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Strawberry Creek Writing Exercises – May 2015

May 18, 2015
mandyevebarnett


Creek sign

Some of you may know I spent this long weekend at the stupendous Strawberry Creek Lodge with a bevy of inspiring, funny and wonderful writers. I took a prompt exercise for us to consider during our stay. The prompt asked for everyone to chose 3 letters of the alphabet. These corresponded to partial book titles and created ‘new’ titles to work from. I would like to share my two titles and the short stories they inspired me to write. I hope you like them.

slave child

Tender is the Fury and Prejudice

Sasha swirled around in her gingham dress, enjoying its flaring circle around her waist. The dress was the first new piece of clothing she ever wore.

“Now Missy, be careful with that there dress. There ain’t another one coming for a long time.”

“Yes, Mamma, I’ll be as careful as careful can be.”

Sasha smiled at her mother, who sat in the rocker breastfeeding the new baby. With a new brother, Sasha was not the baby anymore and would sleep in the big bed with her older brothers and sisters. The new baby made eight in the family and the cabin even more crowded. Sasha sat on a stool letting her dress hang down but mindful it did not touch the floor.

Stomping footsteps announced the return of her brothers and sisters from the cotton field. She ran to the bedroom and took off the dress. Once it was folded and put in the dresser, she returned to the main room.

Her mother stood at the stove lading out bowls of stew and handing each tired child a biscuit. Sasha waited until everyone else was seated before taking a bowl for herself. Her father entered the crowded room and exchanged a weary smile with her mother. Sasha saw him glance at the baby and frown.

“Is it feeding, Annie?”

“Yes, Samuel he is…”

Sasha could not tell what the look on her fathers face meant but she saw a tear run down her mother’s cheek as she turned away from him. With her bowl taken to the washing bowl, Sasha sat beside the bay’s crib and rocked it gently. Her siblings cleared the tables, washed the dishes and exited the cabin leaving their parents to spend time together.

As Sasha soothed her new brother her father whispered words confused her.

“Is it healthy, will it live?”

“There’s no way of knowing, Samuel, maybe he will.”

“Another mouth to feed, its too many, Annie. We need to decide on her future.”

“Oh, Samuel, please don’t – we will manage, we have in the past.”

“I know its a hard decision, Annie but the offer is there and the money would make all the difference.”

“But she’s so young and…”

Her mother’s sob cut her sentence short. Sasha watched her father embrace her mother, rocking her back and forth like her mother did to Sasha when she suffered a nightmare.

Unnoticed in the corner, Sasha tried to make sense of her parents conversation. What was happening to who? Why was her mother so upset?

A week later a fancy carriage pulled up outside the cabin driven by a black man but dressed in white man’s clothing. Sasha had never seen such a thing and fussed to be released from her mothers arms.

“Stand still for one more minute, Sasha.”

“Mamma, why’s that man dressed so fancy?”

“Its cause of his job as a driver for the boss. Now hold still, I’ve one more ribbon to put in.”

Sasha fidgeted until the ribbon was tied then ran to the carriage wide-eyed. She did not see her mother clasp her mouth and hold back pleading words. She turned to Samuel who nodded and opened the cabin door for her to enter.

“Stay inside, it will be easier for the girl to go. Look after the little one.”

Samuel closed the door after his wife and descended the steps to stand beside the carriage and grasp Sasha’s hand.

“Is this the girl you spoke of Samuel?”

“Yes, boss.”

“Bring her here so I can see her properly. Does she know how to behave? My wife will not tolerate ill manners.”

“She is a good girl, boss and will learn quickly.”

Samuel picked Sasha up and put her into the carriage. She looked at the beautiful cushions and the bright white suite the white man wore. She was surprised when he turned her around, she thought he liked her gingham sress as much as she did. When the man opened her mouth and inspected her teeth, Sasha looked at her father but stayed silent when his brows lowered and he put on finger to his lips.

“She’s a pretty little thing, I’m hopeful my wife will like her, Samuel.”

The man gave her father a small leather pouch and sat Sasha on the seat beside him.

“Thank you, boss. You be good for the boss, Sasha. Do as you are told and only speak when spoken to.”

Sasha grinned at her father and nodded enthusiastically. I’m going for a ride in this fancy carriage, I’m so lucky. Samuel watched the carriage drive away until it was out of sight. He swallowed deeply several times before entering the cabin.

“She’s gone then, my little Sasha?”

“Yes, Annie, she’s gone.”

“Did she cry?”

“No, she was so excited about the carriage she didn’t turn around. She will cry tonight no doubt when she realizes she is to spend her life at the house but she’ll come around, so don’t fret. It’s a better life for her than the cotton field.”

“I hope so, Samuel, I really do.”

Annie placed her baby boy in his crib and began the supper preparations. Her tears mixed with the vegetable water as she peeled potatoes. She would delay telling Samuel she might be pregnant again. Later as her family ate, she reached out for Sasha’s hand but felt emptiness. She knew the money would help the rest of the family until the oldest ones left home but thoughts of what her little girl might have to endure in the big house haunted her dreams for many months.

clockwork bird

To Kill The Windup Bird – this story has been removed as an extended version has been contracted to Steampunk Ink.

