Tag Archives: Writing

Flash Fiction

Flash Corner: The Smoking Area

As a huge fan of Flash Fiction, I’d like to share some of my own work, and encourage others to do so too.

As a result of this, I have launched Flash Corner for the time being, this will be an integral part of the Catchy Content Blog, however, next year I’m looking to make it a full time blog and entertaining literary resource.

So, to kick things off, here is a piece of Flash Fiction simply titled The Smoking Area…

He blew a smoke ring which spiralled into the air and merged with the wall of grey above his head.

He looked down at his feet, then out at the pane of glass that separated the smokers from the rest of airport’s thriving activity, he was alone but he wasn’t happy.

Through the haze of the smoking tank, he could make out lots of people in their various costumes, doing various things and going to various places, all for various reasons.

Stalked legged stewardesses wheeled their cases proudly to their vessels; rotund mothers chastised their kids for dragging their heels; yuppies glanced at their phones with sour faces, and moist eyed singletons marched in sorrow to their respective gates. Everyone had somewhere to go. Everyone had an agenda and all the while, he just stood there watching. He lit up one more and inhaled deep.

He only had a few minutes until he had to move on himself, and used them to puff and think. Thinking about his children made his palms sweaty and say to himself “what must they think of their old man?” to which the answer was “a real piece of crap”

They hadn’t been in his life for a good five years but he knew they were better off without him and would be doing well at school. He didn’t carry a picture in his wallet – their faces were firmly printed in the back of his mind should he ever wish to see them.

He stubbed out his cigarette and as he picked up his stuff, wondered if he would actually pluck up the courage to go and visit them. He opened the door, let the cloud out into the terminal and in doing so, picked up his broom and went back to work.

By Daniel I Hughes

I hope you enjoyed the story. If you are a writer of Flash or Short Fiction and would like to be considered for Flash Corner, please drop us a line via our inquiry form with your name, a short bio and your work included in the body of the email.

Writer's Block

5 quick fire ways to cure writer’s block

For those who make their living out of words, writer’s block can be a real plague.

Your fingers hit the keys, your eyes go out of focus and your start to sweat – as you’ve just realised that you can’t string one engaging or even legible sentence together. Frankly, it’s a nightmare.

If you’re currently browsing the web because you’re suffering from a bout of writer’s block, here are 5 quick fire tips that will help clear your head, and get back on that all-important  wordy horse…

Before we go any further, the first thing to remember is – don’t get discouraged. This writer’s block business is only a fleeting thing and you can overcome it.

Step away from your writing and do something else that’s creative: make a collage, take some photos, paint a picture. Whatever you do, it is sure to free you from the shackles of your slump and leave the mind feeling fresh.

Try Freewriting: get into the habit of doing this for around 10 minutes every day. What do you do? You just write. Get up a fresh word doc or blank piece of paper and put down whatever comes into your head, ignoring standard structure or punctuation. This will allow your thoughts and ideas to spill onto the page organically and help you get back on track.

Cast away distractions: Your phone, television, personal emails, social media, magazines, radio; basically anything that will take you away from stringing a solid thought together. Yes, audio and visual things can help give us inspiration sometimes, but when you have a serious case of the block, it’s essential to be able to focus when you are at the screen. In this case, a neutral, silent, internet free room without gadgets is just what the doctor ordered!

Write at the pinnacle time of day: Research suggests that many of us are at our most productive, alert and creative, either very early in the morning, or very late at night. Depending on your personality and situation, pick what’s best for you, then stick to it for a while. Take a decent writing break in the middle of your day, and tune into your words at your pinnacle time – from personal experience, this really helps your writing to flourish.

Get moving: with creative disciplines, positive stress if often the key to creativity. So if you’re in a little bit of a rut, head outside and do something active. Go for a cycle, jog or a long walk – this has been scientifically proven to help relax the mind and re-set the cogs so that you’re essentially working with a blank canvas. As you are in motion, you are bound to connect those missing dots and when you return to the computer, you’ll be a lean, mean word churning machine. If walking etc. doesn’t work for you, meditation also has very positive creative effects.

If you’ve been sat staring aimlessly at your screen for a long time and don’t know what to do with yourself, read over these tips, step away from the computer, free your mind and before long, you’ll be back to your old creative self.

Please let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below: have these methods helped your writing, or have you found others that have proved effective?

Image: Drew Coffman via Flickr

Words

The Power of Words: Cardboard Stories

Words are a powerful thing.

To demonstrate the power of words and how they can make us feel, I’d like to share this video put together by Rethink Homelessness.

