Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Random Words as Inspiration for a Short Story

January 6, 2022
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As writers, we find inspiration all around us, and incorporate sights, sounds, conversations, observations and more into our narratives. As many of you know, I enjoy using word and picture prompts to spark ideas. Some become a quick paragraph, others a short story and some a full blown novel. As host of my local writing group’s monthly meeting, I encourage the participants to engage their creative juices during the meeting in a ten minute prompt/writing exercise.

This was the case on Tuesday. The words were: puddle, tree, letter, steps, trail, ache. I am sharing my response here, but thought it interesting that the word puddle was the stimulus for me. A word association – puddle, rain, April showers. Hence this story.

April stamped her boot covered feet in the puddle. Murky brown water splashed in every direction bouncing off the stony trail and bordering grass. Little did her mother know when she named April that the name would be accepted by her adoptive parents.

The sealed letter with her birth mother’s arrived that morning, making April’s chest ache with longing and apprehension. As she stepped further into the park, she spied her tree. A special place, she would hide, when she felt uncomfortable or needed space from her step-siblings. Climbing to the thick horizontal branch, she made herself comfortable and took a deep breath.

Now was the moment, she would know her mother – well her birth mother anyway. She had so many questions. The envelope tore open and she pulled out several sheets of lined paper. The writing was cursive , but not difficult to read. This was the connection she had asked for – revealing words, memories and requests for forgiveness filled the lines. Tears ran down April’s cheeks. This letter changed her life.

Photo by Happy Pixels on Pexels.com

For example, a series of random picture prompts were the catalyst for my novella, The Rython Kingdom. Utilizing this method can refresh our Muse, or spark new ideas.

Do you use specific methods to inspire your writing? Care to share?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Holiday Time Writing Tips

December 16, 2021
mandyevebarnett


We all know that the holiday’s tend to reek havoc on our writing schedule, but there are ways of grabbing writing time. There are always lulls in activities, whether it’s traveling time, the lethargic atmosphere after a meal, or solitary early mornings. You can find somewhere to ‘hide’ away, even if its only for half an hour or so. Here are a few tips to try.

Relax your normal rigorous writing timetable – take time to chill and observe.

Keep track of the number of words you write instead of how long you wrote.

Make the most of “un-scheduled” time – waiting for a flight or sitting in a vehicle en route to a function, at children’s rehearsals, a break for coffee during shopping.

Wake up earlier (or stay up later) than usual to ensure that you spend some time writing.

Decide on a specific amount of time to write and block that time.

Use the time to track your progress on a current project.

Feel comfortable to reflect on your writing plans or current project.

Experiment with prompts, a new genre or a short story.

You’re going to be around a lot of people so pay attention to the interactions and conversations use it as research.

A new location can inspire an new idea or inclusion in a current work.

Always carry a notebook and pen.

Refuse to feel guilty when you remove yourself to write.

Remember it is okay to rest and enjoy the celebrations.

How do you find time to writing during the holidays?

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Prompt to Novel Guest Blog Post

November 18, 2021
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Author Collaborative

I was fortunate to be asked to write a guest post on Heather L. Barksdale’s blog.

My topic – utilizing prompts to spark an idea for a story. As many of you know I have used prompts in this way in the past, and am sure to use them in the future.

Writing Prompt Practice to Published Novel – A Process

https://heatherlbarksdale.com/blog/blog-post-four-misfits-guestpost-mandyevebarnett?fbclid=IwAR0VKkp72xUZYgk6GQG-If2Hd3p9wijZJBROH8iEGO_wzM-nw9iy7b7mfrs

Have you used prompts with your stories or to spark an idea? Care to share?

Joint Author Interview 22April David Ellis & Cendrine Marrouat

April 22, 2021
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Today I welcome a joint interview with Daivd and Cendrine, authors who collaborate to publish a variety of books and a magazine. Welcome to you both.

