Category Archives: Freewriting

INKSPILL Programme 2015

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INKSPILL 2015 Programme

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Having given yourself the gift of a writing weekend, I am sure you are eager to see how it pans out. Timings are given in GMT, posts will remain active beyond the weekend and can be commented on at any time.

We dream of conversations between participants on threads, do make the virtual seem real and join in actively throughout the weekend.

  • Participants without WordPress accounts can sign in as a ‘Guests’.

Throughout the weekend if you prefer, you can email directly to:

awritersfountain[at]hotmail[dot]com or join the closed Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/194707454197891/

If you want to share work that you are considering submitting you can share it on the closed Facebook page and it won’t be considered published. Let us know you have done that with a link back in the comments box, so we can find and read your work.

Please appreciate that I may not have time for individual responses over the weekend.

INKSPILL 2015

SOCIAL MEDIA – Share links throughout the weekend across social media.


INKSPILL – The Programme 2015

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SATURDAY 24th

DAY 1 inkspill pink

9:00 Coffee and a writing challenge

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10:00 WORKSHOP: Exploring Self

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11:30 Introducing Our Guest Writers Alison May, David Calcutt and Daniel Sluman.

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11:45 VIDEO & DISCUSSION

Inspirational writing video By Rae Dover

Discussion on writing on the hop and how to deal with rejection.

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inkspill pink Opening of the INKSPILL SHOP inkspill pink

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12:30 LUNCH – after lunch we start back with a short excerpt from an Amy Tan interview (2008), you may be interested in watching the full interview (1hr 23 mins) if so, maybe view it with your lunch.

13:45 INTERVIEW short video an interview by Roger Rosenblatt with Amy Tan (2008)

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14:30 GUEST WRITER Interview with David Calcutt

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15:00 WORKSHOP: CHARACTER

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16:40 GUEST WRITER Interview with David Calcutt Part 2

17:40 GUEST WRITER Interview with Alison May

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18:00 Free time to spend on your own writing from this retreat or projects you are currently working on.

19:30 Poetry Film ‘The Beach’

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Followed by another

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21:00 Night Write challenge

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And for those of you who do not wish to sleep, links will be shared from the 2013 INKSPILL retreat to keep you busy!


SUNDAY 25th

DAY 2 inkspill pink

9:30 Coffee and a short film.

10:00 Beautiful Ugly Writing Challenge

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11:30 GUEST POET Daniel Sluman Interview

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11:50 Free time to spend on your own writing from this retreat or projects you are currently working on.

12:00 Lunch – As it is Sunday, take a break.


13:30 How not to Waste Time – Article & discussion

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14:00 WORKSHOP Weather and Folklore

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16:00 REFUGEES – An exploration of poetry, writing and person.

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17:30 Explore the Archives, including Guest Posts from 2014

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20:00 Evaluation & Ending – this will include a quick and easy click poll (rather than a 2 sided sheet of A4 evaluation), please take a few moments to leave your mark. Thank you.

A BIG Thank YOU post

20:30

CC Nick Papakyriazis The INKSPILL posts will remain active – the LIVE element is over. There will be no more INKSPILL related posts until next 2016.

Thanks for coming!

*Over the following week this programme will have active links embedded and be posted to the top of the blog roll to help you navigate to specific parts of the INKSPILL programme.

If after that, you wish to find retreat posts use the keyword INKSPILL in Categories at the bottom of the page OR click 24th or 25th on the OCTOBER calendar to the right of the screen.


