Category Archives: Writing

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!  🙂

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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.

 

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!

Today is my 7th WordPress anniversary! And a gift for you!

It’s amazing to me the length of time that passes over a seemingly short span. In other words: time flies! This morning WordPress announced to me the following:

Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Here is my first WordPress blog post, written January 9, 2010.

In reading it again, although I’d been writing over many years, I see I was still the hopeful beginner I often feel that I continue to be. (Whew! Please don’t base all my writing on that last sentence!) Now I have added experience and I’ve written more – including blogging and stories, plus I’ve been learning and expanding my projects over the years by taking on writing challenges and further instruction. What I’ve learned is … there’s always more to learn. In those early days I did a lot of soul-searching and asked loads of questions of anyone who would listen. I still ask questions as I make progress.

Author Laura Best was the very first person to leave a comment on my blog – on my first post – and she still drops by when she can. I appreciate that. (Thanks, Laura!) If you haven’t yet visited her blog, please do. WordPress is not the first place I blogged, but when Laura told me about it I knew I had to give it a shot. I love it here! WordPress is far better for me.

I forgot to mention when I reached my 500th post; this is my 656th. An added exciting note for me is that I have, at the moment of this posting, 50,000 hits on my Polilla Writes blog! Thanks to you! ♥ ♥

My perception is improving as I gain confidence a wee little at a time. Being shy is a bit of a hindrance; however, in 2016 I gained a huge writing community online, a writing coach, a local writers group through which I now have a writer friend. (We’re in the planning stages, as of today, to meet once a week when possible.) When I considered quitting all this a few weeks ago because of discouragement, my writing community encouraged me and lifted me up so that I’m feeling better than before. Besides, what else would I do if not writing? I’ve tried other creative avenues, but I always come back to writing.

As I begin the approach to my eighth WordPress anniversary, my big goals are pretty much the same – to find acceptance with an editor who loves my stories and a publisher who wants them, and my newest goal … to team up with an agent who can help make it happen. Yeah, I’m not asking for much, am I?  🙂  I wonder if any of those will be in place by this time in 2018, which, the way time is flying, is tomorrow. Guess I’d better get busy!

I appreciate your support, therefore, in celebration of my seventh WordPress anniversary I am offering – to one person who leaves a comment – a book. In looking through my bookcases I discovered I have two new copies of G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. One can be yours. Simply tell me in your comment why you love to blog. OR if you don’t have a blog, why you love visiting other people’s blogs.

Draw date for this giveaway is at 10 PM AST, that’s 9 PM Eastern, on Wednesday, January 18. This gives you time to enter and to pass the word on to others, too. I will post the winner’s name on January 19.

Remember, you have until January 18 to get your name into the draw, but don’t put it off! Enter now!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Wynken, Blynken & Nod (official video)

It’s already the first day of the second week of the new year. It seems 2017 is going to be another quickly passing year, so we must make it count.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m participating in Storystorm this month, striving to have 30 ideas for stories. So far I think I have eight.

After each Storystorm post we are to leave one comment. Comments today include one with a video added. I enjoyed it and thought you might, too. Remember the poem Wynken, Blynken & Nod written by Eugene Field and published in 1889?

Here are the words to the poem:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe —
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
Said Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea —
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish —
Never afraid are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam —
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
‘Twas all so pretty a sail
 it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea —
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

Now for the video:

Have you ever written ballads, songs or choruses? If your writing is inspired by music, which songs or instrumentals?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

No Motivation or Willpower? A Simple Solution – a post by Kristi Holl

In keeping with the topic of the struggles of writing, I have another blog post for you to read. Thank you to Heather Wright for telling me about it.

This post is by Kristi Holl who has had her share of struggles in her goal of writing. Even so, she has many published books now, so she’s obviously found something that works.

You may have noticed I quoted her on my Quotes page, too.

My questions to you today are … do you lack motivation to write? Are you low on willpower? Do you wish you could find some way of writing that isn’t overwhelming?

Kristi has a simple solution. To read her post, click HERE to go THERE. It’s very valid advice she wrote in August 2014. 

You may want to leave her a comment, and I hope you’ll also come back here and share what you think of her solution.

What are YOUR writing habits that work best for you?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