Haiku: Fantastical Creatures by K.S. Fause

Thanks to RonovanWrites for providing the prompt.

creatures

 Fantastical Creatures by K.S. Fause

It’s quite thrilling to
study mythical creatures
under gleaming stars.

 

photo credit: Flооd via cc

Italian Sonnet: All Along by K.S. Fause

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou underestimate me, my dear;
I may be fragile, but you won’t break me.
Save yourself, don’t become a tragedy;
You’re the one who needs salvation from fear.

You’ve had the wrong girl this entire year;
Look at the past, look at our history;
You kept your inner mind a mystery,
Not what you appeared to be, now it’s all clear.

Thinking you were stronger than me was wrong;
Never could control me, can’t you see?
We were destined to break all along.

All the pain you caused is in the Dead Sea;
I’m still standing tall, unbreakable, strong.
I know where I’m headed, I have the key.

Learn how to write an Italian sonnet.

 
photo credit: balt-arts via cc

Dialogue: Beyond Conversation

I just completed a historical short story titled “The Dueling Politicians.”  It’s based on the George Canning and Robert Stewart duel of 1809.  For this story, my focus was on dialogue.  My aim was to use character conversations in order to serve the story in more ways than just characters talking.  I used it as a tool to push the plot forward, to provide information and exposition, to develop my characters, to add tension as well as humor, and to show the absurdity of these two politicians agreeing to a duel.

After reading about the importance of dialogue in short stories and novels, I’ve compiled notes on how dialogue can best serve a  story.

Pushing the Plot Forward

The events that occur in a story don’t always have to be embedded solely in the narrative.  Dialogue can drive the plot by showing the story’s conflict, throwing obstacles at the protagonist, and providing resolutions to the stumbling blocks.

Adding to TensionIMG_2676

Dialogue can be used to contribute to the stories tension.  For instance, you can use it to show two characters disagreeing.

Providing Information

You can give readers information within the dialogue.  But care should be taken as to not cram too much backstory or exposition in there.  If there’s a lot of exposition, it would serve the story better to write it in narrative form.  By doing so, you would also be making your characters more believable, because nobody gives information overload during a conversation unless they’re giving a speech or just can’t shut up.

Diction & Syntax:  Essential Elements of Dialogue

Diction is word choice.  In the case of dialogue, it’s the words a character uses in conversation as a way to convey their feelings, views, beliefs, et cetera.

Syntax is sentence structure.  When a character is speaking in dialogue, the way they form their sentences can lend to character development.  Do they speak in clear and concise sentences?  Do they speak in compound or complex sentences?

Character Attributes that Affect Diction & Syntax

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity & culture
  • Nationality & region
  • Social class
  • Education
  • Occupation

The Best Dialogue Advice

In his book Master Class in Fiction Writing, Adam Sexton uses the dialogue in Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” as an example of dialogue serving the story in more ways than characters having a conversation.  Sexton says that masterful dialogue contains “repetition, interruption, unfinished sentences, slips of the tongue, errors in fact, characters correcting themselves and even taking back what they said (alas, too late!), jargon and cliché, jokes, characters talking past each other, significant things left unsaid, and gestures—each in small doses…”

Italian Sonnet: Mend by K.S. Fause

IMG_2663

photo credit: jenny downing via cc

She’ll tell you she needs sometime apart;
You always picked up the pieces for me,
I can be your rebound, if you agree.
When she’s done with you, I’ll mend your torn heart.

Try to forget the past and press restart.
It’s always been you, holding my key;
Always been you who set me free.
Our love was a masterpiece of fine art.

I’ve missed the way you’d watch me as I dozed.
It wasn’t your fault. I was the bad guy;
Let me make it up to you, if I may.

I’ll leave the light on, in case you come by;
My door is always open, never closed.
Just come back and be with me everyday.

 

What’s an Italian sonnet?

 

Villanelle: Stains by K.S. Fause

A serene night’s sleep scrubs away the stains;
A new day awaits your gentle dance,
Pleading to let go of all that remains.1_origin_9306722809

There will always be those dreaded chains,
Most often it is a game of chance;
A night’s serene sleep scrubs away the stains.

Nothing is as bad as colliding trains;
A bruised, battered heart from a bad romance,
Pleading to let go of all that remains.

We are granted the choice to make great gains,
To release the past and make an advance;
A night’s serene sleep will scrub away the stains.

When the heavens open up and it rains,
I find myself slipping into a trance,
And plead to let go of all that remains.

I must turn loose all that hurts and pains;
I must move on and take a new stance.
A night’s serene sleep scrubs away the stains;
Pleading to let go of all that remains.

