Category Archives: Writing

Update about writing & books; & remember: set your clocks ahead tonight!

Today I realized that I should say something about the contests I entered recently.

My 50 word story, Magic Rainbows, for Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge, did not place. There were 251 entries; 40 were chosen.

You already know my 214 word story, Valentine’s Day Surprises, for Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest, did not place. There were 117 entries; 10 were chosen as winners and 18 received honourable mention.

I like my stories and felt they had promise, so, I admit, I was quite disappointed they didn’t make the cut when it was hard to put them out there in the first place. Once I got past those gloomy feelings I paid attention to the positive comments and urges to work on my stories to develop them further. I am going to give that a try. There could be picture books hidden in there. 

Right now I am involved in reading others’ stories (although I’m still writing) because Reading For Research Month is underway, and a book study (Writing Picture Books), both of which have required reading. I have been borrowing books from the library and keeping our lovely librarians busy. Look at the pile of books I have home right now, plus I have a smaller pile at Dad’s to bring home Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t that fabulous?  🙂  Including the ones not shown here I have 73 checked out, and 41 currently on hold to come to me when available. My list keeps growing in either direction because I keep asking for more books.

For the books I borrow I try to write a brief review on Goodreads where I again entered a reading challenge. I set my personal challenge at a total of 150 books to read, which I surpassed by one last year, and I know I can do it again this year with probably even more. Of course, most of them are picture books, but that’s my field of study right now. Picture books. And that’s what I most want to write. Picture books. So most of the books I borrow are … picture books.  🙂

On another note …  For those of you who have to change your clocks (early Sunday morning) …

set your clocks ahead one hour tonight!

Do you use the library much? On that other note, do you have trouble adjusting to the time changing by one hour?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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My entry in Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words writing challenge

A couple of weeks ago Vivian Kirkfield, children’s author, mentioned her writing challenge would be starting again soon. She set it up last year for the first time and the response was so positive, and fun, she’s doing it again. If you want to enter, you have from March 2-6 to visit her website and post a link to your story on your blog or website, or if you have neither of those you can post your story on her site. GO HERE to read all about it and take part in her 50 Precious Words writing challenge.

I’m posting her guidelines here, underneath which you will find my entry. (If you are going to enter Vivian’s writing challenge, do not post your entry here, post it either on your own site or hers.)

#50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CHALLENGE GUIDELINES (as found on Vivian Kirkfield’s site)

1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count of the story is 50 or less.

2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.

3. Title is not included in the word count.

Okay, you can count the words in my entry – exactly 50 unique words, not including the title:

Magic Rainbows

Curious eyes spy bands of colour

carried on summer breeze,

sparkling in sunshine,

floating down to magically disappear.

Another,

then more.

Furry little face pokes through grasses;

children are playing.

Poof!

Swirly rainbow globe bobs nearby.

Twitchy wet nose sniffs close,

closer,

touching the pretty thing.

POP!

Tiny soapy shower.

© Lynn A. Davidson


Let me know what you think and if you are taking the challenge, too.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Have you ever wondered about the writing habits of famous writers? Here are some interesting facts I found about when they preferred to do their writing. 

 

NIGHT WRITERS:  

night-owl

 

 

 

 

  • Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805) – German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, playwright
  • Tom Wolfe (1931 – ) – American journalist, author
  • Robert Frost (1874-1963) – American poet
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) – Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist, philosopher
  • J. D. Salinger (1919-2010) – American writer known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye
  • Franz Kafka (1883-1924) – German-language writer of novels, short stories; widely regarded as a major figure of 20th-century literature
  • William Faulkner (1897-1962) – American writer of novels, short stories, a play, poetry, essays, screenplays
  • Rachel Carson (1907-1964) – American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
  • Marcel Proust (1871-1922) – French novelist, critic, essayist
  • John O’Hara (1905-1970) – American writer of short stories; a best-selling novelist before the age of thirty
  • Mary Louise Booth (1831-1889) – American editor (including Harper’s Bazaar), translator, writer
  • James Baldwin (1924-1987) – American novelist, essayist, poet, playwright, social critic
  • Alan Ginsberg (1926-1997) – American poet; a leading figure of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the following counterculture
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-1973 ) – Chilean poet-diplomat and politician; 1971 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • James Joyce (1882-1941) – Irish novelist, short story writer, poet; one of the most influential and important authors of the 20th century
  • T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) – British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic
  • Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) – French novelist and playwright
  • Danielle Steel (1947 – ) – American novelist currently the best selling author alive and the fourth best selling fiction author of all time
  • Carol Ann Duffy (1955 – ) – Scottish poet and playwright; Britain’s Poet Laureate in May 2009
  • Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) – American novelist, poet, short story writer

old-typewriter

 

 

 

MORNING WRITERS:

 

At 4:00 A.M.
  •  Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) – American poet, novelist, and short story writer

At 5:00 A.M.

