My Saturday Scenes Serial

#SaturdayScenes in Google Plus is a fantastic new community hotspot created by John Ward.

Saturday Scenes: Practicing in Public.

I know I’m enjoying it immensely and being a co-owner with Steve Turnbull and a slew of great moderators we appreciate so much. The interacting, reading great scenes from others, and posting weekly in imagethe community has not only increased my daily writing twofold, but also has taught me so much about the writing process itself.

Reading other writing styles in scenes posted by some wonderful authors/writers — and getting great feedback by them reading mine — is fantastic! And did I mention how much I appreciate everyone, whether a SS community member or not, taking the time to ‘plus one’ or comment how much they like it?  

And more importantly giving good feedback with an honest critique. That helps me tremendously. 

It’s so very encouraging to a new writer, basically an unknown,  as we have to be brave enough to put our work ‘out there’, by practicing in public, and I’d be lying if I said hitting the post button was easy. I had clammy hands. Still do sharing openly.

Here’s my serial,  I posted a new chapter/scene each week from July of 2014 to January of 2015. You can follow the hastag #TheAmigurumiMenagerie if you are on  g+ for tge whole first drafts of chapters 1- 23.

Then it got put on hold. Life happened, as it does for us all, leaving the serial a few chapters short of completion. I picked it back up a few months later, rolled up my sleeves, and got that sucker finished!

Felt so good! It’s getting polished with professional editing by Karen Conlin, who I have gotten to know through google plus. She has grammar website here

The Amigurumi Menagerie was fun to write. It is a funky, weird and completely different from anything you’ve ever read. (I hope). I feel my readers will be mostly women of all ages, but, I know there are also a lot of men who might like it too. It is a mashup of comedic light horror, sci-fi, with a touch of suspense. 

In case you’re not on google plus, here are some links ti each chapter to whet your whistle. Remember, these are just drafts posted as a serial on #SaturdayScenes each Saturday 😉

Enjoy!

 

The Amigurumi Menagerie by Ronda K. Reed – Chapter 1
©2014

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Saturday Scenes – Christmas Edition – Henry Tingle’s Christmas Wish

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Henry Tingle’s Christmas Wish

The mining town of Bellview, population 894, eventually got used to Henry Tingle. Since he was a child, stares followed him and whispers travelled quickly down sidewalks, passed through homes, and around stores aisles about his oddness. Henry learned early how to pretend not to see, or hear them.

Still, he saw and heard.

Henry was born fifty-nine years ago with a creative imagination, a love for animals, and a disfiguring cranial anomaly that left his adoptive parents searching for answers. There was a name for it. Treachers Collins Syndrome; where the head grows large, the eyes huge, eye sockets sag down toward the cheekbones, and the ears malformed, tiny, if present at all.

Being a friendless child, Henry created his own world, reading science fiction comics and slapping green finger paint on his face every day after school so he could be an alien. With Henry’s odd features, he actually looked very alien-like as neighborhood children watched him build odd-shaped spacecrafts out of tin scraps and wood in the front yard. Henry decided he was invisible to them and they were only watching a hammer, nails, nuts and bolts float mysteriously through the air. The thought made him laugh.

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There is strength in writing numbers.

So this a thing, now. Saturday Scenes. It’s a great private community on google plus…

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I am a new member of #SaturdayScenes. The group is private. BUT, all that is involved for anyone wanting to join is search #SaturdayScenes in the communities and ask to join. I was recently promoted to moderator in this community. (I’ve no idea why, as I’m sadly lacking in technical skills. 🙂 This community is another brilliant baby of owner, John Ward, in addition to his three other google plus communities are: The Writer’s Discussion Group, or WDG, The Urban Fasntasy writing group, and The Writer’s Critique group. He clearly knows how to create successful writing interaction.

