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Jenny Booker: The Climb

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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January 2019 Prompt


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

The Climb

By Jenny Booker

The chill of the air and only the sound of the breeze surrounded him—he felt like he was the only person in the world.

Just a little bit farther, he thought, looking out to the view of vast clouds below.

The high altitude, they warned him, could make the trip very hard. Some adventurous people who also traveled up with him had to turn around at the camp ending their dreams—but not him, and he was determined since the day he booked the flight a year ago. She made him promise he would, and he couldn’t turn back that promise—and he was so close to the summit. Taking the necklace out of the warmth of the jacket, he opened it and turned around to also take in the extraordinary view.

After what seemed like hours, the guide called out to notify him of the final climb, and he noticed the sky had darkened once more.

“Let’s do this Polly,” he whispered.

Making sure he had all his gear from the tent, he nervously proceeded to follow the guide, knowing that this was the last push but also the most dangerous. The last of the group were two other men and a lady—he got to know a bit about them at base camp drinking some tea in the lady’s tent to try and warm up from the cold.

The lady shared the same dream and the other two men had climbed mountains before. Apparently one of them was a blogger but had to leave his laptop at base, which wasn’t a happy sight to see before starting the climb.

The breeze now turned into something like a gale as they said goodbye to the last of the camps and the safety. His cheeks were burning and his legs started to really ache after all the walking. He was near the front and could see the others were also struggling as their axes tried to cut through the ice. The light on his helmet flickered, warning him of the impending danger.

Not sure how much longer he could last, he turned the corner, and then the gale started to calm.  A long way in front was a big flag—guessing a half-hour walk.

The sunrise finally welcomed them to the destination that some never made, as he noted on the route. But he made it. Overjoyed, he knelt down and a wave of tears started to clog his goggles. A hand patted his shoulder—turning to look and find one of the group or the guide—it was Polly.

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Please visit Jenny’s blog and like and follow her! https://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

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Susan Staneslow Olesen: a Memory of Blue

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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January 2019 Prompt


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

A Memory of Blue

By Susan Staneslow Olesen

 

Cold bit into Loro’s face. He knew the cold would be brutal, but up here, with nothing to hide behind, the wind drove the cold through every stitch-hole in his clothing. His helmet kept his head warm, his goggles kept his eyes from drying out and his eyelids from freezing, but one still needed to breathe. Uphill, uphill, uphill, step, step, step, nothing on his mind but moving forward and upward. He wore liners under his wool socks, and his boots were rated to fifty below zero, but his hands could have been warmer.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. The snow up here was too cold to crunch, the granules so small and packed so close together that they slid past each other like buckshot instead of compacting under his weight. Up the hill, up the hill, up the hill. He had exactly six hours to complete his task; summer was short enough, but clear days were rare even in summer, and few people dared to wander far.

Loro was in his forties by now; it was hard to keep count, let alone remember. Time had lost a lot of its meaning, but he could remember the clear sunny days as a boy, the heat of the sun, the glory of running outside half naked, the smell of fresh-cut grass and the sizzle of rain on hot pavement. His children didn’t believe him, accused him of pretending he lived in a storybook.

Maybe he had.

Three thousand feet up now. Loro puffed his breath out with each footfall. His face covering was damp from the moisture; the moisture froze and chafed his face. Nothing to be done about it. The clouds had thinned to haze, the haze unworldly bright, frosted glass against the sky. Four thousand. Four thousand was the magic number. At four thousand feet, breathless from altitude, the city below would be visible. It was said to be a sight to behold. Perhaps a hundred people would try each summer; perhaps twelve might make it to the top of Mount Covasc, bringing back photos and tales of the bluest skies and clearest air imaginable. Photos would be blown up, placed over ceilings in public places and lit from behind, recreating the hidden miracle. Postcards would be printed with large arrows pointing to the clouds, You Are Here. No one had seen an aerial view of the actual city of Falls Landing in more than thirty years. Satellites had died, and drones died quickly in the cold.

