The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge

I have too many books to make a list. I don’t want to spend that kind of time on making a list, it just leaves me feeling guilty for not reading the books yet. However, this year I have actually started reading some of the books. My unread books are mainly non-fiction. I read the fiction then exchange them for more fiction at the secondhand bookstore. It’s the non-fiction that pile up, full of good intentions and rusty dreams for my own might-have-beens.

I started this challenge for me. It’s a dream of mine to look at my bookshelf and say unequivocally and without exception, “I’ve read all those books.” And some of those books have been sitting on my shelf for a LONG time. Hence the name 🙂 I would love it if you joined me for my challenge! To make it fun, I’m going to have mini-challenges throughout the year (with giveaways!) to keep you motivated to keep reading those books! There’s also a giveaway for everyone who enters this challenge.

via Sign Up for The Dusty Bookshelf Challenge 2012! | Books: A true story.


Condensing your idea into a few words has a way of giving you focus. So if you #TweetyourThesis on Twitter, with its limit of 140 characters (including spaces), should show you what you really are trying to write your thesis about.

If it works for a thesis, why not any non-fiction you are working on? If you can’t pin down your focus or if you have wandered away from it, get back on track by putting your idea into a Twitter post. Put your idea in a few words, get your focus back and then expand on it again. Develop your points with the focus on your end goal. You can even use your Twitter post as your conclusion to wrap it all up.


Exercise with Writing Themes

From Writing Forward: Three Fiction Writing Exercises

How do you start writing a new story? What is the original idea that germinates into a story? For me it tends to be the theme or some small idea that becomes part of a larger plot. I like this writing exercise because it’s how things start for me, most of the time.

3. Theme Exercise: Universal Ideas

Theme is difficult to explain, but Wikipedia does a good job:

A theme is a broad idea, message, or moral of a story. The message may be about life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and are almost always implied rather than stated explicitly. Along with plot, character, setting, and style, theme is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.
I usually think of theme as the big questions that a story asks or its underlying philosophy.

The exercise: Choose a theme and write a list of ways in which a theme can be executed through the course of a story.

You can choose a theme for the characters you sketched in the first exercise or for the three-act structure you developed in the second exercise. For example, in a story where two characters are vying for the same job, the theme might be dream fulfillment (if it’s one or both of the characters’ dream job).

As an alternative, try to identify themes in other stories. Think about your favorite books, movies, and TV shows and make lists of some themes you’ve found in storytelling.

Twitter Sized Fiction

Nanoism: a place for twitter-fiction.

Nanoism (edited by Ben White) is an online publication for twitter-fiction: stories of up to 140 characters. Shorter than traditional flash fiction, it’s both a challenge to write and quick as a blink to read. Call it nanofiction, microfiction, twiction, twisters, or tweetfic—it doesn’t matter: It’s the perfect art form for the bleeding edge of the internet revolution.

We’re not just catering to the 21st-century attention span, we’re publishing flexible fiction: stories that you can read on your computer or cellphone, stories that fit in the cracks of your day.

You can submit your fiction and get paid a little too.

Horror Flash Fiction Contest

From Haley Whitehall:

I am hosting a horrific flash fiction contest. Here are the rules: Warning they are stricter than a challenge.

  • Genre: Horror or any genre with a strong element of horror
  • Word count: It MUST be 500 words or less
  • How to share: You can put it up on your blog and link here or (if you don’t have a blog) you can email it to me through the contact form and I’ll put it in a post for you.
  • Time limit: It must be posted by Halloween.
  • Prize: YES there is a prize! Keep reading.
  • Multiple Submissions? While I accept multiple submissions for my flash fiction challenges you can only enter ONE story in the contest.

via Horror Flash Fiction Contest.

What will you write? How will you write it? Flash fiction is short, 500 words is pretty lengthy for it. Could you write it in 250? 100? or even 50?

Write a Drabble?

What’s a drabble?

A drabble is a fiction story that’s exactly 100 words long.

via TheRecord – Winners named in WLU drabble competition.

My brother has always been part of my life. Years of co-conspirators, fart jokes and hockey against the garage door. One day he became a man, not my same old brother any more. Until he makes me laugh with fantastic foreign accents and really clever commentary about life, religion and other things not so politically correct.

I want a happy life for my brother. With someone he can work with, laugh with and care for. Not some perfect, cute, young couple from a storybook or magazine. Real people, who come from different, individual lives and create a new family, together.

Happy Wedding and Best Wishes for a Great Marriage to my brother who was married yesterday!

Writing as Discovery

“The process of writing fiction is totally unconscious. It comes from what you are learning, as you live, from within. For me, all writing is a process of discovery. We are looking for the meaning of life. No matter where you are, there are conflicts and dramas everywhere. It is the process of what it means to be a human being; how you react and are reacted upon, these inward and outer pressures. If you are writing with a direct cause in mind, you are writing propaganda. It’s fatal for a fiction writer.”

Nadine Gordimer

via Social Media Writing |

The Job of a Movie and Television Production Assistant

I’ve seen a Production Assistant at work. When I lived in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) my Mom and I phoned in and got tickets to watch Dini Petty‘s show at the CFTO (now CTV) television station. We went to several of her shows, until we moved farther out of the GTA and soon after Dini wasn’t doing the show any more. (She missed us?)

Dini Petty had a Production Assistant. She actually seemed to be running the show from what I could see. She talked to the audience before, during and after the show, keeping us up with what was going on during delays and letting us know what we should be doing at different times. I know she was doing other things and I even spoke to her once and found out more, but I’ve forgotten what she said – it was a lot.

Since then, I have thought Production Assistant was a job I would like. Not for TV comedies, dramas, etc but the talk shows where you have more real people, an audience and guests and more stage props and such. I guess all shows have the same elements but there is something more vital and ever-changing when it’s a talk show instead of a work of fiction.

Wikipedia: A production assistant, also known as a PA, is a job title used in filmmaking and television for a person responsible for various aspects of a production. The job of a PA can vary greatly depending on the budget and specific requirements of a production as well as whether or not the production is unionized.

Production assistants on films are sometimes attached to individual actors or filmmakers.

Most jobs require some training although some jobs may hire you with no training. Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees make you more marketable because many degree programs offer internship opportunities that allow students to gain experience in the field while taking classes in school.

Write a Minute Film

Hint Fiction, The Film

You have a camera.
You have a crew.
You have actors.
You have 25 words.
You have 1 minute.
Do you have what it takes?

Write and film a minute long movie based on the short stories selected on the site. Further details will appear in August when they are open for submissions.

Note – Hint fiction (n) : a story of 25 words or fewer that suggests a larger, more complex story.