Category Archives: Prompt

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As many of you know I love prompts, as they inspire and refresh the Muse. At my last writing meeting our prompt was: you find a box underneath your seat on a train. This was my response.

Box of Resource

My ankle struck a sharp edge and I let out a cry. Rubbing my bruised skin I noticed the brass hinge of a box wedged underneath the train carriage seat. After a couple of tugs to free the object, it was revealed as an old wooden box with elaborate brass hinges and decoration on all sides as well as the top. It was a woodland scene with an inset of silver representing the moon through an arch of gnarly trees. I tried the clasp but it was locked. I looked under the seat again hoping to find a key but only found a discarded piece of chewing gum and several wrappers sticky with candy.

I place the box on the tabletop and turned it this way and that admiring the workmanship. When I lifted it and shook it there was a gentle knocking sound. Something heavy was inside, but what? The guard came walking towards me and asked for my ticket, I produced it and he clipped a hole into it.

“That’s a beautiful box; a lot of work went into that I’m sure.”

“Yes it is lovely isn’t it?”

Once he left I wondered why I hadn’t revealed that the box was not actually mine. Pushing the box to one side I organized my space, backpack beside me, a novel on the table with a bottle of juice and a sandwich. Traveling at night is much more relaxed and not so crowded.

I read for a while and must have dozed off because a gentle shaking of my shoulder woke me.

“You have the box.”

I looked at the man confused at his words as my sleepy mind tried to become fully awake.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“The box of resource, there in front of you, I was not expecting a messenger.”

The man’s words did not make sense but he smiled kindly at me. He lifted the box and put it into a large canvas bag. As he turned away I asked

“What is the box of resource? I found it underneath this seat. I’m not a messenger.”

“Ah, I see that explains your confusion. It contains an ancient scroll that must be returned to the Vatican. It holds the…well I must not delay you.”

He looked up alarmed, turned and exited the train at a run along the platform. I so wanted to follow him but by the time I had packed my backpack he was nowhere in sight. My only clue -he was going to the Vatican. Well Rome is the city I will be living in for the next four years so maybe I will find him again and he will tell me what the box contains.

Why not write a short story using this prompt and share in the comments?

Books: I am enjoying this narrative as it is set in two time periods, like my novel, The Twesome Loop. The characters are well rounded and the ‘discoveries’ are intriguing.

A Desperate Fortune

Writing Tips:

Break writing rules with intention.

As Pablo Picasso so wisely said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break the rules like an artist.”

There are times to stick to the rules, and there’s those times to think beyond them … in any kind of writing.

What ‘rules’ have you broken?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I have my writing group sharing meeting on Tuesday. I always look forward to this monthly meeting, as you never know who will attend – sometimes a few, sometimes a lot! The meeting begins with announcements on upcoming events and then a call for submissions for our Muse newsletter and our special newspaper page, Never Been Better which is aimed at the 55+ demographic.

We then have a writing prompt of some sort to energize the writing muse and then share our responses. It is always intriguing to hear how other writers respond to the same prompt – it is how our minds work I suppose. Discussions on the responses follows and then we share part of our current work for constructive critique.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

What format does your writing group meeting take?

Planning for our Words in the Park event is still in progress. We had to close registrations as we are full. A floor plan has to be devised so all the registrations have a space to display. A plethora of authors are attending but as we co-host with the Arts and Culture Council we also have artisans and performers. With a clown and children’s activities, interactive sessions and food it will be a fantastic day. Event at: Spark Gallery, 2257 Premier Way, Sherwood Park. 10 am – 4 pm  Free admission. The event is also a ‘pop up’ event for Alberta Culture Days.

Web site banner WitP 2017_0

My group will also be launching their Canada 150 book project, Postcards from Canada at the event so doubling exciting. It is an anthology of short stories, poetry and images celebrating Canada.

postcards from Canada

Other events:

Jaspreet Singh “November” Book Launch
Tuesday 5th September at 19:00–21:00 Audrey’s Books

November

Kat Trimarco “Self Approved” book signing

Wednesday 6th September at 12:00–13:00 Audrey’s Books

Self

What events are coming up in your area?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

With a few hours in my local library last night I delved into my current YA story. Set on another planet four friends go on an adventure chasing an intruder and discovering a secret plot in the process. I added 1238 words, which is quite good for a couple of hours uninterrupted writing time. The ‘secret plot’ just came to me as I was writing the narrative. I just love when my Muse takes over and steers me in new directions.

Have you experienced this ‘twist’ on your writing? What changes did it bring about to the final narrative?

The reminder of my evening was spent with a select few at the writing meeting, where we shared our responses to a prompt, discussed publishing smaller stories and the upcoming events. The main two being an author reading on 26th August and Words in the Park on 30th September.

