How To Shorten Your Poetry

Hey guys! I shared a video today discussing how you can make sure you’re being intentional with your poetry by adding a couple steps to your editing process. Poetry doesn’t need to be short to be good but it needs to be intentional! Feel free to comment your thoughts down below, I can’t wait to hear them!

I made sure to attach the draft I referred to throughout the video so you guys can get a feel for how I personally edit. The perfectionist in me hates uploading a draft because I want everything to be perfect but I really hope you guys are able to use this as a guide to improve your editing process.

Stop Using Plot Twists For Shock Value! (New Podcast Episode)

What happened at the Cecil Hotel? AJ's Creative Corner

Hey guys! For this week's episode, I checked in with you and talked about how planning my horror story is going. We briefly discuss a blog post called "Writing a Novel in Tep Steps" which is on the Writer's Bureau website. (https://www.writersbureau.com/writing/planning-a-novel.htm) I share my rough draft with you for my new story and then we end this episode by talking about the history of the Cecil Hotel. I also talked about Elisa Lam's case and the Netflix docuseries "Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I will see you in the next one! — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. What happened at the Cecil Hotel?
  2. How Do I Become A Freelance Writer?
  3. Does Censorship Belong in the Writing Space?
  4. How to Write a Horror Story
  5. What's the Obsession with Toxic Relationships all about?

The Movie Antebellum: What Went Wrong?

Before I even begin this post I just want to give a major warning not to read this article if you want to see the movie Antebellum and you don’t want to hear what happens. I’ll see you in the next post!

I am a long-time lover of horror movies, Janelle Monáe, and Gabby Sidibe so I was surprised to see that I hadn’t even heard of the movie Antebellum. I started by watching the trailer and it looked amazing. From what I gathered from the trailer this movie was about an African-American woman who was an author on some sort of mission. The trailer was so vague that I couldn’t figure out if that mission was her trying to write a new book or do some sort of research.

In the trailer, it cuts back and forth between the main character in modern times and then what appears to be flashbacks or maybe even nightmares she is having about the past during slavery in America. There is one scene where she is in her hotel room in the middle of a yoga lesson and then she is interrupted by a nonstop pounding on her door. When she answers the door there is a little girl standing at the end of the hallway staring at her. Maybe this is just me but I got major throwback vibes to The Shining when those twin girls are standing in the hallway.

My conclusion that I drew from the trailer was that this author was somehow going to be jumping into different unpleasant time periods. So when the movie began with scenery that depicted the lives of slaves on a plantation in America, I wasn’t shocked because I had already gotten a glimpse into this scene in the trailer.

What did surprise me was how long the movie covered this time period. It must have been at least a half-hour before I started to get confused. In the trailer the character had clearly been living in modern times for most of it so why was the majority of the movie taking place in a completely different time period? The main character who was called Eden on the plantation by white slave masters was enduring hardships that many slaves in America went through.

After spending the first half-hour of the movie understanding that Eden had one failed attempt at escaping which resulted in her getting branded, you begin to root for her and another slave on the plantation they refer to as ‘professor’ to escape the plantation successfully. All of a sudden the movie jerks back to modern times and the woman who has been referred to as ‘Eden’ throughout the entire movie is now a successful author whose name is Veronica. 

With a little patience and a lot of confusion, you begin to figure out that a lot of the white ‘slave masters’ you saw on the plantation at the beginning of the movie are popping up in the background in modern times around Veronica. At first, I couldn’t figure out if this was some sort of nightmare, illusion, or flashback. However, finally, maybe an hour into the movie you realize that this entire movie has been taking place in modern times. The scenes of what seems to be typical slave life on the plantation are actually taking place during modern times.

I know. It sounds confusing. Basically, this whole movie takes place on a plantation in New Orleans that has been transformed into a Civil War Reenactment Park. Yeah. It’s pretty twisted. Once you learn that plot twist you feel a punch to the gut once you look back and reflect on all of the brutal punishments and horrific treatment that was doled out throughout the entire movie. There are a lot of little snippets into all of the ways that racism presents itself in modern times and there’s a sobering reminder about the history of slavery in America. 

