Tag Archives: Creative Writing

Life

Ernest Burroughs pulled the well-thumbed life manual close to his face. His cataract eyes failed him; so he sniffed out the written words with his white-haired nostrils. The words travelled his nasal paths to his brain; where he chewed on them vigorously, squeezing them of their collective meaning. Billions of random words danced atop his eyeballs like small dazzling clouds, when his chest tightened. And before he could impart the revealed recipe of immortality to mankind, a force pulled him through a white tunnel.

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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The Forage

An apricot sunrise seethed through the misty moors. She wandered grasslands; pulled lady’s smock by their roots, by the heaps. Her necklet loosened; it fell, unbeknownst to her.

In the sky, Parakeets danced; they sang an ancient proverb. Thou shalt not steal from nature in abundance; for nature shalt steal from thou.

Her heart repented.

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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Camp NaNoWriMo – April 2014

Hello Readers,

Hot news! I am a participant in Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014!

In April, I will be writing the first draft of my debut novel (a psychological thriller/horror), and Camp NaNoWriMo is going to be my retreat in achieving this. In Camp NaNoWriMo I am a member of a cabin of twelve writers, all wanting to achieve a long-length piece of written material. Every day we will add our word counts onto the website, discuss our achievements and problems, and help keep each other motivated to the end of the month.

This is my first attempt at a written piece this length, and so I have set what I believe to be a workable goal.

1667 words per day = total of 50,000 words in 30 Days

You can keep track of my word count on my Facebook page.

Wish me luck!

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Popworld

Glitterball

 

Midnight, beats pumping, last orders. She watches him; he winks. She smears gloss to hungry lips. Gloss, she thought, it always mesmerizes him.

Morning after; their heads throb, and he induces rejection, mascara tears. Passing her tongue over furred teeth, she walks home with regret. Love, she thought, is more appetising beneath the glitter ball.

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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Clown

I had been drawn into a dark circus of a world; a world where high-wired voices had giggled so delicately, over nothing.

This is the spirit of the circus, they had voiced with curled lips, and it’s about laughing over fake flowers, to entertain the curious.

Summers had slipped, and my laughs had burned out like old rings of fire. The mouths of jugglers had wheezed at my woeful face.

A circus is no place for a sad heart, they’d chorused.

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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The Rickmansworth Writer’s Group

Hello Readers,

This week, I attended the Rickmansworth Writer’s Group at Costa Coffee – in Rickmansworth. I had always wanted to attend a writing group, so when I saw this group advertised locally, I seized the opportunity. It was wonderful to meet other writers – to share, read and discuss written works.

Our group organiser was Mike Loveday; a published writer who teaches writing to adults in community settings. He had set out a mini agenda for the three hour session, which included;

  • A 10 minute writing exercise (a photo prompt)
  • The reading-sharing-critiquing of our own written work
  • A discussion on the different methods of writing

 A 10 minute writing exercise…

The first task on the agenda had been a ten-minute ‘warm-up’ writing exercise. Mike had showed us a photograph of a man lying on his back, on a lawn; holding and looking through a camera. Half of the image had been purposely concealed with a piece of paper. Mike had said to us ‘Describe what you think might be happening in the picture. Now write for ten minutes.’ Having gazed at the photograph for a few seconds, we had then taken to our pens and paper. The goal had been to write with imagination; to produce a free write narrative, a poem, a flash fiction, a short story – or any other literary form that had inspired us at that moment. I wrote a flash fiction called ‘Balloon’.

Balloon

His hands twist around the camera. Through the lens, he searches a great perspective. On the horizon he sees a hot air balloon, floating in the sky. He is left unsettled, for in the basket stands a boy; he is smiling, waving back through the lens, from miles. The boy must have spectacular vision, he thought, for no human could possibly see me from this distance. Their eyes lock. He knows that the boy he sees through the lens is far from human. His blank eyes show it so.

When the piece of paper had been removed, and the photograph revealed, it had shown a huge snake spiraled around the man’s body – its face peering directly, menacingly, into the lens. We had all chuckled at the odd discovery – it had been quite a different image from the ones we had imagined. Some of the visions that we had conjured had been dark, fun – some even pornographic! These pieces had not been shared with the group.