Saturday Scenes involves sharing a scene from a work in process or a published scene, or even a scene hidden away in the dark recesses of a drawer all but forgotten. What I like about Saturday Scenes besides the writing practice is the feedback from the members, and since it’s posted publicly, from any else who wants to read and chime in. Everyone is posting their scenes and is reading each others scenes. I get to see other styles, other techniques of writing, taking away something each week from other great writers. The feedback is encouraging, spurring motivation. It is a learning experience as well when the advice and suggestions offered from other writer’s makes the scene its best, helping in the polishing process.

I have posted a few scenes, one being the intro scene from my novel, in the editing process, The Walking Bridge. I also have posted some flash fiction.

by Ronda Reed
©2013 and ©2014

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Meet My Main Character (Plus Two Side Notes)

Unexplored Boundaries

Before I get into the main topic of this post:

So, 4th of July was a bust.  We got on the boat, and a minute into the boat ride, the battery died.  We had to have another boat bring us back.  The burgers were awful, and we didn’t get to see any fireworks.  I was very upset.

On Wednesday, Mom noticed a mama cat with four baby kittens.  Well, Mama (cat) left and the babies scattered.  We caught one, and we were going to bring it inside, but we decided to leave it for when Mama came back.  Well, she came back, but she left another baby.  So, we took that one inside.  It’s downstairs now, we don’t want Shasta to meet it (we don’t know how he’ll react).  If Mama comes back, we’ll let this one go.  But if she doesn’t, we might have another cat.

Ok, onto other…

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So, I’ve got this blog now…

A year ago, I joined Google Plus. I looked for my interests. I joined or asked to join some communities and watched as my stream filled with jokes, crochet patterns, craft tidbits, travel, foodie goodies, and…writing questions and advice.

I taught myself through the google helpers about circles, plus +1ing, sharing, and re-sharing. It was an odd fun world. I interacted, made new friends, got a few family members to join, and learned things.

I have always loved to write. Stories in my head would surface through incidences or dreams, or just out of the blue. So, I decided to pick up my pen again. The best source of writing interaction, answering questions, offering advice was through the Writers Discussion Group. It is a wonderful community owned by John Ward and moderated by many great people, who are writers and authors in their own right. I decided there was no time like the present to jump in, flex the fingers and get after it. That’s when I saw the WDG had moderated writing exercises using picture prompts. The flash fiction is kept to a 600 or under word count. Hmm…I can do this. Maybe? My procedure has always been to hand-write first, then transcribe into something else and save. I nervously put myself “out there”. Other’s did too. Hey, there are some good writing here. I have participated in some flash fiction for over a year now. I guess I’ve posted over twenty- some-odd stories from last year and this year combined. There are many so talented writers to learn from reading stories as well. I encourage you to read them all.

Then I was encouraged by one of the moderators, to try NaNoWriMo 2013. I was skeptical I could write 1667 words a day for 30 straight days, as I say on another post. It just feels good  writing again. All I can do is get better? Right? It’s a long shot, but hey…why not? Maybe I’ll open that bottom drawer and dust off a few stories. They need rewriting. 🙂

20140703-163218-59538192.jpgThis image is from the State Library and Archives of Florida [rc12767]

Here’s one of the most recent flash fiction exercises I participated in using this picture prompt. I edited and revised this version a little more from the one I posted on the exercise.

The Desert Lake
by Ronda Reed
© 2014

1918
The hum of the bi-plane’s single engine was comforting heading into the darkening gray night. Lightning flashed, thunder crackled, and the wind whipped, dipping each wing roughly. Picking up the radio handset, Joe said, “This is Adam Foxtrot One Niner Niner. Bad storm ahead. Please advise. Over.”

The returned radio transmission statically garbled. Joe looked at the width of the cloud, judging it from his distance. It was too late to fly around the system. There were only trees below, no safe landing. He tightened his hands on the throttle. Pausing, he reached down for the leather mailbags and flung the straps securely over his neck and shoulder. He was depended on. He couldn’t mess up his first continental mail run.

