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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 31 December 2015

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 771: Thursday 31st December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

771 car 821883Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: strum, blow, pick, lads, inch
  2. Random: getting on the stage
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Thursday Title: Squashed in the Back

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 775: Thursday 31st December

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 30 December 2015

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 770: Wednesday 30th December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

770 cape may 839607Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: arms, flop, switch, deserve, cosmopolitan
  2. Random: feeling old
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Sentence start: Reluctant to take…

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 774: Wednesday 30th December

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 29 December 2015

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 769: Tuesday 29th December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

769 camera 976553Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: jamming, unbelievable, seventy-two, hardest, bounce
  2. Random: spring break
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Tuesday Title: Not Phased

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 773: Tuesday 29th December

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 29, 2015 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 28 December 2015

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 768: Monday 28th December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

768 cage 951782Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: pain, house, lose, major, way
  2. Random: not a clue
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Monologue Monday: first-person poem about being two hours late

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 772: Monday 28th December

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 28, 2015 in ideas, novels, poetry, short stories, writing

 

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Post-weekend Poetry 133: Deepest Loss by Mirha Saleem

Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and thirty-third poem in this series. This week’s piece is by seventh-grader Mirha Saleem.

Deepest Loss by Mirha Saleem

girls sledging 945650I knew when I first saw her she looked like another me,

But yet so jolly and so carefree,

Whereas I was quite serious and scholarly,

I don’t know how it started but our bond grew strong,

I knew this was the place where I belong,

Years passed by and our friendship reached to the extreme,

But now it looks like a lost daydream.

 

Someone came and interrupted my life,

The agony was fiercer than being stabbed by a knife,

Watching her gradually going away from me,

After that everything happened so quickly,

How would you feel losing a best friend?

 

Too late for the mistakes to amend,

Every time I see her, my heart breaks apart,

No words to explain the emotions of my heart,

Now that she’s away it brings tears to my eyes,

How long can I keep myself in disguise?

 

Seeing her with someone else the way we used to be,

From this discomfort will I ever be free,

After all our years together is that the reward I get,

This worry follows me everywhere like a threat,

I wish I had known what trust would lead to,

I wish someone had given me a clue,

I learned not to trust anyone entirely,

For the pain to resist cannot be conquered easily.

*

I asked Mirha what prompted this piece and she said…

I love poetry and the poem I am sending you is mainly about my own experience (as I believe that a best piece of writing is the one the author has experienced). This poem is actually about trust.

*

Mirha is in the seventh grade at school. Wasn’t her poem great! Thank you, Mirha.

If you’d like to submit your poem (60 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here or a poem for critique on the Online Poetry Writing Group (link below).

Related articles:

*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently just £1 or $1-2 each! ***

You can subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything (see right-hand vertical menu).

You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping Listvarious short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.

Morgen Bailey Cover montage 2I now run online courses – details on Courses – and for anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.

If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in ideas, poetry, writing

 

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Book review – for readers and writers – no.140: Morgen Bailey reviews A Very Coco Christmas by Robert Bryndza

Today’s book review of a novella is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Be warned: I’m a tough crowd and the lead time for the former is several months. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Being a writer and editor, I read and review books with both hats. If you’re a writer reading this review and found it useful, do let me know.

A Very Coco Christmas by Robert Bryndza

A Very Coco ChristmasSynopsis: It’s 1985, and eighteen-year-old Coco is home in London for Christmas after her first term at Aberystwyth University. She has started to write, and fallen hopelessly in love with Daniel Pinchard, a devilishly handsome musician from the wrong side of the river. But Coco’s overbearing mother has other plans and resumes her campaign for Coco to meet and marry the ‘right sort of man’, preferably Kenneth, son of her best friends Adrian and Yvonne Rosebury, who will be joining them for Christmas. As snow falls softly over the city, and Coco tries to juggle a series of hilarious events, the stage is set for a Christmas lunch like no other. With a glorious cast of characters including Daniel’s mother Ethel, sister Meryl – and a turkey called Jean Paul Belmondo…

If you are new to the best selling Coco Pinchard series, fear not, A Very Coco Christmas can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone Christmas treat – and it has zero calories!

This story is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/Very-Coco-Christmas-Pinchard-Book-ebook/dp/B00YVD3U40 and http://www.amazon.com/Very-Coco-Christmas-Pinchard-Book-ebook/dp/B00YVD3U40.

Review

I read the opening chapters of this novella while my other half watched a programme on bad 1970s TV and this felt very apt, albeit a decade apart.

Some of the writing was a little cringing, especially Dai’s reaction to Daniel trying to pay.

In the opening passages, I didn’t warm to the main character, Coco, and when she leaves her handbag on the train, I felt little sympathy for her. I do however when she goes home to visit her parents for Christmas, and an argument ensues. She is treated like a Victorian daughter – the story is set in 1985 rather than 1885. Her father is okay, albeit a bit of a pushover, but her mother is horrible and, for me, spoils the story. It felt like a new version of a Christmas Carol, perhaps this was intentional.

