Tag Archives: writer

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

As I mentioned last week a prompt picture at my writers meeting resulted in a short story. I thought I would share it. This is the picture inspiration.

lampost girl.jpg

Annabel kicked the tuffs of grass as she walked down the street. She was angry with herself for forgetting her door key again. She knew her mother would rant and rave about her stupidity, so Annabel decided not to try and break into the house – again! The bathroom window had seemed the easy option last time until she was firmly stuck and had to wait for her mother to arrive from a late shift, by which time her leg’s were numb and she had thrown up because of the pressure on her stomach as she was suspended in the small window frame. What made matters worse was the vomit had oozed slowly down the inside of the bathroom wall pooling beside the sink.
Her mother had screamed and stomped around for hours refusing to let Annabel have any supper. Instead she’d watched from the doorway as Annabel washed the wall and floor. No it just wasn’t worth the hassle to try and break in.
All Annabel could do now was watch the traffic and pick at the threads on her school bag until she knew her mother would be home. She thought up an excuse to explain why she wasn’t home. A trip to the library for an assignment would not raise suspicion, hopefully.
Weary of walking back and forth she sat down on the sidewalk and leaned against a signpost. Wishing she had a snack of some kind as her stomach growled. Better hungry than a smack on the back of the head from a screaming mother though.
As soon as she was home she would find that stupid key and make a necklace to hang it on. Never again locked out, hungry and fed up – hopefully.

With the imminent launch of a new cover for The Rython Kingdom, I read through the novella again and made a few changes. There are always a few little edits that need refining. I also added that there will be a sequel following Celeste and Maralynn.

Here is a teaser:

rython3dreveal

I am continuing with edits for two friend’s manuscripts and have made some progress on my reincarnation novel. Busy, busy.

What are you working on?

Books:

the-outcasts

I finished The Outcasts – a neat story with extraordinary imagination of a Grade 7 (UK) young lady. The story is full of tension and wonderful characters. Looking forward to seeing her develop and write more stories.

I browsed the library shelves and found two books. The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones and The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney. I have begun the Uninvited Guests – so far it is enjoyable. Unfortunately my book hold had lapsed for Bookshop at Waterès End by Patti Callaha Henry but I will order it again.

What are you reading? 

Do you review books on Goodreads? Why not follow me for my reviews and books.

Writing Tip:

Have two or more projects on the go: Having more than one project on the go is never a bad idea. Although focus and dedication are paramount to completing a work, sometimes you inevitably get stuck. It’s good to be able to move on to something else instead of feeling frustrated and stagnant. You don’t have to have a few big projects happening either … maybe you’re penning a novel, but also some short stories and an article or two. Chuck Sambuchino

Do you have a tip to share?

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Writing:

My current flu has made concentration rather difficult so my creativity has suffered this past week.I think it is struggling against a ‘fuzzy’ head that has made creation arduous.

What illness / situation has made your creativity stall?

However, I was able to begin beta-reading two manuscripts for author friends, one is a thriller and the other a memoir. Both are intriguing in their own way. I am reading each one at separate times of the day so that I am ‘clear’ of one story line before reading the next one. I have shared a list of tips on beta-reading for those of you interested.

Books:

I continue to enjoy Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic. The writing is creative and the interwoven music elements make the story unique.With my other reading projects it is nice to let the story embrace me and lead me forward.

beyond-the-precipice

Do you tend to read one book at a time or many?

Do you lean towards fiction or factual?

I still have this novella on my pile too:

the-outcasts

https://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-Maddison-Lily-Fox-Andrews/dp/1908128720

Writing Tip:

beta

If you are unsure of how to beta-read try these steps – I found them at http://jamigold.com/2014/08/introducing-the-beta-reading-worksheet/

Opening Scene:

Does the story begin with an interesting hook, creating a desire to read more?
Does the manuscript begin in the right place?