Loro trudged onward. The light hurt his eyes, bolstered his spirit, revived his memories, and made him move faster despite his lungs heaving in the thin air. He’d been eight when the cold came. That summer had been the hottest on record, day after day of scorching heat, even in the valley. If anything, the valley seemed to hold the heat in worse, the mountains blocking the breezes that might disrupt it. Loro suffered sunburn no fewer than three times that summer. In September, the heat faded rapidly, followed by a month of rain that seemed to grow colder by the day. In October, the rain turned to snow, and snow, and more snow. The deep cold came in November, shattering records for the third month in a row. By January the snow was as deep as rooflines, and people were grumpy for not having seen sunlight in so long.

Little did they know.

Spring came on paper. Outside, the valley remained blanketed with clouds. The snows stopped, but the cold never left. The weathermen talked of inversions, of global change, of man-made disasters. The politicians blamed each other, and countries picked fights. Wars were rather fruitless; few countries were used to extreme cold, and invasions proved deadlier to the invaders than the invaded. Food for troops couldn’t be grown on frozen ground. Targeting cities with missiles didn’t work when clouds perpetually obscured satellite imagery, and electronics weren’t built to function in thirty-below-zero temperatures. Most of them failed. Planes couldn’t deploy troops when they couldn’t see to land. Neither could passenger jets, or cargo planes with supplies.

Twenty-six weathermen were murdered in a single year.

Loro’s son Lindan didn’t know what a weatherman was.

Loro’s reverie stopped as his face met with the frozen ground. Keeping up his mechanical pace, he’d stopped paying attention and tripped himself on his own skis. He frisked the front of his jacket frantically. The bump of his camera in his inside pocket, next to the warmth of his chest, was still there. Nothing seemed to shift or rattle, and he prayed it was intact. He didn’t dare take it out. Not yet. He rolled himself to his feet and reset his skis, and reset his attitude. A pole or ski sliding down hill over the ice could be his death.

Loro looked upward. The peak glowed overhead, not much farther, and he set out with fresh energy. Two hundred paces more, and the mists disappeared.

Opaque skies gave way to glaring light, making Loro blink even behind his goggles. Brightness engulfed him from all sides, blinding, yellow, unexpectedly strong. Overhead, clear skies shone in brilliant shades of turquoise and azure and gentian, while thin trails of gray and lavender clouds clawed the horizon.

“YES!” thundered from his lips, cold and unexpected, hanging before him in a ball of frozen breath. “I made it! I made it! I remember this!” Loro shouted, but it was impossible to hear him so far down in the valley. The sun was warm on his face, feeble as a butterfly, but it was real, it existed, brought the memories back. He lifted his goggles, pulled down his face mask, squinting at the brightness, drinking in the sun with every pore before replacing them.

He climbed the last few yards to the top and turned around. Falls Landing was invisible, the valley filled solidly with cottony mist and clouds. Looking at the city was like looking down at the top of a sheep, white and puffy and palpable, a roiling frozen sea. Nothing, in fact, was visible — no hills, no valleys, no towers, no landmarks, no people, just a field of white. From here on the mountain, Loro might have been the last man on Earth, all alone in the wilderness, invisible and as fabled as the sun.

“Hallooooo!” he shouted for the fun of it. “Halloooooo!” The sound carried a short distance, then froze and dissipated. How he wished Lindan could see it, but cold and distance were too risky for children.

Time was short. Loro peeled off his outer layer of gloves and drew his camera from his inside pocket. Twenty panorama shots of the valley below, more of the sky and sun and horizon. A half-dozen of Loro goofing off, taking selfies before the blue skies and sunshine. People spoke of building solar towers on the mountain, but no one had figured out how to do it fast enough to drag the materials up, build it, insulate it, and get it running in under two weeks. Nothing. There was nothing up here, not a tree, not a stump, not a tumbleweed. Anything useful had been removed, and the rest was buried under ice and snow.

