Monthly Archives: September 2014

Weekly Writing Prompts vol.11; September 29th – October 5th 2014

1) Olivia lived life in an endless loop until one day ________ broke her out of it. What was that thing? Write the scene.

2) Write a scene set in a world where the eyes are actually the mirror to the soul.

3) Apartment building balconies have many interconnections. Write three connected short stories about three apartment balconies.

4) “More ill-advised words have never been spoken,” Jenny said. Norman was overcome with anxiety but had no place to run. Write the next three sentences.

5) Write a scene where one character is overcome with grief while another is overcome with joy.

6) Jason Voorhees is having a conversation with Michael Myers about Freddy Krueger. Write the conversation.

f79047459cffe3cc5f478276c55d-post7) There are possibly a million stories to be told in the photo to the left. Write one of them but relate it to the rest of the writing prompts.


Toronto Cold Reads

The good people at Toronto Cold Reads are accepting submissions of your work. Which is a great thing because the good people at Toronto Cold Reads allow your work to be read by professionals, live on stage! Check out their website in the embedded link above and check out their page specifically for writers here: Submissions for Writers.

And for good measure here are other links!

Toronto Cold Reads on Facebook

Toronto Cold Reads on Twitter

Weekly Writing Prompts vol.10; September 22nd – September 28th 2014

1) Thelma could create fire. It took her to the edge of oblivion but she could do it. Write a scene where Thelma passes into oblivion and is unsure if she can make it back.

2) Write a scene where the weather causes havoc.

3) In the grand scheme of life, every moment plays a role. Write a 3 sentence story about a moment whose role is so pivotal that if it doesn’t happen life would cease to exist.

4) There used to be a woman that sat on the corner. One day she is not there. Why?

5) Write a scene where peace, love and honesty end up being the end of a once beautiful moment.

6) Long before the beginning, there was the end. Write a scene where this makes sense.

3e7f3883c_df78cd4736c80_254f-460x3807) Fire. It’s a thing. What is happening in this picture to make it so?

The Writer’s Alphabet vol.1: A is for Assholes

letter AHere is the first post for the intended new column, “The Writer’s Alphabet” wherein I will take a letter of the alphabet and pick a word to profile that starts with that letter and how that word applies in the writing world. So, why not start with “A”?

What can “A” stand for? Assholes, of course.

Assholes: Everyone has one and everyone can be one. They can be hilarious and they can be evil. Let’s cover two aspects of the asshole. First let’s discuss actual people you might work with, or you possibly being an asshole yourself. Then, we can discuss characters.

So, people/colleagues/you. When it comes to this aspect of asshole-ness some people might think that being an asshole will get you further in the industry than being meek and mild. I argue against both of these perceptions and suggest following the “No Asshole Rule” that Bill Lawrence had on his successful show Scrubs. It ran on NBC for 9 seasons so I think Bill knew what he was talking about with this one. With the “No Asshole Rule”, Bill said if you want to work on this show, no matter your resume or pedigree we will not tolerate being an asshole. No diva behaviour, and no complaining. And, again, Scrubs ran for 9 seasons, so I think this rule worked out. When it comes to working with or being an asshole, I suggest grinning and bearing it and never going back with the former and simply not doing it with the latter. In my fledgling amount of experience in the writing and entertainment industry the best advice I can come up with for being a good writer/performer/entertainer is first, cut out all of the bullshit that is holding you back and second, be professional. Being professional begets becoming a professional and thus, working with other professionals. Following that train of thought, being an asshole…

As for assholes and characters? The bigger the better. Why? Because the bigger the assholes the more conflict they create and conflict, even in minute amounts, is the life blood of every story.

Consider this: Jimmy wants to go for a picnic with Janey. Jimmy looks outside and sees that it is raining. Jimmy throws the picnic basket at the wall and spills mustard, wine and delicious cheese everywhere. Janey ponders what the hell he was thinking because “that was some damn delicious cheese damnit.” Jimmy yells at the weather and then at the cheese and then at Janey and storms off to pout while Janey stares at the mess he made and ponders all of her life decisions.

So we have Jimmy being an asshole in his reaction to the weather (also an asshole in a way), his yelling at everything and his pouting. This has created conflict with Janey and himself and if the weather is sentient in this story then he has also most likely angered it as well, because the weather is just doing its job. If Jimmy simply said, “Hey Janey, let’s be awesome and have a picnic in the living room and maybe play a round of twister afterwards”, we have no conflict, and no story beyond a good “campfire” moment…before the tornado comes through and blows both of these non-assholes half-way across the province.

