Commentary #98: “Backstory: Relevant Information or an Inconsequential Event?”

Found on A Writer’s Path

I’ve been following A Writer’s Path for a while now. There are many guest posts, and I learn something from every one I read.

Here’s the link to the Backstory post:

Backstory: Relevant Information or an Inconsequential Event?

As I ease into the first round of editing of the first draft of my first novel, this post struck a chord with me. I’m grateful for my friends who have already provided feedback on the first draft, and I’m eagerly awaiting a few more to chime in with their thoughts. Thank you, Melissa, Amanda, Janaye, Hannah, and Mike.

It’s also gotten me think about my characters’ backstories in my three other novels.

What is important?

What may not be important?

Did I leave anything out?

I really liked the example the author gave with a character’s fear of spiders. On the surface, it could be a minor detail. But, that fear can also be developed into something significant, involving the main story and potential conflict. It changes from something minor to something major.

And, as I prepare to start my fifth novel during NaNoWriMo next month, I’m keeping this post in my back pocket.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #244: Fall Fridays, Number 5

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall has started, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on the Fridays during October 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

This has been extended from September! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • October 4th: Corn Maze
  • October 11th: Hay Ride
  • October 18th: Football
  • October 25th: Halloween

As a child, Scotty always looked forward to the annual trip to the farm in the fall. Among the pumpkins, petting zoo, and scarecrows, his favorite thing was the hay ride.

He wasn’t alone. The hay ride was fun for many. The farmer climbed on his lumbering tractor. Scotty loved the sounds it made. The hay was itchy, but everyone had fun. They were supposed to sit on the bales and stay still while the tractor was moving. But, inevitably, a hay fight would break out. The boys loved stuffing the loose hay down each other’s shirts, and it would tangle in all the girls’ hair. The teachers were always annoyed, but the farmer always chuckled. He loved kids.

And Scotty loved someone. Kelly was a girl in the other kindergarten class, but their classes usually ended up on the same field trips.

In kindergarten, Scotty was brave enough to walk over to Kelly, sit next to her, and compliment her overalls.

In first grade, Kelly threw hay right in Scotty’s face. But then she giggled, apologized, and kissed him on the cheek.

In second grade, Scotty held her hand during the “haunted” section when she got scared.

In third grade, Scotty was hurt. Kelly ignored him the whole time.

In fourth grade, Kelly apologized, and they shared their first kiss. Everyone was agog.

As fifth grade started, Scotty was sad. Kelly had told him over the summer that she was moving away. Her dad, who was in the Coast Guard, was getting stationed across the country. She left the week before school started. Scotty kissed her cheek, and she held his hand before she climbed in the giant moving van.

The week the field trip happened, Scotty was really down. Going to the farm just wasn’t the same anymore.Β 

The day before the trip, Scotty’s eyes brightened when he got home from school. Another letter had arrived from Kelly. She talked about how beautiful it was in Washington state, but she missed school, her friends, Scotty, and the farm.

Scotty felt tears in his eyes as photos fell out of the envelope. Someone had taken photos at the farm every year, and there was a photo of them, together, during every hay ride.

He smiled, and asked his mom to frame them. She smiled, nodded, and Scotty had them in his room for years.

He never forgot about Kelly.

Those photos faded a bit over the years. But, they were still framed as they headed toward Scotty’s rehearsal dinner. Everyone oohed and aahed over childhood photos of the bride and groom.

Scotty smiled at his bride-to-be, looking gorgeous. He couldn’t wait to soak up every minute with her tonight, and then party the night away tomorrow.

There were hay bales everywhere. His bride smiled, and playfully threw a handful of loose hay in his face after the rehearsal dinner.

“I love you, Scotty.”

He dipped his head and kissed her. There was hay tangled in her hair. She was thrilled – She could hardly believe it. She still wore overalls, and was more in love with Scotty than ever.

“I love you, too, Kelly. Let’s get married!”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #243: Fall Fridays, Number 4

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall has started, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on the Fridays during October 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

This has been extended from September! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • October 4th: Corn Maze
  • October 11th: Hay Ride
  • October 18th: Football
  • October 25th: Halloween

Elisa felt so lost. There were signs everywhere, and she couldn’t tell which ones were real.

