The Write Place - Writing Prompt - September

The prompt: You discover a trap door in your home that you never knew about was given to the same group of people. Everyone had a different version of where to take the prompt, we hid bodies, found family secrets, looked for buried treasure and had surprise endings.

In this month’s workshop I enjoyed the conversations from the writers about the ideas they had and dismissed. How they struggled to keep the prompt within the 500-word limit. How they enjoyed breaking free from their current work and playing with something new for a time. How they feel inspired to elaborate more on the ideas that the prompt stirred inside them.

Keep reading to find out how I did with the prompt and let me know if you do it too. I’d love to read along!

 

 Trap Door - by Colleen Young

The kettle on the stove alerts me that hot water needs my attention. I run across the apartment and trip over the corner of the rug in the kitchen. My knee breaks the fall, I slam hard onto the floor.

“Mother!” I want to scream all the curse words, but I made a no cursing vow with myself, “of pearls!” My knee! There is an indentation on it and a reddish bruise forming. “When in the…. H E double hockey sticks?” I say standing up and hobbling to the stove to stop the deafening noise from filling the air.

I look from my knee to the carpet. Since I am a drifter as my mom calls me - she says I have an eighteen-month alarm clock that rings and tells me it’s time to move on. I find apartments that are furnished. Like this one. It’s one of eight in an old Victorian house.

Somehow, I’ve never seen this divot on the floor.

“What is that?” I ask myself. I talk out loud. It makes living alone not as lonely.

The hair on the back of my neck stands up. I push the kitchen table and rolling island out of the way so I can peel up the corner of the rug. A handle, big enough for my pointer finger to slip into is sunk into the wood. 

“No flipping way? A door?”

I should call the landlord and tell him about this. Who am I kidding? He already knows. If my mother were here, she’d say “curiosity killed the cat.” My fingers twitch wanting to pull the door open. I must see what’s inside the trap door. I leave the room, grab a flashlight and stick my finger in the hole. I yank the door open and wait. My heart pounds.

“You are such a chicken.” I tell myself.

Without fear I push my head into the hole and scan the surroundings with my Maglite. It’s only dirt and…

“What the freak… is that?”

I hesitate, but put my feet into the hole and onto the hard ground under the house. There’s enough room so I can waddle, like a duck. A smart person would call the cops before doing something this stupid. But I just need to see what is over there to figure out what I am seeing.

“Ahhh.”

It’s a sleeping bag, a few Milk crates set up like a night stand, and a few items on the nightstand.

Someone lives under me. Maybe? Or they used to? For how long?

I sweep the Maglite around. Just to double check. I don’t see anyone, but the house is huge and the light only reaches so far. I guess this is a friendly homeless person. I can’t blame them for needing to find somewhere to hide out and this is a perfect location. Out of the rain and you get residual heat in the winter. This homeless person is smart.

A shoebox on the nightstand catches my eye. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. I shouldn’t be going through someone’s personal effects but I need to know who my roommate is, if I will allow them to keep living here. I pull out the box and pop open the lid.

“Oh, shit!” I say while looking at picture, after picture, after picture of myself. 

                        

Fighting Prose Interview with Nannette Kreitzman

Welcome to Fighting Prose. An in-depth author interview series about writing.

I’m starting out this series with a bang! Nannette is a sweet woman that I’ve become acquainted with through social media. She’s interactive, supportive and sweet. Keep reading to find out all about her, her process and how she’s filled her empty nest with fun short stories.

How long have you been writing? 

I have written little snippets and scenes my whole life.  I started writing complete short stories last October and now have self-published seven of them. 

What's your favorite of your short stories? 

That’s a hard one.  Discovering Me is fun because it let me explore my dark side.  I have a sweet spot for Spitfire’s Gift because of my history with horses and, well, cowboys are a weakness.  But the two Willow stories tap something in me.

If you could bring one of your characters to life who would it be? Why?

Another hard one.  Willow is a vulnerable yet strong woman.  I think she’d make a great friend.  Joe, in Spitfire’s Gift, is a cowboy, and I think I mentioned how I felt about them. 

What's your favorite genre to read? Write? 

I love reading historical fiction.  As for writing, again, I don’t call the shots.  That’s why all my stories are so different.

