Category Archives: Prompt

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.

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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.

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

So my excitement got the better of me and I forgot to write this post – so sorry for my tardiness. I have been busy tying up loose ends, revising freelance projects and ensuring I can leave for my writing retreat tomorrow with a clear desk. On the retreat I will only focus on my writing, which will enable me to ‘complete’ two manuscripts and add to another. These are my retreat goals.

  1. Final read of Life in Slake Patch
  2. Complete revisions and read through of The Twesome Loop
  3. Continue to write my newest story, Bubble the Gruggle.
  4. Enjoy no TV, no cell service and no WiFi.
  5. Converse, share and enjoy my retreat companions company.
  6. Indulge in the most fantastic meals.
  7. Enjoy reading curled up in a cozy corner.

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger – I will most certainly finished this book this week. Just love the characters.

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – chances are as this is more novella than novel that I will finish this book over my writing retreat as well.

2507213

Then onto new stories!

Writing Tips:

Learn from the masters:

Read works by highly successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.
Read works by the canonical authors so you understand what constitutes a respectable literary achievement.

Creek 2016 7Strawberry Creek

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


eventsThis week I do not have any events to attend, (I know a complete shock!), however I will be working hard to finalize freelance projects in anticipation of the writing retreat I will be attending from Thursday. I feel like a little kid waiting for the escape of school term and the long expanse of the summer.

At our retreat we do not set course work or discussion topics, however I do set a prompt, which can be ignored or completed. It is for light relief rather than as an exercise. As for retreat rules we only have a few.

  1. Respect other writers privacy. If their door is closed do not enter, however if it is open then visitors are allowed.
  2. Meals should be taken together not only because they are delicious but it is a time to connect, discuss and refresh mind and body.
  3. Remember to take breaks – whether a walk with a companion or alone, change your writing/reading location or to have a discussion.
  4. Set your own writing goals for the retreat.
  5. After supper gather to relay progress, connect and relax.

creek-sign

Have you been on a retreat?

What rules did they have (if any)?

What benefit did you derive from it?

Local events:

shady

owl nest

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

My main event for this week is on Saturday, which is my writing group’s 8th annual conference. It is always a incredible day of words, writers, writing, networking and meeting new authors.

This year to celebrate Canada’s 150 – we have made the theme Canada – no surprise there! The sessions will be all things Canadian and a fun interactive workshop will be the first session to set the mood. It is a full day (separate sessions can be booked if preferred) testing your writing skills, learning and embracing the written word.

I am presenting one of three short workshops in the first hour but my main presentation is later in the day. My workshop will be creating a Canadian character. I have worked hard to make the session interesting, informative but also fun! Wish me luck.

Conference logo 2017

If you can come on Saturday there is still time to register – here is the link: http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/node/3090

Other events:

Edmonton Poetry Festival- April 16–23. Here is the schedule link: http://www.edmontonpoetryfestival.com/schedule/

In Picton, ON, and the surrounding area, the Prince Edward County Writers Festival takes place April 20–22, featuring Steve Burrows, Joy Fielding, Wallace Edwards, Merilyn Simonds, Zoe Whittall, and others.

Frye Festival, Greater Moncton, NB –  April 22 to 29 Authors including Riel Nason, Jennifer McGrath, and this is the link: http://www.frye.ca/index.php/en/festival-frye/auteurs-2017

Remember to add your local events

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week I have two events. Firstly, tonight I will attend a meeting of the Diversity Committee, who are co-hosting an event with one of my other organizations I volunteer with, the Arts & Culture Council. The event is a celebration of Canada’s 150 but also to bring the artistic and cultural diversity of our locality to the public. There has been a hive of activity to bring together numerous groups and individuals for this event and it is logistically demanding. Luckily with so many volunteers assisting in this venture the workload has been spread, making it easier to cope with. We are on countdown to 11th June for Heritage Day of Strathcona County.

Heritage Day 2017

My next event is on Tuesday, which is the regular meeting of my writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. I always look forward to these meetings not only because it is fun to exercise a writing prompt, I create and hear the responses but to share my work and get valuable feedback as well as network. There are a few core people that never miss the meeting but lots of ‘new’ and ‘irregular’ visitors as well so we never know how many people to expect. Sometimes it is five other times nineteen. It makes the evening a lot of fun.

Writeres Foundation of Strathcona County

Do you attend a regular writing group?

What format does it take?

