Wolf & Word Notebook #17

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Things are a little out of whack which means that I am posting the Wolf & Word Notebook on a Tuesday but I’m hoping that this bumper crop of links will make up for my scheduling issues. Check out what has been inspiring me lately:

ONLINE

As April is national Poetry Month I wanted to kick off this notebook by sharing a couple of original poems I have enjoyed recently. There are some seriously talented poets out there, these three frequently post beautiful work:

In the Woods by Jessica James

April’s Fool by Mrs Mediocrity

 Butterfly by Gabrielo Banks

I also want to let you know that the lovely Kat McNally is hosting April Moon, which is a series of reflective writing prompts designed to take advantage of the energy of the full pink moon It starts today, so head on over if your looking for some great guiding prompts for self-reflection.

I love reading letters from the past and Dani from Sand Has No Home is transcribing a series of letters that her grandmother received during WWI, they can be found at Dear Colina.

Nat Russo shared a great article about the 4 common attributes of successful writers. It’s full of encouragement and I recommend it if you are feeling a little disheartened on your writing journey.

Victoria Addis writes about the importance of books in your writing space (and leaves me wanting more bookshelves).

This article on An Editor’s List of Novel Shortcomings written by James Scott Bell on The Kill Zone blog was very interesting and informative and gives some great pointers for novelists.

I cannot believe it has been 10 years since the awesome zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead was released. To celebrate Edgar Wright has made all three of the Cornetto trilogy’s screenplays available to download here. I downloaded Shaun (written by Wright and Simon Pegg) as it is my favourite of the three, and as well as the joy of experiencing the written form of something so familiar, it also serves as inspiration, a reminder that the movies I love all spring from the same foundation – well-written words.

I opened a Google + Community for anyone interested in discussing writing and promoting their work in a small group, as well as being a space for people to share their responses to my writing exercises if they wish. So far it is a great eclectic mix of all different kinds of writers, so if you’re interested request an invite!

OFFLINE

I got to see Captain America : The Winter Soldier on the big screen and I was very impressed. I would go so far as to say this is my favourite of the big Marvel movies so far (which was a surprise to me, as Captain America : The First Avenger is my least favourite!).

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Have you seen it?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s link line up and inspiration list.

Have you read anything inspiring lately? Know of any must-read writer’s resources? Let me know in the comments below. 

 

 

Being Amy

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When you read or watch Little Women you identify with Jo. You want to be Jo; fierce, intelligent, strong.

She is the protagonist after all. She’s a writer, too. And isn’t it lovely to have sisters?

Later you realise that you can never be Jo.

You are Amy.

You have always been Amy.

Spoiled. Selfish. Handed everything on a silver platter.

Set apart from the others, the older ones. Never at the same stage in life.

What would you know?

You are the brat.

The baby.

Amy, always.

I am always fascinated with siblings in stories, probably because I have six of my own. I am the second youngest child  and the youngest sister. While writing my current novel, those who I had thought would be the main characters shifted, and a sibling pair emerged as the true protagonists. I’m still not sure how things turn out for them!

Writing Exercise : Birth Order – where do you sit in your family? Eldest? Youngest? Middle child? Only child? How do you think this has affected you during your life?

Apply this prompt to yourself, a character you have created, or create a new character specifically for the exercise. If you’d like to share your response, leave a link in the comments below or share in our Google Plus community.

{More about these exercises and the G+ community can be found here.}

Introducing Writing Exercises and Community

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As we enter April and the second quarter of the year (already!) I am making a few changes and introducing a few new ideas here at Wolf & Word.

Participation and Writing Exercises

Now you can play along with me more often! Now I will have writing exercises at the end of a lot of my posts. These will be varied and will be designed as such that you can either;

* apply the writing exercise to produce reflective writing about your self,

* apply the writing exercise to produce creative writing applied to a fictional character, one who already appears in your writing, or one that you create just for the exercise.