The reading-sharing-critiquing of our own written work…

We had then taken turns to read our own written works to the group. One of my own flash fictions called ‘Doppelganger’ had been critiqued, in fine detail – which was very eye-opening! The critique had taught me that each of us can, and often does, visualise written works quite differently from each other. That sometimes, the images the writer intends to portray through words can be quite different from the images that are conjured by the reader.

My story had provoked a discussion about word choice in a narrative, and how one word can strengthen or weaken an entire piece. Words such as ‘darkening’ was mentioned as being strong– for it had portrayed an ever-changing environment – and if I were to have used the word ‘dark’ it could have had felt quite static. ‘Oddly’ was said to have been a strong word – and that it had a more powerful effect than the word ‘odd’. ‘Red-perfumed’ was deemed a weaker, hyphenated word; one of the readers had been unable to visualise the two words together as they had suggested two different ideas. ‘Attire’ was also said to have sounded formal in comparison to the other words within the sentence. I had been asked if my word choice had been intentional. My reply had been ‘they came out naturally at the time; and the selection of words would have been dependent on the mood I was in at the time of writing.’ Had I just left the office when I conjured ‘attire’? Had office work inspired my inner speech? This critique had highlighted to me, the importance of word choice; that it is a very powerful element in writing – the correct word can make a piece of writing light up; the wrong word choice can diminish a piece into oblivion.

The female protagonist in the story had been described as being rather elegant – and it was mentioned that the era was the only time when it was considered ‘sexy’ for a woman to be smoking cigarettes! Some had been able to visualise the woman smoking clearly, as though it were a scene in a film; and this had been due to the readers having been aware of the ‘Film Noir’ genre. It had been said that metaphors such as ‘Hitchcock’ and ‘Bates Motel’ had aided the reader in visualising the story better. However, some readers struggled with visualising the piece, having had no idea about the ‘Film Noir’ genre. This had led me to raise questions – ‘what impact do previous experiences, memories, have on the impact of the written material that we read in the present?’, ‘Do writers need to portray and adopt ‘universal visions’ in their writing, for them to be clear to a wider range of readers?’

Sinister, had been used to describe the overall feeling and tension in the flash fiction. I quite liked this comment, as it had fitted nicely into the genres that I write in. Flowing, had been used to describe the narrative style; mostly due to the similar sentence length throughout the piece. I had been asked ‘why does the protagonist want to go to Bates Motel?’ and ‘how could this possibly happen if it is a fictional place?’ I had not thought of any of these questions when I had written the piece – because my desire, my attention, my focus, had been entirely in trying to express the emotionally disturbed woman – and her longing to imitate an idol. Others had answered ‘it doesn’t have to be a real place’ and ‘it could be a dream’ – and I those answers summarize the essence of fiction; the writer does have the power, the freedom, to design his and her own worlds – wherever they may be. I had learned a lot from three questions – I will now try to read and view my own writing from the perspective of many different kinds of readers. I will try to imagine what questions a romance reader might ask about one of my horror stories – what questions a science fiction reader might ask in one of my thriller stories. I will learn to constantly ask myself ‘why’ – why am I writing that word, sentence, and scene? Am I expressing what I want to say in the best possible way, to the array of readers that are in our universe?

At the end of the critique, a writer called Vivien Maier had been mentioned as being someone I might find inspiring. I have made a goal to research her this week. What a beautiful name she has!

At this point in the session, we had a well-earned coffee break. I must say, a private meeting room inside Costa coffee is the perfect setting for a writing group – it conjures images of Paris and its café writers; smoking, sipping espresso, whilst writing in their notebooks – La bonne vie, darlings!

Next a writer had read her poem. The ‘untitled’ poem had been about a woman, remembering her youth, grieving for her love, and finding consolation in a library book (in which she escapes from her hectic life). The poem had provoked both sad and humorous emotions in the readers – the sad parts had grown sadder – providing the reader with an increasing emotional punch. The first two lines had painted a setting, an atmosphere ‘dark, washed-out grey’. This had cleverly linked with the third line and the character’s depressed emotions. The poem had finished with a last line, and a clean closure. This had raised the question ‘Is it better to leave a poem, a story, open or closed? Some had favoured the open option, as this gave the reader room to complete the story themselves – also allowing the writer a pressure-free ending. Some had favored the closed option, as this gave the reader a concrete answer – and gave the writer contentment in that their work was received fully. I think both open and closed options have their advantages and disadvantages; I guess it all depends on the individual piece.

