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Thunder

It is Thunder’s Birthday! He is two and for a fun blog, I wrote a poem about him when he was a puppy, enjoy then and enjoy the photo of him now! Have a happy Friday!

Thunder

this beautiful nightmare

came covered in all black,

his tawny colored eyes with

a storm of understanding

in world i hadn’t known yet

but he is more patient than i

to teach my nerves

tightly wound in my body

to stay steady in front of the herd

to overcome the obstacle

of oneself in life

not too fast

not too slow

be formidable while awake

the shadow of an avalanche

facing a daunting challenge

set by his steady gaze

his steady heart

his never-ending loyalty to waiver

telling me when i sleep

don’t’ be discouraged by my

lack of forgiveness

one day soon

one step near

one breath closer

i will become the best friend

you need me to be

Amber’s Top Ten List of Authors, Books, and Quotes

1. Garth Nix, he is my favorite author because of world building. 

The Series he has written (other novels not included):

  • The Old Kingdom which includes five books. This series of his is my particular favorite.
  • The Seventh Tower which includes six books. 
  • The Keys to the Kingdom which includes seven books.
  • Very Clever Baby which includes four books.
  • Troubletwisters which also includes four books. 

There is a very big difference between writing for children and writing for young adults. The first thing I would say is that ‘Young Adult’ does not mean ‘Older Children’, it really does mean young but adult, and the category should be seen as a subset of adult literature, not of children’s books.

Garth Nix

2. H.G. Wells, he is a great author because of the variety, his world-building, adventures, character building, and structure of his books. 

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • The Time Machine 
  • The War of the Worlds 
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau 
  • The Food of the Gods 
  • The Country of the Blind 
  • The Complete Short Stories 
  • Tales of Space and Time 

Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge.

H.G. Wells

3. J.K. Rowling, her character relationships are something to pay attention to, how she carefully and deblierately weaves every character together is astounding. 

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • The Harry Potter series which has seven books 
  • The Pottermore Series which has three books
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

The thing about fantasy – there are certain things you just don’t do in fantasy.

  J. K. Rowling

4. Stephen King, his suspense is thrilling, King does amazing and unexpected things to keep a reader glued to the story.

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • 11/22/63
  • The Dark Tower Series 
  • Bag of Bones
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  • The Shining Series

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

Stephen King

5. Dean Koontz, he also really good at creating suspense. 

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • Moonlight Bay Series
  • Odd Thomas Series
  • Watchers
  • Intentisty 
  • From the corner of his eye
  • Lightening 

Readers will stay with an author, no matter what the variations in style and genre, as long as they get that sense of story, of character, of empathetic involvement.

Dean Koontz

6. J. R. R. Tolkien, in his writing craft is the craft to write journeys, how to quest your characters into heroes, how to structure your enemies and foes.

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • The Lord of Rings Trilogy 
  • The Hobbit
  • The Fall of Arthur
  • The History of the Middle Earth series 

Fantasy has had some problems with being too repetitive, in my opinion. I try to read what other people are doing – and say, ‘How can I add to this rather than just recycle it? How can I stand on Tolkien’s shoulders rather than stand tied to his kneecaps?

Brandon Sanderson 

7. Anne Rice, has unique characters, pay attention to her character creation. 

Here are some books I recommend:

  • The Vampire Chronicles, 11 books
  • The Mayfair Witches Series, 3 books
  • Black Farm
  • Servant of the Bones

When I write something, every word of it is meant. I can’t say it enough.

Anne Rice

8. Daniel Handler, he sets a great tone and voice of his characters, and even the story. 

Here are some books I recommend:

  • Lemony Snicket
  • Why We Broke Up 
  • The Basic Eight 
  • Adverbs 
  • We Are Pirates

My first novel took almost six years to sell and was rejected 37 times in the interim, and then finally sold for the smallest amount of money my literary agent had ever negotiated for a work of fiction.

Daniel Handler

9. Bram Stoker, how not to do syntax. 

Here some books I recommend:

  • Dracula 
  • Dracula’s Guest, and Other Weird Stories 
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The Graphic Novel 
  • Dracula 2 

There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part.

Bram Stoker

10. Jane Austen, formal writing, her style and form of fitting a story together is something to pay attention to.  

Here are some books I recommend:

  • Pride and Prejudice 
  • Sense and Sensibility 
  • Emma 
  • Mansfield Park

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Jane Austen

S3 Episode 9: Resources

In season three, episode nine of the podcast, Amber and Nicole took over to talk about video games (this is a part two episode, so be sure to check out episode eight before listening to this episode!)

