“If someone tells you writing is easy, he is either lying or I hate him.” —Farley Mowat

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


1. The frog is talking to the baby. He begins, "Don't be nervous."

Now what?

Write for five minutes.

2. Go back. Add  more details to your sentences. Instead of editing to make shorter, edit to make longer. Try to double the length of your initial writing by adding to the length of your initial sentences. Add words WITHIN your sentences. Add sentences WITHIN you paragraphs.

Write for five minutes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Work to workshop March 9

Maryann: Some novelly stuff

Janice: Some chaptery bits from a novel

Janet: A bunch of writing which tells a storything


We disusseed discuddwd discusd  Last class, the subject was revision. We did a number of writing activities based on revision. The assignment is two-fold. The first part of the fold (like cuffs on khakis) is based on revision.

1. Choose 1-2 pages from your novel-in-progress. Try to edit the excerpt to be half as long as you originally wrote it. It is remarkable how much you can leave out and still convey what you want. In fact, leaving out many connectives, descriptions, or elaborations often involves the reader more, makes the writing have more energy, and moving in a more dynamic way. Try it, you might find that you like it.

2. Ok, so this doesn't involve you doing revision in the beginning. Choose a short 2-5 page excerpt from your novel-in-progress and submit it to me. I will read it and offer editorial prognostications and pontifications which you may consider in revising the passage.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016



“You cannot be serious,” although the words were riddled with accusations, “that's three days in a row,” his tone hinted more of complete bewilderment.

“It's not my fault-” Tony quickly began a defensive appeal but he was a little too hasty for the voice on the phones liking.

“Did I say it was?!” Although Tony had his ear pressed to the cellphone and had wandered a few feet away from the rest of the group, the voice came through as clearly as if he was standing next to them all.
“Did I accuse you?” The tension that had already existed among the click had now began to feel as if it was a tangible thing, a product they could actually feel weighting down on them.
“Is there something you need to tell me?” As the question was asked, the members not on the phone all tensed up, fearing the repercussions and Tony, whom had been pacing about nervously a mere second ago was now standing still, completely erect, like a deer caught in the head lights and knowing his death is imminent.

“Well...” Tony's voice which is usually wrought with confidence now found himself barely able to squeak out an audible reply, “No.. I just..I...” nor manufacture a sentence that didn't consist of a stutter. However, before Tony was able to gain his composure and offer up an accurate defence which in his mind sounded a lot like,
'Well, of course not. I didn't touch it nor did anyone in my crew, from my understanding it is like this all through out the city; because something to do with the global economy?' but instead he managed to get no more than a few syllables out before the man on the phone did the job for him and hung up.

Not to look like a weak leader whom was disrespected and did nothing but shake with fear; and for his crews sake he simply remained in his completely statue-esque pose and began to simply go, “hmm-hmm,” “okay,” and, “i understand,” in order to make it appear as if he was still in control. Of course when he hung up the phone and took a minute too long to look at his gang, it was painfully clear that they were aware that the boss had long ago hung up on Tony. This knowledge being wide-spread among the organization, specifically among the lower level employees was dangerous.

“He said that,” but before his sentence was finished, the entire group of his just moments ago true blue followers had turned there backs on him and began to converse among themselves. Nothing of real value was being discussed, they were just showing Tony that they had lost all respect for him and now Tony was aware he had no crew and due to the count being too under for the third day in a row, his life was probably at risk. For the first time in a long time, since his promotion to the captain, had Tony felt such a thing could be a real risk.

“Well,” once the man on the phone hung up the phone he himself had to answer to his boss, and his boss was one whom possessed very little patience and less understanding in regards to excuses specifically when such things are in regards to his money.

“His midday count is low.” Irony exists in all realms and niches of the world, the criminal world being of no exception; because mere minutes ago this voice on the phone had been domineering and aggressive while speaking- intimidating Tony mere moments ago, but now he himself had a voice that now felt like it belonged in the mouth of another man.

“Is there a chance he will get to the goal by days end?” The Boss, whose name very few knew his real name since he simply goes by the name Boss, demanded of the nameless voice.

“It is highly unlikely, sir.” Giving such a man the bad news often resulted in being temperamentally bad for the person delivering the information, more than not being more severe of a punishment than the news itself had been.

