100 Word Challenge at Julia’s Place – Stubborn John

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Here is my post for this week’s challenge at Julia’s place.

The prompt this time is I woke with another headache

It’s titled Stubborn John.


“We should have known the signs. We should have known,” Margaret sobbed.

“Look, I know it’s difficult to understand. There is nothing we could have done. You didn’t know John was sick and he was certainly too stubborn to tell anyone.”

Margaret held up a hand interrupting him. She reached down and pulled a journal from her purse.

“Read October fifteen’s entry,” she said. Dr Alden took it and read.

I woke with another headache…

“Flip to October fourteen,”

I woke with another headache…

“And thirteenth,”

I woke with another headache…

Dr Alden gasped. Each entry, the past three weeks, began with that very sentence.



Write Flash Fiction at Julia’s Place

For the past few months I have participated in a short story contest of sorts. There is no prize besides being a better writer. The flash fiction contest I am talking about is the 100 word challenge at Julia’s Place.

She gives you three to four words which you then build a story around using only 100 total words. If you have heard of William Faulkner’s saying (or whomever coined it) kill your darlings, this is a great exercise to do just that. When writing a story of 100 words there is no way to have excess. You must trim the fat.

I have found that working in small bursts like this has helped me in other areas of writing. Whether working on my novel or writing a short story, I am more concise and clear. I wish I would have found Julia’s place much earlier in my career.

If you wanted to participate just go to Julia’s Place and look for the 100 word challenges on her site. Here are the instructions. They are usually open for a week and you can also view other stories to help you get the idea.

Keep writing, keep refining.



100 Word Challenge for Julia’s Place – Those Putrid Sunny Days

Here is my entry for the 100 word challenge for Julia’s place to titled: Those Putrid Sunny Days.


Malcolm Belfore was a child of study and thus hated summers. While all his classmates celebrated the newly won summer, Malcolm pulled out his calendar and crossed off the first day of summer.

“humph!” he growled when a joyful student rushed past shouting jubilantly.

“Bah!” he barked when he saw two high five.

“Malcolm, are you alright?” Mrs. Appleton asked while eyeing him over her glasses.

“I hate summers,” he muttered.

“But Malcolm, children love summer,” she returned.

“Not all of them.” He said pouting. He lamented every single putrid sunny day until the children began returning to the routine.

Submit your entry HERE.




Writer’s Bootcamp: Get Into Writing Shape!

I don’t know much about John Dufresne. I haven’t read anything he has written. But, as I was at the local library on Monday, I went to the writing reference section and checked out some books on writing including his book The Lie That Tells a Truth. I found such wonderful exercises at the beginning I could not help but share. If you like these, you may want to check out his book which is turning out to be a very inspiring and helpful read.

He begins the first chapter which is titled Getting in Shape by asking you to stop reading. Doesn’t that sound a bit odd? Probably not the greatest way to sell books, leaving out the elementary writer’s rule of hooking the reader and all. Then he lists three writer’s exercises which I recommend doing now. They will help you both tone and discover those specific writing muscles we let turn into flab from time to time.

Remember before you begin, remove all distractions. Phone, family, work, email, internet. Remove yourself from everything and dive into the writer’s bootcamp.

1. Here and Now! This is the first exercise. Write about where you are physically. Your writing room, bed, kitchen, outside, where ever. Write in first person, present tense.  Write about what your senses pick up – see, hear, touch, taste, smell. Use each one to create a sensory “image” of where you are right now.

At the end he leaves a handy little quote worth remembering by W.H. Auden – “The first act of writing is noticing”.

2. Something Missing. Evaluate your life. What is it that you wish you had but do not. It could be a relationship, something you lost perhaps an heirloom, or deeper. For instance, something that keeps you awake at night and causes you to wake up in cold sweats. Write about whatever this is and allow it to take form.

3. Where you were born. Think about where you were born, where you grew up. What was it like? How does it defer from where you live now? If you are still there, write about what has changed since you were young.  Where did everyone work? What was the “talk of the town”. How did people talk, walk, or dress? What were the stories of the town, the old building round the corner, the decrepit ice cream shoppe (and why the sign read shoppe and not shoppe)? Write about your school, the places people did not mention, where the uppity people lived, and the haunting secrets buried in that dilapidated mansion over which grey clouds always seem to linger?

Now you’ve written unbridled for thirty minutes. Well done you’ve effectively lifted writer’s weights!

Check out his book. Buy it, or rent it from your library, give your writer’s self a present today. After all, you’ve earned it.