Marching into spring

Thursday evening proved to be entertaining–facilitating the Write Now March creative writing meeting in Vienna. People opened their Creative Envelopes (see previous post) and were set to task: to creative “amazing story constellations”. Firstly they arranged and stuck down their creative snippets. Then they began sketching connections, writing a scene or two involving a few snippets. Everyone was immersed in their writing. I wish them all well with what may develop from their constellations. I’ll be using my story constellation to write a short story for the Bridport Prize competition (deadline end of May).

Creative meeting aside, I made the Fiction Desk Ghost Story competition deadline (end of Feb) and submitted my story, The Hungry Ghost, partly inspired by Buddhist cosmology–the realm of the hungry spirits. Results are out in April. I wonder how it might go.

I was also delighted to receive news that another one of my stories has been accepted by The School Magazine in Australia. I’ll post more when the stories come out.

I’m currently working on a new short story for older children. This time there is a little research into Free Running–a very cool sport. I have an interview lined up with a Free Runner next week. Should be fun.

And I am very much looking forward to meeting award winning short story writer, Kirstin Zhang when she comes to Vienna for her short story writing workshop.

This profusion of activity has me marching in spring.  Wishing other writers too plenty of inspiration.



Creative Writing In March

creative envelope

I’m looking forward to facilitating the Write Now March Creative Writing meeting in Vienna. I’m sure it will be fun and inspirational. Rather than go on about it here, I have copied below the information for the evening. As you can see also, I’ve made my creative writing envelope. As of today I’ll begin to fill it with inspirational snippets. If you can’t make the March meeting in Vienna, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own creative envelope. After the March meeting I will post an article about what we actually did with those creative envelopes.

“The Creative Envelope”

Invitation to our March creative writing meeting

 Write Now’s March creative writing meeting: Thursday 12th March, 7.00pm, Cafe Korb*,Vienna.

Whether you’re just starting out or an experienced writer, we hope you join us for an inspirational evening of creative writing. (Members free, €7 Non-members)

Although you need bring nothing more than something to write and your imagination, we suggest you prepare a Creative Envelope!

 The Creative Envelope

Quite simply, the creative envelope contains daily inspirational snippets—things that catch your astute writer’s attention. Here’s how to prepare your creative envelope:

  1. Aim to insert an inspirational snippet into your creative envelope every day.
  2. Keep the snippets brief: a word, a phrase, etc.

The snippets might include: objects, feelings, expressions, names, phrases, images–whatever captures your imagination!

Paul’s example: listening to Scott Matthew’s insanely slow cover of “No Surprises”, the expression “Carbon dioxide handshake” captured my imagination. Daily snippet: Carbon dioxide handshake.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you might ask someone you know to add a few surprise snippets!

Note: keep the snippets small: a small strip of paper (roughly 5cm x 2cm.)

On the evening

Using their creative envelopes, writers will tap their creativity to reveal and explore text, whether poetry or prose. The evening is as much about developing insight (transcribing creative thoughts or feelings) as it is about exploring ideas and making connections to reveal form and meaning.

We’d like you to come away feeling inspired, sensing your writing has just taken another leap forward!

Don’t want to use a creative envelope?

No problems. We’ll get you writing all the same.

We look forward to seeing you on the evening!

We’d also appreciate you dropping us a line ( )to let us know you’re coming.

 * Cafe Korb: Brandstätte 9 , 1010 Vienna



Great post!

Originally posted on The Wallah of Whimsy:


As if the world didn’t have enough acronyms ! Still they serve their purpose — as a short-hand mnemonic . This particular acronym represents a technique I’ve always intuitively used but only lately have come to articulate . It began with a poem or rather the draft for a poem , an apercu about nature .
After a particularly wet weekend I walked outside during a break in the rain to see a rainbow crossing the sky . I don’t know why but the rainbow reminded me of a scythe , an implement that has never appeared in any of my poems . So I wrote this [ please remember this is a draft ! ] :
the rainbow in the sky is in the shape of a scythe
I knew I could improve on this — not the image but the wording . I did three things :…

View original 884 more words

Write Now Open Mic

microphone-42450_640On Thursday evening at Café Korb in Vienna, Write Now hosted the first Open Mic. As committee member and MC for the evening, I thought I’d post briefly about the evening: Kicking off just after 7.00pm, we heard an eclectic mix of poetry, short stories, and one or two fiction and non-fiction excerpts. Ten members and guests took to the stage before a sizeable audience. Everything from romantic love to brutal death was covered.

Unlike a strictly poetic open mic, many of the pieces were extended, and demanded prolonged audience attention. Sitting up front, I could gauge reactions: people were mostly engaged, sometimes even engrossed. There was plenty of enthusiastic applause. Congratulations to everyone who read—your stories made for an entertaining and memorable evening. Thank you also to everyone who attended—your company was appreciated. I hope you enjoyed listening.

Our first open mic ended on a high note. We’re already talking about another one, perhaps in spring. With all the other association events coming up—workshops, retreats, monthly meetings, etc.—its a busy year. Still, if members would like to have another open mic we’ll make it happen. I for one would love to see it happen.

The Write Now (association) link: Write Now


How to bring your story to the boil

story on the boil 2-page-001How do you bring a story to the boil? How do you write one great story after another? How do you become a prolific writer? This is a central concern of mine and many writers I know. There is no all-encompassing answer. Becoming an expert in craft is one aspect. This comes from continuous writing development that can be objectively measured by resulting publications. The better the stories, the more recognised the story market (from amateur to professional). But continuous development hinges on creative output.

Are you continuously writing stories and getting them published? 

If not, you might want to consider setting some immediate and clearly measurable writing goals. This is where my “Story On The Boil” Theory comes into play. Right now, after a slight lull in productive output, I’ve decided to focus on a few writing competitions.  Take a quick look at the diagram above. Applying the theory to my case (submitting for a short story competition):

Constraint: Ghost story competition (The Fiction Desk), deadline 28.02.2015

Creative Energy: commitment to win the competition.

Without the constraint or the energy, the story might never come to the boil. Imagine trying to boil an egg without the pot or stove! You get the idea.

So, if you’d like to write a story and get it published, start by defining your constraints (make sure a deadline is in there) and get cracking! It’s a lot of fun. Best of luck, of course. And if you are in Vienna this Thursday, I’ll be talking a little about this and writing competitions in our Open Mic.

The details: Write Now Open Mic

How about you–do you have your own writing theories?


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