Overall the acting was excellent, it was well filmed, and the plot was definitely original. So when I went to look at what ratings it received from critics and checked the YouTube comments for the trailer of the movie I was surprised to see how enraged a lot of people were at this movie. This outrage sparked for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is people are tired of seeing companies profit off black trauma. I agree. Black representation isn’t just needed in serious films that discuss the traumatic and brutal treatment of black people in our history. Black representation is also needed in every other genre. 

The second reason that I realized people were upset is for a reason that I have discussed here on my blog before and gotten a lot of feedback about. It’s that same sharp plot twist that famous authors and movie writers love to use as often as they can. I’ve talked about how having an extremely shocking plot twist towards the end of a Fiction Novel can actually take away from the reader’s experience and quite a few of you reached out to let me know that you agree.

WIth Antebellum what made people so mad is that you practically got through three-fourths of the movie before they delivered the plot twist. You spent so long trying to gather your thoughts and connect the dots that by the time the movie ended you had lost your attachment to the characters because you were still trying to understand who everyone actually was. Not only that but the ending (major spoiler alert) seemed to lose sight of the main character, Veronica’s motivation.

Veronica was referred to as Eden on the plantation because they gave all of the ‘slaves’ on the plantation new names once they arrived. The movie ends with Veronica leading three of the twisted white men who had spent the entirety of the movie torturing black people and regurgitating neo-nazi propaganda into the ‘burn shed’ where she set it on fire and killed them. Veronica kills the woman who had been in charge of hand-selecting every black person on the plantation by smashing her head on a statue of Robert E. Lee. Then she rides on a horse with a torch in her hand to the entrance of the reenactment park as police officers arrive.

That’s not necessarily a bad ending, right? She got revenge which she deserved. However, her main motivation for escaping the plantation was to reunite with her daughter and husband. You assume they reunite in the end but you don’t know for sure because the movie never shows you or even tells you that. It’s a heroic meaningful ending but they left out an essential part of the main character’s motivation which honestly resulted in an unsatisfying ending.


When I talk about how the overused concept of plot twists can take away from the reader’s experience when we talk about writing stories on this blog, this is exactly what I mean. It can be a well-written original plot twist but if it happens at the expense of the character development you’ve spent so long creating for your readers to learn from, is it actually worth it?

Modern storytelling shouldn’t be a competition for who can have the most shocking plot twist. Modern storytelling should be about consistent character development and effectively leaving some sort of lesson or gift for your audience.

Confinement

Fifteen reminds me of her long black hair and the splash of freckles on her skin

She’d tie her flannel shirt around her waist before we climbed the chain-link fence

I didn’t know it then, I was too petrified to indulge in a forbidden sin

It was mesmerizing, I stayed on her hook happy to live in suspense.

She had a wild heart, she had a vile mouth and I strangely lived in envy

I was playing a role she was living my truth, I didn’t know what I was feeling.

She tells stories like me but she stretches them out until the fiction becomes almost deadly

It was an unfiltered admiration, a mindless infatuation and then one day it all hit a ceiling.

I liked the parts of her that were wild and free but always kept a little sweetness

There was a wicked side but I turned a blind eye, eager to keep her on a throne in my mind

She’s gone now and I’m grateful for that but I still savor the bits and the pieces,

Because of her I’m forever freed, there’s no version of me living confined.

Social Media Content Ideas for Writers

What happened at the Cecil Hotel? AJ's Creative Corner

Hey guys! For this week's episode, I checked in with you and talked about how planning my horror story is going. We briefly discuss a blog post called "Writing a Novel in Tep Steps" which is on the Writer's Bureau website. (https://www.writersbureau.com/writing/planning-a-novel.htm) I share my rough draft with you for my new story and then we end this episode by talking about the history of the Cecil Hotel. I also talked about Elisa Lam's case and the Netflix docuseries "Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I will see you in the next one! — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. What happened at the Cecil Hotel?
  2. How Do I Become A Freelance Writer?
  3. Does Censorship Belong in the Writing Space?
  4. How to Write a Horror Story
  5. What's the Obsession with Toxic Relationships all about?

