Monthly Archives: March 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge 2013 – My List Unveiled

20130331-134159.jpg

Happy Easter to you all. Tomorrow is April 1st, which brings with it this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. A blog post every day (except Sundays), prompted by letters of the Alphabet, starting with A tomorrow, B the next day etc.

I have already extolled the virtues of getting involved with the challenge in my previous post (you still have a few hours to sign up!) but today I am unveiling my list of topics, so have a look at the list and make sure you follow the blog in the coming days and weeks for posts on Writing, Life, Music, Rants and lots more – including some audio recordings.

Here’s the list I have so far:

A is for Action! Stop waiting for permission for your life to start.
B is for Bananas! Go Bananas to beat Writer’s Block.
C is for Cooking. Cook your stories. Don’t rush new ideas.
D is for Death and Loss. A monologue with audio.
E is for Emotional Content. Write with feeling.
F is for Films. How thinking cinematically can improve your writing.
G is for Gold! Why I love ‘The Treasure of The Sierra Madre’
H is for History. Don’t forget the ‘Story’ part.
I is for Imitation. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Honest.
J is for Jokes. Being funny is no laughing matter.
K is for Keep Moving – Write or Die!
L is for Lies. Go Home and Tell Some Lies (song)
M is for Maybe I don’t Need To Know (song)
N is for Night Time of The Soul. (song)
O is for On My Own. Why we all need time alone.
P is for Pigeon Hole. Why does everything have to fit in to a box?
Q is for Quiet. It’s always the quiet ones who write.
R is for Red, White and Blue (song)
S is for Satisfied and why you shouldn’t be.
T is for Thief. There’s no such thing as an original idea – make it your own.
U is for Uncommon Courtesy. A Rant.
V is for Vinyl. Needle On The Black (song)
W is for WIP – Work in Progress
X is for X-Ray Music (song)
Y is for YOU, dear reader.
Z is for Zero. The word count no one wants to see.

As I am only part way through the actual writing of my posts, please don’t try to hold me to the above list! My mind changes more frequently than Lindsey Lohan changes rehab clinic.

If you are taking part, have you planned your posts? If you are just hoping to read lots of blogs, what do you think of my list – enough to keep you interested? Let me know what you’re up to, give me a follow or just say hello.

A-Z Blog Challenge – I’m going down to Alphabet Street.

20130324-131431.jpg

So, a new year and a new challenge. NaNoWriMo was great last year (and I hope to have another go in November too) but a new challenge has been suggested to me by fellow writer Maria, who writes the excellent First Draft Cafe blog. This one will keep me busy for the whole of April, as the A to Z Blog challenge means I will need to post a blog every day during the month (except Sundays), the only stipulation being that it be inspired by the next letter of the alphabet – starting with ‘A’ on April 1st. Each post has to be a minimum of 100 words and can be as eclectic as you like.

It’s a great way to kick start your blog and has the added benefit of enabling you to connect with hundreds of other bloggers from around the world.

Suitably inspired, I have begun to list a whole range of ideas that will include posts on Writing and inspiration, songs, short fiction and maybe even a recorded monologue. Well, what the hell – I have 26 opportunities to inspire, entertain or bewilder you and I intend to give it my best shot.

So, have you signed up yet? If not, why not? There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. If you have already signed up, I would love to hear from you – what are your tips and advice for a newbie like me?

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to getting started next Monday (coincidentally, it’s also my birthday!). See you at the start line. Follow the blog, sign up to the challenge, comment and get involved. Happy writing.

Lock 17 – Weekly Flash Fiction

20130324-125831.jpg

The challenge that faced the Phoenix Writers this week was to write a 200 word piece that included the following elements – a barge approaching a set of locks, a bullock and a rifle.

Here’s what I came up with . . .
—————————

    Lock 17

“Don’t worry, Kid,” said Don, squeezing the shoulder of his eldest.

“I ain’t scared,” replied Ryan, bristling with teenage hubris.

You should be, thought Don, cutting the barge engines and letting her drift towards Lock 17. It was almost dark, hinted moonlight on distant clouds. He’d wanted to get back before Sundown and knew Emily would already be fretting for their safety. Nearly there.

