Poof! goes your manuscript

Poof! goes your manuscript |


Cockney Slay

journal (a little late, but couldn’t be helped since I didn’t  get to bed till midnight last night and even that happened after hanging out a load of washing on my way through)





This weeks challenge at Creativitygames.net is dedicated to Cockney Slay. The words we’ve been given are:

  • tray
  • sunrise
  • piano
  • lunatic
  • race

Go to the post for more details. I’m avoiding the linkage on their site for more examples of this kind of rhyming slay, just in case I see one of my own brilliant ideas already in use.

I grew up with a few of these types of rhyming, never knowing that it was called Cockney slay, being Australian myself. But you were pretty much guaranteed to have someone say to you over lunch at least once in your life “pass me the dead horse for eye in the sky” (translation, pass me the tomato sauce for my meat pie”.

Golden ray – tray

Loudly cries – sunrise

Fallen grace – race

Black and white volcano – piano

Wacky acrostic – lunatic

I could see how playing around with this idea could be useful in creating a unique dialogue for a story. Referring to a crying sky perhaps, the louder she cries, the more brilliant the sunrise, for example.

The vagary of the internets

I was going to write a post about how I really had no excuse for not having written anything this week, how I’ve totally failed my first week of Camp NaNo July and blah blah whine whine. Then, I thought, ‘no, I’ll see if I can find a random word generator and use it to get a bunch of words and actually write something’. Only to discover something even cooler, and creative procrastination fun.

It’s a website called Creativity Games.net. On Monday’s they release a new game where you play along by leaving a comment for that days game. So this week it was The Heaviest. They give you three random words and you have to explain which and why one of them is heavier then the others and you can’t use the same word as the comment before yours. The week before was A Murder Mystery.

They do actually have a random word generator too, with some cool features I’m yet to fully explore, I kind got distracted with the rest of the site.

On Wednesday’s they post resources for honing your creative skills. The last one was using CodeBreaker to predict ability. Now, this brings us to Fridays on their blog, Creative Challenges day. They use hieroglyphs and you have to guess what the object is. This week it was an animal you might find at the zoo. I’m not sure that I’m so interested in this part of the site, but the rest is awesome and I think I might dedicate the rest of July (shhh, don’t mention Camp NaNo) to Creativity Games.net.

I’ll try to do their Monday and Wednesday challenges but Friday I might use the generator or their prompts tool instead of the hieroglyphs. That’s if I can manage to organise my life so that I can fit in all my current projects. Meep!

Anyways, go check out the website and have some creative writing fun.

What needs work?


Today’s journal post is about what I believe I need to work on, in regards to writing. Right now the two major issues that come up for me are
a) Finishing a piece of writing, and
b) Characters

I’m pretty good at coming up with scenes, first chapters or even several chapters (or 60,000 words of a novel) but I suck at actually pulling those initial ideas into a cohesive whole. I’ve written basically one short story in my life. It was around 7000 words, it was written in the last few months, it had a beginning  middle and end (mostly), but after the initial excitement they whole piece just sort of limped along.

Sometimes I have an idea where a story is going, but then I just can’t figure out how to get there, how to build an entire story with a believable plot and characters that are interesting and grow, along with figuring out what other characters I need and who the Dickens they are. Which leads to my B-side. I feel that I know how to write one character, that’s it, just one, and she’s based a great deal on myself (fact and fiction).

I’ve decided, or at least mostly decided, that I’d like to try and spend the next few weeks working on writing characters that are nothing like me. I’m possibly going to base them on Myer Briggs personality types to get a basis for the character. Perhaps even write a male and female version of each character, maybe even different age versions of the characters to try an develop them further.

I’m hoping this will also force me to write characters I don’t like, another area I tend to struggle with. If I read a book that has chapters from the bad guys POV, I may actually skim or skip the entire chapter. I just don’t like the bad guys. Oh crap… I think I may have to make my first character assignment a bad guy.

Ok, that’s it then. June is going to be character exploration month, usual blogging routines from this past month will be altered or suspended to accommodate.


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Journal Entry: Prompt #6

journalDescribe the most important thing in your life. Describe the 2nd and 3rd most important things. Then the 4th and 5th most important things.

1st: My family is by far the most important thing in my life. If I was to be more specific, I would have to say my son in particular – but I feel that goes without saying really.

2nd: Good days. Having a chronic illness means that I appreciate and hold dear those days when I feel normal, when I can do everything a normal woman my age can do (as rare as hens teeth at present).

3rd: Access to information. By this I mean computers and phones and internet, libraries, books and resourceful, intelligent people.

