Writing Short and Sweet – Poetry

I don’t often share my work on here, just what I’ve picked up about the process along the way, but I just figured out that today was National Poetry Writing Day 2018 and decided maybe I should switch it up.

For those of you who don’t follow me on other social media, I’ve been participating in #OctPoWriMo – October Poetry Writing Month. (Mostly out of jealousy that my lackluster drawing skills aren’t really something I want to showcase for the artists’ #Inktober.) I’m more of a novelist, but, like most writers, I’ve dabbled in poetry. Plus? I always want to keep stretching myself–honing my skills and learning new tricks. Thus, when I heard about the OctPoWriMo challenge, I figured I’d give it a try.

Confession: I’ve been ignoring the themes, but, in the spirit of Inktober–even if I’m an artist of words, not shapes, I’ve been hand-inking my creations.


Here are my first 4 poems:

For day 1, I kicked off OctPoWriMo with a poem inspired by the season. How nature vs nurture has given us opposing instincts…

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For Day 2, I decided to try to be clever — and then spelled it out (because it’s funnier when you explain it).

 


For day 3, I shared a taste of hope.

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And for today? As #OctPoWriMo continues into day 4, I might be ignoring the themes, but I’ve decided to branch away from exclusively free form and try some more constrained poems.

Today’s haiku:

 


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Is anyone else participating? Are you a poet (or a dabbler)? Share your work below! Or share a link.

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Didn’t I Used To Be An Extrovert?

The past couple of years, I’ve noticed a trend–in myself. I’ve been wanting to stay home and not deal with going out. I’ve been not wanting to host big, complicated events, and it was usually okay if people came to me. Although, lately, I’ve been craving smaller and smaller groups. Of worse? Wanting to stay home, on my couch, alone.

But wait, I thought I was an extrovert. Was I was wrong? My entire identity has fallen into crisis!

  • Maybe I was never an extrovert and was always an ambivert?
    • That’s definitely what I consider myself now.
  • Maybe my extroverted-ness was influenced by my nearest and dearest?
    • Thank you, exes.
  • Maybe it was my age?
    • Do extroverts get less extroverted when they get older?
  • Maybe, I’m more into my writing and don’t have the energy anymore?
    • My new ‘hobby’ might be taking the energy extroverting used to.
  • Maybe, I’m simply overscheduled
    • If I just made time to rest, surely I’d be back to normal in a week or so and craving socialization.

And then, a couple weeks ago, it dawned on me, like a person remembering to turn their sound back on after they miss a couple text messages: Social. Media. Is. SOCIAL.

Let me say that again. Social Media Is Social.

Okay, I know, many of you are rolling your eyes at the obviousness of this statement.

But wait, the internet is supposed to be a ‘cheater’ way for introverts to reach out without depleting their energy, right?

Apparently, it depends on how you do it. And how much social media you take part in.

You’d think the blogger who literally wrote the (or at least ‘a’) series on social media (See parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5a, 5, 6) might have noticed sooner, but no.

When one tries to continually network and keep up with all the recommended social media best practices, one can stretch themselves a little too thinly. Who knew?

Now, my loyal readers, I’m sure you’re starting to fear this is about to turn into a social media hiatus or blog-cation. Calm thyselves, I’m far more of an addict than that.

But, next time I turn down an invitation to go out, I’ll know who to blame.


Readers, talk to me!

Am I the only one? Or do you find yourself peopled out because of the internet?

Blog Round-Up

This month, I’ve been all over the place! Not just on my blog and Youtube channel.

pale hands pointing at a spot on a map, near a coast.

Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

Where Else Can You Find Me?

And here are some links I’ve been reading and saving (some, for MONTHS!)

Other People’s Stuff!