Recently, a group of homeless people in Orlando Florida were each asked to write down a personal or interesting fact about themselves and show it to the camera, and it’s fair to say the the results is pretty amazing…

So there you have it: The Power of Words in action.

Keep your eyes peeled for more from this series over the coming months.

What do words mean to you? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Image: David Blackwell via Flickr

Origins of Words Catchy Content Writing

Word Bites: Where Did the Word Posh Come From?

For the second in this mini series, quite suitably named ‘Word Bites’, I’d like to touch upon the uncertain origins of the word posh.

Now, there are a fair few theories based around where this particular word  found its place in the wonderful world of vocabulary, and actually, there is no definitive answer.

Definition

n. The quality of being elegant, stylish, or upper class

Where did the word posh come from? As I said before, no one really knows for sure, but in the general spirit of fact, fiction, tale telling, debate and interpretation, here is my favourite explanation…

In 1920’s – 1930’s, wealthy, well-to-do passengers travelling by boat between England and India used to have abbreviation POSH clearly written against their bookings, which stood for ‘Port Out, Starboard Home‘ (basically the best possible place to be situated during a nautical journey).

As a result, this implication weaved its way into the English language as a way of identifying someone who is partial too and can afford the finer things in life – essentially someone of ‘upper class’.

posh origins of words

Although this particular theory has its flaws, I personally like it as in my head, it conjures a great deal of classic sea faring imagery – and this alone represents to me, the power of words.

So there you have it, my personal take on the word posh. This may not change your life, however, I do hope it has entertained you for a few moments- thanks for reading.

What do you think the word posh came from?

Image: Movie Stars and Rockets via Flickr

How to Write

How to Write: 5 Invaluable Quotes from Real Wordsmiths

The written word is an incredibly valuable component when it comes to expressing thoughts and feelings, sharing experiences, creating vivid scenes, describing situations, selling things…the list goes on.

Putting words together isn’t something that always comes easy, even to the most gifted writers among us, and often when we try to express ourselves through text, the words don’t necessarily come out as eloquently as we would like.

How to Write

So, if you are currently struggling to tackle a tough literary project, perhaps these little pearls of wisdom (or at the very least, bold statements) will offer you the inspiration you need to put pen to paper (so to speak) and achieve the results you are craving…

To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.

Herman Melville

To gain your own voice, you have to forget about it being heard.

Allen Ginsberg

If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood

Peter Handke

Style is to forget all styles

Jules Renard

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it

Elmore Leonard

Okay, these quotes may not completely change your life or exactly tell you how to write, but hopefully, they’ve given you the gusto to review your current work, get stuck in and attack it with a brand new attitude – good luck!

If you have any tips or advice to offer those struggling with how to write, please leave your comments here.

Images: Juliette  and Tempus Volat via Flickr

Creative Writing

Getting to Know: Writer Miriam Ruff

‘Getting to Know’ is a series dedicated to delving into the world of creative types from the fields of writing, film, music and art. Through a mix of insightful interviews and probing profiles, ‘Getting to Know’ is here to inspire, excite and entertain while offering a host of priceless tips and artistic advice.

To kick the series off, I caught up with talented poet, author, editor and science fiction enthusiast, Miriam Ruff to get the low down on everything from creative writing to guinea pigs…

Hi Miriam, how are you? Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you’re working on at the moment?

Hi Dan, glad to be here. I’m a professional writer and editor, and I’ve been working as a freelancer for the past 30 years, although I didn’t start up my company, Bumbershoot, Inc. until 2000. Right now I’m handling a number of different projects for clients, including Web content, blogs and social media, press releases, book editing and proofreading, and informational documents. I’m also working on a new short story, which I hope to have finished soon.

I understand you have a big passion for science. Would you say this has had a major influence on your written work over the years?

Actually, I’m a complete nerd and proud of it!! My degree is in Zoology (cell biology), and I was thinking of minoring in Astronomy, though that never came to pass. I’m fascinated by the way things work, especially in the absence of gravity, so it was a natural fit. Chemistry, physics – I loved my classes and couldn’t wait to take more. I would say that it most definitely influenced my writing over the years. I’ve done numerous health and wellness articles and e-books, as well as science articles written for the lay audience. And with my love of science fiction – I gobble up anything I can find – just about all my stories have some basis in science.

Do you remember completing your first ever poem or story? How did it feel and doyou ever refer back to it?

I don’t remember my first one, and, to be honest, most of my initial attempts at stories were pretty bad. It wasn’t until I learned more about structure, tone, characterization, and theme that I was able to write something I felt worthy of showing to anyone else. My first major poem after I started up my company was a deeply personal and wrenching affair called “The Demon-Whisperer” that I simply felt I HAD to write, and it ended up getting published in The Journal of Humanistic Psychology of all places. Every so often I go back to it and find the power in it once again; it gives me the incentive to keep on going with whatever type of writing I want to do.