We had then discussed authors that worked in a similar style to the poem. Some names that had been mentioned were; Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar was referenced as being a favourite piece by one of the writers – an English teacher), Yeats, Sophie Hannah and Wendy Cope.

Next, a writer read his poem. This poem had adopted a rhythmical beat – with every first and third line rhyming. It had played on themes of humour and patriotism. I had noted the choice of words in the poem, and how they had all contributed to the themes of the piece. Again it had made me think about how important word choice is in any written piece. The themes had worked perfectly with the uplifting rhymes. The writer had used a very dated word and had fused it with simplistic language – which I had found to be very effective. There had also been a very clever element to the poem. In one line we were made to laugh – then in the first word of the line that had followed we were made to read ‘laughing’ as a word. I found this a superb way to provoke emotion in the reader one minute, and then next, have the reader read a word describing that emotion. It had made me pause at that moment at the sheer genius of it! I may try this trick in one of my own flash fictions in the future. I’m not sure if this is a recognised literary technique or not?

At the end of the critique, Tony Harrison had been suggested as a writer to research; based on their similar poetic rhyming styles.

Next, a reader had read her short story. It had been highly descriptive, and we got to know the protagonist and other characters through narrative.  It had been mentioned that dialogue could have strengthened the piece by bringing the characters to life through interaction. Weaving background into the ‘now’ of the story was also mentioned as a method of strengthening the piece – rather than overwhelming the reader with backstory before the story actually begins.  It had made me think of the early stages of plotting outlines of stories – the method of juggling scenes and chapters around on cards. I find this a very creative way to play with a story.

A discussion on the different methods of writing…

When the critiques had finished, we had each read a few passages from Raymond Carver’s ‘On Writing’ – new short story theories (Page 275). We had discussed the different methods that writers use; how some writers are content with free writes and numerous drafts – allowing the story to lead them; how other writers are avid plotters – visualising each scene so that they are in control of the story. I believe Agatha Christie had watched her entire novels play out in her mind before even picking up a pen! We had also discussed how different ages, deadlines, and academic teaching also have an impact on the way we write. The truth was, every writer has their own methods of writing – there is no right or wrong way. Also, the writing world is constantly evolving – and the methods we love one day may be abandoned the next.

During the end of the session I had been asked what I thought about flash fiction as a form of writing. I had answered with ‘It’s a great way to get a story completed quickly – unlike a novel which can take months, years.’ I also mentioned the word ‘brevity’ – the cutting of non-essential words – and that I believe this is an essential part of the form. I expressed that without brevity we are merely rambling – and not producing flash fiction at all.

After thoughts…

In those several hours I felt I had learned and achieved much. I had created a written piece in ten minutes. I had offered advice and received advice on writing. I had found confidence in reading aloud. I had discovered new writers, and new ways to analyse written works.

The session had also brought back good memories of college and University days. It had reminded me of how much I loved (and still miss) the study environment; it has that sense of belonging and purpose. And, this is why I intend to continue to attend the monthly sessions.

Have you ever considered joining a local writing or reading group? It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and improve your knowledge in the subjects.How about creating a group yourself?

Coffee and Writing

Until next time; happy reading and writing!

Donna x

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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Faded

FotoSketcher - tea2

(Piano Instrumental ‘Dream of Flying’ by Brian Crane plays)

I had watched her lips dance upon the rim of her teacup; her bitter breath had fused with steam, had formed fumes of rejection.

“Just leave it Frank!”

I had posed her a floret of my affection, worlds of pipe dreams; but to her it had meant disintegration in love.

(Piano Instrumental ‘Dream of Flying’ by Brian Crane fades to silence)

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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My Writer’s 2014 Diary

Today I bought my 2014 Writer’s Diary! I’m a little late in purchasing it, but it’s never too late for us writer’s to get organised! In here I will be plotting out my planned flash fictions, competition entries and assignment deadlines. I plan to set myself writing goals a week in advance (small goals, which step-by-step will lead to those bigger goals – hopefully!)

The diary design is by Bookish Design UK, and a portion of the profits from the diary go to The National Literacy Trust.