Loro went to replace his camera, but his hands, without the heavy outer gloves, had grown cold and stiff. He had trouble working the zipper of his coat, struggling to grasp the oversized tab and pull. Tooth by tooth he worked it down enough to slide his hand in, only to lose his numb grip on the camera. It fell down onto the ice and began to slide.

“No! No! Stop!” Loro launched himself after it, skidding to a clumsy stop so that the camera slid to a gentle rest perpendicular to his ski. He bent down, but his fingers wouldn’t cooperate. Twice he got it off the snow, only to have it fall again. Again it slid farther down the mountain, and again he was able to stop it with his ski. At last he seized the camera using both hands and dropped it loose inside his coat. The elastic drawstring around his waist would keep it from falling out. Using the heels of his hands, he pinched the fabric of his coat to hold it, then drew the zipper up with his teeth.

Loro pushed his panic downward. Panic was dangerous. Panic killed. But time was now short, and he knew his hands were far colder than they should be. His hands were chilling the rest of him. His outer gloves — bulky, heavy, highly insulated — hung from their clasps attached to his sleeves, and still he needed ten minutes to pull them on using his teeth and his wrists. Insulated, yes, but meant to keep heat in, not create it. Instead, they would keep them nicely cold, just like a freezer blanket.

He couldn’t feel the poles in his hands. The straps around his wrists kept him from losing them, but his hands had no grip, and they slipped out of his grasp every time he used them. Without the poles, he didn’t dare build up too much speed down the mountain. Slow was the last thing he wanted to be.

By the time he was halfway down the mountain, the cold had worked its way inside him, and he began to shiver.

They shone the massive spotlights onto the main street, a beacon to anyone lost, a blinding beam for spotting anyone approaching the town. In such cold, search crews went out only if a child was missing. An hour past sunset, Loro shuffled slowly into sight, his skis moving scant inches with each effort. The front of his goggles and face mask and coat were heavy with breath-frost. Starnas and Kembel rushed out and grabbed him five hundred feet from the cleared entrance to the city. They held him by his frozen elbows and slid him through the gateway on his skis, the great snow-doors closing behind them to help keep out wind and drifts. His stiff body was carefully tipped onto a stretcher mounted on a Snowcrawler. They removed his skis, but left the poles in his icy clenched hands as they rushed him to the medical building, half a mile away.

Loro made a noise as Kembel layered warm blankets over him. “Camera,” came the faint groan. “Cooooat.”

“Your camera? It’s in your coat? Don’t worry. I’ll make sure they don’t hurt it.” It was the last thing Loro remembered for more than a week.

When he woke in the hospital, Loro’s face was still swollen. The skin was badly peeled and shiny with ointments, but he wouldn’t lose his nose or lips or eyelids. His toes hurt, but he could feel them wiggling against the sheets.

“My camera?” Loro’s throat was dry, and the words came out as a croak, weaker than he felt. “Photos?”

His wife Milla sat next to the bed. She smiled at him. “The whole town is talking about them. They’re the most beautiful photos anyone has ever seen, and the town council has promised to buy every one of them. The sky, the colors — people can’t believe it’s real. No one has ever gotten a sunset before. No one was ever crazy enough to be out that late.”

Loro’s hands were bandaged and resting on pillows before him.

His hands.

They hurt. Not just the painful fire of recovering frostbite, but the deeper pain of healing wounds.

“Shhh.” Milla dabbed ointment on his lips. “Let them rest. You lost four fingers to frostbite, and parts of two more. The doctor said you’ll be able to eat, and probably dress yourself, but you’ll probably never hold the camera again.”

Loro closed his eyes, his insides as cold and frozen as he’d felt at the base of the mountain. He lay back on the pillows, and let the memories of the blue, blue sky consume him.