Other events:

From April 5–9, over a dozen Canadian writers will gather for the ImagiNation Festival at the Morrin Cultural Centre in Quebec City, QC.

The 18th Annual North Shore Writers Festival happens April 7–8 at North Vancouver City Library in North Vancouver, BC.
Book Cover GritLit

The fantastic gritLIT Readers and Writers Festival takes place April 7–10 in Hamilton, ON; the lineup is yet to be announced.  UPDATE HERE: http://www.gritlit.ca/

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As I mentioned last week a prompt picture at my writers meeting resulted in a short story. I thought I would share it. This is the picture inspiration.

lampost girl.jpg

Annabel kicked the tuffs of grass as she walked down the street. She was angry with herself for forgetting her door key again. She knew her mother would rant and rave about her stupidity, so Annabel decided not to try and break into the house – again! The bathroom window had seemed the easy option last time until she was firmly stuck and had to wait for her mother to arrive from a late shift, by which time her leg’s were numb and she had thrown up because of the pressure on her stomach as she was suspended in the small window frame. What made matters worse was the vomit had oozed slowly down the inside of the bathroom wall pooling beside the sink.
Her mother had screamed and stomped around for hours refusing to let Annabel have any supper. Instead she’d watched from the doorway as Annabel washed the wall and floor. No it just wasn’t worth the hassle to try and break in.
All Annabel could do now was watch the traffic and pick at the threads on her school bag until she knew her mother would be home. She thought up an excuse to explain why she wasn’t home. A trip to the library for an assignment would not raise suspicion, hopefully.
Weary of walking back and forth she sat down on the sidewalk and leaned against a signpost. Wishing she had a snack of some kind as her stomach growled. Better hungry than a smack on the back of the head from a screaming mother though.
As soon as she was home she would find that stupid key and make a necklace to hang it on. Never again locked out, hungry and fed up – hopefully.

With the imminent launch of a new cover for The Rython Kingdom, I read through the novella again and made a few changes. There are always a few little edits that need refining. I also added that there will be a sequel following Celeste and Maralynn.

Here is a teaser:

rython3dreveal

I am continuing with edits for two friend’s manuscripts and have made some progress on my reincarnation novel. Busy, busy.

What are you working on?

Books:

the-outcasts

I finished The Outcasts – a neat story with extraordinary imagination of a Grade 7 (UK) young lady. The story is full of tension and wonderful characters. Looking forward to seeing her develop and write more stories.

I browsed the library shelves and found two books. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones and The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney. I have begun the Uninvited Guests – so far it is enjoyable. Unfortunately my book hold had lapsed for Bookshop at Waterès End by Patti Callaha Henry but I will order it again.

What are you reading? 

Do you review books on Goodreads? Why not follow me for my reviews and books.

Writing Tip:

Have two or more projects on the go: Having more than one project on the go is never a bad idea. Although focus and dedication are paramount to completing a work, sometimes you inevitably get stuck. It’s good to be able to move on to something else instead of feeling frustrated and stagnant. You don’t have to have a few big projects happening either … maybe you’re penning a novel, but also some short stories and an article or two. Chuck Sambuchino

Do you have a tip to share?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

With numerous activities requiring my attention, the revision of my reincarnation romance had stalled recently but I did manage a couple of hours last night prior to my writing meeting. This refreshed my enthusiasm somewhat and gave me a chance to decide on which segment to read tonight.

The meeting also resulted in a short story from a picture prompt. I think it could be expanded a little more. Although not sure where I could use it at this moment in time.

I continue to beta-read two manuscripts, which are polar opposites in genre and style but equally enjoyable. The ghost writing project is making good progress as well.

What are your writing commitments? Care to share?

Books:

beyond-the-precipice

Absolutely loved this book. The writing reflects the musical undertows of the story flowing with beautiful but precise notes from depths of sorrow to heights of passion. The characters are well rounded and I felt emotionally attached to them. Secrets and tension, blossoming love and uncertainty weave a complex and intriguing story.
With its locality of Edmonton, Alberta the reader has a sense of place and life in this city.
I thoroughly recommend this book.

I will no doubt read and finish the next novella, Outcast in no time at all and have already put a book on hold at the library.

the-outcasts

BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END  Henry, Patti Callahan

index

What book are you currently reading?

