Workflowy Guest Blogger
Writing Tools

Workflowy Guest Blogger

Workflowy posted a screen cast I made showcasing how I use their tool to outline fiction. Check out the post below, as well as the original article I wrote on The Writing Cooperative.

Read the original article.

Here’s the original article on The Writing Cooperative.

Get the outlines

Also, you can grab all the outlines mentioned in this post directly from my Workflowy account.

And She Fell at His Feet
Devotions

And She Fell at His Feet

Mary of Bethany as a Model of Christian Discipleship

Mary’s brother was dead, and there was nothing she could do to change it. A few days earlier, she and her sister, Martha, had sent for their friend. He was a known healer, but he had yet to arrive. Now, the time for healing had come and gone. All that was left was to sit and to grieve. That’s what Mary was doing when her sister found her.

“He’s here,” Martha said. “And he’s asking for you.”

If He came to heal, He was four days late. Mary went out to meet him, to ask him why he took so long. She would tell Him if He had been here, none of this would have happened. But before she could say any of this, she fell at His feet and wept.

Read the full devotion at Koinonia.

Road Trip
Short Stories

Road Trip

“Rerouting,” Siri said for the third time.

“Honey, why don’t you just do what she says?”

Rick glared at his wife. “No. I’m not getting us lost because some nerd in Cupertino thinks he knows the backroads of Escambia County better than I do.”

“But we are lost,” Patti said.

“We are not lost.” Rick turned off the GPS. He had listened to the persistent droning of female voices since Nashville and was tired of it. At least he could put Siri in silent mode. “Once we drop Uncle Glenn in Brewton, it’s a straight shot to your sister’s house.” He pointed to the digital clock in the dash. “See? It’s not even midnight. We’re making great time. We just need to find some gas soon. That’s all.”

Read the full story on Lit Up.

Falling
Short Stories

Falling

The old man sat alone on the bench and watched the family from a distance. Four of them picnicked in the center of the park, beneath a massive oak near a playground and a pond. The father’s tie hung loosely around his neck. His leather loafers and dress socks sat discarded on a nearby quilt. A shirttail escaped the back of his slacks as he ran barefoot through the grass and tackled a boy holding a football. A toddler in a princess dress cheered them on, her red curls bouncing as she jumped up and down.

Clouds were coming. Maybe rain. The old man felt it in his hands and knees. Across the lawn, the father chased his children, unaware of the weather ahead. In the shadow of the oak, the mother looked on and laughed, at least on the outside. The old man imagined her hidden tears as she wondered how on earth she would tell them about the tumor and the treatment and the time she might have left . . .

Read the full story at Literally Literary.

How An Online Writing Community Changed My Perspective
Writing Tools

How An Online Writing Community Changed My Perspective

I once worked for a small record label. Believe me when I say you’ve never heard of it. My role had little to do with music, and my influence was minimal. But that didn’t stop my friends from pitching their material.

“Hey, man. I wrote this song,” they’d say. “Love to get your thoughts.”

There’s this thing called the “Nashville No.” Basically, it’s when someone says, “Okay. I’ll listen to it and get back to you.” Then they don’t. It’s pretty effective. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have a name.

That doesn’t work so well with friends. You see them too much, care for them too much. Assuming their work is (like most pitches) more passion than potential, you eventually have to find an honest but helpful way to give them — perspective.

Read the full article at The Writing Cooperative.

Catch a Falling Star
Short Stories

Catch a Falling Star

“How long did he lay there before they found him?”

Wynn surveyed the shelves on aisle three and listened to the excited chatter at the front of the store. He found the potted meat and scooped three cans into his basket.

“About a week,” one of them said.

“Guess it was the smell that gave him away?”

“I imagine so. That poor man started wasting away three years ago, though. Don’t have to be dead to decompose . . .”

Read the full story at Reedsy.

A Better Way to Track Stories and Submissions
Writing Tools

A Better Way to Track Stories and Submissions

I’d rather sort socks than manage my content. Once I finish a story, I’m ready to move on to the next idea. In my wake I leave behind folders of disjointed documents labeled “v2” or “v3-b” and emails to different publishers with varying summaries of the same story.

Then I might read about some contest and think, “I’ve got the perfect story.” But which file is the latest? And what was that word count again? Wait. I don’t think I heard back from that last contest. And, would you look at that? My socks don’t match.

You’re judging me right now, aren’t you?

What I need is a database of all my work, including metadata like genre, word count, and work status. Beyond that, I want a way to answer these questions . . .

Read the full article at The Writing Cooperative.

Rose
Short Stories

Rose

“Did you get it?” Loraine asked. “You did bring it, didn’t you?”

Before Donald could lock the car, his wife walked three steps ahead. For a seventy-year old woman with lumbago, she was moving. “Yes, I brought the rose, dear.” He tried not to ruin the moment by sounding exasperated. “You only reminded me three times before we left.” Maybe he should try a little harder, he thought. “Honey, do you even know where you’re going?”

“Well,” she said, looking around. “I thought we’d follow the crowd.”

“I don’t see any crowd. Just that man over there in the booth.”

“And we both know you’re not going to ask him for directions.” Loraine approached a man in a faded blue uniform. “Excuse me, sir. Do you know where we could find –”

“In the back,” the man said, before she could finish.

“But you don’t even know what I — ,”

“Sure I do,” the guard interrupted again, his words muffled by the Louis L’Amour paperback that hid half his face like an outlaw bandana. “Same as everybody else.” He looked up and pointed a fat finger past the gate. “She’s at the end of this row. Just around the corner.” He resumed reading, officially ending the conversation.

“Thank you very much,” Loraine said without a hint of irritation. She called back to her husband. “This way, Donald.” After a few steps, she stopped and allowed him to catch up. “Well, he was nice . . .”

Read the full story at Reedsy.

How I Use Workflowy to Outline and Brainstorm Short Stories
Writing Tools

How I Use Workflowy to Outline and Brainstorm Short Stories

I’m not a linear thinker. My brain is more like a grocery cart with a wobbly wheel. It goes where it wants. So, when I write I use different tools to help collect my thoughts. Sometimes I use Airtable to organize all those abstract elements in my stories.

But sometimes, I need to see the big picture all at once. I need to think in up-and-down lines that collapse and expand. I want structure and organization. Enter Workflowy. I’m using it right now to keep myself from wasting your time while my shopping cart meanders toward the ice cream aisle. (As if that’s the cart’s fault.)

There are two basic ways I use Workflowy for creative writing.

Read the full article at The Writing Cooperative.

Burning the Midnight Oil
Short Stories

Burning the Midnight Oil

This was a contest entry where the entire story is from the villain’s point of view. This is darker than other stories I’ve written. Readers beware.

The man lifted the bottle to his lips, but all he drank was disappointment. It was full when he brought it home. So was the light in the front window. Now, he held an empty bottle and looked out at the darkness.

His bones ached. The day was done, but the toll it took on his body lasted all night. The air around him reeked, a fetid stench of struggle and futility. Nothing stunk like a man’s sweat mixed with dirt he didn’t own. That’s how he knew he wasn’t drunk enough. He could still smell himself over the whiskey . . .

Read the whole story at The Creative Cafe.