Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #76: Writing a Blank

Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! For this week’s prompt, I’d like us to play with one of the following phrases:

  •           Drawing a blank
  •           Blank slate
  •           Blank space
  •           'Blank'et statement

You change the tense (ex. “draw a blank”) or change it to plural (ex. “blank spaces”) but some form of the phrase must appear in the post. I’m open to poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. Just remember to keep all prose offerings to 369 words or fewer and one entry per person please.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Writers' Pantry #76: Whatever the Weather

 Hello, dear wordsmiths. Greetings from DownUnder, where it’s beastly cold at present.

In the (Australian-based) facebook photography group I’m in, one of our themes this month is Winter. I’ve been posting pics of warm slippers and fleecy boots; my cat burrowing under a blanket or lying next to the oil heater; an overcast sky….

How is it that Winter Solstice, which (in this Hemisphere) we had last weekend, marks mid-winter and the shortest day, yet the weather gets colder and colder for the next two months? That doesn’t make sense to me.

I trust all you Northern Hemispherians are enjoying the warmth of the sun instead – hopefully not too hot, but the perfect temperature – while I long for the return of a long Aussie summer. (Preferably without fires and finally free of COVID. Well, we can dream).

Meanwhile, I’ll hope to be warmed by your wonderful writings – old or new, poetry or prose (prose 369 words maximum, excluding title) and on any topic of your choosing. Bring it on!

You know the drill: link to your post on Mister Linky below, just one link per person, and we’d love it if you link back to us on your post and also drop a little comment here to say hello or tell us about your weather or anything else you’d like to share.

Heads-up: Next Wednesday Rommy will invite us to write on Drawing a blank / Blank slate / Blank space / ‘Blank’et statement. (You can change the tense or make it plural, but please include some form of one of these phrases in your piece.)

Happy Sunday folks, and happy writing!


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #75: Between What Is Right and What Seems Easy

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” ~Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

Such a thought-provoking quote, don’t you think? I’ve always thought so. I also believe that ‘easy’ and ‘right’ can be rather complex concepts, that quite often what seems easy isn’t so, the same is true of what is right (or perhaps wrong).     

For today’s prompt, let us write new poetry or prose inspired by the idea of choosing between what is right and what seems easy.

As always, this prompt shall remain open for a week. We welcome fiction and nonfiction, short and long(ish) pieces—if you go for prose, let the word count be 369 words or fewer. Please add the direct link to your contribution. And after your share your words, do take a moment (or 3) to visit other poets and storytellers, and share your thoughts on their words. Significantly rewritten pieces are also welcomed.  

Let us write, share, and discuss our muses’ words.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Writers’ Pantry #75: I Just Want to Celebrate

Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! Happy Summer Solstice to those of us in the northern hemisphere and Happy Winter Solstice to all the folks down under. I’m doing my best to focus on the joyful aspects of this day (I’ve always been fond of the solstices and equinoxes) and will be spending as much time outside as I can.

I’ll also be celebrating a very big to me milestone. The rough draft of the novel I’m working on is done. LOL, when I say rough draft, I mean rough. I’ve got a bunch of notes that I need to refine, work through, and incorporate. I’ve got scenes that are more like quick verbal sketches of actions and mood. But all the pieces are there. Are you celebrating any little victories in your life?

For next Wednesday, Magaly would like us to write poetry or prose inspired by the idea of choosing between what is right and what seems easy.

On to celebrating the written word! Hit me with your word gems, poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction, old or new. Please be sure to keep all prose offerings to 369 words or fewer and one entry per person.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #74: Painted Tales

Greetings, poets and storytellers. I hope this day finds you well and ready to share words. I’m slightly behind on blogging and such—life has been extra busy—but I should be able to catch up in the next couple of days.

Today’s prompt came to mind after I watched Girl with a Pearl Earring, a movie inspired by a novel which was inspired by a painting… Now, I’m inviting you to choose a painting and write new poetry or prose from the point of view of a character in said painting. Your contribution should include the painting or a link where others can look at it. Significantly rewritten pieces are welcomed.

This prompt will stay open for a week. One link per participant. If you choose to share prose, the word count should be 369 words or fewer. Let us write painted tales! 

Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Johannes Vermeer


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Writers' Pantry #74: Words, words, glorious words

Creating one's own lexicon

I’ve just discovered a great new book for writers. New to me that is; it was first published 2010 and the second edition, which I am reading, is dated 2018. It’s The Writer’s Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long.

I’ve read a lot of books for writers and have my few firm favourites, some of whom Long quotes, e.g. Natalie Goldberg and Dorothea Brande. I don’t usually get excited by yet another coming on the market, but this one really excites and inspires me. I read much of the first two chapters to my women writers’ group this week and they got fired up too.

I first got the sample from Kindle, just to make sure, and then forgot about it a while. When I finally came to read it, I knew I had to get the whole book. Unpleasant surprise: it’s expensive for an ebook. $18.59 US dollars. Some second-hand paperback copies are cheaper! I got the ebook anyway, because I like ebooks, this one contains so much and such excellent content that it somewhat excuses the price, and at least one doesn’t have to pay shipping – and because I could not bear to be without this book.

Some things in the early chapters, which are as far as I’ve read yet, are not new to me; they are even things I’ve tried before. But Long explains them in more depth, and adds new layers. For instance, I have kept lists before of words that take my fancy, and used them. But she suggests buying a special small notebook to be one’s Lexicon, dividing each page in half to give two words to a page, and adding useful information under each. She also likes to play with large dictionaries! It’s not about finding fancy or unfamiliar words so much as those which delight you for whatever reason. She tells us: The rule is, put in only the good words, the juicy words, the hot words.

