Monthly Archives: January 2013

Story Writing Exercises 023: Thursday 31st January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

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You can do them in any order.

  1. One-word prompt: Slice
  2. Keywords: music, light, secret, bang, repeat
  3. Random: Your character is falling for his/her father-in-law/mother-in-law
  4. Picture: what does this inspire?

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 022: Wednesday 30th January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

022 barefeet 796844You can do them in any order.

  1. Monologue: waiting for an important delivery
  2. Keywords: childhood, immortal, obstacle, 17, game
  3. Random: Your character fancies the babysitter
  4. Picture: what does this inspire?

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 021: Tuesday 29th January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

Stubbed Out CigaretteYou can do them in any order.

  1. Mixed bag: writer / show jumper (characters), beach (location), mobile phone (object), can’t read (dilemma) and end of an era (conflict)
  2. Keywords: execute, drive, interesting, sixties, connection
  3. Random: Your character is treated like a dogsbody
  4. Picture: what does this inspire?

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 020: Monday 28th January

After a weekend off (sorry about that, but I’ve been engrossed developing a new interviews-only blog), here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

020 boy 690808You can do them in any order.

  1.  Sentence start: Norman was one to…
  2.  One-word prompt: Bun
  3.  Picture: what does this inspire?
  4.  Keywords: plot, red, super, path, cottage

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 019: Friday 25th January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

019 hoods 225547You can do them in any order.

  1. Picture: what does this inspire?
  2. Random objects: yellow bus, mouldy oranges, child with wings
  3. One-word prompt: shake
  4. Random: Your character looks through a hole, what can they see?

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 018: Thursday 24th January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

018 orchestra 768832You can do them in any order.

  1. Monologue: I’m not sure what to do…
  2. Keywords: careful, laugh, hide, view, get
  3. Dialogue only: One character is pestering the other
  4. Picture: what does this inspire?

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 017: Wednesday 23rd January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can do them in any order.

  1. Dialogue only: Your two characters are having an argument about a colleague
  2. Picture: what does this inspire?
  3. One-word prompt: Lead
  4. Mixed bag: beautician / nurse (characters), art gallery (location), talks too much (trait), cuddly toy (object), mistaken identity (dilemma)

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 016: Tuesday 22nd January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

016 art theft 794896You can do them in any order.

  1. Picture: what does this inspire?
  2. Random: Your character finds an inscription in a book, what happens next?
  3. Mixed bag: wizard, elephant, graveyard, scared, button
  4. Keywords: kind, wonderful, chicken, yoghurt, after

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story Writing Exercises 015: Monday 21st January

Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

015 office 93789You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: 1860, excellent, curtains, phone, directory
  2. One-word prompt: Thistle
  3. Sentence start: Knowing it was the wrong…
  4. Picture: what does this inspire?

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story for Critique 005: The Blue BMW by Rosanne Dingli

Welcome to Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group and the fifth story on this blog. This 3,052-word piece is by romance mystery author Rosanne Dingli.

Please do comment in the section below telling us what you liked about this story and, what if anything, Rosanne could do to improve upon it. Thank you – it’s very much appreciated!

I do have some feedback but I’ve just included it (below the story) as links to the scans of my handwritten-notes so I can let others comment here without being influenced by me. 🙂

RedVolkswagen_COVER_NOVComment / feedback sought by Rosanne: “This story was written very quickly, so no doubt readers can pick holes in it. It appears in the collection The Red Volkswagen and other stories, a bundle of stories all about cars.”

The Blue BMW © Rosanne Dingli

The withered hand rose out of the water, slowly rotating away from her. She watched it, horrified, as it turned and dripped. Skin and bone, with long curved nails, it was the nightmare hand she feared. The hand she had dreaded would reach out from under the bed as a child, to grab her ankle if she dared step down to go to the bathroom.

She never dared. And now, it slowly turned, making no sound as it splashed into the oncoming waves and disappeared. Rings – three rings – formed and spread outwards from where it had shown itself. It was a few seconds, but she had seen it, just like she had dreamed it, just like she had witnessed it: the withered hand of her mother as she lay dying.

‘I’m leaving you everything.’ The soft voice was clear and sharp. It did not sound like her mother’s voice. ‘See that you get it – everything in the house. My will – it’s all in my will.’

‘Mum, don’t talk. Hush,’ she said. Grief was starting to knot itself into a tight wad in her stomach and a vice around her throat. She could not cry now, yet she could not stave off the tears. ‘Mum – please …’

‘Listen. It’s important. Take the jewellery. Don’t let your brother’s wife … take the green jade bowl. The kerchief box – it’s yours. The box is important.’ Her withered hand, dry, with papery skin and veins that were once blue, now blackened under a weak tarpaulin of dying nerves.

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February Writing Competitions

competition 612589Below are some February-deadline competitions for a variety of formats…
See http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/competitions-calendar for regularly-held (weekly, monthly, quarterly etc) and competitions later in the year.

