Pardon me – Entry fee is only $10.00

Nota Bene: The entry fee on the contest is only $10.00; however the kind WOW folks are offering the optional critique for an additional $10.00. That’s $20.00 total. $10.00 is a bargain for a critique, right? And they accept PayPal.

Here’s a link to the contest guidelines in pdf. It’s a fourteen-page download.

http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/downloads/contests/WOWContestTermsFAQsFall2014.pdf

Another NB:  There is a limit on the number of submissions. When they receive 300, the contest will be closed. All the more reason for us women writers (men, you count too, but maybe find your own contest) to get cracking’!

Entering,

K

WOW Flash Fiction Contest

Okay. I admit it. I follow rules. I use my blinker to change lanes; I arrive 15 minutes early to an appointment with a new doctor; I even count the items in my grocery cart before I choose the Express Lane. I can point a finger ( no, not the middle one, ever!) at my upbringing which found virtue in curfews, dress-code compliance, and phone call limits more than self-expression and tolerance; but nevertheless, obedience comes naturally to me – which means rebellion is work, but so is the writing life, and, I’d prefer my legacy to be as a writer, not a rebel.

How does this relate to the Women on Writing quarterly  Flash Fiction contest?

In this contest, there are no rules, unless you want to get hung up on the word range of 250-750.  The WOW group chose to forego a prompt this quarter, allowing participants the FREEDOM to explore their wilder side or rein it in for a tamer submission. Waking up to crisp fall temperatures, I’m leaning toward  exploring a friskier subject than might be  anticipated. Just saying, folks, expect the unexpected.

Follow the link:   http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php  to read more about the contest, and dare to enter. The only downside I can see is the small entry fee of $20.00. But I spent that yesterday at lunch, so today I’ll BIC it and graze on leftovers.

I can’t wait to get started with my first attempt at FLASH FICTION! Ready, set. go.

 

@Savethecat #remembering Blake Snyder

@Savethecat #remembering Blake Snyder

A few years back, as a struggling novelist, a writer friend recommended the Save The Cat books by Blake Snyder to help me navigate through the process. I recently pulled it off the shelf again after a discussion with my critique partners on writing a log line. Sure enough, in Chapter One he makes it clear why Hollywood screenwriters, and novelists who want to pitch their projects, have to answer the question, “What is it?” in one sentence. He breaks down the four required elements of a good log line into irony, a compelling mental picture, your target audience and a killer title.  Although his books are written for screenwriters, his advice is easily adaptable to fiction writers.

Shut In but not Shut Out

Shut In but not Shut Out

Who does not love baseball? Muscles in uniform, the crack of the bat, even the overpriced dog and suds are all good reasons to hang out at the ball park.  But if your team has a goose egg on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, the love affair with the game may lose its luster temporarily.

In my world there are more shut ins than shut outs.  My  husband has been on crutches for two weeks after suffering a nasty sprain on a job site.  He has been laid up and, in my infinite good fortune, I’ve been on duty as his ” beckon call girl.” He beckons, he calls, he rings a bell, anything to get my attention that his water needs freshening, his vitamin infusion is overdue,  his pillows need fluffing or the fifty shades of his purple toes are down to forty-nine and closer to mauve. (Since when is he a doctor?  I guess that sometime while I was raising the kids and teaching college and “not letting myself go to pot,” he must have snuck away to med school since he has become such an expert!  Either that or while he has been bedridden with his laptop, he has been carrying on an affair with my BFF, Google and myWebMD. ) You decide.  

There is a theme here – just trust me. Valentine’s Day falls this week and it is a tradition within our church fellowship to visit the shut ins  and gift them with a bag chock full of goodies.  What could I contribute? I scoured Pinterest boards and some mighty old craft magazines but nothing got my creativity flowing. I wanted a useful gift that would say “You are special, ”  I needed to stay within a budget,  and I needed 100 of these little gems.  So I resorted to old faithful, the dollar store. I traipsed up and down each aisle looking for that perfect something, all the while corralling the buggy with only three obedient wheels,  a trick even if you are not on a mission from God.  About to give up and accept the shut out, VOILA! there they were, adorable ankle socks in packs of three, perfect to honor the sweet elderly men and women whose bodies have done to them what my errant shopping cart was doing to me.

