Before the Break…

July 17, 2013

This coming Monday I’m having a lot of work done on this blog and also to my Bridge to Story website.

My next book is coming out in October, ‘Tell Me (How to Write) A Story’,  it will be released by Inspired Quill mid month. (the July date was moved out)  So my online presence is getting a facial, perm, and new shoes, so to speak.

This blog will be down for awhile and hopefully, everyone will be able to then find me over at my new Author’s site once all the under construction signs come down.

The new site will act as a 1-stop place for my Author activities like releases, book groups and interviews, All the Bridge to Story pages, and  of course, my blog.

Until all that gets underway here’s some ‘Author’ things to remind you about:

My Short Story collection Claiming One It’s been gathering some positive reviews online and on the Amazon reviews page, though I could use more of both – so if you want to run an interview, have me post as a guest blogger on your site, or  if you want to review the book, contact me for an ARC file.

And here’s a Book Trailer for Claiming One on YouTube

Also,

Call for SubmissionRevision for Beginners my next project, is still looking for 200 word excerpts, Consider submitting.

I am hoping this little work, 20 novices have their first draft excerpts revised and the method of the revisions discussed, will be ready for shopping around to publishers late 2014.

Thank you all for such a nice following.

Until we meet again,

ej

 

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Angela Graff of Indie Reviews just ran a 5 ☆ Review of Claiming One, by E.J. Runyon.

Thanks Angela!!

Check it out folks.

Do We Have A Deal For You!

November 30, 2012

I'm Published!!! WOOT!

As the end of this year comes sailing towards us,  I’m offering the first 7 Deadly Serious Nano’ers who contact me, wanting to work on their stuff, a Post-NaNoWriMo-Deal.

Five 90 minute coaching sessions at my hourly lesson rate.  That’s like two and a half hours of free coaching work. I work on content edits, story structure and writing craft.

How can you not decide to try this offer?  I’m very serious about coaching novices to become the best writers they can be.  You can check the Bridge to Story site for my coaching style. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s To Telling Tales

September 9, 2012

My collection of short stories, Claiming One has been on the shelves, in stores and online since January of this year.  It’s made a small dent which my publisher, Inspired Quill is happy with, as am I, and I have a book trailer on YouTube that is getting some hits, the feedback I’ve gotten on it is all positive. Though, I could definitely use as few more reviews online.

Claiming One Book Cover

Claiming One Book Cover

( Claiming One B & N, Amazon )

But, this Saturday was the first bookstore reading I’ve had for my small offering. And that was a step for me. The event called for my reading work aloud. And, in my mind, for me to attempt dressing well. I figured the reading aloud I could handle.

But the dressing well – think board-shorts, Teva sandals, cotton vests over big t-shirts, and a lot of cat hairs (my usual outfit). I called for help and my friend Mari took me shopping to choose a few things that girls wear, including a pair of slip-ons that had, as Mari informed me, kitten heels. (Kitten Heels? Yikes!)

So this Saturday I donned all that fake stuff, made sure most of the bed-hair had been tamed, checked my teeth, and made my way to the Barnes & Noble on campus, half an hour early, because I too was hyper to sit at home waiting.

Twenty-one folks showed up, (3 times as many as I expected) we ran out of books to sell, I read one story (Going to Emergency) then looked up into a crowd of smiles and asked if there were any questions.

And they wanted to start talking about the story! Asking questions, wanting to know the how’s and why’s. Nodding ‘yeah’ as I spoke. Waiting for more. Continuing to smile, to agree, to get what I was saying. Heady stuff.

There were half a dozen or so writing students there from the NMSU English department and we ended up having a nice chat about writing and art. And how to let yourself be free to write. To ask the What if? about our story ideas.  I mentioned my website, and it didn’t even feel out of place to do so. Weird.

I even got email addresses from some of them to continue those conversations.

I told one young man, Pedro, the story about Zoe Amory’s Cover Art work, and how when you have good fortune (my being selected by a publisher) sharing it with others brings in more of it.

Everyone wanted to have their book signed, and they ended up sitting down and talking to me as I did the signatures, each with their own little story to convey, I felt like they wanted to make me a friend, as we spoke.

