Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Utilize Your Wonder and Respect for The Natural World Within Your Narrative…

April 14, 2014
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 articles

My upcoming children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue, centers around two woodland sprites, who help all  the forest animals through illness and injury. The theme was inspired by my lifelong love of the natural world, whether it is exotic animals, such as tigers and red panda’s (my personal favorites) or the more common species, such as rabbits, squirrels or birds. The knowledge and wonder shared with me and my siblings by our parents, lives on in us and we have passed on the message to our children. Every single species has a purpose and is intricately linked to another. The ‘food chain’ is the basis for this but there are so many other relationships in the natural world that we are still discovering.

bee-flower

We have all enjoyed the fluttering of a butterfly but have you ever watched a spider make its web? Such industrious behavior is fascinating to behold, similar to ants rebuilding a damaged nest or a bee collecting pollen. These activities are born of instinct and self preservation. Even with all our technology we cannot manufacture a structure as fine and strong as a cobweb or create a completely natural substance from so few components as honey.

Beetle

The smallest bug or insect is a wondrous thing to watch. Did you know woodlice carry their young under their bellies? My daughter at the age of 4 taught me this one! You may not see or consider a beetle scurrying across your path. But look closer – see its colours, its antenna and its shape. There are many different kinds of animals and insects we ‘miss’ in our everyday lives because we are not looking. Sit on the lawn or near a forest trail and watch the tiny world that is so often under your feet and ignored. You will witness a whole new world of activity and renew your connection to nature.

Our interests can be a vital component of our narratives and will give depth to the story because of our knowledge and love of that particular subject. Delve into your depths and find those links to broaden and heighten your subject. It will show in your writing and engage your reader.

What interests have you incorporated into a novel (or novels?)

OckleberriesProof copy cover only. Illustrations and new cover in process.

 

It’s Your Passion – Take Charge of It…!

January 3, 2013
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Finding something that excites and engages you is a rare gift. For writers (published or not!) the ability to immerse ourselves into words and create entire worlds with them is truly wonderful. No matter which genre or genres you write, you are the creator, manipulating  characters, plots, story arcs and more. Techniques are as diverse as there are writers and authors. I free flow 90% of the time but planning your story has its merits as well as I am finding out with my latest project, Ockleberries to the Rescue. (The result of last year’s National Novel Writing Month challenge) Just remember to listen to that little voice; your muse; as stories can become an entity all their own, bringing new details, characters and story lines into play.

There are many of us who have to ‘fit in’ our writing time into day jobs, family life and other distractions but I have found if you ‘AVOWAL‘ your passion, you can organize proper writing time – more importantly uninterrupted writing time.

So for those of you who have not heard of the word AVOWAL – it is today’s desk calendar word. The definition is ‘an open declaration or acknowledgement’. May I suggest you declare your need for writing time and explain it isn’t a passing fad, a little hobby or unimportant. Time for yourself is important and given the opportunity it will make you happier and therefore make their lives happier. (It isn’t really blackmail – is it?)

deadline

Another important part of a writer’s life is finding a group or writing circle, where you can share your passion, give and receive support and encouragement. My group has changed my life dramatically and I can say I will never leave! We have local but also virtual members, who are spread across Canada, America, Australia and Europe. Our web site gives everyone access to writing challenges, the opportunity to share our work, receive feedback and even has a  chat feature! http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com

If you don’t have a circle or indeed would love to start one, may I suggest a couple of books to help you start?

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/products/get-set-boost-your-writing-journey

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Take charge of your writing life…it is your creative outlet.


Strathcona Connect article

My newest article for Strathcona Connect. It is relevant to us all at some stage.

Parenthood certainly keeps us busy. There is never enough time for us and for the most part we accept that fact. But what happens when the nest is empty, how do we fill that void? More importantly, should we wait until the nest is completely empty before planning life without children?

As our children become older we are required less and less, finding ourselves with time on our hands. Don’t waste it looking at the phone, just in case a call comes through or clean their room as a surprise! Use the time to find the ‘new’ you or even the ‘old’ you, who was left behind when children came along. Did you have a hobby or craft you really enjoyed? Are there supplies stacked away in a cupboard waiting to see the light of day? Have you always wanted to try something but never had the time? Re-discover yourself, your passion, the inner you that has been buried for so long. It’s alright to pursue something for yourself not only because it keeps us vibrant and interested but it also shows others, including our children, that we are our own person after all, with a life!

So how do we start? Firstly, don’t jump straight into something or do anything drastic. Selling the house and setting off to backpack your way around the world might need more than a moment’s thought. There will be feelings of loss and emptiness, which is normal, so take time to gather yourself. This may take a few weeks or a few months, each person is different. Whichever it is, take heart in knowing you will always be Mom or Dad but needed in different ways. With the house so quiet, you may feel like you are rattling around in it with a stranger, just remember you are both grieving. Be understanding and actively listen to each other. Have you got similar ideas on what you want to do or are you polar opposites? Either way can work, if there is communication and understanding. Maybe golf three times a week excites you or making quilts for third nation countries is your thing. Whatever your choices, plan around each other’s schedules so you have time to share your new passion, it will surprise you how lively and energetic your partner becomes. This is a fresh liberating stage in your lives, embrace it.

Now where to start? Contemplate your options and interests and decide on one or two to try. Yes, I said try because we change and what was all encompassing several decades ago might not be so inspiring now. Use community resources to find groups or organizations and go along to a few meetings. Get a ‘taste’ of how the group interacts and if the pastime/hobby/craft still appeals, if not move along to the next one. The Strathcona County library has numerous resources and notice boards and you can find event listings on the Strathcona County website or use your search engine to find local groups. Challenge yourself. Make a self-centered goal list…take the time to find what engages you and remember change doesn’t happen in an instant. Enjoy the journey the goal is just the icing on the cake.

Are you panicking yet? There are no hard and fast rules about what you should do and in what timeframe. Maybe start off slow. Have a movie night, read a novel a week, eat take out, meet friends for coffee on Sunday morning, it’s up to you how you enjoy your time. Don’t beat yourself up if the class or group didn’t turn out the way you expected, there are always other options. Just remember it’s your ‘new’ life and tailor it the way you want to live it.

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