“Why do you just keep offering me reasons as to why my money is being fucked with?” The boss demanded to know and as he asked it was the first time his gaze had shifted from the putting club clenched in his grip, swinging slow, smooth, practice strokes; but there was no signs of a golf ball being present.

“Well, because, sir,” It was this mans turn to suddenly discover the same cat whom held Tony's tongue had found a home inside of his mouth, holding hard onto his tongue, “the count is so low that even if he managed to sell out his package,” Somehow inside the explanation of complete pure logic, he found his courage again, “then he'd still need to flip another two keys before night fall.”

“Well, Mikey,” finally the voice that Tony and his peers knew by simply, 'Nameless,' suddenly had a name, “Is it possible that Tony is skimming off the top?” The boss's voice had lost the original irritation it had been full of and simply became smooth, calm, almost tempered. Mikey couldn't help but notice that the Boss gaze had once again shifted down to the club that was mirroring the motion of a metronome.

“I don't believe so,” Mikey had spoken before he had time to think. A deadly error in many situations, and speaking to a dangerous individual happens to be one of the more infamous of scenarios where being one to think before talking is not just a benefit to have in order to advance inside the business itself but also to ensure one is able to find at the end of the day they are still breathing.
“But it is possible,” Mikey had done another error and he knew it since soon as he switched gears to fast, The Boss man suddenly stood fully erect, a fierce 6'5” and instead of placing his beloved club into the hand of his cabby, the silent man in a butlers suit whom was always found to be no further than a few feet from The Boss himself, but simply let it drop loudly onto the wooden floor. “But then again,” Mikey knew he was in trouble now, he had tripped himself up and not even due to a guilty conscience but due to his sudden indecisive behaviour. Granted the reason Mikey had decided to deny Tony having any such involvement in stealing from the Boss because in retrospect it had been Mikey himself whom had decided that Tony was worth promoting and capable of managing his small crew, and so if he was stealing- Mikey himself would be just as accountable. But to throw a man under the bus just to save your own self is just as heartless and dishonourable as snitching to the police is. Mikey, being much too old to even be considered an O.G, he was just known by his circle as being an O.
“It could be someone in his group,” Mikey knew that this too was a dangerous line to walk; but like playing poker he was considering the pot-committed theory and figured he has gone too far to try and not bluff himself through now. “One of the new kids?” The Boss had moved in few strides from the side of his desk and across the vast rooms space to be standing within reaching distance of Mikey.
“You-you,” Mikey was suddenly able to feel sweat begin to drip down his entire body. “You know how they can be.” Mikey felt his mouth go dry and wondered how much longer he could stand the stress before he simply broke down and confessed to being the one responsible for the money shortage even though he was innocent, just to make this hellish torture of uncertainty end. Every time Mikey converses with the Boss in a one on one environment, late at night and on the Boss's own territory, Mikey found himself giving a few Hail-Mary's before he was off the elevator and at his office door- since the Boss was notoriously known for his mood swings.

“No,” as the Boss asked he moved a tad bit closer to Mikey. Close enough that Mikey could smell the scent of peppermint on the Boss's breath and the hint of after shave mixed in with it.
“Mikey, I don't know.” Suddenly the image of a cat playing with a mouse came to the forefront of Mike's minds eye. “Why don't you tell me,” Mikey suddenly had sympathy for all those people he had heard of whom suffer from social anxiety and such; even though until seconds ago he was convinced such people just didn't have a spine.
“Mikey. Tell me how these kids are now a days?” The Boss was again still, and the man in the butler suit was also near Mikey. Mikey had not even noticed this man sliver over to his known-spot: feet behind the Boss, almost like he was not a man but his shadow.

“Well.” Mikey had began to try and explain how the youngish today don't have respect for the elders or the game and see the money and believe it's an easy score, similar to the stick up boys that hit up the stash spots. Before Mikey had managed to spit this out, his minds eye was suddenly dark. Nothing was seen anymore. Nothing was felt. His fear was dissolved as to was every thought, feeling, or memory he had ever accumulated in his life was now nothing. The last thing he had seen was a bright light. Like lightening going off inside his mind.

