Writers Forum Podcast

Mic and Zoom Crop

Today we launched a new tool for Writers Forum: Writers Forum Podcast.

Our web-hosting site, WordPress, recently formed a partnership with the free podcast-hosting website, Anchor. This is going to make it easy to add a dimension to our on-line presence. In addition to the text and visual elements of our blog, we can now add audio.

Our pilot episode is a simple introduction less than two minutes long. The plan is to post news, upcoming events, interviews, and possibly readings in the future.

Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think. What kinds of topics would you like to hear in a Writers Forum podcast?

Thanks, and have a great day!

 

Geo.


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Member Monday: The Three Trail Workers, by George T. Parker

The Three Trail Workers

By George T. Parker

Dedicated to Sam Indigo

Once upon a time, a Trail Worker was hiking through a forest in the Sierras. She was hiking fast, because there was Someplace She Needed to Be. As she hiked, she came across a foot bridge. The foot bridge crossed a creek in a very deep, rocky canyon. She was in a hurry, so she did not hesitate to step out onto the narrow wooden bridge.

When she was almost all of the way across, a loud voice boomed from under the bridge.

“Who’s that trip-trapping on my bridge?” The deep heavy, growly voice echoed up and down the canyon.

The Trail Worker froze as the largest bear she had ever seen climbed out from under the bridge.

“Give me your food!” The Bear said.

“Uh…well…I don’t…”

“Don’t lie,” The Bear said. “I can smell the food in your pack. Give it up!”

The Trail Worker’s shoulders sagged. She knew there was only one way out of this. She shrugged out of her day pack and opened it. She reached inside and pulled out a dirty white sack. She handed it to The Bear. The Bear looked inside.

“Trail mix?”

The Trail Worker nodded.

“That’s it?”

The Trail Worker nodded.

“Nuts and berries?”

“Well…raisins…actually.”

The Bear waved his paw at the forest surrounding them. “I can get all of the nuts and berries I want out there. I was expecting real food out of you.”

“Sorry.”

“Maybe I should eat you.”

“Oh, no, Mister Bear! You don’t want to eat me. That would ruin your appetite for the goodies I’m sure my supervisor will be bringing along soon.”

The Bear considered, and let the Trail Worker go. The Bear climbed back under the bridge and took a nap.

Soon, the Trail Crew Supervisor appeared on the trail. He was hiking fast, because there was Someplace He Needed to Be. He started across the bridge, but before he got all the way across, a loud voice boomed from under the bridge.

“Who’s that trip-trapping on my bridge?” The deep heavy, growly voice echoed up and down the canyon.

The Supervisor froze as the largest bear he had ever seen climbed out from under the bridge.

“Give me your food!” The Bear said.

“Well…I don’t…uh…”

“Don’t lie,” The Bear said. “I can smell the food in your pack. Give it up!”

The Supervisor dug around in his pack and handed The Bear a dingy white sack. The Bear took the sack and dumped it onto the ground.

A package of ramen and two energy bars fell out.

The Bear looked up at The Supervisor.

“Really?”

“Hey! Our resupply helicopter got diverted to a medical emergency. We’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for food.”

“Maybe I should eat you.”

“Oh, no, Mister Bear! You don’t want to eat me. That would ruin your appetite for our sponsor. They should be along any time, and they are just hiking in from the front country. I’m sure they will be loaded with goodies!”

The Bear considered and let The Supervisor go. Then The Bear climbed back under the bridge and took a nap.

The Sponsor was indeed hiking in from the front country. They were hiking fast, because there was Someplace They Needed to Be. It was nearing mid-day, and they were thinking about the fat turkey sandwich, dripping with mayo, and topped with a juicy tomato that they were looking forward to for lunch.

They reached the wooden foot bridge and started across. A loud voice boomed from under the bridge.

“Who’s that trip-trapping across my bridge?” the deep, heavy, growly voice boomed up and down the canyon.

The Sponsor paused as a huge bear climbed out from under the bridge. It wasn’t the biggest bear they had seen, or the fiercest, but it was good-sized.

“Give me your food!” the bear said.

“I haven’t got any.”

“Don’t lie. I can smell…”

The Bear paused as he sniffed the air. He couldn’t smell any food!

“This is strange,” said The Bear. “You’re just hiking in from the front country, right?”

“Yes.”

“You guys always have food.”

“I ate before I came. I haven’t got anything with me.”

The Bear snorted and woofed. He stomped his front feet.

“Prove it,” The Bear said.

