Contest: The Haunting October Short Story Extravaganza

Guest Author on Blue Monkey Writing

Check out this amazing YA Author, Laura Anderson Kurk as she speaks about The Writer’s Heart as a guest Author on “Blue Monkey Writing”.

You Can Still Win One Of The Journals

You still have a chance to win one of those journals. Visit the post below this one and do the photo prompt in order to get entered.

Photo Credit: earthfirst.com

The Haunting October Short Story Extravaganza

I am very excited to announce that this October I will be having a short story writing contest just like I did last year around this time called “The Haunting October Short Story Extravaganza” It had been such a great turn out that I think it would be awesome to do again. And the winners will win something and don’t worry – I think up good surprises. :)
To see the winners from last year, check out these links.

Emily Kunkel – The Farmhouse 
Abigail Anderson – The Monster Inside of Me

Everyday I will upload a new hauntingly beautiful, slightly creepy, and enchanting photograph to my facebook page for your inspiration. Please check it everyday and see if you are prompted to write a short story that has something to do with the photo you picked. It doesn’t have to be word for word what you see – it just has to be creative and creepy since October is the month of Halloween.

I really enjoyed this last year! Once you have written it you may send it to my email devinberglund (at) live (dot) com with the Subject Box filled in as “Short Story Extravaganza” You have the whole month of October to do this. Have fun!! I will post more about this along with the first picture on October 1st.

Photo Prompts For Journal Time – You Can Still Win The Journal Still

Johan & I at the Brisbane River Fire with our yummy potato slinkies!

Dear Journal, Today, Johan and I went to the Brisbane River Fire. We left with a bag of sweets, our cameras, and a blanket. Once we got there we placed the blanket on the bank of the river. Throughout the day we watched jets zoom past and helicopters while they hovered above. Once it got dark, we watched as the fireworks bursted into the sky while radiating in the reflections of the Brisbane River. It was absolutely beautiful!

Today I want to just talk a little bit about using pictures during your journaling time as prompts.

Some things a writer can get from using photos to prompt their writing time.

  1. Gives Them Something To See With Their Eyes – write all the details. (That means everything you see! You can always edit it or cross it out later.)
  2. Gives New Story Ideas Very Easily – Whether you get story ideas, character sketches and biographies using photographs will let you see a bigger picture with the surroundings. Like in my example up about, you can see Devin and Johan sitting with potato slinkies. But that isn’t all you see… You see people sitting on blankets behind them, you see buildings, You see facial expressions, and much more.
  3. Use Your Photo As A Starter – Look at the photo and somehow put your character into it. What would happen? 

I want you to try this. Follow the rules up above with the picture below. :)

 

This is my lovely, funny, and Charming Cat! – Picture by my Momma!

 

 Choice One

Choice Two

You ask, “Devin, how can I win one of those amazing journals?”

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions. You can answer one of them or all of them!! :D
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D
  6. The more you share, facebook, tweet, and comment the more of a chance you will have to win one of the amazing journals.

What about You?

  1. Use the photo with my cat and the mirror as a writing prompter, write up a paragraph of what is happening and post it below in the comments. What happens? 

Writing 4,000 words today… Uffda… & you could still win the journal!!

Hello Everyone,
I have been really busy lately with writing full-time. It’s been crazy since I’ve been getting about 2,ooo to 3,000 some words written everyday. Right now, I am taking a break from my word-count (today’s goal = 4,000 words) It’s a lot, but finishing the book is a must. OH… I am so excited! I bought myself a new journal today.Also besides writing full-time, it’s been the second week that a collaborative writing blog has been running since it’s launched (I started it for a few friends and I so we could write about writing for ourselves and others. As a writer, I find encouragement and tips always help a writer get further.) On the 27th I wrote about “Writing Opening Lines That Sparkle & Shine”. On October 28th I will be a guest blogger on “Write it Sideways”, which I am really excited about! On Monday be sure to come back for an exceptional, exciting interview with this amazing artist. Help him out by following his blog.

Sunday (30th of September) at Midnight, will be the last day of the Journaling Contest. Please Share my blog with all of your facebook, twitter, and blogging friends. And be sure to answer the questions below! :)
  1. Who wants these journals the most? Tell me why you think these journals should be yours.
  2. Also, tell me a few of the different ways you go about journaling?

Choice One

You ask, “Devin, how can I win one of those amazing journals?”

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions. You can answer one of them or all of them!! :D
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D
  6. The more you share, facebook, tweet, and comment the more of a chance you will have to win one of the amazing journals.