Jonathan was going in a different direction.

“Elisa! Over here!”

“Where are you? I can’t see you!”

She felt the panic rising.

The sun was setting. The farm was closing in 20 minutes.

“Elisa?”

“Jonathan!”

Even Jonathan was getting worried. This was a good corn maze – Tough to navigate, but still entertaining.

However, hearing his fiancee panic was not fun.

A low growl made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck.

“ELISA!! RUN!!”

“What?”

“Run, Elisa. Now!”

“Why?”

“JUST DO IT!”

Her Nikes flew.

The fastest she ran, the darkness caught up with her.

“Jonathan!”

“Elisa!”

“HELP!”

The darkness overtook her. The last thing Jonathan heard were her screams.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #184: October Goals

www.hdnicewallpapers.com

Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

I used to say that summer was my favorite season, mainly because my birthday is in August. As an adult, my favorite season has been autumn. I love so many things about it: The crisp air, falling temperatures, the leaves changing to beautiful colors, bonfires, s’mores, apples, pumpkins, FOOTBALL!, and more.

Here are my goals for the month of October:

  1. Continue my fun Writing Prompt series, publishing one every Friday in October.
  2. Celebrate multiple birthdays!
  3. Volunteer at the blood drive.
  4. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged.
  5. Participate in decorating duffel bags for local children in foster care.
  6. Celebrate my church’s 50th Anniversary.
  7. Make at least one thrift store run.
  8. Prep for NaNoWriMo 2019.
  9. Celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Ghostbusters.
  10. Send cards to several friends.
  11. Research area rugs for the living room.
  12. Try some new recipes.
  13. Test-bake the cookies for the upcoming Cookie Exchange with my P.E.O. chapter.
  14. Read every night before bed.
  15. Enjoy Halloween!

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of October?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #183: September Goals Recap

BeautyBeyondBones 16

Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

September is a bit of a weird month. The end of summer, the beginning of autumn, and kickoff to the end of the year!

For me, the weather has only felt like fall for a week, a while ago. The mornings are cool, but the high temperatures are still in the 80s and sometimes 90!

Here’s the link to my September Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


Here are my goals for the month of September:

  1. Start my new job! — Accomplished!
  2. Successfully complete my self-imposed β€œNo-Spend September.” — Did not accomplish.
  3. Publish a fun Writing Prompt series during the month. — Accomplished!
  4. Publish four Commentary posts, aiming for one post per week. — Did not accomplish.
  5. Publish all outstanding Tag posts where I’ve been tagged. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Spend time with treasured friends. — Accomplished!
  7. Publish three Book Reviews. — Semi-Achieved.
  8. Participate in decorating duffel bags for local children in foster care. — Did not accomplish.
  9. Begin outlining my plans for NaNoWriMo 2019 in November. — Accomplished!
  10. Reduce clutter throughout the house, aiming for 1-2 hours of work per weekend. — Accomplished!
  11. Purchase a new mattress, bed frame, and nightstands. — Accomplished!
  12. Research area rugs for the living room. — Did not accomplish.
  13. Evaluate my clothing clutter – Decide what to donate or store away. — Accomplished!

I really like my new job. I’m still adjusting, but the biggest difference is the commute. I can get to work in 20 minutes almost every morning! I like my boss, and I have a really good team. I’m so happy I made this decision.

Although I struggled immensely with No-Spend September, I’m much more aware of where my money is going. I now track every dollar I spend, which is my own version of YNAB. I also have a proper notebook now, so I don’t have to write everything on scratch paper. I’m spending a lot less on clothes. I’m also aware of how much I’m eating and snacking, especially at work. My new job has a great cafeteria and a cantina with pick-me-up snacks. And – I haven’t added anything to my credit cards for almost a full month. That’s HUGE!!

