#My52 “The Price of a Life”

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#My52: Week 2

Word prompt: wheelchair

Word count – 503

Reading time – 2 mins, 4 secs

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Part I

A thick layer of dust covered the piano his mother forced him to practice thirteen years ago.

Dex ran his hand over the keys.

I hated this piano. I hated practicing.

His shoulders slumped as he plunked a key.

The stiffness of the key and the angry tone of the chord spoke to the years of disuse.

Like him, the piano sat, waiting for concern and interest from anyone.

Dexter Morgan wandered into the kitchen and felt like he’d traveled back in time.

Everything was the same… the linoleum, countertops, cabinets… even the toaster. The only thing missing was the thirteen-inch television he watched cartoons on while shoveling down spoonfuls of Malt-o-Meal.

Dex pushed through the swinging café doors and took in the once bright and sunny dining room.

Heavy, dark green drapes hung on the far wall of glass, blocking out any hint of daylight. A worn, wooden rocking chair sat in the corner, covered in as much dust as the piano.

A hospital bed sat in the room’s center, stripped and unplugged.

He was ready to leave this room… to leave this house, but the bed called to him like a siren luring him closer.

He grazed his hand over the plastic mattress, and it felt as cold and empty as his heart.

His mother told him his father had died eleven years old—two years after she dragged him from this house. They were going away with Simon; the man Verna Morgan started an affair with after his father deployed again to the middle-east.

But she lied.

Verna lied about everything and made him endure a hellish childhood, all for money.

His father’s money. The price he’d put on his own life.

Dex remembered the last time he saw Proctor Morgan—sitting in his wheelchair in the front doorway.

Father and son exchanged one last glance, both their faces wet with tears, before Verna shoved the twelve-year-old into the back seat of Simon’s Ford Explorer.

“Dexter, please stop crying. This is for the best. Your father will be fine.”

“We’re leaving him all alone, mom–”

“He has nurses and caregivers to help–”

“I don’t want to leave him–”

“Enough! Your father will spend the rest of his life in that wheelchair and he can barely use his hands. Am I just supposed to sacrifice the rest of my life to feed him and wipe his ass?”

She’d leaned in close to her son, speaking low and slow.

“I deserve a life, Dexter. I deserve nice things and traveling to new places. I deserve a man who’s a man. Simon will give me that life. Now, I don’t want to hear any more about it.”

Dex winced and leaned on the bed, the memories still fresh and painful.

Simon’s good life had been a new address every six months. The wannabe-gangster ran cons, scams, and lost big playing poker.

Every time he lost, Simon took it out on Verna, and she would pass the bruises on to Dex.

To be continued

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©2019 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

 

#My52 Writing Challenge 2019

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It’s a brand new year… are you ready for a new writing challenge?

In 2017, I participated in the 52-Week Writing Challenge (and was the randomly chosen winner) and in 2018, I did the #52weeks52stories Writing Challenge.

When I asked around about a writing challenge for 2019, none popped up, so I decided to go my own way, and you’re invited to join me!

If you’ve participated in any type of writing challenge, you’re already aware of what a useful writing tool they can be. If you’ve come to an impasse in your current WIP, stepping away for a moment to focus on something else can sort through the cobwebs, flick on the light, or move the forest so you can see the trees.

Parts of a current WIP can also be used in a writing challenge. The difficulty of character profiles, scenes, world building, and even book blurbs can disappear when task are tackled as flash fiction.

As the Queen of Many Wurdz and champion of the run-on sentence, I took part in challenges to focus on short stories.  I needed to focus on telling a complete story in as few words as possible. I’m partial to longer standalone books, but not everyone wants to read a 180K epic psychological family saga.

Okay, I lied. I don’t either.

So, after 70+ short stories, how am I doing? It’s an ongoing process. 🙂

What I enjoy most about writing challenges is the accountability. Someone is watching, keeping me honest, cheering me on during the good weeks, and talking me off the ledge during the bad ones. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but many times it helps to get out of your own head.

What are the rules for #My52? That’s the best part—there aren’t any.

