Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Onward & Upward..

September 17, 2010


Now I have the AGM behind me and my position as Secretary of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County is secured, I can move on to other projects. Some are long term, like the Foundation’s Conference next April and some, more immediate, such as my entry into this year’s NaNoWriMo and my weekly writing prompts.

I enjoy creating the Saturday prompts – it is another ‘creative’ item to my catalog – and the best part is crafting a response and then reading everyone else’s. Several have become the inspiration for longer pieces of work, which I will put on the back burner until after NaNo.

I am trying to focus on my NaNo story this year, prior to November. Last year I had the seed of an idea and just ‘free’ wrote all month, the story created itself under my finger tips. My new tale, as I have said, is a different concept altogether and I am looking forward to writing it. My point of view is as narrator instead of the main character, so a challenge for me as I have not written this way before. Discovering new ways to write is part of my enjoyment of this all consuming passion. Its skills are many and varied – a life long lesson.

One aspect I have noticed, after becoming a writer, is that I read differently now. I am aware of the forming of the characters, the story arc and the use of words. However, with a good piece of writing, I am a novice reader again. A case in point – I have just finished reading Under The Dome by Stephen King. This mammoth tome of 1074 pages held me captive all the way through. The story is spell binding as well as the vast number of characters used. It is the sign of a truly skilled author, that you care for a character in a short time and their story glides the plot along, seemingly effortlessly. (As you may suspect, I am a huge Stephen King fan).

We all have our author hero’s and a part of that is enjoying the particular genre they write. Mr. King’s skill in absorbing me into a story and his openness about his writing life has my absolute admiration. If I can write just one novel that captivates a reader I will be happy.

I Write…

September 8, 2010

I have found many words of wisdom regarding the process and skill of writing, whilst searching the internet. The one ‘constant’ bizarrely is the variety of views and thoughts, which come from author’s blogs. Each individual’s experience of writing is as unique as they are and that is what makes this writing life so special. No matter what you write, it is your own originality that makes it distinctive. A case in point is the variety of responses we receive from Saturday prompts posted on the WFSC web site. Even with a common starting point, no two pieces are alike, making the reading even more enjoyable.

For example one prompt was – You see a lone shoe beside the road. Tell its story. My response was a piece I called – Phenomenal Shoe

scarpasa boot

  Whilst driving homeward one evening I spy a shoe lying beside the road. Where had it come from? Who did it belong to? How did it get there? These thoughts run through my mind as I near home but are soon forgotten once the evening meal preparations occupy me.

It is not until the following evening that I again glimpse the shoe. Appearing and disappearing in the brief gap my wipers allow me through a veil of water on my windscreen. Why do I worry so about an abandoned shoe? It seems to pull me toward it. Before rational thought can take over, I pull my car to the kerb.  I brave the rain and pick up what is an extraordinary looking shoe.  Placing it in the foot well, it gradually oozes water, making a small puddle. I continue my journey home.

“Hey Mum, we’ve got a power cut. Dad said we are going out for supper.”

My son’s declaration distracts me. The shoe is forgotten in the bustle of our departure.

“Put your seat belt on, Timothy.  Joy put your glasses on – how many times do I have to tell you?”

Hours later, my two young ones tucked up in bed and my husband snoring gently in front of the television, I remember the shoe.  I find it partially dried out awaiting rescue. How can this innate object hold my attention?  Its pale grey layered vamp and the highly unusual heel make it a thing of beauty – it is obviously a very expensive designer shoe – where could its partner be? Why was it discarded? As I turn it this way and that, admiring the delicately layered cloth, the fascinating heel, a sensation of familiarity flows through me. This is my shoe – lost long ago. What is this – a déjà vu moment?

Settling the shoe on my bedside table – as a sort of talisman – I drift off to sleep. My dreams are of a rich dazzling life, enjoying expensive restaurants, fancy hotels and exquisite clothes. Even the silk sheets underneath me feel real as I turn over to see voile billowing into a perfectly white room. This is not my bedroom, am I still dreaming?