Short Story / Flash Fiction opportunity

Another short story / flash fiction opportunity (received via email):

I am a writer with website The Casket of Fictional Delights www.thecasket.co.uk where I showcase both my own and guest writers’ short stories and flash fiction. No one makes any money, especially me, but there is web exposure and I am an authorised Apple podcaster which means the short stories are put on iTunes at regular intervals. I am launching a new project for 2013 and I am looking for Flash Fiction submissions for this project – Tube-Flash. I have done a short paragraph below with the main information, but if you need more or would like further details please let me know. There is a possibility of a book but that is still in the discussion phase with Transport for London so I have not included that in the brief but there is mention of it on the website. The URL link to the page is www.thecasket.co.uk/tube-flash

Tube-Flash is an exciting new project launched by The Casket of Fictional Delights giving writers the opportunity to showcase their work. Joanna Sterling at The Casket of Fictional Delights has matched a number of London Underground Stations with Brooches (her other passion) and is now looking for writers to write Flash Fiction stories inspired by either the Tube Station or the Brooch. The stories will be published online and recorded as a podcast for iTunes. Find out more and be part the journey.

The closing date for submissions is 31st January 2013.

Regards

Joanna
The Casket of Fictional Delights
www.thecasket.co.uk

Short Story for Critique 004: The Letter by Ina Schroders-Zeeders

Welcome to Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group and the fourth story on this blog. This piece is a 1,765-word thriller by Ina Schroders-Zeeders. Please do comment in the section below telling us what you liked about this story and, what if anything, the author could do to improve upon it. Thank you – it’s very much appreciated!

I do have some feedback but I’ve just included it (below the story) as links to the scans of my handwritten-notes so I can let others comment here without being influenced by me. 🙂

The Letter

New York, October 31, 1998

Dear Anna

It is time. I want to tell you about the past.
Eighteen I was then. I had just nicely finished grammar school, with all good marks. Therefore my mother has thought of a reward: she and I were to spend a while on board of the vessel my father worked on, so I would get to know him a bit, because otherwise that would never happen, she said. My elder brothers were already in the Indies by then. It would be a cosy trip, the three of us in the captains quarters.

After an Atlantic summer storm, that had wrecked the screw propeller of the “Pooldam”, we ended up on Rathlin Innes. Only thanks to my fathers seamanship, may his soul rest in peace, it is that we didn’t drown then, but entered the puny port in the bay of Rathlin Innes, a dot on the map, and according to the text there, an uninhabitet island, well that description was close. My father was extremely worried. As in the meanwhile WWII had broken out, he couldn’t get spare parts for the screw, since they had to be shipped from Germany and well, that was kind of difficult then. You understand, dear?

After a while I got bored, but it wasn’t all that bad to be trapped on the island. It was an oasis of peace in the turmoil called 1939. Here, feeding seagulls, I had time to think about my life and what I wanted to do. I had just finished my first relationship with a four eyed Amsterdam boy called Bob, who later joined the Resistance. Well, actually he broke up with me because of Lies, a peroxide blonde skeleton he happened to marry as well later on, I think. Not that it matters. Not anymore.

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Story writing exercises 006: 12th Jan 2013

timer 54392Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

You can do them in any order.

  1. Dialogue-only: Your character has discovered a talking dog.
  2. Random: Look at your left palm and describe it in no less than 300 words.
  3. Mixed bag: health worker, patient, a carrot, hospital reception, language barrier, hard of hearing.
  4. Keywords: pop, crucial, smooth, thirty, thirsty.

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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Story writing exercises 005: 11th Jan 2013

timer 54392Here are your four exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

You can do them in any order.

  1. Random: Pick one object from your top desk drawer (or bedside drawer) and describe it in no less than 500 words.
  2. Sentence start (second-person future tense): You know Ted will get there first…
  3. One-word prompt: tease
  4. Monologue: a show jumper waiting his / her turn in the ring

Have fun, and do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on!

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The third (and latest) story to appear on my main blog’s Short Story Saturday story slot…

Morgen 'with an E' Bailey

Welcome to the Short Story Saturday story slot and the third story in this series. Because I have a 1,000-word limit on the Flash Fiction Fridays, I’ve decided (helped by first story contributor Jane Risdon) to add a story to the SSS slot, running roughly every other Saturday, in between the short story reviews, and here I’m delighted to share with you one of my favourite short stories (and one of the few I’ve given 10/10 to in the H.E. Bates Short Story Competition judging – this one once of the late-2011 entries – it had me hooked at the title!) by short story author Dan Purdue. The copyright remains with Dan.

Dan PurdueSince he submitted this story, Dan’s told me that he’s submitted another for the late-2012 competition and one of the shortlisted (I only know the stories by the number our Competitions Secretary gives them and this…

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