Not that one always wishes to embellish or heighten one’s writing. There are times when something very plain and spare is warranted. She says:

How much language to use is the writer’s choice, always. But to use a limited vocabulary because in reality you only command a limited vocabulary produces a result entirely different from what you might produce in a spare style spun out of an ample and ever-growing word list.

Dear wordsmiths, I await your words, be they juicy or spare, in poetry or prose, old or new. Please keep prose to 369 words maximum (excluding title). Please add the url to Mister Linky below, and leave us a comment if you feel so inclined. A link back to us on your blog post would be appreciated.

Next Wednesday Magaly will invite us to write poetry or prose from the point of view of a character in a painting. Your post should include the painting or a link where other poets and storytellers can look at it. Significantly rewritten pieces are welcomed, as well as new ones.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #73: Butterflies and Moths

 Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! Although cicadas seem to be taking up a lot of attention (cicada recipes anyone?) for this week, I'd like you to consider either butterflies or moths (or both!) when weaving your words. Although there are obvious similarities the two are not the same

You should include the word butterfly and/or moth in your work. I will accept poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction, new or significantly reworked pieces. Be sure to keep your prose pieces to 369 words or fewer and only one entry per person please. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Writers' Pantry #73: Encouraging Ourselves

Greetings, dear wordsmiths. I hope you are all successfully navigating your circumstances and being sustained by your writing lives.

Sometimes, however, the creative energy flags, and/or we doubt the value of our efforts. Here are some things to remind ourselves of, when that happens.

For Poets:

Recently I came across – and now can’t find it again to reproduce it exactly – a quote from Basho, the great haiku master, saying (something to the effect) that if a poet manages to write only one good poem, that is a successful life.

Knowing a little of how Basho and his colleagues went about it, that means one out of hundreds – even thousands! Yes, it's extreme, but I bet we can all remember back to a time when we were starting out, and dreamed of writing just one really good poem.

Note, he didn’t say anything about having to communicate the one good poem, or receive any kind of applause or reward for it. He also didn’t say it had to be a great poem, nor better than anyone else’s, nor even that it had to be the best you yourself would ever produce. (It probably would be the best you were capable of at the time of writing it, given that we don't intentionally write bad poems.)

All of which means we’re all already there, and have in fact exceeded the goal! I guess there must be people who write only bad poetry, but they are not among this community, all of whom continually produce good poems.

It must follow that the life of a storyteller who produces one good story has also been successful.

For Storytellers:

Currently I’m reading the very exciting ‘Magisterium’ books by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare: a fantasy series for children. (Don’t laugh; you all read Harry Potter didn’t you?) In an author interview at the end of the first volume they are asked what special advice they have for aspiring writers. They say (not new but worth being reminded of over and over again – because though we all know it, we also all slip):

There is a special mantra we writers use: BICHOK – Butt in chair. Hands on keyboard.

The special trick is to keep writing! Even when you don’t feel like it and you just want to hurl your laptop out of the window, just keep writing. Try to have fun with it too – writing can be very frustrating and draining at times, so it’s important not to lose the sense of excitement you felt when you first imagined the story coming together and the characters began to form in your mind.

This, I realise, could mean a daily habit of writing, a once-a-week appointment with one’s writer self, or whatever else suits – so long as it’s not a one-off or spasmodic thing. It’s the keeping on keeping on which works. 

Yes, we all do have those times when we stop, of course. The thing is to pick ourselves up asap and get back to the regular habit. Well, we know that, don’t we? We keep turning up for our regular writing dates here. 

And so we also know that this advice works just as well for creating poems as it does for telling stories.  (Especially if there's coffee.)

What is your favourite tip for writers? How do you encourage yourselves? 

Do please share this in the comments below!

Now I await your excellent poems and stories, old or new, on any topic. Prose pieces to be 369 words or fewer (excluding title). One submission each, please, and link to it on your blog in the Mister Linky below. We’d love it if, on your blog, you’d link back to us at this post, too.

This upcoming Wednesday Rommy will be asking us to write about either moths or butterflies (or both!).

Images free from Unsplash, by (in the order in which they appear above) Miguel Bruna, Fa Barboza and Sincerely Media. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #72: Unusual, Uncommon, Uncanny

Greetings, poets and storytellers. I hope Wednesday is being good to you. I was just cleared to get back on my trampoline, do calisthenics, and strength training, so I guess my Wednesday is starting great (and promises to end with a significant amount of welcomed and missed muscular soreness). I’ve missed regular exercise almost as much as I’ve missed regular (and deliciously long) writing sessions. What have you missed?  

Today’s prompt wasn’t inspired by things I’ve missed, but by words I love. If you have read me for a while, you probably already noticed my overuse of words like weird and peculiar and strange. I am not even exactly sure why I like those words so much; perhaps it’s because I’m a bit weird, and a tad peculiar, and a lot strange. Something for me to think about… someday… maybe…

At this moment, for our 73rd Weekly Scribblings, I just wish to invite you to write poetry or prose which includes one (or all three) of the following words: unusual, uncommon, uncanny. You are welcomed to choose your own topic, genre, form… But your contribution must include at least one of the words.  

This prompt will stay open for a week. One link per participant, please. If you go for prose, the word count should be 369 words or fewer. Also, previously written pieces (that have been meaningfully rewritten) are welcomed. Let us delight in words.