Tell me about your process: How do you get your ideas?

My ideas, without fail, come to my while I’m walking my dog.  She’s my little furry collaborator!  My memory is horrific, so I dictate a lot of notes (that Siri loves to play pranks with) and then come home and write.  I’m one of the weird ones that edits as I write.  It helps me shape the story. 

Who do you admire the most in the writing world?

My favorite author is Diana Gabaldon.  Her writing is amazing, her dialogue full of playful banter, and the love story between Jamie and Clair is epic in her Outlander series.  Beyond that, I have recently met so many authors through Instagram that inspire me, are supportive, and have so much talent.  Meeting these people has been a life changer.

If you're not busy writing, what are you busy doing? 

I love to read and am currently trying to ever so slowly make my way through a growing list of indie writers.  Beyond that, taking care of my home and family, which has become much easier now that my kids are grown!

Have you ever had writers block? If so, how did you get out of it?

I haven’t had writer’s block since I started writing in earnest last October.  All those years before when I couldn’t come up with enough ideas for a full story, was that writer’s block or lack of imagination?  Most likely I was just too distracted with everyday life.  My hat’s off to those authors with young children!  Now that I have that proverbial empty nest, there is less interference.

For a writer starting out what advice would you give them?

 My best advice is not to get in your own way or get stubborn with an idea.  If your characters keep swaying away from the plot, maybe it’s for a good reason.  The first concept I had for Willow’s Tale was a little boy laying in the grass looking at ants.  It morphed into Willow trying to distract herself while be assaulted in a meadow.  Stay open minded.

Have you always been creative?

I’ve been creative in many ways over my lifetime.  I’ve sketched, crocheted, dabbled in poetry, worked with horses (believe me - that takes some creativity!), and even did a little acting in high school plays (but no need to go there!).  Writing has always meant the most to me and I feel it’s my best talent.

A big THANK YOU to Nanette for letting us poke her brain. I’ve read Discovering Me and thought Nanette did a fantastic job. I gave her 5 stars! You can follow Nanette on Instagram and all her short stories are on Amazon .

If you’re interested in being a part of our Fighting Prose series send us a message and remember to support an Indie!

XoXo-

Colleen

The Write Place - August 2019

Let’s talk about OUTREACH! After I published my first books in 2016 and stayed active in the writing community I began receiving a lot of the same questions.

Questions like:

How do you make the time to write?

I feel like I’m creative, but I just don’t know where to start?

Oh, I just feel like if I ever let people read my writing, they would judge me and think I was weird or stupid!

The more questions I received the more I became certain that I needed to start something that was creatively and educationally driven. My town is rather small and the writing community is non-existent. I came up with a few ideas and talked to the director of my local library, and that’s how I launched The Write Place.

The idea behind The Write Place in its infancy was to be a place for people who want to write, will make the time by simply by showing up. That way if they committed to coming to each meeting they’d have at least 6 hours of writing completed by years end. Each month we would discuss a topic, always changing it depending on the needs of the group. But like most things you need to tinker with them in order for them to succeed. Our main issue was that people who were trying to find their creativity were struggling to fill the time with work to complete.

The Write Place is now in its toddler years and it’s grown into a place where people who always wanted to write are now writing. Where people who have written a lot but have been stagnant are finding their groove. I am most proud of the fact that it’s a place in my community where writers are meeting and cultivating an environment that they feel open about expressing themselves to people who will truly understand.

Since May of 2018 (when I launched the group) this month’s meeting was the first month that we didn’t have an exercise or prompt to follow. Instead, I told the group to submit something–anything that they were comfortable with us reading. It pulled the members out of their protective shells and they worked on those projects they’d been talking about for so long. We had a non-fiction writer submit the beginning of an educational reference book for teachers, a young man submitted the first few pages of his graphic novel, a talented young woman who is an avid reader but new to writing wowed us with a piece she’d written only 24 hours prior. It was heartwarming to know that the environment that I’ve been cultivating and working hard on is helping so many people get their footing in this creative world. Seeing the light glow in other artists’ eyes is a huge part of this journey for me.

Next month, we’ll be doing a prompt and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! If you’d like to participate along with us let me know.