Writing Tip:

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.” — Elmore Leonard

What’s your writing tip?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

This week’s events for me are:

salamander_logo

My regular monthly writers meeting is on Tuesday evening. It is always different as we never know how many members and visitors will attend – new faces arrive all the time. After introductions we announce future events and encourage submissions for our newsletter, the Canada 150 book project we have scheduled this year and use of prompts on our website calendar. http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com

I organize a prompt exercise to start the evening or on request plan a presentation on a particular subject regarding writing. Then we share and discuss current work in progress. Our mandate is constructive critique and acceptance of everyone’s individual style.

The second event is an open mic at a local cafe, Common Ground Cafe hosted by our current Writer in Residence. As I missed the last reading due to ill health I hope to attend.

offthepage-header

8th March – 7 pm to 8.30 pm – all welcome whether reading or listening!

Other events:  

Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival is a celebration of diverse Canadian writers and artists presented by Room magazine.
The festival runs March 8th – 12th, 2017 at various locations in Vancouver, BC.

The festival features 50 writers and artists in more than 20 events over 4 days. Among the line-up are acclaimed writers Amber Dawn, Evelyn Lau, Lorna Crozier, Audrey Thomas, Jen Sookfong Lee, Hiromi Goto, Betsy Warland, and Rachel Hartman, who’ll share the stage with a host of other established and up-and-coming names.

Why not share your events too?

New Year Schedule Begins -Events…


events

As I begin 2017 my first week includes my writers group meeting on 3rd January. The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County meets every first Tuesday of each month year round. We share our writing for constructive critique, exercise our writing muscles with prompts and on occasion enjoy a talk on a particular writing related subject.

I find these meetings to be a wealth of inspiration, a great place to network and allow me to receive feedback on writing projects.

This week also sees our new Writers in Residence for Edmonton and area. This scheme allows writers/authors to receive excellent feedback on sections of their manuscripts. https://www.epl.ca/news/libraries-name-2017-writers-in-residence/

Our ‘local’ author will be: http://www.albertanativenews.com/edmonton-metro-libraries-welcome-2017-writer-in-residence-richard-van-camp/

richard_1

I welcome you to share your first week’s events, projects, meetings here as well.

Happy New Year to you All.

new-year

 

Writing Prompt Responses 2016…Voting is Open


I would be honored if you would take the time to vote for your favorite prompt contest responses – these participants took the time to write something for the competition and I would like to give them a prize for doing so. Leave your vote in the comment section please.

Stone Car – February 20th Prompt

Linda Pedley  (Wildhorse)
The concrete holds me to the road

As I take the curve into the rain
It’s not the destination but the mode
Let go the nerves and go again.

Can our stories written deep in stone
Change despite apparent plan?
All life’s paths go same direction
Can’t change the fates – no one can.

Eric James Olson

Stone Car in the Woods

What difference does perception make?
Parked here, alone but not beside
the road. Enfolded in leaves and green.
Can I be heard?

I shouldn’t be. Let me be clear:
I’m a car made from stones, scraps of metal, used tires.
That’s no metaphor. That’s what I am.
Literally.

And yet—there’s a consciousness in things
Inanimate. Like the other day.
A boy came out to this place in the woods.
He sat down across from me.

I can’t move, of course.
But he can and he came out to me.
And in his mind, a story formed
Of how I came to be—stuck here

By some unseen hand.
Is that not existence? A man made me.
And this boy saw me. Does it matter that
I can’t see him, feel him, hear him?

What difference does perception make?

Coldhandboyack

I don’t know about this, man.”

“Trust me, Benny. The cops will never spot it this way. We’ll just leave the loot in the car. Give it a couple of days and we can dig it out and drive into the night.”

A Chipmunk’s Life – June 25th Prompt

Sharon Baggs

Adult squirrel Perched on a cliff Must be a girl See her fancy quiff.

She searched the rock To see it was safe. Checked out the talk Saw no friendly face.

None of her pals Was she able to chase Where were the guys’n gals? No one to race.

So on this morn She chewed a treat, Feeling so forlorn They’d planned to meet.

She continued her snack A chew then a nibble, Her lips a quiver and smack. T’is better than kibble.

Out came friend Sue Who was a Chipmunk Abra- ca- dabra she was one too Disguise was her funk.

All the squirrels were mean So she used Dad’s power, Became a chipmunk Queen To frolic with Sue for an hour.

Cause after that Back into a squirrel, She turned stat Gave her head a whirl.

Oh, what fun with Sue If only she could stay, As a chipmunk Whoo Hoo! They could always play.

A Cinderella Dream !

