Starting From Scratch: The Clown Challenge

NEWSFLASH: This weekend I will be at Geek Girl Con in Seattle. My publisher (Hydra House) has a booth (#309) and I will be presenting “Imaginary Worlds for Kids” in Rm LL3 Sat at 11 AM & Sun at 3 PM and doing a signing Sat at noon wherever signings are. Probably by the book tables. ~     ~     ~ Up for the Clown Challenge? Where do I Start?   I love a good challenge. Especially a writing challenge. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo twice, dozens of “10 day challenges” (writing a short screenplay, short story, or poem each day for 10 days), or doing themed challenges. It’s how I wrote my first (and only) literary zombie story. I saw a challenge. I saw a way to push myself in a new and unexpected direction. While I was...

End-of-Year Plerk-out!

It’s funny how little down time I allow myself by before I feel the need to get something done. My husband’s the same way. We like to be productive. During the “holidays” one would most likely find us in our respective offices brain-deep in some type of creative or career project: digitizing rare audio cassettes, typing up old journal pages, writing a proposal for a conference, a class, a book. Between the productivity we take a walk to a local coffee shop and the subject of how we rarely relax comes up. “It’s because we like our work,” I say to him. “But our work is our play. We don’t work; we plerk.” (SIDENOTE: we discussed the spelling of the combination of “work” and “play” and decided against “plork” because no one would pronounce it right.) Plerking for me...

Weekend Workout: End-of-Year Short Story Challenge! (or 50 First Lines Redux!)

I’ve been jumping up and down in my mind (I do that) to use some material from the 50 first lines exercise I started months ago. I used this exercise, another of my favourites, for a writing contest back in February and the results were terrific. The whole 50 First Lines exercise is a blast and it works. I’ve proven to myself over and over again that it works, and now I have an excuse to use some of my results. There’s an open call for a short story anthology I’m interested in submitting to and the deadline is Dec 31st, so it’s perfect timing. If you’d like to join me and submit to this anthology (or to any other anthology or magazine or just want to finish a short story by the end of the year), you can play along. You can play along regardless of anything, but...

Wednesday Winners: Final Round, Feedback, and Book Draw

Thank you to all who participated in any stage of the 50 First Lines Challenge! (FEEDBACK questions to you in blue) THE PLAYBACK In Round One, you were challenged to come up with 50 first lines and pick your top FIVE. We chose FIVE lines as finalists. (FEEDBACK: do you think this worked well? should we require a link to the person’s blog to prove they did 50?) In Round Two, you had to use either your five lines or the finalists’ five lines and come up with 5 first paragraphs. You sent us your top 3 and we picked our TOP THREE.  (FEEDBACK: do you think everyone should have to use the same five finalists’ lines?) In the Third Round, you had to pick one of the top three paragraphs and tell us what that story was about. (FEEDBACK: I’ve never...

Round Two Winners and Round Three Rules: The 50 First Lines Challenge

The 50 First Lines Challenge Round One challenged you to write 50 First Lines and submit your Top Five. Round Two challenged you to write Five First paragraphs and submit your Top Three. From all those paragraphs, we picked OUR Top Three. It was tough for our judges to pick the Top Three. Seriously tough. It took 2 days to whittle it down and we had a new guest judge (a Vancouver writer/actor/producer) to break the ties. Without further ado, the Top Three First Paragraphs are (in no particular order): 1 – TAMARA WALSH (I don’t have a blog link for her) I blame everything that happened on the orange chicken. Nobody would’ve ever known it was me who spray painted, “Steve Sucks!” across his barn if the dumb chicken hadn’t gotten itself caught in my...

50 First Line Finalists and 2nd Round Rules! Join us!

I have been trying to write this post all day. It’s just been one of those days. For those just tuning in, I am hosting a writing challenge/contest and we have just finished the first round. Anyone can join in the next round, so read on. First, thanks to the writers who took up the 50 First Lines Challenge (they wrote 50 first lines as fast as possible and submitted their favourite five). Our judges actually had their own challenge, and I had to bring in a tie-breaker to settle things. Judges included a MG writer/educator, a spec fic publisher and sci fi writer, and an adult fiction writer, so we ran the gamut. One of them exclaimed, “These are so good! It was hard to pick.” If you did not attempt this exercise, I highly recommend it and...