INKSPILL PROGRAMME 2015 inkspill pink

AT A GLANCE

SAT 24th Oct SUN 25th Oct
Writing Challenges

In Nature

Night Write

Writing Challenges

Beautiful Ugly

Refugees

Meeting Guest Writers FREE TIME TO WRITE
Workshops

Exploring Self

Character

Workshop

Weather & Folklore

Video & Discussion

On writing & rejection

Poetry Films & Shorts

ARTICLES

How Not To Waste Time

INKSPILL SHOP OPENS INKSPILL SHOP
INTERVIEWS

With Amy Tan (2008)

David Calcutt Guest Writer

Alison May Guest Writer

INTERVIEW

Daniel Sluman Guest Poet

ARTICLES Archived

INKSPILL 2013

Historical Research

Writing Historical Fiction

How to Write a Short story

The WHY Technique

Archive INKSPILL 2013 

ARTICLES Archived

GUEST WRITERS POSTS

INKSPILL 2014

WILLIAM GALLAGHER

How To Get Rejected

Making Time To Write

Writing Doctor Who

What You Get From Writing

ARTICLES

Archived Links

INKSPILL 2014

Stephen King On Writing

HEATHER WASTIE

On Her Writing Journey

Editing A Poem

Histrionic water

Spaghetti hoops

INKSPILL 2014

William Gallagher Guest

Writing Motivation

You vs Yourself

CHARLIE JORDAN

Thoughts on Writing & Editing Part 1

Thoughts On Writing & Editing Part 2

INKSPILL: On NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

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I am still undecided on whether I am attempting NaNoWriMo 2014 or not yet, if I do it will be to work on short stories, several of them.

In 2013, when I started writing again, I discovered NaNo in early Spring and was gutted I had to wait until Autumn. I took part in both the Camp NaNoWriMo Spring and Summer – produced 50K on a non-fiction book which is writing in progress and currently somewhere beyond 90K words, I worked on a series of short stories for the summer camp, by the real event in November I was primed and ready and created half a novel that I haven’t touched it since.

What I did do successfully, was blog. Just in case you know nothing of this month of madness have a look HERE

Here are links to archive posts for any of you considering locking yourself in for November and writing until your head hurts!

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ARCHIVE

 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/nanowrimo-survival-tips/

 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/organizing-a-nanowrimo-novel-the-jim-butcher-way/

 

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/you-can-eat-an-elephant-one-bite-at-a-time-tips-for-surviving-nanowrimo/

 

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www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/10/21/dana-volney-christmas-clash-nanowrimo/17456909/

 

This is just a sample – there are over 8 pages  of Nano posts on the blog, that’s over 100 posts easily! nano3

Search yourselves, scroll down to bottom of webpage – look in Categories – choose NaNoWriMo and have a splash about!

INKSPILL: A Video from Guest Writer William Gallagher

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William has been kind enough to send us a video to start the evening session, so sit back and enjoy this wonderful insight.

Once again William, a BIG Thank You for giving us your time and wisdom!

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INKSPILL – Free Writing – Activity

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One thing I love about workshops & writing retreats is you end up with writing that otherwise may not have existed. Be as open as you can be approaching this activity and if you find more than one piece of writing coming through, then let it. Scribble pages of notes, work on it throughout the weekend. Let’s CREATE!

I am sure you know the term and have used automatic writing before, but just in case here is a simple definition:

Free writing
 

  • Free writing is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers.
    I often meet ‘why’ learners/ writers – people who need to know the reason behind what we are doing/achieving. Questions may arise about the calibre of writing we are about to produce… so here’s WHY.
    WHY?
  • It makes you more comfortable with the act of writing.
  • It helps you bypass the “inner critic” who tells you you can’t write.
  • It can be a valve to release inner tensions.
  • It can help you discover things to write about.
  • It can indirectly improve your formal writing.
  • It can be fun.

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RULES FOR FREE WRITING:

  • Write nonstop for a set period of time (10–20 minutes).
  • Do not make corrections as you write.
  • Keep writing, even if you have to write something like, “I don’t know what to write.”
  • Write whatever comes into your mind.
  • Do not judge or censor what you are writing.
  • If you can, let GO of punctuation – this will help your writing flow.
  • DEFINITELY DO NOT WORRY about your spellings or handwriting!

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A twinkling eye can mean many things – start with someone who has a twinkle in their eye and see where it takes you…..

