Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

Things I’ve learned in writing

The things I’ve learned over forty-two years of writing since my first poem are numerous. All that I’ve learned are either through experience – what worked, what didn’t – and the much-needed instruction and information gleaned from instructors, mentors and successful published authors.

I absorb all that I learn. To get a foothold into a real publishing venue of credible, significant standing it is an ongoing process of self-improvement as a writer. The number of self publishing, vanity type venues that feed their till and their reputation on the cash and costs required of writers wanting to see their name on a book jacket is becoming as long a list as the number of writers needing representation. Who should a writer trust? What can they expect?

I have read reviews, and writers’ stories and complaints of those they relinquished their book manuscripts to, and researched others I wouldn’t trust with what I’ve spent years writing, or trying to perfect. One can take a risk with no guarantee of their legitimate services and find out that they are not what they really claim to be. In the meantime I work at the craft until I have complete confidence that my work or project is worthy of the best representation, and focus on these points hoping to progress along the way.

  • If not nurtured or practiced every day it can become weak, shallow, meaningless words without any depth.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration to come. Life is full of inspiration, every experience, an opportunity. Use them all. 
  • Use words worthy of enticing readers to the first paragraph, page and chapter, reading clear to the end.
  • In fiction, write to compel and draw them in with a plot that makes them feel as if they are there at the scene, with lead and supportive characters they can relate to, identify with, and feel as if they know them personally.  
  • In fiction, write so as to hold the reader’s attention, with well-chosen words, each page and chapter leading to the next, building emotion, suspense, imagery, descriptive scenes. If memorable it will be embedded in their minds. If a non-fiction work the message should have truth, be unforgettable, influential, life changing. It isn’t the subject or genre that matters so much as the substance in choice, and strength of words used to make a point, deliver a message, or tell a story.

Maybe, it can be said that a writer is only as good as the feedback or reviews received from those who read their works. Being conscious of this should be reason enough to work harder at the craft. It is for me, and what drives me onward, to be that kind of writer.          

 ________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Acid Rain (Part 5, conclusion)

The plan to neutralize Israel generated by Middle Eastern countries, Europe and the U.S. inside Goliath’s network had worked, their propaganda spreading hate and distrust throughout the world. Israel’s allies and friends pulled their support, creating boycotts, unrealistic tariffs and embargoes, cancelled tours, conferences and events scheduled, all of it designed to decimate Israel’s economy.  They hacked Israel’s communication and broadcast systems by creating a cyber-wall preventing all communications inside Israel from contacting those they counted on for military support.

IDF ground forces positioned themselves along the perimeters of all its borders facing their neighbors to the north, south, west and east of Israel creating barricades. Their central command center monitored all activity, militarily and otherwise in and out of the country using their own inside secure system of communication that was set in place after their recognition of statehood in 1948. The Israeli air force were forced to engage themselves in defensive skirmishes over their territorial air space. Their navy still patrolled the waters to the west on the Mediterranean Sea.

Sam’s unit made their way across Iraq, and into Iran, under deep cover and a dark, night sky with no more than a sliver of light from the moon. It had to be a precise hit, the coordinates exact, no margin for error. When they located the bunker using the Intel they’d received from their sources inside Iran they regrouped and prepared to move in.

With the stealth of a predatory cat Sam moved with his team as if a part of a perfectly orchestrated and choreographed practiced ballet number during rehearsal.

A hand signal and the repeated gesture moved down the line as they approached, wary but prepared for any surprise attack or ambush that would jeopardize the mission. They had only one chance to gain access by taking out all those guarding Goliath’s network inside the heavily protected bunker. With the swiftness of an angry nest of pythons they lunged at their targets taking everyone down by knife or silencer. When they’d secured the outside leaving some of their unit to cover their flanks the rest moved in with quick precision and timing overtaking all those sitting at a command center or watching video feeds on computer screens. When all targets were down the unit commander and techs quickly accessed the Intel on the screens, hacked into the system, then transferred all onto flash drives. Once done they disabled all monitors and computers with their weapons as if at target practice. They left as hurriedly and as quietly as they’d come and once back into Iraq were quickly airlifted out on a military helicopter under the disguise of an Iraqi transport.

The Intel on the flash drives was rushed to Israeli commanders and the PM to be analyzed. It revealed the plan for ‘Israel’s annihilation.’  Iran would never be given the chance to carry it out.

At precisely 5:00 a.m. Israeli time, the Israeli’s launched the first of their own missile attacks on the country who wanted to, ‘wipe them off the face of the earth’ as once quoted. When Iran quickly struck back launching their biggest and most effective nuclear warheads with a range of over 200 kilometers, the ‘Magic Wand’, aka, ‘David’s Sling’ was launched intercepting Iran’s nuclear strike. Israel struck back with their own, ‘David’s stone,’ taking out all of Iran’s capabilities, the uranium enrichment plants, command centers, all military operations, their air force, airports, and bases housing, manufacturing and maintaining all.

