Category Archives: Creative Writing

Quite the Note Taker


I’ve always been a well prepared note taker when it came to working on a story. I keep a notebook on my nightstand for that moment when I have a break through in my story, or a thought comes to mind on a writing project I’m working on. I would jot notes down in it while in line at the check out, or in between my college classes.

I have a HUGE stack of notebooks and folders full of every note that I had scribbled down or typed up while I was working on a story, song, poem, short story. I even have a collection of diaries that I had scribbled in right after I graduated boot camp (US Navy).

I love thumbing through those pages and discovering stuff I’ve forgotten about, or finding notes that I had been looking for when I needed them for a writing project.

Presently, I am working on putting together a compilation of these short stories and poems of mine that I have found. Most of the ones that I have put together, I had written while I was in college. It’s something that’s keeping me busy until the first book Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Series, Chaos – Supernatural Realms, comes out next month (27 March).

I’ve been keeping everyone updated on my Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferNAdams/

And will also list the information on my webpage:

https://www.twistedcrowpress.com/jennifer-n-adams

Please be sure to follow and subscribe.

Many Blessings,

JA

Advertisements

DP: Bryant, Arkansas


Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?

The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.

The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.

When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.

There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.

This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.

With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.

The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.

There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)

I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.

As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.

DP: Ha Ha Ha


Today’s Daily Prompt is for us to share a joke, or a funny story.

I’ve shared this story before, but it’s still one of my many favorite memories of my grandpa, who has been gone from this world five years in September. It’s a story of a pair of red foxes that once lived in the small patch of woods, behind our house. My grandmother likes this story and has me tell it to close friends and family when they visit, or at family reunions.

Enjoy!

A Pair of Red Foxes

I was helping my grandmother clean one of the rooms one day and casually glance out the window at the clearing behind our house. I saw movement at the edge of the tree line. Suddenly whatever it was came out into the clearing, a red fox, and following behind it was its mate.

I was mesmerized, watching the pair of red foxes chase one another, playing. I told my grandmother, “Look, red foxes.”

She looks up to see what I was staring and smiling at. “They must have a den close by,” she says.

It was a few years ago when I first heard what I thought was a panther. I was in the backroom, rocking my daughter to sleep; she was about a month old. Laying her down in her crib I decided to check my email real quick before going to sleep myself, when I heard a loud screaming sound in the distance, behind our house. It got closer and closer and then it got quiet. Suddenly I heard it again, but even louder and it sounded like it was right in our backyard.

I had remembered what a panther scream sounded like as I heard one on our family’s homestead when I was a little girl, and I thought that was what I was hearing now. I quickly got up and woke my grandma, telling her there was a panther in our backyard.

“It isn’t a panther, go back to bed,” she said. Just then it screamed again.

“Call the police,” Grandpa hollered at me from his room.

“No, don’t call them, they’re only going to laugh at you and think you’re crazy,” Grandma said with a laugh.

“Well, what do I do then?” Panic flooded me, I was being serious and she was making a joke.

“Go back to bed. You can’t do anything, its outside.” It screamed again, but it sounded like it was a little further away this time.

“That isn’t a panther,” Grandma claimed.

“It sounds like it.” I peer through the window blinds of her bedroom, trying to catch a glimpse of this creature that has me petrified with fear.

“It’s that red fox calling for its mate.” She rolls back over, pulling the covers back up to her neck, a sign saying that this conversation was over.

I walked out of her room, pulling the door quietly behind me. “Did you hear that thing grandpa?” I asked, peeking into his room.

“Yeah, I did.”

“What do you make of it?”

“I don’t know.”

“I guess I’m going back to bed, night.”

“Night.”

I went back to the computer and quickly searched the internet for sounds a red fox makes and sounds a panther makes and I found both; they sound so much alike. I understood how I got confused. I’m sure anyone would make that same mistake.

