Flash Fiction Challenge Post 2

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I have just posted my second story in my month of July Flash Fiction Challenge over on Complicated Chaos. Feel free to check it out. The story is titled ‘Higher Power

 

As always comments and feedback are appreciated, and feel free to share links to your own site as well…

 

 

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Flash Fiction Challenge – Post 1

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July 1st marks the first day of my personal “Flash Fiction Challenge” feel free to check out my first attempt at writing a very short story. Comments and feedback are always appreciated.

You can view the post on my personal creative writing site Complicated Chaos, or by clicking HERE!

 

 

 

 

Until Next Time…

Write On!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenging Creativity….

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*Re-blogged From: Complicated Chaos*

I have decided that I need to, not only expand on this site, but on my creative writing as well, thus the content of this post….

Today as I was stumbling around WordPress I came across a site that inspired me to challenge myself. Elisa Michelle ofelisamichelle.wordpress.com wrote a post about her current Flash Fiction Challenge as well as a second challenge she has decided to face in the month of July.

Not knowing much about what Flash Fiction is, I read on, as she explains Flash Fiction is a story with normal plot elements (exposition, rising action, climax and resolution) condensed into 55 – 1000 words. This got me thinking, and searching the internet, and led to me reading a wide variety of Flash Fiction stories.

Seeing as I want to expand on my creative writing, but don’t see to have much free time these days, I decided that this would also be a great way to challenge myself as a writer to explore my creative abilities, while not overwhelming, or forcing myself, to write at length when I don’t have the available time.

And so, I have decided that I will take inspiration from Elisa Michelle and challenge myself to my own Flash Fiction challenge for July. Though I can not ‘promise’ I will be able to post every single day, I am going to aim to write at least 20 Flash Fiction stories throughout July and post them here on this site, as well as on Complicated Chaos (my personal creative writing site) under the new ‘Creative Writing‘, ‘Flash Fiction Challenge’ categories.

This “challenge” is a very new thing for me, and the stories I produce are not guaranteed to be any good, but it is a way to encourage myself to write and be creative.

Stay tuned for tonight’s post, the first of my Flash Fiction Challenge stories, that I hope will open my mind and get me in a creative writing habit.

Check out some of the Flash Fiction postings at Zenvirus.com to get a clear idea of what Flash Fiction is all about…

If you are starting a challenge, or looking to explore your own creativity, feel free to share your progress, and links, here or join me on this challenge if you want to get creative.

Comments, links, and submissions are always welcome below or can be emailed to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca

 

Until Next Time…

Write On!

 

Short Story Writing Tips to Get You Started

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Most of my posts for the most part up to now have been related to blogging so I wanted to widen the horizons here on Perfectly Prompted. Many people who write tend to do so in a variety of forms. Perhaps your dabble in poetry, maybe you write lyrics, or short stories might be your outlet of choice. Today we are going to focus on the latter, Short Story writing.

Short story writing is an excellent outlet for creativity that is adaptable to a modern world. Many writers want to write the next best-seller, they dream of writing novels with intricate plots, well-rounded characters, and detailed description, but often they just don’t have the time. Short stories can be a great alternative to a longer piece, and still give you the satisfaction of a finished, well-developed work of art with less strain on your day-to-day life. They are also an excellent stepping stone to develop your skills for the moment when you do find the time to write that award-winning novel.

This post will give you a quick look at the benefits of short story writing, and provide tips to help you get started.  (Also, check out the prompts at the end of this post for fun story ideas)

In the world of short story writing there are no real rules. Writers are constantly creating and evolving in the genre, and any rules that do exist often get tested, pushed to the limit, or broken. There are a few basics to short story writing that can often be a helpful guide, especially for a beginner, but remember a story needs to astonish and thrill a reader or it is not worth reading, no matter how short it is.