David Ellis

1.     What drew you to poetry?

I grew up trying to write spoof lyrics for a lot of different songs, inspiration would come out of all sorts of places. When it turned out that my lyrical structures became too big and unwieldy for songs themselves to contain, I started turning to writing poetry because I was drawn into the musicality of playing with words and phrases. I was fascinated by how you could treat words as if they were musical instruments. I began reading lots of poetry written by my peers and in doing so, I gained the ability to write on an emotional level that connected with many different people. This is what forged my love of poetry, being able to communicate with like-minded souls and give them hope, inspiration, passion, courage and kindness in their lives.

2.     You embrace a variety of topics in your poetry. Can you explain your process in choosing a theme?

Theme for me is pretty easy, in that I am most interested in writing things that are inspirational, romantic, funny or all three combined! I’ve always thought that when it comes to choosing a theme or topic, it should be something that you are passionate about. You should actively try to combine multiple elements to give you enough drive and material to visualize a project. For example, you may choose to write about snow but that on its own is not very inspiring. However, if you were to then combine other elements of an emotional nature (a first romance in the snow, playing in the snow as a child/with your own children, etc) then this will give you the means to flesh out your piece. From then on, you can continue to add whatever details you need to give enough colour to your piece of writing to interest others into reading it.

3.     How does writing flash fiction differ from poetry for your writing process?

With Flash Fiction I am usually thinking of a specific scene taking place in my mind. Whilst this can also be true for poetry, stories tend to unfold themselves when I have some characters chatting to each other. Usually my flash fiction pieces consist of dialogue between quirky characters and action unfolding. I would say that a poem can embrace many different angles but a piece of story writing is focused, concise, every word needs to count when it comes to describing the scene/event. With a poem, you can be more vague when it comes to the overall meaning of the lines and still have a deep message that can be conveyed. Whereas with a piece of story writing, it is important to convey to the reader where they are and what is happening (even if the twists, turns and outcomes are a mystery), so that they can quietly imagine being there themselves enjoying the experience.

4.     Who are your writer heroes?

I have tons in different genres! My favourite genre is Fantasy, so I will say that my top two literary heroes are Terry Practchett and Neil Gaiman. Stephen King for horror. For poetry, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson & Maya Angelou are also but a very small selection. I could literally spend all day and night naming people in the literary, TV and film world who constantly inspire me on a daily basis!

5.     How did you come up with the title –  “TooFullToWrite – I’ve started so I’ll finish”?

The short answer is that I always thought about the notion how writers and artists start things but struggle to finish them. Maybe they lose their creativity or drive, or some other shiny thing comes along to distract them. My philosophy was born out of wanting to finish things that I start because I am not a fan of loose ends and it is satisfying to complete things (no matter how long they take!) for our own peace of mind.

I actually wrote a humorous origin story about the namesake of my website, so if your readers are interested they can read it here:-

https://toofulltowrite.com/2013/02/12/daily-prompt-all-about-me-the-mostly-true-origin-story-of-toofulltowrite/

6.     You have created workbooks for authors. Can you tell us about them and why you created them?

Cendrine & I created our workbooks series at Auroras & Blossoms because we wanted to inspire artists to create more material, to become more professional and to thrive at what they do best. We focus on a variety of different topics, including writing prompts, inspirational tips/techniques, new poetry and writing forms, social media etiquette, social media marketing, marketing your artwork better and many more. We want to keep expanding and evolving what we offer to be on the cutting edge of what inspires artists to show up and produce the best material of their lives! 🙂

For more information, check out the link here:- https://abpoetryjournal.com/journals-workbooks/

7.     How, why and when did you formulate the partnership with Cendrine Marrouat?

Cendrine goes into deeper detail in her interview segment below. We crossed paths years ago when I was interviewing fellow authors and artists. We have an excellent creative partnership that we have built a strong platform on. We complement each other with our skills sets and are both a creative force to be reckoned with. She is an excellent business partner and extremely talented too!

8.     You have a wide range of skills, including podcaster, lyricist, humorist – do you feel these are all components of your writer life? How do each of these disciplines aid your writing?

