Sapling – a fairytale

Mossy tree cr Judy DarleyThis week I received the exciting news that one of my short stories has been chosen to appear on the Enchanted Conversations websites, a fabulous hub of original fairytales and homages to traditional ones.

Asleep in the Moonlight cr Richard Doyle

You can read my story, Sapling, here. The atmospheric image selected by editor & Publisher Kate Wolford is by artist Richard Doyle.

My story begins like this:

I was the only one who saw him. Everyone else, even my mother, it seems, only saw the tree. I lay in the long grass playing with my soldiers who were using the lawn as a jungle. Sunlight fell thick and heavy through the strands of grass, darkness falling briefly as my mother passed. I glanced up to see where she was going – saw her reach the tree, climb the trunk and disappear into the leaves. I gazed, amazed. My mother had never climbed a tree in my life, that I knew of. I stared at the old oak, then heard a rustling, a sharp gasp, and my mother fell. By the time she hit the ground, my father was halfway down the lawn, running full tilt. Yet only I saw the man in the branches, his skin the color and texture of bark, eyes like two bright spaces between the leaves where light leached through.

Read on…

Find out how to write fairytales here.

Creative inspiration

Lost Garden of Heligan geese cr Judy DarleyLooking for writing inspiration? Creative Writing Ink have come up with a rather nice idea whereby they post photo or illustration each Thursday. You are then invited to write a short story or poem prompted by the image and enter it in their free competition.

So not only do you get a prompt, but there’s a chance to win a gift voucher to use on any of their creative writing courses too. Of course, you don’t need to use the voucher, or even enter the competition – but the writing prompts are fun, free and who knows what they could result in?

Then again, you could just visit SkyLightRain.com and let the randomness of my photos inspire you instead. If you take that route, please let me know!

Happy writing news

Grant Bradley Gallery2I’ve had a few pieces of good news recently that I can’t resist sharing here.

Firstly, my flash fiction story ‘This Gallery’ has been selected to appear on Litro.co.uk as their #FridayFlash today – visit http://www.litro.co.uk/category/fiction/flashfriday/ to read it. I’d love to know what you think of it.

The piece rolls in at just 326 words.

In other news, my short story ‘Coffee Owl’ has been accepted for inclusion in an anthology from Canadian literary imprint Enfield & Wizenty called Friend. Follow. Text.

And new print periodical The Germ Magazine are to publish my short story ‘Little Blessings’ in their next issue, due out in June. They describe their content as “fresh, sincere, aesthetically stimulating verse and prose”, so I feel very honoured to have ‘Little Blessings’ featured. That story began, aptly enough, with a germ of an idea, which consolidated with an image in my mind of a box of pink-nosed, white mice abandoned on a park bench. Funny how these things take root!

Travel, tales and imaginings

Carbis BayI’ve quite a day, tucked up in my writing room as rain has drizzled down the window. Hard to believe that this time last week I was enjoying Cornish beaches in the sunshine! I’ve been busy writing about that trip for Travelbite, and doing some other bits of travel writing for other titles too – some wonderful escapism.

A Dark Imagined Bristol cover

I’ve also been very restless because A Dark Imagined Bristol – the first anthology from the Bristol Fiction Writers’ Group – went live on Amazon this morning, with two of my tales in it!

Restoration image cr Liz AscottMy stories are ‘Restoration’ and ‘Untrue Blue’ – this artwork for the former (shown left) – a tale of two sisters wrangling their differences in a cemetery – is by talented local artist Liz Ascott, who is also a member of the writing group and has stories in the anthology.

On a separate but equally happy note, I’ve spent the latter part of my working day struggling with the back cover copy for my debut short story collection, Remember Me To The Bees, due out later this year from Scopophilia Publishing.

Exciting times!

How to evoke a sense of place

Monsarez, AlentejoA version of this feature was originally published in the 100th issue of The New Writer magazine.

Judy Darley offers advice on capturing the essence of a place in journalistic and creative writing.

As a travel and fiction writer I have a strong awareness of the importance of a sense of place in all kinds of writing. Sights, sounds and smells all add up to an evocative image for the reader, and keep them interested in the story, whether it’s a piece of fiction or a feature.

Open any story or feature with a few words of description about where your scene is taking place, and you immediately provide the reader with a tangible image to hold on to as your tale unfurls. A location can set a tone, a mood, and conjure up an atmosphere far more adeptly than a lengthy description of your main actors’ feelings and actions. Continue reading

Capture the Scene – a writing workshop

Sunday 21st October – 1pm-3pm

Find your inner author with this two-hour creative writing workshop at the end of Bristol Literature Festival.

Arnos Vale book tombEver been moved unexpectedly by the briefest of descriptions? From poetry to journalism, short stories to novels, less is almost always more. But this makes choosing the right words all the more important.

Whether you want to improve your fiction writing, produce copy that sells or simply learn to transform sights, sounds and impressions into evocative writing, Capture the Scene is for you!

Poet Joanna Butler and travel and fiction writer Judy Darley lead this two-hour writing workshop in the inspirational Arnos Vale to learn how to make your writing resonate.

Use all your senses to create a piece of writing inspired by the setting of the cemetery, drawing on the sense of timelessness as well as specific details in the landscape and on the tombstones. The workshop includes a short walk among the graves, so please bring sensible footwear and warm waterproof clothing.

The workshop will culminate in each writer producing a short piece of writing for possible inclusion in a future exhibition of work.

Places are limited, so book yours now. Tickets cost £5, with the full amount donated to registered charity Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust.

About the Tutors

Judy DarleyJudy Darley is a fiction writer and travel journalist. Previously her short stories have been published by literary magazines and anthologies including Riptide, Litro Magazine, The View From Here, ‘The Love of Looking’ and ‘Crab Lines from the Pier’. Two of her stories appear on the Arnos Vale Cemetery website. Her travel writing has appeared in magazines, on websites and in ‘1001 Retreats to Make Before You Die’, published by Penguin. Recent journeys include visits to Borneo, Italy, Iona, Slavonia, and Tunisia. Judy tweets at http://twitter.com/EssentialWriter

Joanna ButlerJoanna Butler is a writer and poet. She has a special interest in finding inspiration in different sites and has created and exhibited writing at The Bed Workshop, Bedminster, The Tobacco Factory, Bristol South Pool, Tate Modern and the archaelogical site of Contrebia Leucade in Spain. Her first poetry collection ‘This is our archaeology’ is out soon.

HOW TO BOOK

Buy your ticket online via Paypal at the Arnos Vale Cemetery website.  Alternatively visit the Gift Shop in the East Lodge building (to the left as you enter Arnos Vale through the main gates just off the Bath Road entrance) .  The Gift Shop is open daily from 10:00am-4:00pm or, if you want to purchase your tickets by phone please ring: 0117 971 9117.

For more information on this event please telephone 0117 9719711 or email bookings@arnosvale.org.uk