Characterization & Motivation:

Are the characters compelling, sympathetic, or someone you can root for?
Do the characters feel real and three-dimensional, with distinct voices, flaws, and virtues?
Are their goals clear and proactive enough to influence the plot (not passive)?
Do their motivations seem believable, with well-drawn and appropriate emotion?
Are the secondary characters well-rounded and enhance the story rather than overwhelming the story or seeming like they should be cut?
Are the relationships between the characters believable and not contrived?

Plot & Conflict:

Are the internal and external conflicts well defined for each main character?
Are the internal and external conflicts organic and believable, i.e. arising out of characterization and circumstance rather than feeling contrived or forced?
Are there enough stakes and/or tension throughout to make it a “page turner”?
Does the premise avoid cliché and/or bring a fresh perspective to an old idea?
Are the plot twists believable yet unexpected?
Do the characters act or react to events in a plausible, realistic, or believable way?

Pacing:
Do scenes progress in a realistic, compelling manner and flow with effective transitions?
Does every scene add to and seem important to the story?
Does the story move along at an appropriate pace, without rushing or dragging?
Is there a hook at the end of each chapter or scene that makes you want to read more?
Is the story free from information dumps or backstory that slow the pace of the story?

Setting & Worldbuilding:
Are descriptions vivid and give a clear sense of time and place?
Do the details enhance rather than distract from the story?

Dialogue:
Is the dialogue natural and appropriate for the story, not stilted or overly narrative?
Does dialogue move the story forward and reveal the characters?
Are characters’ voices consistent and distinct from one another?
Is there an appropriate mix of dialogue and narrative?

Craft:
Does the writing “show” the scene with the senses, using “telling” only as appropriate?
Does the writing quality allow the story to shine through and draw the reader in, or are flaws jarring or intrusive?
Is the tone appropriate and consistent for the story?
Is the point of view (and any changes) handled appropriately and consistently?

Overall Impression:
Is the voice unique, fresh, or interesting?
Does the story deliver on the promise of its premise and opening scenes?
From a reader’s point of view, did you enjoy reading this story?

Additional Questions for Comment:
Are there any confusing sections that should be made clearer? (Mark in the manuscript)
Do any sections take you out of the story? (Mark in the manuscript)
Is the story a good fit for the stated genre, and if not, why not?
Who are your favorite—and least favorite—characters and why?
What aspects are especially likable or unlikable about the protagonist(s)?
What three things worked best for you?
What three things worked least for you?

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

There are no writing events on my calendar for this week sadly, so it will be plunging into freelance work and beta-reading instead.The ghost writing project is developing nicely and I also have a thriller manuscript and a memoir to read. Both authors are friends and members of my writing circle, it is an honor to assist them.

Unfortunately, I did not make the reading on Saturday night -On the Keemooch – as I developed a nasty flu just days prior making talking almost impossible let alone reading an erotic segment from my novel, The Twesome Loop. I am so disappointed as I had reworked the piece quite a lot.

What writing/reading plans do you have this week?

writing

WGA Book Club Discussion + Wine/Beer Literary Pairings
With Samantha Warwick in acknowledgement of Freedom to Read Week
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Shelf Life Books, 1302 – 4th Street SW
Calgary, AB

 

Mission Writers and Readers Festival

http://www.lifetimelearningcentre.org/events-by-type/writers-and-readers-festival/10th-annual-mission-writers-readers-festival/

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 p.m.
Location: UFV Mission Campus, Heritage Park Centre
33700 Prentis Avenue, Mission BC V2V 7B1

Add your local writing or reading events below.

 

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours for your Location…


events

It is my writers group sharing meeting on Tuesday. This is a monthly meeting where we share our stories and receive constructive critique. Later there are discussions on plot, characters, publishing and many other subjects. We occasionally have special guests and presentations on particular topics. No matter which meeting you attend, it is always inspiring and great to network.

http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com/  We welcome local & virtual members – any age, any stage of their writing career.