Joe gritted his teeth, adjusted his goggles, and flew into the mass. The rain pelted him, hampering his vision. A sudden clap of thunder accompanied a bolt of lightning in a strike so sudden, Joe was momentarily blinded. He looked to his left, the wing was hit.

The plane started to list left, then right. He grabbed the radio control again and shouted, “May Day. May Day”. Down he spiraled. Heart pounding, he tried to pull up. He strangely thought of all the mail, the missives, the love letters and important documents, all undelivered.

He jerked forward on impact, then was cushioned with a splash. Cold liquid gushed up, plunging him into wet darkness. Metal groaned, floating down until what was left of the plane struck something solid, and held. Then nothing. . .

***

1938
The wind howled ceaselessly, churning up red dirt until it rendered the sky an orange murky brown. Ever since the lake had dried up, people gathered to look at the unusual things turning up in the dusty bed: overturned rowboats, a rusty model A, bones of all kinds, even a bi-plane wrecked in a tree.

“Is that really your plane, Grandpa?” asked the boy.

“Sure is, Joey,” said Joe.

“How did you make it out?”

“Well, while sinking, I was able to unbuckle. That tree saved my life. I was fighting unconsciousness and swam up the few feet to the top. The shoreline wasn’t far.”

Looking at the broken plane cradled in the branches brought unexpected tears of thankfulness pooling in Joe’s eyes, pulling Joey close. The Dust Bowl, what they were calling these dry years, had presented such hardship and death for many. Joe felt guilty feeling thankful for it this once. Looking up at the wreckage, seeing it, touching that which saved him years ago, humbled him. He smiled, wondering about all that saved mail, each reaching destinations after all…

***

1958
The purr of the De Soto’s motor threatened to lull a young boy to sleep. “Daddy? Why are we going to see The Desert Lake instead of The World’s Largest Ball of Twine?” he asked, to keep from nodding off.

“Reach into the glove compartment and get the letter out that’s in there,” the father said.

The boy did as he was told. The envelope was old, brittle, and wavy like it had been wet once. The ink was faded, smeared, and barely legible.

“Because of that letter, son, you were finally born. It’s a very important letter to your mother and I from a doctor. There’s a surprise I want you to see at The Desert Lake.. It
will tell the rest of the story,” he said.

Thanks for reading. You can read more of my Flash Fiction from the WDG moderated exercises here

From Writers Discussion Group to SaturdayScenes to here:

Who’d have thought joining google+ and becoming a member John Ward’s community WDG (Writers Discussion Group) would lead to another community of writers called Saturday Scenes? And that the weekly flash fiction exercises would lead to trying for a novel in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2013? I surprised myself and did it! 50,000 words in less than a minth. Who’d have thought, indeed. Then that lead to a blog, where I now post my Weekly Saturday serial. So, as the dominoes fall I am officially writing daily, something I have always wanted to do.

In Saturday Scenes we post publicly and talk about the scenes amongst ourselves in the private community seeking advise and encouragement from other writers. The scenes vary from a work in progress, to something you may have already published. They can be a scene from a short story, flash fiction, or novel you may be currently working on. They can even be something you had written long ago stuffed in the bottom drawer somewhere and dusted off to take another look at. Here is the rough draft of the opening to my work in progress, The Walking Bridge, I shared publicly was my first to post to Saturday Scenes. It from the novel I started from last years NaNoWriMo.

This scene sets up the time, tone, and up-coming tension for the book as seen through the main character, Ella’s, eyes. Her Native American roots are surfacing, coming into question as she sees herself being very different in appearance from everyone else she’s lived around all her life.  As I said, this is rough and needs professional editing, but it will get there. Thanks for reading.

The Walking Bridge
by Ronda Reed
© 2013

I know the exact moment in time my life changed. It was the year my two friends and I discovered the mysterious old walking bridge hidden deep within the dense wooded belly of the closed State Park: going nowhere, connecting nothing, never used except by the occasional wild animal. Yet there it was, waiting for us.