The Intel received included a list of all the countries, governments, political or influential names of presidents, kings and prime ministers in Goliath’s network supporting Israel’s complete annihilation, and the plan to carry it out. Those included were the countries of Iran, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and many others Israel was not surprised to find. What was a surprise was finding one listed near the top; that of the current U.S. president.

_______________

Footnotes: This has been a work of fiction throughout. This is the concluding part. Fiction though it be, prophetic it may certainly be one day if those who don’t stand with Israel as a friend will fall with those who don’t support her, and her right to defend her nation and people. All the previous parts to this story can be found under the heading of Acid Rain with each part posted separately and found in my archives.  “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3 (NIV)

Thank you for reading and following. Comments and feedback are always welcome.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Through the lens of time

Antique Kodak Duaflex IV camera

Antique Kodak Duaflex IV camera with photos of my grandfather and relative


Through the lens of time

 searching to find all but gone.

Slow to come to mind,

the memories grow too dim,

photos I clutch in my hand.

 

Where was this taken?

Whom is it I cannot see?

 It is all I ask

God, you grant this wish for me

and bring back my memory.

____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)



Lost at Sea – Part 3, conclusion

This is a an old lobster trap on the porch of a visitors center in Digby, Nova Scotia where lobster and scallops fishing remains one of the biggest occupations there with people living on the coast.

 

 

The movement was slight, but unmistakable.

“There! See that?”

“Got it. Lower us down. It’s too rocky, unsteady to set down the copter.”

“It’s Ingram. He’s alive. Caught and tangled in his own traps under a downed tree. We’ll have to pull him free.”

They radioed the pilot. “Send down the hoist pulley.”

“It’s tied on. Now! Easy! Lift him out, carefully. I think he’s got broken ribs. Not sure what else.”

Good. Now, let’s get him secured in the basket.”

They radioed back. “Take him up. Gently!

“I’ll let them know we’ve found him.”

It was Christmas.

Carolers gathered around the old hall. “Joy to the world…” They sang. “and heaven and nature sing…”

Ingram pulled Henry up onto his lap. “Henry, this is for you.”

Henry ripped open his present, his blue eyes as big and bright as the lights on the tree.

The miniature clipper was just like the one he let go the day he sent it out to sea.

Wow! Look, mama! It’s my boat.”

__________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Footnotes:  All photos used for this 3 part story are ones I took while on a trip to Nova Scotia, Canada many years ago. You can find part 1 and 2 of Lost at Sea previously posted.

Where lies the remains of Annie C. Maguire

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Portland Head lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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Memorial to the capsized British vessel, Annie C. Maguire, 1886

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mist roles in from a cold, dark sea.

Waves kick up, thrashing the British barque.

Wind gusts rip sails from the bowing masthead.

A deep guttural sound bellows to the surface from under the ship’s hull.

She hits rock, breaking apart on impact.

Caught in her rigging she turns and twists in its knotted embrace. 

The Annie Maguire drifts, its SOS not acknowledged.

Were there none to hear her distress signals sent?

Darkness descends.

A bullhorn sounds, and the cone-shaped glow of light emerges.

The lighthouse; a beacon to the capsized ship and crew.

______________

Footnotes: Mystery surrounds the capsized Annie C. Maguire British vessel. Miraculously her crew was saved and rescued on Christmas Eve, 1886, when the ship went aground during a storm, but the ship’s remains were never recovered. You can find images and information on this vessel and story here

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 


 

 

 

Somewhere over the meadow-land

The below post is fiction and my submitted entry for the http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/build-your-own/

The photo is provided by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

 

I was uncertain where I was, but just kept going. Across the meadow, to where I didn’t know. Would anyone care about the “crazy lunatic  woman” who talked to the. “invisible man.” in her room, pleading his help to get out?

It’d been so long since I’d driven a car, then losing control after it swerved from the road hitting the tree. The car I stole from the entrance drive after running from the room while they did some, “psychological analysis evaluation”. Whatever that was. But, I had to get out of that insane place. Or, is it me that is insane? They all think I am.

Hitting my head hard against the dash. Shattered glass everywhere. The awful sound, the loud beeping noise coming from somewhere. Oh, yes, the asylum’s security alert system that went off.

My head hurts. It still bleeds from the gash where glass shards landed from the impact.

I’m so weary from running, and so weak. My blood is leaving tracks across the meadow as I stumble through thick bramble brush.

I hear him calling out my name, “Sarah… Sarah, I am here. You are free.”

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

Words, Words, I Need More Words

This is my response to The Daily Post, Writers’ Block Party

WORDS, WORDS, I NEED MORE WORDS

When words don’t come

and I wonder why

for all the words

there are. I’ll try

to write until

I’m out of words

and look for more

many more words.

There in this world

are words that be

found richly packed

in books for me,

words that tell

stories you see

so write I shall

forever until

there’s no more words

to write and fill

page after page

of  words written by me.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

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