“Darling, are you awake? I’ve brought you breakfast.”

I turn to see an incredibly handsome man walking into the room. He is carrying a laden tray complete with a red rose.
“Where am I? How did I get here?”

“You are home, my love.  I thought I had lost you after the accident but now the doctor has let you come home. He thinks being in familiar surroundings will help your memory.”

“But I’m married with children – this isn’t home.”

“The doctor told me you may have false memories from your time in the coma but they will fade, darling. Truly you are home now.”
I turn toward the bedside table, there lies the shoe.

“Is this my shoe?” I’m sorry, who are you?”

“I’m Dominic. My darling, I’m your husband. Do you know your name? Is anything familiar?”

“My name is…..? I don’t know! I must be dreaming. I have to get back to my children.”

“We don’t have children Francesca. You said they would tie us down, hamper our travels, our life style.”

“Francesca? I do have children – Timothy and Joy they……. I am so confused. Is this one of my shoes?”

“I think it is – let me look for you. Here in the bag the hospital sent home with you. How did you manage get its partner?”

“I found it beside the road, abandoned. It seemed to call to me – isn’t that strange?”

“No, I think your mind was trying to bring you back to me, my love. But how could you have picked it up from the roadside when you were lying in a coma? That is the strange part.”

As I look at the pair of shoes, one pristine and the other water marked and grubby, a feeling of recognition fills me – now I know who I am. Francesca Mendez, heiress to a hotel empire. I live a life of luxury but deep down I have a yearning – a yearning for children.  I will take advantage of my second chance – have those children that are waiting within me. I hold out my hand to Dominic and pull him toward me.

“However strange it may be, this shoe has brought me back to you and given us the chance to change our lives. Will you make a baby with me, Dominic?”

“My darling I have wanted children but you were so opposed to the idea. Are you sure?”

“I am very sure Dominic.”

Our lust consumes us, the shoes forgotten for the moment.

Epilogue:  Years later, when my children are older I show them the special shoes. They are encased in a specially made glass case, in pride of place in my boudoir. Sitting Timothy and Joy beside me on a soft couch, I relay the story of the shoes and how, without them, life would have been very different.


Why don’t you try writing a piece with this prompt? See where you thought process’ take you and then post it here. We can compare and comment. Have fun – that is what writing is all about after all.


What Now…?

September 2, 2010

LifeinSlakePatch 001

It was difficult to ‘let go’ of Slake Patch and its inhabitants. They had been such a big part of my life, but now they are in the hands of several publishers and I must move on.

So looking forward, I have several projects I can get my teeth into. My writers circle AGM, as secretary I have a few responsibilities to attend to. An exciting book launch for the Writers Foundation, which will be our first – of many I hope.

And… NaNoWriMo. Yes, I am embarking on another NaNo – it is such an adventure seeing how a story unfolds under the pressure of a deadline. Knowing I have, not only to finish on time, but have to reach that fifty thousand word point, within a mere thirty days. I have a notion for a story, which is vastly different from Slake. In essence it is a love story with a twist – reincarnation. And that’s as much as you’re getting!

I know how easy it is to push aside a project and let ‘life’ take up our time. Months, or even years, can pass and that story idea, notes or partially finished manuscript can gather dust. A story should be told – I believe it is a writer’s responsibility to release their words into the world for all to share. Your story is a gift – so bestow it. “I’m responsible?” I hear you cry – well, how is anyone going to read your story if it stays on the shelf? Don’t play the ‘what if’ game – send your words into the world and take heart from the fact every single author (yes even the famous ones) have had rejections. It is the path we must tread bravely. Our reward is knowing our story will be enjoyed by people far and wide.

So my suggestion to you is – try NaNoWriMo. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t reach the magical fifty thousand words but the process of writing to a deadline is enlightening. I was surprised at how focused I became and how, actually writing every day, brought its own recompense. I’m not saying it isn’t a daunting prospect – it is! But I think you will amaze yourself and learn something new about your writing in the process.

Good luck.

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