“Well,” as Mikey was suddenly beginning to relax a little almost as if he was suddenly able to step out of the kitchen's heat by simply passing the buck off onto another person. The Boss had a very narrow view on things like trust or loyalty. Today, he was held a narrow view on accepting any answer for why his funds are not increasing at the exponential rate that he had long ago instituted into becoming the nature of the beast he fed. The gluttony of man and his lust for desires were the Boss's bread and butter. And thus if one weak link manages to create a hiccup of any marginal kind in this, the Boss must flex his might in order to put his soldiers back in line. He refuses to ever starve, if even it would take a million years of never earning another dollar before his cupboards would go bare; but he was not going to let such a thing become the reason why people start to refuse him what he deems to be his.

Mikey, whom had been too caught up in trying to figure out the right way to play this game he did not realize what was quite clearly written in the air from the very moment he started to speak to the Boss, also did not notice when the Boss gave a signal to the Man in the Butler Suit. Then again even if Mikey had noticed the signal, the odds of him being able to of dodged the initial assassination was so low that even the most desperate of gamblers wouldn't put a dollar on even if the return on such an investment had been a hundred billion to the dollar. On top of which even if by some divine intervention Mikey had dodged the initial attack the possibility of him walking out that door in the way he had came was virtually impossible. In retrospect many people would agree that it was a merciful death for him to be shot in the back of the head like a common street rat rather than the alternative method that the Boss resorts to. If Mikey was capable to at all speak after the atrocious act, he himself would confess such an ending was more preferred than waking up one day to discover leering over his face was that of the very rarely believed to be alive man known only by those that know he exists as simply, “Causa-Miseriae.” That man is known by many although those whom know full well he lives prefer to believe he is just a myth since knowing he lives and is actively practising his craft is just too much to live with even for those whom are all too comfortable with getting hands bloody. This was a much more pleasant way to die, even if that means your corpse will never be found- it is much more desirable than knowing your last few hours will be agonizing and your body shall be discovered but to be buried at a funeral would require a few dozen coffins.

However, as Mikey's life was now no more it seems that he will posses no opinion on the subject at the moment and will no longer, sadly, possess an opinion upon anything else either, ever again. This fact is one that though crossed ever briefly across the subconscious mind of The Boss wasn't enough to make The Boss second guess his decision to signal to The Butler to blindside Mikey with a gunshot in the back of the head. The moment the bang had finished echoing throughout the spacious business office, The Boss's large, long, muscular legs had covered the floors length and was back at his desk before the blood splattered brains of Mikey had even reached there final destinations of becoming stains on The Boss's overly expensive office's decor, picking up his phones receiver.

After a few seconds of the only sound breaking the silence being that of Mikey's body collapsing to the floor and the soft, petite sound of the blood dripping down off the ceiling on to the floor beneath it similar to that of rain drops dripping off of leaves, the emptiness was interrupted by The Boss's deep, booming voice speaking into the phone without so much as the hint of a polite salute.

“Causa-Miseriae,” as The Boss spoke the name he felt the hint of a shiver erupting within his spine and that made him feel like a child again standing naked and unprotected in front of his alcoholic and abusive father; completely helpless, “I have a job for you,” and to experience that sensation again after a long life of doing all he could to never feel that way again, by re-living that sensation he was at that moment more dangerous than any other moment in his existence.

If Mikey could say thank you then this would be the time that he would offer his condolences for the easy death rather than stick around to be the reciepent of The Boss's built up aggression and akward embrassment. Although no words of this thought was expressed by The Boss, The Butler however still felt his own body clench up with rigormortis as if his own subconscious mind was preparing for the worst case scenario- despite knowing The Boss for close to two decades The Butler was aware that that did not excuse him from becoming another cadavar that his Boss would one day answer to Lucifer for. And knowing The Boss as The Butler does, as close to an intimate comprehension for him as anyone ever has had the disprivallage of being given the oppurtunity to reach such a relationship with The Boss did nothing to ease The Butler's nerves but to instead amplify such anxeity since The Butler is all too aware that answering to the Lucifer did not at all bother The Boss. As far as The Butler so far understood that upon death, The Boss has plans to go and interagate both God and the Devil the same to inquire as to why such a world that was created by them would let a man like himself exist within it free of repremend other than the damage and abuse he recieved as a child in the merciful care of his cruel family.