Writers Foundation Strathcona County

Other events:

Funding Your Book Research Panel Discussion
Wed, 8 February, 14:00 – 15:00
Humanities Lounge, HC-429
igali@ualberta.ca
Acquisitions Editor Peter Midgley participates in a panel discussion about the labours involved in book research and
writing.
This is a popular annual event and Sold Out! WGA 2017 Banff Retreat: February 3 – 12, 2017, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. A self-guided retreat is a great opportunity to connect with fellow writers and enjoy uninterrupted writing time at The Banff Centre, the world’s largest arts and creativity incubator. Writers at any stage of their career or writing project are welcome to join in.
Why not add your local events underneath?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


writing-hub

Firstly I want to celebrate a personal milestone, 1000 blog posts on my blog as of Monday 9th January!

post-milestone-1000

Writing:

Over the weekend, inspired by the new Writer in Residence, I continued with an edit of my speculative fiction manuscript, Life in Slake Patch. I will send the manuscript for the WIR to review once this is complete. This particular manuscript has been through numerous edits and revisions and needs to ‘get out there’ soon.

Books:

hope

I began the third novel by Claire North called The Sudden Appearance of Hope. It is written in a similar voice as the other two I have read. It is an intriguing concept as the main character is ‘forgotten’ almost from the moment she is out of sight. Time will tell if it matches up to Harry August or Touch.

Writing TipElmore Leonard

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.”

What writing project did you tackle this weekend?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

Upcoming Writing Events- Add Yours…


events

After meeting the new Writer in Residence yesterday, I will send him an invite to speak at our next writing meeting of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County on 7th February. Richard van Camp is a personable, funny and engaging personality with a drive to help other writers succeed. I feel his residency will propel many writers to publication. I may send him a few pages of my current work in progress too – it is always good to get new perspectives of your work.

http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/2016/12/05/creative-writer-in-residence

My other appointment yesterday was with a new freelance writing client. An interesting concept that will take several months of collaboration.

This coming week I have two board meetings. The first is with the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and we will set out event dates and new programs/projects for the year. This will include the annual conference, a writing retreat and the annual Words in the Park.

The second meeting is of the Arts and Culture Council of Strathcona County – detailing plans for our Arty Party to be held on 21st January and planning for other events later in the year, which will include a summer BBQ celebrating diversity, culture and Canada’s 150 birthday.

https://www.facebook.com/events/407736716231777/  Arty Party

arty-party-web

What events do you have planned for January? Care to share?

 

Writing Prompt Responses 2016…Voting is Open


I would be honored if you would take the time to vote for your favorite prompt contest responses – these participants took the time to write something for the competition and I would like to give them a prize for doing so. Leave your vote in the comment section please.

Stone Car – February 20th Prompt

Linda Pedley  (Wildhorse)
The concrete holds me to the road

As I take the curve into the rain
It’s not the destination but the mode
Let go the nerves and go again.

Can our stories written deep in stone
Change despite apparent plan?
All life’s paths go same direction
Can’t change the fates – no one can.

Eric James Olson

Stone Car in the Woods

What difference does perception make?
Parked here, alone but not beside
the road. Enfolded in leaves and green.
Can I be heard?

I shouldn’t be. Let me be clear:
I’m a car made from stones, scraps of metal, used tires.
That’s no metaphor. That’s what I am.
Literally.

And yet—there’s a consciousness in things
Inanimate. Like the other day.
A boy came out to this place in the woods.
He sat down across from me.

I can’t move, of course.
But he can and he came out to me.
And in his mind, a story formed
Of how I came to be—stuck here

By some unseen hand.
Is that not existence? A man made me.
And this boy saw me. Does it matter that
I can’t see him, feel him, hear him?

What difference does perception make?

Coldhandboyack

I don’t know about this, man.”

“Trust me, Benny. The cops will never spot it this way. We’ll just leave the loot in the car. Give it a couple of days and we can dig it out and drive into the night.”

A Chipmunk’s Life – June 25th Prompt

Sharon Baggs

Adult squirrel Perched on a cliff Must be a girl See her fancy quiff.

