Urbanitis

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Don’t catch that urban sprawl
free-for-all, where every tom dick and harry in town is lookin to lay his eggs in the hive. That busy Queen bee is meant to be in the concrete jungle, but not this here joe. Ain’t no pleasure of mine neither, but a recipe for disaster if you ask me. I’d much rather fly the coop; set my boots in manure, tend to the cows and saddle ma’tractor. A real man, at least, tills the land he treads on and eats the fruit of his own labor. Not herded about like sheep in the endless streets without a shepherd. But I reckon all that pollutin’ is a turnin’ their minds to some kinda mush. Kinda like them zombie folk–the walking dead. Er, somethin’ rather. Road rage, shootin’n robbin’and a hoopin’n hollerin’ at one another. Killin’ one another. Quite the crooked circus don’t ya think? Don’t be goin’ around catchin’that urbanitis you hear? Cause its a gettin’ around pretty good.

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

Writers Digest April poem a day challenge day 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freedom Fight

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Shall I share my demons with another?
With stranger, friend, lover or brother?
Permissbly plunge into dark canyons of despair? Cut asunder as targeted prey in the open wild? As food for the fowl and mockery of the enemy? Shall I bear them in flawed strength and weakness? There is no weakness in the vitality amongst companions. Let them bear me on fortitude of eagles wings; laying hold of the breath of vigorous winds, ascending to the height. For two are better than one.

Benjamin Thomas
Writers Digest Aril poem a day challenge day 6

Pathology of the Writer: Constipation

Balance concept

THE CONSTIPATED WRITER

 

Writer’s attempt to do the impossible. Delicately perform a balancing act in order to craft a compelling story. We must be acrobats, ninjas, engineers, artists, gourmet chefs and one heck of a seamstress! It’s almost like peeling an onion though. You write and study relentlessly, trying to hone your craft only to find out there’s yet another layer. By then your’re already crying and can’t see straight; blinded by the daunting task of impossibilities. As if someone demanded you rebuild the empire state building one brick at a time…by yourself. Here are some of the toppings that we have to juggle on a daily basis.

  • Characters- protagonists, antagonists, sidekicks, mentors, lovers with all of their complexities and desires.
  • Dialogue- interior monologue, subtext, body language, intonation
  • Settings-  fantasy, historical, urban, cyberpunk 
  • Conflict and Tension- internal, external, story conflict
  • Scenes- structure, actions and reactions
  • Character arc-flat arc, positive arc, negative arc
  • Theme- thematic question
  • Story structure- plot points, actions and reactions
  • Narration and POV
  • Voice and Style

Sounds pretty complicated? Yep. But the more I realize about the writing process on the one hand, the simpler it gets. In fact, you could sum it all up in one measly two syllable word. Which word is it? *drumroll* You guessed it, balance.  I think a well crafted story is ABSOLUTELY, a work of art as it is of balance. I have a health background in physical therapy so I tend to see things through medical lenses.

The Balance Life arrow with beach background

 

Physically speaking there are twelve different interdependent organ systems throughout our body; a trillion cells, working harmoniously to do just ONE THING. Keep us alive? Yes. But more specifically to maintain something called homeostasis. Every organ system although different in function, works towards the same goal. Homeostasis. So what is this homeostasis anyway?  It’s our body’s way of maintaining a dynamic state of equilibrium or balance, in the midst of a changing external environment. When things get out of hand, and trust me they will, bad things will happen. Like, illnesses, sickness, etc these are what we call pathologies in the medical field. Diseases that limit functional ability, progressively deteriorate our brains, and ultimately may lead to death. Exciting eh? Well, writers also have “pathologies” that affect the balance of their writing. Which in turn could make or brake their stories, or even worse, their careers. So I decided to concoct a series dedicated to these type of writing problems, as I experience my own pathology and get rehabilitated by other writers.

THE INFAMOUS INFORMATION DUMP

Since I’ve been studying the craft of writing I’ve heard about the infamous information dump. They’re essentially four kinds of information dumps according to bestselling author and Jedi master KM Weiland over at www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com.

  • The Worldbuilding dump
  • The Backstory dump
  • The Technical dump
  • The Emotional dump

As we’re writing sometimes we tend to go overboard; with our prose, splendid descriptions, or the sheer beauty of our own words but these could be completely unnecessary to the plot or overall story.  It’s just….information just for the sake of informing. But aren’t we supposed to describe things? Show not tell? Deliberately hook our readers into the endless pages of distant realms of fantasy and romance? Yes, and yes. But if it doesn’t advance the plot, it probably doesn’t need to be there. We need to entrust some things to our reader’s imagination then learn how to skillfully use techniques to sprinkle, and not dump, information at the proper time. But this is easier said than done. That’s part of the balancing act as mentioned earlier that we need to learn. The good part is that we can edit and revise these matters out of our manuscript until it’s squeaky clean. Happily our bodies naturally eliminate whatever is unnecessary and tags it as waste. It could be an overabundance of an element or simply a byproduct of metabolism doomed for the toilet bowl. Sounds like editing and revising to me! If we miss this opportunity our WIP (work in progress) will get bloated and weighted down with unnecessary material. Apparently music legend Elvis Presley died of chronic constipation. I had no idea about this. Yikes, I suppose it’s a fine line this whole writing thing.

 

Constipated

 

 

WRITERS, BLOGGERS, CREATIVES WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE? DO YOU INFO DUMP? WHAT’S BEEN YOUR PROCESS? LET’S TALK IN THE COMMENTS!

Additional resources:

5 Ninja Self-Editing Tips to Get You From Rejection to Sale

Are You Telling the Wrong Story?

5 Ways to Trim Your Book’s Word Count, Pt. 1 of 2

5 (More) Ways to Trim Your Book’s Word Count, Pt. 2 of 2

 

 

Deceived Contemplation

I hate the pained breath that is my life
worn on wearied shoulders.
The weighty grief residing in my chest,
like a pair of ten ton boulders.

Should I entertain shades of dreadful thought? Once interwoven fabric sours, stains, a twisted mind? Reflect a stolen image wrongly wrought, then refuse the true and greater kind?

Wretched Dirge

 

 

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His eyes uttered ardent desires

Her countenance replied in like kind

His heart fluttered in boiled frenzy

Her thoughts happily screamed he’s mine

His lips quivered a weighty “I do”

Her ring glimmered wet with shine

His hands were faithful and steady too

Her affection kept him in line

In time their love played a different tune

His eyes betrayed him for her friend

She sang a broken wretched dirge

with unknown words stark and grim

Her squelched love well spent sang

What the hell is wrong with men?

 

 

 

 

A Game of Fools

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Take me as a wordplayer.
Although some would say
that it’s a fools gold; scoffing at its mere mention, abhorring its labor and luxuriant form. Stating that’s it’s simply not the norm to lust for the written word. Counting it absurd to fancy it’s storied origins, unreservedly relish the unrivaled beauty of its captivating expression.

As they say, one man’s rubbish is another’s man’s treasure; and one man’s treasure is another’s man’s rubbish. So is it justified to measure another’s treasure by way of one’s own rubbish? Or size up another’s rubbish by means of their own treasure? It seems to be a pointless endeavor and a hapless game of fools.

Benjamin Thomas

Writers Digest, Poetic Asides
2016 April PAD poem-a-day challenge