4th: Effortless weaving days. When I’m up to it, I love nothing more in life then to be left alone to weave for endless hours. These days are almost more rare then my happy healthy days though. More of my weaving time is spent tying on and threading up a new warp or repairing snags or breakages or fiddling with argumentative machines – oh but those days when everything comes together and the shuttle just flies!

5th: I’m not sure if this is fifth or fourth, but brain fog free, cognitively unchallenging days that allow me to sit for hours and write with an open, clear mind – oh the bliss!

I think this is a great exercise to do for your main protagonists and antagonists. Really nut out who they are and what they want, what/who would they kill for or protect with their last dying breath. What gives them moments of pure happiness? Even bad guys have these things. That number 1 item is probably important for that characters motivation.

Note: all my prompts come from here at present and I really appreciate this resource so check it out.

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More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
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Journal Entry: Prompt #7

 journalConsider the use of seeds as a metaphor for interpersonal relationships. Write down three instances of someone else giving you “positive” seeds. Then three instances of someone giving you “negative” seeds. Continue by writing about the result of the seeds.

“What’s this?” Lila turned the small seeds over in her hand, admiring the array of speckled colours.

“This one’s a friendship seed, that one’s love, this little one is joy, don’t be fooled by its size though, it’s beautiful when it flowers. Those two over there are,” he indicated the shiny purple and blue ones, “are admiration and support.” The corners of her eyes wrinkled with pleasure as she began planning just where to plant the small collection. There was a place, just bellow the window seat that might be nice, or perhaps she could create a little garden beside the gazebo. She poured the seeds back into their packet and slipped it into her back pocket before leaning forward to kiss Damon’s cheek.

“Thank you.”

It took a whole day to prepare the garden beside the gazebo. Lila wanted to ensure it had everything the seeds would need to grow and she poured all her heart into the little plot. The days spent tending the seeds, watering them, feeding them, were highlights she would reflect on for years to come. The best of those days were spent with Damon by her side, helping to nurture the small garden. On warm summer afternoons they would sit together admiring beauty of the garden, the way friendship had spread out across the ground, forming a sort of mulch carpet throughout the bed. Love had grown tall and strong with fragrant blossoms that filled the night air. Joy had grown into a bush the burst into colourful flowers at random intervals, fading before bursting forth once more. Admiration and support were the most subtle flowers, pocking up all over the place in little bunches of white and yellow. For months their life together seemed magically blessed.

After the funeral, they moved his mother into the downstairs bedroom. She spent her days sulking around the house, complaining about everything, nothing was done they way she would have done it, organised the way she  would have had it. Always the implication that her way was the superior one. One day Lila came home to find her mother-in-law throwing little black seeds into her gazebo garden, she said nothing but a small knot formed in the pit of her stomach. Tension between her and Damon increased over his mothers constant complaining. A week later Lila noticed a new plant growing in the garden, it’s spiky leaves crowding out the lovely little pockets of admiration and support. She pulled the weeds out hurriedly and shoved them into a black plastic bag to kill them off, but there was no sign of the little yellow and and white flowers.

That night her and Damon fought over finances, he felt it was time she give up her foolish dreams and find a real job. Lila slept on the couch in her study, her face slick with tears.

A month later Lila found Damon digging around the edges of their garden.

“What are you doing?” She asked, keeping her voice light while the knot in her stomach grew tighter.

“Trying to keep my mother happy.” He snapped as he slammed the spade into the soil, accidentally cutting half way through the  joy bush. “Shit.” He threw a handful of small black seeds into the hole before kicking the earth back over them. The spot was like a scar on the edge of beautiful garden. Lila noticed the spiky creeper had also returned. She turned away from the sight, her heart heavy.

Lila slept another night, and another in her small office, she and Damon weren’t able to say a single nice thing to each other at the moment it seemed. The only person who seemed even a little happy at the moment was Damon’s mother, who hummed to herself as she reordered the kitchen cupboards.

Time moved slowly for the next few months. Lila found a job that mad her miserable. She left the house at 6am and returned home at 6pm, exhausted and depressed. She had moved back into her bedroom with Damon, but the sheets stayed cold between them. The seeds that Damon had planted for his mother grew into a purple vine that spread out across the garden, unrestrained and untameable. Within weeks of it appearing, friendship had been all but smothered by the larger, darker leaves. Love still stood tall in the centre of the garden, but it’s colour had faded. The knot inside Lila’s stomach had become so tight it began to cause her a great deal of pain. The pain intensified so much that she finally went to see a doctor, they couldn’t find anything wrong with her, and sent her for more tests.

