Staying Off the Edge

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “On the Edge.” It’s true that everyone needs something in their life that keeps them from going over the edge. Sometimes life is just frustrating and you need that special something to cheer you up, keep you moving forward, or just stop you from screaming. Over the […]

Smell You Later

This post comes to you today from a Daily Post prompt:

Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

Scent memory is something that genuinely amazes me. Normally, on a day-to-day basis, I have a pretty terrible memory, but sometimes when I catch a whiff of a particular scent I’ll recall the past as though I’d somehow returned to it. There are lots of examples I could give, but the first one that comes to mind is the smell of gasoline. That may seem like an odd, not-all-that-pleasant choice, but hear me out.

Back in late elementary school I was always writing. I carried a notebook around with me all the time so I’d always be able to write. And even though it wasn’t always easy – or legible – I often wrote in the car while my parents and I were driving somewhere. The best time to scribble quickly was, of course, while we were stopped for any reason, and often that reason was to fill up the tank.

It may seem like strange, convoluted writer logic, but I’m being totally serious here. Because of my habit of writing in the car, to this day the smell of gasoline makes me remember being curled up in the back seat of my parents’ car, feverishly scribbling in a Gilroy notebook with a blue Bic pen. And the thought makes me smile and long for the days when I had endless time to just write and write and write.

How about you? What scents transport you to another place and time?

DC vs Marvel

wpid-writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2-1.png.pngToday’s assignment surprised me a bit when I first read it. It required a bit more pre-thought than I’ve been giving to these posts so far.

Write a post based on the contrast between two things – whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else. Today’s twist: Write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers – a lover’s quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers – your call!

“Don’t tell me you read Marvel comics.”

Jerry raised his eyes above the pages of the comic to glare at Andrew. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he inquired.

Andrew made a face. “Just that DC is way better, that’s all,” he replied.

“Are you kidding?” Jerry asked. “Marvel comics are way more fun than DC.”

“DC are way more gritty and realistic,” Andrew shot back.

“Nothing but angst, you mean,” Jerry grumbled.

“Besides,” Andrew said, “DC makes way better video games.”

Jerry raised an eyebrow. “Oh woo-hoo for them. Marvel makes way better movies.”

“DC has Batman.”

“Marvel has the Avengers.”

Andrew narrowed his eyes. “DC has Superman, the king of all superheroes.”

Jerry scoffed. “Superman is completely vanilla and boring as hell. Marvel’s Deadpool is a thousand times more awesome than Superman.”

“The Teen Titans!”

“The X-Men!”

“Kingdom Come!”

“The Infinity Gauntlet!”

“Th- Eek!” Jerry and Andrew both cried out in protest as their ears were snatched up by a pair of hands with bright red nail polish. The other patrons of the comic shop looked on and snickered as the co-owner of the shop glared down at the bickering boys. Sheepishly, they realized that she was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Thor’s brother, Loki, dressed up and painted as Batman’s nemesis, the Joker.

“Alright, DC and Marvel,” she said in a tone that suggested annoyance mixed with amusement. “Are you going to play nice in my shop or do I have to ban you each to your respective versions of oblivion?”

Jerry looked at Andrew, and Andrew back at Jerry. They both spoke at the same time.


Blogging 101, Day Eight: Make Your “About” Page Irresistable

Day eight’s assignment blends in nicely with something that I’ve already said for several of these topics, which is that people care more about you if they feel like they know you. That’s why having a good “About” page is an important asset. Your “About” page is a place where you can talk a little about yourself, show the world who you are, and hopefully make prospective readers feel like they’ve become familiar enough with you to be interested in what you have to say on a day-to-day basis.

That’s why day eight’s assignment is create and publish your About page, and adapt it for a widget on your home page.

You might not think that having an “About” page is really all that important, but let me tell you this: I’ve been posting on this blog for over two years now, and of all the posts I’ve written, my “About” page is the most visited page on this blog. That means that on a regular basis, people wander past my blog, stop for a second, and then click on the “About” page to see – duh – what I’m all about. Whether or not they decide to stick around after that point is their own call, but without that “About” page, many prospective readers may have simply wandered back to wherever they came from, uninterested in someone who isn’t even willing to give a little bit of personal info.

I’ll admit now that before I came across this particular assignment, my “About” page was not thrilling. I hadn’t thought about it in a while and when I went to take a look I found this:

No Page Left Blank is a blog by Tracey Lynn Tobin, pre-published writer.

I am a 29-year-old Instrumentation Tech by trade, a writer by choice, happily married, and I have a three-year-old daughter. My aspirations are to publish some of the many novels and short stories I have in the works. My favorite genres are fantasy and horror, and I have a particular fondness for zombies.

Not an overwhelmingly interesting little blurb, is it? There are a couple of important bits of information in there, such as the pre-published writer bit, and perhaps people might be a little bit interested when they see that I’m a tradeswoman, and that I like zombies. But there is so much more to know about me, so many more things that I could mention that would possibly help convince people to stick around on my blog. So, in light of this assignment and that realization, I decided to do a little rewrite. My “About” page now reads:

Well hello there! Thanks for dropping by! My name is Tracey Lynn Tobin, and you’ve stumbled onto my blog!

I’m a pre-published author of various genres of fiction, who moonlights as an industrial instrumentation technician (tradeswoman, for short). I’m happily married to the man who turned me into a zombie-maniac, and we have a three-year-old daughter who is already more into superheroes than I could ever hope to be. When I’m not working on my blog, I’m writing mainly in the horror and fantasy genres, but I’ve also been known to dabble in supernatural, sci-fi, and even a little bit of romance. On the blog I discuss everything from my writing process, to the wonderful world of parenting, to my goals and aspirations, and whatever happens to spark my interest at any given time. My ultimate desire? To become a published author and spend my life writing awesome books.

Want to know a little more? Here you go!


See how that’s a lot more informative, a lot more personal, and a lot more fun? Now, if given the chance, which of the “About” pages would inspire you to stick around, hmm?

The second part of the assignment is, of course, to adapt your “About” info for a widget for your home page, and while I understand the importance for such a thing, I’m going to skip it. Why? Well, as a writer who plans to be published sometime in the future, I’ve already taken the leap of sharing a personal photo on my blog, and while a blurb from my “About” info would be nice as well, I feel that the photo itself is enough. Lots of bloggers aren’t going to want to share something like a photo because it puts you out there to the world in a way that not everyone wants, and in such a case an “About” widget would be an excellent compromise. Myself, I think that when people see my photo it’s enough of a jump-start toward convincing them to stick around for a moment, and hopefully that moment leads them to the “About” page. If I’m wrong, please let me know. I’ve been wrong before, and I’ll be wrong again.

So go ahead, have some fun! Make your “About” page one that gets people interested!