Become a better writer, LinkedIn.. Groups and critiques


Acrid smoke filled the air, the cast iron hook on the chain suspended from the iron tripod held the cauldron in the center of the well stoked fire. The cauldron now glowing red was all but empty its contents sizzled and crackled as they began to char and burn. The air was filled with the stench of burnt words.
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What? Burnt words, stench, where does that come from? What are you talking about Joe?
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Why writing of course! Have you ever asked for a critique of your writing? Have you ever asked a group of professional writers to critique a sentence or a paragraph from a first draft of your manuscript or article you may have written?
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I recently asked for a critique in a writers group on LinkedIn. It ended up being quite an eye opening experience. I asked for a few thoughts as far as my original opening sentence that I had written for my novel.
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“I am curious is the following a good opening sentence for a book? As Jake was driving to work his mind raced, his heart ached, and he didn’t want to go to work.”
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130 Comments later I smile and laugh at the scorched words in the pot! The wide variety of feedback and comments ranged from” yes that is a good first sentence” to” that sucks cliché, lazy, no creativity, work twice in the first sentence.. Really! You are obviously a rookie and have no imagination.”
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“Feel the heat?” Oh my, as I went to a coaching session at the Community Writing Center I sat down with my friend and coach and mentioned the fact I had posted the sentence for critique in a group on LinkedIn. I was smiling and quite proud of myself for having done so even though I had already been working on my re write I did feel the original sentence had merit and legs of sorts. I wanted to get some opinions that may help me express the same sentiment in a more creative and artistic way. Did the sentence make the reader curious enough to read on?
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I smiled big as I told her “I got a lot of feedback”
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She laughed as she said”You got Mauled!”
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We both laughed for a few minutes as she told me she had read the comments.. Being a connection my activity is on her news feed.
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I am sharing this story for two reasons.. One, posting your questions in a writing group is a great way to learn and get constructive feedback. Two, I found it funny to see how many people judge a story, and the writer based on a few words.
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“Do you judge a book by its cover or its title?” What about the first sentence or paragraph?
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My revised first sentence and couple of paragraphs.. It may change again before I am finished with the re write!
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Jake exited the Lincoln Tunnel entering the urban jungle of concrete, steel, and flesh, commonly referred to as the “Big Apple”. He turned onto Tenth Ave. and abruptly slammed on the brakes barely avoiding a collision with a redhead that had a body like Marilyn Monroe.
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“Damn it” he cursed, as his coffee cup erupted like a volcano, spewing its contents like a river of magma flowing from hand to thigh. He looked at the traffic signal to make sure he had the green thinking; it was almost suicidal for someone on foot to try and cross an intersection against the signal, during the morning rush hour.
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Do you want to become a better writer? Maybe posting some of your work in a writing group will help you along the way! You may find your words smoldering in the cauldron and laugh as your new ones rise like a phoenix from the ashes!
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Thank you for stopping by and thank you for being beautiful you! I am grateful as is our world that you choose to share your love and your smiles! It makes our world a better place for all we share it with!
Namaste 

The first Page… The manuscript is becoming a book.


As Jake was driving to work his mind raced, his heart ached, and he didn’t want to go to work. He was wondering what he was going to do and where he was going to live after the previous nights “shock and awe” bombardment. He was wondering what his kids thought as he pulled out of the Lincoln Tunnel and turned on 10th Avenue in New York City he jammed on the brakes just in time to avoid hitting a well dressed, red head with a body that could stop a train. .
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The lady was walking across the street against a red light in morning rush hour traffic creating all kinds of havoc and a couple of fender benders.
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What the hell, is that lady doing, thought Jake as he looked for napkin to clean up the coffee he just spilled all over the seat of his” Betsy”. He looked up from the consol and saw the lady staring into his eyes. She walked towards his Jeep, which was now stopped in the middle of the intersection, being relentlessly honked at as the other five lanes of traffic began slowly moving. He was immediately drawn to and captivated by her; he wondered why she was staring at him. He rolled down the window and asked “What are you doing lady are you crazy?”
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“I came to see you Jake and we need to talk, you haven’t got much time, you need to get moving.” She said.
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“What are you talking about, do I know you?” Jake inquired almost shouting so he could be heard over the blaring horns.
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“Are you going to let me in or make me stand here and explain?” She asked smugly
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Jake was not sure if he should let her in or not yet she knew his name, he was quite curious, and enchanted with her beauty. What harm could she do he thought she is half my size and doesn’t look like an axe murderer even if she is there was no way she was hiding an axe in that outfit. He unlocked the door and told her to get in. As she sat down the fragrance of spring and flowers seemed to come from her perfume making him somehow feel lighter, and full of joy.
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“So Gorgeous would you like tell me how you know my name and why you are looking for me?” Jake asked.
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“I knew you would be here this morning you drive to work this way every day. Funny I thought you would ask my name before you asked me why I was looking for you. After all you do like to know who you are talking to don’t you. My name is Sandra and I am a friend of yours I have been for close to three thousand years.” She replied as she looked at him and smiled.
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“What?’ exclaimed Jake” Three thousand years is a long time and in case you hadn’t noticed I am not that old to be honest even though I am forty-three I don’t feel ancient. And you my beautiful friend can’t be a day over thirty, thirty five at the most.”

