I’M MOVING TO www.traceyambrose.com

Hi everyone, I’ve finally beaten my husband into submission and gotten him to instal a self-managed wordpress blog on my domain @ traceyambrose.com.

I’ve transferred all my posts and comments over to it and I’m going to attempt to transfer everyone’s subscriptions to. I hope you will all stay connected at my new home.


Flash Fiction Exercises for Writers

flash fictionI recently came across a thread somewhere on the internets that lead me to a new book – The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field
by Tara L Masih

There’s a rather long introduction all about the history of flash fiction, which, although interesting, I ended up skipping most of so I could get to the real reason for purchasing the book. The exercises!

Each chapter is written by a different person (author, editor, teacher etc) and has an exercise in writing flash fiction with a finished example. Today’s Flash Fiction Friday post is from the first chapter example by Pamela Painter, called “He said, she said.” I’m already going to say I recommend this book for the insight this first chapters has given me into the writers craft and the importance of doing exercises.

And her is my first attempt at this exercise…


The Pet Shop Debate

He said: Dog person, I bet he wants a dog.
She said: Hmm, but she’s defiantly more into cats I think.
He said: I wonder who’s going to compromise?
She said: They could always try something different, something neither of them considered before.
He said: Nah, I can’t see this guy settling happily for a fish or a hamster, he’s heart is set on a dog.
She said: Oh, but look how happy she is cuddling the persian, they look so right for each other.
He said: Bet you he wont even touch the cat, look how he’s edging towards the puppies.
She said: He could at least try.
He said: How do you know he hasn’t?
She said: Because most men think that “trying” means thinking about it for five minutes and not actually putting the effort in to make it work.
He said: And women think it means the man should just put aside what he really feels and let her have her way, again.
She said: She’s probably going to be the one who does all the work for the damn pet, so it only stands to reason that they get something she’s willing to care for.
He said: Sure, sure. Maybe if the guy, for once, got his way, he would put in more of an effort.
She said: Maybe if the guy really knew what he wanted, he’d put in the effort.
He said: He looks like he knows what he wants to me, he just doesn’t know how to tell her. It’s not his fault he can see they want different things and compromising isn’t going to work anymore.
She said: It would make her so happy if he wanted the same things as her.
He said: It’s not his fault he doesn’t feel the same way, the heart wants, what the heart wants, you know?
She said: Yeah, I know. He’s going to leave her, isn’t he?
He said: He doesn’t want to, but he thinks its best for both of them.
She said: She knows. She just not ready to stop trying, and, if it didn’t work, at least she wouldn’t be all alone.
He said: I get that, but it wouldn’t be fair to them or the pet if they split later. They should accept how it is and move on before they complicate things further.
She said: I think she knows that, she just wants something to remember him by, when he’s gone.
He said: He’ll never leave her totally, he still loves her, he’s just not ‘in love’ with her anymore.
She said: I’m taking my lunch early, you close up okay?
He said: Okay, sorry.

Creative Commons License
More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
Share it around, but please include this licence message

Image Inspiration: Smeg

 I could always tell when Smeg was miffed at someone, or something. She’d let these tendrils of smoke escape from her nostrils, just like she’d done that day. If she had been a full sized dragon it’d be intimidating but since she was little more then the size of a mouse, it was just plain cute. Which was kinda creating this loop. The more she blew smoke, the more the kid squealed that irritating, ear bursting high pitched noise of delight which annoyed Smeg, so Smeg blew more smoke, thus more squealing, and more smoke and… yeah you get the idea.
I held my hand real steady as the kid approached, trying not to laugh outright at the way Smeg wiggled her shoulders like some cat preparing to pounce on its prey. Her feet tickled the palm of my hand a little as she shifted her weight around. I never realised how fast little kids could move when they wanted to. I thought I’d be able to pull Smeg away real quick as soon as I saw the kid reach for her, but no. That tiny pudgy hand shot forth as quick as lightning and Smeg pounced!
The squeals turned pain and fright as tiny teeth dug into soft pliable flesh. With that sound came a world of grief. I didn’t know what they were all yelping about. If you ask me, the kid just learnt himself a really valuable lesson, don’t try to touch a smoking dragonett, they bite. That’s not how they saw it though. Adults, especially those surrounding royal brats, are so ready to spring into action with reprimands and finger waving, blame thrown left and right and never at the kid, ‘cause the royal chit is never to be blamed.
The result of this display was that all of a sudden I found myself kicked down to the kitchen and some stupid bane against dragonetts in the castle was being announced.
I’d roll my eyes at the whole stupid affair except that now I was in a bit of a bind. You see, once you’ve bonded with a dragonett, just like it’s giant cousins, you were stuck with it. Most people didn’t give a hoot about the damn decree ‘cause most people don’t have dragonetts, in fact, as far as I knew, there was only two other dragonetts, aside from Smeg, in the whole city, and they lived outside the castle grounds.
I lived in the castle grounds, I worked in the castle. Smeg was too young to leave her alone all day, and she needed to eat constantly while she was growing but she couldn’t hunt on her own. None of this had mattered before, no one cared that I caught the mice and bugs lurking around the library while I worked. Most folks liked to spend at least a few minutes of their visit watching the baby dragonett learn to fly, or attempt to catch a bug or just marvel at her curled up asleep in the sunshine on the windowsill.
I’d never get away with trying to hide her in my clothes or anything, she was too curious to stay put and there was no chance I was going to put her in a cage! Damn. There was really only one choice I could make, a choice I’d been putting off for about a year now. Surrendering to fate, I tucked Smeg into the inside pocket of my vest with a fat bug to keep her quite, and crept up the servants stairs, making my way to the library.
“Master James?” The old scholar was sitting cross legged in a far corner of the library, a tomb of a book cradled in his lap.
“Yes Meeka?”
“Its time,” I didn’t need to elaborate. He and I both knew it was past time for a journeyman of my age to have left home and seek my way in the world. It was just so hard to leave. How did you go from being an apprentice in the largest library in the kingdom, under the master of all scholarly masters, to wondering the country side seeking, what exactly? But that was tradition and you couldn’t be a journeyman if you didn’t journey.

WORDS: 707

Creative Commons License
More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
Share it around, but please include this licence message

Nothing to Prove – Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks

I couldn’t resist sharing this video. I love being a geek girl and I don’t care what other people think. The truth is, I’m not too geeky or not geeky enough, not geeky about the right things or whatever else you want to think, I’m the geek I want to be so suck it.

Hmmm, about that…

So last month was a washout. I could say that the week of no childcare and seriously over planned activities followed by the week of recovery was at fault. Or maybe the new job I’m trying to take on plus the trip to Wellington it involved was the problem, but the truth is, I’m suffering from a lack of self esteem.

I’ve not written anything for weeks. I just can’t see anything I’m writing as being worth reading and I’m struggling to put an entire story together with a plot that it gripping or even vaguely interesting. The fact that the people (family, friends, Scribophile and NaNo) I had thought would help me out b being good beta readers have all gone silent.

I’m not sure what to do about it all just now. I did however just find a blog I’d forgotten about with some of my old writing on and so I thought I might repost a few things here, just for fun.