  • Writing in any form counts. Haiku, Poetry, Drabble, Flash, short story… they’re all welcome.
  • Genres are also limitless. Suspense, Mystery, Romance, LGBT, Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA… it’s your choice.
  • The writing week is Monday through Friday with postings on Saturday and Sunday. (Posting earlier in the current week is acceptable too.)
  • Tweet a link to your post with the hashtag #My52 for retweets and likes

OR

  • Grab the banner at the top and link back to this page and I’ll feature your post during the challenge.

Don’t let the word challenge stress you. It’s not a contest and the challenge is only against yourself… to keep you writing-focused.

Life gets crazy and cluttered, so do not beat yourself up if you miss a week. Keep writing!

Word counts can be anywhere from a 17-syllable Haiku to a multi-week short story.

Have fun with it. Write outside your form or genre—I’m not a paranormal writer and I wrote paranormal stories last year and enjoyed doing it.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments or find me on Twitter – @MsFelicia, or Instagram – @fle_d.

Happy 2019… and happy writing!

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Camp NaNo Update Day #31

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It’s hard to imagine how early writers ever completed and published anything with the tools of their time.

Sharp styluses, quills, and rods of graphite wrapped in string were used to write on papyrus, clay, slate, wood, and parchment.

But then writing was also limited for the most part to scholars and academics, church leaders, and monarchies… as was reading.

Of course, writing has withstood the test of time and is no longer an instrument of a privileged few.

Today, everyone writes. It’s a necessity even on the most basic of levels.

We write to communicate, educate and inform. You don’t have to be a writer to write but if you are, regardless of if you were dragged, pushed, or went voluntarily, you’ve fallen down the writer’s life rabbit hole.

What’s down there?

The tips! The advice! The techniques! The best practices!

And, the tools of writing, because why we write hasn’t changed. But, the way we write? Most definitely, and it continues to evolve.

Just as reading is a personal experience, so is writing. We learn the basics in school then put our own spin on it… much to the chagrin of teachers. (My constant use of ellipses would get me into a world of trouble with my junior high school English teacher, Raymond Rosa.)

Some writers will not write one word of their manuscript until they have a full outline, complete with scenes.

Still, others grab a cup of coffee, sit down to their laptops and start writing a story.

There is no right or wrong way.

A writer needs to find what works best for them; what bests helps them achieve their goals in their writing journey.

Will you use WORD, Scrivener, Quoll, or yWriter?

Grammarly, ProWritingAid, Hemingway, or Autocrit? Paid or free versions?

Writing group or beta readers?

Self-published, hybrid, or traditional?

Fan groups? Free Content? Written resources? Mentor?

The list is endless and doesn’t even include websites/blogs, newsletters, or social media.

Most writers will work their way through these tools and aids until they stumble upon the winning combination.

And that’s the important part – what works for you. Not your writing partner; not the guy who just had a bestseller; not the lady who teaches creative writing or your favorite author.

Writers often create their own setbacks when they mimic the writing process of someone who’s had recent success and do not get the same results. They believe their work isn’t as good or they’ve done something wrong.

And nothing could be farther from the truth.

Just as no two people read the same book, no two people write the same book. Even if it’s same genre, same trope (or nonfiction), the writers are different so why expect the same results?

Yes, there are rules on the mechanics of writing, but, as I’ve posted before, you can get away with occasionally breaking some of them.

But how you do it is completely up to you.

My Favorites Tools

Scrivener (for Windows)

Hemingway (paid) used with free versions of Grammarly and ProWritingAid. (Still undecided on renewing PWA or going with something else.)

Jutoh (formatting)

Adobe Creative Suite (now Creative Cloud), Canva

The Writer’s Lexicon, Volume I and Volume II by Kathy Steinemann

Emotional Beats by Nicholas C. Rossis

Polish Your Prose by Harmony Kent

Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass

Writer Unboxed

The Creative Penn (Joanna Penn)

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Camp NaNoWriMo is history. If you participated, whether or not you reached your set goal, I hope you had fun with it and even gleaned useful strategies/practices… because NaNoWriMo begins in NINETY-TWO days! See you there! 😀

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Day 31 word count – 52,964

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©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved