Funny Of The Week

I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to this…

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Source: Graphospasm

Graphospasm.deviantart.com

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Writing Workshop…Top Tips

Normal business on my blog will be resumed shortly but, in the meantime, I thought I’d take the opportunity to start a new series. Here’s the first in a series of writing workshops:

Top Tips…

For Creating A Cracking Short Story Opening

Hours can be spent tapping away at the computer keys, trying to come up with a gripping short story opening – one that will dazzle, amaze and astound. Here are some tips on how to make sure your story does just that:

  • Your opening paragraph has to grab your reader’s attention straight away. It’s no use filling it with lots of waffle. Your reader will switch off and move to another story.
  • There are several ways to hook your reader. Dialogue is a great tool:

 “I didn’t mean to do it. I’m not bad,” she said, her pale blue eyes awash with tears.  

“I’ve heard it all before. You’re not fooling anyone,” the man said scowling.

See how, as a reader, you’re privy to this conversation taking place and already feel part of the story. Your interest is also piqued. What didn’t she mean to do?

  • Shocking your reader is another effective opening, thrusting your reader right in. Here’s an example:

I knew she was dead even though the dull eyes stared back at me, mocking me, tempting me to raise the knife once more.

  • Just as a shocking opening can capture your reader’s interest, so can a humorous one:

No-one understood how lonely it was being stuck up a tree all on your own. Flora sighed and fluttered her wings. One barely moved and the other nearly fell off. She was sure fairies weren’t supposed to have problems like this.

  • Ensuring your reader feels part of the story through building up a strong sense of atmosphere makes a powerful beginning:

She peered through the darkness. It enveloped her, clinging to her, refusing to let her go. A thud to her left. Her head whipped round. Silence. Nothing there. She reached out her hand, took a step forward. Something tugged at her hair and the stench of rotting flesh filled her nostrils. She gagged, tears spilling from her eyes. She wasn’t alone.  

See how the hairs on your arms stand on end, as you read the passage, making you feel as if you’re right there with the character.

  • Addressing your reader directly compels them to feel part of your story:

Just one more, that’s all I was going to take. You know that, don’t you? You understand. Well, they didn’t. And they wouldn’t listen. Looked at me like I was dirt.

In the opening to this monologue, see how you feel as if the character is appealing to you personally and how involved you already feel in her tale.

  • Introducing your reader to your main character and making them care for that character guarantees that they become instantly involved in your story:

She looked at the big, balding man, her lower lip trembling. An adult would have known she wouldn’t make it to the stairs in time. She knew really but still she tried, the scream catching in her throat as hands grabbed her.

  • Whichever way you choose to open your story, you must leave your reader wanting to know more. Don’t feel as if you have to tell your reader everything in the opening paragraph. Leave them dangling, feeling compelled to read on.
  • Don’t make your opening paragraph too long. If your reader is faced with a big block of words, this will put them off straight away.
  • If the beginning of your story is littered with mistakes, it’s likely that the rest of your story is, too. A judge or editor won’t necessarily mind a mistake or two, but a lot and your story won’t succeed, even with a cracking opening. So, make sure you read your work through carefully.

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Guest Writer Spot

It’s great to be back blogging and to be welcoming guest writer, N Gopika to this slot once more. Here is a little bit about her:

I am 18. I belong to India, the largest democracy in the world. I am a passionate writer who loves writing poetry as well as fiction.I used to read books since my early childhood and that helped in bringing out the writer in me. Writing is a better way to bring out the unsaid feelings hidden in the subconscious mind.

THE MAPLES OF AUTUMN

For today I am alive,

Tomorrow might not be mine.

I might not wake up,

On one fine morning.

Or I might not see that night.

I would be all set to leave,

To that one void deep dark silence.

The maples of autumn would sing,

Their songs of absolute melancholy.

The tides of the Nile,

Would shed their tears.