I am hoping these writing exercises will inspire you to get the words flowing. You can do these in a notebook or using a word processor just for yourself, but if you do have your own blog and want to share, you are always welcome to do so, either in the comments below the relevant post, or in the newly created Wolf and Word Community over on Google Plus.

I am also planning to invite some of my friends and fellow writers to guest post with writing exercises for you too.

The Wolf and Word Google Plus Community

I have decided to create a Google Plus community for Wolf and Word readers to share their writing and get support and feedback from each other. I know, it’s Google Plus, it is not as widely used as Facebook, but I am learning more about it and I would really like to give it a shot. So yes, this is a little experimental, but I would love to hang out with you there, and see what you’ve been writing. Click here to check it out, and request an invite. It’s set to private meaning that posts in the community are only seen by other community members, so no need to be shy.

Well, that’s what’s new here at Wolf & Word, I’ll be back very soon with the first writing exercise.

Come and join me?

Hi

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How do you reconnect with someone you haven’t been in contact with for a while?

How do you reconnect when you have just let things drift? You thought at the time that perhaps it was time to let go of the relationship and then you realised you really do like them.  You think of them every day and you have so much to tell them.

Would you reconnect by liking their latest Facebook status, letting that little thumbs up let them know you’re still around?

Would you @ mention them in a tweet, or perhaps even send them a DM? Could you reconnect in 140 characters or less?

Would you tag them on Instagram in a photo of something hilarious, a private joke only they would get?

Would you send them a long email in which you tell them about everything that has ever happened to you, letting the words pour out in long and winding sentences, hoping that they are enough.

Would you see a cute, quirky postcard in your favourite little shop and send it to them with the words ‘Wish you were here’ or ‘Wish I was there’ or ‘Saw this and thought of you’?

Would you consider visiting them in person, standing at their door and clearing your throat after you ring the bell and when they answer you’ll tell them you were ‘just in the neighbourhood.’

Would you pick up the phone and give them the rarest of rare – a phone call, and hope they pick up? Or hope that they don’t and then leave a message where your voice sounds infinitely brighter than you feel and you do that awkward laugh at the end? You know the one – you wish you could erase every time it escapes your mouth but it never really bothered them.

Or would you try something more simple and send a text message, something short to open up the conversation once again?

One message containing all you want to say and all you’ll never say. One message into which you will channel all hopes, all possibilities, all imagined outcomes of this relationship.

And although in your heart it is a question, you will not add any punctuation at all. Best to leave it open, hanging there, expectant, hopeful, but not demanding.

You press send nervously and then wait to see if you will be rewarded with three grey dots…

You look at the message you just sent and hope it will be enough:

Hi

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A Prompt Reply – Flash Fiction with Anna

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In this post I mentioned that prompt are a great way to get the creative juices flowing and get writing. I also mentioned that Anna Spargo-Ryan hosts a weekly Flash Fiction post.

So I decided to take my own advice and join in.

It was harder than I thought, to publish something so quickly and I guess, “undercooked”, especially on the site of a blogger whose writing I consider to be among the best out there, but it is certainly a great exercise for the mind.

So without further ado (I love writing that!) here is my flash fiction to the prompt :

A boy and his mother catch an afternoon train

 

“Right,” my mother says. “Are you ready?”

I nod, although I’m not really. I feel sick, and more than a little bit scared.

“You can do this,” she says. “Just like we talked about.”

I want to say “Yeah,” but the lump in my throat is stopping me from talking. I manage to nod again and give a half-hearted smile.

 

We wander around the store for a while, but I can take nothing in. Mum is talking brightly and pointing things out to me. When we reach the right aisle my heart starts pounding. “OK kiddo,” she whispers in my ear “This is it, show me what you’ve got.” Then she is gone, around the corner, to the next aisle, and soon she will be out of the store.