Daniel’s mother is just as horrible (and her accent grating*), and normally I would’ve stopped reading the story at that point but as it was a novella – and I was reading it for review – I continued. *The post-story author biography hints at English not being Robert’s native language which could explain this.

And now for writers…

– with the phrases ‘the sun began to shine’ and ‘Daniel started pulling down some mugs’, neither action is interrupted to so we don’t need either ‘began to’ or ‘started to’. There is also ‘the kettle began to whistle’ and although it is removed from the stove, we still don’t need the ‘began to’. A little later, we have ‘began to scream’, and further on, ‘Dad started to open the bottle…’ which could also go.

– there are twenty-seven ‘Well’s as pauses at the beginning of dialogue… far too many for such a short story and in previous reviews I’ve recommended only having one character say ‘well’ in their dialogue… or better still, chopping all of them. We say ‘well’ but we also say ‘erm’ etc. and don’t put them in our writing. ‘Well’ is useful to show a hesitant character but can – was we see here – easily be overdone.

– try to avoid character names that start with the same letter. Here we initially have Tanya and Tania and I was wondering why the author chose names so similar but it turns out that Tanya is Sara and Tania is Keren but no real explanation is given so it seemed pointless to me. It turns out that Coco is actually called Karen, so have those two names (Karen and Keren) in the same sentence would also be very confusing. As well as a Kenneth – too many Ks – there is also Daniel – the main character’s love interest – and the cafe owner called Dai. If Daniel’s name is shortened it becomes Dan… far too close-looking on the page to Dai.

– ‘A few days ago’ is present tense and should be ‘a few days before’. If you’re writing past tense, time frames should be set in the past e.g. ‘the day before’ instead of ‘yesterday’, ‘five minutes before’ rather than ‘five minutes ago’ etc.

– there is a line where the narrator refers to a girl with black lipstick and bright red hair in a huge spike three-feet high. Although it is clearly exaggerated, it made me stop and wonder, which is not a good thing as it pulled me (the reader) out of the story.

– I didn’t spot too many adverbs or clichés, although there was a ‘he worked his fingers to the bone’ is a classic cliché.

Conclusion

One of the few redeeming features was the turkey, John Paul Belmondo. The autobiography at the end of the story shows that Rob is a prolific author, with two Coco novels, which I hope are far better. The male characters in this novel were far better illustrated than the female characters, so perhaps the author being male is why and I wondered whether Rob’s editor – if he has one – is male too. I don’t feel inspired to read any other of Rob’s writing, which is a shame as it appears that writing is Rob’s full-time profession. The biography also says that he is involved in comedy and the scene with a turkey and Chris are funny but it not enough to redeem the story.

There were various points in the story where I wanted to quit but I kept going. By the time I got to the end of it, I wondered why. It’s not the worst story I’ve ever read, but it’s in the top ten. Looking (after writing this review) at this book’s scores on Amazon.co.uk, 55 people have given it a 5* and only 2 to give it a 1*. I’m a tough crowd and am in the latter category, therefore…

Rating: 1 out of 5

*

Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.

Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.

She also helps other authors with an inexpensive freelance editing and critiquing service, and welcomes, and actively helps to promote, guest authors on her blog – see opportunities.

***

If you would like to send me a book review, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.

Related articles:

*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently just £1 or $1-2 each! ***

You can subscribe to this blog on your Kindle / Kindle app via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. Alternatively, you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything (see right-hand vertical menu).

You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping Listvarious short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.

Morgen Bailey Cover montage 2I now run online courses – details on Courses – and for anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.

If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2015 in critique, ebooks, review, short stories, writing

 

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Today’s online writing groups’ poetry and story exercises: 25 December 2015

*** If you enjoy these prompts, or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript, do take a look at my six online courses… currently £1 or $1-2! (coupon codes on the online courses page)

Every weekday I post a set of poetry prompts on poetrywritinggroup.wordpress.com and a set of story prompts on the scriptnovel and short story blogs (and poems, script / novel extracts, stories at the weekends, when I get them). As you’ll see by the headings, you’ve missed a few but they’re listed on the relevant group’s Exercises page so you can always find them there…

Poetry Writing Exercises 767: Friday 25th December

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

767 business trip 851771Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: waltz, shot, mixing, care, hurts
  2. Random: bingo wings
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. One-word prompt: fox

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!

*

Story Writing Exercises 771: Friday 25th December

Here are your four story exercises for today. If you enjoy these prompts (or are looking to improve your writing or submit a manuscript), do take a look at my online courses… currently just £1 or $1-2 each (when using coupon codes)!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 25, 2015 in ideas, poetry, short stories, writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,