Tag Archives: satire

We Portlanders

Somewhere in Portland, Oregon | Scooter Mc Quades
Who’s Got Game? Google Maps

At first it was some sort of a joke, like ‘Florida Man’, except it was us…we, Portlanders.

Portlanders ban single use plastic bags.

The news hawks swept in, made us seem like clog-wearing hippies wearing tie-dye tees.

Portlanders vote yes to zero landfill.

Suit-clad newscasters smirked and showed footage of beard-sporting hipsters sipping organic free-trade. “That’ll never last,” they said.

Portlanders go zero emission.

The pundits waved their hands, said it wasn’t practical. They said since legalizing weed, we Portlanders had abandoned all reason.

When our Oregon senator brought the Portland Bill, which banned lobbyists from making campaign donations and completely rewrote campaign finance law, the senate floor erupted. “There’s no way,” they said. But maybe they were more worried about reelection without their coal lobby and billionaire funds.

Portlanders lead the country into renewable energy.

They called it a joke, a trope, a cliché, but we did it—we: Portlanders.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

Apologies for not participating the past few weeks. I have been studying for a certification exam (which I passed!).

I love Portland, but when I picked it for a location for Pegman this week, I never imagined I’d have such a hard time of it. Some of my favorite things are associated with Portland… forests, ferns, moss, coffee…Lewis & Clark, bigfoot, and of course my husband J. Hardy Carroll. But when I saw this picture with the Subaru outside, I got hung up on the cliche of Portland.

Anyone who knows Portland or has watched Portlandia knows what I’m talking about. For some reason this glitch got me thinking about the legend that is Florida Man–and this story was born. Call it sci-fi-satire-cliche, I guess. But with a happy ending, because the world is saved!

Have a most wonderful week & thanks for reading.

Karen

The Working Parents’ Guide to Winning NaNoWriMo

It’s November 26th, do you know what your word count is? If you’re competing in NaNoWriMo you undoubtedly know what it is now, what it was yesterday and what you are aiming for tomorrow.

NOTE: if you’ve already won NaNoWriMo, congratulations! This post won’t be of any interest to you. January is just around the corner so you’ll want to get busy polishing that manuscript for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest in 2015.

Okay, great. Now that the overachievers are gone, let’s talk.

Writing is hard. Work is hard and so is that overtime job turning runny-nosed static-urchins into productive citizens. But we love a challenge (obviously) and so here we are: X days left of NaNoWriMo and XX,XXX words to go.

So, in the spirit helping frustrated and exhausted writers everywhere survive the 50,000 words in November challenge, I’ve pulled together this concise list of handy tips:

  1. Unplug. Completely. Unplug your internet connection, your phone, your cable. In fact, go outside with some hedge clippers and cut the cord completely. Avoid Twitter, Facebook, all forms of social media and blogs. In fact, what are you doing here right now? Seriously, don’t even answer your door. Trust me, you’ll be glad for this later.
  1. Set aside a quiet time every day to write. Note that this might be at 3:00 am. You should try to be awake for it. Do not rule out the use of ear plugs and duct tape.
  1. Clean laundry is overrated. Look, kids don’t care. My daughter would wear the same pair of dirty pajamas for the entirety of summer break if I let her. And as far as you go—by the time your coworkers catch on that you’ve been wearing the same pair of black pants since Veterans Day, this thing will be all over.
  1. Clean anything is overrated.  Housework will wait. How many people have actually died from a cat-hair embedded sofa? I suppose maybe someone…but those people just need to steer clear. Remember, you’re not answering the door (see item #1). Handy, eh?
  1. Ignore your kids completely. C’mon, it’s only a month. Of course I’m not talking anything that would merit a trip to the ER. But that spelling review? The book report on Divergent? Reading them Llama Llama for the 4,987th time? All that can wait until December.  After all, what’s more important? Well actually, it’s your kids. But still, what are they gonna do about it? You’re the parent—you’re in charge.
  1. One word: Depends. As in the undergarment. I know right now you’re probably thinking gross, but really, it’s better than some of the medical interventions I contemplated. This is also where not answering the door comes in handy. Just think of all the time you waste on any given day. Bahaha! Ah well, I guess it all Depends on how bad you want to win. (The puns practically write themselves! Ahem, as opposed to my manuscript.)
  1. Yes, you can all survive on carryout. Leftover pizza keeps indefinitely and consists of all the major food groups. Breakfast, lunch and dinner–all solved! Theoretically, I suppose someone could call the authorities on you for feeding your kids pizza for ninety consecutive meals. But you’re not answering the door, remember? Those people can’t get in. I told you you’d be glad you weren’t answering that door.

There you have it, that’s not so hard, right? And if all else fails, remember: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. After all, it worked for Jack Torrance.

How to become a published fiction author

Many people would have you think that becoming a successful published author is difficult. In truth, it’s easy and if you follow these simple steps, you may soon find yourself at the top of the bestseller list.

Monkey typing

1. Read a lot. Reading is critical. You should read both books in your chosen genre as well as books that can help you improve your craft. Try to read at least three books a day.

2. Write, revise, repeat. Writing is a skill and just like any other skill, you must practice. Set goals for yourself. Start with 10,000 words a day on your manuscript and work up from there. Depending on how fast you can type, this should take less than three hours. Then, do writing exercises for an additional couple of hours to hone your craft.

3. Promote yourself. Start a blog. Create a website. You should also be reading books on internet marketing and effective use of social media. Devise a comprehensive self-marketing strategy and plan on spending at least six hours a day promoting yourself.

4. Take time to learn and hone your abilities. Take classes and join a critique group or two. Four classes or sessions a day should be sufficient. Try to bring homemade treats to each meeting to share with your fellow participants.

5. Make writing a priority. If you have work, kids, social life or hobbies, you must remember what’s important and put your writing first. Of course, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid distractions, but use them to advance your goals. For example, if your house is on fire, your first priority should be to get out. However, while you’re waiting for the firefighters, use the opportunity to write down your observations. Fictionalizing real events is a wonderful way to add dimension to your work.

6. Research. Well-written fiction demands research – so whether your characters are skydiving or street luging, take the time to become intimately acquainted with these things. Better yet, experience them yourself. Spend three or four days a week doing this.

7. Get recognized for your work. Find, research and enter writing contests. You should try to enter only those contests you will win. Plan to enter and win five to seven a week.

8. Meticulously research literary agents, their preferences and submission guidelines. Set aside several hours a day to target appropriate agents for your work and draft query letters.

9. Be well balanced. You can’t let your life revolve around writing. The best writers fill their lives with other interests. Learn Russian, perfect origami, master calligraphy. Get some physical activity while you’re at it, you can’t be a lump sitting at a desk all the time. Consider doing marathons or endurance swimming.

10. Get plenty of rest. You can’t write if you’re all tired and stressed out, now can you?

As you do these things, keep in mind that if you aren’t willing to invest this degree of effort, you must not want it enough. Best of luck in your publishing endeavors!