Thursday, February 23, 2017

Word Count Wednesday

What am I working on:

I'm working on my narrative story to share with my house, Wade and the group for Monday.  I'm not sure if it will be a short story or a novella. The last two weeks and has been challenging, everyone in my house (including myself) are finally healthy again (knock on wood).  I'm finally starting to get back into my groove and am starting to write again.  

I've been rethinking my story a bit.  

The gist of my story is, I'm fascinated by the thought of existence.  

Those created naturally and those created with the aid of technology. 

The question I'm asking is, would those people who were created using technology have existed eventually, or not at all? And are they different from natural born people because of the means to create them?

My main character Gabriel was created using technology.  He's always known/felt that he was 'different'. 

The prologue will be: 
His mother, pregnant with his younger sister, dies in childbirth from complications from the method or serum used to help her achieve pregnancy; Gabriel was a toddler at the time. After natural attempts to get pregnant failed, they learn about this lab that helps couples in that situation and his father pressures his mother to go through the process. His mother was reluctant, but goes through it anyway.  

I'm thinking in Chapter 1, Gabe is already working at the lab and the following has already happened  

  • He doesn't find out until he's in college that he was created using a method no longer used because it was flawed, a secret that his father had kept from him.  

  • Gabe is determined to figure out what happened and why.  Why was this method no longer used?  What are/were the consequences? 

  • He purposely ends up working at the lab, which was supposed to have stopped these methods, but secretly hadn't. He finds this out somehow. 

I'm struggling with he middle of the story.  So what?  What happens?  I know a conflict will occur between Gabriel and his father, he will blame him for his mother's and sister's deaths.  

I'm toying with an idea that at the end of the story, Gabriel finds a video message, a letter, or something (that his father wasn't aware of) that helps him resolve these feelings, but I'm not sure if that is a dumb idea or not.  

Word Count: Not much, just starting to get back at it now. 

What am I reading:
Harlem Renaissance poets Langston Hughes & Countee Cullen 
John Steinbeck "The Chrysanthemums" 
Stephen King One Writing

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Word-Count Wednesday #3 (2/8/17)

This week (since Friday) has been a bit tough.  Both by son and myself are sick this week so I haven't gotten as much accomplished as I would have liked to this.

What Am I Working On:
I finished "The Glasses" as a news broadcast - Magical Realism - Experiment #5

I also finished the the opening section for narrative I'm working on this semester. 