Writing Opening Lines That Sparkle & Shine

This is a guest post I did on a collaborative blog called “Blue Monkey Writing”at http://bluemonkeywriting.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/writing-opening-lines-that-sparkle-shine/

 

I absolutely love going into bookstores and smelling new books. When you crack open a book, what do you smell? Does it fill your senses, like it does mine? I love that new book smell, but other than that what draws you into a book other than the cover art and back copy? What is the first thing that really determines if a reader will continue reading your book?

I don’t know what you do when you are looking at a book, but I flip to the first page. I find this is the test on whether I will like a book or not, as I have a short attention span when it comes to what I read. I’ve struggled getting into books when reading some first lines which resulted in my setting the book down on the shelf again. But then there have been other books where I have found myself reaching for the next page inquisitively.

That is true of every piece of work out there! If the first sentence or first paragraph doesn’t make me want to keep reading, then I close the book and set it back on the shelf. I like it when an author pulls me into a story filled with intriguing characters, unique plot, and beautiful prose from the get go.

Do you want your readers to continue reading after the first line and first paragraph? Do you want your readers to be spellbound with your words from the first line of your book?

If you answered yes, then I believe I know a way to help you make your opening lines sparkle & shine.

I have heard many people say that there is no rule to writing an opening line for your book, but writers can learn by looking at their favorite books opening lines to see how their favorite authors did it. So, first off – I want you to do something – go get your favorite books out of your bookshelf and look at the opening lines. What makes you want to read on?

Recently, I read a book “The Forgotten Garden” by an Australian Author named Kate Morton. I opened her book in the bookstore and was spell-bound from the words in the first sentence.

“It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.”

Right away this sentence had me asking questions, like “what had she been told? Where was she? And why was she crouching someplace? Was she hiding? And if so who was she hiding from?” When I read the second sentence I was caught up in the tale even more. Before I even knew it, I had finished the first page and found myself turning to the second. At that moment I knew I had a great book in my hand.

After you have figured out what made you want to keep reading, make a list.

My list for Kate Morton’s opening lines:

  • After reading it I have somewhat a sense of place
  • The first line had me asking questions
  • I have a main character who I am interested in knowing more about
  • I like the style of writing.

Another example:

It is a little-known fact that, over the course of a single year, about twenty million letters are delivered to the dead – Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat from book lollipop shoes)

  • First question that comes to my mind is “why are letters being delivered to the dead?”
  • Just the voice and style make me inquisitive.
  • It was somewhat shocking and dark (I like to have dark elements in my stories as well, so I can bring light out of the darkness at the end.)
  • The detailed prose in how she wrote it

After knowing what you like in an opening line, you can use that information while writing yours. For instance, I really like how Joanne Harris wrote her opening line with such beautiful prose and tone. And with Kate Morton’s opening line, I really love how I have that sense of place, a person, and her thoughts. I like that both of these examples filled my mind with questions right away. I wanted answers and in order to find out the answers, I had to read on. (You get the idea, soon you are hooked!)

Writing Process

First off, write your book so you know where your story begins, where your characters are, and so you know your world and setting. Then you know everything about your story. While writing, just make sure you get the story out on paper before worrying about the opening line. Because while writing I have spent a majority of time trying to make my first chapter perfect and then you don’t move on.

Your Edits

When writers edit their WIPs, they work and rework their opening lines. Take into consideration the list you made of what you liked about your favorite authors first lines. Make your opening line, make your reader want read on.
Some Things to remember while editing:

  1. Capture your “Who” – And I am not talking about your own little fluff with a little world on it called Who-Vill. Even thought Horton had his Who’s. haha! (Not all first lines have a distinct “Who” in it. Joanne Harris’ example had no “Who”, but Kate Morton’s does.
  2. Use your voice – It is important you write true to yourself. Let your muse speak – don’t use someone else’s voice.
  3. Give a sense of conflict – This is shown in Kate Morton’s first lines “as she crouched”. It gives the sense that she is hiding. She may not be in trouble, but it has the reader wondering.
  4. Set the tone – 
Joanne Harris wrote with a mystical and eerie tone in the example up above with the letters to the dead. Which I really like, because it has you asking, “Why are letters going to the dead?” and it made me read on.
  5. Make the readers ask a bunch of questions after reading your first line.

What’s the first line of your current WIP? What are some of your favorite first lines from books? And what are some ways that you make your first line sparkle & shine?

Choice One

Choice 2

You ask, “Devin, how can I win one of those amazing journals?”