I have never wanted to tie my creativity down to just one single thing. As I learn how to do one creative discipline, I become interested in others by way of association and because of my passion in existing disciplines, this enthusiasm carries over to new things that I try out in the artistic world. I do not feel like they are actually defined by a writer’s life, although to be fair, a writer’s life has led me to all of them and so much more. It’s very true what they say about how being a writer means that you can literally be anything you want to be in life! Being involved in many different artistic outlets gives you a much broader palette to paint from. It is not for everyone, since some people prefer to focus on one thing and get really good at it. I have to focus on many things in my life, otherwise I will get bored doing the same thing over and over – variety is the spice of life!

9.     Does living in England enhance your writing – if so how?

This is an interesting question. I definitely have a British sense of humour and it comes out in my jokes, quips, puns and writing style because that is an integral part of who I am. I feel like it gives me a unique perspective on the world, one that is endearing, comical and entertaining to read. I embrace these aspects of my own personal character in that I have manners, am well behaved and professional (plus a bit old fashioned) but at the same time I do have an extroverted side, like to be playful and let my hair down regularly as well!

10.  Please share your social media sites.

Website: https://toofulltowrite.com

Blog: https://toofulltowrite.com/blog

Books: https://toofulltowrite.com/my-books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TooFullToWrite

Instagram: https://instagram.com/TooFullToWrite

11.  What would you like to say to your readers?

I want to thank every single one of you for your support and interest in what I do. I hope to inspire you, make you laugh or move you deeply in some kind of profound way that connects with you on an emotional level. We live in tough times right now and I would encourage you to spread as much kindness, help and support that you can. Work hard and bear with your struggles, there will always be better things on the horizon, if you weather the storms.

Cendrine Marrouat

1.     How long have you been writing?

Like many people, I wrote sappy stuff when I was a teenager. However, I only got serious about writing in 2005. So, I’m just counting the last 16 years. 😉

2.     What drew you to combining poetry and photography as artistic expression?

Because both art forms work extremely well together.

Most of us are scared of poetry. In school, we are taught to analyze every word and line of the poems we read to uncover some kind of arcane meaning. The adults we then become cannot pick up a poetry book without over-thinking about the way we should respond to it.

As a former teacher to adults, I know that a majority of people prefer visual cues to written ones. Pairing imagery and poems helps redirect the focus towards enjoyment.

The images I use to complement my poems (all mine) have triggered very positive reactions from people. They realize that poetry can also be very relaxing and fun to read!  

3.     You are the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms – how did this partnership begin?

A few years ago, I was looking for interview opportunities to promote a new book. I found David Ellis and we instantly connected. I was impressed with his professionalism and personability.

After the interview, we decided to stay in touch. At the beginning of 2019, one of our chats led to sharing our frustrations about the process of submitting work to magazines and journals. We did not like how many of them factored in “who you know” and your number of publishing credits into their acceptance process.

So, on a whim, I suggested we start working on something that would run counter to that status quo. We decided that we would do things differently and give a chance to everyone. And our focus would be on something we did not see enough: positivity, inspiration and family-friendliness.

Within a few days, we had laid the foundations of Auroras & Blossoms. It took us a few months to set everything up properly, and we launched officially in October 2019.

4.     What are the benefits of a collaboration with another artist?

In this day and age of fierce competition for visibility, partnerships are pretty much the only chance for artists to be successful.

Collaborations give you the opportunity to tap into other artists’ platforms, build relationships with like-minded folks, and pool resources together to achieve greater things than you ever could on your own.

The key to a great partnership is to find someone who is on the same wavelength as you and shares your values. David and I get along really well because we are both very hard-working, committed to our craft, and professional. We respect each other’s time. Finally, we understand what it takes to build solid projects.

5.     Where do you prefer to write and why?

I always write in my office, with very occasional sessions in my backyard. My office is my private space, nobody bothers me there. So I can fully concentrate.