The Lab (A better title later perhaps)
Mary shivered as she pulled the blankets up around her shoulders in the delivery room.  The room was cold and she was worried.  Worried something might be wrong with the baby.  This pregnancy didn’t feel the same as the first.  She’d delivered a health and beautiful baby boy just two three years prior and her son Gabriel is a delight.  Such a wonderful and high spirited toddler.  Always into mischief.  Always pulling things out of the lower kitchen drawers and screeching off in delight when Mary attempts to catch him to have him replace the contents.  
Mary and her husband John are hoping for a baby girl to round out their little family.  When they initially tried to start their family, they experienced heartbreak of 2 miscarriages.  That seemed to be becoming the norm in society as they shared their story with friends or family.  Mary and John had learned of several other couples experiencing the same problems with either becoming pregnant or staying pregnant.  One evening when Mary was over at a friend’s house for a girls wine night, she met a woman who worked at a fertility clinic.  Lindsay was her name and she was smartly dressed, even for a ladies wine evening, and very friendly.  She had given Mary her card and said that Dr. Klein, the man she worked for, was an expert at helping women achieve pregnancy.  He and the researchers at his clinic had developed a new serum that assist women in achieving pregnancy.  LIndsay insisted that Mary call the office on the following Monday to set up an appointment.  Mary politely accepted Lindsay’s card, but had no intention of calling.  While heartbroken at the two children she lost, she wanted to try again the old fashioned way.  When she went home later that night and shared with John what had happened.  John encouraged her to call.  John had been just as devastated about the miscarriages and thought this sounded like a good omen and that she should pursue it.  
The sound of John’s voice in the hallway brought Mary out of a dazy sleepiness she was beginning to feel.  It almost sounded as though John was arguing with someone.  Mary couldn’t be sure, things were starting to fade a bit.  The nurse came in and started to check on her when she realized Mary was bleeding.  Her sheets and blanket were soaked in the bright red hue of blood.  Mary had been given an epidural about an hour before so she hadn’t felt anything as well as a drug to place calm her down, but it made her sleepy.  Still in her dazed condition, she could tell by the nurse’s gasp at the sight, something was wrong.  The nurse turned on her heels and ran out of the room, quickly retrieving Dr. Klein and her husband John.  Dr. Klein took one look at Mary and ordered the nurse to immediately prep and move Mary to an operating suite.
Mary looked at John and asked him what was happening.  In an attempt not to worry her, he said, “Nothing sweetheart, we’re just moving you to another room so you can deliver our daughter.”  They chose not to find out the sex of the baby.  They loved having it be a surprise as it was with Gabriel’s birth.  But they were convinced it would be a lovely baby girl who would look just like Mary.  Mary simply smiled a sweet and loving smile back to John and said, “Ok my love, let’s go.  I can’t wait to meet our daughter.  Tell Gabriel I will see him soon with his new baby sister and that I love him with all of my heart.”  
Twenty minutes later, the life of that mischievously, sweet little boy would be changed for ever.  His mother Mary and his lovely little sister were both gone.  

Word Count: 652

How Do I Feel About The Process:
I think if I were feeling better this week I would be feeling better about the process, but I am proud of myself for writing something.  It's a start.  I'm enjoying the process of writing, pausing to ponder and think, and then coming up with another idea.  I'm not saying it's all great, but at least I'm "trying" and I'm happy about that :)  

In writing "The Glasses" news broadcast, 'holes' in a story became evident to me.  I asked myself "can't people see the crazy things happening in the Subway when they walk by?" So I noted that the employees had  had closed the blinds.  This is a simplistic example, but something to think about.  I realize as a writer, you have to ask the obvious questions a reader might ask and then answer them.  

For "The Lab", I heard or read somewhere to write what you know.  The antics of Gabriel as a toddler is my son, Mason.  He used to love taking out ALL of the baggies in their boxes in the kitchen drawers.  Or completely gut the storage container drawer. Much to my chagrin. Looking back now, I think it's hilarious.  

And Lindsay's name is a friend from my yoga class.  

I chose to to have Gabriel's father push his mother into using the fertility treatment because I need he and Gabriel to have a conflict later in the story.  Gabriel will question his existence.  Was he mean to exist at all without help?  How much intervention should be done?  When does it cross the line from simply helping someone to achieve pregnancy because they want a family, or doing it because you think you're playing God or for profit.  I need to flush all those questions out.  I'm thinking there needs to be a larger impact, a bigger question, but I haven't come up with it yet.  I will though ;-) 

What Am I Reading:

T.S. Elliot - "The Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" & "The Waste Land"

F. Scott Fitzgerald - "Winter Dreams"

Ernest Hemingway - "In Our Time" Chapter 1-5

Monday, February 6, 2017

Experiment #5 - Magical Realism

Experiment #5 - Magical Realism
Subway Restaurant + Glasses That Hypnotize Others

As a news broadcast:

In tonight’s news, KKMC has learned of a rather odd story.  

Employees at a local Subway restaurant have been hypnotizing their customers.   

Sources tell KKMC news that 5 employees of the popular restaurant chain have been wearing glasses that somehow have a hypnotic effect.

These glasses look like ordinary glasses our station is told and customers have been completely unaware.

The way these employees have been able to accomplish hypnotizing customers is by posting an employee just outside of the front door to pass out coupons to unsuspecting customers as they approach the restaurant.  