Jade Figure – July 9 Prompt

Eli Pacheco

“Ha!” I could hear her in the other room. I knew exactly what she’d found.
“Um, babe … what the heck is this?”
I abandoned the twist of hangers and clean shirts that would now need cleaning to see her sitting in the middle of boxes with IT. She held it up to the light, strands of her blond hair out of the bun and framing her face. Her smile revealed equal parts wonder and confusion.
“I’ve always said I’d toss that the first move it gets broken in,” I explained.
Marin tapped on the glass with two fingernails. “It’s made of kryptonite, apparently.” She set it on the carpet in front of her and squinted. “Not a sixth-grade art project either, though, am I right?” For such ugliness, the craftsmanship was incredible.
“I think they’ve just mated,” I said, using that line for the thousandth time. It was funny the first time. “Or, they’ve just mated. That’s the boy butterfly, beating it for home before she eats his head.” My college roommate hypothesized they were both girls. But that’s a different story.
I’d followed Marin from Boston to Durham, N.C.
No regrets. Construction jobs come in every city. Marin, though, was an artisan. A carpenter. Can you believe that? The girl has carpenter pants in her closet that have actually held a hammer. Every time I’d compliment her on the craft of building a shelf or decorative piece, she reminded me.
“Carpentry isn’t for sissies, you know,” she’d say, without looking up from her work.
Maybe that’s why she reacted differently from any other woman I’d met to this ugly statue. I’d bought it when I was 11, for my mom, for mother’s day. It became the butt of jokes ever since in the family. The year before, I gave mom a Rodney Dangerfield album. I thought this to be an elegant upgrade.
“Have a place in mind for it?” she asked. She rocked back and onto her feet, arms outstretched for effect. Like she’d just nailed the landing off a pommel horse. I met this girl at a 9/11 vigil just off Boylston Street.
I’d followed my uncle to Boston for work. Only, with so much rain, there wasn’t much to do. I sustained myself on cereal and waited it out. I’d had so little work before the day I met Marin that it felt my hands hand grown soft. The week before, the Sox/Blue Jays finale got rained out.
I had bleacher tickets and everything – two, with no one in mind to take.
Anyway, I met Marin at this rally that I wouldn’t have been interested in had the week not been so rain-soaked and workless. I’d let the troubles of my world bounce around in my mind for days. I thought the relevance of the day could assuage that a bit. And it didn’t.
Until I saw her.
Now here I was, watching her hold up the mistake of a mother’s day gift that had stubbornly survived a handful of moves. She held it aloft, at first close, then at arm’s length. Immediately I remembered the snickering when mom lifted it from an oatmeal container decorated with paint.
“I do,” she said of what would become “fugglyfly’s” new home.
I remembered my oldest brother suggesting a place to put it that wasn’t exactly comfortable. Or probably physically possible. Instead, Marin walked out into the kitchen, to the end of the bar. I followed, as always.
She pushed aside my blender and two small boxes and placed the figure on the kitchen bar, way to the back, where I thought it would be easy to hide it behind something else. Anything else.
“Parfait,” she whispered, even though she knew French about as well as she did decorum. Marin stepped back, over my bag of golf discs, hands on hips. She adjusted a track light onto the figure, and turned it around. Ugly art has no front and back.
“That’s ridiculous,” I muttered, and realized how awful that must have sounded.
It occurred to me I’d assumed Marin’s actions were to ridicule. They weren’t. She didn’t even know the story. She hadn’t even asked. Even now, in my petulance, she leaned on a bar stool and waited. No reaction. No judgement.
I explained the story, and found myself looking more at my hands and feet than my girlfriend. “But it’s jade, isn’t it?” she asked. “It looks like jade. Smells like jade, too,” she said for comic effect. You know what? No one in my family had ever brought that up. Hell yes, it looks like jade.
I waited for the laughter burst, the proclamation, “you poor boy. How did you know it was horrid?” Nope. Still, no such thing. Marin instead told me that when her father died, she found bracelets and rings she’d made for him when she was little, in his jewelry box, next to his wedding ring.
She’d found artwork of hers, some of it unidentifiable, in his safe, with his will.
We talked a little more about stuff from our childhoods. Nothing bitter. I’d felt like a lot of what I did was misunderstood. I turned and looked through the open bedroom door and remembered the cramped closet space and so low to the ground toilet.
I wondered how we’d share sink space. If my beef jerky would go over well with a girl more likely to dry banana and kiwi chips than beef flank steak. I could see some battles, and that didn’t have anything to do with whose tools would go where. Or if my towels were towel-bar worthy.
She’d been the first, though, to unpack this symbol of my childhood mistakes this way. Makes me think we’ll be all right.
Makes me think I could even give kiwi chips a shot.