And I think that covers it for the most part.

To conclude, Being an asshole: BAD! Writing assholes: GOOD!

Thanks for reading.

Toronto’s Writing Spaces vol. 2: Monarch Tavern


Where: 12 Clinton Street, Toronto, Ontario

When: A Thursday evening in late summer.

What I wrote: Blog posts and I edited two short plays.

Review: I was sitting at one of the tables across from the bar, which held a hard line of regulars at the time. One gentleman walked in and took the remaining stool at the wood and another said with pride, “all the dirt-bags are out tonight”, and it was then that I felt at home. Writing at the Monarch was pleasurable. It has a home-like feel with its close ceiling and almost rec-room like atmosphere. That is not to say it feels like a dank basement in the suburbs where Kevin Arnold tried to make-out with Winnie Cooper. Not at all. The Monarch is an institution in the Little Italy area of Toronto and for good reason. It fosters a comfortable and cozy feel and keeps with its namesake addendum of “tavern”.

Looking around the room I envisioned generations having passed through as The Monarch has been open since 1927. While being a pretty cool place to write, with inspiration on every stool and at every table, it could also be a setting for any number of scenes. From the classic “mobster dinner” scene to the setting of nervous first date where the ice is broken with a beer and a shot of bourbon followed by a game of pinball and a couple rounds of pool.  Inspiration surrounds you. When I was there the bar was a quarter filled with an eclectic mix of patrons. In addition to the regulars at the bar, there were what appeared to be university or college-aged kids and in between those tables was a couple in their 60’s enjoying a couple pints and sharing a veal sandwich from San Francesco’s (see below). The music was a melange of rock from all sub-genres and was played at a perfect volume to add some flavour but not distract.

If you are in it for the long haul I recommend bringing a fully-charged laptop battery as plugs are at a bit of a premium. There are two available at different tables and one behind the bar, but being as popular as it is the bar is usually the first space to occupied. And if the tables are taken then you are out of luck with respect to power. But, if you go at the right time, there should be no problems and the staff are very accommodating. The plug I used was poached from one of the speakers that is used for events such as open mics and karaoke so it had to be given back just before 10pm, a fate about which I had no complaints because I was ready to listen to the karaoke stars ply their trade.

Go and write here, but before you do, take in the room. Its “ghosts”, both imagined and literary, will tell you a story.

Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-2am; Sunday 4pm-2am

Food/Drink: I will refer you to their website below for the full list of taps and an intro to their more than 30 types of bourbon. The Monarch has been known to host some pretty awesome food trucks and food pop-ups that have gone on to become full-fledged restaurants, so if they are serving food in house you know it is going to be tasty. If not, feel free to bring up a sandwich, calzone, or slice from one of their two neighbours, Bitondo’s Pizzeria and/or San Francesco, or if you are lucky Amy the awesome bartender will have gone on a popcorn run to the nearby The Royal and have some to share.

A/C: Yes.

WiFi: Yes, just ask for the password.

Website: The Monarch Tavern

Word on the Street 2014

index 1 Toronto’s annual writing walk in the park, The Word on the Street, is back this Sunday. The Word on the Street is a literary festival that helps connect writers, readers and publishers of words with each other and the world. With a plethora of exhibits from all corners of the writing and publishing world, one can’t help but find something that he or she will enjoy be it in the form of an exhibitor’s tent, an author talk or interview, a workshop or a reading. The free event runs from 11am to 6pm on September 21st, in Queen’s Park.

Check out the website in the link above for all the details and follow the event on twitter @torontoWOTS.

Weekly Writing Prompts vol. 9; September 15th – September 21st 2014

1) Useless facts are only useless to those that find them useless. Write a scene where two characters argue about the usefulness of useless facts.

2) Write a scene where every character is hit with a moment of calm.

3) Regardless of hope or agenda, Cameron will not leave until Althea has heard him describe ________. Write the scene.

4) One character places an apple on a table and it so offends another character that an argument ensues. Write it.

5) Write a scene where a character needs to listen more than speak, but they just can’t do it.

6) Often best enemies were at one time best friends. Write a short story where this occurs.

4214_4891439cfe36_633c602922-380x380 7) What is this furry guy dreaming about?

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