She searched the rock To see it was safe. Checked out the talk Saw no friendly face.

None of her pals Was she able to chase Where were the guys’n gals? No one to race.

So on this morn She chewed a treat, Feeling so forlorn They’d planned to meet.

She continued her snack A chew then a nibble, Her lips a quiver and smack. T’is better than kibble.

Out came friend Sue Who was a Chipmunk Abra- ca- dabra she was one too Disguise was her funk.

All the squirrels were mean So she used Dad’s power, Became a chipmunk Queen To frolic with Sue for an hour.

Cause after that Back into a squirrel, She turned stat Gave her head a whirl.

Oh, what fun with Sue If only she could stay, As a chipmunk Whoo Hoo! They could always play.

A Cinderella Dream !

Jade Figure – July 9 Prompt

Eli Pacheco

“Ha!” I could hear her in the other room. I knew exactly what she’d found.
“Um, babe … what the heck is this?”
I abandoned the twist of hangers and clean shirts that would now need cleaning to see her sitting in the middle of boxes with IT. She held it up to the light, strands of her blond hair out of the bun and framing her face. Her smile revealed equal parts wonder and confusion.
“I’ve always said I’d toss that the first move it gets broken in,” I explained.
Marin tapped on the glass with two fingernails. “It’s made of kryptonite, apparently.” She set it on the carpet in front of her and squinted. “Not a sixth-grade art project either, though, am I right?” For such ugliness, the craftsmanship was incredible.
“I think they’ve just mated,” I said, using that line for the thousandth time. It was funny the first time. “Or, they’ve just mated. That’s the boy butterfly, beating it for home before she eats his head.” My college roommate hypothesized they were both girls. But that’s a different story.
I’d followed Marin from Boston to Durham, N.C.
No regrets. Construction jobs come in every city. Marin, though, was an artisan. A carpenter. Can you believe that? The girl has carpenter pants in her closet that have actually held a hammer. Every time I’d compliment her on the craft of building a shelf or decorative piece, she reminded me.
“Carpentry isn’t for sissies, you know,” she’d say, without looking up from her work.
Maybe that’s why she reacted differently from any other woman I’d met to this ugly statue. I’d bought it when I was 11, for my mom, for mother’s day. It became the butt of jokes ever since in the family. The year before, I gave mom a Rodney Dangerfield album. I thought this to be an elegant upgrade.
“Have a place in mind for it?” she asked. She rocked back and onto her feet, arms outstretched for effect. Like she’d just nailed the landing off a pommel horse. I met this girl at a 9/11 vigil just off Boylston Street.
I’d followed my uncle to Boston for work. Only, with so much rain, there wasn’t much to do. I sustained myself on cereal and waited it out. I’d had so little work before the day I met Marin that it felt my hands hand grown soft. The week before, the Sox/Blue Jays finale got rained out.
I had bleacher tickets and everything – two, with no one in mind to take.
Anyway, I met Marin at this rally that I wouldn’t have been interested in had the week not been so rain-soaked and workless. I’d let the troubles of my world bounce around in my mind for days. I thought the relevance of the day could assuage that a bit. And it didn’t.
Until I saw her.
Now here I was, watching her hold up the mistake of a mother’s day gift that had stubbornly survived a handful of moves. She held it aloft, at first close, then at arm’s length. Immediately I remembered the snickering when mom lifted it from an oatmeal container decorated with paint.
“I do,” she said of what would become “fugglyfly’s” new home.
I remembered my oldest brother suggesting a place to put it that wasn’t exactly comfortable. Or probably physically possible. Instead, Marin walked out into the kitchen, to the end of the bar. I followed, as always.
She pushed aside my blender and two small boxes and placed the figure on the kitchen bar, way to the back, where I thought it would be easy to hide it behind something else. Anything else.
“Parfait,” she whispered, even though she knew French about as well as she did decorum. Marin stepped back, over my bag of golf discs, hands on hips. She adjusted a track light onto the figure, and turned it around. Ugly art has no front and back.
“That’s ridiculous,” I muttered, and realized how awful that must have sounded.
It occurred to me I’d assumed Marin’s actions were to ridicule. They weren’t. She didn’t even know the story. She hadn’t even asked. Even now, in my petulance, she leaned on a bar stool and waited. No reaction. No judgement.
I explained the story, and found myself looking more at my hands and feet than my girlfriend. “But it’s jade, isn’t it?” she asked. “It looks like jade. Smells like jade, too,” she said for comic effect. You know what? No one in my family had ever brought that up. Hell yes, it looks like jade.
I waited for the laughter burst, the proclamation, “you poor boy. How did you know it was horrid?” Nope. Still, no such thing. Marin instead told me that when her father died, she found bracelets and rings she’d made for him when she was little, in his jewelry box, next to his wedding ring.
She’d found artwork of hers, some of it unidentifiable, in his safe, with his will.
We talked a little more about stuff from our childhoods. Nothing bitter. I’d felt like a lot of what I did was misunderstood. I turned and looked through the open bedroom door and remembered the cramped closet space and so low to the ground toilet.
I wondered how we’d share sink space. If my beef jerky would go over well with a girl more likely to dry banana and kiwi chips than beef flank steak. I could see some battles, and that didn’t have anything to do with whose tools would go where. Or if my towels were towel-bar worthy.
She’d been the first, though, to unpack this symbol of my childhood mistakes this way. Makes me think we’ll be all right.
Makes me think I could even give kiwi chips a shot.