6.     Can you tell us about why you created Reminigram, Sixku, Flashku and the PoArtMo Collective?

I wanted to challenge myself and increase my creativity. 

The reminigram is a type of digital image that seeks to capture scenes that could have existed in the past. It’s my way to pay homage to early photography (daguerreotypes, tintypes, collodion processes, etc.).

To see some of my reminigrams, visit https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Portfolio-Series/Reminigrams.

Based on the Haiku, my favorite poetry form, the Sixku is a six-word poem inspired by a photograph. It’s a fun poetry form that any person will enjoy reading and writing.

For more info: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/.

The Flashku is my latest creation; it borrows from the Sixku, Haiku, and Kindku, another poetry form David and I created (along with the Pareiku). I came up with the idea because I love flash fiction but suck at writing descriptions. The goal of a flashku is to write a whole story in 50-100 words inspired by an image, using 7 words taken from another piece. I like to call that poetic prose! 

For more info: https://creativeramblings.com/flashku/.

The PoArtMo Collective was one of my long-time dreams. I wanted to bring a group of artists together to create and release inspirational, positive and uplifting art and artistic projects; the goal being to show that good art goes beyond technical aspects to tell memorable stories.

When it launched in 2019, the collective was called FPoint Collective and focused exclusively on photography. But co-founder Isabel Nolasco and I quickly realized that we needed to be more inclusive. Isabel left us last year to focus on other things and there are now three of us. We have recently released our second project, a book titled Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography.

For more information, visit https://abpoetryjournal.com/poartmo-collective/.

Our book: https://abpoetryjournal.com/seizing-bygone-light/.

7.     What is your writing process like?

Quite strange. I always have to start with a title, otherwise, I’ll be stuck. I’m a very slow writer. And I have zero routine.

8.     How have your life experiences affected your work?

Like other artists, I share my life experiences through my writing and photography. That’s why my art is a constant state of flux.

9.     What would you like to share with readers?

Just enjoy poetry on your own terms. Don’t over-analyze. Just embrace the words and let them unleash their meanings over time.

10.  Can you share your social media and blog links?

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com

Books: https://creativeramblings.com/books

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrineartist

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/cendrinemarrouat

Auroras & Blossoms

Website: https://abpoetryjournal.com

Latest submission calls: https://abpoetryjournal.com/submit/

Books: https://abpoetryjournal.com/store

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlossomsPoetry

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abpoetryjournal

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkAh-EnwcJbd865SEXJQsEw

Bios:-

French-born Canadian Cendrine Marrouat lives in Winnipeg. She is a photographer, poet, multi-genre author, and the co-founder of several artistic projects. She is also the creator of the Sixku, the Reminigram, and the Flashku.

Cendrine started her career in 2003. She has worked in many fields, including education (language instruction), social media coaching and training, content creation and curation, translation, photography, poetry, theatre, art criticism, blogging, and journalism.

David Ellis lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in the UK. He is an award-winning poet, author of poetry, humourous fiction and music lyrics.

David’s debut poetry collection (Life, Sex & Death) won an International Award in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2016 for Inspirational Poetry Books.

David is extremely fond of tea, classic and contemporary poetry, cats, and dogs but not snakes. Indiana Jones is his spirit animal.

Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – Nature & Writing Inspiration

October 15, 2020
mandyevebarnett


We all need to refresh our writing Muse, so this past Thanksgiving long weekend, I enjoyed two day road trips to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. The first was on Saturday and then again on Monday. Both trips were a discovery of back roads and nature. It was chilly and breezy but glorious colours of the season were enjoyed.

There was plenty of wildfowl, a friendly squirrel, a couple of muskrats and evidence of a busy beaver too.

Although, I did some research for my detective book series and compiled a file folder of research, I did not write. We all need downtime.

However, I may write a short story on the unusual sight of a beaver lodge with a satellite dish! It’s too good not to.

Inspiration does come from anywhere and everywhere.

What do you do to refresh your writing Muse?

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