Contrived Stories and Writing Prompts…

February 23, 2015
mandyevebarnett


promptsI came across this post and loved the use of the prompts.

http://vanessa-chapman.com/2014/11/24/contrived-story/

As a frequent prompt user myself; some of which I successfully morphed into novels, I am always contriving stories in my head. As writers we have the ability to create ‘something from nothing’ a good deal of the time. This is one of the reasons writing is such fun. No matter what our minds construct as a character, circumstance or environment, it is feasible within a narrative.

I set a prompt every Saturday on my writing groups calendar, to refresh and inspire. http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com – why not try one or two, just scroll backwards until you find one that appeals. Some use pictures, others are a list of words or a sentence to incorporate.

Has a prompt inspired a story for you? 

Care to share it here?

I enjoyed this prompt – limited to 300 words or less from the starting paragraph.

It wasn’t like that before, Andrea thought to herself. The previous night’s storm had caused the tree to topple over like it had never been rooted to the ground. The hole it left in the wake of the storm-induced tragedy was enormous, bigger than she could possibly fill in on her own, especially with nothing but a broken shovel. Andrea walked to the large pit that was now the center of her front yard and peered in. What was that she was seeing? It looked like a…

skeletal hand pointing upwards. Andrea turned her head as she vomited on the grass. Wiping the back of her hand across her mouth she looked down again. Bile rose but she managed to swallow it. A body under the old tree? How long had it been there? Who was it?The shock of her discovery numbed her mind. What should she do first? Call the police? Call Dan? 

A cloud moved away from the sun brightening the scene, a sparkle caught Andrea’s eye. There on one finger was a jeweled ring. Could she manage to climb down and get it? Wasn’t there a ‘finders keepers’ thing for buried treasure?  Determined to reach the ring Andrea used her shovel to steady herself into the hole. Gritting her teeth she gripped the ring and pulled, it came off the bone easily. The gem was a large sapphire in a gold setting. There were words engraved on the inside. Andrea read them and everything was dark.

Dan called out as he entered the house. Andrea did not respond. He searched the house, the garage and the garden – no Andrea. A missing person’s report was filed. Andrea was never found. Underneath the tree roots the darkness slithered over the new body – a welcomed feast.

Did you like my interpretation?

Want to use it and share?

If you want a unique prompt book try this one.

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/writing-prompt-journey-road-your-creativity

Writing Prompt Journal

New Year, New Regime…

January 1, 2014
mandyevebarnett


Today is a new beginning for my blog.

IMG_0238 (2)

After a year of utilizing desk diary words for a post every day  in 2013, I will be posting three times a week in 2014. This is the schedule I have come up with :

articles

Mondays : A series of articles exploring topics reflected in my novels.

reblog

Wednesdays : Re-blog Day. Offering other bloggers a space on my blog to comment, post and discuss.

FunDay

Fridays : Fun day. Prompts, quotes, literary news and more.

I will begin this new routine on 6th January 2014. Please come along and join me. I am always open to suggestions, blog links and comments.

Today’s Featured Author: Mandy Eve-Barnett at…

October 4, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Chagrin – definition: a feeling of humiliation or embarrassment due to disappointment about something

I‘m certainly not feeling this word today. Susan has kindly interviewed me on her blog – http://susanleighnoble.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/todays-featured-author-mandy-eve-barnett/

Thank you Susan.

Have Fun with Words…

January 5, 2013
mandyevebarnett


salamander_logo

Some of you may know and some not, that I create a writing prompt for my writing circle’s web site every Saturday. www.wfscsherwoodpark.com  just click on the calendar. Actually finding the prompts can be  a challenge at times but it is always fun to see the responses. From the same prompt there are as many interpretations as there are writers. In essence it is a glimpse into another writer’s mind set and creativity and let’s be truthful here, we all love to see the inside of another person’s mind!

promptsThere are benefits to using prompts. If you are ‘stuck’ or blocked giving your mind another writing task not only refreshes your creativity but also helps unlock it. A prompt can be a picture, a set of words or a sentence – no matter what it is in format, it should spark an idea or vision and from there you can write. You may only write a couple of sentence’s or it may grow into a short story or scene, whichever it is your muse is having fun. Go with the flow of it and follow that first inspiration that ‘appears’ as you read the prompt.

A piece of kindly advice;  from personal experience – don’t discard the result of these prompts. File them away in a binder or a document folder on your computer. They may turn out to be the perfect piece for a scene or the start of a new project at some later date. Case in point – my children’s book, Rumble’s First Scare grew from such a prompt and my fantasy, The Rython Kingdom was created using several prompts that lent themselves to continuing a story. www.dreamwritepublishing.ca

Inspiration does come from anywhere and each written piece of work has its value. Looking back on these snippets of creativity can be a reward on its own. Some will surprise you and delight you and others will raise memories of where you were on your writing journey at that time. They show your progress in this art.

So today’s prompt came from my desk diary and I thought I would share it with you all here. The word is – PALINDROME. Definition: a word, phrase or sentence that reads the same backward as forward. An example: “Step on no pets”.  See if you can come up with three. Have fun.

palindrome2

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