The first thing to remember when writing a short story is the amount of information you are presenting in such a small space, because the length of short stories is substantially shorter than that of a full-scale novel, or even a novella, it is important you pay close attention what goes in to it. (You do not want to overwhelm the reader with useless information and leave them wondering where the story went and so, nothing should be written that does not relate to the protagonist, or the issue they are facing in the story.) Unlike a novel where the main character may face many different issues through out the storyline, a short story presents only one issue for your character to deal with. This single issue should cause the main character to be torn emotionally and should generally cause them to fight or contend with someone else in the story, this person would be the antagonist.

Generally speaking both characters will face the same issue but have opposing positions, or views, about it. What happens in the story is kept simple and is the result of the battle between the two contending sides. The problems that these characters faces usually does not end well, this part of the story would be the crisis, these characters usually know each other, (they are not usually strangers as a short story does not give ample time to develop a relationship) and often times they are closely related such as family members/best friends. The battle between these characters generally has a few rounds before the conclusion or resolution.

The general rule of short story writing is that the crisis and resolution change the protagonists life forever, and they never truly win the fight, as they are never quite the same no matter the result. The end of the short story, which is called the dénouement, should give the reader some idea of how the character goes on in life. In other words; the story must always tie up the loose ends and not leave the reader wondering what happened. Unlike novels or movies, short stories will have no follow-ups, so all issues must be resolved within the frame of the writing.

Symbolism plays a huge part in short stories. Many of the more popular short stories have deep symbolic meanings embedded in the text for the reader to consider at a later time or as they read. If you are unfamiliar with symbolism it is something you should study, at least briefly, as it can play a key role in a good short story.

Lastly, short stories always begin at the beginning of the end, there is no time to start earlier. A good writer will fill the reader in on the past quickly and efficiently through well-written description and strong character development.

Those are the basics of short story writing, but as I said before; when it comes to short stories these ‘rules’ are often evolved, expanded on and regularly broken. The only real rule to a short story is that the writers imagination has created it. Even the length of a short story is in perpetual debate, generally it is a story that is no more than 20,000 words and no less than 1,000, but this criteria is pushed and changed as often as the other listed rules. Basically, a short story is whatever you make it out to be and it fits ‘generally’ into the basic criteria for the genre.

There are many benefits to short story writing. It is less time-consuming, the plot, characters, and story itself are easier to compose and keep track of, and the market for such work is vast. Probably one of the greatest benefits to short story writing (besides creative freedom) is the market available for such pieces. Unlike with novel-writing, most short story publishers do not require that submissions be solicited by an agent, and so new writers can easily get their foot in the door and start a career. The pay scale for such work varies drastically, but an author can quickly make a name for themselves and earn a good income if they are a good writer.

If you have never tried writing a short story (besides the ones you had to write in school) I highly suggest you make an attempt to do so now. This form allows you creative freedom and helps to develop your craft without much effort, or substantial time. Below I have listed some short story prompts to help get you started, give them a try, and feel free to post your finished product (or a link to it) in the comments section. (Please don’t be shy, this is a ‘writer friendly’ environment for everyone beginner to advanced.)

Short Story Prompts to Get You Started:

  • A girl is snooping around her best friends apartment and finds a disturbing photograph in her drawer…
  • Your main character suspects that her/his partner is having an affair and decides to spy on them, what does she/he find?
  • At a local flea market your character buys an antique lamp and finds a note hidden inside.
  • At the airport a stranger talks your character into carrying a mysterious package on to the plane. The character gets stopped by security, it is not drugs, so what is inside the package?
  • Your character picks up a hitch-hiker on the way home who presents them with a strange opportunity…
  • Your character is being blackmailed. Why? and by who?
  • Your character arrives home and can immediately sense that something is not right, how? what?why?
  • Your character is confronted by a person from the past who tries to apologize for…
  • Your character is reading a book when they hear a strange noise. Looking up they see it outside the window…
  • Pick someone from a ‘personal ad’ online (or in the paper) and write a story based only on how they look, or what is written about them.
  • Use the following line to begin your story: “I couldn’t help but stare…”
  • Write a story with a dark hallway, a broken vase, and one lost slipper…
  • Create a story about Greg McDougall, a lonely investment banker on the rooftop ledge…

Feel free to create (and even submit) your own prompts as well. As always comments are welcome, as are links to your site, or finished pieces relating to the content. You can submit these in the comments area or email them to perfectlyprompted@live.ca if you wish to remain anonymous.