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions. You can answer one of them or all of them!! :D
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D
  6. The more you share, facebook, tweet, and comment the more of a chance you will have to win one of the amazing journals.

How About You?

  1. What are some of your favorite opening lines from books?
  2. If you are a writer, what is your current WIP’s first line? 

Journaling Feelings – Journaling Day 5

Journaling With Emotions

Have any of you ever felt blank (blagh and meaningless) or like an train of emotions had a trainwreck inside your mind? Did you actually know that those are the best times to write in your journal? I was once told by a writer friend when I was going through an unexpected hard time just to write… to write it all down…write how I was feeling and what was happening. This way I got all my thoughts out on paper (or computer word doc.)

Try this to inspire you:

If this feeling was a color, it would be _________________

If this feeling was weather, it would be ________________

If this feeling was a landscape, it would be _____________

If this feeling were a book, which would it be_______________

If this feeling was music, it would sound like ________________

If this feeling was an object, it would be __________________

You can even go further to thinking about your own questions as well. But, I’ve learned that it’s a very good thing to get your feelings out through writing. I know that some people are afraid of writing like this in a notebook for fear that someone would read it. (That’s why you need to comment on this blog post, Follow Devin’s Blog, and share this post because you could win an awesome journal and guess what? What doesn’t bring back memories like a journal with a lock and key? Yep, this one has a lock and key… classic!)

 

Choice 2

You ask, “Devin, how can I win one of those amazing journals?”

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions. You can answer one of them or all of them!! :D
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D
  6. The more you share, facebook, tweet, and comment the more of a chance you will have to win one of the amazing journals.

How about you?

  1. Are you afraid of writing out all your feelings in a journal? Or are you fine with it – if so do you have a hiding spot?
  2. If you were given 15 words to sum up your life, what would it be?
  3. Pick a color and list memories connected to that color?

Your Journaling Spectacular – Journaling Journey Day Four

Journaling From Life – Your Story

After finishing a journal (maybe it’s a travel journal, or a remembrance of your family while you were young journal, or a family history journal – you never know the options that may be ahead for you. If you are more than just a journal-er and you love writing books too, maybe you could do a memoir. :) I will post on memoir in a few days, but I want to share with you a piece of what I wrote after leaving England. I strolled in the cemetery of the church where Shakespeare was buried and walked down the streets of Liverpool that the Beatles came up with their hit songs on. I decided to look a little deeper at my life, while peering into their lives as well! It taught me that I need to archive all my work, all my writing, and journaling is one way to do that!

Making your Fantasy a Reality
You Have a Story

If I asked you what your story is, would you know? Or would you look at me with questioning eyes and an answer like, “Oh, I am not sure that I have a story or that my life will ever really amount to anything? It’s pretty much impossible to be noticed anyways.” You would finish saying, while glancing off in another direction while changing the subject.

What If I told you that you do have a story to tell? There were 2 boys who probably didn’t think that they were going to have a story to tell that would be world known either. What is the possibility of a few people being noticed in the whole world, anyways?

While in Liverpool, a place called Woolton I got to see where an amazing music legacy began. It was there that Paul McCartney and John Lennon met for the first time. When their names are mentioned everyone knows that they were part of the Beatles. They wrote beautiful, cheery, and also some tougher songs as well.

“Here comes the sun,” “Let me take you down, Because I’m going to… Strawberry Field. Nothing is real, nothing to get hung about…Strawberry fields forever.” “Hey, Jude… don’t make it bad…take a sad song and make it better.” “All you need is love.” Their lyrics were made with true artistry and literally full of imagination. They probably had no Idea that one day they would be the next big thing after Elvis. In the book Imagine this, which was written by John Lennon’s sister mentions that John Lennon’s family loved listening to Elvis and that he was a huge Rock N Roll icon for the world. Did John Lennon or Paul McCartney know that they would be a huge part of ROCK N ROLL and that there is the funny part, Shows that we all don’t really know?

The Beatles are one example of people that made it big, had a story to tell and they did. They made their own choices; some good and others bad. But that is people, some people make decisions that make or break their life.

Another person who I really found myself thinking about a lot while in England was the person that we place up next to Einstein and Beethoven. His lines are known around the globe. Some include:

• “The course of true love never did run smooth”.– Hamlet

• “See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!”-Romeo and Juliet

Who other than, Shakespeare? He is known as the best writer the world has seen.