*****

There were several words I could use to describe Mecado, the small southern town in Texas where I grew up. However, since the summer before my fourth grade school year, the word ‘predictable’ wasn’t one of them. Oh sure, it was still hot as Hades in the summers and, with certainty, you could rely on those dry seasons filling the air with such heat-exhausting brittleness, tumbleweeds crackled in protest as they blew across the roads. The dryness from blistering heat on a windy day felt like a beauty shop hairdryer hood turned to high and permanently positioned over your head and face, blasting away.

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Meet My Main Character Blog Tour

I would like to take a moment to promote Weaver Grace in her “Meet My Main Character Blog Tour”. There are some fantastic links to many great writers and authors here. Being a newbie blogger with a very bare sidebars, I need to rectify this and get with the program. This is a great place to start, with Weaver Grace.

I am following Grace Buchanan’s blog for several reasons. I met her through google plus in the Writers Discussion Group. We both utilized the weekly flash fiction exercises offered there. I stories spoke to me and vice versa. I find, through her blog, to be a very kind, humane person; someone to follow and admire in her strengths and endeavors.

She asked invited me on her blog tour keeping it going. I said I would love to. Now I hope I can do my part and keep it going. I understand I will promote three more. I hope my technology impaired abilities are up to this. Ha!

Currently, her work in progress is a historical fiction. I particularly liked the genealogical digging she and her sister were excavating. What a worthwhile research! Such daily treasures, uncovering sentimental facts that not only helps your work in progress, but also pertains to specifically your past.

She also has a page on her craft, loom weaving, which also appeals to the crafty side of my nature. I find her weaving abilities to be just awesome, and admire anyone who can do crafts of old, bringing them back to life. That is just fascinating to me.

Weaver Grace

Jo Robinson tagged me to continue a tradition of bloggers. Meet My Main Character Blog Toursresemble radio interviews: tune in now for answers to questions posed to me, and a week later for answers to the same questions posed to other authors. This tour asksthe authors of works-in-progressto answerquestions about the main characters of their historical fiction novels. Jo describes her main character as being part of other-worldly myths that she (her main character) doesn’t believe in.Jo features this character in herShadow People series.Shadow People: The Hunger coverJoand Iwrite similarly: our characters tell us their stories, and we merelytranslate them into a language that you can read.

And now, the questions and answers about my historical novel-in-progress:

  1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
    Polly is my grandmother’s grandmother, as I imagine her.
  2. When and where is the story set?
    Polly raised her…

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The Inspiration behind my story… The Walking Bridge

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The photo above taken by my daughter, Kelli, who is a wonderful photographer, is the true inspiration behind this story. Her website is here

She lives in southern Texas, and the real name of this walking bridge is The Chalk Ridge Falls Walking Bridge near Salado, Texas close to Austin, where she resides. I have linked a website when I was researching. You can see more of the web photos and read more about the real Chalk Ridge Falls Park here

When Kelli showed me the above picture she had taken in the fall with the beautiful foliage changing, I was unusually captivated by it. The photo is undeniably gorgeous, but after I received a 16×26 canvas print of this in the mail, I could not help my eyes drifting back to it, almost eerily, over and over at odd times during the day. It was pulling me. The images, people and words began to take root in my brain. It lured and seduced me, whispering nostalgia.The story began emerging inside of me like a slow bubbling gravy, thick and flavorful.

I began writing. And as I wrote, I became hopelessly lost in another time, another era where the world was a simpler time. It was a time when telephones still had cords, computers were big clumsy things that only the government used; when dishwashers, if you were lucky to have one, it hooked up with a hose to the kitchen faucet; when clothes were still hung on a clothesline to dry; when getting a burger,fries, and a shake was a treat you got to have only once in a while; when children had bicycles and where outdoors was the only exciting place growing up; kids jumped ropes, hula-hooped, skimmed rocks, and the yelling of “come in for supper” was repeated several times by mothers.

