Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Writing Prompt Wednesday

October 10, 2018



Inspired by the news story headline: ‘mermaid tails emerge from washing machines at a laundromat in LA’ I thought it was perfect for a word prompt.

Let’s see where it takes your imagination.


Fantasy Is An Authors Tool – Use Yours..!

April 21, 2014

articlesFantasical creatures are not only fun but excellent sources for works of fiction. Whether you still hold the childlike wonder of fairies, elves, mermaids or unicorns in your imagination or utilize myths and legends in history, there is a delight in bringing such creatures alive within your narrative.

I will admit to loving the fantasy world and wish the inhabitants of such classics as Alice in Wonderland, Stig of the Dump, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Wind in the Willows and the like, were indeed real.


Can you imagine what the world would be like if they walked among us? 

We can immerse ourselves in these kind of worlds through books and movies and many have become ‘lifelike’ to many, such as the werewolves and vampires in the current popular genre.

As writers we spend a lot of time in make believe and that is perfectly fine. There may even be a fine line between our two worlds, where our characters and their setting become real to us. Upon finishing a project there is a sadness to the leaving that world behind. (Unless you are writing a series!)

No matter your device to telling your story, fantasy is a large part of it no matter which genre you are writing because we create everything within our narrative from stratch. Although, inspiration can come from a line, a character we love and want to develop or from a memory. Our imagination is our most important tool.

What magical creatures have you written about?


An author who knew this magic and sadly passed away.ía-márquez-conjurer-of-magic-realism-dies-at-87-114041900068_1.html

Can You Create Your Own Myth..?

February 17, 2014

In the world of make-believe, writers have the ability to create a believable world of their own making. Research into the ‘known’ myths and legends will assist in the ‘format’ of creating their own tale. From fantastical creatures to other worldly habitats to super powers, everything is possible.mythical-creaturesTaking an idea from conception to fully developed narrative is the path every writer wants.

Whether  utilizing a known god or goddess or a creature, or using your imagination to make one from scratch, compiling a ‘life’ around them is the focus.

Asking questions, being inquisitive and ‘seeing’ alternatives will result in an idea that an author can run with.

The questions need not be deep or difficult. Maybe ask where the consciousness of the Phoenix goes when it is between egg and rising? How a unicorn cleans it horn? Do mermen serve the mermaids?

A childlike curiosity is a writer’s best friend when creating magical elements to a story. Even if the novel will be for adults. We all love to be transported into another world. That is the joy of books.

Maybe you have a favorite mythical creature that sparks your imagination. Why not share?

I coupled my love of wildlife and magical creatures into my children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue. The woodland sprites live within their forest home to help the animals that reside there. Research into sprites, pixies, elves and the like was fun and I got to read through my gnome and fairies books too.


How I Do…

October 11, 2010


I am asked quite often, how I manage to come up with stories from picture and word prompts. Obviously each writer has a mechanism unique to themselves and each prompt has a variety of writing responses.

Sometimes an idea just ‘pops’ into my head but other times, I need to play with words to get myself started. Take this week’s prompt – Remember the joy of a fairy tale? Lost in an imaginary world? Absorb yourself in a fairy tale – either using your favourite fairy tale characters or creating new ones. Find your innocence again and enjoy.

Firstly I copied the prompt into a word document then let my mind dwell on the idea. Anything that came to mind I wrote down. For this particular prompt, for some reason, the word mermaid came through strongly. I looked through a list of Grimm’s fairy tales and read two I had never heard of, neither of which actually had a mermaid in. Then I imagined a beach overlooked by a castle and a man walking along the shoreline. Now an idea began to form – what if the man was a Prince and he was wishing for a wife? What wife could I give him? Then the story came easily with a few edits here and there before I posted it on the web site. This was the result.

Prince Ellon looked upward and saw his father’s castle standing atop the steep crag. Its walls were honed from the very cliff face. Dark grey slabs towering above him as he walked the sandy beach below. His father’s insistence that he take a wife, weighed heavily upon him. There were many beautiful young women all too eager to become his betrothed but he was reluctant. None were willing to dirty their clothes on the beach or abandon them for a swim in the sea. He found their lack of spirit and their trifling concerns boring. Why could he not find a woman with a more adventurous spirit?

  As he kicked the damp sand a glistening object flew forth and landed a few feet away. Puzzled the Prince picked it up to find a bronze ring made in the shape of a mermaid. It was a most unusual ring so he placed it upon his finger to admire it all the more. Once the ring encircled his knuckle, a water spout began to rise from the waves and foam. The Prince watched in astonishment as the water twisted and curled, gradually forming into a woman’s upper body and a fish’s tail. What witchcraft is this? He tried removing the ring but it stuck fast.  The water ceased its swirling and the Prince looked upon the most beautiful face he had ever seen.

  “You have been granted your wish, young Prince. Behold your wife.”

  “I have not made any such wish.”

  “Did you not want a wife who would swim in the sea with you, a wife who will also wander along the beach with you?”

  “Those were my private thoughts. I did not speak them aloud.”

  “The ring hears your thoughts and grants you the wishing of them.”

  “If that is so then how could you walk with only that tail?”

  “Think legs for me and they will appear, young Prince.”

  The Prince wished it so and there appeared long shapely legs where once there had been a fish’s tail.

  “Will this magic last?”

  “Yes, my Prince, as long as you continue to wear the ring.”

    “Then it shall never leave my finger. Have you a name or do I wish that too?”

    “My name is Serene but of course I will go by any name you chose for me, my Prince.”

  “Serene is a very lovely name and I will certainly not change it.”

 The Prince covered her nakedness with his cloak and escorted Serene up the cliff path.  Once in the throne room he announced to his parents and the court that he had found his future wife. The wedding was a splendid affair with courtiers coming from far and wide. No-one knew the new Princess but all agreed she was indeed a very beautiful young woman. The Prince spun a tale of travelling to another land and finding her abandoned. No-one questioned the story – after all he was the Prince.

The Prince and Princess were very happy together and took many evening walks down on the beach. Unbeknown to the household they would swim together with the use of a simple wish from the Prince, as merman and mermaid in the cool waters. The Prince had his perfect wife and the mermaid could return to her natural element every night.

How do you instigate a story? What processes do you use? Our writing is as individual as we are – that is the fun of it – each person will come up with a totally unique response even when the prompt is the same.

These prompts help me unblock my thought processes and give my imagination license to go where it likes, freeing it for a while before returning to a WIP.

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