 

On some level, it feels wrong, I know it’s wrong. But Mum has explained all about right and wrong in this situation. “Who’s it hurting?” she said. “A huge company that makes millions of dollars? You gotta do what you gotta do to survive.” When I tried to point out that this was not really necessary to our survival she says “ Look kiddo, this is special. It’s your first go. It has to be something you really want, the more you want it the better you’ll do. And, if you do right, you can help me with more stuff we need. You can be my special helper, OK?  Besides, this way, you get caught, I can plead ignorance. You know what ignorance means, kiddo?”

 

I don’t but I say I do. I stare at the toy train in front of me. It’s a small red engine with two carriages. I look up and down the aisle, see no-one. “Who’s it hurting?” I say softly to myself as I take the train and put it inside my jacket the way Mum showed me at home. I inhale as I turn and walk down the aisle, ready to leave the store.

 

“I’m doing it,” I think as I stride towards the exit. I feel the smile beginning to spread across my face when suddenly a shop assistant in a blue uniform lurches in front of me. “Hey kid, wait.” he says. My heart all but stops. He knows, he knows, he knows my head screams and the train burns red hot against my side under the jacket.

 

“Here,” he says and shoves a coupon in my hand:

Ed’s Toy Town

Spend $100 and get 10% off. 

“Thanks,” I manage to mumble as I step out through the doors.

 

I don’t look back as I make my way to the food court where my mother is waiting. I can’t wait to see the look on her face when I show her. She’s going to be so proud.

Be sure to click here and check out the other responses to the prompt, including Anna’s, and if you like join in too!

Have you ever had a go at flash fiction?

Write Here With Me – February – Buzz

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Well, I almost forgot to open up my own linky for this month!

Why?

I have been a busy little bee.

We are only 6 days in, but February is already kicking my ass!

School is back, and it has impacted my three year old in a big way – she’s missing her big brother and needing extra attention.

So this link-up may be a little late, but with a good reason. A good, demanding, exhausting reason.

With this month’s prompt being Buzz you may be wondering how I decide on which word to use. Well, I try to think about it as little as possible and just use something from the top of my head. This keeps the prompt challenging to me as well.

I then try to think if the prompt is too obvious or restrictive by seeing if I can quickly use it in a variety of contexts. If I can do that, I decide to go with that prompt.

For example buzz can be many things; you may choose to go with the sound, and write a story about bees, or a pesky fly, or a phone call, or something else electronic that makes a buzzing sound.

Or you may go with the atmospheric feeling of a buzzing crowd. Or you might write about something that gives you a thrill.

You might have a rant about buzzwords that annoy you, or you might have something to say about buzz-cuts.

You may even like to write about the second man on the moon (second comes right after first!).

So that’s just a few ways you can run with the word “Buzz”.

Why not give it a go?

Once you do, come and link it up below. I’ll be adding my response over the next few days and the linky will remain open for two weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

Five Ways To Start Writing Right Now

LimeLanePhotography_startwriting_600pxImage from © Lime Lane Photography

 So you finally have some time (or have made the time) to write. You’re sitting down at your computer, you’ve opened up a nice, fresh blank document and… nothing. Nada. Nought. You’ve given yourself the space to write but nothing is happening. Maybe you’ll just go check Facebook instead. Or Twitter. Or Pinterest?

Stop right there. You should be writing. You could be writing. All you have to do is trick yourself into it. You don’t have to be creating a masterpiece every time  you sit down at the computer. But if you want to write, then you have to write. Here are five ideas to get your mind (and your pen) flowing.

1. Stream of Consciousness

A classic brain-dump exercise. Just start writing and don’t stop to censor yourself.  Seriously, whatever comes into your head let it out. Go until you feel like stopping.  Sometimes this little exercise can be handy just to get your mind working and get yourself into the flow. It’s up to you whether you want to read over what you have written or not, but I have uncovered a few gems this way; in between the mundane pouring out of my (many) anxieties and the song lyrics that just jump in there I sometimes discover a strong sentence or a great idea.