When I was at the Shakespeare museum a video said that if people hadn’t known of Shakespeare’s plays or if they had not been archived and taken care of—all his work would have dwindled away. And he would have been unknown. Which, brought me to think about all the people before and during and even after Shakespeare’s time that wrote amazing things and their things were not archived or taken care of—causing them to erase that person’s existence or so it would seem. I talked to another girl about that and she told me that if there had been some other writers that were good like Shakespeare then their work would have been remembered and noticed and saved. I would have to say I don’t believe that. There is a right time and certain choices that people would have to make in order to be someone.

When I was in Shakespeare’s house I found myself imagining about the young Shakespeare who was sitting in the kitchen writing on a tablet about his creative and genius ideas many years before. Did William Shakespeare know that he would be considered the world’s best writer? I don’t believe he did either, he just went with what he loved doing.

It amazes me how these artists are just two different examples of people living in unexpected times with an amazing talent and drive which led to an amazingly successful life. They changed the world as they knew it to the world as we know it. Now we need to be the ones to stand up and change the world as we know it to the world as our children and children’s children will know it.

See my point? You do have a story to tell, if you like it or not—it is a story and only you can tell it. Like with Shakespeare and the Beatles (It was only them that could do it) and those that didn’t follow through or archive, their things were forgotten. So, don’t be forgotten. Achieve for greatness as Shakespeare said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Choice One

Choice 2

You ask, “Devin, how can I win one of those amazing journals?”

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions. You can answer one of them or all of them!! :D
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D
  6. The more you share, facebook, tweet, and comment the more of a chance you will have to win one of the amazing journals.

Journaling Questions: How about you?

  1. Do you feel like you have a unique story to tell about your life? If so what is it?
  2. If you could write about one time in your life where you accomplished something that many believed you couldn’t -what would it be?

The Road Less Traveled – Journaling Day 3

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

Journalling About Your Life

I like to write about all sorts of things in my journal. I like to write about my joys, sadness, and also the choices I have to make. Have you ever come to a cross road in your life? Almost like the road signs that you see in cartoons where it says go this way to such and such and this way to another place? Have you ever felt stumped at which option you should choose?
I remember a time where I didn’t know which way to turn. I was a Junior in college when I decided that I would study abroad in Australia. I wanted to, but deep down inside, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had told my Mom that I was thinking about it, but honestly thinking back on it – I really don’t know if I was really serious. But then my Dad came to visit in Fargo and he took me out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants called “Doolittles”. We sat outside. I remember it just like yesterday. My dad asked me, “So, Momma told me you were thinking about studying abroad in Australia?”
I was shocked. I hadn’t told him that yet. As I responded with a, “Yes!” he smiled and said, “I think you should do it!”

At that moment I figured out which arrow to follow on that sign post. It’s just interesting what a difference it makes when people stand behind you on something.

Encouragement

As a writer, I have always written and created. Ever since I was young my parents told me I could do anything I wanted to. As a small girl who took her passion in creating little fairy people in her sketch books, writing their stories, creating plays and directing her siblings in the play she wrote – my parents never told me to stop it. They told me that I could do it if I wanted to and that they believed in me. They never told me to pick a better degree. Thank goodness. They stood by me and encouraged me. Sometimes you need that support and strength from an outside place.

I think that encouragement that I have had ever since I was little pushed me to achieve my dreams and goals. I am still learning and still figuring out which sign post I will follow- but the less traveled path is the one that I am on.

You ask, “Devin, how can I win one of those amazing journals?”

This contest will be taking place this coming week. I will be giving away 2 journals of your choice for the prizes, but in order to stay in the running you must:

  1. You must be a follower of my blog! :)
  2. Share the blog with your friends on facebook, twitter, your blog, and other sites during the week! (I will get notifications that you have shared so, I will know!)
  3. Comment. Answer the questions & ask questions. You can answer one of them or all of them!! :D
  4. And last but not least, take part in conversation in the comments. The posts will be showing how to dig deep in our journalling and how that helps us in our daily walk!
  5. The contest will begin today and will run till the 29th of September! :)Good LUCK! :) May the Journals be in your favor! :D
  6. The more you share, facebook, tweet, and comment the more of a chance you will have to win one of the amazing journals.

    Choice One

Choice 2

Journaling Questions: How about you?

  1. Who has encouraged you most in your life?
  2. Are you at a sign post on a cross road of your life?
  3. What is one thing nobody knows about you because nobody ever cared to ask? (I care, that is why I am asking!) :) 
  4. Robert Frost write a poem titled The Road Not Taken.  Name a road you’ve always wanted to travel?