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Please visit and like Susan’s Facebook author page! https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Olesen-Author-Page-200715809947435/

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

D.L. Tillery: Lost in the Clouds

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Lost in the Clouds

                      By D.L. Tillery

As life leaves me bare I seek the clouds of
                        despair.
If freedom was my mother I would suffer, I would feel the warmth of her bosom even in the coldness of her stare…Yet is it fear
               that’s put me there?
Here I climb to the peak, am I lost or am I
                           free?
        When I listen I hear you speak.
           ‘I am you and you are me.’
Yet here above it all, it’s not you but the
                 cold that frees me.  

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Please visit D. L.’s blog and follow her! https://authordltillery.wixsite.com/authorsite

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Calliope Njo – Snow Angel

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

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Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Snow Angel


By Calliope Njo


I noticed her from a distance. I knew it would take a few seconds to reach her. I swooshed down the hill, came to a stop and looked around where she paused. A snow angel would be the sole remnants under that towering tree.


My old instructor would tell me to get my head out of the clouds and onto the slopes where it belonged. Funny thing though, my mind has always been on the slopes because that’s where she showed herself ever since that first day.


I climbed up all the way to the cabin I had been staying at. Cozy and rustic little place but it suited me. What I needed. Maybe if I asked that old man he could tell me more.


I couldn’t sleep and spent the night staring up at the ceiling. Her blonde hair swirled in the wind. Her icy blue eyes crinkled at the edges. Ah hell, nothing got accomplished lying down.


I grabbed a lantern by the door and held it up when I stepped outside. I didn’t expect to see anything, but a strange blue light floated in my direction. I waited there and somewhat hoped that light would disappear.


The blue light transformed into the mysterious woman. She stayed at a distance and smiled in my direction. Not sure what that slight tilt of her head meant but I waved her in. She backed up and with a gust of wind, disappeared.


I ran out to try to find any hint but no luck. I walked back to the cabin and closed the door behind me. I leaned against it and feared I lost my mind.

I settled down on my cot and didn’t expect to fall asleep but I must have. The next thing I knew the sun shone through the window.


Phoenix Constatine, the gay skier. Phoenix Constatine, a new patient in the mental ward. I laughed. It didn’t stop. I needed to talk to that old man.

A note on his door read that he had to go to the village to get more supplies and would return in two days. So much for that plan, because I won’t be here.


I spent the day skiing the mountain and no luck. She blew away someplace that couldn’t be found. Maybe I dreamed up the whole thing because of stress and exhaustion.


I had to return home to Colorado. As much as I wanted to stay I couldn’t. Maybe next time I would be able to find that magical spirit. I packed my stuff and put it by the door.


That night something whispered my name. I opened the door and she stood right in front of me. She reached out her hand. Curiosity got the best of me and I took it. So frosty, not warm like I expected.


She took me to a high mountain, a place above the clouds. Too beautiful to not look or wonder what lies below. I hated the thought, but I had to leave to get back home.

She shook her head. “You are home. Where you belong.”

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Please visit Calliopie’s blogspot and follow her! https://januaryedition.blogspot.com/2019/01/extra-extra-read-all-about-it.html

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Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Lynn Miclea: Eyes of Love

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

January 2019 Write the Story Prompt


Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)


Jared stood at the peak, mesmerized by the majestic scene before him. His body trembled as he took in the layer of clouds that expanded out. Standing on the top of the mountain, his stomach flipped. He hadn’t been sure he could do this, but here he was. It was hard to breathe, and he wasn’t sure if that was from the altitude or the extraordinary wonder before him. The incredible expanse of puffy clouds filled him with an unspeakable sense of awe. He felt close to God here, as though he could touch infinity.

He took a deep breath, and his chest ached. A headache started building, and his muscles felt weak. It was time to return to the camp near the base of the mountain. He hoped his muscles would stay strong and not let him down. If he fell or got injured here, he could easily die. His teeth chattered with the cold. He had to leave before it would be too late — he needed to get back before dark.

And he knew real courage would then be needed — even more than what was needed to reach this mountain top. Before he left, his eyes scanned the magnificent view, savoring the image, and recording every detail to memory. But the longing in his soul reminded him that connections of the heart were even more powerful than physical strength or mountain top views, and he could not get back to camp soon enough.