2. Use a Prompt

Get your writing started by responding to a prompt. Sarah Selecky sends a daily writing prompt out via twitter. If you’re into flash fiction, Anna Spargo-Ryan has just started posting a weekly prompt to get you started. I host a monthly link-up centred on a one-word prompt.  Prompts are like a small key that can unlock the door to your imagination. Open it up and tell us what’s on the other side!

3. Write to Somebody

Write somebody special an email (or some snail mail *nostalgic sigh*). Bring back the art of letter writing! Go beyond the boring weather chit-chat and schedule run-down and compose something well-written, lovely and heart-felt. It’s up to you whether you send it or not, sometimes it just helps get you into the creative flow if you can focus on who you are writing to.

4. Switch your Tools

If you usually find yourself typing at the computer, grab yourself a gorgeous notebook and a working pen and write your heart out old-school.  You may be quicker when you type, but sometimes a change in format can be enough to kick your brain into creative-gear.

5. Change your Scenery

Take your notebook & pen (okay, you can take your laptop if you insist – just stay off the internet!) somewhere different and write. It could be the next room. It could be your back verandah. It could be that cute coffee shop down the road or your local library. Sometimes all it takes to get writing is a small change of scenery; a fresh view, a comfy seat, a different atmosphere; and the creative juices start to flow. (And if you choose the cafe, real juice could be flowing too. Or coffee. Or chai.  After all that writing you deserve a treat, right?)

There you have it, five simple ways to start writing. So what are you waiting for?

What other simple tricks do you use to just start writing? Tell me in comments below or let me know on Facebook or Twitter. Or even Google +  - I’m kinda liking it over there!

P.S. If you do want to join in my monthly link-up, it will be open on Thursday February 6th. February’s prompt is ‘buzz.’

 

Twenty things you may not know about me!

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Wolf and Word has been around for five months now, so I thought I’d give you a little more insight into who I am! Here’s a list of 20 random things you may not know about me;

1. My favourite colour is red.

2. I live in the country, in a regional city, only 30 minutes away from the small town I grew up in.

3. I am the sixth of seven children. I have three brothers and three sisters. Out of the seven of us, I am the only one with brown eyes.

4. Most of my older siblings moved out before I can remember much about living with them. Now we are spread out all around Australia.

5. My younger brother and I had a cubby house which was a garden shed. In it was an old typewriter which I would use to type up my ‘magazine’ which I had titled Remedy (as it was supposed to be a ‘remedy’ for boredom.)

6. I also used to create and then type up ‘find-a-word’ puzzles which would reveal a message with the left-over letters once you had found all the words. My crowning achievement was an X-Files themed puzzle which when solved, of course, spelled out “The truth is out there.”

7. So, if you hadn’t guessed, I’m a little bit geeky. I read comics, I love superhero movies, and I have been known to play the occasional video game.

8. I am a pop-culture t-shirt junkie. I can not resist a clever t-shirt if it relates to something I’m a fan of.
Game of Thrones tee

9. I am married to an awesome guy named Josh. We’ve been married for seven years and we’ve been together for ten.

10. Josh and I have two children, a boy aged 6 and girl aged 3.

11. I’m not really a fan of cold weather.

12. Which makes it kind of surprising that high on my list of places I’d love to visit is Oslo, in Norway. It just looks so beautiful.

13. Also high on that travel wish-list? New York, Paris, Madrid, London and Los Angeles.

14. My first job was as a sales advisor/product demonstrator in a toy-store.

15. I have also worked as an inbound telemarketer for a major telecommunications company, where most of my day was spent fielding complaints. That was not my favourite.

16. I have a bachelor’s degree in Communications with majors in Print Journalism & Tourism. While my career may not have followed the trajectory I had originally planned post-Uni, I don’t regret either the degree (I learned a lot at Uni and met some great people) or where my life is at now (I have the most awesome family, and love getting to stay-at-home with my children while they are little.)