The Sponsor dumped their daypack out onto the ground. The bear pawed through the gear. There was no food that he could see or smell.

“Maybe I should just eat you.”

“Oh, no, Mister Bar. You don’t want to eat me. That would spoil your appetite for the Junior Woodchucks group that is camped in the next canyon. They have lots of food.”

The Bear considered, and then headed up the mountain to get over to the next canyon.

The Sponsor quickly gathered their gear from the ground and stuffed it back into their daypack. Especially the tightly sealed bear-proof food canister holding a fat turkey sandwich, dripping with mayo, and topped with a juicy tomato. Then they hurried up the trail to be far away by the time The Bear found out there was no Junior Woodchuck group camped in the next canyon.

THE END


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the e-newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction. 9.) Poetry.

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

The Good, The Bad, and The Fusty; by Dave Smith

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Fusty

by Dave Smith

When I was young my mom used to admonish me, “if you got nothin good to say just keep your damn mouth shut.” (Mom was very direct.)

I liked to argue with her so I’d come back with a comment resembling, “Well what if there was something bad going to happen and hurt someone if I didn’t tell about a bad thing?” To which—after a three-second hitch and an evil eye—she’d snap, “Go outside and play and stop bothering me.”

The Good: I found another website for writers that I think is super-duper. It’s hilotutor.com . Obviously the young lady who is in charge lives in Hawaii, and she tutors. She loves words, and on her site, in the archives, she delves deep into their meanings and uses. Kinda like the soul I mentioned before.

If you want to really, really understand words, check it out. Now, it isn’t a dictionary, so the number of entries is limited, but what’s there is awesome, and you’ll find a bunch more stuff I’m going to let you discover on your own. Click on “…& archived issues.”

The Bad: I sometimes fall for 20% off specials on writer’s books, and I definitely buy when I see 40% markdowns. This results in my having a few duds on my shelf. Against my mother’s advice, and at the risk of offending at least one of you, here’s one I suggest you don’t spend your money on (at least not until maybe 80% off): Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.

Before you throw those tomatoes, let me explain. The title should have told me this wasn’t the book for me. That’s right, it’s a GD textbook; one you should have only if in school you wore bowties and floods and your best friend was a calculator.

Each topic in the tome has seven subtopics which have three subheadings, all of which have five important bullets, every one referring to another chapter with more related topics. You can’t ace the test (write a good story) unless you have a photographic memory.

It hurt my head!

I don’t want to engineer things. If I did, I would work for LEGO designing new gubbins. I just want to write. Can you help me do that without abusing my mental faculties?

If you want to test my hypothesis, you can borrow my copy—no, you can have my copy. Caveat: you can always find a tidbit, even in the worst books, so feel free to contact my customer complaint department.

The Fusty: don’t you just love that word? I do. In addition to tickling the tongue and making you giggle when you say it, it’s mostly self-explanatory. Even if you don’t have a dictionary, or if you’ve never seen the word before, you could probably use it in a sentence. It’s a fun word, don’t you think? I can tell you’re going to use it soon; maybe on Thanksgiving to describe the bathroom after Uncle Cletus uses it.

Now try this on for size: sesquipedalian. Sure, it’s long, but even if it were short would you have a clue what it meant? Me neither. I have to look it up every time I see it, which is too often. It’s a fusty word.

Your choice—fusty or sesq-u-i … whatever.

I’m on my way out to play.


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the e-newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction. 9.) Poetry.

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

The Hook, by Dave Smith

 

The Hook

by Dave Smith

There’s a ton of talk about the hook.

Everyone tells me I have to have a hook to begin my story. Without it, no one will read beyond the first page, or maybe the first paragraph.

I’m petrified! What if I can’t find the perfect hook? My writing is doomed. What actually is the perfect hook? At least the perfect one for my story?

I pondered these questions recently as I was out on the lake fishing. With a hook. Hmmm … is there a correlation here I may be missing? Or is a misnomer lurking?

I did what any self-respecting angler would do: I looked it up in the dictionary. Oh, boy.

Hook: (noun) a bent piece of barbed and baited metal; a curved cutting instrument; a short swinging punch; a golf stroke which unintentionally deviates; (verb) attach or fasten; prostitute; the punching and golfing things again; pushing the ball backward with the foot from a rugby scrum (that was new to me too).

Hook phrases: by hook or by crook; get one’s hooks into; give someone the hook (you’re fired!); hook, line, and sinker; on the hook for.

Whew!