  • Jack London (1876-1916) – American novelist, journalist, social activist; a pioneer in commercial magazine fiction; one of the first to obtain fame and fortune from fiction alone, including science fiction
  • Katherine Ann Porter (1890-1980) – Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, political activist
  • Toni Morrison (1931 – ) – American novelist, editor, Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner

At 5:30 A.M.

  • Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) – English novelist of the Victorian era
  • Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) – American writer of novels, short story collections, plays, works of non-fiction
At 6:00 A.M.
  • W. H. Audsen (1907-1973) – English poet; later became an American citizen
  • Graham Greene (1904-1991) – English novelist regarded by some as one of the great writers of the 20th century
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) – American novelist, short story writer, and journalist
  • Victor Hugo (1802-1885) – French poet, novelist, dramatist of the Romantic movement; one of the greatest and best-known French writers
  • Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) – Russian-American novelist and entomologist. First nine novels were in Russian; achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose
  • Edith Wharton (1862-1937) – Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, designer; nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.

At 7:00 A.M.

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1794-1832) – statesman and German writer of a wide variety of genres

At 8:00 A.M.

  • Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) – American writer and essayist; an important voice in American literature, she wrote novels, short stories, reviews, commentaries.
  • Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) – American novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, historian; 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner; 1972 U.S. National Book Award winner

At 9:00 A.M.

  • C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) – British novelist, poet, academic, essayist, medievalist, literary critic, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, Christian apologist; author of the Narnia Chronicles
  • Thomas Mann (1875-1955) – German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist; 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) – Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, journalist
  • Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) – Russian writer Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (in English Leo Tolstoy); regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time
  • Gore Vidal (1925-2012) – American writer and a public intellectual with a polished style of writing
  • Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) – an English writer; one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century
  • Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) – an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author and screenwriter

At 9:30 A.M.

  • Carson McCullers (1917-1967) – American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, poet

At 10:00 A.M.

  • Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) – British playwright, novelist,  short story writer; among the most popular writers of his era

 

It amazes me how much one can accomplish at the earliest times in the morning. I wouldn’t be able to function during the rest of the day!

Now my question to you is … are you a writer who prefers a certain time to write or a reader who has a preferred reading time? Or maybe you have a best time for exercise or meditation? What time works best for you, and why?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Vote on your favourite story!

This morning I woke before dawn, and since I was awake anyway I checked Susanna Hill’s blog. Yep! She’d posted the winning stories in her Valentiny contest. I admit that I was disappointed to see mine was not among them, but I voted on one of the stories listed.  Thank you, by the way, for reading my story that I posted here on my blog on February 14.

valentinywriting-contest2017

 

 

 

 

Please go HERE to read the top twelve and place your vote. You have to scroll down a ways to do it, and I hope you’ll take the time to read what Susanna says before the vote widget comes up. The stories that made the cut are creative and appropriate for her contest.  Susanna will announce the winner  on Friday.

Do you enjoy entering writing contests? Have you ever won?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My entry into Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest & a snowy Valentine’s Day

Wow! It is Valentine’s Day already and we are buried in snow here in Nova Scotia, thanks to the blizzard that hit us Sunday night and all day Monday, not ending until sometime during Monday night.

In lieu of a book review today, let’s ignore the snow for now and get on to some fun WRITING NEWS:

Since it’s Valentine’s Day HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, everybody!  – I finally got up the courage to participate in Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest this year. I had entered a story in her Holiday contest in December 2014; however, I never felt I had anything to contribute for her following ones. This time I’m giving it a try. Nervously, as per my usual.

Stories are to be no more than 214 words (for Feb 14 = 2nd month, 14th day), have to be Valentine stories in which someone is confused, and Susanna also says the following:

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using confusion and success in making us feel the confusion!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

As a participant, I am required to post my story here and then link to it on her blog by midnight tonight. She and her assistants will read through them all – and there are many of them – to narrow it down to 6-10 entries. Yike! Their selections will be posted on her blog February 20 for public viewing and voting. I’ll post a link to her blog then, so I hope you will go there and cast your vote for the one you like the best. After the voting period she will announce the winner(s) February 24. 

I wrote my entry a few days ago, then spent some time tweaking it and changing things a bit. This morning I worked at it some more and … here it is.

Valentine’s Day Surprises

Timmy finished painting the vase.

“Mum likes red. When it’s dry I’ll tie this around it.” He pulled out of his pocket a pretty ribbon with a tag on it that said,

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mum. Love, Timmy

Timmy set the vase to dry beside the mailbox. He picked the prettiest wildflowers he could find and stuck them in. When he was carefully tying the ribbon on he heard his mother’s voice. He ran to see what she wanted.

