Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Elements of a Writing Retreat…

May 12, 2014
mandyevebarnett


strawberry-creek-lodgeThis coming weekend is not only a long weeked (whoop!) but also when I am spending four wonderful days fully immersed in my writing at Strawberry Creek Retreat. Anticipation is high for my fellow wordsmiths and I. My plan is to read through, revised and to some extent edit my current WIP – Willow Tree Tears. The novel is a cowgirl romance, with the heroine a champion barrel racer, enjoying rodeos and a ranch lifestyle. She finds herself having to choose between an old high school friend who lives a similar horse ranch life, or a suave, handsome wel- traveled Italian. There are numerous plot twists and several other characters and it does include adult content. Currently standing at 25 chapters (50,365 words) – I am aware it requires additional descriptions, dialogue etc. It was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel so is rough to say the least! For an excerpt go to https://mandyevebarnett.com/current-project-2/

When we attend a writing retreat there are many personal aspirations and goals set – it is a time to have 100% focus on our work but we must decide on what our level of interaction will be within a group retreat. There are simple ‘rules’ that can be set out at the start of the retreat, such as a closed door means no interruptions, meals are taken together, prompts or short workshops will be available, exercise/walks can be taken in a group or solitary – no matter the format you should decide on what works for you.

Vital elements to the retreat are of course your means of writing! Bring your laptop, charger and memory sticks, notebooks, pens and pencils, research material, and any other related material that will assist you with the task in hand. Secondly, think about what you want to achieve within the time limits of the retreat. Make realistic goals so you enjoy the process but are not too exhausted to enjoy sometime away from the computer screen to refresh your mind, body and muse.

Have you been on a writing retreat?

What was your experience?

Any thoughts or tips you care to share?

006_strawberry-creek-lodgewriting_as_professional 

 

 

 

 

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

April 14, 2014
mandyevebarnett


 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.

 

Sunday Snippets…19 May

May 19, 2013
mandyevebarnett


sunday_snippets2Apologies to everyone for missing the snippets recently. My back problems are making sitting, standing or even lying down difficult! I’m on the mend so hopefully back to normal soon.

Please visit these other authors excellent blogs:

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://itsjennythewren.wordpress.com/

http://wehrismypen.wordpress.com

http://jlroeder.wordpress.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com/

http://ashortaday.wordpress.com

http://www.michellezieglerauthor.com

http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

Todays word describes my body’s complaints to a T:     Inveigh – definition: to protest or complain bitterly.

Sunday Snippets – 24 March …

March 24, 2013
mandyevebarnett


sunday_snippets2Sorry for the delay – this section is from my novel, Life in Slake Patch, a speculative alternative future novel. Men and women live in separate compounds with visiting on only one day. It is from the viewpoint of the main character, Evan. I’m interested in what imagery you get from this.

I entered the laundry to the familiar sound of heavy hoof beats. At the rear of the building were six oxen harnessed to a tread wheel. The motion moved a system of pulleys by way of thick ropes, high in the ceiling. Through a series of cogs the ropes turned wooden struts, which were submerged in large vats of soapy water, twisting the clothes. The water was heated by a furnace situated between the laundry and the brewery house.  The machine had been built using a plan found amongst the books in the library ten years previously, which made the laundry duty a much faster and more frequent process. The lye soap aroma had me remembering how I would watch my mother and sister make it. They mixed the lye with melted lard and water then boiled it. I can remember running out of the cabin shouting.

“That smells so disgusting Mother.”

“That is as maybe my boy but without it you would be blacker than mud.”

Later when the mixture thickened it was poured into shallow pans and once it had hardened I would help cut it into blocks. It was not a favorite chore but once the blocks were completed mother allowed me to deliver some to her neighbors. It gave me the opportunity to play ‘seek and hide’ with other boys in the compound, an enjoyable excursion from chores.

Jacob had told me that before the laundry machine had been built, men would wear their clothes until the smell was too much even for them to bear. At that time washing was limited to bashing the clothes with rocks in the river and then only when the river bank was clear of ice. In the winter months, so Jacob says, it was all you could do to sit next to someone. The stench within the long houses had many men risking the bitter winter cold just for relief from it.

Fellow Snippet Bloggers:

http://mermaidssinging.wordpress.com/

http://caitlinsternwrites.wordpress.com/

http://ileandrayoung.com

http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com/

http://www.mandyevebarnett.com

http://womanbitesdog.wordpress.com/

http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com

http://jennifermeaton.com/

http://richardleonard.wordpress.com

http://jordannaeast.com

http://letscutthecrap.wordpress.com

http://writerscrash.blogspot.ca/

http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

Excerpt from my current WIP…Comments welcome.

February 5, 2013
mandyevebarnett


This character is Doze the Dormouse. The story is for children and is about woodland sprite’s that look after the forest animals.

Door

Over the past few days Doze had managed to build up his nest with extra leaves and grasses, making a warm and comfortable place for his winter’s sleep. To one side he had buried a cache of hazelnuts and pushed more leaf litter toward the logs entrance in the hope it would deter intruders. The wind was icy cold when he crept out the following evening and he shivered. He resolved that it would be his last foraging expedition for the year. By morning he had eaten his fill and gratefully curled up, ready for a long winter’s sleep. Nestling into a tight ball, his feet tucked in to his belly and his nose buried in his fur, Doze closed his eyes and began slowly his heartbeat. A few moments passed then a few more then a lot more. Why wasn’t he drifting into a deep slumber? Doze moved his position and curled up again, closing his eyes even tighter and making himself breathe slower. After eight different positions and many, many moments he was annoyed and frustrated. Whatever is the matter with me? I never have a problem sleeping. Doze told himself to concentrate on slowing everything down, breathing, heartbeat and curling tighter into a furry ball. No matter what he tried sleep would not come and eventually he heard night creatures scurrying about above and around him.

“Well this will not do, winter is for sleeping.”

Thoroughly fed up with himself, Doze ran outside thinking one more meal might do the trick. Burying himself nose first into a pile of leaves he sniffed the forest floor debris for the scent of hazelnuts. He found a few that he quickly consumed and then continued on. Hidden by thick clouds the moon’s light did not touch the trails Doze raced over, if he dallied in plain view an owl could easily grab him. He had been foraging for quite some time when a big yawn overcame him. Happily he ran back to his nest, maybe the day’s wakefulness would help him sleep. Again he curled up tightly tucking his feet into his belly and slowed his breathing but sleep did not come although he yawned time and time again.  When he heard the chorus of morning, Doze felt totally defeated. However, would he get to sleep now? That was when he remembered the healer sprites. Maybe they could help him? Nervously, Doze crept out of his shelter looking side to side and upwards. It would be a long journey into the center of the forest but he did not have much choice.

editor

I’ll keep writing and polishing this NaNoWriMo novel.

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