Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year! Let’s start 2021 with a freebie.

We have the first scene in the novella The Lion’s Den, set in London after the Great War. It’s from M.A. Lee, which means it’s a mystery!

Here’s the Teaser:

Jack Portman had never forgotten Filly Malvaise. Then she walked into his local pub and into the clutches of a loan shark. Can he rescue her before she falls victim to evil?

Listen to the excerpt on Podbean or YouTube. It’s less than 15 minutes.

The Lion’s Den is connected by a single thread to the Into Death series, which features the artist Isabella Newcombe. Jack and Filly first appeared in the mystery Christmas with Death.

Click here if you’re curious about the first Into Death book, Digging into Death.  (It’s a trailer!) Purchase it here.

If you enjoy this excerpt, write to winkbooks@aol.com to receive a free copy of The Lion’s Den and to subscribe to our newsletter. We won’t bombard you with emails, promise, just quick monthly announcements of what’s new and what’s relevant in the Writers Ink world, composed to M.A. Lee, Edie Roones, and Remi Black.

Visit writersinkbooks.com to find more works by these three writers.

PROMO

At the first of the year–and the end of the year–M.A. Lee always promotes the Think/Pro Planner for Writers. The planner offers daily incentives to track word counts and a project’s progression, with monthly and yearly reviews and previews to keep us advancing toward our publication goals.

Purchase here.

 

Resolutions

For poetry lovers, we have a blog series called Poetry Lessons, guest-hosted by M.A. Lee.  Visit our page on the 5ths (day 5, 15, and 25) to see which poem has inspired a lesson in thinking and writing. We’ll intersperse news about titles from Writers Ink as necessary.

Our first lesson is Don Marquis’ “Lesson of the Moth”.

The New Year:  a time of reflection, of re-charging, of resolving.

Whenever we analyze our lives, we consider our dreams and strive to turn those dreams into goals.

On my wall I have these Resolutions: “Dream.  Believe.  Do.”

What are Your Resolutions?

In “Lesson of the Moth,” the philosophizing bug archy also considers dreams.  As a bug, archy can’t use the shift key to create capital letters, and he ignores punctuation.  Read on to see what archy learned from another bug.

The Lesson of the Moth

i was talking to a moth

the other evening

he was trying to break into

an electric light bulb

and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows

pull this stunt i asked him

because it is the conventional

thing for moths or why

if that had been an uncovered

candle instead of an electric

light bulb you would

now be a small unsightly cinder

have you no sense

plenty of it he answered

but at times we get tired

of using it

we get bored with the routine

and crave beauty

and excitement

fire is beautiful

and we know that if we get

too close it will kill us

but what does that matter

it is better to be happy

for a moment

and be burned up with beauty

than to live a long time

and be bored all the while

so we wad all our life up

into one little roll

then we shoot the roll

that is what life is for

it is better to be a part of beauty

for one instant and then cease to

exist than to exist forever

and never be a part of beauty

our attitude toward life

is come easy go easy

we are like human beings

used to be before they became

too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him

out of his philosophy

he went and immolated himself

on a patent cigar lighter

i do not agree with him

myself i would rather have

half the happiness and twice

the longevity

but at the same time i wish

there was something i wanted

as badly as he wanted to fry himself

                                              archy

Don Marquis’ Resolutions with Free Verse

The structure of this poem helps to emphasize Marquis’ words.  And I’m not talking about his gimmick with archy.  Sometimes writers resort to gimmicks to get their ideas to the public, and Marquis certainly caught the public’s attention with his buggy archy and unusual capitalization and punctuation, much as e.e. cummings did.

What structure am I talking about?

The beauty of free verse is how lines can be manipulated to focus on certain words.

In stanza 2, the anaphora for “and crave beauty / and excitement” helps emphasize the moth’s desire.

Touches of alliteration throughout keep us focused on that desire: “close / kill”, “be / burned / beauty”, “live / long” and “be / bored” and “better / beauty”.

The reversed anastrophe “come easy go easy” reinforces the moth’s backward thinking:  he doesn’t think like humans do now but as humans “used to”.

Contrasting “half the happiness and twice / the longevity” through the math of the line returns us to the logical human way of looking at things.

Yet look at the last stanza, specifically the two lines that end with “i wish / i wanted”.  Here is archy’s own desire, cast at the end of the line.

“Lesson of the Moth” looks simple, but it is carefully crafted.

Play with anaphoras, alliteration, and anastrophes as you write both free verse and pure verse.  Your poems will tighten up structurally as well as begin to focus your ideas.

Having trouble with your poetry? If you swore a resolution to improve your writing style, do check out Discovering Sentence Craft. This handy guidebook covers ideas both figurative and interpretive as well as structures like inversion, opposition, repetition, and sequencing. Find it here:

Start 2021 Right

Start 2020 right by starting that novel you’ve been neglecting.

Trouble with the story line? Check out M.A. Lee’s newest writing how-to guidebook, Discovering Your Plot.

Surveying the plot necessities and the major structures, Lee lands firmly on writing ground by advising all writers to use the Archetypal Story Pattern, which she details in Discovering Plot.

Covering~

>> Genre Expectations

>> Plot Basics

>> Plot Structures for the Masses

>> Plot Structures for Writers

Get your copy today at Amazon.

Deadlines, Daily Writing, Then What?

Over at The Write Focus, we bookcasting Think like a Pro: New Advent for Writers, by M.A. Lee.

We’ve looked at deadlines, One Scary Word, and daily writing with One Latin Phrase every writer should know.

What’s next? We have five (5!) parts to chapter 3, One Guiding Decision > Plot It.

We have the 7 types of plot along with the simple key that will drive the story. Every writer chooses from 5 (+1) of the plotting methods. Finally, we decide for Plotter or Pantster or Puzzler or … Muse Muffin!

Hey! Plot’s important. It’s the foundation of the whole story.

The first episode is at this link.  Episodes premiere every Wednesday. Join us, then …

Write on!