Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmiths Collective Thursday – 16 Weird & Strange Habits of Writers

May 14, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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The strange habits of some famous authors has always interested me. I cannot lay claim to anything this weird, mores the pity. Maybe I can cultivate something? Are you willing to share your ‘strange’ habit?

1. Demosthenes

The ancient Greek writer shaved half his head. Ensuring that by looking so idiotic, he would stay home and work, instead of facing ridicule in public.

2. Henrik Ibsen

The A Doll’s House playwright hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on his study wall. Inspiring him to strive to better his enemies.

3. Franz Kafka – Too Much Cake

Kafka allowed himself to eat a whole pineapple upside down cake when he finished a story. He did not share any of it!

4. Mary Shelley – Pet Snake

Shelley’s pet 23-foot-long boa constrictor was housed in her writing studio. With the snake wrapped around her shoulders she would write until the snake became restless and began to squeeze, then she stopped writing for the day.

5. Agatha Christie – Ate apples in the bath.

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6. Isabel Allende – starts every book on the same day January 8.

7. John Steinbeck – needed two dozen sharpened pencils.

8. Patricia Highsmith – ate eggs and bacon for every meal.

9. Virginia Woolf – wrote at a standing desk.

10. Charles Dickens – slept facing north.

11. Dan Brown – hanging upside down inversion therapy for writer’s block.

12. Victor Hugo – wrote without clothes so he could not leave the house to met a deadline.

13. Francine Prose – writes facing a wall to limit distractions.

14. Truman Capote – never started or finish writing on a Friday. 

15. Anthony Burgess – use random words from opening a page in a dictionary to complete a descriptive passage.

16. Lewis Carroll – wrote in purple ink.

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Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Is Your Writing Life Lethargic Now?

April 23, 2020
mandyevebarnett


tiredHow is the isolation affecting your writing?

When I virtual chat with writing friends most of them say they feel generally lethargic. It is not just their writing life and routine that has changed but also life in general has restricted their creativity. With limited interactions, we do not have access to our normal writing routines. We may have people in the house not normally there, or meetings and events that sparked our imaginations are cancelled. Whatever our normal was, we are being proactive in protecting our loved ones from this horrid disease by staying home.

When I looked up lethargy, I was surprised at how many definitions it has. All of which describe beautifully our current state.

Sluggishness, inertia, inactivity, inaction, slowness, torpor, dullness, listlessness, languor, stagnation, laziness, idleness, indolence, shiftlessness, sloth, phlegm,
apathy, passivity, ennui, weariness, tiredness, lassitude, fatigue, sleepiness, drowsiness, enervation, somnolence, narcosis, hebetude.

So let’s take one of these and use it in a writing exercise. Write a poem or short story about a character affected by it.

Use the comment section to leave your response.

creative-writing-prompts

As writers we can use what prompts us to create. Use this experience in the same way. Make it a positive. Finish that novel, short story, poem. Create a new one using this experience as inspiration. Reorganize your physical or virtual writing files. Research new story ideas. List writing projects you want to achieve. Revisit old story ideas or manuscripts – can they be resurrected?

Think positive – be positive and write!

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Has Isolation Been Productive or Not?

April 2, 2020
mandyevebarnett


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As we try to occupy ourselves in isolation, has it been productive for your writing or not?

There is an emotional component to this particular imposed isolation that is subduing creativity. Our emotions have always influenced our mood and in turn our writing. Strong emotions, such as anger or depression subdue our creativity while feelings of love and happiness enhance it. Our concentration is in short supply or our focus limited. To pour out these feelings in words can dispel some of them.

You may find it is helpful to journal at this time to help lessen your heightened state of anxiety. It is also a record of our experience for future generations but maybe, also, the genus of an idea for a future work/narrative/story.

As writers we use many influences, experiences, emotions and personal knowledge in our narratives and this extreme situation may give us remarkable ideas. Think positively and use it for inspiration.

I think this particular writing tip is also relevant. With some sort of goal or deadline, even if it is only 20 minute sprints in writing can help us.