 

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Here are some more fun ideas if you want to keep writing or have some spare time this weekend …. don’t forget to go and grab some lunch though! thai street food

Other than using this picture of street food as a prompt;

  • List 10 book titles you might like to write.
  • Write an imaginary letter to an Agent, tell them how wonderful you are!
  • Pick a book off your shelf (or kindle) at random, open it at any chapter. Write down the first line. Find another chapter, this time write down the last line of the chapter. Now use the opening line to start your story (you’ve guessed it) the endline should be the 2nd sentence you wrote down. Limit yourself to 1000 words.

 

REMEMBER If you do any of these exercises link back to your blog post or post them as comments here, we would love to see/read the results!

INKSPILL 2014 – Morning Activity – Pens at the ready!

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awf-2014  It has been well documented that writing on waking, first thing in the morning, whilst your brain is still somewhere between sleep and the new day can produce great results and uncover words which would otherwise never have been written.

SUNDAY 26th OCTOBER DAY 2

I want you to make a commitment RIGHT NOW that tomorrow morning you will start the day with your notebook and pen (it is best to go ‘old school’ and avoid more techno versions), you needn’t even get out of bed! Write for 5 minutes or 10 if you can manage – a stream of consciousness that may not even make sense (don’t worry) keep the pen moving (this is why it’s best to ditch the gadgets)! Let your mind and hand be open.

 

BACK TO NOW

pencil paper freestock 1) Think of a dream, it can be one you have dreamt or something made up. Make a note.

2) Add a description of your dream/character into this statement;

You had that dream again. The one where ___________________________________ stares you down from your window. Except the windows open this time—and you’re awake! What happens next?

Example: You had that dream again. The one where the beast with the drooping hands and wicked fangs stares you down from your window. Except the windows open this time—and you’re awake! What happens next?

3) Free write for a while, then decide if you want to polish, edit redraft or stick with the original flow of thoughts.

 

Aim for about 500 words.

Finally share LINKS here to where you have posted – or copy & paste  your writing into a reply on this post.

 

AWF circle HAPPY WRITING!

Here Comes INKSPILL 2014

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For the 2nd year we are offering a FREE Online Writing Retreat at the end of October, 25th & 26th.

Please comment to register interest, it was helpful and fun for many writers who participated last year and some of the TOP POSTS each month come from INKSPILL 2013.

This year I also have some exceptional Guest Writers lined up for you all and it may be the final time we can offer this retreat as 100% FREE. Each year we cover different aspects of writing and also add a selection of Free-writing and observational activities of the workshop variety.

You can participate in real time (GMT) and follow the whole process over the weekend or just dip in and out of posts. You can link back to your own blogs if you think some of your followers may be interested and people can join in at any point over the weekend.

SO SAVE THE DATE – 25th/26th OCTOBER and come and join the fun.

Leave a comment or a LIKE if you feel you may be interested. This is by no means a commitment on your behalf, just gives me some idea of preparation.

INKSPILL 2014 will be posting requests soon.

Have a think: if there is a gap in your knowledge, something confusing you, a direction needed? You can ask us to look into it – after all it is YOUR retreat!

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25th & 26th OCTOBER 2014

 

Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View

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A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

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If point of view was an object, it would be William Carlos Williams’ infamous red wheelbarrow; everything depends on it.

Consider a car/pedestrian accident: the story differs depending on whether you’re the driver, the pedestrian, or the woman across the street who witnessed the horror. Everyone will tell a different story if asked to recount the event.

Shifting point of view can be your best friend if you’ve got writers’ block. If you’re stuck or you feel your writing is boring and lifeless, Craig Nova, author of All the Dead Yale Men, suggests shifting the point of view from which your story is told:

Take point of view, for example. Let’s say you are writing a scene in which a man and a woman are breaking up. They are doing this while they are having breakfast in their apartment. But the scene doesn’t work. It is dull and flat.