“Did you call me?”

“Yes. I saw the mailwoman coming. Please watch the baby while I see if we got mail today.”

“Do I have to?” He sat with his sister, then jumped up. “NO! Wait! I’ll get it for you!”

“That’s okay, Timmy, it’s my turn.”

Timmy sucked in his breath and scuffed his toe in the dirt. He watched his mother walk to the mailbox.

She came back with only a letter! Timmy raced to where he’d left the surprise. It was gone! Where could it be? His heart sank. “What do I do now?”

At that moment the mailwoman returned. “I took this by mistake.”

Timmy ran and set the special present beside his mother. She hugged him. “It’s beautiful!”

Down the road, the puzzled mailwoman was staring at her red fingertips.

© Lynn A. Davidson

I don’t know how my story will rate alongside all the others, but I can hope. 🙂  It’s a good experience anyway.

On another note:

Take a look at the following pictures. The ones on the left and in the middle are of a cherry tree behind my house, the first taken during the beginning of the blizzard, the second at the end of it. Can you tell there’s much deeper snow around it? The third is our back door from which my husband dug out a narrow path to our driveway until he could get more cleared. Yes, it’s a lot of snow, but still not as much as our record-breaking snowfall of winter 2014/15.

cherry-tree-at-start-of-blizzard-feb-12-1317cherry-tree-at-end-of-blizzard-feb-12-1317our-back-door-after-feb-12-1317-blizzard

 

 

 

 

Any comments – positive or negative – about my story? Do you think it passes all the criteria? I’m open to hear.

How are you managing this winter, much snow yet?

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! ♥♥ I send you calorie-free love and hugs. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

13 Weird And Wonderful Facts About Your Favorite Books As A Kid

Today I’m sharing with you something I think is very interesting. I found this list on BuzzFeed, posted by Nora Whelan – BuzzFeed staff, and, in case you haven’t already seen it, I thought you might like to read it, too. As my title indicates, it’s a list of thirteen “weird and wonderful” facts about books you likely read as a child, or have read to children in your life. The only one I knew is number 2 on the list.  

 

1. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was inspired to write The Little Prince while stuck in the desert post-plane crash.

In the mid-1930s, Saint-Exupéry, who had intended to fly from Paris to Saigon, crashed in the Sahara. His experiences while waiting to be rescued, including hallucinations, became fodder for the beloved book.

2. Green Eggs and Ham was the result of a bet.

Publisher Bennett Cerf bet Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) that Geisel couldn’t write a book using only 50 words. Geisel did, and won $50, which is a pretty solid per-word rate.

3. The Giving Tree almost wasn’t published, as editors didn’t believe it would resonate with readers of any age.

“The trouble with this ‘Giving Tree’ of yours,” Simon & Schuster editor William Cole told Silverstein, “is that … it’s not a kid’s book — too sad, and it isn’t for adults — too simple.” Needless to say, Cole was wrong.

4. Where the Wild Things Are was almost about horses.

“[My editor Ursula Nordstrom] gave me a contract based on ‘Where the Wild Horses Are,’” author Maurice Sendak said in a 2004 interview. “And then, it turned out after some very few months to her chagrin and anger, I couldn’t draw horses.”

As for the “wild things”? Sendak said he based the creatures on his hairy, lovable relatives.

5. Similarly, Goodnight Moon’s characters were almost humans. Almost.

Turns out, illustrator Clement Hurd was just better at drawing rabbits.

6. H.A. Rey and his wife Margret fled Paris on bicycles with the first manuscript of Curious George in 1940, shortly before the city was taken by Nazis.

The manuscript was nearly seized by an official who suspected the Reys were spies, but upon seeing its content, released it back to the couple.

7. The idea for Charlotte’s Web came from E.B. White’s fascination with the (many!) spiders in his own home.

White brought a spider egg sac from his farm in Maine to his apartment in New York. He then allowed the hatched baby spiders free reign of his pad, until his cleaner complained.

8. Eric Carle got the idea for The Very Hungry Caterpillar from … playing with a hole punch.

“One day I was punching holes with a hole puncher into a stack of paper, and I thought of a bookworm,” Carle has said of the book’s unexpected origins. As such, he originally named the story A Week With Willi the Worm, before his editor suggested a caterpillar instead.

9. The steps taken by Alice in Alice: Through the Looking Glass make up a playable game of chess (though not necessarily an efficient one).

“At two points the White Queen passes up a chance to checkmate and on another occasion she flees from the Red Knight when she could have captured him,” The Annotated Alice author Martin Gardner has said of the moves/plot. “Both oversights, however, are in keeping with her absent-mindedness.”