Are there any tips or advice you’d like to give the young and aspiring writers out there?

Practice, practice, practice, read other people’s work you find interesting or well written and then practice some more. The first attempts you make will be utter garbage, but try to get feedback from other people and incorporate their comments into your revisions. Understand that writing is a process and a craft, and you will ALWAYS be learning them. That and don’t give up your day job until you’re sure you can make a living doing what you want to do. It’s a discipline that demands constant commitment, time, and effort. If you’re not willing to put those into your writing, do something else.

Your most recent short story, If Only…is largely based on in the realms of a cyber world. Is there anything in particular that encouraged the idea and would you say this is your best work to date?

Actually, the initial idea came from my father. He said, “What would happen if two people communicated over the Internet without being able to see each other and would someday meet?” I thought that was intriguing, and so I created Nathan and Jeffrey and the story that surrounds them. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but let’s just say that my father was not prepared for what actually happens in the story and keeps telling me, “But that’s not what I had in mind.” Of course not – it was his idea, but it’s definitely my story.

I can’t say if this is my best work or not – that’s for the readers to decide. I write in many different styles about many different subjects, and each story is unique. The one common thread they all have is that they’re “dark.” I think if I ever wrote a “happy” story, people would drop dead of a heart attack after reading it!

You must work very hard. What do you do to relax and what is your idea of an ideal day off?

Relax? I work seven days a week, so there’s not much room for down time. What I do like to do if I take a break is to read good science fiction, watch wonderfully told movies, and find as many pictures and videos of guinea pigs (another passion of mine) on the Internet and just “ooh” and “ahh” over them. I used to keep them, but I don’t have room where I live right now to give them the accommodations they deserve.

Finally, what does the future hold for Miriam Ruff?

Hopefully a lot more writing, of all different types. I’m working on some short stories and have been requested to write a novella; I’d like to see how I can develop my writing to increase both my output and my interaction with the readers. I also have a new boyfriend, who’s an artist, and we’re constantly playing ideas off of each other. In fact, he’s doing the cover art to one of my upcoming stories. It’s kind of neat that we actually “get” each other. But I’m constantly reminded of Yoda’s comment (from “The Empire Strikes Back”): “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” I just want to keep it moving forward.

Thanks for your time Miriam, it’s been a pleasure.

Writing UK

‘Must Reads’: Five Excellent Online Publications

The internet is a wonderfully accessible thing. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, budding actress, a small business owner, journalist or simply someone with an opinion you’re bursting to share with the world, it gives the platform to get out there and share information with the world. While this is truly wonderful for many reasons, it does also come with a niggling side effect…

Everyone becomes an expert! With the ability to publish posts and web content as easy as ABC, there unfortunately does sometimes tend to be a lot of monotonous junk and garbage to trawl through to get an informative and entertaining read. But never fear, here are five different but equally noteworthy online publications which are well worth taking a look at…

Litro Magazine

This slick and visually appealing online (and print!) literary mag is packed full of very current, provocative and well-crafted prose from the world’s best upcoming writers and if you’re a budding author, you can submit your own work based on a striking monthly theme.

Career Addict

Powered by online recruitment assistants Find Employment, Career Addict is a web publication which is dedicated to giving young professionals help, assistance and advice when it comes to the murky and occasionally baffling world of work. Boasting an broad range of writers, this online publication offers a huge amount of variety and as well as being an educational resource, is very fun to browse.

VICE UK

This nifty little publication packs a massive punch and its general tone is fast, furious and full of attitude! Covering anything from shockingly explicit travelling misadventures to obscure dance music reviews, VICE is extremely entertaining and tailor made for this weird and wonderful modern age!

IdeasMag

IdeasMag really is the definitive resource and networking platform for creative types and its tone of voice is very unique. Offering very insightful ‘How To’ guides and interviews on a whole host of different (mainly focused around art, graphics, literature and music) subjects, as well as humorous articles by their resident columnists, IdeasMag makes for a very addictive, very quality read.

Moon Project

With the look and feel of an online newspaper, Moon Project provides writers of all levels and abilities the chance to showcase their talents, hence its eclectic nature. Offering fresh and interesting takes on hard-hitting current affairs, off-beat conceptual pieces and everything in between, it’s easy to spend a good few hours on this site!

So if you’re looking for something with a little substance, take some time to trawl through these great online publications – just try not to get too hooked!

What are your favourite online reads?