Writing Challenge – Flash Fiction

The photo was taken in a main intersection of a Greek city. The bus has a flat tire and the driver is nowhere to be seen. Can you put together a short piece of writing following the guidelines below? You can make the scene be somewhere other than in Greece if you like.

The Challenge – Flash Fiction:

  • Write 150 words. No more, no fewer.
  • The story should relate in some way to the photo below.
  • Use all of the following words in the story:

outfit, briefcase, recognized, barbecued chicken, wrinkles

Deadline:

  • December 10, 2017.
  • Send stories in the body of an email to anneli@anneli-purchase.com

 

The Prize:

  • Authors of the five best stories will receive a free e-book of my soon-to-be-released novel, Marlie, and your stories will be posted on this blog.
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Your Reputation as a Writer

Are you a writer? Do you care about your writing?

Are you satisfied to publish your work for the world to see, when the quality of your writing is less than perfect? Sadly, some writers don’t care, but believe me, readers care.

Not many writers have flawless manuscripts.  Creativity and the mechanics of writing don’t always go together. Working with a good copy-editor  is essential.

I am a writer and a copy-editor–a good one, I think–and still, before I publish anything, I have another writer read my work and then I hire a copy-editor to read it again. I am always amazed at what they find.

I could read my own words over ten times and not see a mistake, but when I read someone else’s words, any mistakes would leap off the page at me. Why is that?

An author knows what their sentences are going to say. Our brain tricks us into thinking that those words are there, and, especially if we are reading silently, we tend to gloss over errors. When reading someone else’s work, we don’t know what is coming, so we see the mistakes more easily.

Why should you care if your writing is perfect or not?

Readers buy books expecting quality for the money they pay. As a writer, it is your obligation to give them your best.  It is a matter of pride and reputation. Do you want to be known as a good writer, or a sloppy one? Do you only want to publish a “one-hit wonder” and never write again? Would you want people to “wonder” why you bothered to publish that carelessly written “one hit”?

I’ve heard many readers say, “When I see one mistake, okay, I can overlook it, but when there is another and another, I lose track of the story and find myself just looking for that next mistake.” What a horrible thing for someone to say about your book. But so true!

When I skim over the first few pages of a book to see if I want to read it, I usually find bits of dialogue to see how that is written. If it has complicated dialogue tags, such as “inquired, responded, answered, replied, questioned,” and “shouted,” instead of “said” and “asked,” I move on to look for another book. Dialogue tags should be like punctuation–important, but not “in your face.”

I look for correct usage of ordinary words such as “its, it’s, your, you’re, their, there,” and “they’re.” I look for incorrect capitalization of “mom, dad, spring, summer, fall, winter, north, south, east, west, sir, madam, heaven, hell,” and many other words. (Note that “Mom and Dad” would be capitalized, but “my mom and my dad” would not be.)

In a short sample of writing, I can usually tell whether the work has been copy-edited or not.

Yes, it costs to have work copy-edited, but the price is not unreasonable. Your reputation hangs on the quality of your writing, and once the work is cleaned up, it will stay that way forever. Unedited work also stays that way and your damaged reputation as a careless writer could follow you around forever too.

Copy-editors  do much more than correct those examples I’ve given. They will check:

  • your sentences for balance to make sure your verbs match the subject
  • if you’ve omitted or repeated words or information
  • grammar
  • punctuation
  • spelling, including homonyms
  • hyphenation
  • capitalization
  • extra spaces
  • verb tense and usage, especially for problem verbs such as “lie, lay, laid, lain”
  • point-of-view errors
  • clichés, and many other errors you may have inadvertently made.

Please visit my website and click on the page for copy-editing if you are interested in having a few pages of your work copy-edited for free.

http://www.anneli-purchase.com

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The Superpower of Attitude

I’d like to introduce my guest, Diana Wallace Peach, author of several novels and now author of her first children’s book. Diana has a wonderful attitude towards life, which I’m happy to let her share with you.

Welcome Diana.

My daughter wasn’t a morning person as a three-year-old. Instead of simply picking out her clothes for the next morning, she’d wear her outfit to bed. Anything to avoid the ordeal of dressing in the morning. Mornings were miserable and teary, and they set the tone for a miserable, teary day.

One morning we sat on her bed, and I suggested that we use her superpowers to change her day. Well, that intrigued her. So together we said the magic words. “I’m going to have a great day.” We said it over and over again, louder and louder, and guess what? She had a great day. Was her routine different than any other ordinary day? Probably not, but her attitude had gone through a transformation.

The power of magic is alive and well with kids. Kisses for ouchies, magic fairy dust for good dreams, a glittery wand to help wake up, or using superpowers to summon a good day… they work. We adults don’t call it magic, we call it psychology or the power of positivity or an “attitude adjustment.”

When I worked as a mental health counselor with the wee ones, we often focused on choices, on deciding what kind of day we wanted and making it happen. We devised all kinds of strategies, including magical ones, for managing feelings and behaviors, for getting along with others and having fun. That’s a tall order for some adults, imagine if you’re only three.

Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters is about the power of attitude, about looking on the bright side, and deciding to enjoy the day. Nothing changes in Ana’s life to move her from grumpiness to smiles, except her outlook. It’s a message that serves our children – in the books we read to them, in the way we communicate, and by modeling healthy attitudes in our own lives. Happy Reading!

Grumpy Ana Goblyn is sour, dour, and cranky. Her lips droop in a frown. She’s bored with every place and person in her friendly town. With the help of her father, she builds a spaceship and travels to a soggy planet where she meets her perfect monster playmates. But there’s a problem! The monsters see her grouchy frown and think she’s a monster. In this children’s space adventure, Ana discovers that her attitude affects her happiness, and she can change it if she chooses.

Here are a few sample pages from Diana’s wonderful book, “Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters.”

About Diana Wallace Peach

Wallace Peach is a writer of grown-up fantasy and science fiction, but she’s also a grandmother who treks to the Gnome Forest, hunting rainbow gems with grandson Revel. They keep an eye out for purple baby dragons skritching in the Dragonwood and gather gold buried around the magical tree of mystery.

Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters is her first children’s book. More to come!

Connect with Diana:

Website/Blog: http:// mythsofthemirror.com

Book Blog: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DWPeachBooks

Twitter: @dwallacepeach

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

Links to Grumpy Ana and the Grouchy Monsters:

Amazon.com:  https://www.amazon.com/Grumpy-Ana-Grouchy-Monsters-Childrens/dp/1975723945

Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grumpy-Ana-Grouchy-Monsters-Childrens/dp/1975723945

Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/ Grumpy-Ana-Grouchy-Monsters-Childrens/dp/1975723945