“Yes.” The Boss spoke without a pause in between his words, “Of course. The Amount is the same.” The Butler was pretending his best to be invisible or at least make himself useful by opening the giant dual oak doors that led out into the long carpeted hallway with golden elevator doors and a marble waterfall within the middle of the room and reached to the walls intercom system in order to page a clean up crew to come dispose of Mikey.

“It is for my lt. Tony that works for me down on-” The Boss paused in middle of a sentence and to be interupted was a giant irriataion to The Boss and though Causa-Miseriae possessed an unholy fear within every human that discoveres such a beast exists in reality did not fase The Boss enough to not devistate such a persons life due to his opinion of being disrespected, The Butler knew that though he'd yearn to taste the smell of copper from Causa-Miseriae blood being spilt onto The Boss's entire body since he to is no stranger to the devistating torture of whom he precieves to be his enemie; but since time has decided to escalate his trangressions of humanity into a very profitable regieme, The Boss is rarely now seen anywhere outside of his office.

The giant hand of The Boss was turning bone white as his hands squeezed so hard on the receiver in his hand to aid in swallowing his usual attitude of quick to anger when opposed so that he would not offend the Causa-Miseriae too badly and end up having the best known threat at his disposal become a dead line to his call.

“Yes,” The Boss found himself surprised since the voice on the other end, a distorted computer generated voice simply interrupted The Boss to indicate Tony's address, “That's the place.” Again silence as The Boss's hand began to relax so to did the reciever's chance of not being crumbled within his strength, “What ever it is you have to do... Yes, find out why the count is constantly short.” Then the converstation was done, the phone line was disconnected and so to was The Boss's patience and from hearing the phone slam down then be thrown across the room, The Butler was already glad he had stepped out into the hallway to await the elevators delievery of a member of the clean up crew. As the ding to the elevators arrival was announced, The Butler himself stepped aside allowing the two men in white to enter the hall and pull behind them a large table full of various instruments and what one would presume was a modified high powered vacuumm- as they passed the last one off the elevator looked at The Butler from behind his painters mask and as his eyes squinted, The Butler realized the man was smiling at him; and so The Butler simply did a slight courtesy bow of his head to the man and waved a goodbye since due to The Boss's current mood The Butler had high predictions that the two men entering to clean up that of Mikey's mess will then themselves become nothing more but a pile of evidence to arrest The Boss and then themselves require another team of clean up experts to remove their stains next. The Butler although often removed from the every day annoyance of things like a conscience he was however at this moment was touched a little by the pitiful hand of sympathy for these two individuals that wouldn't even see their demise coming.

Before The Butler decided to attoin his horrible accounts of attrocious acts by telling those two young men to get back in the elevator and run for the hills; but to due so The Butler knew very well that doing so would be useless and pointless. Not only would neither of these young two individuals believe the words of a raving mad man dressed up in that of butler's tux because the pay for such a thankless job is too great to give up, at least for those whom are able to keep their stomachs down and mouths shut; but also because then the Butler himself would become the one that The Boss releases his unending lust for retrubution. Some individuals are able to dispense and release their pent up stress in healthy ways, artistic ways; but The Butler knew that to the Boss, things like art and beauty often included things like torture and mutulation of inhumane levels.

When the early springs new days sun had already crept impatiently over the horizons line until finally it found itself a spot to rest in until it had to make its way lazily up into high noon for lunch wasn't the only sign that a new day was upon the world. Some places rely upon roosters for their post-dawn cry's and others use the annoying squak of an alarm clock to indicate that the day is starting with or without the inhabitants that populate the lands. However inside the city of, Odi et Amo, the locals tended to know the time of day without so much as a glance at a clock or even a look to the sky fore the signs of the suns coming was seen all throughout the streets. In fact to an outsider simply passing through would suddenly have a sense of disillusion and bewilderment as they would surely believe themselves to have entered some alternative reality where monsters exist. Their would be spectres of former men dashing off into their delapated catacombs, their place of refuge from the tormenting agony of having to experience the warmth of the suns light caressing their skin with kisses of death. Their make shift coffins are constructed out of abandoned houses where inside of it is like a vampires nest because their will be dozens of them sulking about within, a covenent of desperate souls squeezed into a place where the windows are either completely covered up in a sheeth of various materials and cloths or boarded securely shut so nothing can penetrate into their fortress of miserable solitude.

