Wednesday 3 September 2014

Sunday 10 August 2014


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Begin or end your story with these words…’There was once a chance I didn’t take.’ If posting photos, let the photos tell the story.

Sunday 27 July 2014


Hello WEPers. Thank you for posting such excellent entries for the last challenge. There are many memorable ones - just to remind you...who will forget Lisa fell in love with her husband's picture before she met him? Who will forget Sally's picture-filled story? As always, I loved reading your posts and always look forward to each challenge. I do wish we could convince more to join us, but it seems difficult (most of you excluded) for people to commit to anything permanent these days, or commit to posting more than once.

I have added some more links to my USEFUL LINKS tab in the sidebar. There are some great links to help improve your writing, but I know most of us ignore links, which is why I'm pointing them out. This article is so good I'm reprinting it with some of my own edits, but it is a fine example of the caliber of the links. This one is especially useful to novel/short story writers.


We, the writers, need to remain invisible when we're writing. This helps us show rather than tell what's taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound
 of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip
the rules.
Still, you might look them over.
1. Never open a book with weather.
If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a character's reaction to the weather, you 
don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. 
There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways
to describe ice and snow than an Eskimo, you can do all the weather reporting you
2. Avoid prologues.

They can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that 
 after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in nonfiction. A prologue in a 
novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.

There is a prologue in John Steinbeck's ''Sweet Thursday,'' but it's O.K. 
because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all 
about. He says: ''I like a lot of talk in a book and I don't like to have nobody 
tell me what the guy that's talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks 
like from the way he talks. . . . figure out what the guy's thinking from what he 
says. I like some description but not too much of that. . . . Sometimes I want a 
book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. . . . Spin up some pretty words 
maybe or sing a little song with language. That's nice. But I wish it was set aside 
so I don't have to read it. I don't want hooptedoodle to get mixed up with the story.''
3. Never use a verb other than ''said'' to carry dialogue.
The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But
 "said" is far less intrusive than grumbled, gasped, cautioned, lied. I once noticed Mary 
McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with ''she asseverated,'' and had to stop reading to 
get the dictionary.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ''said'' . . .
. . . he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin.
 The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can

the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used 
to write historical romances ''full of rape and adverbs.''
5. Keep your exclamation points under control.
You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the 
 of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.
6. Never use the words ''suddenly'' or ''all hell broke loose.''
This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use ''suddenly'' 
tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with 
apostrophes, you won't be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the 
flavor of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories ''Close Range.''
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
Which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway's ''Hills Like White Elephants'' 
what do the ''American and the girl with him'' look like? ''She had taken off her hat 
and put it on the table.'' That's the only reference to a physical description in the 
story, and yet we see the couple and know them by their tones of voice, with not
 one adverb in sight.
9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
Unless you're Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language or write 
landscapes in the style of Jim Harrison. But even if you're good at it, you don't 
want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
And finally:
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick 
paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer 
is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at 
the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows 
what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can't allow what we learned 
in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It's my 
attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious 
writing. Words can get in the way of what you want to say. (Figure that out).
If I write in scenes and always from the point of view of a particular character -- 
the one whose view best brings the scene to life -- I'm able to concentrate on the 
voices of the characters telling you who they are and how they feel about what 
they see and what's going on, and I'm nowhere in sight.
What Steinbeck did in ''Sweet Thursday'' was title his chapters as an indication, 
though obscure, of what they cover. ''Whom the Gods Love They Drive Nuts'' is 
one, ''Lousy Wednesday'' another. The third chapter is titled ''Hooptedoodle 1'' 
and the 38th chapter ''Hooptedoodle 2'' as warnings to the reader, as if Steinbeck 
is saying: ''Here's where you'll see me taking flights of fancy with my writing, 
and it won't get in the way of the story. Skip them if you want.''
''Sweet Thursday'' came out in 1954, when I was just beginning to be published, 
I've never forgotten that prologue.
Did I read the hooptedoodle chapters? Every word.
I hope you find the above tips helpful.
Don't forget AUGUST'S CHALLENGE - TAKING CHANCES. Hopefully you will help me 
publicise the challenge by copying the image into your sidebar and perhaps mentioning 
it in a social media post. 

As I say on the Current Challenges page: Begin or end your story with these words…
’There was once a chance I didn’t take.’ If posting photos, let the photos tell 
the story.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

ROMANCE challenge wrap up. Winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card announced...July's challenge - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

Hi everyone!

I hope you enjoyed the June ROMANCE challenge as much as I did. I gave no specific guidelines as I wanted you to take up the challenge and run with it however you wished. Some of you wrote a disclaimer that you weren't overly comfortable with the romance genre--that was fine--but I think you all gave your entries due consideration and posted something true to the prompt.

I'll run down the list in order of the sign up. In case you haven't read all entries, I hope to pique your interest and you will seek out these interesting posts if you haven't already:

ANNA: Anna experimented with sci-fi. It's great to move out of your comfort zone, and here Anna presented us with a story which included elements of survival and romance. The addition of a child's swimming pool for a boat added tension as I wondered if the talking cat had claws that might puncture it. Where would Klara be then? Obviously, the love interest, Jakob, would rescue her...Anna? 