Invisible – August 6 prompt

Melinda Kucsera

Evasion

She sat reading and fading where she sat.
First her feet slipped into nothing, a toe
at a time. Her legs went next, but she sat
still and continued reading even though
her body shifted out of time part by
part. Her torso next phased out following
her legs. Not some invisibility
trick or try to fool the eye, she’s going
now, her arms are vanishing, soon her head
will go and all that will be left standing
is her clothes and the grimoire that she read.
For the invisibility spell cast
had helped her to evade her past at last.

Bench – September 10 prompt

Bernadette

I sit on the bench and wallow in the beauty of orange. The crunch of leaves and the crisp air fill my ears and lungs with sensory satisfaction. And just when I think I could not be anymore content, I gaze up at the bossy Blue Jay and smile.

Artista10

  • Sitting among the colors. Thinking of the many colors of life and the colors that make people’s personalities. Simple. complicated. Stunning. outraged. People. Colors. Life.

Vanished – December 3 prompt

The Bike Ride
by
Suzanne Burkett

It was a frosty morning for a bike ride but ten-year-old Jacob felt the loneliness more than the cold. At least he had his bike; it made his escapes so much easier. He could go faster and farther on his silver bike than on his feet. And that made all the difference for a kid in foster care.
Sure, he had to go back at the end of the day. If he could survive outside he would. But the need for food and warmth always made him turn his bike around and return to the house. There had been so many, it was a wonder he could even find his way back, but he did and there was always a family that barely noticed him, tossed a plate of cold hard food on the table, talked around him and about him, but never directly to him. Unless the check didn’t arrive from the child welfare. Then they got right up close to him and demanded he call his social worker. “Tell her we ain’t gonna feed you if we don’t get paid.”
Sometimes Sharon drove over in her ratty old Subaru and delivered her own personal check to the ‘family’. He loitered outside with his head hanging down while the inevitable argument ensued. One time, two years ago, she showed up with the bike sticking out of the back of her hatchback. “I’d take you myself if I could. You know that don’t you, Jacob?”
He nodded, unable to lift his head and let her see the tears soaking his lashes, one rolling down his cheek, then another until she wrapped her arms around him in a fierce, warm hug. Wiping her own cheeks, striding to her car, cranking the engine three times then finally driving off without looking back. She promised she would always find a home for him. Every time he was returned. Displaced. But could she really keep that promise?
This morning was the same as any other except for the part about it being Christmas morning. Jacob had crept out of the house before the ‘family’ awoke. He’d learned it was best not to sit with them, hopeful and expectant. More times than not, as the wrapping paper flew from the packages, he would get that look. The–oh gosh we forgot about you–look.
He rode along the wet street, water spraying up the back of his red sweatshirt. If he’d been asked what he wanted for Christmas, he would have said, “a rain jacket.”
His fingers were as icy as the trees. He took one hand, then the other off the handlebars, blew on it and put it in the front pocket of his sweatshirt. Over and over for miles he rode, finally turning left instead of right because he’d always wanted to see what was down this empty road. Nobody ever came down the road. And every time he rode past it, he promised himself that one day he would try it. He so much wanted to know where it led. So for Christmas this year he gave himself the gift of courage and turned his bike.
The first thing he noticed was the quiet sound. The trees hung forward like they were whispering to each other from one side of the street to the other. He forgot about his frozen fingers and kept riding, leaning forward, thinking if he rode far enough, if the road went far enough, he would understand what the trees were saying.
Then up ahead in the foggy distance, he saw something blocking the road. Oh no, he thought. There’s someone out here. He squinted. It looked like a red and gold car in the middle of the road, skidded sideways. Someone spun out. He squeezed his brakes. He thought he did but the bike didn’t slow. It seemed to go faster. He pulled his hand off the lever, blew on it, squeezed again but nothing happened. He stood up on the peddles. “Hey!” he shouted. “Hey, I’m here! Look out! I can’t stop!”
For the first time ever, his bike slid out from under him. Not now, he thought. Don’t give up on me now.
He hit the ground, sliding forward on his back, his bike motionless behind him. He skidded right up to the car that was not a car. It was a sleigh, and a man as ancient as the world itself stepped out of it. He scooped Jacob up in his arms. “I got you now,” he said. “You can come with me.”