I really enjoyed creating the Fall Fridays Writing Prompt series. I have decided to continue it in October, so stop by every Friday for more! (Writing Prompt #239, Writing Prompt #240, Writing Prompt #241)

I wrote one Commentary post: Thoughts on “Mindhunter”

I posted two Book Reviews: “Mosquitoland” and “Glory Be”

With the new job, I struggled with the blog this month. I had a period of self-doubt with my writing. But now, I’m back on the horse, and excited to write about so many things! I’m looking forward to completing my Tag posts, more Commentary posts, more Book Reviews, and continuing my Fall Fridays prompt series.

Al and I cleared a lot of clutter this month! We still have a long way to go, but I’m very happy with the progress we’ve made.

We are really happy with our new mattress, bed frame, and nightstands. We also got awesome under-bed storage drawers. This was also motivating for me to fully clean out my closet, re-organize it, and fill those storage drawers. The last thing I need to do is drop off the donations at the thrift store.

The foster care children duffel bag event was postponed. It has been re-scheduled for the end of October.


Did you have any goals for the month of September? Let me know!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #242: “September WIP Challenge ANNIVERSARY”

September WIP Challenge Anniversary

Image found through Didi Oviatt

Didi has a lot to celebrate every September!

As for me, I celebrate my dating anniversary with Al every year on September 4th.

Here’s the link to Didi’s September WIP Challenge:


Will wanted make their 10th dating anniversary special. Their first date that September Saturday, 10 years before, changed both their lives forever.

Bethany had diagnosed anxiety, but her anxiety preparing for their 10th dating anniversary was especially high. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She wanted to impress Will, knock him out of the park, in some way.

Separately, they had shopped for new outfits. But, they were going to a familiar place. Back to where it all began.

In the driveway that wound around the side of their beautiful house, Will polished his red sports car to perfection. It made Bethany get those butterflies again. She thought about how her brother-in-law’s former girlfriend had pointed out the car was Will’s, all those years ago.

Red was a theme for them, quite by accident. Will’s sports car was red. The top that Bethany wore on their first date was red. It was far too small now, but Bethany never wanted to part with it. She wanted so badly to wear it for the momentous occasion, but she certainly wasn’t 120 pounds anymore.

And red was part of their colors for their beautiful fall wedding. Their 10th dating anniversary in September would be followed by their fifth wedding anniversary in November. They were finally taking a proper week off from work. It was going to be their first significant getaway since their first wedding anniversary. Sad, but true.

Bethany steadied herself as she emerged from the shower, still in the hazy fog of wonderful memories. The red dress she’d found through her favorite consignment group on Facebook had been hidden away for months. She couldn’t wait to surprise Will.

She heard the sports car start up, knowing Will would be inside in just a few minutes.

The door slammed shut, causing the dogs to bark. Will was so good with them. They were quiet again in a minute or two. Bethany didn’t have to say a word.

As Bethany toweled off her hair, she heard Will climb the stairs. She caught her breath.

He let out his customary wolf whistle as he saw the dress hanging on her closet door.

“Wow, Bethany.”

She smiled, opening the bathroom door a crack. Steam, perfume, and deodorant wafted through the air.

“You smell amazing, sweetheart.”

“Thank you, baby.”

“Wanna give me a sneak peek?”

She smiled, unable to resist.

Fooling around was going to make them late for dinner, but neither of them really cared. Bethany loved how Will took his time with her, and enjoyed every inch of her.

When they finished, Bethany flicked her towel at him as he headed toward the shower. She put on the dress, and realized her anxiety was gone.

The sports car shone in the September sunshine as Will drove toward the beach. Bethany felt the butterflies give way to nostalgia and excitement. They were going back to the restaurant where it all began.

Dinner felt like old times, but it was full of reminiscing and making new memories. The food was just as good as it had been 10 years ago.

The symphony was warming up for their concert series as Bethany and Will strolled the boardwalk. The only difference was the musical act, and maybe 10 years of age.

Bethany and Will laughed as they stopped around the same place where Will had kissed her for the first time. Memories flooded both them.

This time, Bethany spoke up first.

“I have something to tell you.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m pregnant.”

Bethany smiled and her eyes filled with tears as she watched Will’s face.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. I took a test this morning. I didn’t think it was true, but it is.”

Will wanted to pick her up and spin her around, but he just kissed her.