:) The first page of my now being polished manuscript. 65,000 words is a great accomplishment. Making them coherent and crafting them into a work of art is an act of love and perhaps madness..lol

Thank you for stopping by. This project has been taking up much of my time along with my other writing projects… Resumes and cover letters! If you are interested in reading more I have the first three chapters finished and would be more than happy to share them with Via email in exchange for you honest feed back. I am trying to have the manuscript polished and ready to send out Query letters as I start the new year.Your thoughts and suggestions would be most welcome. For your assistance I will send you a signed copy of the book when it is published early next year.

Thank you all for being beautiful and being you!

Waiting… A poetically expressed thought


Everything thing is in motion
Dreams planted like seeds from ocean to ocean
What to do next I haven’t a notion
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The energy is so thick and dense
Being in alignment it only makes sense
Not to worry about what’s over the fence
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I know that things are beginning to grow
Things that are special I truly know
My heart and my mind they tell me so
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The work of alignment meditation of mind and heart
Truly the best way to make a new start
Now for the waiting…
The hardest part

http://youtu.be/padBMW652No

Years of learning, implementing and contemplating come to an end and a new beginning. Seeds planted with intent from a place of true body mind and heart alignment. All that is left to do is let it all go water those seeds with love and the knowing that they will grow… Now all one can do is wait for the flowers to grow and then bloom!

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It is quite an amazing feeling to know that you have taken the time to plant your seeds in your field of dreams after you have learned from the Masters. Baby steps and positive thoughts are all you can do as you move deeper into the unknown, knowing that something is happening that will make all the efforts worthwhile. Change is sometimes harder than we would think yet the rewards are far beyond what we could ever imagine even if they are not the ones we thought we would receive.

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From a chunk of coal to a diamond it is quite a process, I want to say thank you all for being you, diamonds shining bright and beautiful through the darkness we all at times travel through!

Namaste :)

An ignorant White? Or a Beautiful Human Being!


Joe Bradshaw:

I felt it was appropriate to share this post again, in a recent commentary on a post I was asked to define a few things about my perspective as far as pouring gas on the fire of racism.

Originally posted on Iamforchange's Blog:

I am inspired to share some thoughts by revealing a truth we all know. First I would say that the following is my opinion and my heart felt belief. It is probably true for many, the ugly dark side of our beings is lesson humanity has for centuries failed to grasp. Since the beginning of man and the creation or evolution whatever perspective you choose, we have sought to dominate, eliminate and or control those that do not look like us or don’t believe the same as us.

I had the best of intentions when I made a comment on a blog that seeks justice for a young man that in my country they consider a “minority”. I believe in the call and the cause for justice to be served yet felt that the approach taken was perhaps offensive to some. I had mentioned that love was the answer not…

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Happy Thanksgiving… Everyday is a gift to be thankful for


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Every day is a gift I choose to be Grateful for
Thanksgiving Day is special that is for sure
Where we give thanks even more
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Today is a day of love and grace
No matter your religion, creed or race
As we sit down to our meals all over the place
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Some say prayers before they eat
Their wonderful meals and their tasty treats
Some choose tofu for their Thanksgiving feasts
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Whatever it is that you do this day
I hope that you do it in a loving way
I wish you and yours a day filled with love and joy
On this very special day
Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you the best where ever you are if you are in a place where it isn’t a holiday or you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving I wish you a day filled with love and grace, in my heart you are with me at my table sharing a meal and some smiles as we express our gratitude and thanks for the gift of life and the love we have in our lives.
Thank you all for being You, and doing all the beautiful things you do! You are awesome and I am quite blessed to be given the opportunity to share this time and space with you. Thank you!

Namaste :)

Are we creating a Utopia or a Nightmare? Do the ploice have too much power?


Hello world!
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I have decided to take a few minute break from my novel writing project. I am in the home stretch with over 53,000 words on virtual paper. There are still probably another 10,000 to 15,000 words to go yet I am feeling quite good about my progress. Like running a cross country race when I was in High School I am catching my second wind.
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It is funny that my mom, the local newspaper, and another tragic shooting of a child inspired me to write a blog post. Writing a blog post is a break?
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I was chatting with my mom about an article in the local paper “The Salt Lake Tribune” the article and headline titled “Are 45 deaths at the hands of police a cause for alarm?” was about the number of citizens killed by police in the last five years 45 of them “Ranked second only to homicide of intimate partners” (quote taken from sub headline) local law enforcement watchdogs (who they are is a mystery to me) say it is time to treat deadly force as a “Potentially Serious Public Safety Problem.”
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The article goes on to say “The numbers reflect that there could be an issue and it is going to take a deeper understanding of these shootings” and “It definitely can’t be written off as citizens groups being upset with law enforcement” quotes shared in the tribune by a former police lieutenant that served in Washington D.C. and Utah six years of his law enforcement carrier were on SWAT teams.
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As I was reading the article I mentioned the shooting today of a child in Cleveland Ohio, to my mom asking her if she had heard about it. It appears, police had received a call about someone waving a “probably fake gun” the young man was 12 years old.
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My mom said the most shocking thing I have ever heard her say and it broke my heart as well as opened my eyes as to part of the problem with our Utopian police run society. “He wanted to get killed, waving a gun in a police officer’s face” WHAT? “I am the Law”?