Writing Tips:

Set your writing goals for every writing session

Outline your aims for a writing session in order to keep yourself focused. It may help to write down what you want to achieve in the next chapter or scene. However, remember,  to give yourself elbow room. It is okay to depart from your scene summary if you feel the story should go (or wants to go) in a new direction. Personally, I let the story flow but some writers find writing a pre-scene enables them to maintain a clear sense of direction for each scene in relation to their story arc.

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Maybe hook up with another writer and set a time to write virtually. Find a writing prompt and time yourself. There are ways to encourage your Muse, find the one that works for you.

Take care & stay safe. Stay well.

 

Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – What Creativity Have You Found During Isolation?

March 31, 2020
mandyevebarnett


We have all had to find creative ways to fill our time since the isolation began. Some of us can immerse ourselves in stories and that is a good thing. However, have you found any new outlets to indulge your artistic Muse?

My friend showed me an app for paint by numbers and it has become my latest obsession. I try to pick the most intricate so it takes some time to complete them. Here are a few results I shared on my Instagram.

Screenshot_2020-03-30 Mandy Eve-Barnett ( mandyevebarnett) • Instagram photos and videosScreenshot_2020-03-30 Mandy Eve-Barnett ( mandyevebarnett) • Instagram photos and videos(1)Screenshot_2020-03-30 Mandy Eve-Barnett ( mandyevebarnett) • Instagram photos and videos(2)Screenshot_2020-03-30 Mandy Eve-Barnett ( mandyevebarnett) • Instagram photos and videos(3)

Of course I am still reading and writing but it is good to have some other way to express my creativity. I also updated my bathroom counter this weekend. A job I have been putting off for a few months!

It dramatically changed the look of the bathroom.

My current read – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33584094-10-days-in-january

10 days

What are you currently reading?

Why not share your creative projects so we can try them out?

Stay safe, stay well, stay indoors.

Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday -Writing Workshops Aid Creativity

March 5, 2020
mandyevebarnett


manuscript

As writers we are always honing our skill and learning new styles and types of writing aid our creativity. I attended two workshops on 29th February, both gave me the opportunity to improve my writing.

As an author, we welcome constructive critique of our work, it is how we grow. So a group of local authors and I spend the first few months of each new year working on our current work in progress. Some are the result of our NaNoWriMo participation, while others are whatever story/novel/project we are working on currently. The premise of these monthly workshops is to read a certain number of chapters each month of each others work, then using track changes edit, suggest and comment on the plot arc, continuity, premise etc. Having a number of different reader’s feedback allows us to identify any inconsistencies and correct them. Obviously, we do not have to take every suggestion, it is after all our work but if there is a consensus of opinion throughout on a specific part, then we can revise and improve them. This allows us to create the best story possible prior to publication. 

My project is my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift. Currently 75,102 words, 201 pages, 39 chapters and epilogue. Publishing date September 2020.

my steam hat

The second workshop, I attended was a poetry workshop held by The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in anticipation of Poetry Month in April. I have to admit that poetry is not my forte, so it did stretch my creativity a bit! We covered several types of poetry: monorhyme, enclosed rhyme, simple 4-line rhyme, coupled rhyme, chain rhyme and alternative rhyme. After an explanation of each style, we then had five minutes to create a rhyme in that style using randomly selected words. The words chosen for the chain rhyme were: after, banana, crafter, panorama, would, bandanna, could, dessert, should. Yes rather a mixed bag and it had everyone struggling, but that’s the point – we cannot learn without effort. I managed this:

Alice’s happy thought was about the contest after

As she ate her second banana

Her final piece as a genius crafter

Showed a glorious textured panorama

Comments from friends confirmed she would

Win the coveted bandanna

Her gumption knew she could

A promised reward when she won – a dessert

Even though her diet negated she should

I even managed to include the ‘extra’ point words of happy, genius & gumption in that one.

What workshop have you recently attended. What did you learn about your writing?

 

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