It was also a time of war and political unrest; peace-loving uninhibited hippies shouting “make peace not war” and “power to the people”; riots and radical racism ran rampant; economic, social, and religious discrimination was thriving in large cities and small towns alike; we put a man on the moon; oil and gas industry had already boomed and big business was growing. In the heartland fields of corn, wheat, or cotton would begin rubbing shoulders with fields of slow pumping oil derricks, pump houses, and tank dikes.

It is from this era three unlikely girls will become friends. One girl is one half Native American and one half Hispanic and adopted into a white family; one girl is white, somewhat spoiled, coming from oil money, but remains compassionate despite a prejudiced family; and one is a high functioning autistic, who is the love child of  a white free-spirited flower child and helped being raised by a loving African-American step-daddy. This coming of age story is about finding and holding on to real friendship, in spite of societies obstacles. It’s about discovering the town secrets surrounding the mysterious old walking bridge hidden deep in the dense woods of a closed state park, shut down for decades. It’s here, discovering the truth of the walking bridge, they seek refuge, ask questions about life, and find friendship. They grow up, deal with boys and suffer the peer pressures of being just a little different, with a little help from magic realism.

So, It’s Been Awhile…

Since my last post, a lot has happened for me in my new writing world. Last fall, I talked myself into attempting NaNoWriMo 2013. For those not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it is a National Novel Writing Month that occurs in November every year. It is a world wide website dedicated to writers complete with chat rooms, support groups, local meet and greets for every locale, moderators,and friends to team up with and cheer on as you write and submit daily word count for a novel.  That’s right! You have to write 50,000 words (or more) in one month. Which breaks down to roughly 1667 words a day. It is your own personal challenge to do this.

At least it was for me. And the best part was, I did it! I really did! I wrote 54,000 of a novel by the 22nd of November. I have to admit, Thanksgiving Dinner was a huge dangling carrot for me. And HUGE kudos to my hubby for understanding and helping me out around the house with my usual stuff that got put on the back burner. The cooking and cleaning and catering to me he did supported me so much and was a comfort as well. It confirmed his belief in me that I could do this thing, because I sure as heck wasn’t sure.

Anyway, I had an outline, I had my characters ready. All that was left was to put a bunch of words together into a story I liked. Now to finish this thing. I am probably looking at another 25,000 worlds to complete the first draft. I know how I want it to end, it’s just getting there. So, these months since last November, I have taken advice from published authors and let the story sit and marinate. That point being, to come back at it refreshed.

I crocheted through December, January, and February. I crocheted on through March, April, and May. It was time to stop. It was time to face my WIP and attack it again full force. I have been doing just that this June. I have looked at it turning it this way and that, and even upside down. Not really, but you know what I mean. I’m trying different narratives, going from first person to third, as well as scene change-ups, adding more to the sub-plot,etc. Revising, editing, re-writing, then repeating all of that is what I understand you have to go through to get better.  Building up the main character(s) is essential for this novel, as it is for any novel. So character developing has been pretty challenging, as well as working on my descriptions and not losing “my voice”.

I won’t go into too much detail as yet about what the book is about other than to say the working title is The Walking Bridge, and that it is a work of fiction with magical realism in it. It is a coming of age story set in the ’60’s of three unlikely young girls of different backgrounds and race who become friends, in spite of what society decrees. Growing up, boys, peer pressure, and racism are all part of the hurdles they have to jump, challenging their friendship. Discovering the town’s secrets surrounding the mysterious tragedies of the forgotten walking bridge becomes an obsession for them, and solidifies their friendship in a way nothing else could. The Break Ridge Falls Walking Bridge, is left to rot, shut-down and unattended for years, and hidden deeply in the dense woods of the decade-closed Break Ridge Falls State Park.

Well, I better get back to it then. Just wanted to pop in and say…Hey, I’m still alive!

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