And in the condolence

Shall you be standing with,

The memories of a brio

In your heart beats,

Some missed out opportunities,

In your tear drops.

A few incomplete stories,

Being hummed by your lips.

And a good bye for me,

In your deep breaths.

As I lie beside you,

With my eyes shut and

Body frozen and numb,

But my ego keeps on auditing,

For whom did I really live for,

And for whom I would be leaving then.

I would turn back at,

The trillion moments of joy,

In this glittery blissful life.

Some unending love affairs,

With the womb that bore me,

And the roof of my good times.

I have lost a million battles, but

Life is not only about triumphs.

So did I learn to lose seldom,

And to gain with overwhelming charm.

There stands my kith and kin,

Shedding the last tears for me.

And there she is,

Lost in the memoirs of a warrior,

Who survived in her,

Liberated from her,

And who gave up his life for her.

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If you’d like your writing to be featured in my Guest Writer Spot, please contact me here or by e-mail: esthernewton@virginmedia.com. I accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines.

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There’s Nothing More Romantic Than… #MondayBlogs @esthernewton201

A huge thank you to Lucy for asking me to be a guest on her blog and for challenging me to write something funny about romance! I loved it – and it was great to get back to blogging 🙂

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As I am busy writing romance (*sigh*) I thought I would offer guest bloggers the chance to come and post something witty about romance.

Esther Newton is someone I met through the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. She always makes me smile and has a mischievous look in her eye a lot of the time, so I knew she had to appear on my blog.

Here’s the fabulous Esther Newton.

As some of you will know, I’ve had a bit of a blogging break; yes, it was only meant to be a brief pause, but it’s ended up being much longer than I ever anticipated. And I’ve missed it. So, when Lucy asked me if I’d like to write a guest blog about romance, I found myself nodding and relishing getting back into blogging. Then the reality set in. Romance???? What on earth am I going to write about romance?

I…

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A Brief Blog Break

Nothing to worry about but, due to unforeseen circumstances, I’m having to take a brief blog break. Thank you to everyone who sent something in for my Monday Motivations from last week. I will be publishing them as soon as possible and if you’d like to send something else in for it, please do. Or if you didn’t have time, why not have a go now? Click on the following link as a reminder.

be back soon

 

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More Music And Memories

I was chuffed to bits; I had just bought my first tape and put vinyl records behind me. I was on the cutting edge of music (yes, I know many of you won’t know a) what a tape is or b) what on earth a vinyl record is, but this was 1984) and I couldn’t wait to listen to all the songs on the tape. And what tape was this? Why Now That’s What They Call Music 2 (yes, I know they’re currently on NOW 100 (more or less), but I really thought I was the bee’s knees.   

My favourite track was, and is to this day, Queen’s Radio Ga Ga (even over my beloved Duran Duran and their New Moon on Monday, but that’s another music blog post to come). Yes, I could mention plenty of other tracks on the tape (I won’t mention Joe Fagin’s That’s Livin’ Alright or The Flying Pickets’ Only You) like Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s iconic Relax, Nena’s 99 Red Ballooons, and Nik Kershaw’s Wouldn’t It Be Good, amongst others, but this was my first introduction to Queen. And it’s one that’s always stayed with me and which has me singing along every time I hear it.

Photo taken at a school disco (I’m on the right, just in case you hadn’t worked that out). I can’t for the life of me remember why some of us were dressed up and others were dressed as scruffy urchins). Though I do remember treading on a cocktail stick later in the evening and there being blood everywhere (possily an exaggeration) and having to limp home.

 

 

 

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Markets For Writers

Enjoy writing crime and/or thrillers? Then the latest Writing Magazine short story competition could be for you. You have between 1500-1700 words in which to tell your tale. 

Prizes:

1st:    £200 plus publication in Writing Magazine

2nd:  £50 plus publication on the website

Entry fee: £5 (£3) for subscribers

Closing date: 15th June 2017

To find out more, visit the competition page

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