Here are a few last-minute short story tips to get you writing:

– Who is your protagonist and what does he/she want?
– When the story begins what actions has your character already taken that have brought him/her to this point?
– What unexpected consequences will your protagonist face due to their actions? Will this change their mind yet again? How many times?
– What details are important to ensure your story is complete? Which are not? (eg: avoid travel scenes, filler conversation, and things that have already been observed or stated previously)
– What final choice will your character make at the climax of the story? (It should be unexpected, and your reader should feel connected to this choice)

 

Until Next Time…

Write On!

The Power of Descriptive Writing

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Descriptive writing calls for acute attention to detail, as well as creativity and intense use of imagination. It is one way that a writer can practice adding detail to their writing without fear of going overboard, or swaying off topic. Perfecting this fine art provides many benefits to you the writer, as well as the audience you are trying to reach, and is generally easy to achieve and craft successfully.

What is Descriptive Writing?

First I will start by explaining what exactly descriptive writing is. Descriptive writing is a style of writing that allows the reader to gain a closer view of characters, scenes, or objects by providing detailed and vivid descriptions. With practice, a talented descriptive writer has the ability to capture the reader’s attention and emotions, making the reader feel as if they are part of the story, and it is evolving right before their eyes. There are certain elements of descriptive writing that one must cultivate in order to bring the reader ‘inside’ the story and enable them to visualize the scene clearly in their minds.

Good descriptive writing is comprised of four elements; Sensory Description, Figurative Language, Precise Wording, and Careful Organization.

Sensory Description – Descriptive writing uses all of the five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell) to pull the reader into the story and allow them to experience the same sensations as the characters inside their minds. For example a writer who is good at using descriptive writing may describe a log home by first describing the wood it is made from, the smell of it, the look of it, and the feel of it. They may then describe the setting around the cabin, the way it smells inside or the sounds that surround it in the night. The idea is to “show” the details rather than “tell” them, allowing the reader to visualize them in their mind.

Figurative Language – Figurative, or Illustrative language is used to produce ‘imagery’ by comparing the described setting or object to something else that the reader is easily able to visualize and associate in their mind. There are many ways to use figurative language, and it is a talent that should be practiced until perfected. Metaphors are used when you wish to connect or compare things equally, where similes are used to compare two objects while keeping them separate. Other forms of figurative language include: hyperbole, which exaggerates an object to add effect. Puns, which add a humorous tone to a words different meanings, and personification which takes an abstract object and relates to it as a person. Figurative language is an important part of descriptive writing, and something that can always be expanded and improved upon with practice.

Precise Wording – One of the main points of descriptive writing is the use of timing. A good descriptive writer has the ability to make the reader feel as if the event being described is happening ‘right now’. This is done through the use of active verbs, rather than commonly used passive ones. It is also important that the writer carefully select precise modifiers, nouns and adjectives to describe objects and settings. Rather than the general nouns that one normally uses, the writer should be aiming for more specific words that allow the reader to feel like they are part of the action. All adjectives, adverbs and other words should be chosen with care.

Careful Organization – Organization is probably the most important part of descriptive writing. The writing needs to be organized with some sense of purpose, be it: chronological order, importance, or in balance with the relations involved. Whichever way the writer chooses to provide the information in must be done in a well thought out, organized fashion, that is easy for the reader to follow and understand. Lengthy descriptive pieces may involve intricate planning and preparation before you even begin to write your first draft, but it is very important to the flow and functionality of the information, and should be taken very seriously. Practice is the only sure-fire way of improving upon this ability.

When and Where Descriptive Writing Can Be Used

Descriptive writing is found commonly throughout every genre, and can be incorporated in to every piece of writing in some form. It is most commonly seen in the form of “first person” because many writers find it easier to describe something that they are actually seeing, for example: “I heard the footsteps on the creaky wooden floor boards. I could smell the aroma from his pipe, and the strong scent of his cologne before he reached the top of the stairs. The smells mixed together and reminded me of stale garbage on a hot summer day, that scent that fills your nose and never ceases.” Learning to describe these senses from a characters point of view takes more practice, but is a talent that is well worth the effort.  Try adding some descriptive detail to your next blog post, or personal story, you can also easily incorporate this style of writing into an essay to help make your point more clear to your reader.