Applying the [notion] mentioned above, the solution would be to change point of view. That is, if it is told from the man’s point of view, change it to the woman’s, and if that doesn’t work, tell it from the point of view of the neighborhood, who is listening through the wall in the apartment next door, and if that doesn’t work have this neighbor tell the story of the break up, as he hears it, to his girlfriend. And if that doesn’t work tell it from the point of view of a burglar who is in the apartment, and who hid in a closet in the kitchen when the man and woman who are breaking up came in and started arguing.

 

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A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

 

I could feel the heat of Claire’s hand in mine as we walked under the canopy of trees.

“Richard…”

“Yes?”

“Do you remember the first time we came to this park?” Claire asked.

“Of course I do,” I smiled, “you nearly dropped your lunch in the fountain.”

“Trust you to remember that.”

She nudged me sideways with elbow.

“Ow! Come here!”

I grabbed her, not caring what anyone in the park would make of it, she was giggling and pushing against me to break free. I held her close and whispered in her ear,

“Do as I say and you won’t get hurt!”

I could tell she was doing her best not to burst out laughing, as I slid my hands down her hips and loosened my grip until we were holding hands again.

As we walked down the winding paths passing joggers and dog walkers, I glance at Claire and think how lucky I am to have her loyalty after everything we have been through. I can’t help but notice the amount of strollers in the park, when I see it is a man in charge, I have to look away, it is painful enough to watch the mums.

I can’t tell what she is thinking as we make our way to the fountain to sit down.

 

It is busy, lots of people have already taken up their seats on the benches and around steps. I know Claire doesn’t normally worry about sitting on the grass, she’s not that high maintenance.

“Let’s sit on the edge over there.” I follow where she has pointed, we settle down on the cold stone of the fountains edge.

I resist all temptation to place my hands or even my feet in the water, I never could cope well with heat. Claire turned her back on me and then leant into my chest, I nuzzled her head under my chin. That’s when I saw her, the old lady, I was sure we had walked past her earlier on. She was knitting with red wool. I close my eyes and count to 10, kissing the top of Claire’s head blindly. I open my eyes and see that she is still there, clicking her grey, plastic needles together, she is knitting a tiny red sweater, baby clothes, they get me every time. So small…. I think of my mum and the opportunity that has been robbed from her to knit little sweaters in the park. I feel tears welling in my eyes and try to blink them away. I lean into Claire’s body needing every bit of solid reality I can touch, holding on to what I have. Her hands rest against my arms, still warm. I let the tears fall down my face, breathe deeply and kiss her for loving me. I would kiss every hair on her head if I could.

© N. Lewis 2007

© N. Lewis 2007

I could tell Richard had something on his mind, the minute he suggested we stopped lying around indoors and take a walk. He wouldn’t let my hand go the whole time we walked together down the streets to the Park. I knew where we were heading. I just wished he’d been in a more chatty mood, it is difficult sometimes to get him to talk.

“Richard…” I cut myself off before the words ‘what are you thinking?’ he hates that question.

“Yes?”

Quick think Claire! What can you say that isn’t what you want to say.

“Do you remember the first time we came to this park?” I manage.

“Of course I do,” he smiles, I love his smile. “you nearly dropped your lunch in the fountain.” he adds.

“Trust you to remember that.” I nudge him with my elbow.

“Ow! Come here!”

Before I could wriggle free Richard had me in a wrestling hold. I tried to suppress my squeals and screams, I don’t know what it must have looked like he was doing to me. Well I do, that’s why I struggled so much to get free. Just when I thought it was going to start really hurting he pulled me back on his chest and whispered in my ear.

“Do as I say and you won’t get hurt!”

My body shook as I tried to suppress my giggles and play along. Whatever was on his mind I liked this diversion. The feeling of his warm hands caressing my hips was making things happen inside me. Just as I thought he was about to clasp his hands somewhere else he slid his hand back in mine and we carried on walking down the path as if the last few minutes had never happened.