The stars and fireworks Bethany had felt 10 years earlier, on that boardwalk on a September Saturday, were still there. And now, they were starting another chapter.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Writing Prompt #241: Fall Fridays, Number 3

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

The kids squealed as the bus kicked up dust. They were finally here.

“Field trip!”

Samantha turned toward the window, pressing her forehead to the cool glass. As a first- year teacher, she’d been all gung-ho when school started in early September. She’d had so many fun ideas for her second-grade class.

Now, on a hot bus with three second-grade classes, she was regretting so many things. Not becoming a teacher. Not that. She’d wanted to do that since she’d been in first grade. That was a dream come true.

But, if she’d thought a field trip with 47 kids to the local pumpkin patch on a Friday was a a good idea, she was quickly being proven wrong.

The bus had to be changed at the last minute. She’d experienced the wonderful laws of Murphy at least once every day this week.

She wanted the screaming to stop.

“Mrs. Davis! When can we get off the bus?”

Samantha smiled. The small, sweet voices of her kids were always welcome. It helped quiet the other screaming.

“Just a few more minutes, Ashlyn, okay? I need to do a head count and make sure everyone has their buddy. How does that sound?”

Eight-year-old Ashlyn smiled up at the raven-haired teacher. She’d wanted Mrs. Davis as her teacher this year, prayed for it, but had been assigned Mr. Frost instead.

“Could you go back to your seat, please?”

Ashlyn grinned. “Sure, Mrs. Davis. I’ve been looking forward to this field trip for days!”

Samantha smiled, and hoped Ashlyn hadn’t noticed the pained look in the 24-year-old’s eyes. Kids noticed everything. She knew it was a migraine. And the screaming was still there. Sometimes, she felt like a child, wanting to put her hands over her ears and squeezing her eyes shut, to block it all out.

She breathed deeply, three full times like her therapist had been teaching her. A welcome hush fell over the bus. As she stood next to the driver with the clipboard, all eyes focused on her.

“Okay, Treetop Elementary second-graders! Who’s ready to get this field trip started?”

The bus erupted. The kids’ yells and screams drowned out the others. Samantha smiled, grateful for the momentary distraction.

As Samantha ran through the rules, head count, buddies, and questions, she started to relax. Field trips were a lot of work. Almost too much. But, seeing the kids’ excitement bubbling over like a cauldron was completely worth it.

Mr. Frost looked at Samantha, giving her an encouraging nod. She appreciated the handful of colleagues that had already taken her under their wing. She was glad Mr. Frost and Ms. Gaddis were part of the second-grade team.

“Okay, Treetop second-graders! Let’s get off this bus and take over the pumpkin patch!”

As Samantha stepped aside, she was proud of the kids. They were respectful, and were following instructions and directions really well. Mr. Frost and Ms. Gaddis took over. Samantha stayed behind until the last kid was off the bus, checking for any stragglers or issues. Vomit was not fun, but important to look for.

Finding nothing amiss, Samantha let out another breath. Mr. Frost turned and gave her a thumbs-up.

She climbed off the bus, thanking the driver, smiling as the kids were ready to disappear into the sea of orange pumpkins and the rest of the fall colors.

The screaming was still there. But it wasn’t coming from the kids.

She steadied herself, focusing on a place to sit down. As she found a hay bale, the voices inside her head were telling her horrible things. Frightening things.

She looked up, trying desperately to focus on something else. Anything else. She smiled again as she watched the kids enjoy everything the pumpkin patch had to offer. And they’d only been there for five minutes.

She knew she couldn’t sit on the hay bale forever. At that moment, seven-year-old Fred came into Samantha’s view.

“Come on, Mrs. Davis! I picked out a pumpkin already!”

Samantha smiled. Fred took her hand, and pulled her toward his prize pumpkin, chattering about carving it, toasted pumpkin seeds, and picking out his Halloween costume.

She kept glancing at Fred. He was a godsend. All the kids were.

Fred’s small, excited voice drowned out the others. But, Samantha knew, with dread, the others, the scary ones, would return.


This concludes the September writing prompts!

I have decided to continue this series into October! Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