What do you think about this episode? Imagine we are chatting about what video games have inspired your writing while walking in a spring shower (don’t worry–we’ve got umbrellas!) How have video games inspired your writing?

S3 Episode 9: Video Games & Writing (part II)

This episode, Amber and Nicole are taking over again to talk all about video games and writing. They had so much to say about the topic that we divided the episode into two parts, so go back to episode eight to catch part one!

How Do We Find Inspiration?

As writers, that is a really broad and terribly needed topic. I can only tell you how I find inspiration and where you might want to look. I don’t garden, terribly allergic to flowers, but somehow, I have a thing for weeds. Words like “thistle” or “thicket” or “dandelion” or “lichen” come up over and over. These are things that usually are meant to be “tamed” or killed. They are “bad” in comparison to the petunia and the daisy. So, then I find inspiration in what people don’t think of and good or beautiful—perfect. That’s where poetry starts!

Exercise:

Think about five things that you like or (don’t) that people think of as good or bad, ugly or beautiful. For example, my father LOVES his flowers, knows every type of flower, loves a very green lawn. I, however, pray for mushrooms. I love mushroom circles and every time one shows up, his grass loses its pristine and I find true love and magic. So, my word would be mushroom, or maybe a specific mushroom.

Where else to find inspiration? We always say to write the unexpected…nice. How do we find the inspiration for that? Well, today in my class, I wrote about my fast-food restaurant not serving the correct brand of ketchup. How unexpected is that? Going small, molecular, digging in with scientific words, or going to ordinary tasks and putting your turn on it. You have a unique perspective. That means that even if we both write about ketchup, you might have an ode to the organic, or to Hunts, while I try to sway you with my love of Heinz. What about writing about cat litter or how your dog tugs you to the scent of skunk or porridge? Is there something you do that’s weird? Write about it. Do you know someone weird? Change their name, features, (and don’t tell them I told you to do this) write about them. 

Exercise:

Write down three things that are “unexpected.” So, remember it can be about you, the road, your pets, it’s all on the table. Then write a line or sentence and play around and see if you feel it becomes “unexpected.” Example: Kim’s List… 1. has two cats that hate her because she gives them medication. 2. Eats mostly tofu and French fries 3. Unlikely writer (she was told she would never be a writer)

Kim’s line: my tofu cries when I chase down my cats, terrified, I will ink them into paper.

“Big” events tend to bring out words for me. At first, I’m overwhelmed, published for the first time, general angst, someone dying, someone being born—these are all big topics. I also call them “hot”—they are emotionally charged. Sometimes in the beginning these thoughts and inspirations just boil over. Usually, that’s good to create the backbones of poems or prose, but when the topic has cooled—that’s when the inspiration gets juicy. When my grandmother died, I had a hard time writing about what I was feeling. It was abstract—what does morose really mean? It means watching the tv show Scorpion and writing in my journal. Which description shows grief better? Morose or binge watching? 

Exercise:

Find a “hot” topic that has cooled. Can you reflect on it and use it either as ammunition or inspiration? 

Example: Kim bought her grandmother miniature roses and kept them in the nursing home until they needed planted. She did this. And after her grandmother died, she tended these roses, loved these roses, and her father, wanting to tame the garden (he didn’t remember) weed wacked and Kim only had memories left.

What About the Theme?

If you’ve been following along with borrowed solace for a while, you know that we release two journals every year–the unthemed spring journal, and the themed fall journal.

We love our fall journals because they give us as editors, and you, as writers, something different to take into consideration as we put the journal together.

The theme for the fall 2021 journal is “tamed,” but what does that mean?

While I always think our themes are best left open to interpretation, that doesn’t mean you can submit a piece for the fall journal that doesn’t relate to the theme at all. What it does mean, though, is that you can be creative. Write about the opposite of the word, or juxtapose a tame character with a feral one. Think about the negatives and positives of being wild verus tamed, and write about how the two also can intertwine.

Think about the things we humans do to tame the wildness out of the world, and out of ourselves. Explore what it means to be untamable–at what point is breaking a wild horse a fruitless cause, and should it ever have been a cause worth putting time and effort towards in the first place? Explain the wildest place you’ve ever stepped foot into and how it made you long for your tamed suburban existence. Explain the opposite–how your humdrum and tamed life inspired you to take a few steps back and re-evaluate.

The possibilities when it comes to our fall 2021 theme, “tamed,” are endless… So get to writing!

S3 Episode 8: Video Games & Writing (part I)

This week, Amber and Nicole are taking over to talk all about video games and writing. They had so much to say about the topic that we are dividing the episode into two parts–this week is a shorter introduction, and next week they will get into the details of which videogames inspire them to write.

