Matt's Thoughts

Below you will find some free writing, writing exercises, or just my thoughts. Enjoy!

Update - Story to be Featured on "No Extra Words" Podcast!

April 23, 2017 – 4:02pm

Music for Update – Rock from the 2000s Playlist

Just received some exciting news! I will be a featured author on the "No Extra Words" Podcast! My unpublished story "Uncovered Tracks" is scheduled for release on September 1, 2017.

"No Extra Words" is a podcast dedicated to flash fiction, and features short stories from authors all over the world. The Podcast is created by Kris Baker Dersch.

To learn more about the podcast, visit https://noextrawords.wordpress.com.

James Patterson Master Class – Lesson #3 – Raw Ideas

April 10, 2017 – 9:30pm

Music for Writing – Foxy Shazam on Spotify Web Player

Forward: I was gifted the James Paterson Master Class on Writing for my birthday by my beautiful wife. I will be using this section of my website to update on my progress, give my thoughts, and post my assignments where possible. If you have any feedback, questions, or comments you can reach me at mattpage@frontpageinc.net.

Moving on to Lesson Three – Raw Ideas. The gist of this lesson is that aspiring writers need to be consistently studying the physical, artistic, and theoretical world around them in order to build a foundation of ideas on which to foster narratives. From what I can only assume is an old rocking chair, JP talks about how young people only know about movies, video games, and beer, and, as such, they don’t have enough information to draw upon when it comes to developing story. In his mind, an author needs much more material for inspiration than the young person’s holy trinity.

His reasoning behind having a broad foundation is that there really are no new ideas. Instead, ideas for successful books (or music, or any type of art for that matter) are found in taking established ideas and using them in new, and unfamiliar settings. He uses the example of Rapping about Chinese Pottery as a demonstration of combining two non-related concepts to create something new. The key though, for Patterson, is knowing enough about each element to create something of substance.

The assignment for this chapter is to come up with three “Raw Ideas” for novels. Oh, and we’re going to be using these in future chapters, so no pressure! A raw idea is described as a sentence or two that is supposed to inspire a reader to ask for more. Seems easy enough until you watch the video where James reviews student submissions and essentially tears them apart, mercilessly. Would have been nice if he critiqued one that he liked, so that we at least had one good example to review! Oh well, lesson number one in becoming an author is dealing with rejection, so he’s definitely helping with that! Bonus is that you know he’s honest.

Alright, time for the assignment. I would be happy to hear if you think any of these inspire you to ask for more.

Assignment – Three Raw Ideas

#1 - Three assassins with otherworldly powers are hired by The Corporation to combat mythological creatures that are terrorizing major cities. It will soon become apparent that The Corporation is involved in the spread of these creatures and, hanging in the balance, is a child known as the Conjuror.

#2 - A young genius moves to a new school and opens up Curtis Cluesleuth’s Super Detective Agency under a large oak tree during recesses. His cases, brought to him by students and faculty, take him on amazing adventures in mystery solving, with the presence of a formidable fiend, Master M, always looming. (Okay, kind of cheating but it is building off of a short story I’ve written, so I’m counting it)

#3 – Cyborgs, or Humanity Perfected, have the last woman imprisoned awaiting her public death, which will finally rid the world of the imperfection that is man. What is meant to be a celebration is threatened as the woman, using art and literature, inspires her guard, a robot, to join the Robotic Rebellion, which aims to bring down the Golden Age of Humanity Perfected.

TAGS: James Patterson, Master Class, Writing, Assignment, Review, Fiction, Short Story, Ottawa

James Patterson Master Class – Lesson #2 – Passion and Habit

April 6, 2017 – 8:30pm

Music for Writing – Eminem on Spotify Web Player

Forward: I was gifted the James Patterson Master Class on Writing for my birthday by my beautiful wife. I will be using this section of my website to update on my progress, give my thoughts, and post my assignments when possible. If you have any feedback, questions, or comments you can reach me at mattpage@frontpageinc.net.

An interesting start to the class to say the least. James’ passion for writing is made very apparent from the first word, and it sounds like he possesses a drive that would be near impossible to replicate. Perhaps I’m one of those he mentions that likes writing rather than loves it? I guess we will soon find out!

This lesson is more of a second intro rather than an actual lesson on writing. The biggest message I pulled from the ten or so minutes of lecturing was that writer’s need to be disciplined and, in being disciplined, that writing will become more of a ritual of passion than a forced activity. You can’t give yourself the option not to write. It has to be something that you do, every day.

It was encouraging to learn that James wasn’t an immediate success. His first novel was turned down by over thirty publishers before being picked up and eventually winning an award. He also talked about a number of his short stories being rejected; it’s nice to know that even such prolific authors have had to take their lumps on the path to success in writing.

In order to give being a fiction novelist a go it looks like I’m going to have to jump in feet first! Our first assignment is to write 500 words everyday within a set schedule. Of course picking a set schedule is difficult with day-to-day responsibilities but if I’m going to make a real run at this, then scheduled writing will need to be a priority. Luckily for you, you’ll be able to see how well I do, since I plan on posting all of this here, in case that was something that interested you.

Alright, I need to hit at least 500 words and I’m a little over 100 away from that right now, so how about a quick story?

Eggs in One Basket

Pascal’s basket has only six plastic eggs in it. His older brother, J.P., is having a hard time keeping his basket from overflowing. Everything about being a little brother is exaggerated at Easter. Pascal’s arms are just that much shorter, on his tip-toes he can’t match J.P.’s height, and he’s always one step behind on the hunt.

It is the same story every year. Thirty plastic eggs stuffed full of candy hidden all over the house; J.P. capturing the vast majority of them.

“Pascal,” J.P. shouts while frantically tossing the couch cushion aside, “how many do you have?”

“Six,” Pascal replies.

“Ha! I have twenty-three; there is only one left!” J.P. exclaims, as he pokes his head in the fireplace. “Bet you all your eggs I find it!”

Pascal’s immediate reaction is to say no. Six eggs is his best haul of any year – he is pretty happy with himself and doesn’t want to risk it – but then he sees it. The egg is Easter bunny pink; it’s baby-girl pink; it’s rosy cheeks pink. It’s beautiful.

“You’re on,” Pascal hears himself say.

J.P. halts his search, surprised, and turns to Pascal with a bewildered look on his face. It lasts only a moment, and then he follows Pascal’s gaze and sees what Pascal sees. The prize is wedged in the branches of their mother’s money-tree. The leaves obscured it for most of the hunt but now that it has been found it couldn’t be more obvious.

The two boys look at one another, eyes wide and hearts pounding. The race is on.

TAGS: James Patterson, Master Class, Writing, Assignment, Review, Fiction, Short Story, Ottawa