Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

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#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Six Tips to Tame the Story Idea Flood

September 18, 2019
mandyevebarnett


Idea Source

Many of us experience, from time to time, the dreaded writers block, that awful feeling while staring at a blank page or screen when words do not flow but what happens when there are too many story ideas bombarding our brains? It can be just as debilitating as staring at that blankness. Bizarrely the symptoms are quite similar – crippling  indecision, procrastination, and even insomnia and anxiety.

As writers we usually have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads usually gleaned from something we see or hear. This may seem like a good problem to have, however, the dilemma is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost or are even worth investigating?  We can make frantic notes, some which, unfortunately make no sense whatsoever later on! That middle of the night scribble is so common. But timing is everything – musing over where a new idea could possibly lead, can lead to a devastating interruption to a current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing without jeopardizing our current writing?

There are strategies we can employ to enable us to identify the ideas that are worth keeping – here are a few.

a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.

b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.

c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it for another time.

d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.

e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story or idea thread.

f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.

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Not all ideas will make it and that’s okay. Use your internal writer instinct to guide you on which idea excites your specific Muse, the one that takes hold of your imagination and let the words flow. Story is our power and knowing which ones we are best at telling is key.

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Ask A Question Thursday

July 25, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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This week’s question:  Do you incorporate politics and/or religion into your stories? What is the reason?

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I have used a matriarchal society in my novel, Life in Slake Patch as the background to a young man’s life in that regime. It was interesting to write about the influences and attitudes of a different society. In contrast my novel, The Twesome Loop, which covers two time periods, shows the patriarchal suppression in the 1800’s.

Last week’s question:  How did you find your particular writing style? A creative writing class, a teacher, a format or something else? Do you write differently for different genres?

  pamelaallegretto

Well, your recent research is certainly more unique and interesting than mine. I think my writing style, whatever that may be,remains the same no matter what I write. However, my “voice” changes with each work, depending on the era, location, and age of my characters. The personality of my twenty-something Italian protagonist in my WW2 novel is a far cry from the thirty-something American artist in my current WIP.

Mandy Eve-Barnett

I have researched medieval physician’s healing techniques, the circumstances of how a body can dry out and become a husk, natural substances that prevent pregnancy or induce sterility.

 

Genres of Literature – Short Stories

February 26, 2018
mandyevebarnett


short-stories

The definition of a short story is a piece of prose fiction that can be read in one sitting. Short stories originally emerged from traditional oral storytelling in the 17th century. In terms of word count they are usually under 7,500 words, however this word count can vary. Due to the diversity of short story content it is not easy to characterize them, they may differ between genres, countries, eras, and commentators. They feature a small cast of characters and focus on a self-contained incident using plot, resonance, literary techniques or other dynamic components but not in as much depth as a novel.

Short stories are considered, by many, as an apprenticeship form preceding more lengthy works, however they are a crafted form in their own right. Short story writers usually publish their narratives within a collection as part of an artistic or personal expression form.

This concentrated form of narrative can be theorized through traditional elements, such as exposition, complication, crisis, climax and resolution although not all follow this pattern. For instance, modern short stories start in the middle of the action and do not include exposition. Slightly longer works do include climax, crisis or a turning point but many do end abruptly or are left ‘open’ and can or cannot have a moral or practical lesson.

Have you written short stories? Is that how you started writing?

Do you find the short prose form enables you to ‘refresh’ your Muse when immerse in larger works?

I have a steampunk story (7700 words) that I am hoping to find a venue for, whether in an anthology or some other publication. So if you have a lead please share it.

My publisher has a couple of awesome short story authors published. Karen Probert and Barbie-Jo Smith. Karen’s characterizations and attention to detail is incredible and Barbie-Jo has the most humorous tales. http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/catalog/books

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…

May 29, 2017
mandyevebarnett


events

Writing took a backseat this weekend as I helped my daughter move into her new apartment – exhausting but fun, emotional but proud as any mother would be. It is a big step for her and me and now I have an empty nest. There will be a transition and adjustment in the months to come.

My next ‘writing’ event is tomorrow evening when I will be attending at 7 pm-First Five Pages & Avoiding a Saggy Middle in your Novel – this is hosted by Jennifer Snow (http://www.jennifersnowauthor.com/writer-in-residence) who is resident writer in a local bookstore, Audrey’s in Edmonton. I’m looking forward to the evening and learning new concepts.

Other events:

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Wishless: A Graphic Anthology

May 30 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books,

1302-4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta Canada

http://shelflifebooks.ca/event/wishless-a-graphic-anthology/

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Thinking in Pictures – Shane Book & Michal Lavi

May 31 @ 7:00 am9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books,

1302-4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta Canada
 

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HIGH LEVEL LIT: SALON SERIES #2
MAY 31, 2017 AT 6PM
MERCURY ROOM (10575 114 St. Edmonton)

In collaboration with Eighteen Bridges Magazine and LitFest Alberta, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) presents a Salon Series to highlight the contributors of High Level Lit: Musings on YEG for Canada’s Sesquicentennial.

We’ve chosen 12 writers with a connection to Edmonton to reflect on our city in light of Canada’s 150th and will be featuring these literary heavyweights throughout the year in the High Level Lit Salon Series. In Salon #2, audiences will hear from former Poet Laureate Anna Marie Sewell, LGBT historian and playwright Darrin Hagen, and culinary-culture maven Jennifer Cockrall-King. Hosted by Minister Faust, this is sure to be one of Edmonton’s literary highlights of the year!

This High Level Lit Salon is FREE to attend, but seating is limited and guests must RSVP via Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/high-level-lit-salon-2-tickets…

Seating will be provided on a first-come basis. Doors open at 5PM, presentations begin at 6PM. Following the presentation, guests are invited to stay for hors d’ouvres and mingling with folks from ECF, LitFest, and the YEG literati!

In October the collection of essays and poetry will be printed as a special anthology in Eighteen Bridges Magazine and launched during LitFest, Canada’s only non-fiction literary festival. Stay tuned for more information on the High Level Lit Series salons throughout 2017.

Please feel free to share your local events in the comments – promotion is always a good thing!

Writing Projects and Inspiration…

October 22, 2015
mandyevebarnett


new idea

Our creativity can be inspired from the smallest word, picture or even a globally known news worthy article. Some of you will have read my short story – The Keys. (Oct 17th) The photo inspired the story.

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

As many of you know I am a free flow writer so apart from a vague idea where I want the story to go, it is a mystery to me. That is the thrill for me. It is an adventure I willingly travel with my characters. They lead and I follow with frantic typing. ‘Listening’ to my Muse enables me to create freely.

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

No matter what system we use, an idea can grow exponentially once it takes hold. This is wonderful, of course, the only downfall being if we already have a bucketful of ideas already. I thought I was doing well submitting my western romance, Willow Tree Tears to a publisher and a short story, The Toymaker for a contest. However, my suspense novel nagged me to plunge back in and begin a fresh round of editing. So now I am embroiled with a protagonist on the run, hiding in the forest for The Giving Thief. After some months away from the story, I am enjoying getting to know this character again and enhancing his story.

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How long do you leave your writing before beginning revisions and edits?

Although, my plan for 2015 was to re-visit two previous projects and re-write, edit and revise them. Now I have this other story demanding to be written and it is impossible to resist. Added to that an idea for a children’s book formulated from a dream a month or so ago, which will require some foundation work. I have drawn one character, named a couple and know their environment.

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

Obviously, I will have to reschedule my plans and go with the flow. My older projects will have to wait a little longer but I am determined to get back to them.

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What are your writing plans for the rest of 2015?

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