I’m not sure I want to do any of those things at the beginning of my story, unless of course my story involves the adventures of a rugby player who was married to a boxer who spent too much money on golf and was forced to become a prostitute to pay the mobster who had his hooks into said rugby player.

I hear you scolding me, “But, but, but … Dave, it also means something designed to catch one’s attention.”

Yes it does. My attention would be caught if an author wrote the first paragraph in red, or upside down, or backward, so why worry about the actual words?

Because, I have deduced, hook is not the descriptor for me. It has too many sharp and undesirable meanings, so I prefer the word engage. Some authors use this nomenclature in their how-to books and articles, and I love it. I even like to say it: Engage. I use my French accent; sounds more seductive.

To me, hooking is a slap on the head saying, “Hey! Look at this! Ain’t it awesome?”

Engaging is a hand held out saying, “Come with me and enjoy this journey.”

Therefore, in Dave’s Rulebook, I have replaced rule #1—you need a hook— with: rule #1—you need to engage your reader. Nothing flashy, no fantastic first sentence, just an authorial finger sliding up the reader’s nose and tickling her brain; wooing her curiosity.

“Semantics … just semantics,” some may huff.

Well, isn’t that what writing is all about in the first place? Go ahead, say it: Engage. Use your French accent.

Author’s note: the first name on the authors-who-use-engage list is Jeff Gerke, and I highly recommend his book The First 50 Pages.

(Editor’s note: the link for Jeff Gerke goes to the Udemy class taught by Jeff. The link was not provided by Dave Smith, nor is it intended to be an endorsement by Dave or myself. The Udemy classes have been recommended in the past by our president, Laura Hernandez.)


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the e-newsletter.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction. 9.) Poetry.

Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Fridays With Dale: Online Class

Title with image of author

Today we are happy to repeat the first Friday story by Writers Forum member Dale Angel. It posted on July 3, 2020. We had not yet titled the feature ‘Fridays With Dale.’  I had planned to run a Dale Angel story every Friday, at least through that Labor Day. And here we are, over a year later. Thank you, Dale, for helping us get through these trying times!

Geo.


Online Class

by

Dale Angel

I’m taking an online class. The subjects are varied and useful for everyday life. The teacher is well-known, educated and comes with credentials and a title. The instructor’s name is Judge Judy.

I personally learned how to dress for the work environment. You need a white lace collar. It made me realize I need the services of the physical landscaping skills of her surgeon. She looks sixteen and last class she showed up with blond hair, the necessary equipment for the job.

She shows us the value of personal worth by refusing to get involved in domestic affairs…what she calls, “playing house with benefits”. She will not divide up the items fought over like the plaintiff’s toothbrush holder and running shoes or the defendant’s rims off her car. She will not unmingle their toys. She’s not using up her life or education over trivias, especially when both want a refund and compensation on their bad investment. We can all learn something from this.

She’s very astute in unraveling who threw the first punch…and she can identify the keys of rejected lovers who used them to damage the cars belonging to the party of the first part. Her work ethics are so creative when one’s spouse sues, and the problem is from the unemployment that brought it about, her advice is ”just gather cans and hire your own attorney”.

She’s fair. She is a master at identifying manufactured disabilities that her bailiff pays his taxes to support so the disabled party has an income…while surfing. The case of the women who sued for back injury and pain and suffering was enlightening. Judge Judy told her to try climbing down off those shoes, see if that helps…next!

Her practical questions are so skilled you see people tattling on themselves. She is very good to youths who have coping problems, who she says, “lie when their mouths are moving”. She is so kind, she never deprives them of consequences. It shows a great deal of experience in this area. I need to know more about things like this, but at present, I’m underqualified. Never do business without defensive receipts-you will need them for decades because someone may come out of the woodwork.

Save all receipts. Good to know.


Writers Forum is open to submissions for the blog or the newsletter. Please submit copy to the editor at writersforumeditor@gmail.com . Electronic submissions only. Microsoft Word format, with the .docx file extension, is preferred but any compatible format is acceptable. The staff reserves the right to perform minor copy editing in the interest of the website’s style and space.

Type of Material and Guidelines for e-newsletter and Website Submission: 1.) Your articles on the art or craft of writing. 2.) Essays on subjects of interest to writers. (200 words can be quoted without permission but with attribution.) 3.) Book or author reviews. 4.) Letters to the Editor or Webmaster. 5.) Information on upcoming events, local or not. 6.) Photos of events. 7.) Advertise your classes or private events. 8.) Short fiction 9.) Poetry