If observing such a sight wasn't enough to convince a man of sound mind that he has in fact stepped out of their comfortable realm of sanity and entered into that of an insane nightmare. Their senses would tell them that they seen real vampires but their mind will scream reason and explain that what was just witnessed was not real but perhaps an epitome of inspiration for such a novel creation. Then once they have shaken off the delirum of sleep, they'd instantly start their departure much quicker just to ensure their safety because if they are gone, then rather those blood-suckers were really existing inside this depressing city or not simply won't matter anymore. Only problem with such logic is that the coin has a flip side to it s well. Once the doors to those beings sancturies have all been loudly shut, the echoing slam of them still sounding in the distance, the tourist would suddenly discover another surreal horror they won't be able to comprehend.

Over powering the then fading sound of a hundred doors closing in unison came the moan of something clearly in true agony and pain. The groaning cry of the nighttime replacements were calling out to each other that it is time to feed. To one unfamiliar with the rituals that are all to prevelent in, Odi et Amo, these slow moving ghouls that shuffle their feet across the pavement would now be seen all across the road and sidewalk. Not just a few but an infurating amount of them. If the city was a being made of flesh and skin then from an aerial view it would look as if it had suddenly contracted a skin condition- looking like some discoloured and infected rash which was forming at an alarming rate would frighten even the most veteran of doctors; but alas, the city is made of cement, pavement, concrete and metal. The blemishes seen from above are just the festering scalps of uncleaned bodies that had long ago taken it upon themselves to live, if you can claim their existences as living, only for one thing: to feed the monkey that pulled the levers to guide their movements.

As they trudged past a civilian, that person would find it difficult not to gag on their smell during the first few times they encounter such a wave of degenerates moving past like a sea of liquid garbage waste. It is a hard sight to see too fore their mouths which expell these cry's of torture appear to simply be a dark hole that is traced not by lips but rather two peeling scabs; and sadly, though they appear ready to fall off at any moment, that is the part of their contenences that appear to be in the best shape: medically speaking. The rest of their dirt covered faces are riddled with open wounds, bubbling boils, freshly picked holes, and other various infections all looked to long be past any modern cure. The clothes that they all were wearing were simply pieces of cotton that seemed to be so big on such petite, frail creatons that even an XS on the largest of their kind would look as if it was trying to consume the individual wearing it. Also the material would look as if it had never known the inside of a washing machine nor that one even existed; and what is worse is that they all appear to be proud of their filth. It's as if their lack of hygeine is a badge of honour that they sport with pride in a manner of communication with one another. Their stains were evidence of their tour of duty through the levels of Dante's inferno, a medal to tell their commrades of their heroic tales of survival. To anyone else they simply looked like a plague on the city. Evidence that hell finally did get full and the corpses of the dead had finally been reanimated in order to roam the globe in persuit of brains to digest. To call them from their appearnce anything other than a zombie would be alarming.

Although no one would want to have a city be infested with either subclass of humans if one was to be forced at gun point to decide which of the two they would rather have be the populace in which they fnd inhabiting the majoity populace of their home town, the general consensus would be without a doubt of the nighttime addicts. At least those individuals albeit in their own right an annoyingly dangerous group of people, are not only gone at first light they rarely even bother with anyone outside of their own kin.

The slow moving ghouls of the mornings long standing ritual however would fling themselves at anyone they passed that didn't bare the mark of their sins in order to hopefully obtain another coin to accumulate to their already pitifully low value and worth. The congested traffic for the morning commute was already enough to drive the average Jon Doe crazy each day, the added annoyance of having to evade the approaching creatures with their unintelligable words and outstretched hands was an added stress that even the most sinful of men didn't deserve a daily assault by the empty shells of hollow beings. The walking mistakes, the obvious failure to curve ones hubris of flesh and cheap pleasures. Each day they immitate the medias portrayl of zombies more and more. Just like the ones in the movies that seek and search relentessly until finally they find something alive to ruthlessly persue to no end, persue with no evidence of ever ceasing up until their prey gives in, these immitations also persue their targets with no remorse until they to finally give up or give in.