How Can Descriptive Writing Be Practiced?

The only way to practice is to jump right in feet first. Below are a few basic descriptive writing prompts to get you started. Don’t stress about the outcome, the best way to start is by closing your eyes and visualizing how the scene or prompt makes you ‘feel.’ What do you see? Smell? Taste? Hear? Use precise words, and as many details as possible. Allow the words to flow as if you were telling a friend. The goal is to make the reader see, hear, and feel the way you did at that exact moment. Try the scenes and ideas below in a short descriptive paragraph or essay, and feel free (as always) to share the results of your writing in the comment section below.

Descriptive Writing Prompts

Describe….

  • a waiting room
  • your favorite treasure
  • your dream house
  • a dark closet
  • a long hallway
  • an accident scene
  • a child’s secret hiding spot
  • the morning commute on the bus or train
  • an item forgotten in the back of the refrigerator
  • your favorite food
  • a cemetery or funeral
  • a small town (seaside or mountain top)
  • a storefront window
  • an inspiring view
  • the most relaxing place on earth
  • your wedding day (or dream wedding)
  • your partners hands
  • a special feeling
  • your greatest childhood memory
  • your mother (or mother-in-law)
  • a porcelain doll
  • the scene at work when something went wrong
  • a bad date
  • a dark alley


Try one of these prompts out, or create your own. Check back often to share ideas and get inspired by other peoples writing. I will be posting my own shortly. You can keep them as short, or as long, as you like. The idea is just to see where the image takes you, and to touch on a talent that may be hidden inside your writing soul.

(Check out About.com’s Examples of Descriptive Writing here before you begin if you are looking for inspiration)

Descriptive writing can easily improve your writing and make it more pleasurable to read. It can add pages and pages to your written work, and can change the entire outlook of a single piece of writing. It is one of the best ways to show your talent for writing, as well as your passion. I strongly urge you to challenge yourself with these prompts regularly no matter which genre you prefer.

I look forward to reading your results… and remember descriptive writing is wonderful because there is no ‘right or wrong’. There are simply different perspectives on the same ideas.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Ten Benefits of Writing “Something” Everyday

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Writing is a part of everyday life. It is an unavoidable part of your day. From writing emails, to making shopping lists, different forms of writing make up a large part of our communication with others, as well as ourselves.

Aside from these everyday writing tasks there are many reasons to make a writing session part of your daily routine. Be it. blogging, journaling, or just some quick notes on how you feel, the benefits of writing can reach deep within your soul.

Ten Reasons You Should Write Something Everyday;