Invisible – August 6 prompt

Melinda Kucsera

Evasion

She sat reading and fading where she sat.
First her feet slipped into nothing, a toe
at a time. Her legs went next, but she sat
still and continued reading even though
her body shifted out of time part by
part. Her torso next phased out following
her legs. Not some invisibility
trick or try to fool the eye, she’s going
now, her arms are vanishing, soon her head
will go and all that will be left standing
is her clothes and the grimoire that she read.
For the invisibility spell cast
had helped her to evade her past at last.

Bench – September 10 prompt

Bernadette

I sit on the bench and wallow in the beauty of orange. The crunch of leaves and the crisp air fill my ears and lungs with sensory satisfaction. And just when I think I could not be anymore content, I gaze up at the bossy Blue Jay and smile.

Artista10

  • Sitting among the colors. Thinking of the many colors of life and the colors that make people’s personalities. Simple. complicated. Stunning. outraged. People. Colors. Life.

Vanished – December 3 prompt

The Bike Ride
by
Suzanne Burkett

It was a frosty morning for a bike ride but ten-year-old Jacob felt the loneliness more than the cold. At least he had his bike; it made his escapes so much easier. He could go faster and farther on his silver bike than on his feet. And that made all the difference for a kid in foster care.
Sure, he had to go back at the end of the day. If he could survive outside he would. But the need for food and warmth always made him turn his bike around and return to the house. There had been so many, it was a wonder he could even find his way back, but he did and there was always a family that barely noticed him, tossed a plate of cold hard food on the table, talked around him and about him, but never directly to him. Unless the check didn’t arrive from the child welfare. Then they got right up close to him and demanded he call his social worker. “Tell her we ain’t gonna feed you if we don’t get paid.”
Sometimes Sharon drove over in her ratty old Subaru and delivered her own personal check to the ‘family’. He loitered outside with his head hanging down while the inevitable argument ensued. One time, two years ago, she showed up with the bike sticking out of the back of her hatchback. “I’d take you myself if I could. You know that don’t you, Jacob?”
He nodded, unable to lift his head and let her see the tears soaking his lashes, one rolling down his cheek, then another until she wrapped her arms around him in a fierce, warm hug. Wiping her own cheeks, striding to her car, cranking the engine three times then finally driving off without looking back. She promised she would always find a home for him. Every time he was returned. Displaced. But could she really keep that promise?
This morning was the same as any other except for the part about it being Christmas morning. Jacob had crept out of the house before the ‘family’ awoke. He’d learned it was best not to sit with them, hopeful and expectant. More times than not, as the wrapping paper flew from the packages, he would get that look. The–oh gosh we forgot about you–look.
He rode along the wet street, water spraying up the back of his red sweatshirt. If he’d been asked what he wanted for Christmas, he would have said, “a rain jacket.”
His fingers were as icy as the trees. He took one hand, then the other off the handlebars, blew on it and put it in the front pocket of his sweatshirt. Over and over for miles he rode, finally turning left instead of right because he’d always wanted to see what was down this empty road. Nobody ever came down the road. And every time he rode past it, he promised himself that one day he would try it. He so much wanted to know where it led. So for Christmas this year he gave himself the gift of courage and turned his bike.
