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Love and Sex and Poetry – What’s Your Favorite?

“If my Valentine you won’t be,
I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”

-Ernest Hemingway

Today, millions of people will be in love.

Today, millions of people will be in tears.

And today, millions of people probably won’t care that it’s Valentine’s Day. But I care. I care a lot.

You know why?

Because love and loss are the greatest catalysts of poetry, poetic language, and all things written.

Today, I want to hear about your favorite poems, songs, notes, letters, or passages on all things Love. And Lust. And the wonders of human connection. If you wrote your own piece, or want to share a particularly moving blog post about love, please post it down in the comments below!

To get things started, I’ll share one of my favorite songs from Chet Baker:

As always, don’t forget to like and follow the blog. Happy Valentines day to you, dear writers. 

Image courtesy of Brittanie Loren Pendleton via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Half the Battle (Short Fiction: 150 Words)

It’s not Friday, it’s not a hundred words or less, but following rules was never really my strong suit. Here is my piece for last week’s ‘Friday Fictioneers’ prompt over at Rochelle’s blog. Maybe this week I’ll try to be on time. 

B and C were tied together at the ankle, waiting impatiently for Y and Z to do the same.

“What’s in the house?” C asked, leaning on her free leg while B was rushing the other pair to hurry up.

“B told me there was treasure. Is there treasure, B?” Y asked.

“YES,” an exasperated B, “but only the smartest group gets it, and that’s gonna be me and C.”

“Yea!” Said C.

“Nuh uh,” said Y.

“You kidding? Look how long it’s taking Z to tie that knot around your legs. I bet it’s not even a real knot,” B bent down and pretended to inspect it, but he didn’t actually know what a real knot was.

Without warning, B stood back up and shouted “Go!” while pulling C behind him.

Silent Z tugged at Y’s arm, and pulled her around the outside of the maze. They reached the house first, but the only treasure they found was the sound of B and C’s arguing voices, still lost in the hedges.

Thank you for reading! Tell me what you thought in the comments below, and don’t forget to like or follow the blog. Criticism is always a gift. And don’t forget to check out the other submissions here.

Image courtesy of Melanie Greenwood

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How Strangers Can Inspire Your Characters

If you are a writer, then you are a whole thesaurus of other things too.You are an artist, an architect, a dreamer, a tactician, a politician, an anthropologist, a historian, the list continues.

Today, none of these roles are your concern, because today, you are a psychologist.

As a writer, you should be obsessed with human behavior, because human behavior is what will drive your characters:

  • Why do people do things?
  • What would make someone act a certain way?
  • Why do these people want this, and what are they willing to do for it?
  • What would change their minds?

By now, you know that motivations are important, but what else is there to creating a good character? How do professional writers do it? How badly do you want to do some homework?

Don’t answer that last one. Let’s get into two different techniques that are going to help you improve your characters:

Continue reading How Strangers Can Inspire Your Characters

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Like Sharks in a Harbor (Flash Fiction)

Woong counted no less than four alarms when he poked his head into the observation deck. He could pick apart each one: proximity, emergency, something blocking the cargo doors.

But the last one, a sort of angry beeping that sounded important had the sound of authority, like it wasn’t supposed to be ignored.

He didn’t know what it was, and he definitely didn’t have time to figure it out. Woong had to find the system that controlled the cargo door, disengage whatever safety protocols this freighter had in place, and get the door to open.

The short range crackled in his ear, “Woong! How’s it going in there?”

“Found the obs, it’s clear. I’m looking for the door controls now.”

“Nice. Know what you’re looking for?”

Woong scratched his head, his eyes darting from one appliance to the next. The room was poorly lit, except for the hypnotic glare from monitors, and the light from the giant window that looked down into the main cargo bay.  “I’m looking for a computer right next to an override, but I don’t-”

Continue reading Like Sharks in a Harbor (Flash Fiction)

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What Motivates Your Character (and Is It Enough)?

You have reasons for coming here (you want to learn more about writing, to communicate as one author to another, or maybe you were baited by that tantalizing title). I have a reason for writing this post (to inform you, to give you a place to discuss, and to ensnare you with clickbait! HAH).

The point is, everything you and I do is brought on by some sort of motivation. We are human, we want, and we will always want.

Your characters should also want something (even if they aren’t human). Coming up with a motivation is easy: Is your thief greedy? Is your president obsessed with power? Is your romantic lead drawn to honor?

However, one motivation won’t cut it if you want to make your characters interesting. So what is the secret?

Continue reading What Motivates Your Character (and Is It Enough)?

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Fear of Writing

My name is P.S. Hoffman and I’m afraid of writing. It’s a subtle thing, a small thing that’s hard to notice, but it’s always there. In between every word, there is a pause, a tick where I’m not sure if I can do it, I’m not sure if I can write the next.

I’m afraid I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m afraid nobody will care, or worse. I’m afraid that what I’ve written now is the last I’ll ever write, because nothing I do will ever be good enough.

My name is P.S. Hoffman, and I’m finished with fear. I have too much to say, I have too much to share, and I don’t have time to be afraid.

And neither do you.

Continue reading Fear of Writing

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Do Writers Talk to Each Other?

Most of the people I’m connected with on the internet are writers: Best-selling novelists, bloggers with heavy clout, and budding new writers.Sometimes I wonder, do the authors and bloggers I follow on twitter know each other? I mean, really know each other.

Do they talk? Do they invite each other out for tea or sex or housewarming parties?

I think it’s more likely that they can’t stand each other – too much jealousy, or popularity issues, and the desire to distance yourself from so-and-so because “he’s not a real horror writer, he just writes really long chapters about murders.” Continue reading Do Writers Talk to Each Other?

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Posting on Wikipedia? + Character Building Excercise

I read this article from The New Yorker.

In it, Author Philip Roth (The Human Stain) writes an open letter to Wikipedia about the silliness that can ensue when you try to change a page on Wikipedia. You see, there was an error on The Human Stain‘s Wikipedia page, one that Roth wanted to correct. A claim based purely on rumor erroneously explained that Roth was inspired to write his novel by ‘the life of Anatole Broyard’.

Roth disagreed. He says he was inspired by his friend, a Professor of Sociology at Princeton, Melvin Tumin.

Continue reading Posting on Wikipedia? + Character Building Excercise

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You Can’t Please Everyone: How to Write about Sensitive Topics

This post was written in tandem with my fellow blogger, Samah. Go read Samah’s blog for an illuminating glance into the diverse lives of Scarved Muslim Women.

I’m going to say a word, and you’re going to feel a quake of emotion; I don’t know if it you’ll have a positive reaction or what, but I want you to focus on what you feel.

Are you ready? OK. Here it goes: Feminism.

Feminism is a blazing hot topic, especially on the semi-anonymous internet battlefield. It’s infamous for starting absurd internet wars and it’s divisive enough that sometimes feminists clash with other feminists.

The point is, touchy topics like feminism are so sensitive, they might as well come with a ‘WARNING: FLAMMABLE” sign. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about them.

Here are some tips for you, dear reader, on how to write about sensitive topics without poking the bee’s nest.

Continue reading You Can’t Please Everyone: How to Write about Sensitive Topics

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How are YOU preparing for NaNoWriMo?

November is coming! (Already? Dammit!).

I’m working with some other social media websites, and I wrote something on Storify about how to prepare for NaNoWriMo:

https://storify.com/pshoffman/na-no-wri-mo-and-why-you-should

Told you it was a short post!

How are YOU preparing for NaNoWriMo? What are you going to write? Are you READY?

Comment below, and don’t forget to like and follow the blog!

Photo by Rudolf Vlček