DONNA: Wrote a non-fiction entry on ROMANCE, and raised some interesting questions. In her own words--"The HEA requirment escapes me, and I always end up with something twisted." Donna used the real-life example of her grand niece's love life to discuss a modern perspective on love. Donna's post garnered a lot of discussion, so she obviously raised questions that other's have their own perspective on.

LISA: Lisa definitely believes in the HEA. Her story was a romantic dream that took the reader's breath away. I loved the way Lisa portrayed this love story, going from scene to scene very deftly. Many readers hope things work out for Lila and her soldier.

RAELENE: A delightful steam punk original which raised some questions from readers: do robots have hearts and souls? Will humans be replaced by robots? Raelene told the story through dialogue which was very effective. Loads of irony and subtle humour.

LINDA: Martha and Rhonda and their ungrateful sons! Linda crafted interesting characters and settings as a backdrop for a realistic portrayal of the  culture of entitlement. Most of us recognise Martha and Rhonda...heck, we might be them, but let's hope our children treat us much  better! I loved the twist in the tale!

D.G. HUDSON: As D.G. claims in her preface to her story, "Anything can happen in Paris"...and it does. Ah, so romantic, from the chivalry on the staircase to the dinner followed by a moonlit walk. Of course, this scenario could happen anywhere, but to Francophiles, the Paris setting just adds that joie de vivre. 

ROLAND: A night of magic and death are always exciting when Roland holds the pen. The description of Meilori's gown got me going--loved it--one of those images I won't forget. Roland knows how to include a romantic element or two: "She smiled, and my world was made whole again."

NANCY: Oh, didn't we all love the world Nancy created--an enchanting tale of faerie love between Wisteria and Zinnia, filled with delightful imagery, set in her beloved Colorado.  Just proved that chocolate speaks all languages, especially love languages.

NILANJANA: An excerpt from Moonlit Waters, a story of heartbreaking angst, was Nila's entry this month. As D.G. Hudson commented: "You write the bittersweet so well, Nilanjana! I didn't know whom to feel sorry for, the man or the woman. Two hurting souls and neither is able to express their need for comfort." I couldn't say it better.

SALLY: A  ‘billet-doux’ – a love letter. Delightful entry from Sally, beautifully presented with images of the old love letters, along with her interpretation. The letters were full of that old-fashioned language which seems to never be written in a hurry. What is the younger generation going to wrap up in satin ribbons to keep for posterity? Print outs of emails/facebook posts?

LAURA: Laura was very brave, publishing a disturbing story of a girl being held without consent. This resonated with readers big time--some judged it on moral grounds. others appreciated that it was fiction where at times a world is twisted, creepy, horrific. Reminds me of the best-selling Room, by Emma Donohue. I recommend that as required reading for all. How many girls are currently enslaved around the world? We'd be surprised and very disturbed. Thank you Laura for confronting us with this story.

JYOTSNA: Jyotsna, a first timer to WEP, offered us a different take on romance -- marry one person while remaining in love with another. The story was told from a cultural perspective which would be little understood by many of us, yet judging by comments, not completely unfamiliar to some. 

TRISHA: Loved Trisha's Harlequin-esque romance, complete with the hottest kiss scene!! Hand me a fan material! Way to go, Trisha, you responded to the ROMANCE challenge with great aplomb. Do let us know when Harlequin accepts your manuscript! I was pretty caught up in the sensuality and didn't care whether they were at the door or on the couch, but editors do worry about these 'minor' points, lol!

DENISE: I reinvented a romance set around the love locked bridges of Paris. I doubled the word count, so I did do some work. I also posted photos which I took at the time I visited Paris and dreamed up this story. 

When I did my second, or third run through your entries, it was sad to see that not all entrants visit each other. One of the unwritten rules of blogging is to reciprocate when others visit you. It bolsters us all to receive comments when we've taken the time to create and publish a story for a challenge. Thanks so much for those of you who DO do the rounds and comment on each post. Don't forget to ask for feedback if you want it. 

More positive: I see the C-Box is taking off as the preferred communication system for 'I just posted'...

It goes without saying (but I have to say it anyway), that I loved ALL of your entries and why I don't offer prizes more often, is the angst I go through choosing a winner. I know that whoever I choose, there will be those who don't think I made the best choice...and I get that...but I can only do what I can to choose the one I consider the most creative.  

The prize for this month goes to what caught my eye as the most creative entry. 

There were so many contenders for the 'creative' prize. In the end, it was a toss up between the creativity of Sally who gave us the 'billet doux', and Nancy's lovely created world of faerie. After an unacceptable amount of angst, which included much thumb biting, cravings for chocolate and sunny winter walks, I decided to go with...more thumb biting...


Please, fellow creative scribes, let's give Nancy huge applause. I love where your creativity is taking you, Nancy! Please copy the badge for your blog. I will organise your gift card asap as soon as I know which of your email addresses is the current one.