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I looked at her and reminded her that when I was a kid I used to wear a cap gun and play cowboys and Indians with my friends all the time, if it wasn’t cowboys and Indians it was war the Americans against the Germans or the Japanese. We didn’t even think about being shot by the police. She said”Times have changed “in a very nasty tone. I replied in my most loving reverent voice “Yes they have we have made it against the law to be a kid.”
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I am not a fan of guns and certainly not a fan of violence, I do think that kids should be able to play and have fun even if it is acting like a soldier, a cowboy, an Indian, a pirate, or even a Knight of the round Table. Without the fear of being shot by the police, or a neighborhood watch group.
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Do you remember the old western movies where the Sheriff shot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand?
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Why are the police choosing to “Shoot to kill” rather than using an alternate shot? Most of the victims of police killings are un armed and those that are armed are usually carrying a pocket knife or wielding a dull sword, some even armed with a toy gun, they pose no real harm to anyone other than themselves. It seems to me if the officers are required to pass a shooting test and can hit the kill zone ten out of ten times they should be just as able to hit a leg or arm ten out of ten times and to be honest even a gun from a person’s hand more often than not.
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I am a veteran and actually have medals from shooting competitions, I do understand gun control, I also understand that the police are under a lot of stress. I just hope that they know our streets are not the battlefield and our children are not the enemy.
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Is there a real cause for alarm?
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Is there a legitimate reason to be concerned that our police are killing so many of our citizens?
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Are the police and their methods a “Serious Public Safety Problem”?
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It seems that of the many cases I have seen over the last twenty years including one of a young man shot 40 + times by multiple officers who was un armed on his porch in Brooklyn NY while reaching for his wallet have been clearly a case of manslaughter at minimum, murder for many of them. Yet the courts and the officials of our towns and choose not to prosecute those officers, stating they were within the limits of the law and protected by the badge they wear.
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Are the Police above the law? It would seem that our police have 00 status and the license to shoot to kill!
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We need police, I am grateful for the most part we have them, the majority are truly looking out for our communities and well being. I would ask them to perhaps remember that this is not a war zone, even the criminals are not the enemy, and shoot to kill should be the last choice not the first!
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Thank you for being you and thank you for visiting my page… I will be back with my normally scheduled inspirational posts in the next couple of days! I do have a special post for the Thanksgiving Holiday we -are about to celebrate here in the U.S.
Namaste

The Elephant… Don’t you see it?


The Elephant in the room….
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Why is it that many of us human beings don’t acknowledge the obvious? We can look at the Elephant in the room and act like we don’t see it.
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There are many issues in our personal lives and in our communities, cities, states, nations, and our world that the old saying applies to. (war, homelessness, racism, hunger, poverty, to name a few)
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Do we just choose not to see it? Is it fear that stops us?
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I had several conversations with friends about the issues they were experiencing in their lives that reminded me of the old saying “The Elephant in the room” first it would be helpful to define the saying for those who may not have heard it or those that really have taken no time to understand what it means.
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Wikipedia says: “Elephant in the room” or “Elephant in the living room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
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The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded use of the phrase, as a simile, as The New York Times on June 20, 1959: “Financing schools has become a problem about equal to having an elephant in the living room. It’s so big you just can’t ignore it.”[3]
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The conversations were for the most part about the issues that they were dealing with; the largest cause of those issues was their own negative attitudes and perspectives. Most of them were running from the issue rather than going within and changing their perspectives. I was guilty recently of trying to shut out the rest of the world and focus… Not how it works!
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Much like what was happening with my friends and family I was ignoring the “Elephant in the room.” Life doesn’t work that way nor can I just be a master of my mind and heart in solitude. I did need to take some time and get focused, mastery would be something that I have to do in my everyday life, in my encounters with the energy and attitudes that others.
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The only one that can make things change in your life is you, what is your relationship with the Elephant in the room? Are you ignoring your pains and your negative attitude or those of your friends and loved ones pretending that they are not the problem?
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We owe it to ourselves, our friends, our families to deal with the elephant! Go deep, confront then release your fears and negativity, and let those feelings go free. They like the elephant they do better out in the open than caged up in the room!
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Thank you for being you, you are beautiful and quite awesome, I appreciate your taking the time to stop by and read my posts. It brings a great smile, speaking of which… Your smiles and the love you share are making our world a better place for all we share it with! Thank you for being the positive change our world so needs!

Namaste 