Flash Fiction, Keyword Challenge

tmp_5434-book-863418_12801904019198.jpgI’ve been thinking for a while that I need to get some actual writing on my blog, not just “here’s what I’m working on” or sharing research finds. Trouble is, I don’t have much in the short story department, and so I’ve decided to make more.

Anyone who uses the Reader on WordPress knows about the search bar at the top. For the longest time I completely missed the suggested keywords underneath, but there are always three, and they are always changing.

My plan is to take the keywords and run with them, turning it into flash fiction.

And I feel like this is going to be super fun!

Do you write flash fiction? How do you choose what to write about? If you want to do the Keyword Challenge too, I would love to see what you come up with!

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A Snapshot of Where I Write

For 1 hour a day, occasionally 1 1/2 hours.


Because nap time is it. That’s all I get.

You see, I have 5 kids ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years. Before I took on the more daunting writing goals, I decided I wouldn’t sacrifice my family for more time. I had to work with what I had.

It’s not easy. In fact, for 2 months last Fall it was so frustrating I quit writing altogether. I had to find a new method, and that became not just sitting with the 4 yr old while he fell asleep (he wouldn’t otherwise), but also staying in the room while he slept.tmp_11813-img_20170214_142048-463412669

The older kids (who don’t nap) know to Not Bother Mama and do their school or color or play with legos quietly. The 18 mo old sleeps at the same time, so I actually get an hour or so of solid quiet (most the time) to work on the novel or write a blog post.

Sometimes it means stopping before I want to (like the time I was 5 sentences away from killing off the bad guy, then the little man woke up), but I look at the kiddos and my husband as a bigger priority. I love them more than I love my book, and I want to make sure they know it.

In the mean time, I plug away at my literary goals little by little, one nap at a time.

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Writing on Research: Running Track & Field (Diagram)

I landed in the boat right where I was supposed to, but then an old hurdling injury reminded my knees why I didn’t jump anymore. (Novel, WIP)



One of my characters has a history in track & field. I couldn’t rely on my 15 year old memory to accurately recall details of my personal experience, so I set out to research!

Department of Sport and Recreation (Government of Western Australia)

I found this site helpful because my character tends to measure distances in her daily life based on track measurements, and the diagrams here were a little more specific and larger (and easier to read) than other sites. This link also gives details on the various track events.

Track and Field Dimensions (iSport)tmp_9843-track-740862_1280-1536842581

This site includes details (and printable diagrams) on the inner field sports as well as the jumps and track events. I needed info on hurdling specifically, so I appreciated the discipline specific diagrams.

If you have researched this topic and found other helpful links, please leave them in a comment!

See the (short but growing) complete list of researched topics here.

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Writing on Research: Exclamations (Non-profane, non-vulgar)

This is a nice list of uttered sounds that communicate a wide array of emotion, with definitions:

100 Mostly Small but Meaningful Interjections (Daily Writing Tips)

A similar list but not identical, no definitions:

Interjections (English Grammar Revolution)

There are other sites out there with more exhaustive lists, but they include vulgar and profane phrases alongside the clean ones so I haven’t listed them here.


See the (short but growing) complete list of researched topics here.

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Capture of a Waiting Room

One day my minivan needed its tires rotated and wheels aligned. I made my appointment, scheduled a babysitter, then off I went, completely forgetting that these sorts of things can take time.

When I heard “3 hour wait,” I inwardly cringed. I had no book to read. No yarn to crochet. No smart phone to play on.

Fortunately, I always have a small notepad in my purse. And pens. I spent the first 20 minutes writing down lists to better organize my life. I studied the finished products proudly, eager to make my life as good as it looked on paper. (Ha. Haha.)

Then I sighed, looked at the clock, and did the only thing I could think of: I sketched where I was.  Continue reading

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Writing on Research: Hypothermia from Water Submersion

tmp_9796-water-4188_1280420314986How quickly does hypothermia come on after cold water submersion? At what temperature is hypothermia a higher risk? How quick is recovery from mild hypothermia?

These are just a few of the questions I needed to answer for my book. Fortunately it’s one of those topics that doesn’t really change with time, although the answers do vary based on specific conditions.

I found the answers to my questions and lots of other useful information in these links.

Hypothermia Prevention: Survival in Cold Water (Minnesota Sea Grant)

This site is one of many that includes a “how long can a person survive in cold water” table.

Teaching the Cold Facts (Beyond Cold Water Boot Camp)

Includes more videos and graphs than most of the other sites I found. I sometimes need the visuals to understand new ideas, so this was helpful.

Hypothermia (Wikipedia)


Water Temperature Table for All Coastal Regions (NOAA)

If your water situation occurs in the ocean, this seems a valuable tool.

See the (short but growing) complete list of researched topics here.

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Secretly Building


Much like the last post, I have not been idle in my time away.

After a wild fire chased us off our mountain home, we found ourselves in an unfinished basement. Two bedrooms and a bathroom later, we welcomed our 5th child. Then we bought a fixer-upper house, I wrote a couple children’s books, and I unsuccessfully tried a pseudonym.

I learned a lot of what not to do in the marketing/ publishing department. (Thank you, so much, to my faithful friends who are still with me in this writing journey!)

With new writing projects looming, I’m trying a different approach. I’m not sure what this blog will turn into, so for now I’m content to keep it lost in the noise of the internet.

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