Welcome to Issue 4.1

Happy last day of April 2021!

Today we are releasing our Spring 2021 journal. These stories and poems are sprinkled with a little bit of humor, a little bit of reality, a little bit of horror, a little bit of color added to the mundane, and so much more!

Take a moment of borrowed solace in this crazy time to sit down and read the delightfully creative fiction and poetry, and the relatable nonfiction that will pull at the heartstrings and your sense of wonder.

If you like what you see and read, don’t hesitate to submit to our next themed journal coming this fall. Addey has picked our theme. She chose “tamed.” We’re looking for nonfiction, fiction, poetry and art that encompasses how to make one or something less powerful; how to control, to master the will, to cultivate an imagination full of wildness. As always, we love unconventional interpretations of our themes–so bring on your creativity! We cannot wait to see what you have in store. Submissions will open tomorrow, May 1, 2021.

We will also be releasing dates soon for a contest that will entail our very first journal ever! We have it in print and it will be available to buy this summer. We will be giving away a few books to those who win the contest! Also, we are now venturing into the special edition of borrowed solace, we picked out the best of what we have published so far and will be turning those craft-filled pages into a book filled with interviews and craft essays from the authors and poets. Stay tuned for more on that too!

How to Make Your Writing Dynamic

Dynamic is a big promise! Luckily, it is easy enough to undertake—most writers just need a few examples and a bit of explanation and BAM! It comes down to three major categories: images and imagination, word choice (diction), and placement.

Images and Imagination

You are looking at a tree. What do you associate with it? Green, brown, tall—what if you kept that associative process but got closer—magnifying your images. Rough? The bark would be rough, leaves could be silky—that could create all sorts of possibilities. Silk like linen, clothes, nature could clothe you—maybe? If you follow associations, your mind will lead you down mysterious and wonderous paths. Just daydreaming and free associating can create fresh images. Everyone thinks and daydreams differently, so those associations and descriptions will be vastly different for every writer. THIS is terrific news! It boggles the mind that just from daydreaming words become captivating and paragraphs and lines no longer feel “stale” or “cliché.”

Exercise: Look at something you see every day. Describe it differently this time. That tree is tall and green, but looms like a giant about to enfold you in its arms… etc. Look at the minuscule that is overlooked or the magnitude that gets lost in the everyday. Let your mind just go. Remember in writing, there are no wrong answers, just unwritten ones.

Word Choice (Diction)

Word choice (diction) can create incredible images in any genre. So, diction—now what? What difference does using the word “hazel” instead of “brown” create? It may make your piece sparkle a bit more. But, if the color is not hazel, and it must be brown—how can you get around being flat? I do not like food references and certainly not when describing people. I would say “glistening brown” or “purpling brown” if describing fruit. The other use of diction is using words that are not normally used in that context. So, what if an angry person’s “brow purpled”—that’s not “turned red”—that of course, is a well-used (cliché). 

Kim’s Pro Tip: If you get stuck on finding the “right” word or the “perfect” word—know that there isn’t one. There are just multiple choices for the right word. You can open a physical thesaurus or an online version—they are more exact. But if you want to free-associate and find a “different” word—then go into your document, choose the thesaurus function—and DON’T use those words on the list. Is there one that might work? Hit on it. There are most likely five different branches of what the word could mean as well as the words associated with it. Maybe you will find your “perfect” word here, maybe you won’t. Hit on another—maybe one that is not as similar to your original word that you typed in. I find that it is in this place—maybe five or six clicks through that I find the “perfect” word for the “right now”—because revision might strip the line out completely. Poetry is not permanent, which means you can play with words as many times as you need to.

Exercise:

Write down five words you use a lot. Then, try to find synonyms or substitutes that pop! Remember you can dig for words using Kim’s Pro Tip.

Placement

Placement means everything in a poem. Having a “hard” word (one that has a harsh or biting sound) hit in a soft place draws attention and its opposite does as well. The same technique works in prose. When you read your work, you can hear how some words “flow smoothly” and others might be “jagged” or “rugged.” The key reason is placement. Think about setting a table. It might not matter which side silverware is on, but what if the fork is placed on top of the bowl—would you notice? The same is true of writing. 

Kim fell into darkness spiraling awake.

Well, that might be true—but is “awake” in the right place?

Kim fell into darkness falling awake. Better—a bit speculative if you like that.

Awake, Kim fell into darkness, spiraling. Doesn’t that sound different? 

Each one can be argued to have a different connotation—but we are going on sound.

Exercise:

Take a line or a sentence that has been bothering you. Rearrange the words. Play with them. Keep the necessary ones and see if you can make the sound smooth.