One person showed up late, was told we’d run out of books and asked, “What about that one?” – pointing to the display copy still on the stand. I grabbed it up for her, and sat to sign it. We ended up speaking for a bit. How nice was that?!?  An second woman met up with me and she sat talking with my two friends and me down in the store’s café area, I promised to have a book for her Monday, from my own box of copies.

Aside from my feet hurting in my *kitten heel shoes* it was a lovely event! I’ve never felt so at ease in my life.
Please, if you know of a blogger who reviews Short Story/Literary Fiction, pass this blog post on to them. I’m interested in expanding my blog tour.

EJ

Sense Memories and Your Writing

August's Winner's Badge

August’s Winner’s Badge

I finished my Camp NaNoWrMo August event with 55,400+ words written. It was a blast. And I think I took my writing to a few new places I hadn’t tried for before.

It was a great time, even though it happened alongside a summer Teaching Practicum and the delivering of my newest Manuscript to my Publisher, Inspired Quill.

Life is what happens while we’re busy making plans.  I won’t have changes a minute of the summer. it was full of creativity and  risks I’m so glad to have try.

One thing I found was this new way for attacking my writing: Deconstruction as a way in to you own work.

It really turned this August writing effort into something  unexpected. That new method for me, coupled with the normal way I work brought up some much deeper and I think, more profound writing.work

My normal method of writing works something like this:

  • I think about stuff for a while… then,
  • I begin to remember things: incidents, voices, images, opportunities (taken & lost)
  • I start taking notes
  • I ask a lot of ‘What if?’ questions
  • I twist things beyond recognition
  • I plan what I’ll write
  • I start writing
  • I stray way afar from my original plans
  • I stick to and enhance some of my original plans
  • I think about upcoming edits I’ll be doing once my first draft is done
  • I manage to finish a full first draft.
  • I think about stuff for a while…

Today, we’ll just review that second item, Remembering Things.  For me it works like this:

I cast my mind back and remember:

a time I was at a mini-writer’s conference (an informal, 3-day weekend kind of get together), and after some ribbing from a fellow writer, bantering that got a bit too close to the bone in its teasing tone, I pointed a finger, leaned into the table we sat around, and heard myself saying, low: Just because I’m smitten with you doesn’t mean I won’t kick your ass.’

 That is a sense memory.

There are two things I might do with this memory in my fiction writing.

I could take the ‘Writing What You Know’ road, and excavate this life-moment. Creating a thinly disguised scene that takes nearly all of its content from the actual event in my life.

There’s nothing wrong with writing like this. But frankly, I really don’t think my life experiences are al that riveting. For me, when it comes to writing, sticking too closely to reality is a bore.

So I tend to take the other path: The ‘Using What You Know in Your Writing’ road.

I spend some time thinking a bit on that line:  ‘Just because I’m smitten with you doesn’t mean I won’t kick your ass.’

Then, I start taking notes. They are usually ‘What if?’ types of notes.

What if this was said one gay guy to another?

What if these two guys were 18 or 19 at the most?

What if one of the guys was the big brother of a Main Character?

What if she overheard this line, and it drove her to some type of action?

What if she had a younger brother too, who was getting into drugs?

What if these three kids were alone for some reason one summer?

What if the Mom in this piece was sharp-tongued and a bit flawed?

What if the middle sister in this story hated that she was the same way?

What if ….?

For me, this list of writing possibilities will beat, hands down, any real-based story I can cull from my actual life.

True, I’m not a gay guy. I’m no longer 18. I was never a middle sister, between two brothers. There were seven siblings in my family, not three. Etc. etc.

But that butt kicking phrase is very real. I can use it, in my writing, because I know it.

Deciding to take this path, rather than the one that recounts a 3-day weekend with fellow writers, is a choice I’ve made.

Anchoring a story upon a single remembered phrase is another.

Twisting the origin and use of the line is another choice.

NOT  using the line for the Main Character is something you may not have thought to do, so that’s another choice it’s possible to make, if you choose this method.

Using your sense memories in this not-literally manner, the possibilities in your writing are as endless as you allow them to be.

What do you do with your sense memories?

Post a comment and let’s get a discussion going. I’d love to hear from some writers on this.

 

Getting to the Good Stuff

What A Great B’day Favor – A Free e-book!