10. Everything you thought you knew about Madeline’s characters is apparently untrue.

John Bemelmans Marciano, grandson of Madeline creator Ludwig Bemelmans and the author and illustrator of recent titles in the series, says most people have the story all wrong.

“It’s not an orphanage; [Miss Clavel is] not a nun; and Madeline is not French,” Marciano told NPR in 2013. “I used to get almost indignant over it, but these things take on a life of their own and sometimes misperceptions are the stuff of legends.”

11. In the Australian version of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Alexander wants to move to Timbuktu.

Alexander’s seeming belief that bad days don’t happen in Australia is a running gag in the original book. But what about the printing for Australians, who know better than that? Turns out, Timbuktu was the answer.

12. Bridge to Terabithia author Katherine Paterson didn’t realize at first that she’d kind of snatched the kingdom’s name from The Chronicles of Narnia.

“I thought I’d made up ‘Terabithia,’” Paterson says on her website. “I realized when the book was nearly done, that there is an island in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis called ‘Terebinthia.’ I’m sure I borrowed that unconsciously … [and] Lewis got Terebinthia from the Biblical terebinth tree, so it wasn’t original with him either.”

13. In 1929, J.M. Barrie gifted Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children his Peter Pan rights, which have benefited the organization ever since.

The London hospital receives royalties from Peter Pan book and product sales, as well as from performances of the play.

Next week, unless something else comes up, I will give you more information regarding number 4. Do you know of any book facts not listed here?

 Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

NaNoWriMo speaks out! “Stories know no borders”

My dear friends,
I deliberately avoid political discussion here, and anywhere online. Today I have to share something that I believe is really important. 
I am not a US citizen; I am happy to be a Canadian, although, of late, it’s beginning to look as if our nation also could be entering the arena of political stupidity. It’s disheartening to witness the fear, anxiety and grief of my US friends who are greatly affected by the turn of events of their 2016 election. In the writing world there is opportunity to make things better, one word, one page, one book at a time. So to those who are worried, I say WRITE ON! Be positive, be hopeful, take the high road and DO NOT allow yourself to be pulled into the mire. Avoid hate. Be sure your words are the best they can be because somebody needs you, and that somebody could be someone you will never meet in person but who will read your words and be encouraged.
Yesterday I received an email from the National Novel Writing Month desk. I’m sharing it with you because, as I said at the start, I believe it is really important. This letter came, addressed to Polilla-Lynn – my NaNoWriMo name , because I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2010 (and won!) and in 2011-2013 (adding to my novel of 2010).
Read it and be encouraged, my friends.   Love to you, Lynn

 

What we stand for, what we stand against.

Writing together

Dear Polilla-Lynn,

As a creative writing nonprofit, we’re not a political organization. We don’t endorse candidates or support any particular party. In an ideal world, we would focus only on empowering people to write.

Yet we find ourselves in a time where people’s ability to tell their stories—and even to safely exist—is at stake.

NaNoWriMo strives to be a gateway and sanctuary for people’s voices. Our guiding belief is that every person’s story matters, and we celebrate the inclusion of all religions, races, genders, sexualities, and countries of origin. We help people find a safe space to be who they are—creators, storytellers, and world changers.

Because of this core organizational value, we join the many voices standing against the presidential executive order that bans refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

For over 15 years, we’ve had the privilege of writing alongside a community from over 200 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. We don’t build walls. We strive to dissolve borders through stories, the vital human narratives that expand our worlds.

 

So while we are not a political organization, we feel moved to take action.

In response to the executive order, as well as any future government efforts that threaten people’s basic freedoms, we will:

  • Celebrate creativity over apathy, diversity over fear, and productivity over despair.
     
  • Welcome all stories and continue to make NaNoWriMo a safe space for all writers.
     
  • Advocate for the transformative power of storytelling to connect people and build a better world.
 

If you have concrete ideas for how we can work toward these goals (or if you have feedback about anything in this message), please share your thoughts.

Thank you for being part of NaNoWriMo. We are all individuals of different beliefs and backgrounds, but we come together through a shared passion. We pledge to remember that, and to look to our community as a model and inspiration, as we get to the work ahead.

With gratitude and optimism,

Grant Faulkner
Executive Director

 

Future Actions

We are also concerned about upcoming issues that may affect people’s self-expression, like the President’s desire to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The NEA is a crucial source of support for many nonprofit writing organizations, and has provided funding for NaNoWriMo in the past. The NEH has awarded $515 million to libraries, many of which provide local writing spaces through our Come Write In program.

If these cuts are proposed, National Novel Writing Month will respond and advocate.

Your thoughts? You have two places to share this time if you wish, here and on their form. 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂  YOU CAN DO IT!