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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.

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!

Poetry/Prose Inspired by Music

Posted by ERMurray on 4 July 2013.

For this #wordspark challenge, write a short, five line piece (prose or poem) about a song/piece of music you love. Don’t forget to add details of the inspiring music of choice at the end of your comment! In the meantime, here’s a favourite tune of my own (it was written for me by my hubby so yes, I’m biased)…

Photo Prompt 4

Posted by ERMurray on 10 June 2013.

Take a look at the photo above and write a #wordspark based on what you see, think, feel about the image. Maybe it’s the character? Maybe it’s the setting? maybe it’s what’s missing from the photo? Or something that happened leading up to or after this point? Whatever it is, submit your 5 line poem below – and once again, thanks for joining in the fun! Happy writing!

Missing letters

Posted by ERMurray on 28 May 2013.

This week, you can write a flash fiction or poetry #wordspark on any topic, so long as it follows these guidelines: Your piece is no more than 50 words Your submission does not contain the letter ‘e’. Not as easy as it sounds… Good luck and happy writing!

Be inspired by Seamus Heaney

Posted by ERMurray on 7 May 2013.

I was rereading one of my all-time favourite poems yesterday, Digging by Seamus Heaney. I remember the first time I read the poem and fell in love with its simplicity of language, the seamless fusion of two different generations and worlds, and how the unspoken resonates as loudly as the spoken.  Twenty five years on and no matter how many times I read it, the poem still has the same impact. For this week’s Wordspark,...

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Win a weekend in Schull!

Posted by ERMurray on 4 May 2013.

Instead of posting a new wordspark this week, I thought I’d reward all your hard work with details of an amazing competition… I’m always extolling the virtues of West Cork, and now our local bookshop is making it possible for a lucky winner to treat themselves and a loved one to a weekend in the beautiful Grove House in Schull, dinner and wine included! This is the place I used as a kind of writing...

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