My Publishing house, Inspired Quill is 1 year old this month. And to celebrate, Sara Jayne Slack, owner, is setting aside April 7th to give away Claiming One in e-book form.

Log into Amazon this Saturday, head over to the Kindle store and grab a free copy on us.

Now, about that Good Stuff… Read the rest of this entry »

gorilla_wordle

Giant Rubber Gorilla

The Giant Rubber Gorilla, the opening story in the collection of 17 that make up Claiming One is one I’m most proud to have written.

The story revolves around a Cousin and Aunt who grudgingly perform their weekend duty of taking a mute cousin for her weekly drive around town.  A Board and Care facility is mentioned.  They speak over her head, referring to her as ‘this one’, and ‘her’. And the unreliable narrator herself, the unspeaking, un-named cousin in the backseat, brings us both a rational view of these two in the front seat, while also giving us off-kilter observations like this:

… then they both start giggling, high, tinkly —like trembling nerves when you’ve sprinkled glitter on them so they’ll show to the light. 

Who’s right in this tale? Who’s to blame? Does anyone hold the truth?

As a new writer, how do you decide how a story idea will be fleshed out?  For me, I happened to be in the backseat of a car when both the driver and the front passenger got out to pump gas and go get snacks at the same time. Leaving me there, with the ringing of the car doors in my ears. Once they got back into the car I joked, What am I, your crazy cousin you can ignore when you take her out for Sunday drives? And Boom – I had a story idea.

But the places I was able to take that story once I started scribbling (on the back of envelopes and paper bags I begged from the passenger’s handbag, and when we stopped for lunch – the backs of our paper place mats in the coffee shop) were far from anything in my life. I really let my imagination fill the motivations, reactions, and actions of this trio of characters.

Think of that when you have an idea, and feel ready to write. Ask yourself how far from your initial brainstorm you can take your work. Even if you take the work far afield of its original spark, you don’t need to stay where it takes you. But consider how shallow your imagination might remain if you’ve never experienced having ventured there.

What I Write About & Why

November 24, 2011

Read, paper sculture

A Saturday drive and a family secret though the eyes of a never-named mute passenger.   An estranged father, all he reaches for, and everything he can’t hold onto. The suddenness of a teen getting what she’s wished for.  A runaway wife ends up more than just free of her brutal husband. A hardworking mother’s rationalizations and promises.  A girl’s odyssey while in a  Navy psyche ward.  A youngster’s role as little-mother in a hectic family.   A dying woman and the young storyteller she invites into her life.  A study in brotherhood, death and denial.  A phone call from an old flame making amends goes askew. 14 Darvocets results in a fateful afternoon.   The moral decision a youngster makes in spite of family alienation.  A woman with a sudden windfall dwells on what she’s leaving behind.  A chilling flash fiction piece studies family ties.  An alcoholic makes all the wrong decisions.  The haunting night before a troubled woman’s children are removed to care. A runaway teen, returned home makes a hard choice.

A reader once emailed me comments about a story of mine. She wrote: Why do you always break my heart with your stories?  I have to tell you, as I did her: I don’t write them that way; they just sometimes seem to do that.

I’m serious about my stories, and I’m a serious creativity coach. But I’m not out to grab you by the throat. I use uncomplicated, calm words, they just seem to slice and nip at readers all the same. Lo Siento.  I’m sorry to bring you close without the warning. Let me amend that here:

WARNING REAL LIFE AHEAD.

My stories may move you. You may think: Oh, wow. Or Damn!  Or possibly, you’ll say, That line just comes back to me and in my mind, that scene keeps repeating. 

Maybe your view of life is from streets similar to the ones I’ve frequented, and these stories may have little effect; except recognition. That could happen. I take sense memories, like joy, despair, anticipation, guilt, bewilderment, confusion & freedom, and use them to build places for my characters to live. We’ve all felt those things at one time or another. I use that sense memory mortar & brick to build the lives I create on the page.  Smooth walkways, nothing to trip over. Doors cracked open enough that you don’t need to bother knocking. Windows to the left and right for a peek inside.  Nothing new or unique. Just slices of life. I only suggest you take the risk. Go on, look.

Welcome to E. J. Runyon’s Author Blog

This is the first of many blog posts to come. As the author of an upcoming short story collection, I’m here primarily to let you know about that publication.

Read the rest of this entry »