What I Love Most About Being a Writer

Sometimes, when you’re stuck at some writing stage for too long, it can be hard to remember why you started this thing in the first place. Whether you’re drafting, editing, revising, querying, submitting, or marketing, there’s likely some point where you feel like you’re never going to reach the next stage.
Me? I’m currently stuck in the [Query -> Get Feedback -> Revise -> Get Beta Feedback -> Edit -> Send More Queries] loop. And have been, on and off, for nearly 3 years.
It can be really disheartening.
Fortunately, I keep getting small tastes–little reminders–of just why I do this.

Here are 10 things I love most about being a writer:

1 – Exploring new worlds!

Whether it’s a ‘what-if’ scenario in my head, or filling in the details from some hardly remembered dream, creating a world, exploring it, and finding out how it works is something I find FASCINATING.

2 – Meeting New Characters

I am a friendly person. I love getting to know my characters, finding out their hopes and dreams. Being there for them when they face their fears. And? Watching them grow into the person they were always meant to be.

Plus? I like watching jerks get their comeuppance.

3 – Finding out what happens and why!

Often, when I start a story, I know a couple of the key scenes and the broad strokes that make up my characters. It’s not until I’m there with them in the trenches that I find out how they got there and what pushes them on.

Instead of just a highlights reel, I get to see them, every step of the journey.

4 – When you get that turn of phrase. Just. Right.

This is a bit more of a technique related reason, but it’s true.

Sometimes, you have an emotion or a concept that you agonize over conveying to the audience. The phrasing might come on the first try, or 12 tries in, on the fourteenth draft, but when you get it right, you can SEE your readers opting to highlight and share that sucker.

You can see your story connecting with someone who’s been there before and needed to hear it.

5 – Getting to read other writers works early

I’ve opened myself up to the writing community and they’ve welcomed me with open arms.

The more beta reading/critiquing I do, the more I realize just how creative and talented my friends are. And? The more I dream about how awesome it will be when we’re all the big name authors, and we can say “I knew them when…”

6 – Helping my friends fine-tune their novels

The flip side of number 5. This way, I get to watch great manuscripts turn into amazing stories that fly off the shelves. Being there as they learn and grow — and hopefully picking up a few things, myself.

7 – The terrifying hope that comes when an agent asks for more pages

Hope has never been so sharp as when I get that request or send off those pages.

Need I say more?

8 – Having an answer outside of my day-job when people ask me, “so, what do you do?”

I’m in the DC metro area. Asking people, ‘so, what do you do?’ is asked almost before they get your name. But? I hang out with a lot of creatives, and I know that I’m more than just my day-job. I like supporting my friends, consuming webcomics, novels, and art. But? I like being able to contribute something, too. Not just as a consumer.

9 – Seeing how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished

I may not be agented or published yet. But I’ve got one polished novel, two full rough drafts, a WIP, a handful of short stories, some poetry, a blog, and a community that supports me.

All this stuff takes work and dreaming and persistence. It might be ego, but I have to acknowledge to myself that I’m the reason it’s happened.

10 – And my favorite? Serendipity

When I figure out a plot point or background detail that makes everything just come together.


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If you’re a writer, why do you write? What’s your favorite part about writing?

If you’re not a writer, what do you do that fulfills you? What’re your favorite parts?

#26 Query Corner: WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE

Welcome to:

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Morgan’s Query Corner:

Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism.

Awakened from a coma, Josh Michaels learns his beloved wife was a dream. Meanwhile, Maggie Forsett dreams of a better life–and her dream lover. Then they’re drawn together in real life. Can reality ever match a dream?

NOTE: If you submit your query to me (morgan.s.hazelwood@gmail.com), and you are selected for inclusion, I will give you a high-level review, in-line feedback, and my own draft of your query. If this is your query, feel free to use or ignore as much of the advice and suggestions as you wish.

[Disclaimer: Any query selected for the page will be posted on this website for perpetuity. I am an amateur with no actual accepted queries and a good number of form rejections. This does not guarantee an agent or even an amazing query, just a new take by someone who’s read The Query Shark archives twice and enjoys playing with queries.]

