Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Back to School

From this months' October issue of  Ladies Home Journal
I have this absurd fascination with Autumn. I think it's because when one lives in a climate with a hot summer, the yearning for cool weather comes to the forefront of our minds -- especially when, a few days before the first day of fall, it's 98 degrees!

We have seasons here in Sacramento too. Which makes this yearning so much harder.
know it's coming; I know the sweaters and boots and cool walks, the pumpkins and hot coffee are headed this way. It also reminds me of school. And I don't think that ever goes away. Though I've been out of college for years, I smell the autumnal air and it reminds me of going to class, happy for a new year, and ready to accomplish something important.

Or even better, school shopping with my kids makes me want to buy pencils and paper for myself.

So, I do.

And this is where the writing comes in because Autumn is a wonderful time for it. No more swimming pools, no ice cream or popsicles to divert one's attention (okay, the ice cream will always be a diversion --always). But, it's the "back to school" agenda that gets me, and needs to get me. And by golly, I'm going to get "Back to School' with my writing, and so can you.

Here's a couple of contests to enter to get your creative juices going:

1. Are you a children's book writer? Get a picture book published! Great contest, for newbies and pros alike. If you win, you'll have your story published and illustrated online by a real publisher. And who doesn't want that for their resume? It's a great foot in the door.

Check out MeeGenius for more details. Contest ends November 1st.

2. Like to write non-fiction? Ladies Home Journal has a personal essay contest going on right now. All you have to write about is an aspect of personal growth in your life -- very broad, yet very good because you can write about anything -- and have a chance at having it published in their magazine and win $3,000 too!

Check out Ladies Home Journal for more details. Contest ends December 13th.

Okay, grab a hot cider, crank up the proverbial fire place and get going on writing for your "Back to school" season. School is in!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Door Swung Open

So, I am taking on a writing challenge today. Awesome blogger, and author Rachael Harrie, has a writing contest for those who are interested in participating (tomorrow is the last day). This is a flash fiction contest, so the content has to be short. In this case, under 200 words.

There is one requirement: to begin the story with the words "The door swung open."

That's pretty cool. And if you want to make it even harder on yourself, end it with "The door swung shut." If you like it even more difficult, keep it EXACTLY 200 words. This is what I decided to do in order to learn the most.

Though flash fiction is difficult --trying to develop, and execute an actual story within 200 words is excrutiating -- it can be done and is a fantastic writing excercise. Below is my story. Go there today and enter your story!

The door swung open. It glided like a dove hovering over the ground, and reminded me of Grandpa’s pond on the ranch in winter, when the ducks were the only ones out there.

The door was lighter than I anticipated. I mean, how did I explain it? Sure, it looked like a pearl, but not like any pearl I’d seen before. The user’s guide never told me to expect an unseen color and that it would be a door-like gate, glowing and shimmering at the same time.

Man's words always seem to be the most inadequate when trying to explain extraordinary places.

I walked through of course, not knowing who opened it. No one was around, but I heard water flowing, and heard grasses swaying, and I swore they were singing…

I pondered the gate again touching it as I walked by. It seemed to quiver with my touch, the way Grandpa’s pond used to look when I threw in a stone.

Then, there he was … Grandpa. Though gone years ago, he was here.

I laughed and saw someone else next to him, and cried out in joy, His gaze pulling me towards Him.

And, the door swung shut.


 
-Heather Spiva