I laughed at those little foxes, watching them as they play on the hillside behind our house. They made me think back to the first time I heard them. I will always remember that night and I think grandma will to. She always has me tell this story to others when they visit. I enjoy sharing the memories I’ve had with my grandpa. I think it helps to keep his memory alive.

Redrafting a Query Letter


il_570xN.273076759

I’m often asked, “You’re so busy, when do you find time to write?”

Of course I reply with, “I find the time.”

I do have a full schedule, or a full plate, whichever way it’s put, I am quite the busy person. Single mom, work, college, plus a huge list of other things to add that I wish not to discuss publicly. I’ve often stated when I fit in my writing. It’s usually scribbling ideas down onto paper whenever I have a free minute, such as standing in the grocery store check out lines. Then late at night, or right before class, I’ll type them up. Usually, it helps to have a printed manuscript for me to scribble on, but I always have a notebook where I keep all my notes.

Currently, I’ve been adding the last pieces to my manuscript. A sentence or two here, cut and paste that over there… As I type this, I’m 200 words shy of making 60,000 words. Wow! Well, isn’t that enough? Apparently not! It is a young adult novel, so there is a minimum and a maximum amount of words required for a publisher to actually look into publishing an author’s book…so I’ve been told…by a couple of actual publisher’s.

I didn’t come up with that entire word count over night…I wish…It took me five, long years to come up with that amount. So, you can see, I may seem to have accomplished a lot, it just took me a long time to get here. I don’t spend all of my time on the computer, writing…though some of my relatives may think otherwise.

Honestly, after hearing other authors tell me how long it’s taken them to come up with their first manuscript for a full novel, I don’t feel so bad on how long it took for me to get this far.

I’m now at the point to where I should prepare a query letter. I have written and rewritten a query letter for this manuscript, though it just hasn’t caught an agent’s attention. It’s taken me five years to write a novel with 60K words, why should it take me so long or be so hard to write up a short professional letter? Well, it is a hard market for us authors. So hard in fact, that a query letter has to have the essentials, yet catch an agents eye for them to pick you and your manuscript. It has to be perfect.

I’ve had a few ‘maybes’, but they weren’t a definite ‘yes’. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. I couldn’t understand what my query letter lacked. It had all the important details; genre, word count, title, synopsis, a little bit about me…yet, no yes’s. I had a hard time coming up with my query letter. I honestly didn’t know how to write one. I had to research and research this on the internet, through the writer’s digest magazine, even thumbed through several books on ‘how to get published’.

Until one day, I had stumbled upon a blog that proved most helpful in every way. Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant, with many years of experience, had written a ‘Complete Guide To Query Letters…’ After scrolling through this post, I finally had the understanding of how my query letter should read. It clicked. The part about her ‘Hook Instruction’ was proved most helpful to me. After having a few people read my query letter, it seems that’s what it lacked, a hook.

Now it’s time for me to go re-type my query letter, though with motivation and determination that I will have the perfect one written and sent out to all those agents I’ve picked to query.

Be sure to check our Jane Friedman’s post about, ‘The Complete Guide To Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests’. Also scroll through her other posts, you’ll find them all very helpful.

Happy writing!

Book Reviews on Amazon Actually Help


It’s a hard life/job being a small time published author, especially when you first start out. You continue to market yourself time and time again, in hopes of getting your work out there. My first year as a published author went really well. I had quite a few book signing events, which led to being invited to other events where I was able to set up a table for more book signings. I’ve sold quite a few books by myself alone; through social media, emails, word of mouth, leaving postcards here and there. But that’s just small marketing. it takes a lot more effort, time, and money to really get noticed.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research on how to boost sales, broaden my marketing area, and strengthen my marketing skills. A very good friend of mine can tell you straight away, that I’m not very good with computers, yet I try and I am a quick learner.

Social media alone is the largest self-marketing tool that I know of, but word of mouth from readers can be a much bigger step in having your work noticed.

According to Brooke Warner in her Huffington Post blog post, “book reviews on Amazon are what carries it’s weight in getting more attention with Amazon.”