17. Being a writer, I obviously love to read, but I am also a huge fan of film. I absolutely love ‘the magic of the movies’ and a great film can put me on such an inspiration high. I especially love getting to see movies at the cinema. Cinema dates have been few and far between over the last couple of years, but that’s all set to change this year and my husband and I have just become members of our local film club, meaning more movies, more often. 

18. I am really not very good at cooking. I would love to have a better kitchen repertoire but when I branch out things seldom go to plan!

19. I am really uncoordinated when it comes to sports, when I was younger I used to feel sick before any team sport because I was so anxious about ‘letting the team down.’

20. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 27, and only really started driving regularly last year. It was a huge fear for me and I’m so relieved to have gotten past that as there was a time I believed I’d never be a driver. But I did it! I faced my fear and now I drive all the time. I like to remind myself of this whenever I start letting fear stand in my way.

How about you?

 Tell me something I may not know about you in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know nothing, Jon Snow – in defence of the ‘non-book reading’ fans of Game of Thrones

[Possible tiny vague spoilers ahead]

 

Jon Snow

The trailer for the next season of Game of Thrones is out and it’s about this time of year that I ask myself – should I read the books to get my Westeros fix in the meantime? I love the world that George R. R. Martin has created and I would really love to spend some more time there, but is that the real impetus behind my desire to go download the books and read them right now?

Well, not exactly. Part of the reason I have considered reading the novels (and thus overtaking the series’ timeline) is that by not doing so I have been lumped into one or two categories that are not so appealing-sounding, and which I am not proud to admit, I may have been a little judgemental and derisive of in the past; ‘non-book readers’ and ‘band-wagoners.’ Or worse, it puts me in the dreaded category of ‘not a real fan.’

First of all, I am not trying to say I think the TV series is better than the books. I have little doubt the book are most likely superior even though I have not read them, simply due to the fact that in most of cases the book is better. (Although I have noticed that a lot of those who have read the book are quite impressed with the show.)

I may have been a little hasty in the past however, when I judged those who did not read the books of a big film prior to watching it as not ‘real fans’.  I may have even scoffed aloud in the cinema when one patron shouted incredulously at the end of Fellowship of the Ring “To be continued…?!!”

I didn’t know then that twists of fate (work, babies, the infinite choice of what to read next in my limited time in the world) would lead to me joining the very likes of these ‘Non-book readers.’

I will admit to not having heard of George R R Martin’s books until they were adapted for television. The pre-show hype piqued my interest. While I had doubts about the corny comparison “The Sopranos meets Medieval Times”, I have never thus far been disappointed with anything that has followed that familiar HBO static sound and when I saw that Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage were among the cast, I joined the many ‘non-book readers’ who tuned in to see what this ‘Game of Thrones’ show was about.

I was hooked from the start. Immediately I was drawn in to this world, cheering for some characters, despising others. I feel for these fictional people, I really do, and I wonder that just because we are experiencing their stories many years after they were published and via the lesser medium of television does that make us any less “real fans?” I mean, if Joffrey is a prick, do we not scowl? If Tyrion makes a quick-witted retort do we not laugh? If we witness a Red Wedding do we not sit stunned and slack-jawed, unable to comprehend what just happened?

To those that have read the novels, I was once like you. I envy your time, your commitment, your discovery of the books in a timely manner. But do not pity me.

I really enjoy watching Game of Thrones. I watch it with my husband and then we get to dissect the episode afterwards, discuss what it might mean for other characters, offer up theories. We couldn’t do that if one of us had read the novels and knew what was coming up at each turn. If I had read the novel and not him, it would have been hard to to smirk (if ever so slightly) every time he mentioned an affinity for a certain doomed character. If he had read them but I had not, (despite not wanting spoilers) I probably would’ve stopped talking to him after ‘The Rains of Castamere’ (Oh God, you could have warned me, maybe just a little?).

But no, neither of us have read the novels, so onward we will happily ride on this band-wagon together; enjoying the scenery, immersing ourselves in this world and trying not to get too attached to any of the characters.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan?

Have you read the books?

Who else can’t wait for Season 4?