This initial interaction with an employee wearing the glasses begins the hypnotic process.

Once inside the restaurant, the employees at the order counter complete the act, fully engaging the customer who now becomes open to suggestion.

Window shades were pulled down to conceal what was happening inside.  

Once a customer is fully under hypnosis, the customer begins to do things that an employee has prompted them to do, such as dart around the restaurant clucking like a chicken, sing like Axl Rose from Guns n Roses or do the worm on the floor.  

Subway employee antics were abruptly halted when the Mayor walked in, unknowingly bypassing the employee posted at the door who was occupied elsewhere.  

It has been reported that Mayor Reynolds witnessed a group of customers doing the conga around the restaurant while in their underwear with employees cheering them on.

Observing this strange sight, the Mayor immediately turned off the source of the music, located near the entrance, surprising employees who were unaware of her presence.  

When asked what was happening, the employees quickly confessed to their shenanigans.  

The Mayor ordered the employees to command the customers to re-dress themselves and to bring them out of their hypnotic revelry.  

Customers were completely unaware of what had happened and the Mayor insisted the employees not tell them what had occured to save their dignity.

She also ordered the employees to give each customer a free meal under the guise of “Customer Appreciation Day.”  

The Mayor confiscated all of the hypnotic glasses and assigned each employee to complete
500 hours of community service.  

The Mayor noted that if any employee failed to comply with her punishment of community service, they would be subjected to performing the conga in their underwear at the next 4th of July parade.  

Each employee graciously accepted the terms of the Mayor’s punishment.  

KKMC contacted the Mayor’s office for a comment on what she intended to do with the glasses.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office simply stated, “She intends to put the glasses to good use”, no further details were given.  

Up next, the weather…..

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Word-Count Wednesday #2

I am truly enjoying both my Creative Writing class and my American Lit class.  I know Bradford mentioned that this is a new endeavor for him, but I appreciate the way he's structured the class with these "Experiments."  This process is allowing us students to move out of our comfort zone and try something new.  I wouldn't have necessarily ever tried to write a song or a poem, or "what can you come up with when you mix A and B," as in the Magical Realism/Something Ordinary + Something Magical.  Having these assignments lets us stretch our legs as writers so to speak.

For my American Lit class, I appreciate the fact that Professor Kenedy takes the time to really focus on the writer we are studying for that particular class.  Some classes I've had tried to accomplish too many things in one class without really spending the time to closely read and digest the material.  

What a great way to finish my last semester at Moorpark!

What am I working on?
Experiment #5.  In class I was given "Subway Restaurant" and "Glasses that hypnotize others".  After looking at these two ideas, I immediately came up with an idea that the Subway employees use the glasses to hypnotize the customers while they are moving down the line placing their order.  They make the customers do crazy things while in the store.  

How do I feel about the process?

The process is a bit of a roller coaster.  Sometimes I'm fired up with ideas and other times I'm like "I have no clue!  What the heck am I doing!"  Which I'm learning is pretty normal.  Having never really written anything creative before this class, it was a bit embarrassing at first to have my creations read, but on the other hand, its kind of cool.  I'm learning from speaking to other students as well as reading their blogs, we all pretty much feel the same way so I'm in good company. 

Another observation I've made is learning the difference between writing screenplays and prose.  A few years back I attended a fabulous Screen Writing Class at the UCLA extension.  I learned about world building, breaking the story in to 3 acts and using as few words as possible to get your point across because you are writing for a visual medium.  Prose on the other hand, you need a lot more words to get your point across.  It's fun to try all the different ways in which to write.

What am I reading now?
Stephen King "On Writing"

Robert Frost - Various Poems
  My favorites are:
      -"Mending Wall"
      - "Home Burial"
      - "The Road Not Taken"
      - "Birches"
      - Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
      - "Design"

T. S. Eliot "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" & "The Waste Land"

The Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon with my son