What are your writing plans for this weekend?

Books:

I am enjoying this story cast over a couple of time periods and the countryside of England and Italy. The characters interactions and their possible connections are tantalizingly vague ensuring I turn the page.

The Mermaid Garden

What are you reading at the moment? Care to share your thoughts of review?

I think my next book will be this one – written by a local Edmonton author.

Mind of the Phoenix

Writing tips:

Pay attention to punctuation, especially to the correct use of commas and periods. These two punctuation marks regulate the flow of your thoughts, and they can make your text confusing even if the words are clear.

Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page. Margaret Atwood

Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand. Anne Enright

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I will be attending a special supper with a member of my writing group who resides in Newfoundland. Not only is it exciting to see her, for her visits are few and far between but to really connect with her rather than on social media. A group of us will share stories and gossip (of the writing kind of course!) at a local restaurant  and then attend the normal monthly writing meeting. I know, Sharon is really looking forward to the evening especially the meeting as she so misses the camaraderie of the group.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Our meeting will run in its usual format with a review of upcoming events, submissions for the newsletter and our Canada 150 book project and then a writing prompt to inspire the Muse. After this we will share our current writing projects for constructive critique. 

After the workshop I attended last week I did try out an exercise suggested by Jennifer. Read the first five pages of your manuscript and then answer the question, does it give the reader 12-15 points to introduce who, why, when and where of your protagonist. Obviously, some genres do not start with such an ‘info dump ‘ but if your reader can get a sense of who the protagonist is that will help engage them and make them turn the page. It was an interesting exercise with my current five manuscripts and I did change one first paragraph.

Have you tried this technique?

Did it help you identify a revision?

My major event will be on Sunday. It has been months of exhaustive organizing by both boards of the Arts & Culture Council and the Diversity Committee and we hope for good weather and large crowds! Heritage Day of Strathcona County may become an annual event (what am I letting myself in for?) if this initial event does well. With numerous vendors, performers, food providers, music and even a special free shuttle and a magician, we have done all we can.

heritage day

Other events:

 June 8, 2017: The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories

“The Writing Stick: Sharing Indigenous Stories” conference takes place June 8 to 10, 2017 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. It will foster conversations on editing and publishing Indigenous stories and writers. The conference is intended for Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from all walks of life including publishers, editors, writers, storytellers, filmmakers, academics.

juxtapostions

Welcome to the WGA Annual Conference 2017: Juxtapositions! This is where writers from all across Alberta come together to socialize, network, learn, and celebrate writers and writing. We’ve asked over a dozen authors to share their talents and experiences in fiction, short story, poetry, and journalism through keynote speeches, author interviews, panel discussions and more. And Saturday night we’ll take it up a notch with our Literary Awards Gala. Join us June 10 and 11 at Lister Centre, U of A campus in Edmonton!

https://writersguild.ca/events/wga-annual-conference-2017-juxtapositions/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My escape on a writing retreat from 18th – 22nd May was absolutely fabulous. Surrounded by fresh spring greenery, bird song, blue skies, fellow writers and delicious food (cooked for us!) what more could a writer need? The photos above give only a glimpse of my time there. I particularly love the A frame cabin – wouldn’t that be a perfect place to have to write in?

Strawberry Creek Lodge may only be an hour or so away from home but it is a different world away from the normal reality of life. This enabled myself and my fellow writers to indulge in the written word, discuss plots, formats and support each other. With an open or closed door policy we could shut ourselves away to write or be open to conversation and walks through the woods and along the creek. The lodge is a magical place where ‘real’ life disappears allowing your creative muse to flourish. 

I did manage to achieve my writing goals at the retreat so that was an added bonus.

  • Final revisions to The Twesome Loop final word count 75,007.
  • Wrote new YA story Bubble the Gruggle word count 8306.
  • Began revisions on The Giving Thief 70,394 word count.

With my writing goals attained I can immerse myself in the ghost writing project and hopefully have the revised draft to my client by the end of May.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What benefit did you gain?

Did you achieve your writing goals?

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger- I completed this book while on my writing retreat. The ending had a great twist to it and I found the characters to be intriguing all through the narrative. The story contains complicated relationships, past loves, new loves, strange addictions, cemetery walks, and ghosts. 

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – I began this book at the retreat. It has a unique format and is good research for my novel, The Twesome Loop.

2507213

Writing Tips

Make it your business to understand grammar and language. Do you know a noun from a verb, a predicate from a preposition? Do you understand tense and verb agreement? You should.

My tip: Find a way to escape ‘normal life’ be it a road trip, a mini break at a hotel, or a weekend getaway – it doesn’t have to be far away to achieve the tranquility to write.