Defiant (A Poem)


The mass of flesh and muscle
Paws at the earth, ready
Nostrils flared, teeth bared
Whipped up for the tussle

This raging beast knows no bounds
He’s uncontrolled and fevered
Shredding the earth’s most treasured grounds
Pitching and pacing and itching to beat her

The trampling has been rough
Boots and teeth of the downtrodden
Litter the trail this beast has cleared
He charges, illuminated
By madness, greed, and fear

How many times must we rise, march, and fall?
Before we break this beast and beat back the wall?

A voice springs from the chaos—a war cry
Hope springs and the people rise,


The fearless converge
The future takes shape
We move on the beast
As many times as it takes

Note from the Poet: The day before International Women’s Day 2017, State Street Global Advisors installed a statue of a little girl facing off against the iconic bronze “Charging Bull” on Wall Street as part of a campaign to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards. The images of these statues were striking, ironic, and exalting. As the poem “Defiant” emerged, it transcended the image that inspired it. The “Fearless Girl” statue was crafted by sculptor Kristen Visbal.

Should We Take Superhero Movies Seriously?

superhero movies modern myths

Superhero stories: modern myths for a twenty-first century audience.

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path doesn’t mean they can’t be saved.” – Professor Charles Xavier (X-Men)

A recent op-ed in the Washington Post asks “Are movies like ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ worth taking seriously?” The real question that the column addresses, however, deals with whether fantasy blockbusters warrant serious reception by critics:

Mass culture…gives critics an unusually broad sense of what audiences are responding to in a work and how they read a movie. And by meeting moviegoers where they are, critics have opportunities to talk to our readers about big issues in a more penetrating way than is possible in our current political deadlock.

The public decides which movies they want to see and which ones they like, regardless of what critics review. And our culture has decided to embrace superhero movies in a big way.

Currently, of the top ten highest grossing films worldwide, three are superhero movies (The Avengers; The Avengers: Age of Ultron; Black Panther). Four are fantasy blockbusters (Avatar; Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2; Star Wars: The Last Jedi). That leaves just three films that don’t fall into the category of fantasy blockbuster (Titanic, Furious 7, and Jurassic World). (Wikipedia)

We know what fans are paying to see in theaters. The question is why? Read more

My Latest Book – Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises

story drills fiction writing exercisesStory Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises is the second book in my series on the art of storytelling, The Storyteller’s Toolbox.

Story Drills

Stories are made up of many moving parts: plots and subplots; characters, action, and dialogue; the scenes, the setting, the prose, and more.

Developing each of these elements and then weaving them all together into a coherent narrative requires a variety of skills. And once we learn the basics, we need a lot of practice before we truly master the art of storytelling.

Story Drills is packed with fiction writing exercises that impart skills and inspire ideas for writing stories.

You’ll learn the elements, principles, and techniques of storytelling; gain experience through writing practice; and get questions for further contemplation that will lead to a deeper understanding of the craft. Story Drills is designed to be used by individual writers or in the classroom.

Take it for a test drive: the storytelling exercise “Character Arcs” is available online.

Get Your Copy Today

Are you ready to learn the craft of storytelling? Pick up your copy of Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises.

Reality (A Poem)

reality poem by melissa donovanReality

What if you could reshape reality
With words and pictures
Bring people into a new existence
Of your own making

You could make them believe
The earth is flat
The moon is made of cheese
Up is down and right is left

I saw the world flip

Outside where cherry blossoms swirl
And crickets chirp at the stars
The river digs through the earth
And the trees inhale the sky

Lions still devour lambs

This world is real
Even if you’re not

My Latest Book: What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing

What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing is the first book in my latest craft-of-writing series, The Storyteller’s Toolbox.

What’s the Story?

Storytelling is an ancient human tradition, something that all cultures throughout history and around the globe share. Stories are a reflection of culture, but they also shape culture. Their importance in society should not be underestimated.

Crafting stories is not as easy as the best storytellers make it look. Numerous elements are woven together to create a believable experience for the reader, from characters, plot, setting, and theme to action, dialogue, description, and exposition.

This book walks you through all those elements of storytelling and more.

What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing fosters a broader and deeper understanding of stories, what they are made of, and how they are developed. Ideal for beginning to intermediate storytellers and designed for personal or classroom use, this book will demystify storytelling for those who want to write compelling stories that will resonate with readers.

Take it for a test drive: the writing exercise “Character Arcs” is available online.

Get Your Copy Today

Are you ready to learn the craft of storytelling? Pick up your copy of What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing.

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