow or whisper every other line and the device loses its effect.

5. Switch to a narrator or other character’s reaction

Because dialogue is relational, an exchange between two or more characters, it also works to switch to another character’s reaction instead of focusing on the character who’s just finished speaking.

For example, read the following brief dialogue:

“You wouldn’t believe what happened next. I was-”
“John, can we pause this for a second, I really need the bathroom.”
When I returned, I couldn’t believe he was still going. Something about what not to do in an avalanche. As if he were the only one at the party who’d ever had any adventures.

Here, because the second character addresses John by name, we know who’s been speaking. Because of their interruption, as well as their shock that John is still speaking when they return, we also get a sense of how John speaks. It’s a one-way street, John holding the floor (and holding his listeners ransom).

As you can see from the above, there are many ways to show who is speaking in dialogue. Other ways to say said can avoid dialogue tags entirely. Use gesture, movement or reaction to show your reader details of character and setting.

Need help improving your dialogue? Get help with everything from formatting to context when you enroll in our four-week writing course, ‘How to Write Dialogue’. Or join Now Novel for constructive feedback on your writing and help brainstorming ideas.

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Filed under Advice and tips for writers, General post, Re-blogged

Should I or shouln’t I, here is the answer to that question.

via No, You can’t have too many books.

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Mick’s Short Form Poetry Challenge #1 – Perpetuating the Rare Forms’ – Sept 16th 2017 – Prompt: ‘fresh’

A great idea, short form poetry concentrates your thought to make of them what you will. To paraphrase a wise old adage, “Hint don’t tell,” is a rule to remember.

Mick E Talbot Poems

MICKS SHORTS2.png

Mick’s Short Form Poetry Challenge – Perpetuating the Rare Short Form Poetry.

challenge #3

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Should you wish to skip the introduction and go directly to the poetry types please click here

Introduction:

Firstly; thanks to all who participated in the original Elfje challenge, it was a bit of a slow start, but we were getting there. However, a suggestion made by Jules Paige that I change the format to a multi one based on short forms of poetry, I thought a great idea, and for which I thank her, most gratefully. Here then are the forms, if they are new to you please click on the one that takes your interest for its guidelines, thank you. Some of them can be likened to rare breeds, and as the saying goes, “Use them or lose them”,. It might be that some of them were totally unknown to you, there were to me. So, I think by…

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How to Begin to Write Poetry — A Writer’s Path

by Diana Raab, PhD Poetry is the voice of the soul and is often considered a free-flowing form of expression. Poets help us see a slice of the world in a way in which we might not have observed it before. They highlight details to cast a light on a feeling, an image, or an […]

via How to Begin to Write Poetry — A Writer’s Path

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VOICE & WATCH #1 – HAIKU

This is great speak it, shout it loud

Mick E Talbot Poems

colleensHAIKU

watch the world dying…
natures voice… decades ignored…
to late… start crying
~
to late… start crying
natures voice… decades ignored…
watch the world dying…

~

airing warnings… hark
hear the planet dying
my voice not enough
~
my voice not enough
hear the planet dying
airing warnings… hark…

~
watch now… life fading
voices shouting help… ignored
their death… imminent
~
their death… imminent
voices shouting help… ignored
watch now… life fading

~
watch television…
as naturalists voice warnings
fake news… of course not…
~
fake news… of course not…
as naturalists voice warnings…
watch television…

~

watch… your opinions…
read… make your voice heard
still in denial…
~

still in denial…
read… make your voice heard
watch… your opinions…
© MET 17/66
Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 50 #Haiku #Tanka #Haibun: VOICE & WATCH #1

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Snack for thought

Originally posted on Rachel Poli: We already talked about the when and why I started writing short stories. But what about you? Pretend you’re back at school and your new English teacher is asking you to write an essay on the first day. (What a jerk, am I right?) Here’s the question: Do you write…

via Why Should You Write Short Stories? — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

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