As we walk past joggers, dog walkers and babies in buggies being pushed by frantic looking parents and those clinging to their youth, those with 3 wheeled pushchairs that they can run with, I know he can tell I am looking at them. I can tell he is looking at me, he will know what I am thinking if I look at him now, I look down at my feet.

I can’t tell what Richard is thinking as we make our way to the fountain to sit down.

It is busy, there doesn’t seem to be any room on the benches and the steps are looking full too. I know that Richard will plonk himself on the grass and expect me to follow, but I am wearing pale shorts.

“Let’s sit on the edge over there.” I offer pointing to the fountains edge.

As soon as we had sat down I turned my body into his and leant against his chest. I closed my eyes and enjoying his gentle strokes against my arm, I love moments like this, sun on my face, time with Richard, uncomplicated silence. I wondered when he was going to start talking. Perhaps he didn’t feel he could.

I sensed his body shifting, it felt more rigid and his heart beat felt different against my ear, he kissed the top of my head. I hold his arms in my hands, my turn to stroke him. He starts to kiss the top of my head. I love when he does that.

I open my eyes and see that some people have moved, there is space on the bench, it might be more comfortable. Then I see the old lady, there’s no hope of Richard sitting by a stranger, especially one that’s knitting. I see that she’s knitting a small red jumper and wonder how many people do this anymore. Kids clothes can be bought cheaply, my thoughts wander, what will the mum think of this gift, will the child ever wear it? Maybe it is a jumper for a toy and not a boy or girl after all. Red, could be either, perhaps she doesn’t know, although knitted booties might be more useful for a new born.

I feel Richards head against mine and it brings me back to the moment. I think he is crying, his breathing is different. I know he is looking in the same direction as me. I hadn’t realised that he felt so bad about it still, nothing could be done, not on his part at least. Is this why he brought me to the park?

© N. Lewis 2007

 

I love being outdoors, I am trying to maintain as much independence as I can, I have seen far too many friends wheeled off to Nursing Homes over the past few years because they didn’t keep themselves active enough, and that’s friends who still had family to rally around them and help them. My family support comes from the Church so I like to be able to give back. There’s not much I can do nowadays but I am proud that I can still knit, that my hands and eyes are still working well enough to manage, so when Joy and some of the W.I ladies told me about the latest mission I had to get on board. Knitting jumpers for children less well off across the other side of the world seemed like a good idea. I am on my third one now as I sit basking in the sun in the park.

I don’t have to watch my hands, they seem to knit on auto pilot, I can people watch, another of my favourite things to do. I like to make up stories about the people I can see. like that lovely young couple opposite me, sitting on the edge of the fountain. They seem so much in love, something I never found myself. The people I loved didn’t love me and vice versa, I was destined to be a spinster, it’s not so bad. I get to do what I want when I want, I am selfish and doubt I could survive the routine and managed time in a Nursing Home. Maybe one of the W.I ladies will let me move into their annex, they are all sure to have big houses.

 

 

© N. Lewis 2007

© N. Lewis 2007

 

Writing 101- Week 2: Day 7 Give & Take

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Catching up with this past week of Blogging 101 after a week filled by work, gigs and book launches.

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Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Remember those “compare and contrast” essays in composition class, in which you’re forced to create a clunky juxtaposition of two arguments? Just because that particular form was a bore doesn’t mean that opposition has no place in your writing.

Bringing together two different things — from the abstract and the inanimate to the living and breathing — creates a natural source of tension, and conflict drives writing forward. It makes your reader want to continue to the next sentence, to the next page. So, focus on your two starkly different siblings, or your competing love for tacos and macarons, or whether thoughts are more powerful than words, or…you get the idea.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

If you’d like more guidance, check out these ten tips on writing solid dialogue. In case you’re intimidated by dialogue tags — all those “he said,” “she whispered,” etc., here’s a useful overview.

Emulating people’s speech in written form takes practice, and creating two distinct voices could help you see (and hear) the different factors that play into the way we speak, from our diction and accent to our vocabulary and (creative?) use of grammar. (We’ll discuss the topic of voice more formally later in the course; for now, take a stab at writing dialogue on your own.)