Diary2014a Diary2014b

The blurb… A book lover’s dream diary, this carefully curated collection of groundbreaking graphic design spans the spectrum of classic covers from antiquarian first edition dust-jackets to pulp fiction paperbacks and everything in between.

Do you have a diary to help you plan your goals?

Alittlebirdtweets is on Facebook! Here I post quotes, news and photo’s!

©2014.alittlebirdtweets

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Scarlett

rose

She handpicked the last rose of summer; watched the petals wilt into a ballet of depression. The ghost of his apology of deceit had bred in her mind for days. She knew that walking unafraid in a world devoid of him could never equal the burning desire of a restored heart. She crushed the rose in her hand. Someday she would visit his office and attempt to rekindle the love of her lover; a man whom she would always believe to be a raw diamond in the earth.

©2013.alittlebirdtweets

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New York

Crimson rays from the setting sun had stirred life in to the lank, concrete buildings. The glower of taxi headlights had greeted me with their vitality; and had sculpted hopes and dreams inside my heart. I had watched a man limp up Lexington Avenue. He’d asked the world what their dreams were; or had been. I had tried to offer him an answer; but his silhouette had vanished within the towering steam that had emanated from the street’s drains. And, I had known then, that that flash had been my New York minute.

©2013.alittlebirdtweets

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Distraction

Danger had loitered on a street corner that day. It had awaited the collapse of slate clouds, hard rain, and the thump of half-past five. It had awaited her arrival, stiletto-heeled. She’d stepped in the road, whilst struggling to open her umbrella; oblivious to the car approaching the corner at high speed. Metal had struck her legs, forced her body to collapse, and her head to hit concrete. She had laid in a grey sea, as ambulance crew, police, and strangers watched her; like she had been a newly erected sculpture. Voices had asked her questions, prompted answers; but she’d been too stunned to reply. She’d only been capable of crossing her fingers; of praying with her trembling heart, for the chance to see long corridors, fluorescent lights and fresh grapes.

©2013.alittlebirdtweets

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Fragility

Petals, a million shades of rose, lay frozen-in-time, upon the cemetery’s frost-laden grounds. Tomorrow, heartless feet will crush them; turn them into russet particles. Their dying breath will emit rancid vapours into the air, as they succumb to the earth. And, beyond the borders of the cemetery, people will look to the skies; sing the lyrics of summers’ song. Smiling faces, embracing sunlight; unaware that decay is a fraction away.

©2013.alittlebirdtweets

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Frozen

White light dapples the snow through the trees. Winter’s breeze blows at flakes rested on branches, forcing them to chute to the ground like dancing angels. She rests on a bench; allows the winter sun to warm her face. She imagines that she’s sitting in a Christmas card scene; that everything is picture-perfect. But the woolly jumper that she wears makes her skin sweat and itch. She feels uncomfortable and disorientated. She gets up, walks; and decides that today she’ll smile at no one; and that she’ll keep her eyes fixed on frozen paths, which threaten to swipe her feet.

©2013.alittlebirdtweets

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Elm Lake

Elm Lake ©2013.alittlebirdtweets

Whenever there were grey curls in the skies, the lake would awaken. Sinister waves would ripple on its surface, and rekindle a whispered voice that spoke of a past happening. The voice would travel through trees and into nearby cottages, where it was eager to be heard. But, no one would listen. No one wanted to believe that it was the voice of the girl, who had drowned in the lake half a century ago.

©2013.alittlebirdtweets

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Creative Writing

Hello Readers,

I have set myself a new mini-writing-goal.

From yesterday, and every day hereafter, I will be creating a ‘Creative Writing’ piece; to keep my mind warmed up and my fingers typing! I have created two pieces of writing to date. These have been inspired by photographs (one example shown below) that I snapped over the Summer in my local woodlands – and, which I modified to suit the genres that I write in.

My ‘Creative Writing’ pieces are only available on my ‘Alittlebirdtweets’ Facebook Page. So please come on over and support me 🙂 The reason for only including my ‘Creative Writing’ on Facebook is so that I can offer my Facebook fans something to read every day, whilst keeping my WordPress blog tidy (for my Flash Fiction).

Thanks for your follows and support!

Have a most excellent day.

Donna x

Example of an image used for a creative writing piece – The Meadows – 2013

The Meadows - 2013 Donna Henderson

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