Fiction Friday: [Toeing the Line]

Just the thought of standing too close to the platform edge scared her. She’d heard the stories, although rare, of some demented psycho pushing a fellow commuter onto the tracks. There’s no way to survive getting hit by a New York City subway train. No way.

Across the platform a woman stands so close to the edge that both feet are on the bumpy yellow strip. The yellow strip you’re supposed to stand behind. Behind. How does she not know this?

The sound of the metal beast nearing causes a tightness in her chest and a shortness of her breath. As much as she didn’t want to die via subway collision, she didn’t want to witness it either.

Regardless, she couldn’t tear her eyes away. Away from the calm that never left the woman’s face. Her nonchalance as she teetered on the brink of death. She couldn’t comprehend the woman’s bravery. Couldn’t imagine what it was like not to flinch in the face of danger.

But she wanted to. She wanted to understand. She wanted to know what it was like to live, for one moment, not drowning in fear.

Screeching rocks her back to reality--surrounded by commuters plugging their ears against the grating of wheel to track. She watches as the woman, head aloft, disappears into the crowded car. She’s gone. Lost within the sea of black wool coats and free newspapers.

The intercom crackles above and, through the static, she knows her train will be arriving soon. Heart thumping and mind racing, she makes a decision her mind hasn’t quite registered. The platform vibrates under her feet as the train growls into the station blowing her hair back and away from her face. Startled and confused, she looks down. A sense of hope whirls around her--mixing with the gust from the train--as she finds her right foot firmly planted across the yellow line. 

Fiction Friday: [Sanctuary]

[This week's Fiction Friday is my submission for Scene Stealers #20. Scene Stealers is a fun writing prompt from Write to Done where they provide the first two--or in this case three--sentences and limit your word count to 350. Enjoy!]

You’re surprised when the usher hands you an envelope with your name on it. How would anyone know you’d be watching this movie here, now? You open the envelope. 

Your fingers pause between the envelope and the card tucked within. Seriously, who would know you were here? This theater was your secret sanctuary. Your hideaway in moments when you were feeling down or, in this case, mad.

David doesn’t even know about this place.


How a fight about not washing the dishes had turned into not caring about the relationship was beyond you

Curious, you free the card and handwritten in thick, blocky letters it read: TURN OVER.

You flip it and see the words: LOOK UP.

The screen flickers and the over stylized car chase that had filled it fades to white. Murmurs well up throughout the theater, but you don’t take your eyes off the screen. Another flicker and you gasp as David appears thirty feet tall on the screen.

“Hi honey. I know you’re confused, probably even wondering if you’re crazy, but trust me, you’re not. I guess the first thing I should do is apologize for the stupid fight this morning, but it was the only way to get you here.”

Your heart is pounding so hard that the sound of it in your ears threatens to drown out his words.

“I know you come here when you want to wallow, but I hope after today it becomes a place that you come to when you want to lift your spirits. I hope it becomes the place that reminds you of how much I love you and the day that you agreed to become my wife.”

The house lights come up as the screen fades to black. The audience stands and as your eyes go from face to face you recognize your family and friends. In unison they all extend their arms to your right and at the end of the aisle stands David. You turn to face him and he drops to one knee.

Then, you christen your transformed sanctuary with tears of joy.

Fiction Friday: [Creative Freedom]


Letters fill my head,
Begging to become words,
Begging to be released.

They tickle my brain
Until I set them free.

They travel to my hands
And tingle at my fingertips,

Whether holding a pen
Or perched over keys.
They bubble and dance
With anticipation.

They scream to be free.
And I release them
Into the world

Because I know
That setting them free
Sets me free.


How to Finish Your First Draft [A Guide for the Poorly Disciplined, Fragile Creative]

Considering the fact that I just finished the first draft of my first novel, I am in no way purporting to be some kind of expert. What I am is an often times undisciplined individual that is probably not fun to be around when I fall into a creative rut. So if you're anything like me I just might be uniquely qualified to help you get from page one to a completed first draft. Here's a list of the things I did, learned and remembered to get it done:

  • "The First Draft Of Anything Is Shit".