 

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Deadlines vs Doing everything/anything else

“I am important. Crucial.” said Deadline.

“I know you are, but when you’re around everything else seems quite pressing and a lot more appealing.” said Everything Else.

“Charming!”

“Well it’s true, suddenly even the washing up seems like an exciting proposition.”

“But you still make room to do the right thing in the end.”

“Of course, you are not someone we want to ignore.”

“Well, you won’t gain anything if you do.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. You are able to make many forgotten emotions rise to the surface!”

“Like what?”

“Frustration mainly, although…” Everything Else hesitated.

“Yes?”

“I do find you exciting.”

“Exciting? Wow!” Deadline said smiling. “Do you think you’re the only one?”

“No I think you make a lot of people feel like that.”

“You will make me blush!”

“The time not to focus on you is when concentration is low, mistakes will happen. Like the time I tried to beat you just before a world cup match.”

“What happened?” asked Deadline.

“Well I won, unlike my Country.”

“So what was the problem?”

“I submitted the document without my personal details.”

“So you met me but messed up all the same?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

My Weekly Jaunt to (Virtual) College: Writing 101 #Week 2 Day 6: Character

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I knew when I signed up for this month’s daily post challenge that I would inevitably fall behind the deadlines, this means that I can’t share my links as the threads have closed on the mothersite! However, bear with me, I am posting the challenges in this evening before the football!

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Day 6: A Character Building Experience

Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).

Today, write a post focusing on one — or more — of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected. It can be your new partner, your newborn child, or the friendly barista whose real story you’d love to learn (or imagine), or any other person you’ve met for the first time in the past year.

Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

In displaying the psychology of your characters, minute particulars are essential. God save us from vague generalizations!

– Anton Chekhov, Letter to Alexander Chekhov; May 10, 1886

Describing people — whether real or fictional — in a way that channels their true essence is an invaluable skill for any writer. Through the careful accumulation of details, great authors morph their words into vivid, flesh-and-bones creations in our minds. How can you go about shaping your portrait of a person? Some ideas to explore:

Don’t just list their features. Tell us something about how their physical appearance shapes the way they act and engage with others. For example, see how the author of this moving photo essay, which documents the final weeks of a woman dying of cancer, captures the kernel of the woman’s spirit with a short, masterful statement:

Her eyes told stories that her voice didn’t have the power to articulate and she had a kindness that immediately made me feel like we had been friends for years.

Give us a glimpse of what makes this person unique. We all have our own quirks, mannerisms, and individual gestures, both physical and linguistic. If you’re looking for inspiration, read this blogger’s portrait of her French host family — after reading the first two paragraphs, you already have intimate knowledge of who these people are and what drives them.

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There are so many people to choose from, I would write about my solicitor who opened up conversation about my writing and has since recommended some writing sites to me. He seemed genuinely interested in the work I do as a writer even after I told him there is no money in it. I could write about countless headliners and writers I have met this year at events and festivals. I could write about my friend’s son who is now suddenly two and so when meeting him again was like a stranger to me, a wonderfully articulate, playful one! The endless stream of new people I meet through work…. and to think I questioned whether I had met anybody new this year when I first saw this prompt!

I have chosen.

Our paths crossed through poetry, back in the year. She was new to the whole idea and yet confident enough to come and talk to us after the show, it reminded me of theatre and how people would come to the Stage Door, because her questions were in awe and yet a few short months later she had become a master.

Tutored those less confident and created a character all of her own. A character whose wardrobe has taken over an entire room at home.

The first thing I ever noticed was her blonde hair and leather, next how tiny she was, not short but incredibly slender, she has one of those bodies that God just gives out occasionally I thought when I first met her, I have since found out about her ice-cream diet and zumba habit! I think what most people noticed in the early days was her blonde hair and figure, male and female. Now (in character) I think they will notice the hairpiece first, the tall pantomime/Regency style wig that provides a platform for all manor of props, adds several feet to her stature and seems to have a life of its own. The body now is scantily clad, I admire the confidence to perform in less than a poetry dress… then I think if God had given me that body I would dress it with love too.