“After you hit 50 (ratings), you get more visibility on Amazon.”

In this line of work, I believe reviews from readers are extremely important. It helps me, the author, know that my work is being purchased, that my work is being seen by others. It also lets me know what people actually think of what I have written. It also lets me know that my work is getting out there.

It takes a lot of time and and a lot effort to put a book together and get it out on the market, yet it takes little effort to write up a review.

If you read a book and truly love it, be sure to let the author know. There’s many webpages out there where their work is being sold. Be kind and leave a quick review. I’m a big Goodreads user and love to rate author’s books. I also click which ones I’ve read, want to read, and have purchased. I then write up a short review on what I thought of each book I’ve read. And if I loved a particular book, I let them know.

I’ve even written reviews on books and posted them here on my blog, tagging their name and a link to where you can purchase that book or see other works by that author. This all helps us authors in many ways. It gets our name out there. Word of mouth goes a long way, it is a small part of marketing, and it does help the author. You never know when someone is actually reading that review; it helps make that decision for them to purchase that book.

According to a blog entry by Mike Briggs, on author Patricia Briggs’ writing, “…that pure, dumb luck plays a major role in this phase of the game.”

He’s right. Just by posting on my blog here, I’ve been able to bring attention to my work and what I do. I’ve had guess blog spots where I talked about what I do and how I got started and why. Other author’s, whom I have reviewed and shared their work here on my blog, have seen my posts and have thanked me.

Small steps can lead to big adventures, yet you have to take those small steps.

With all that said, if you have purchased my book and would like to leave a review, click here and it will take you to Amazon. Also, feel free to purchase a copy if you haven’t already. If you would like a personal signed copy made out to someone, click here. To rate my book on Goodreads, click here.

I will be finishing up my last round of edits on my last chapter of my young adult novel and will be sending it to my editor very, very soon. After the last draft is finalized, I will be sending it off to the publisher. As always, I’ll keep everyone posted.

Cheers!

Searching for a Literary Agent


For the past month or so, I have been working diligently on editing my young adult manuscript. I found a wonderful editor, who taught me a lot about what is important and what isn’t, pertaining to certain characters, as well as paying attention to detail. (I’m still horrible with comma usage).

I had cut a huge section out of one area which wasn’t really important to the story; sometimes, too much detail is just that, too much detail and it has to be cut. I then added more here and there to help strengthen certain areas. I also changed a character’s name after seeing it closely resembled another character’s name.

After deciding my manuscript was finally polished, I began to send out query letters to literary agents in hopes of finding someone to represent me and my work. This can either be hard, or easy. I have a book called, ‘A Guide to Literary Agents’. Over half of the book is nothing but agencies and agents. I started out with a few, checked out their websites, then checked out each agent’s bio, as well as their submission rules. It’s crucial to follow their submission guidelines.

Though I’ve received two rejections so far, I’m not letting that bring me down. It just tells me that there’s someone else out there, I just have to find them. Plus, it also tells me that someone actually read my query letter; some agencies receive over 100 query letters a day, so they don’t have time to read every one of them.

If you are in the same boat as I am, searching for a literary agent, I wish you the best of luck, and remember to stay positive.

 

To show, or not to show…


Image

Image found on Wikipedia

Not only am I an awesome mom, I am also a writer/ author. I’m not a professional…yet, just a budding author. I have taken a few classes to help me learn the right and wrongs of writing. I am still learning new things as I go. One of the important things that I have learned, and this is coming from the professionals, is that you are either a writer, or you’re not. You can’t be a writer and call yourself ‘an aspiring writer’ or ‘an aspiring author’. To aspire means to want. In other words, what you’re saying is, you want to be a writer, but you don’t write. Either you are a writer/ author, or you’re not.