A deep urgency filled him, and Jared suddenly felt empty and alone. The most wondrous sights of the world could not compare to what he felt for the love of his life. He did not want to lose her. And he intended to spend the rest of his life helping Angela achieve all her dreams. He would be there for her no matter what.

Tears burned his eyes. Angela was blind, and he would describe to her in detail everything he saw and felt as he stood here on this peak. And he would let her know that what he saw in her was even more beautiful than what he saw and felt at the top of the mountain.

Tonight he would ask Angela to marry him.

He turned and started down the slope.

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Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.

Please also see this story and like it on Lynn’s blog at https://wp.me/p4htbd-nJ

Kelli J. Gavin: The Last Picture I Will Take

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

January 2019 Write the Story Prompt


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)
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The Last Picture I Will Take

By: Kelli J Gavin

I stand here looking out over the blinding white snow, the white clouds, the white peaks.  Some say it is beautiful. I think the stark landscape and the silence is deafening.

I never wanted to be a landscape photographer. I had lofty dreams of becoming a criminal prosecution lawyer.  I lasted two years into college and realized I couldn’t do it. Too much paperwork, not enough courtroom exposure. Not what I thought it would be. Who am I kidding?  I was horrible at it. I hated the work, I hated being told what to do and that I was always doing it wrong. I was told I had an attitude problem and that I would never amount to anything.  I no longer desired to be a criminal prosecution lawyer, but I never really told anyone what happened. I never admitted to a personal failure. I told my family and close friends that it wasn’t what I thought it would be and it didn’t work out.  A few skeptical eyes lingered on me for longer than necessary. Everyone kept telling me that I would figure it out. That I would find something to do with my life.

If I was honest with myself, I didn’t really want to do anything else.  I didn’t possess talent of any kind. I didn’t want to work when I really reflect back on that time.  I enjoyed taking pictures, but only as a hobby. One of my pictures caught the eye of an author friend of mine who asked for permission to use it on the cover of her book. I said yes of course, for a small fee and for a photo credit on the inside book jacket cover. Apparently, my friend is an amazing author. Her book sold over 500,000 copies in the first 3 months.  I said yes that she could use the picture because it was an easy $500. The offers came rolling in. Some for portraits, some for landscapes. I guess I had a bit of talent. I loved lighting, natural sunlight and discovered the natural beauty that is all around us. The commission contracts were fantastic and I was able to quit my part-time job within the first three months.

A wilderness and adventure magazine contacted me after they saw my pictures of Central Park. I enjoyed taking pictures of nature in settings you wouldn’t suspect.  The film turned out great. It appeared as if I was deep in the forest, when I was dealing with angry joggers and bikers who were competing for space at my heals on the walkway. I signed a two-year contract with the magazine.  Not only did it enable me to travel and to research and request some of my own destinations, everything was paid for. I traveled about three weeks out of every month. And occasionally came home so that my friends knew that I was still in the land of the living.

I have now been taking pictures for 12 years and turn down additional business daily.  I am 34 years old, have more money than I will ever need and have traveled the entire globe.  I am lonely, wish for someone to keep me company and have always wanted children. How did a job that most dream of turn into a distraction from real life? Apparently, women don’t enjoy dating men who travel constantly.  I dated casually each time I head home to New York, but my lack of communication while traveling, never encouraged women to stay around for very long. I find myself contemplating what bachelorhood for life would look like.  It doesn’t look very exhilarating to me. It looks like more lonely nights and an eternal empty bed.

This is my last assignment.  Quite possibly the last picture I will take. I am not filled with regret or even any emotion over this fact.  I was never meant to be a photographer in first place. You do what brings you a little happiness and hopefully make some money along the way.  So long white snow. So long white clouds. Goodbye silence. New York is calling my name. Home is calling to me. The desire for a life well lived is shouting at me now.