In those early days she learnt a lot, collected contacts like china figures, knew what she was doing, or maybe she didn’t and it all just evolved and happened. She came far fast, in the super highway lane, doing even more gigs than me. Her act crossed the lines between performance art and poetry and later comedy, the character has taken on a life of its own.

I wonder about the people who have only met the character – what they must think. I know the girl underneath, some of her backstory. The edges are hidden well and with reason, but I am proud that she trusts me with the truth and she can.

She came to mind as the most interesting and unique person I have met this year, although parts of my own past run parallel and I know there is a whole world of identical stories out there, I had never known someone with such strength. Many of us build it back up over time, she seemed to be armed with it. Boudicca. I already know she will be okay and from all of the darkness has come this new, new lease of life. She had never performed or written poetry before and here she is doing both amazingly well!

tara buckley behind tea project

Photograph Tara Buckley – The Tea Project

Whenever we talk her eyes are wide and listening, she is someone who can (despite the odds) grab hold of life’s lighter moments and sails away on calm waters when all around her lies noise and carnage, she seems to rise above and come out shining. This is probably not how she feels or sees her own life.

She has an exciting energy and there is always a frantic sharing of tales as we catch up with each others lives beyond the social media updates and gig lists. She is fun. A fun-loving person who has brought lots of light into my world!

Writing 101: Day 4 – The Serial Killer

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Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

This doesn’t need to be a depressing exercise; you can write about that time you lost the three-legged race at a picnic. What’s important is reflecting on this experience and what it meant for you — how it felt, why it happened, and what changed because of it.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

Our blogs are often made of standalone posts, but using them to take readers on longer journeys is an immersive experience for them — and you. It allows you to think bigger and go deeper into an idea, while using a hook that keeps readers coming back.

A series can take many forms:

We also have advice that might help. If you decide to go serial, we’ve got days scheduled for parts two and three, so don’t worry about writing everything now or having to shoehorn the other posts in.

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A Loss:

I have lost so many things, I could write some dark material from this prompt. My mind immediately heads to people I have lost first, then things, of which I have lost many pinnacle material items, then parts of myself – I have lost along the way, battles I have lost, people I have lost who are still very much in the world, pets I have lost, beliefs I have lost, lessons I have discarded.

I am trying to gain material from joining Writing 101 – the main focus is writing practice – a daily dose and beyond that a hope of up-cycling something, even if it’s the odd sentence or idea. This is my reason for trying to stay positive, that and it is better material for you to read than all the things I have survived, I am sure.

When I was thirteen I started to write to people all over the world through a pen pal scheme. I loved receiving letters and getting to know people in other countries. A few of us are still in touch which means the world to me and some I have since used the internet to search for. Enjoying the irony of meeting back up online (now we have pretty much killed the postal service, if it wasn’t for ebay/ Amazon orders) – I have always been unsuccessful in finding them, many were girls and probably have different surnames by now.

I remember the first time I lost a penfriend though, because we were still very much in communication and suddenly the letters stopped coming. This worried me, Melinda lived in the Philippines and I had no way of knowing if she was okay. We had grown up together and we were turning 17, maybe she had got tired of writing, but knowing her as I did- I know she would have sent a card to tell me she didn’t want to keep writing letters anymore.

I have never been able to trace her and the letters just stopped. Nothing. I don’t know why it happened. Perhaps her college studies had taken all her time. I think about her often and the different culture she was brought up in.

I lost interest in writing letters for a while, Melinda was one of the first and she was no longer sending me mail. I then realised that as far as other pen pals were concerned, I had now disappeared too, so I started writing letters again.

I still enjoy writing letters and fortunately have a few friends in this Country and others who like to write back. The joy of having things in the post which aren’t bills or statements is a wonderful thing.