Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

West Coast flash fiction

January 30, 2016

I love flash fiction (very short stories that you can read in one quick gulp). Here is my attempt at one, inspired by summer camp memories and a First Nations legend of the west coast forest:


D’Sonoqua

I scrunch deeper into the salal, loosening the sweet scent of ripening berries, letting the thick leaves close around me. The twitter of birds stops suddenly, and I freeze as footsteps pound down the forest path. No one sees me. From further up the trail, girls’ voices drift through the trees.

“I see you, Cara!” Olivia, the girl who is IT, calls shrilly.

“Home free!” another voice shouts.

Then silence. It’s as if the sounds have been smothered by the thick moss that covers everything.

Something snuffles on the other side of the salal. A wild animal? No, it is probably that girl from cabin 6 who breaths through her mouth. I keep as still as possible, holding my breath.

“I see you, Madison!” Olivia’s voice is a thin thread, tangled and lost among the big trees, the ancient ferns and the absorbing moss.

The snuffling beyond the salal moves on.

Then Madison’s theatrical scream pierces the forest. It’s the same scream she used to end the lame scary story she told in the cabin last night. As if the scream was enough to make it scary. No murderer with a bloody chainsaw. No crazy knife-wielding hitch-hiker. Just some Wild Woman of the Woods who catches children who wander into the forest. Not much of a story, but the other girls in the cabin hang on Madison’s every word.

I listen for another shout from Olivia, or Madison’s triumphant laugh. Ha Ha, I scared you. But there is nothing.

I consider emerging from my hiding spot and running for Home. But I don’t move.

The forest is silent. Even the birds remain quiet. Waiting.

D'Sonoqua-crop2

 *  *  *

For more flash fiction, check out author kc dyer‘s Festive Flash Fiction Advent Calendar posted in December, which includes flash fiction by kc and other authors. Here are the links to the flash fiction I shared there:

Fight or Flight

The Small Green Snake

Yarn bombing

Accordion Book Directions (with bonus cat)

September 12, 2014

workshop -finished book

Last spring I did some accordion book-making with kids as part of a writing workshop I taught at the Kamloops Young Authors Conference. We talked about how each story is a “hero’s journey” (with a quest and obstacles to overcome along the journey), then we created accordion book plot diagrams (with participants plotting out their own hero’s journeys). The books are also meant to look old and mysterious ─part treasure map and part talisman. The kids’ books turned out great!

workshop in progress

Before the workshop, I set out my supplies to photograph the directions for making a simple accordion book. Of course, the first picture was photo-bombed by my cat (aptly named Curious, she always has to check out everything).

Curious


Accordion book supplies:

– two rectangle pieces of cardboard for book covers (cardboard from cereal boxes works well). (For the “Hero’s Journey” book project, I cut the cardboard 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches).

– two rectangle pieces of decorative paper for book covers (the pieces should be larger than the cardboard by about 1/4 inch or so all around). (For the “Hero’s Journey” book project, I cut the cover paper to 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches and used kraft packing paper, which I “aged” by crumpling up the paper, then smoothing it out and adding brown ink & tea bag staining).

– a strip of paper that will be accordion folded to make the book “pages.” When folded, the pages should be slightly smaller than the book covers (for the “Hero’s Journey project, I cut the paper strip 3 x 16 inches, which fit nicely inside the book covers when accordion folded into 2 x 3 sections –also, three of these strips could be cut from a 11 x 17 sheet of paper).

– ribbon or raffia string (my first thought was to use the natural coloured raffia for an antique look, but my cat tried to eat it, so I switched to fabric ribbon). The ribbon should be long enough to wrap around the finished book and tie (I used a 16 inch piece for the “Hero’s Journey” book).

– scissors, glue

– optional: tea bag & brown ink stamp pad for “aging” the covers and inside pages, small pieces of decorative paper to glue inside the covers (we used antique map images for this project), craft jewels & collage items for decorating the covers

Directions (the following photos are from a different accordion book project, using Japanese paper):

1. Once your two pieces of cardboard and two cover papers are cut, place your first piece of cardboard on top of the back of a piece of cover paper (ie on top the side you don’t want showing). Centre it, so that there is an equal overlap of paper around the cardboard.

step 2



step 3

2. Cut the corners off the cover paper at the corners of the cardboard.













3. Fold the edges of the cover paper, so that they wrap tightly over the sides of the cardboard. Glue. (Do this with both covers).

step 4













4. Glue ribbon to centre of inside back cover (with equal amount of ribbon on either side).







step 5

5. Fold long strip of paper in accordion fashion, so that it divides into equal rectangles sized slightly smaller than the covers. Glue end rectangle “page” of accordion folded strip onto centre of back cover (over the ribbon). Glue the first rectangle page over the inside of the remaining cover, so that when the accordion folds are folded together, the covers come together.

finished book




6. wrap the ribbon around the front of the book and tie a bow.