  1. Release Stress – Daily writing is a great way to release the stress that has accumulated throughout your day. Whether you are writing in a journal and confronting the stress head on, or making a joke of it on your blog, getting the words on to paper will release the stress from your mind and body helping you to relax.
  2. Produce Ideas – The more you write the more you will find to write about. Daily writing helps you to generate ideas for the future by expanding on things you have already written. This is especially useful if you are writing for profit, you can take a small piece of something you wrote at an earlier time and elaborate on it in the future, creating new content with little effort. Your mind will automatically start to produce new and exciting ideas the more often you write, knowing that those ideas will be released on to paper and sent out into the world to change and grow.
  3. Clear Your Mind – Hand in hand with releasing stress, your mind collects a large amount of clutter each day that needs to be released so that it does not weigh you down and turn into stress. Journaling, blogging, or simply writing notes about how you feel is a simple and effective way to rid you mind of this clutter so you can start each day fresh and ready to face new adventures.
  4. Confront Your Emotions – Emotions can some times be difficult to deal with, and even more hard to understand. It may sound strange but often times even we don’t truly know how we are feeling about something until we decide to face it head on and break it down bit by bit. Bottling up your emotions can be exhausting and is actually bad for your health. Writing can help you get those feelings down on paper so that you can access how you really feel about a situation. Free writing is a great exercise to help you release your feelings without thinking them through first. Sit down with a piece of paper and let your feelings flow, don’t worry about thought or form, just get it out on paper and take the time to access the words at a later time.
  5. Learn Something New – Writing requires a large amount of thought, and often entails research. Each and every word you write can teach you something new. Whether it is a new subject that you have to research for an article, a new voice for a story, or just something new about yourself, writing is a great tool for learning and should be utilized often.
  6. Get to Know Yourself – Just as writing can teach you about new subjects, it will also help you to learn about yourself. Even through writing about other topics you will find that pieces of yourself seem to turn up in your writing. If you are looking for a more direct approach to get to know yourself better opt for a journal or diary. Blogs and other writing forms are also great tools, as following your thought pattern will teach you how you think and what you feel.
  7. Escape the Chaos – Daily writing can be an easy escape from the world around you. After a long day at the office or home with the kids we are often looking for ways to unwind. Writing in a journal, or posting to your blog is a great way to get centered and enjoy some time alone. Settle in a comfortable quite area and let your mind relax, enjoy the silence and the words that you produce. Writing is an art, appreciate it.
  8. Form a Habit – Studies show that it takes 21 days to form a habit. What does this mean for you? Well if you hope to grow and succeed in your writing you must do it on a regular basis, thus if you can make it a habit for 21 days straight it will become a part of your everyday routine. It is easier to aim for success with good habits already in place.
  9. Change the Way You Think – Once you are writing and producing pieces of any form you will start to notice a change in the way that you think. There is something about having to look critically at what you have written that helps to open your mind and change the way you think.
  10. Live Your Dreams – You are here reading this because you obviously want to write. It is clearly a dream that you are hoping to make a reality… So live it. Even if you are living it little by little each day, grab your dreams and live it, in any way you can!

Journaling – Where Do I Start…?

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One of the most difficult things for me when I first decided to start a journal was “where” I was supposed to start.

I knew that I wanted to use my journal for personal growth and to sort out some of my overwhelming emotions, but that was about all I knew at the time.

It can be very daunting to sit and stare at a blank page, knowing that you are supposed to fill it with wonderful, touching, deep thoughts. That in itself is often overwhelming.

Fear not there are some tips to help you get started in journaling without stress….

  • Decide what your purpose is – For some journaling is a way to look within, view your thoughts, and possibly find your purpose in life. For others a journal is a way to be more creative through writing or art, and some people simply want to keep a record of their day. Whatever your purpose for journaling you should choose it before you begin. Not to say it wont change along the way, and not to say it wont be for many different reasons, but having an idea of what you hope to accomplish will help you find the direction you need to begin.
  • Chose your form – When I decided to start a journal I went out and bought a great binded leather notebook. I wanted to “write” my thoughts rather than type, just out of personal preference, as I spent most of my day typing and I wanted journaling to be my ‘time out’ from everyday life. Chose how you want to write and where then get together all the tools you will need. Some people prefer to have their journal online or on the computer, and other opt for a handwritten version, it is personal preference, chose the option that suits your needs.
  • Get Inspired – Depending on your chosen purpose you need to find inspiration to start your writing. You can find a plethora of journal prompts online for any given subject. Prompts can be useful in journaling, especially when you are journaling for self-discovery. Choose a prompt, usually in the form of a question, and share your thoughts or feelings on it. You can also create your own prompts by way of pictures, words, or questions you are trying to answer in your life.
  • Let Thoughts Go Where They May – Don’t force yourself to stay on topic, don’t feel like you “have’ to follow a set plan, if you find your writing wandering elsewhere allow it to happen. The most amazing thing about journaling is it’s ability to introduce you to new and amazing ideas that you never would have found. Let your mind and your hands wander free and follow them where ever they choose to take you!

The most important thing to remember is that your journal is a secure place for you to release your thoughts free from judgment or ridicule. Grammar, form and talent are of no consequence, just grow and learn from your writing, and most of all enjoy it.

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