I barricaded the aisle with my wayward-wheeled cart and began to clean the pegs of the funkiest, the craziest, the most childish socks.

An hour later, exhausted and almost within budget, I rammed  that cart in timeout (headfirst in the helium balloon blower-upper section) and pranced to my car humming Donna Fargo’s “I am Woman Hear Me Roar” and feeling like Rocky Balboa on a good day. Plastic bags swinging from my elbow, I knew I’d hit a home run for the shut ins.

Later,  I sat beside my lame husband, oohing and aching over his self-proclaimed rapid recovery and rolled and tied each pair with ribbon and prayer.

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LA: My Souvenir Story

Last week I was asked to share a few conference takeaways at our monthly chapter meeting.  Easy enough. I’d tell the group about my personal highlights and why they made my “top ten” list. But I wanted to show, not tell, and magically, this scenario emerged:  If I were facing a rack of souvenirs, would I grab the kitschy Hollywood magnet for the fridge or the troll-sized Rodeo Drive street sign for my shelf? Or would I settle on a t-shirt from the SCBWI bookstore, knowing I never wear t-shirts?  I was now on a personal quest, fueled by a random trivia question, to distill the conference experience and weave it into a story, my story.

Frenzied,  I scavenged for my faithful conference tote (the fashionable faux-snake skin gold-toned one that I’d schlepped through metal detectors, stowed away under the seat in front of me, lugged in and out of every keynote and breakout session, and managed to drag safely home) and found it right where I dropped it.

No surprise there.  Did I really expect that a band of merry maids had come dancing in on feather dusters to straighten my Fibber McGee closet and become so overcome with curiosity that they could not resist rummaging through the contents of my conference bag?  Au contraire mon cheri. There it sat.  Untouched, propped up and spilling over, neglected for weeks.

I hefted the bulging bag from the floor, and gingerly, like an awestruck new father, spilled the contents onto my desk.  It held these mementos:

  • One nubby black scarf I stuffed in at the last minute, just in case it was cold.  Hello, I am always cold.  I draped it over my arms to cut the chilled air blowing in the rooms. A lifesaver, albeit a fashion atrocity.
  • Dozens of cards and bookmarks left by aspiring and new authors and illustrators to spread the word of their upcoming publications. Oodles of talent bubbling on the surface of  the publication world.
  • The lanyard and name tag. A behavioral truth about conference goers –  We will look at your  tag first, then your eyes, and greet you as if we have known one another for years, when in fact, we’ve never met.
  • My official two-pocket conference folder, pre-loaded with party invites, a guide to the Regional Advisors, a prized SCBWI Peace, Love, and Children’s Books bumper sticker, a calendar, etc.
  • A Starbucks napkin folded over a cupcake wrapper  with crumbs from a blueberry muffin, a reminder that my uber-expensive hotel served nothing under $20.00 in its “cafe,” so I walked to the venue and grabbed   this delicious treat between sessions.
  • My Gold Fibre canary legal pad with forty pages of notes scribbled during the sessions.

I was a new age Mary Poppins discovering a bottomless bagful of treasures.  Memory triggers.  Sensory images.  Mental snapshots. Writer’s wisdom.  It was all there to snatch and grab. As I unfolded and sorted through the mounds of ticket stubs and boarding passes and valet parking tags and restaurant receipts and the scary hotel bill, I was reminded not only of the financial investment and sacrifices I made to attend, but more importantly,  why I went and why I write.

And I knew that my conference story,  the takeaway I wanted to share with my fellow chapter members, was not set in the sidewalk shop full of gaudy souvenirs.  It could not be condensed into a bulleted list for perfecting our craft or a quotable quote from a writer emeritus.

My story was best summed up in a moving poem written and read by Kate Messner in her Golden Kite acceptance speech.  She graciously allowed me to read it to our chapter members. Follow the link to the poem: