Saturday, October 29, 2011

LINKS: Publishing Leads & Idea Generator

Duotrope is "an award-winning, free writers' resource listing over 3575 current Fiction and Poetry publications. Use this page to search for markets that may make a fine home for the piece you just polished."

Need a story idea? Check out the Plot Scenario Generator.

Quick Guide to "Show, Don't Tell" and Rebuttal

Jan Fischer-Wade provides a quick guide to "Show, Don't Tell" and lists words to watch out for. It's a great starting point, but as Cheryl Sonnier points out on her blog there are times when passive voice or construction works well.

Walters: Open Poetry Reading

Poets and lovers of poetry alike will enjoy these evenings of readings in the WCAC gallery. This event has become such a favorite at the Center that it has been granted its own night! Readers and listeners are welcome to enjoy works by established or yet to be discovered talent. A sign-up sheet is available prior to the event, so come early and get in the queue!

This is a free event!

Tuesday November 8, 2011
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Walters Cultural Arts Center
527 East Main Street
Hillsboro, Oregon

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall 2011 Challenge Now Closed

The Fall 2011 Challenge is now closed! Thank you to each writer who participated and also to those who left comments and encouragement for the writers who submitted. We at Westside Writers enjoyed the challenge and hope the other participants did as well. We also hope readers enjoy the pieces of flash fiction.

Westside Writers hopes to issue another challenge in Mid-November. Watch this blog for more information.

And, always, keep writing!

Fall 2011 Challenge Entry #8

Swan and Fish by Alanna Steeves (Washington County)

I am a swan.

I tell myself that because I want to believe it. Lilly White says she believes it, too, but It’s hard to say you’re beautiful when everyone around you sees in red.

Nothing down here can compare to the world of the Red Rose Casino, not the steel gray buildings that fund it, not the blue sky that existed before it. Here in this town, most live for it.

The world of the casino blinds people to everything else. The screen doors with guards that say “you can look in, but don’t touch the fuchsia curtains,” the blue of the bruises on skin of those who don’t pay, the yellow of the eyes who can’t stop themselves anymore, the black of the flies as they flutter around a body left for dead.

Lilly White says there’s nothing better than living in the glitz and glamour of the Red Rose Casino. Hers is a fast world of men, drinks, and money.

Hers is a world of lies.

People say I’m imagining things; that seeing that world makes me paranoid, but they haven’t seen what I have.

I see the blue and the flies and the eyes and the dead.

I see how the red chokes you slowly and smothers you with desire. Most that make it up to that world never come down to the real one again.

I wonder, can they really be as happy as they say?

Despite my distaste for that world, I did not ask questions. It was not my place to. It was not until Lilly White was found dead in her pretty silver party dress that I began to break.

My friend is now a dead silver fish.

If I am really a swan, then let me fly away from this place.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall 2011 Challenge Entry #7

From Laura Roberts (Washington Co, Oregon)

I live in a tree house with superheroes as my next door neighbors. Organizing them to fight evil is my mission in life. Every morning I wake up and eat my sugary cereal in my purple bowl with my blue spoon. Next to my bowl is my favorite swan cup filled with apple juice. I catch the morning news by turning on the cartoon channel before I walk out my screen door to work. Jump roping to work I’m paranoid that villains will try to kidnap me with a spin jump. At work its utter chaos of managing egos but luckily I have my coloring book with my fuchsia crayon to distract me from the stress. Skipping back home I can’t wait to have my happy face pizza with a glass of milk. Milk makes my body strong so I can fight the bad guys. In the evening, with the lights off I love seeing the sky smothered with stars. Connecting the dots to create a new imaginary friend is my nighttime ritual. Before I close my eyes I talk to my best friend, Pluto. He lives far away but I know he can hear me. Yes, his feelings are still hurt that he isn't a planet but maybe he will forgive everyone in a couple million years. Now, I say goodnight to the tree and all the creatures of the world.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall 2011 Challenge Entry #6

From Bonnie Gorshe (Beaverton)

As she opened the kitchen door the shriek of cicadas pierced her eardrums like darning needles. You could hear them inside but not like this. He’d built a solid house. She’d give him that. She pulled a few grocery bags filled with what was left of her life out to the screen porch where they would be ready to go the minute the taxi came.

She wanted the driver to hurry up. She was never left alone for long. Her eyes grew weary of searching the road, so she looked around the sad garden she’d tried to start. The poor fuchsia had died immediately, its pink dancing girls withering from disappointment.

They’d met in a body shop where she was getting a fender straightened and he was putting a hoist on his jeep. He was a quiet man, but attentive. As an ordinary looking girl she loved being told her face was like an angel, her neck like a swan. His words sounded like lyrics from a corny old song but she found it endearing. “In my house on the prairie a body can be free. I’ll take care of you. Just the two of us.”

And it was just the two of them, day after day after day, in a house filled with guns and supplies to last a decade. They were surviving a war that wasn’t happening. The man she had married wasn’t just quiet, he was paranoid. This life was going to smother her.

A plume of dust announced a car coming down their road. She gathered her grocery bags. But it wasn’t the taxi, it was his jeep. She ran the bags back into the house and hid them, then phoned to cancel her ride. He would leave again in about a month. She would wait.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall 2011 Challenge Entry #5

From Michael Fairchild (member, Westside Wrtiers)


State Police Captain Lars Howard held the door of The Old Town Bar and Grill while two men carried in a third, blood oozing from a gaping wound. "Put the body there and screen it," he ordered.

"He was Robert, I'm Michael, this is Allen," one of the carriers said.

"Explain your relationship," growled Lars.

"We are, were, partners. He was unloading our moving van in front of our new store, The Fuchsia Swan," Michael said. "I was in the back of the shop, and ran out when I heard the shot. Allen was down the street getting us lunch."

"Where were you? And did you hear the shot?" Lars asked Allen.

"I'm too upset to drink anything," he answered.

"He must have heard it, we met at the back of the truck," Michael added. "Robert had been unloading his gun collection. He was paranoid about moving to a small town. Afraid some hillbilly would break in at night and smother him in his sleep, or shoot him in the back."

"I don't think his mother will care that he's dead," Allen said. "She didn't like him any more than we did. He was ruining our shop before we even got a chance to open it."

Toby, the owner of The Old Town Bar, inserted a napkin into the Agatha Christy he'd been reading. "Captain Howard, I suggest you place Allen under arrest," he said.

Later that evening, having handed the case, complete with confession, on to the district attorney; Lars Howard returned to the Old Town Bar for an off-duty beer and a plate of fried clams. "It was elementary," Toby said. "Allen answered the questions incorrectly, showing that he was temporarily deafened from discharging the weapon within the confines of the truck."