Pens, Knives, and Guns: The Power of Crafting Words

OPEN BOOK (13)#OpenBook

What was an early experience when you learned that language had power?

I think humans have an innate appreciation for the power contained in language. We have a need to communicate from the moment we leave the womb. Crying, whimpering, whining and cooing are all methods that infants have to convey their feelings and desires.

It can be so strong that many mothers and primary caregivers learn the meanings behind each utterance coming from the tiny person, finding it almost impossible to ignore. The impact of our children’s infant cries frazzled each one of my nerves, motivating me to satisfy or wreak havoc on whatever or whoever was upsetting them. People didn’t start calling me Mama Bear for nothing.

Yeah, kinda like that. So, knowledge about the power of language is something intrinsic. We know its influence on those around us. When people are past the infancy, “cry to get what I want stage”, it is important to recognize how compelling words can be on one’s mindset and those around them, especially words strategically used to convince, inspire, anger and degrade—some of which may become branded in one’s psyche, influencing their internal dialogue and actions. Continue reading “Pens, Knives, and Guns: The Power of Crafting Words”

#OpenBook – “Masculine Energy” and The Woman Writer

OPEN BOOK (5)#Open Book

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I remember listening to a male lecturer talk about women, men, and gender relations. One thing that stuck with me was when he went on this diatribe about women who have a lot of what he called “masculine energy.” He waxed for what seemed like forever about how a woman who dares to have a lot of masculine energy is a problem because she will always be ready to challenge a man. He claimed that such women are too assertive and authoritative and proclaimed that he could tell when there is such a woman in his midst.

After I laughed my…head off, I cringed a little at the incendiary generalizations he made, that make life hell for women. I won’t go into an analysis of how his language dangerously allocated certain human behaviors like confidence, ambition, critical thinking, power, and resistance as masculine and categorized women embodying any of these characteristics as “manly” deviants straying from their feminine nature.

I won’t highlight how someone privileged by gender can be guilty of reinforcing oppression by demonizing those struggling against their subjugation, discrediting them as misfits. Really, men need to stop that nonsense, especially those disguising themselves as progressive but are actually just as chauvinistic as their fellow misogynists.

Continue reading “#OpenBook – “Masculine Energy” and The Woman Writer”

In Vitro: Short Story Audio Clip

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS! (1)Alhamdulillah, I am blessed to have Sabina Khan, a great writer, for a critique partner. One of the biggest challenges we have when it comes to working together is our often conflicting schedules. However, this being the digital age, we managed to come up with a method—at least on my end—to share.

I often leave audio clips of my work for Sabina to listen to at a convenient time. She expressed to me how much she enjoyed listening to me read my work and constantly encouraged me to upload audio clips for my readers.  I was initially hesitant, but I decided to give it a try by reading the first part of the newest Layla Writes Love short story, In Vitro.

Continue reading “In Vitro: Short Story Audio Clip”

#OpenBook: Pouring out Money to Spill Ink

OPEN BOOK (4)#OpenBook

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I will have to split my answer to this week’s prompt into two categories: 1)writer and 2) author. It may seem like an exercise in semantics, but the distinction is important. In addition to my short stories and books, I do a TON of writing in different spheres that have required me to spend money in varying amounts and capacities.

You guys know how I get. Bear with me.

Continue reading “#OpenBook: Pouring out Money to Spill Ink”

#MFRW- Character-Driven Plot Building

blacksmith-3141724_1920#MFRW Plotter or panzer, and why?

I tend to be a character-driven writer. I have a bunch of people stomping around my head demanding that their stories be told.

Yeah, kinda like that. Because they are at the base of my writing, I usually have to structure a plot based upon what the main protagonists in a story want, the obstacles that get in the way with that, and how they change from the beginning to end of the plot. So, an organic plot structure is at the crux of my writing.

I also have a drill-sergeant for a writing coach, who doesn’t believe in just writing and letting a story evolve, at least not at the fundamental level, which plotting a story mainly involves. I think that is what confused me at first, and I also see it when I mentor writers. I had the tendency to think of details as essential to structuring a plot. They aren’t, and once I got used to sifting through them to the core components of a story, I have become better at having a solid plot on which to build it. Continue reading “#MFRW- Character-Driven Plot Building”

Favorite Character Question is Major Author Bait

OPEN BOOK (6)#OpenBook

From all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite and why?

What kind of f—

Okay, I smell a setup. My kids tried asking me something like this. It didn’t work then either. Which one of my characters got you? Was it Raad?

It was Raad. He’s so narcissistic. It’s bad enough he wrecked my concentration until I got his characterization finished. Now, he’s gotta try to force some sick confession out of me? Sit your butt down, Raad, and wait for me to release Building on Broken Dreams to show your…self to the world.

giphy4

I said to sit down!

Maybe it was Zaida. Continue reading “Favorite Character Question is Major Author Bait”

#MFRWAuthor- Anger & Food: A Deadly Combination

Stress Eating: The Whys and Wherefores

Anger is the main emotion that makes me stress eat. I will be basically cool with life and eating decently—then BOOM!

Papa Bear or one of his male cubs do some man shenanigans…the little ones act up…someone on social media tries it with me—and I am heading for the kitchen.

Anger increases my appetite like a forest fire, and I consume food like flames old tree logs.  I tend to rationalize the need for my greediness. I tell myself that I “deserve” a treat and it will help me relax.

I tend to look for something sweet first. I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. Sugar is my primary addiction.

Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor- Anger & Food: A Deadly Combination”

#MFRWAuthor -Read-Write-Live: An Author’s Continuum

fantasy-2861107_1920MFRW 52-Week Blog – Reading, Writing or Living?

I haven’t been a writer my entire life. As a matter of fact, I used to H*A*T*E writing—thanks to my terrible penmanship and a list of drill sergeant teachers who just couldn’t get that the chicken scratch in front of them was the best they were going to get out of me.

Once I took my first keyboarding class in high school, I never looked at a pen the same way. I avoided them in favor of the musical clicking that lulls so many of us into sharing our thoughts, ideas, and stories.

Eventually, a real love for writing followed. Now, I can not quite imagine my life without being able to write.

The same goes for books, but unlike writing, I was able to develop a love for reading at an early age. I majored in literature in college, and my master’s thesis focuses on literature.

While in grad school, I started using my literary criticism skills to review books. I also became a contributor to my college’s student newsletter, which extended into a freelance gig with other online media, and I just published (indie, of course, duh) my first novel.

So much of my life is spent reading (entertainment, to my kids, to review, etc.) and writing (articles, short stories, books, and so on) that I can’t imagine compartmentalizing any of the three. I kind of glide along a continuum, where I may be doing one more than the other, but all are still there.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you exhibit A.

 

 

Continue reading “#MFRWAuthor -Read-Write-Live: An Author’s Continuum”

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