“Careful, Son,” said Don, as Ryan scampered off the boat to open the bottom gates.

Seconds later Don heard the sound, barely audible over creaking wood. His eyes darted to the left. He grabbed the rifle, listening as he squinted down the barrel towards the rotten oak tree obscuring the towpath just beyond Ryan. There it was again, much closer. Before he could alert his son, a hulking white bullock emerged from the trees pulling a wagon, upon which sat canal pirate, Jonny Moondog, his pump-action shotgun casually levelled at Ryan.

“Drop the rifle mate,” said Jonny.

Don obliged. A pause. “You idiot!” Don laughed, “You scared us half to death!”

Ryan ran to embrace his uncle Jonny.

“Ring ahead before your next visit, will you?” said Don.

“Sorry, mate,” said the pirate, “what’s for tea?”

—————————

It was definitely more difficult to write something so short, with such a specific set of elements to include, and for a while I thought I was writing a dystopian tale of dwindling resources – until my natural inclination for levity kicked in and spoiled the climax.

I would love to hear your feedback on this or any other of my flash fiction, which I am now posting on a weekly basis. Just click on the flash fiction category to see the others. What are you working on at the moment?

Flash Fiction – The Big Cheese

For this week’s flash fiction challenge, we were asked to write a piece of 150 words, to be inspired by the following newspaper headline:

“By-Election Could Herald New Chapter in Politics.”

We had some really diverse and interesting pieces. Entitled, ‘The Big Cheese’, here’s what I came up with.

—————————-

Once again Keith had been caught reading a human newspaper, and the other mice were furious. Standing before the three members of The Mouse Council, he now faced his own election battle to stay on the committee.

“Freak!” shouted council secretary, Brian.

“Well, I prefer to think of it as a special skill,” said Keith.

“What the secretary means,” began Deputy Leader Len “is we’re concerned about the negative influence of human media.”

“Yeah, but he is weird,” added Brian.

Len twitched his nose irritably. “So it just remains for Council Leader Pam to give the final vote, before we bid you farewell.”

“Fair enough – so you won’t be interested in the article I read about the local cheese festival, then?” asked Keith, nonchalantly flicking his tail.

“Well, let’s not be hasty,” said Pam, raising a paw.

Keith gave a winning smile, because politics is politics, whether man or mouse.

—————————-

As ever, I would love to hear your feedback, as well as your own examples of flash fiction – or perhaps your own spin on the same writing prompt. Use the comments section and send me your links.

Blessed Are The Geeks – Flash Fiction

Last week I attended a writing critique group, which was great fun but also introduced me to a genre of writing I had yet to try – Flash Fiction.

For the uninitiated, Flash Fiction is simply very short form fiction (often 200 words or less). For last week’s writing challenge, we were encouraged to write a piece of 100 words, to begin with the following sentence:

In front of us, several heads were bowed in prayer, oblivious to our whispers.

Rather than going for a church or religious setting, as inferred by the prayer reference in the prompt, I decided to write something humorous to reflect on the almost God-like status given to technology gurus like Steve Jobs.

I really enjoyed the challenge of producing something so concise and I hope to post more Flash Fiction on a weekly basis. I would love your comments and feedback.

Here is this week’s piece – Blessed Are The Geeks – 100 words (not including prompt).

———————–

In front of us, several heads were bowed in prayer, oblivious to our whispers.

Hushed incredulity from cynical journalists witnessing the latest product launch of Orange Industries. Surrounded by a gaggle of geeks murmuring the mission statement of the company they followed with such religious fervour.

Silence fell followed by gasps as on stage Oi boss, Dave Works produced a small object from his pocket. Someone fainted. Another screamed.

“We call it . . . the Oi Open!” said Dave.

I squinted at the beautifully designed but familiar-looking implement.

“Isn’t that just a tin-opener?” I called from the back.

Heads turned, scorn flowed and moments later I was frog-marched through the door marked ‘Non-Believers’.

————————–
Have you tried Flash Fiction? What kind of writing prompts have you used? Why do you like short form fiction? Feel free to post your links in the comments section.