Note:  See my post on fixed form poetry to learn about sonnets and villanelles.
photo credit: BEYOURPET via cc

Fixed Form Poetry: The Sonnet and The Villanelle

Writing historical fiction is my thing.  I love developing long-forgotten historical characters and their settings for short stories.  I love throwing conflict after conflict at my main characters in my historical novel-in-progress.  But I also love fixed form poetry.  It’s like placing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together.  The difference is, you have to make the pieces yourself before you put it together.

The Sonnet

The Italian sonnet (or Petrarchan sonnet) treats its theme in two parts:

  1. The octave (8 lines) — states a problem, poses a question, or shows emotional tension.  The rhyme scheme is abba abba.
  2. The sestet (6 lines) — resolves the problem, answers the question, relieves the tension.  The rhyme scheme can vary:  cde cde, cde, dec, or cde dce.

The English (or Elizabethan sonnet) is composed of three rhymed quatrains (12 lines) and end with a rhymed couplet (2 lines).  The rhyme scheme for the English sonnet is abab cdcd efef gg.

Both the Italian and English sonnets consist of a total of 14 lines and 10 syllables per line.  I adhere to the 14 lines for each form, but my lines sometimes fluctuate between 9 and 11 syllables.

Example English sonnet:  The Scribbler

The Villanelle

The villanelle is a French verse consisting of five tercets (15 lines) and a quatrain (4 lines), making for a total of 19 lines.  The rhyme scheme is:  aba aba aba aba aba abaa.  There is no set number of syllables per line for the villanelle, but it’s usually between 8 and 11 syllables.

The key to the villanelle is that the first and third lines of the first tercet are repeated throughout the poem.  The first line is repeated as the last line of the second and fourth tercet and as the third line of the final quatrain.  The third line is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth tercet and as the last line of the final quatrain.

Example villanelle:  Uncharted Escape

Descriptive Writing in Storytelling

When working on my short stories and novel-in-progress, I’m finding that most of what I write has description, including my dialogue.  origin_3054150150Without descriptive writing, readers will apply their own senses (sights, sounds, tastes, and textures).  Sometimes I want readers to trust their own instincts with my writing when they’re reading.  Other times, what the reader has imagined may not be what I wanted them to see, smell, taste, hear, or feel.  By using descriptive writing, I can guide the reader to see, smell, taste, hear, or feel what I intended.

Concrete Writing

In the fiction writing workshop I’m in currently, I’ve learned that one of the most important aspects of writing is being concrete.  Descriptive writing is concrete in that it tempts a reader’s senses first.  It can be experienced by one of the senses.  Smell, taste, and touch fall under the concrete category and have a better impact on the reader than sight and sound.

Describing Body Language

Another way I’m using descriptive writing in my stories is describing a character’s body language.  For example, when a character is having a conversation with another character, are they inching backward to gesture that they want the conversation to end?  Or are they tipped forward, indicating their interest in what the speaker is saying?  If characters are seated, are their legs crossed at the ankles?  At the knees?  Are their spines upright?  Are they slouching?Enlightenment

Similes and Metaphors

Similes and metaphors add to description as well:

  • A simile indirectly compares two unlike things as one: He ate like a pig.
  •  A metaphor directly compares two unlike things: He was a pig.

For my current stories, my goal is to include at least one concrete description per scene.  I always try to include simile but metaphor is challenging for me.  I do well with concrete description and calling on the senses, but I need to apply that descriptive language in each scene.

 

photo credit: eyesore9 via photopin cc

photo credit: jDevaun.Photography via photopin cc

A Snapshot of the Borden Murders (1892)

Lizzie Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927)

Meet Lizzie Borden.  Accused of murdering her parents with a hatchet on August 4, 1892, but found not guilty, the double murders still have not been solved.  My fictional short story entitled “The Borden Spinsters,” revolves around the theory that Lizzie, her sister Emma, and the Bordens’ maid Bridget conspired together to murder Andrew and Abby Borden.  Two of three committed the actual murders in my tale.  You’d have to read my story to find out which lady didn’t wield a hatchet.

From left to right:  Lizzie Borden, Emma Borden, and Bridget Sullivan.

From left to right: Lizzie Borden, Emma Borden, and Bridget Sullivan.

Some quick “real” facts about the murders:

  • Stepmom Abby Borden was struck 18 or 19 times in the back of the head with a hatchet.
  • Andrew Borden was killed by ten blows to the face, one of which split his eye in half.
  • Lizzie and Maid Bridget were the only ones at the house at the time of the murders.
  • Only one policeman showed up to the crime scene.  The others on the force were attending an annual picnic. (Others came later)
  • Lizzie’s alibi changed several times, but a doctor had given her morphine to calm her nerves.
  • Maid Bridget’s alibi was that she was vomiting outside from eating five-day-old mutton that was left rotting in the heat of the kitchen.
  • The house still stands today in Fall River, Massachusetts.
  • Andrew was worth around $5 million at the time of his murder.
The Borden household at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts

The Borden house at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts