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Category: Challenges

Steal a Line . . . Then Write

Steal a Line . . . Then Write

Short story exercise, steal a line

In the spring I took a short story writing course from Cornelia Feye, author of Spring of Tears and House of the Fox. As a non-fiction author, these types of classes scare the heck out of me – but as it turned out I managed to write a fairly decent short story. What you’ll read below isn’t the short story, but a few paragraphs from an exercise we did in class. The first line is from a published work and the exercise was to continue writing using the first line as a launch pad. Again, first line is not mine. Why don’t you use the same first line and see what pops out of your creative mind?

The great Pullman was whirling onwards with such dignity of motion that a glance from the window seemed simply to prove that the plains of Texas were pouring eastward. Not fast enough, thought Jake, not fast enough.

Leaning back against the frayed wool blanket that had suffocated him the night before, he now felt oddly comforted by its warmth. Just like Anna. Too hot, just right.

As the unbroken expanse of nameless desert sped by, he idly wondered why anyone had been so keen on grabbing this from Mexico. Who cares? Who gives a good God damn? Anna would, of course. But then her family had put down roots generations before Jake had appeared on the horizon. Before Jake had turned her smug little town upside down.

Glancing at his wrist, he momentarily regretted trading his watch for a plate of grits and a glass of warm beer.  Who needs it anyway. He could see the sky well enough to know the sun had just crossed mid-heaven, well enough to know Anna was still a good three hours east. Too far.

Any other time he would have settled into the rocking rhythm and lullaby of the tracks. But not this time. Not this time.






A Writer’s Challenge – Haiku, Photograph, Journal or ?

A Writer’s Challenge – Haiku, Photograph, Journal or ?

I read a fascinating article a few days ago about a writer who committed to writing a haiku every day for a year. Being one who enjoys a challenge I decided to create one for myself – and hopefully you’ll join me.

This is my challenge to me: Do something creative every day for 30 days. For me it might be a haiku, a photograph, a poem, a list of books I want to write, a drawing (probably stick figures!), a beautiful quote, or who knows what else.

Feel free to join me  for the next 30 days, and comment with a share about your challenge and your creations.

[Challenge] One More Visit to Emily Dickinson

[Challenge] One More Visit to Emily Dickinson

The first stanza of one of Emily Dickinson’s poems reads:

snow barnThe sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

Your challenge is to use the first two lines of Emily’s work but replace the last two with your own.

Good luck!  Leave your poem below or over on my Facebook page.

Photo Credit: madisonashley via Compfight cc
[Challenge] 140 Character Story

[Challenge] 140 Character Story

Following the lead from the Creative Nonfiction magazine, create a story in a single tweet of 140 follow me @iWriteiCoachcharacters. Enter your story in the comments section or over on my Facebook page.

To give you a little inspiration, here are a couple of submissions from the Creative Nonfiction magazine contest. (Contestants had to use the #cnftweet hashtag).

A splatter of red wine mingles on the paper towel with the darker red of her blood. She says not to worry but the mood has changed (MsScienceLady)

Almost 12, she asks about my choices. I hedge. There’s no saying, “You were a mistake.” (SarahHackley)

Now this is a challenge!