Please excuse the expletive, but I didn't say it, Hemingway did. Yep, Ernest Hemingway.

I hung this quote by my desk as a reminder on the not so good days that it was okay. I learned to take pride in the fact that I had written anything at all. And to remember that even Ernest Hemingway wasn't always thrilled about the words on the page, but he pushed through because he knew it would all get fixed in editing.

Trying to be a perfectionist when writing, especially the first draft, is a losing battle.

  • Advice is just advice.

My favorite form of procrastination is doing research. I mean, at least I'm being productive. Right?

When I started to research writing a book there was one piece of advice that popped up in almost every article.

That advice? Write every day.


You know how sometimes you're just not in the mood to do something and no matter how hard you try to push yourself it just isn't happening? Well, I guarantee you that you will have plenty of those days on your journey toward finishing your book. You know what else? It's okay. I didn't write every day and I still have 379 pages of double spaced goodness waiting to be edited.

Don't get me wrong I loved the advice. They were all right, you should strive to write everyday. What I had to learn was not to feel like a complete failure on days when the words just weren't there.

So embrace the advice that you are given, but keep in mind that the world won't end if you deviate from it, it's just advice.

  • Change Your Scenery.

Writing at home is great, especially if you have a dedicated space and a cozy environment. The problem for me is that home is also where I have other things to do.

I want to start the next scene, but I should wash the dishes. I know I should write one more chapter, but why not take an hour to eat lunch while searching the internet. I need to make a new playlist because it'll make my writing better. What's on the DVR?

After doing some research*, I came across this list of places in NYC that were writer friendly. I ventured out with my laptop and a renewed determination. Being surrounded by so many people allowed me to feed off of their energy. My daily word count grew and I was flooded with some truly inspired ideas.

I settled into a great balance between writing at home and going out into the world. I even had a weekly date with a friend in the midst of her own writing projects.

When you're staring at the screen, but you're thinking about doing laundry...get out of the house!

*Sometimes research is research. Although, I'm sure I was procrastinating this time, too.

  • Use A Timer.

Now this is advice that I wish I would have followed sooner.                  

I will admit that, initially, I didn't use a timer because I was scared. I didn't know if I had the discipline to succeed and I was afraid of failing.

What if at the end of the hour I had nothing? I felt that if I failed on such a small step in the process, I would most likely fail at the project altogether.

Then one day I decided to finally put on my big girl pants. I was over halfway through the book so I figured, what do I have to lose?

I chose to write in 3 one hour sessions with 15 minute breaks in between. During the hour there would be no phones, no internet, no interruptions. If I actually had to research something I would do so during the following break.

I could not believe how focused I became during those hours. I found myself pushing against the clock and I loved it.  I went from a daily word count of 500-1800 words a day to 3000-4500! Even better, ideas were coming at me from every direction.

I will definitely use the timer method from word one of my next novel.

  • Suck It Up.

Let's say you've gone two days [or more] without writing. At this point, if you are like me, you feel like a failure and now doubt that you'll ever finish your book.

Instead of stewing in 'whoa is me' land try this: SUCK IT UP.

You're going to waste your time brooding and do you know what's going to inevitably happen? You'll come out of your writer's block or rut or whatever you want to call it and then you're going to write.

So how about we start cutting out the middle man? During the in between times instead of moping around, be productive. Maybe, you know, do some research.

  • Believe You Can Do It.

If you only remember one thing on the list, make it this one.

From the moment you decide to write a book until you type the last word, believe that you can do it.

As much of a hippie dippy, power of positive thinker as I am, when you are pursuing a creative endeavor, especially one you've dreamed about for so long, self doubt loves to rear its ugly little head. This is why I like to intersperse my blog posts with inspirational quotes. Simply searching for ones to use has proven to lift my spirits and get me back on track.

Whether you search out quotes, develop a personal mantra or create your own cheerleading squad of family and friends, do what you need to do to keep believing. After all, as Henry Ford said:

“Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right..”

Do you have any more suggestions to add to the list? Will you use any of these suggestions outside of writing? Let me know in the comments below!