Overall Impression:

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE sounds like a sweet romance with some of the genre’s favorite tropes — comas, dreams, meant-to-be.

Some agents like a tagline first, so I’m going to leave that in here. Good job showing both character’s points-of-view and showing what they want.

A couple of things to think about:

  • Give details – keeping things vague show how you’re like all the other romances, details show how you’re different
  • Try to tell each character’s paragraph in their voice, but keep it in the 3rd person present tense.

 


Querist’s Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent Name Here],

Legend has it that the inability to sleep at night directly correlates to being awake in someone else’s dream.

Josh Michaels sleeps as soundly as ever; so soundly, he doesn’t know he’s dreaming. When a car accident sends him into a recuperative coma, he inadvertently dreams a life that doesn’t exist. He meets and falls in love with a woman who captures his heart and enraptures his soul. [Lots of telling, not much showing.] Waking from a coma comes with the gripping realization that what he thought was the last two years of his life was a lie.

Meanwhile, sleep is elusive to Maggie Forsett. Her world has been thrown off its axis since her father suffered from his second stroke, leading to his inevitable death. In evaluating her life and who she has become, she begins to question everything and sends her world into turmoil as her relationship suffers. Struggling with grief, along with prioritizing the things important to her, she knows her journey is better alone. [This is a bit of stereotype. You don’t need to describe it so much.] She finds solace in dreaming and the help of a nameless stranger that appears at night, helping her find herself after having lost sight of who she is.

Josh has been ripped apart by the pain of waking from his dream. Maggie longs for nothing more than the man in hers to be a reality. A chance meeting could bring them together or bring their worlds crashing down around them.

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism complete at 88,000 words.

I write from my home in [X].

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Q26


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

Legend has it that when you can’t sleep, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.

When a car accident sends Josh Michaels into a recuperative coma, he inadvertently dreams a life that doesn’t exist. He meets and falls in love with a woman who captures his heart and enraptures his soul. Waking from a coma comes with the gripping realization that what he thought was the last two years of his life was a lie.

Meanwhile, Maggie Forsett’s become an insomniac as she spends her non-working hours at her father’s bedside after his second stroke. After he passes, she’s left struggling with grief and determined to prioritize the things important to her. Her boyfriend doesn’t make the cut. But, in the quiet of the night, Maggie dreams of a stranger and the life she wants.

Josh has been ripped apart by the pain of waking from his dream. Maggie longs for nothing more than the man in hers to be a reality. When their dream-memories draw them together in real life, each must decide if they’re willing to take a chance on a familiar stranger or forget the dreams and continue rebuilding their lives, apart.

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism complete at 88,000 words.

I write from my home in [City], [State]. [Etc.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Q26

***

The querist sent off their edited query, but followed up and shared the sent version:

Dear Agent,

Legend has it that when you can’t sleep, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.

Josh Michaels sleeps as soundly as ever; so soundly, he doesn’t know he’s dreaming. When a car accident sends him into a recuperative coma, he inadvertently dreams a life that doesn’t exist. He meets and falls in love with a woman who captures his heart and enraptures his soul. Waking from a coma comes with the gripping realization that what he thought was the last two years of his life was a lie.

Meanwhile, Maggie Forsett has become an insomniac as she spends her non-working hours at her father’s bedside following his second stroke. After he passes, she’s left struggling with grief and determined to prioritize the things important to her. Her recently strained relationship with her boyfriend comes to an end. But, in the quiet of the night, Maggie dreams of a stranger and the life she wants.

Josh has been ripped apart by the pain of waking from his dream. Maggie longs for nothing more than the man in hers to be a reality. When their dream-memories draw them together in real life, each must decide if they’re willing to take a chance on a familiar stranger or forget the dreams and continue rebuilding their lives, apart.

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism complete at 88,000 words.

Yours Sincerely,

Q26

A great sounding romance with a sweet twist!

Best of luck to Q26!


And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!