The first thing he noticed was the quiet sound. The trees hung forward like they were whispering to each other from one side of the street to the other. He forgot about his frozen fingers and kept riding, leaning forward, thinking if he rode far enough, if the road went far enough, he would understand what the trees were saying.
Then up ahead in the foggy distance, he saw something blocking the road. Oh no, he thought. There’s someone out here. He squinted. It looked like a red and gold car in the middle of the road, skidded sideways. Someone spun out. He squeezed his brakes. He thought he did but the bike didn’t slow. It seemed to go faster. He pulled his hand off the lever, blew on it, squeezed again but nothing happened. He stood up on the peddles. “Hey!” he shouted. “Hey, I’m here! Look out! I can’t stop!”
For the first time ever, his bike slid out from under him. Not now, he thought. Don’t give up on me now.
He hit the ground, sliding forward on his back, his bike motionless behind him. He skidded right up to the car that was not a car. It was a sleigh, and a man as ancient as the world itself stepped out of it. He scooped Jacob up in his arms. “I got you now,” he said. “You can come with me.”

Blog Wrap Up for 2016…


thank-you

Firstly a huge thank you to all my followers for dropping by to comment, read and share my musings. You are from all points of the globe, in fact  179 different countries have visited this site.  242 flags collected – that is amazing.

flag-2016

In 2016 for the first time, I split the themes of each day into two six month slots – firstly  Lost Words kindly approved by the http://phrontistery.info/ were on Mondays from January until June and then I invited author interviews, writing tips, stories etc for the second half Mondays. I also shared my road trip adventures around Alberta.

Wednesdays began with a look at alternative lifestyles in deference to my speculative fiction novel I was working on entitled, Life in Slake Patch. The second half was reincarnation/life after death, which tied into my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop but also because this subject has always fascinated me. I was fortunate to have some special guests involved in these posts.

On Saturday’s I posed writing prompts and the added incentive of prizes for whomever responded.

As 2016 becomes 2017 – I wish you all a healthy, loving, and exciting year.

2017

Writing Prompt Contest – Hot Air Balloon Ride…


hot-air-balloon

Using this image as a story starter – tell a story or write a poem. Is it a delightful ride or a problematic one?

Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.

A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.

Music To Listen to While Writing…


music-splash

There are some wicked tracks on this list, many I do listen to, mostly the more ‘classical’ ones as they don’t interfere with my thought processes as much as a ‘popular’ tune would do. There is a tendency to sing along or revert back to the movie scene, jilting me away from my narrative and the ‘mood’ I am creating within it.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/write-music

I have a few favorite composers – Beethoven, Handel, Bach and Strauss to name a few, all of which were introduced to me as a child by my parents. The tracks I listen to are old friends and never disappoint whether I am writing or not. There is something so calming, resounding and comfortable about classical music. It allows my mind to relax and conjure up stories.

What type of music allows your Muse to flow?

Do you change the type of music you listen to in relation to the genre or scene you are writing?

On a side note if you have never watch Cloud Atlas – I suggest you do but realize you will have to watch it several times to get the whole story! Very cleverly done but initially confusing.

music-head