Tag Archives: fiction

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

Faerie World – Writing Prompt Contest…


Some of you may know I published a chapter book called Ockleberries to the Rescue. Two woodland sprites helps their forest animal friends. It combines my love of the natural world with that of the faerie realm. After the book cover was created a friend told me about a local woodworker who made faerie doors. So using the door as your inspiration, write a poem or story about what magical beings live behind this door.

OckleberriesToTheRescueSprite door 4

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Writing Prompt Contest – Emerging…


tunnel-to-country

Cold and frightened he crawled toward the light. Cautious relief flooded his mind as he saw the opening and the countryside beyond.

Use this as the starting or finishing point of your story or poem.

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Writing Prompts Spark Inspiration…


prompt

It is no secret that I enjoy writing prompts, they inspire and refresh my thought processes and some have even resulted in a longer piece of work, such as Rumble’s First Scare and The Rython Kingdom.

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.

For example one prompt I enjoyed 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.

prompts

Writing Prompt Contest – Treasure Map…


treasure-map

Describe your route to the treasure from the bay.

What dangers do you encounter? Are you racing to be there first? Are you alone or with others?

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.