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Guest Blogs

A blog by ERMurray

Photos, people, experiences, dreams: in other words, ideas. They have to come from somewhere, but it’s not always easy. Let Wordspark inspire you. You never know where it might lead…

Elizabeth Rose Murray lives in West Cork where she writes, fishes, and grows her own vegetables. Her first book for young adults Caramel Hearts (Alma Books) was published June 2016. Her debut novel for children aged 10-12, The Book of Learning - Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (Mercier Press) was chosen as the 2016 Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Citywide Read for Children and the follow-up The Book of Shadows - Nine Lives Trilogy 2 was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. The final installment The Book of Revenge will be published in February 2018.

Elizabeth has poetry and short fiction published in journals across the UK and Ireland - including Ogham Stone, Southword, South Circular, Esc and 3am - and has been shortlisted in various competitions including TV3AM Short Story, Francis MacManus, and Aesthetica Creative Works. She has also performed in Ciudades Paralelas: Station - a live writing installation.

Hoping to encourage new writers, Elizabeth provides manuscript reports and online writing courses through Inkwell Writers and Big Smoke Writing Factory. She is a regular at literary festivals, and offers adult workshops on writing for children and young adults, as well as multiple events and workshops for children and teens.

You can connect with Elizabeth on Twitter @ERMurray, Facebook www.facebook.com/ERMurray.Author or her blog www.ermurray.com

You can follow Elizabeth online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

A Bit of Spontaneity

Posted by ERMurray on 18 December 2013.

This time around on #wordspark, I’m doing something a little bit different. We recently featured an article on Spontaneity, “an arts journal all about inspiration, where one idea really does lead to another.” The idea is simple: Issue 1 of the journal was themed, and from now on, all submissions must be inspired by one of the poems, short stories, paintings or photographs already published in the journal. I think this is a brilliant idea and...

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Micro-fiction – 15 words limit!

Posted by ERMurray on 10 December 2013.

Inspired by some of the great (and not so great) micro-fiction on twitter, this week’s Wordspark requires you to create a mini masterpiece using no more than fifteen words. Your micro fiction can be poetry or prose, but it must convey a complete story. As writing super short fiction can be daunting, I’ve added a photo below to help inspire you. However, if you have something completely original and not at all related to the...

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Let the landscape speak!

Posted by ERMurray on 20 November 2013.

This week’s Wordspark is inspired by the fact that I’m sitting inside reading short stories, fire stoked, pausing now and again to watch the landscape drown in lashing rain. One of the joys of moving from a city to the countryside has been the access to rugged coasts, tumbling hills and vast skies. From my window I can see farm fields, rocky outcrops, and the Atlantic. At night, the Fastnet Lighthouse blinks in every seven...

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Can a photo inspire your writing?

Posted by ERMurray on 9 November 2013.

This week, write a paragraph inspired by the photograph shown below. It could be an opening paragraph, a closing paragraph, a piece of flash fiction or even an exercise in descriptive – the choice is yours. Make it your own, make it speak to us and enjoy the creative process of letting one art form inspire another.  Happy writing!

Atmospherics & spooks

Posted by ERMurray on 2 October 2013.

This week’s Writing Spark is inspired by the change in season and by a recent short story workshop I attended with Alannah Hopkin on ‘The Uncanny”. Living rurally, I find myself more aware of the weather and as the nights draw in, my writing tends to get darker, deeper and more atmospheric. This week, I’d like you to take note of the changing weather – the cold, the mists, the rain and moody skies –...

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Be like Hemingway and listen!

Posted by ERMurray on 11 September 2013.

As Hemingway once said; “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Inspired by these useful words of advice, this week’s #Wordspark challenge takes you away from your desk… We want you to take your (trusty) notebook with you on your commute/coffee break/walk etc and listen out for interesting snippets of conversation. Turn what you hear into a short poem, piece of flash fiction or section...

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Write in second person

Posted by ERMurray on 2 September 2013.

The character point of view drives the story and in fiction, there’s a tendency to write in first or third person. Why? Because both give the reader an insight into a character’s thoughts & feelings, and third person has the added advantage of allowing for other perspectives. But there’s a freedom and challenge in writing in second person, where you get to involve and engage the reader on a deeper level. This week, the #wordspark...

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The all important setting

Posted by ERMurray on 14 August 2013.

This week, we want you to look at setting. Write a description (between 200-400 words) of somewhere that you’d like to set a short story or poem. Think about the landscape, weather, colours, smells and sounds. Are the people within it shaped by the landscape or the other way around? Does the landscape change and if so, how and why?  Is it real or fictional, welcoming or frightening? You can use this as a writing...

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Continue this story…

Posted by ERMurray on 8 August 2013.

This week, we give you an opening line for your wordspark challenge: Looking at him, you’d never have guessed. It’s up to you to post below what happens next… (it’s up to you how long the piece is but we suggest you keep it to around 500 words)

Show don’t tell.

Posted by ERMurray on 24 July 2013.

As writers, we’re always being reminded to show, not tell. But is it always easy to do? This week, write a paragraph about someone being followed. Your piece can be written in first, second or third person, in any tense that works for you, but give us a strong sense of character and place, full of emotion. Convince us. Make us feel. Make us believe. Happy writing!