Baby Blue

Baby blue tastes like American Spirits and cheap liquor too,

Looking at him I know there’s nothing more I can do.

His jokes are growing stale, his laugh is the quietest in the room

Looking at him I know he’s accepted his own doom.

Baby blue is one more drink, one more mistake from fading away,

And I can’t watch him spiral anymore so he tells me that I can’t stay.

I kiss him on the cheek on his stained leather seats

Choosing to walk alone, willing to bear the Summer heat.

Baby blue has the prettiest eyes even when he’s yelling at me with anger.

I know his longest love will be his lifelong infatuation with danger,

but Baby blue thinks I’m the villain, so he’ll hate me until I’m a stranger.

How Writers can Promote their Content on Instagram

What happened at the Cecil Hotel? AJ's Creative Corner

Hey guys! For this week's episode, I checked in with you and talked about how planning my horror story is going. We briefly discuss a blog post called "Writing a Novel in Tep Steps" which is on the Writer's Bureau website. (https://www.writersbureau.com/writing/planning-a-novel.htm) I share my rough draft with you for my new story and then we end this episode by talking about the history of the Cecil Hotel. I also talked about Elisa Lam's case and the Netflix docuseries "Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I will see you in the next one! — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. What happened at the Cecil Hotel?
  2. How Do I Become A Freelance Writer?
  3. Does Censorship Belong in the Writing Space?
  4. How to Write a Horror Story
  5. What's the Obsession with Toxic Relationships all about?

I’ve decided to start a Podcast! Every Wednesday I will be uploading a podcast onto AJ’s Creative Corner. I’ll be talking about whatever topic related to writing in general pops into my head that week. This week I decided to talk about what social media strategy can help writers when their trying to promote their books or blogs on Instagram specifically. I had a lot of fun making this episode! I have many more tips for Instagram that I am definitely open to sharing on future episodes.

If you have any type of social media strategy questions feel free to comment it down below and I’ll be happy to answer your question on the next episode!

Reality

When I was a little girl if I had a bad day,

I would simply close my eyes & make it all go away.

I’ve always had this special talent of disappearing into my head

Shifting reality to fit into the story I created instead.

When I opened my eyes again everything was brand new,

I wasn’t really me and you weren’t really you.

With the snap of my fingers I was an actress in a role,

I never used it to be cruel, I just used it when life was dull.

Even as an adult I make up these universes in my head

To escape the monotony, the reoccurring dread.

Every once in awhile I have this sobering, sudden fear

That I’ve slipped far into the role, that reality’s become unclear.

Freelance Writing Services

When I first started this blog I wanted to reignite my passion for Creative Writing without limiting myself in what content I posted. I didn’t want to only post poetry or only post fiction for example. I always knew that freelance writing existed but I wasn’t sure how to pursue it.

I’ve recently started learning more and more about it. I’m still researching more every day and trying to figure out what path I want to pursue. I am always going to post to AJ’s Corner at least once a week, ideally 3 times a week.

I’m excited to also announce that I’ve joined Fiverr and have posted my first couple of Gigs! If you could use help with your content for your social media accounts or blog content for your business, message me on Fiverr!

Click on the link down below to hop over to my Fiverr gig if these services could benefit your business. As far as AJ’s Creative Corner, I will see you tomorrow with a new post!

https://www.fiverr.com/s2/d3df32e0ab

New York City

I have a love for New York City,

The streets are too crowded, my pictures never turned out pretty.

With every one moving so fast day to day,

No one cares what you do. No one cares what you say.

I have a love for New York City

And a troubling romance for the vodka I carried with me.

I woke up at midnight and I walked there all alone.

I always hated it there but I couldn’t go home.

With a stomach full of liquor and 50 dollars in my pocket,

I stared at a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Mirror wondering if I’d lost it.

I have a love for New York City.

A love I visit when I’m lost, not a love I carry with me.