From afar it appears they are aimlessly wandering about, proving a miracle each time they don't simply collade into one another, they do have a goal in mind. Slowly but surely they are all heaading out to their individual places to gather up whatever currency they can savage through either begging, harassing, boosting, robbing, stealing, break and enters, middlemaning, selling copper-wire, scrapyard salvaging, trashbin searching, and other embarassingly common methods of profit that they will eagerly sink to until they hold in their grubby, black stained hands at least ten dollars. Once at least that bare minimial is reached, the appearant creatin suddenly has signs of their senses returning to them- slightly, since they stop instantly what they're doing and start towards where the dealers gather across the cities stoops, corner stores, park benches and alley ways, like they are being pulled to them by some unseen magnetic force.

To bare witness to such a way of life one suddenly is grateful for the annoyance of the everyday beeping alarm or nerve-racking craw of their neighbours rooster to announce the days new start rather than having to exist in a cess pool of depravity and sorrowful miscreants; and to learn to read them themselves like hands on an invisible clock. The night is full of raving pale specks of what could be a man coasting about if not inside of a dimly light club that's full of pounding electronic music, barely dressed women, loose morality, chemically engineered drugs and paid sex; the dawn is marked by the arriving aroma of unwashed bodies being released in swarms throughout the urban core; noon is easy to spot since it is only then that the sound of laughter is heard like music because of the children on break and the varying collections of kids in their tiny clicques seperated by barely a few city blocks all joking around within their circle while clocking the dollars and fucking with the junkies; the evening is felt by the weight of something in the air, the arrival of those few citizens that still hold down a job heading home to wait out the soon-to-be horriblely unsafe streets as well as monitor their own homes points of entrance to fend of any intruders dumb enough to try and invade these individuals privately and pridefully owned homes full of family possessions and other syntemental valuables they are all too willingly hopeful to kill for; the descendent of the sun back into its bed is not only obviously present based on the sudden increase of shadows and shady looking figures with hoods and bandans come out of the wood works, the junkies are all making their final pleas for free hits and the BOOM BOOM BOOM of bass coming from within the trunk of SUVs simply fills up the air as the reups take place and the money for the day is collected and paid out; but in between the start of twilight and midnight comes the time that no one needs to warn you is approaching because it is as evident as it is built into every person that lives within the boarder of Odi et Amo biological makeup.

That is the time of day, everyday regardless of the season or temperature that to be a stranger or tourist is often temperantelly bad for ones own well-being. It is then that even the most kind faces and friendly exchanges of conversation turn into suspicious glares and trumped up threats. At this moment their exists too many variables for any one person to ever wrap his head around trying to calculate a probability of odds for anyone individuals chance of survival rather they be an addict, actively involved in the drug trade, a joe-shmo, bus driver or hobo, did not matter because during these few hours everybody had the same odds of survival. None.

The sounds of gun shots and screams have become so common placed that most people find it odd if they do not hear such a symphony playing out in the distance of the dark parks and alleys. Cars are no longer obeying the speed limit and the SUVs espically do not stop for stop signs or red lights rather not they are in a school zone or a police officer is driving next to them. The odds of anyone being the institgator or your reaper are multiplied to an exponenial amount that even the most honest looking crossing guard will turn out to be a mercileless bastard hell bent on taking another persons life and wallet, rarely offering an ultimatum fore it's easier just to take both; and when you are as starving, broke or addicted as these poor souls are either forced to be or stuck on then it matters not at all rather the life of their victim is spared or taken. They fret over that less than they fret over a stain on their shoes.

Each day is like this like life was a rerun of some old tv show that nobody ever wanted to watch when it first aired lest of all the same damn episode ten times a day in a language they cannot understand but that's how it goes inside these desolute places. When things find themselves nesting into a comfortable routine. Even when the actions and decisions that the world has found itself repeating it matters not at all for nature is indifferent and impartial, the only thing it desires is the easiest path of resistence. Sadly not only did nature find such a suitable situation inside of Odi et Amo but it all too quickly became the everyday routine for its inhabitants as well. This is the prime reason why so many unsathory individuals thrive in the depths of this cities profitable black market and devious deeds done without a sense of morality, compassion or Gods judgement flourishes without ever fearing consequences of any kind other than death.