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This story and other works by Kelli J. Gavin can be found on her blog at https://kellijgavin.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-last-picture-i-will-take.html/

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Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Barbra Badger: Simon

Welcome to Write the Story! Each month Writers Unite! will offer a writing prompt for writers to create a story from and share with everyone. WU! wants to help our members and followers to generate more traffic to their platforms. Please check out the authors’ blogs, websites, Facebook pages and show them support. We would love to hear your thoughts about the stories and appreciate your support!

January 2019 Write the Story Prompt


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Simon

By Barbra Badger

Simon was the only object in sight for miles that wasn’t totally snow white. Every tree, parcel of land, or even the rabbit that crossed his path ahead was sparkling, stark white. He looked up at the sky with a few innocent fluffy clouds and smiled to himself as he swooshed along. Feeling self-satisfied that he had remembered to wear his snow glasses to keep snow blindness at bay, he kept moving cross-country in a rhythmic pace. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, he could let his mind wander. Then he began to notice a slight angle to the ground, just barely causing him to strain. His ankles bent slightly, and he had to push harder, then harder. His breath came with more difficulty. He stopped to look around. The trail he made was perfectly straight. Shook his head and went on. The subtlety of increase of effort hooked his competitive spirit, and he took the challenge. Soon he was grunting and groaning to put one ski ahead of the other and leaning forward so far he could only see his feet. When the ground leveled out, and his efforts eased, he stood straight up, and before his eyes lay an ocean of cloud. From his feet to the horizon clouds danced gently across the expanse. Thinking he had reached heaven, he stood in reverence, filled with overwhelming gratitude.

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This story and other works by Barbra Badger can be found on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/writingbybarb/

Write the Story: January 2019 Collection

Write The Story

One of the most difficult challenges for writers is how to grow followers on our platforms. We are told by the “writing experts” that we must have a strong following to be successful.  And you know what, they are correct.

Writers Unite! wants to help you gain followers by broadening the reach that you have as an author.  We are creating a monthly “Write the Story” prompt designed to be shared by not only on your blog but across Writers Unite!’s platforms as well. Those of you with good followings now will hopefully find followers you didn’t have before and will be helping your less-experienced writer friends.

Here’s the plan:

You write a story of 3000 words or less (doesn’t matter, can be 50 words or a poem) and post it on the author site that you want to promote. Please edit these stories. We will do minor editing but if the story is not well-written WU! reserves the right to reject publishing it.

Send the story and link to the site via FB Messenger to Deborah Ratliff, or email at daratliff07@gmail.com. Include Write the Story on the first line of the message or as the subject of the email.

WU! will post your story on our blog and share across our platforms, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. WU! will also add the story to the Write the Story page on our blog where it will be available to read along with the other stories.

We do ask that you share the link to the WU! Write the Story page so that your followers can also read the works of your fellow writers.

The idea is to generate increased traffic for all. May take some time but it will happen if you participate. The other perk of this exercise is that you will also have a blog publishing credit for your work.

So… the January prompt is below… write the story!

DO NOT post your story to this prompt, The idea is to have your STORY or poem published on your site, the WU! blog and shared to gain followers for your writing. We will not accept a one or two line caption. For the most part, we are fiction writers and poets…. please write a story or poem, not a caption.

If you have any questions regarding this, you may ask the question in the comments.

Thank you.

Writing Prompt for January 2019


(Please note: the images we will use as prompts are free-use images and do not require attribution.)

Me? Market My Book? Part Two:  Prepare for Launch

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Part Two:  Prepare for Launch

 It is never too early to prepare to publish your book. When your muse taps you on the shoulder and suggests that it is time to write, you should begin to create the tools that you need to market yourself and your writing.

Publishers and agents prefer to deal with an author who has a strong presence on the web or other marketing venues. If you are planning on self-publishing, those marketing outlets will be crucial to connecting with buyers for your book.

In this era of social media, there are numerous avenues open to make vital connections to potential readers. Novice writers are often unknown entities within the literary world. Unless you have acquired a public persona in a career field or some other endeavor, your social media reach may only be your family and immediate friends. You need more.

