Quarterlife+


Timing is Everything

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on February 6, 2016
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In a nutshell, I was too early. I queried too early, and I’m not trying to make that same mistake this time. You see, the thing is, it wasn’t until towards the end of the year that I realized that I’d queried agents too early.

I can say that now because I can admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I was also in a rush. I was in a rush without realizing that I needed to spend more time cultivating my writing. I know that I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again because it’s so true:

It’s one thing to write. It’s something totally different to write something according to industry, agent, or publisher expectations.

That’s not to say that you write for them, but you do at least need to make sure that your writing matches their interests when you go to submit. You want your writing to show that you know what you’re doing.

Trust me. It’ll save you a lot of time and wasted energy. unnecessary stress.

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I wasn’t a finalist, but that’s okay.

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 15, 2015
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So, as my previous post mentioned, I submitted an entry to Susanna Leonard Hill’s holiday contest. I spent around 2 hours writing it, so I”m not upset about it.

I”m probably not upset for the reasons that you think. Do I think that I would’ve done better if I’d spent more time on it? Nope! It usually takes me a shorter amount of time to write something when my “creative juices” are flowing, and the neighbor’s dog peeing on my tree gave me all of the inspiration that I needed. What a muse!

Here’s what I got out of entering the contest:

  1. I’m over my fear of failure/ rejection. I haven’t submitted to that many agents, but I’ve submitted to enough to get me a little down in the dumps.
  2. Friggin’ Susanna Leonard Hill read and commented on something I wrote.
  3. Other writers read and commented on something that I wrote.
  4. I found more writing resources!

All in all, it was not a bad two hours spent.

Kitchen Conversations

Posted in Writing by Ashley Franklin on August 8, 2015
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If home is where the heart is, that heart beats in the kitchen. Every morning, breakfast came with a side of questions. This one also came with crayons.

“Mama, how come we don’t match?” Mama laughed. He loved her laugh. It reminded him of the sound his trucks made when he revved them up on the kitchen floor.

“What do you mean, baby?”

He took a crayon out of the box and sat it on top of his picture. “There is one brown crayon in my box, and only one of us is that brown”

“Let me see what you’ve got here.” Mama looked down at the white piece of paper with the family drawn on it. He was right. Only one of them was the color of the crayon.

“I’ll have to change my picture, or it won’t be right.” He looked sad.

There was no room for tears at the breakfast table. Mama slowly stirred milk into her coffee.

“What’s your favorite color?” she asked.
“Green!”

“Green is a good color. It’s things that grow, things of life. But now brown, that’s for roots, foundation—solid things. Those are the things that give you a good start.”

“What does coffee help you start?”

“My day!” There was that laugh again.

“Why don’t you measure the milk?”

“I know how I want it to taste. The lighter the color, the sweeter it tastes. Still, no matter how much milk I add doesn’t change the fact that this is a cup of coffee. It’s the same with people. We all have our flavor, but we’re people just the same.”

He thought about his family– how different they looked, how different they acted, and how much fun they had when they were together. He smiled. “I don’t have to change my picture.”

“No—just your box of crayons.”

Breakfast was over, but that’s what happens when you stay up late playing videogames. She didn’t see her mom or brother, but she was happy to find her aunt in the kitchen. Her aunt was amazing! With skin the color of sand, eyes that shined like steel drums, and clothes as bright as rare tropical flowers, Auntie Celise wasn’t just from the islands, she was them. Auntie had style!

Picture day was tomorrow, and she had no idea how to ask Auntie to fix her hair. Cornrows, afro, twists, ponytail, braids? She just didn’t know. Most of the girls in her class wore their hair bone-straight. That was going to take some effort. Overwhelmed, she let her head fall onto the table with a thud.

“Girl, what’s wrong with you?” Auntie asked, putting down her magazine.

The girl lifted her head.  “I hate my hair! Can you just make it super straight like everyone else’s?”

Auntie reached over and ran her fingers through the girl’s hair. “Ooh I know what you mean. How I hate having hair with so much personality! Who would want hair that stands up to the Sun with sass, curls and twists to defy the bravest of combs, or threads into designs that would make a spider jealous? Go on and get my flat iron. I’ll hook you up.”

The girl didn’t move. “Let me think about it some more.”

Dinner had come and gone by the time Papa walked through the door. He found the two of them in the kitchen with their evening treats.

“Can we get an allowance like our friends do?” they asked sounding hopeful.

“Why hello to you too! Allowance? I’m allowing you to eat up the rest of the ice cream. How’s that?” said Papa.

The four eyes looking up at him from two bowls quickly looked back down.

“Be about your business!” he said, loosening his tie. “Keep that in mind, and money will always come your way.” It seemed like a new twist on the money doesn’t grow on trees speech was coming. “What do you need money for anyway?” asked Papa.

“We’re saving for a new video game and some new crayons,” she said.

Papa placed a quarter and a dollar on the table. “Which do you want?”

The boy was faster and got the dollar. She cut her eye at him with a look of disgust that comes natural to big sisters.

“When you’re about your business, you never lose focus of what’s important.” He kissed their foreheads. “I’m about to run to the store to grab a few snacks. Either of you want to come along to pick up something?”

The boy hopped off his chair and ran to the door. Papa smiled at the girl still sitting at the table.

“You are about your business” he said as he patted her on the shoulder. He walked over to the boy and patted his head. “You, son, have a lot to learn. You two go ahead to bed. The kitchen is closed.”