Writing Prompt Wednesday 1/11/12017

So, this week’s prompt was fun and challenging. It probably would have been more challenging if I’d set a genre to write in or a word count limit. But, I’m starting small and I want to make sure I can give myself something to stick to.

I wrote just a short blurb – I’m sure I could have written more or written an actual story around this, but I chose just to go with the short scene. I tend to write from a more character driven point of view.

I did challenge myself though by writing in the first person. I usually write in the third person. For some reason, and I’m not sure if people that write in first person have this problem, I have a VERY hard time keeping tenses consistent when writing in first person. So I found that I had to go back a few times and rewrite or rework things because I’d made a few errors.

I just chalked it up to the exercise working! The more practice I get, the better I’ll get at it!!

Enjoy!

****** ****** ******

I didn’t expect it to be so intimidating.

Stately, maybe. Impressive, sure. But intimidating?

I peered at the map in my hands and back up again. All I had to do was walk through the doors, take two lefts and a right.

I looked back at the Everything Library and shook my head. Did I really need to do this?
I knew people that came here all the time. My friend Maria came home a few weeks ago with a cookbook, a vintage dress and a man. She sent me a picture of herself dressed as June Cleaver, holding a casserole with her fake boyfriend by her side. She returned all three items two days later.

“It’s big, isn’t it?”

I turned to see a man about my age standing next to me, looking up at the Everything Library, just like I was.

“That’s what she said,” I mumbled.

He let out a laugh. “Was not expecting that.” His brown eyes smiled down at me as he asked, “What are you checking out?”

Immediately embarrassed and on guard, I said, “Just a book.”

He scoffed. “People borrowing books don’t have that look on their faces. Only people here to borrow people, look like that.”

He was right. I was there to borrow a person. But people aren’t things and I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the concept.

“You know they volunteer, right?”

I shrugged. “So they say.”

He nodded. “The mysterious ‘they’.”

Two lefts and a right. That’s all it was gonna take. Two lefts and right and I could get on with it.

“Wedding or funeral?” He asked.

I looked back up at him and he was staring at me like he thought he knew anything about me.

“Neither,” I told him.

He sighed. “Come on then.”

He reached out to grab my arm and I pull away.

“I’ve been on lunch,” he explained. “No one gets checked out until I get back.”

Oh God, he’s the people check out guy?

“I’ll help you fill out the forms,” he offered with a smile, like he was coaxing me up the stairs.

The sooner I went in, the sooner this would all be over.

Maybe that’s why I was hesitating.

I followed him into the cavernous entryway, past marble arches and gold plated plaques. It was like a museum inside. I’d expected to see stuff everywhere. It was the Everything Library after all so I thought I’d get to see everything. But the only things to look at were on display, as if they were treasures to be honored, not borrowed.

We took our two lefts and a right and it led us to a small window that almost looked like a ticket booth. My mystery, library worker reached through the window and grabbed a few sheets of paper and handed them to me.

“Just fill these out,” he instructed. “We’ll get you taken care of.”

I filled out the forms and handed them back, looking away as he read the application.

“A grandma, huh?” He asked.

I nodded as my eyes met his quickly and looked away again.

“I know the perfect grandma for the job. Hang on,” he said. He stepped through a door and closed it behind him.

He seemed nice enough. How did he sleep at night knowing that he basically rented out people all day, every day.

Although, the service was kind of saving my butt today, so I shouldn’t complain.

He came back about three minutes later with an older lady who looked about seventy. She was smiling sweetly at me like a grandma might do.

“How’s she?” The guy asked, his hands on her shoulders.

What was I supposed to say? She was standing there looking at me. What if I said she was too young or too skinny and I hurt her feelings?

“She’s fine,” I said truthfully, because, really, she would do.

“Good,” he smiled and then ripped off a piece of paper.

Was that receipt? A people receipt.

When he held it out to me, I couldn’t lift my hand to take it.

His brow furrowed. “You need to take the receipt so you can bring her back,” he tried to explain.

I held up my hands. “I can’t do this.” I cut my eyes to the grandma that wasn’t really mine. “I’m sorry. You’re great, I’m sure. But I can’t do this.”

“Oh, dear, of course you can,” the old woman smiled kindly. She glanced at the receipt and her eyes became sad. “Come, now. Take it and let’s go.”