In this article we will discuss those pathways in general, addressing each of these social media platforms in greater detail in later articles.

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Blog/Website

Having a blog or website is akin to having a home address on the internet. This is where you, your thoughts, your work, and links to your sales platform and media appearances reside. Blogs at one time were highly necessary in the competitive world of traditional publishing. Agents and publishers only took blogs with a high number of followers seriously. Years ago I read a statement by an agent who declared unless an author had a minimum of 10,000 followers, she didn’t bother with reading their submission. The opening of self-publishing has reduced that need, and while a following is still essential for all authors to be successful, a huge following is not as critical.

This is the internet presence you should start as soon as you consider writing. It takes quite a while to build followers as well as establish your presence on the web.

Facebook

Well, it is Facebook. Love it or hate it, this social platform is imperative to establishing yourself as a writer. Not necessarily for your credibility, and it can help there, but for name recognition.

The largest social media group in the world, Facebook gives you a global presence. You should as an author establish an author page, join not only writing groups but in some cases, depending on the genre you write in, there are pages/groups for the readers of that genre, and post—often.

While not every post is going to be read by everyone, Facebook can be a valuable tool for a writer. The key is to be active.

Twitter

Twitter is unique.  You can follow anyone or any group you choose at will, and they may or may not follow you back. With the incredible number of accounts on Twitter, finding like-minded Tweeters is not difficult. Twitter recommends accounts with similar interest.

The key here is Tweet, Tweet, Tweet. It is how you gain followers and retweets, which increases your exposure. Not sure what to tweet about, tweet about everything related to your writing or interest in writing and reading. Tweet out links to your blog posts, short excerpts from your work, where your next book signing is, something about your favorite author.

Instagram

This social networking app (owned by Facebook) allows you to post images and videos from a smartphone. Gaining in popularity by the second, many ‘experts’ think Instagram is overtaking Twitter. It is indeed quicker to send a photo or video, but it can also be used to post quotes from your writing. If you have access to programs such as Gimp or Photoshop or can add simple text to an image, you can display an image and promote your work.  The key to Instagram is to be repetitive and, as with Twitter, post, post, post.

Tumblr

Tumblr remains a bit of an enigma. There are conflicting opinions of this site, but those who love it, love it a lot. The site is a bit like Facebook and a personal blog in that you can post links to articles, images, videos, gifs, and quotes, etc. It offers you a simpler version of a blog site.

YouTube

That YouTube is popular is a given. I doubt a day goes by without any of us viewing at least one video on YouTube. There is a growing sense that the video medium will soon be the most valuable outlet for promotion.  Having your own YouTube channel allows you to post book trailers, which are now becoming a favorite promotional tool, read quotes from your novels either using video or audio only and, as we discussed, drive traffic to your main platform, your website/blog.

Google+

Google+ is a Facebook-style social community. There are pros and cons to this site due to the forced interaction it requires for all of the Google platforms. However, there are some excellent writing groups there, but while it has many users, it is not utilized as much by the members. That said, Google is trying to improve the site and if you have a blog, posting your blog posts, etc. into a Google+ community can be accomplished with a click of the mouse.

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These social media sites can be used to promote your brand from the moment you begin to write. After publication, the work you have done to put these tools into place will be invaluable to you. The consensus is that it is never too early to begin to present yourself to your reader.

We will be addressing these platforms in greater depth and other avenues available to you to promote your writing in future articles. In the meantime, start setting up those profiles and keep writing!

 

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Words of Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury was an American fantasy and horror author who rejected being categorized as a science fiction author, claiming that his work was based on the fantastical and unreal. His best-known novel is Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian study of future American society in which critical thought is outlawed. He is also remembered for several other popular works, including The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury won the Pulitzer in 2004, and is one of the most celebrated authors of the 21st century. He died in Los Angeles on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91.

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Resources:

https://www.biography.com/people/ray-bradbury-9223240