Meanwhile, her mother-in-law took over control of the household, changing everything to suit her tastes and comfort. Lila no longer had the strength to interfere or change things back. She missed so much work they had no choice but to fire her. Damon moved around the house like a ghost, lost in his own life.

It was a wet, miserable grew day, Lila was sitting propped up against pillows staring mournfully out the window towards the gazebo. Her face was drawn and, the skin flaccid. The shadows under her eyes echoed the little garden’s current colour scheme. Lila tried to remember it as it once was, when it had flourished with so much beauty. She had heard from the doctors a few hours before, her latest test results had come back. Her mother-in-law entered the bedroom, shaking a packet of seeds in Lila’s face.

“I’m going to plant these today. They’re called ‘hypochondria’ I’m sure you’ve seen them before.” The older woman hadn’t known Damon was in the wardrobe finding Lila another blanket. He snatched the seeds from his mothers outstretched hand and threw them into the bin beside the bed. It was full of pink and red stained tissues. Lila turned her eyes away from the stunned, angry face of her mother-in-law, just as the sun began to force its way through cracks in the clouds. A stray beam touched down in the garden lighting up love. Lila smiled for the first time in months as the she watched the delicate flower visibly open in the warmth of that touch.


Note: all my prompts come from here at present and I really appreciate this resource so check it out.

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More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
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Journal Entry: Prompt #4

Prompt: Hold your hands out in front of you, palms down. Imagine that you have a total of six strings tied around your fingers. Write about the objects that are dangling from the strings.

  • A doll
  • A pair of scissors
  • A pair of shoes
  • A book
  • A bed
  • A dress

And here’s what I came up with:

The rag doll reached her hand out longingly towards the luxurious ball gown with it’s matching pair of silver slippers.  She didn’t dare touch the sheer fabric for fear she might dirty it, or worse, tear the fabric. But oh, how she wished she could wear something so divine just once. Hearing the tap tap of plastic heels on the doll house stairs, Raggedy Kate dropped back onto the bed and picked up her book, pretending to read, before Diva found her ogling the dress. Unfortunately, as she sprang away from the clothes, her foot caught the corner of the small table holding the silver slippers. Just as Diva opened the door the table toppled over, dropping the slippers onto the ground at the PlasticFantastic dolls feet. The doll house floor was thick with dust, one small delicate satin slipper skidded to a stop at Diva’s feet, a black streak visible along its side even from Raggedy Kate’s position on the bed.

“You’ve ruined it! I told you to stay away from my new things, are your ears full of stuffing too you saggy baggy rag.” Diva picked up the soiled shoe, and threw it at Raggedy Kate.

“I’m sorry Diva, I’m really really sorry. I didn’t touch anything. Please Diva, I don’t know how the table fell.” Raggedy Kate pleaded with the irate doll who towered above her, fuming. Diva picked up the other shoe as Raggedy Kate cowered on the bed, pressed against the headboard, her book held up like a shield to protect her.

Diva’s features altered from fury to calculated evil as her eyes locked on the book in Raggedy Kate’s hands. Her red painted lips stretched out into a wicked grin, contorting her beautiful features into something horrific as she pulled a pair of scissors from her accessories bag.

“No Diva, please don’t.” Raggedy Kate pleaded as she attempted to hide her precious book behind her back. It was the only possession she had. Unlike Diva, who had a wardrobe full of clothes and shoes, bags and hats, Raggedy Kate’s clothes were all attached to her. The book was the only item she had come with so many years ago. Diva had new things arriving several times a year wrapped in glittering papers, but Raggedy Kate had never gotten anything new.

There was no stopping the vexed plastic doll, one of her long, hard arms reached behind Raggedy Kate’s soft body and ripped the small book easily out of the rag dolls grasp, the scissors glinted as they caught the light from bedroom window. Pieces of paper showered down around the small room at the top of the dolls house as Diva danced around, cutting away in short sharp snips from the corners of poor Raggedy Kate’s book. The distraught doll could only sit like and watch the destruction of her one possession, wishing she could cry like the baby doll, or fight like the action hero toys.

Diva threw the remains of the book onto the floor with a thud, flipping her golden hair over her shoulder she turned and left the room without another word or the slightest hint of guilt. Once the tap tap of her heals receded once more down the stairs, Raggedy Kate slipped quietly off the small bed and began to sweep the tiny specs of paper into a pile, collecting the remains of her book in her lap she stared distraughtly out the bedroom’s giant window and thought about leaving the dolls house and the big house, finding a new home with no PlasticFantastic dolls like Diva.


This was such great fun to write, I had no idea what was going to do with all those items at first and then it all just happened.
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More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
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