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Short-listed But Not Short-Changed

I’m baaaack! I’ve been away from my blog for almost a year now – and it hardly seems like 12 months has nearly passed.WordItOut-word-cloud-2263779

Something cool did happen in the last year in regards to my writing. I was short-listed for the Geist Magazine Can’t Lit Without It CanLit Short Story Contest.

Fiction is the art form of human yearning, no matter how long or short that work of fiction is.

Robert Olen Butler, from Short Short Theory, Narrative Magazine

I can still remember waiting for the bus in a drafty and frigid TTC station when the email popped up. Sometimes that little “ping” from my phone is the last thing I want to hear – but other times it’s the only thing I want to hear.

Hi Christine,  Hope this finds you well. Regarding the Geist Can’t Lit Without It CanLit Short Story Contest: your entry, “Beautiful Losers 2.0,” was named Honourable Mention! Thanks so much for entering, our editorial team really liked your work.

It was really thrilling to read I was short-listed but more thrilling was that the editorial team really liked my work! That really lifted my heart.

Everyone who submitted had to generate a story using the CanLit Premise Generator.

I kept generating premises until something took hold of my imagination.

Not a lie – but I knew that story was pretty good. It felt like it just came to my mind fully formed and I was simply typing as quickly as I could to keep up with it.

What’s also cool is that the competition was for Flash Fiction – stories less than 500 words.

TO BE BRIEF, it is a short short story and not a prose poem because it has at its center a character who yearns.

Robert Olen Butler, from Short Short Theory, Narrative Magazine

I highly recommend checking out a story premise generator if you’re feeling stuck and want some inspiration or direction for your writing. It was the first time I had ever used one and it was galvanizing.

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Don’t Have a Clue? 5 Tactics for Inspiration

Sometimes inspiration flashes like a thunderbolt from the sky…but in my experience, inspiration much more often something you must actively chase – like a tornado hunter.

Many of you aspiring writers might already be cooking already. The boiling roll of inspirational waters has reached a simmering point and you’re on your way. Congratulations!

But for others who are either casting around for a new idea for a short story or novel and feeling uninspired – allow me to share some of my tricks. Because I’ve been there – believe me! Nothing worse than not having a clue of what you want to write about.

PICTURE IT

Visit an art gallery, museum and let the works wash over you. Keep your mind open and then stand before a painting or sculpture that you find yourself particularly drawn to. Imagine yourself as a figure in the painting or the figure of the sculpture – what’s your story? Who are you? Or imagine you are the artist and think about what you were doing the moment you created the work. Keep your notebook handy and jot down as many thoughts as you have in 5 minutes. Don’t edit yourself just keep going until the 5 minutes are up.

Take a look at your notes and see if there’s a nugget of something you can elaborate on.

 ‘Inspiration’ is a word used by people who aren’t really doing anything. Nick Cave

POST IT

I was a member of a writing group for over 14 years – and some of our inspiration for some of our work came from our yearly retreat to a member’s cottage up in Parry Sound. We’d each come armed with pens, notebooks and writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing. One of our members had a fantastic postcard collection of evocative images.

We’d each blindly pick a postcard and then for 10 minutes we’d write a story, letting the work flow without self-censorship. We’d start by writing a first person narrative; then a dialogue and then a third person narrative; then a pure description; and so on.

Many of the work that happened in those 10-minute sessions led to longer works of fiction for all our group.

Try it yourself – use the image below.

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There are little gems all around us that can hold glimmers of inspiration. Richelle Mead

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