In one of my creative writing classes, I’ve learned the writing process of ‘show, don’t tell’. At first, I was clueless. What does that mean? Someone had to explain it to me. When telling a story, you have to show people your story, not just tell it. You already know what your story is about, what your characters look like, what the scenery looks like, your readers don’t. You have to show those details in your writing, so when someone is reading it, they can get the visual of what your story is about and what it looks like.

I had also learned the saying, ‘gun on the mantel piece’. Which means if you explain everything in your story, such as items in the room, like the gun on the mantel piece, you better use it in your story somewhere. This is a such thing as too much detail.

There are some instances where you have to tell and not show. I found a blog where she explains it perfectly, click here.

Farewell Winter, Hello Spring


Another poem. I’m thinking of using this one for my creative writing project.

Farewell Winter, Hello Spring

I long to say farewell to winter

It’s harsh cold days

And bleak foggy mornings

Farewell to the snow that fell

A heavy wet blanket

Slick roads a burden to travelers

Farewell to the ice storms

Made limbs crashing

And heavy lines snapping

I long to say hello to spring

Sunlight kissing dew drops

Mother Nature reborn

Hello to the sounds of birds calling

Smell the blooms scent in the air

Bright colors decorating Earth’s landscape

Doctor Who poem


For creative writing we are to write a short story or a poem. I’m not very good at writing poetry as I am in writing stories – long or short. I wrote a poem on Doctor Who, but am going to try my hand at writing a different poem for class. I will share with you the Doctor Who poem that I wrote.

Doctor Who

The last time lord saves Earth’s human race.

Travels to many planets in a ship that looks like a blue police box.

Time and relative dimension in space.

Better known as the Tardis.

 

His travel companions are almost always female.

Together they fight enemies that are odd, unique, and often scary.

Time is wibbly wobbly and nothing is impossible.

Take his hand and run fast.

Allons-y to the future or the past.

 

Fear the stone angels.

Don’t blink or you’ll die.

Cybermen will delete you.

While Daleks shout exterminate.

 

Don’t mind his attire.

Everything to him is cool.

He likes fezes and bowties.

A sonic screwdriver is not just a normal tool.

 

Runaway with the mad man in the box.

Be careful everyone dies.

Though the two heart Gallifreyan can regenerate.

He’s better than a cat with his eleven lives.

Journal Entry #3


Last Thursday in creative writing class, we were given a journal entry to fill a page with images that appeals to the senses that work to reveal an abstraction. Abstractions are things like love, joy, grief, sadness, disgrace, horror, tenderness, beauty. In the last sentence we are to reveal our abstraction.

Here is what I wrote.

Journal Entry #3

I talk to you, but I receive no verbal answer. I’m used to it now. I miss hearing your voice. I do know you hear me; the small clues you leave for us to find, to let us know you’re here.

I walk into your office here at home, searching for a plain white envelope, but cannot find any. I only find the envelopes with your old work address on them. I smile then laugh out loud at how you’ve always kept everything; old match books, postcards, even your log books from every place you’ve stopped at dating back from the first time you started driving a truck.

I start pulling your desk drawers open, still searching for a plain white envelope. Finally, I pause, then smile and ask out loud, “Can you please tell me where I may find a plain envelope? I need one without your old address printed on them.” I received an answer, tough it was with silence. I got a vision of two boxes of envelopes, sitting on a shelf above the computer. I turn around and there they were, exactly what I was looking for. “Thank you Grandpa,” I say out loud.

Grandma and I visited you today, but I still cannot talk to you like that. I look at the cold, pink stone that bares your name and I’m shaken by the thought. My mind still doesn’t want to absorb this. Tears began welling up in my eyes as I took a few steps back. I don’t know why I can talk to you at home, but cannot talk to you there. Maybe it’s just too much of a reality for me.

I watched grandma talk to you. I tried not to listen. Instead, I dried my eyes and walked around visiting with other relatives. I get lost in the quietness of that place, where everyone is resting peacefully. People tell me that time heals the pain of losing someone. It’s been two years and four months and I still grieve for you.