From the UP-COMING CHALLENGES page above:


A picture is worth a thousand words. Choose a favourite picture and use it as a prompt. You may respond in fiction, non-fiction or poetry – be as creative as you like!
If you don’t have a picture you wish to use, you may choose the WEP-provided picture.


For those who support WEP, I would appreciate it if you would take the July prompt badge and post it in your sidebar to help spread the word about our latest challenge. 

And if you've missed it, there is the list of the challenges to the end of the year in the sidebar here. Please copy and paste it in your sidebar if you wish. If you click on the Up-coming Challenges page, you will see a short line or two about each month's prompts.

Looking forward to having you join us for the next challenge!!

PLEASE leave  a comment and tell me your thoughts on WEP, on how we can improve the experience, or perhaps suggest some challenges to save my little brain!!

Monday 5 May 2014

Write...Edit...Publish Inlinkz sign up for May prompt - FAILURE...or is it?

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Wise words from blogger VR Barkowski, posting about success in the publishing world. 

Taking responsibility for our successes also means taking responsibility for our failures, and that’s one hell of a terrifying prospect—one many of us use as an excuse not to act. Don’t let this be you. Failure is part of the journey. Make your mistakes, take your knocks, get back up, brush yourself off, and try again. And don’t forget the secret: if you really want to be a writer, concentrate on what you can control, don’t become bitter about what you cannot, and don’t give up.
Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future,
but from wanting to control it.
~Kahlil Gibran

Oh yeah???

Sunday 30 March 2014

APRIL FOOL - WEP PROMPT FOR APRIL - and a little housekeeping.

Hello friends!

Thanks for the wealth of reading matter your March entries provided - some wonderful posts Through the eyes of a child. Many highlighted child abuse which is a scourge on our society. But others were nostalgic, fun and beautiful. Thank you to all who posted to this prompt.

Many of you will have used up a tremendous load of brain matter to prepare/participate in the A - Z Challenge for 2014. I have participated many times in the past, but am not prepared for the time suck this year. I am focused on my writing. I am posting on my writing blog as usual once a week, and also participating in reading A - Z posts. Let me know if you're taking part and I will come by once a week and do a bulk read! Seriously, I want to support you!


I've shied away from doing a regular pre-challenge post, rather leaving you to make your own inferences/interpretations from  the prompt. However, I've decided from now on to put up something to stimulate those who are considering participating. This also gives something to link to for those who always like to know they're doing the 'right' thing!

First, a little history behind the prompt...


April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.

The French call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered. Australians are perhaps not so refined - school students paste sticky notes saying "Kiss me" or "Kick me" on other students' backs, then stand back to enjoy the fun.

April Fools' Day is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain, but you can read a little history here. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.


For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?        —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

I see April Fool as an open challenge - maybe...

  • a funny flash fiction
  • a poignant flash fiction or non fiction - it can be very humiliating to be made a fool of. But the person making a fool of you may be a fool themselves...right? 
  • a satirical work a la Jane Austen et al.
  • funny photos
  • abstract themed artwork
  • new beginnings (some cultures chose to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1. (My Sri Lankan students do!) Those who thought they were silly sent them on fool's errands, or tried to trick them into believing something false.)
  • a tale of Spring Fever. Many different cultures have long had days of foolishness around the start of April. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year (in the Northern Hemisphere at least), with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, April is slap bang in the middle of Autumn).
  • other...
 The invitation is always open to join us in our monthly permanent bloghop! A reminder of the Submission process for WEP (these are found on the Submission's page above) - 


  1. SUBMIT your name to the Inlinkz list below the monthly themed badge either straight away or when you have a direct link 
  2. CREATE your entry according to the monthly theme
  3. EDIT your entry until it sparkles - perhaps ask someone to check it for spelling, grammar if this is your weakness
  4. POST your entry on your blog/facebook page on the dates shown on the prompt (these vary month to month) - remember to state feedback preferences (full critique to general comments) and whether your work is copyrighted - ©
  5. READ other entries, reciprocate, giving feedback as requested. Share on social media if you like the entry. This is the biggest compliment!
Regarding Post Dates:

Some are posting early, then becoming irritated when others haven't posted. Try to adhere to the general dates. Very late posters don't get as many visits.

I am trialling the extended posting dates in April so that those of you doing the A - Z have more leeway. This appears to be what WEPpers are doing anyway.

There are many of you who don't comment or leave a message on the CBox when posting. Please...if you don't tell us, we don't always know! 

Here's to a great April Fool prompt!

The linky will go up during the first week of April.

Monday 3 March 2014

Sunday 2 March 2014

PLEASE bear with me - InLinkz playing up. Had to take the March challenge link up down.

Sorry peeps, but the Inlinkz site is playing up and not publishing all of the March challenge. I have to stop trying today or I will lose my cool!

I'll try again tomorrow!

Computers...gah...can't live with them, can't live without them!

Hope your day is going  better than mine!


Wednesday 1 January 2014


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