Day in and day out it repeats. Sunrise to sunset it is the same with the only variation is the change in whom is on top and whose at the bottom; whose eating and whose starving; whose breathing and whose choking on their blood; and thus this day is of no different: the only change that is instantly noticable is for only a select few people. The Boss's Lt Tony's East 32nd crew that consists of five employees including Tony himself is one man shy. Tony himself is never late lest of all absent for the entire day and as far as any of his subordinates knew of him, Tony never turned his phone off but today long after they had to turn away too many customers and too much business and hours later did one of the runners suddenly suggest that someone try calling Tony's cellphone only to realize that for the first time in the history of Tony's ownership of a mobile phone was it going directly to a voice mail. Worse yet, they discovered was that the voice mail was already filled up meaning they weren't the only ones trying to contact Tony.

All of them too afraid to leave the corner due to the penalty of diserting their post continued to stand around their stoop telling junkies to beat it as if they were irritating the dealers when in reality it was the dealers whom were irritated with their own absent leader and lack of product to be pushing. The fact that Tony had been a no show was at first a relieft fore the last few days he had been driving them like slaves but when his phone was not on and the voice mail full they all began to speak amongst themselves, offering up the worst case scenario then quickly beating the level of brutality and improbability they simply had a moment ago. They had discussed going bye his house but none of them were even certain of where that was nor could they call for a replacement since only Tony had the contact information and numbers for the people higher up their food chain than themselves; but still they refused to leave their spot in case it was a test of some sorts. In fact it wasn't until noon had just began to slip away did any news reach them of what to do or what was happening. The only problem was that the information was delievered in a method which if they could have chose how to recieve it would have picked a different medium to find out that the message. Tony was clearly never coming back and their store was shut down for good, but unfortunately they were not given their pink slips in the most traditional ways.

Their severance package came in the shape of a fully automatic assault rifle that was leaning out the front passernger side of a dark tanned SUV with tinted windows and spinning rims. The back passenger side was also pointing a combat shotgun that blasted until it was empty; from the sunroof was the upper torso of a man in a black sweater, hood pulled over his head, sunglasses on, a bandana over his mouth, leather gloves on and in each hand an uzi with an extended clip was helping to deliever the news that they were to be let go from their positions in the East 32nd Co. Starting immedietly.

A List of all the objects in the Bible.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Long and Short of It

A fascinating discussion of sentence length and punctuation use in a variety of famous novels and some amazing graphic representations.


Write a brief fiction piece according to this structure:

short F
short F
dialogue: short, short, long
short F
short F
dialogue: long, short, short, short, short
short F
short F
short F
long (thought)

25 sentences. You can begin only 8 with a noun referring to a person. 
dialogue=can be internal monologue, or an interaction between two or more characters.

You can repeat this structure multiple times to create a longer piece. 

VARIATION: Rewrite one of your pieces of writing or part of another writer's writing according to this structure. How does the variety of sentence-length affect the rhythm, pacing, voice, tone, etc. of the piece?

Susan Sontag on Storytelling

Susan Sontag has some thoughtful things to say about writing.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Work to Workshop: Week 4 (February 10)

"A good novel distracts you from how shitty life is. A great novel makes you realize that life is shitty in ways you never even thought of."

1. Kassandra: More (BTW see Medieval baby dragon image here.

2. Janice. Two

3. Ross. Alexander-2

4. Janet. Chapter 3

5. Justin. Two

6. Maryann. Two

Friday, January 29, 2016

Writing to Workshop: Week 3

Here is the work for workshopping in Week 3

1. Kassandra. Excerpt 2 (New work begins Chapter 2)

2. Ross. Excerpt Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

3. Janet Chapter 2

4. Justin D. Chapter 2

5. Janice. Part 2

6. Maryann Part 1

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Hero's Journey

This is kind of annoying but funny and a great explanation of the elements of The Hero's Journey:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Writing to Workshop for Week 2

If I've done this correctly—and there is a first time for everything—you should be able to click on the links and download or open the files below. I'll add more links as people send in their work.

So here goes.

1. Kassandra's novel excerpt 1

2. Janet's novel excerpt 1

3. Benny's novel excerpt 1

4. Justin's novel: part 1, part 2, part 3

5. Janice: excerpt 1 (Prologue)

On first sentences

The blog post knew things would never be the same. Not after this. Here is a good little article on the historical rise of first sentences and what they do.