Writing prompt – family

Me and Mum_Colby Gardens 2017 by Judy DarleyThis curious picture shows my mum and me reflected in a pool of water. As her birthday happens this week, it seems like an excellent writing prompt. What eerie marine family might this photo represent? How could you capture the essence, or at least a suggestion, of your own family in a slightly askew tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Book review – With One Eye On The Cows

with-one-eye-on-the-cowsGathering together 137 stellar micro fictions, With One Eye On The Cow: Bath Flash Fiction Volume Four is an anthology full of stamping, harrumphingly insistent words.

I have a particular fondness for slow-burn flashes, by which I mean the ones that burrow in and quietly stop then restart your heart. Not the well-worn trope of a twist in the tail, but the stories that seed in subtle clues that burst into bloom with startling vivacity. Those authors in my opinion have mastered the tricky craft of the short short.

A Kind God by Jesse Sensibar is a particularly fine example, beginning with the sublime and finishing with the prosaic, with a sliver of shock in between.

Elsewhere we rub shoulders with displaced families, and a vastly varied assortment of starting points of PTSD. We encounter the bravura of sexual, awakenings and dawning realisations, and seethe with the knowledge of thoughtless wrongs impossible to undo.

Continue reading

Liars’ League NYC seeks stories to perform

Kalamazoo railway tracks by Judy Darley

The folks at Liars’ League NYC have announced a new set of submissions themes and deadlines for 2020. they say: “In a nutshell, we’re looking for fresh, character-driven fiction up to 3,000 words, except in the case of our Flash Fiction event in May, where the word limit is 1000.”

Liars’ League offers creative opportunities across the globe, with regular literary nights in London, Hong Kong and New York, matching up writers’ tales with actors and audiences.

Submission themes

Success & Failure – Deadline: Wednesday, 4th March 2020

Short & Sweet Flash Fiction – Deadline: Wednesday, 6th May 2020

Before & After – Deadline: Wednesday, 9th September 2020

Weird & Wonderful – Deadline: Wednesday, 4th November 2020

Simply send your story by email to info@liarsleaguenyc.com by midnight PST of the deadline day in either doc., docx., or rtf. format. Not sure what to send? It’s worth taking a look at the stories in their Archive to get a sense of the type of work they love.

Find full details of how and what to submit here.

Meanwhile, Liars’ League London are currently inviting submissions on the theme of Young & Old, with a submission deadline of Sunday March 1st 2020. Find full details on their website. 

Liars’ League Hong Kong are seeking submissions on the theme Terms & Conditions, with a submission deadline of Friday 24th April 2020. Find full details on their website. 

 

A spot of mindfulness

Early One Morning painting by Judy DarleyMy first feature for Planet Mindful appears in issue 10, out today. The lovely editor, Becky, commissioned me to write about the benefits of mindful reading and writing. As you might suspect, I had a lot to say on the topic! The feature’s titled ‘Through the Looking Glass’, and offered me a chance to chat about my favourite pastimes. Heaven!

Planet Mindful 10 coverI also wrote a guided meditation for the magazine. It felt a bit like writing an extremely peaceful ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ story, with lots of opportunities for readers to interpret their imagined surroundings in ways that personalised the experience to themselves and their own life

‘A blackbird resting on a nearby branch pauses, mid-song, to watch you pass.’

As part of the process of dreaming it up, I painted a picture of the scene I was envisioning, and Becky printed that too. Very exciting!

Becky also included a mention of my short story collection Sky Light Rain. Marvellous.

Planet Mindful magazine is available to buy here.

Writing prompt – cookies

Cookies by Judy DarleyIn just two days it will be Valentine’s Day. Use this picture of a plate of heart-shaped cookies as your starting point and imagine who baked them. Who is the recipient?

Is this a romantic gift, a desperate or courageous declaration of love, an act of revenge, or something far more frightening?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Green Stories invites upbeat #CliFi flash fiction

Pataya, Thailand beach by Judy DarleyThe Green Stories’ team are inviting entries of Flash Fiction for their latest competition.
This competition is free to enter.

The deadline is 21st March 2020. Entries should be no longer than 500 words, excluding title.

Specifically, they are seeking Flash Fiction entries that explore themes around building a sustainable society.

