This Tuesday we had a creative luncheon with a very dear friend. We dined, yakked and shared our stories with one another around a crackling fire with full emotional support. It was heaven. This made us think about how incredibly lucky we are to not only have creative friends but also to have a writing group that supports each other with acceptance and safety.

Our lovely luncheon reminded us about our Group’s monthly Soirees held on Sunday. The Soirees hold the same magic of inspiration as our luncheon did and are a fantastic prompt for members to write a new short story every month. Think of it –at the end of the year this tally’s up to 12 brand-spanking-new tales that might not ever have been written without the monthly get togethers.

    How It Works

Whoever hosts the event at their house, decides on a Theme. Everyone brings something to Eat, pot-luck style, and we socialize, scarff down the yummy food and then read our stories. Some are short, some long and some aren’t even on the theme – but it’s brand new, gossimer gold spun out of our fertile imaginations.

New Work. New Stuff, New Crafting-of-Words to stretch and expand your writing abilities and enrich your catalogue of tales which you will at some future date submit to one of the many contests out there even if you think the story and theme is too out there.

For our month of February the theme is “Potions and Allergies.” Sometimes you got nuttin’ but you’re committed to come up with something out of respect for your Host. Roxanne blew out yet another short story, “My Zombie Valentine” and Karen’s alter ego wrote “Curse of the Dog” – a fantasy set in the far past, a genre she has never worked with before. Both stories are out of their comfort zones.

The beauty of adhering to a monthly Soiree Theme forces you to write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be completed–it just has to be ‘created and begun’. This is a wonderful kick in your Muse’s Butt, which leads to building up your repertoire of unique and individual creative projects.

This is a call to go with the flow, accept a challenge, enhance your abilities and stretch your brain.

Both of us have written things outside of our comfort zones. Roxanne who never wrote a zombie story and didn’t think she could, wrote “Zombies at Red Rock” which sold to “A Fistful of Horrors” Her very first ghost and YA story, “The Ghost on Coffin Street,” was written for a Halloween party and sold to Whortleberry Press in their Halloween Dances with the Dead“. It’s one of her favroites. Miss Luella’s Magic Shop,” sold to “Ticonderoga Publications.” for their paranormal anthology, More Scary Kisses.”

Karen’s “Mr. Hoo-Wards Unwise Promise”, a Grade School Christmas Tale was written in honor of the Soiree Hostess, Helen, who wrote the most charming and delightful Children’s stories. It sold to Whortleberry Press in their Peace On All The Earths. The next one was “Grave Mistake” again for Whortleberry and her “Basic Nature” was sold to HOTIP’s Issue of Children and Zombies (definitely NOT a YA or Children’s story)

We’ve had all sorts of themes over the years and you never know what you can do until you challenge yourself to try.

As we’ve mentioned in our previous blogs – we like to share and we can’t think of anything more helpful to the creative spirit than holding a Soiree. It can be with just one or two people or a dozen. But making the commitment, and allowing free access to all sorts of ideas for your Muse to play with is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

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