The guy was watching me too, waiting to see what I was going to do.

Shakily, my hand opened and he put the paper inside of it.

“The return date is on the top of the receipt,” he told me.

“She’ll be back tonight,” I said firmly. I did not need the rented person hanging around. I just needed her for an hour. Tops.

He gave me a quick nod and a sympathetic smile.

“Let’s go see your mother, dear,” the old woman said to me.

I looked over at her. She was holding her arm out, bent at the elbow, just like a grandma might. Like I was supposed to take her arm and lead her.

I did as she wished, led her through the maze of hallways and left the Everything Library.

“How bad is she?” The woman asked.

“She won’t last another day,” I confessed. “She’s been crying for her mother for days.”

It was painful to watch as your own mother deteriorated in front of you, crying for her ‘mama’ as if she were a child.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” I shrugged.

The woman squeezed my hand. “That’s what the Everything Library is here for, dear.”

Writing on Wattpad & The Wattpad Effect

I started posting BlindSpot on Wattpad just over a year ago.  I wasn’t expecting much.  Some of us, as writers, are slow to start sharing our work.  Whether out of fear or embarrassment – doesn’t matter.  Sharing your writing – if it’s something you are unfamiliar with doing – can be terrifying.

If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I’d love to read your book!” and then I secretly thought to myself, “Aw, hell naw!!!”

 

Enter Wattpad.  Well, enter me into Wattpad.  You know what I mean.

So, there I am, all babe in the woods posting my first few chapters.  Not much for readership but okay, it takes time. But how much time? When do they start reading?  I thought if I built it, they would come!

 

But alas, that isn’t how it works on Wattpad.

Here’s how it really works. Step one is putting up your work.  Step two – putting yourself out there.  The only way people can find you, is if you find them first. So, I snooped around the clubs for a while. Luckily, I stumbled into a thread that pretty much houses the most amazing crew of authors on Wattpad.

Just my opinion. No biggie.

Oh yeah – and I found my Wattpad BFF.  Didn’t know that was a thing?  It totally is and by some stroke of freaky luck – i found her.  (More to come about this later)

The point is, you can’t succeed on Wattpad in any capacity without ingratiating yourself into the Wattpad community.

Want more reads?  You have to do some reading yourself. Once people see you’re an active reader and commenter, they want to see your work.  Then they vote or comment and their followers see.

Want more comments?  Join a book club.  Wattpad has some of the best book clubs around.  Think about it – groups of talented writers who are in turn dedicated readers looking at your work every week.  Writers are the best readers because they know what works in writing and what doesn’t – and they’re going to let you know.  Then they read, vote and comment and their followers see.

See where I’m going with this?

Wattpad has an great forum called Improve Your Writing.  If you haven’t been yet, you should go now.  Well, finish reading, but then go!  Every day they’re doing exercises meant to get you writing better so that your work is the best it can be! Seriously, get over there right now.

Snoop Dogg says "But Back to the lecture at hand"

It took a while for me to figure out, just like it takes most newbies some time. But I joined some book clubs and got some great feedback. I even had a fellow writer offer to go over a few of my chapters to help me with some editing.

Here’s the Wattpad Effect – I did the same thing in return for someone else.  I read a fabulous book.  I mean, one of the most creative storylines I’ve ever read. It had everything I love – paranormal, romance, mystery, original lore, action and a whole host of other things. Bad part, it had some structure issues that made the writing a bit hard to follow.  But, since someone offered to help me out and it did wonders for me, I offered to do the same thing for this writer.

Turns out, English is her second/third language and that technical aspect was hard for her. Heck, I barely speak one language and I got it wrong! So, I offered to help and from what I know, she did the same for another author.

That is the Wattpad Effect. The butterfly effect is real y’all.

That ripple that spreads from one author to the next.  The hand up. The “atta boy” from your followers or friends when you do something well.  The critiques that are always meant to help. It goes beyond reads, votes or popularity.  Far beyond awards or accolades (though those are nice too).

That’s what makes Wattpad the community that it is.

I don’t know if I’ll ever traditionally publish a book.  At this point in time, it’s on the outer edges of my radar but not really anywhere important. What I do know is, at this point in time, I have a place where I can go, post my writing and get honest feedback.

If you’re a writer and haven’t joined Wattpad yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!