“Most stories set in the future are dystopian, meaning they have a pessimistic view of society. We will consider all stories, but we encourage you to imagine a more positive settings and practices for your stories,” they say. “The story doesn’t have to be about sustainability or climate change directly. A rom-com, for example, could be set in a society that replaces ownership with borrowing and the heroine goes to a clothes library to pick up a posh dress and borrow jewellery for her big date.”

The Green Stories website is packed with information on the topics they’d like you to consider, ranging from practices such as the sharing economy to advances such as nanotechnologies and green transport.

For full details of prizes and how to enter, visit www.greenstories.org.uk/flash-fiction/

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley(@)ICloud(dot)com.

Enter National Flash Fiction Day’s micro fiction competition

Sweets by Judy DarleyNational Flash Fiction Day’s 100-word micro fiction competition 2020 is open for submissions.  This year’s judges are Rob Walton, FJ Morris, Anne Summerfield and Susmita Bhattacharya. Send something funny that resonates, is fresh and exciting, and leaves the judges lost for words.

The deadline is Saturday 15th February 2020, 23:59pm GMT. You’re invited to submit up to three flash fictions on any theme.

Titles aren’t included in the word count.

  • First prize is £100
  • Second prize is £50
  • Third prize is £25

The winning and shortlisted authors will be published in the National Flash Fiction Day 2020 anthology. Winning and shortlisted authors will also receive a free print copy of this anthology.

Find full details here.

This year, National Flash Fiction Day is on Saturday 6th June. How will you be celebrating?

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley(@)ICloud(dot)com.

Writing prompt – fallen star

Star by Judy Darley

Since our fall from grace, aka leaving the EU, I’ve seen a lot of tweets and Facebook posts asking Europe to take care of our star.

Imagine a scenario where this fallen star was a physical rather than metaphorical object. What if it was the most precious and fragile item in our galaxy? How could it be protected? What power struggles might its presence on Earth result in?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Submit tiny flashes to Paragraph Planet

Hot Water by Judy DarleyI’m growing increasingly addicted to Paragraph Planet. This fabulous website publishes a single 75-word flash fiction every day (word count includes title). The stories selected are brilliantly diverse and powerful. Visiting each day feels akin to pond dipping – you never quite know what wonders will appear.

They’re also a great place to submit to. Their online submission form is easy, and free, to use, and while there isn’t payment for writers, there is notoriety up for grabs. Each story is shared via Twitter to more than 3,600 followers.

The picture above is the one I created for my story Leavings, which is available to read in the Paragraph Planet archive section – just scroll to December 30th.

Isn’t there something satisfying about crafting a piece that exactly hits 75 words, including title, and ensuring it’s still meaningful? If you write, I urge you to give it a try, and if you read, swing by to read today’s tiny yet powerful offering.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley(@)ICloud(dot)com.

Call for puppet show scripts with eco-oceanic themes

Marionette shop, Prague cr Judy DarleyCommonwealth Resounds are seeking an original 45-minute script to engage audiences with the challenges facing the world’s oceans.

The deadline for submissions is 15th February 2020.

This open call comes via Commonwealth Writers and aims to connect a writer from the Commonwealth to work in collaboration with the Young People’s Puppet Theatre, the Commonwealth Resounds, the Purcell School for Young Musicians, and the Commonwealth Blue Charter.

The chosen script will be interleaved with original music by exceptional high-school-age musicians, and performed with string marionettes in London and Hertfordshire in September 2020. “The selected writer will develop the script with guidance from professionals experienced in scriptwriting for puppetry.”

The ocean theme should include one or more of the issues currently being tackled by the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups:

  • Coral Reef Protection and Restoration
  • Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods
  • Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (marine plastics)
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Ocean and Climate Change
  • Ocean Observation
  • Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Sustainable Blue Economy
  • Sustainable Coastal Fisheries

In the first instance Commonwealth Resounds invites you to provide a summary of your proposed storyline and a description of the characters in the play, within a maximum of 500 words.

This must be submitted by 15th February 2020, and the preferred storyline will be selected by the end of February. The script will need to be completed by the middle of May 2020.

The selected writer will receive £250 on completion of the script, covering the production in September, and a further £250 royalty each time the script is used in a subsequent production. (For clarity royalties are paid per production, not per performance of a production.)

Find full details and links to useful guidelines on scriptwriting here.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley(@)ICloud(dot)com.