Archive for the ‘writing prompts’ Tag

Fall Open Mic Night at the MSU Writing Center   Leave a comment

Microphones

The Mics are OPEN!!!!!

 

Last night I attended my first open mic reading with my husband since we moved to Michigan in September. It took place at the MSU Writing Center in Bessey Hall, on the Michigan State University campus.

 

We had been invited to attend by members of our writers’ workshop at the East Lansing Library. The group is also sponsored by the MSU Writing Center, and meets every other Thursday. We were happy to see that, as with the writers’ workshop, we weren’t the oldest people in the room at the Open Mic. The performers included several poets, some musicians, and a story teller or two. There was free pizza and drinks for everyone, and each person that got up to read received a t shirt. There was also a raffle drawing throughout the night. I won a 25 dollar gift card to Schuler Books in Okemos, which was a pleasant surprise.

 

The students were very open and welcoming to two old timers like us. There was a poet who went by the name Logic, about our age, who seemed to be a regular in local writing circles, who had a rapid fire delivery and had everyone laughing and shaking their heads at the way he would spin truth into poetry.

 

Overall, it was a good night out, and the perfect way to start November, fresh and inspired and ready to take on that novel I’ve been attempting to write for a year and a half. It’s been sitting dormant for about six months, so it’s time to get writing again!

 

How are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Any great open mics or writers’ workshops in your area? I’d love to hear about them!

 

The One Website Every Writer Should Know   2 comments

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

When people find out I’m a writer, they’re full of questions. They tell me about this one poem or story they’ve written or thought about writing, but they don’t know what they’d do with it after it’s written. Should they publish it? Isn’t that risky, especially if they publish it online? How would they find a place to send it anyway, and how would they submit it?

For all these questions and more, I send them to duotrope.com. Duotrope has a database of 4,360 publications that are currently accepting work. These include both print and online literary journals, publisher of fiction, non fiction, and poetry, paying and non paying markets. Each listing has a treasure trove of information on the guidelines of each publisher, response statistics, and a link to the website for further information.

Duotrope also provides a submissions manager to allow members to keep track of where and when they’ve submitted work. There is a community presence, offering market news, writing prompts, calendars, and in depth interviews with the editors of publications listed. Even our own Waterhouse Review is listed. You can read the interview with fiction editor Gavin Broom and me here: https://duotrope.com/interview.aspx?id=5149

Duotrope has also introduced me to a number of great markets, like Niteblade. In fact, you may be reading this post because of the Niteblade blog train. You probably came from http://idreamagain.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/niteblade-blog-train-stop-15/, and next stop is, http://www.markrigney.net/Rigney/Blog/Blog.html
So if you’re in a rut and don’t know what to write or just need a new market to send your work, please check out https://duotrope.com/index.aspx

Elimae 2007   Leave a comment

Domestic goat.

Image via Wikipedia

To read this oldie but goodie, click here

The journal elimae holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first places to publish me back in 07 when I decided to really get serious about writing and publishing.

The poem, “Was God, Cooked Dinner that Night” holds a special place in my heart because it was written shortly after I joined Scrawl and participated in my first flash exercise. The prompts were goat, bolt, and motion.  My father was still raising goats, I’d already written a goat poem about that the previous year, so this time I felt obliged to create a brand new story, a poem straight from my head, with little to do with the heart. And, according to Coop Renner over at elimae, it worked.

Try it for yourself. Write something about a goat, a bolt, and motion.

The Legendary 2011   Leave a comment

Coffee and Sunshine

Image by Frank Gruber via Flickr

The Legendary had a special Flash issue in March, and included two pieces of my flash fiction. I love being in the Legendary, because every issue is well put together, the stories and poems are always excellent, quality work. Katie and Jim have a good eye, a good ear. Thanks guys!

Male/Female is a flash about the maybes, the could have beens, that occur in our lives every day. A moment between coworkers allows a woman, trapped in an unhappy marriage, to imagine what life would be like with the IT guy. Personally, I’ve known some perfectly wonderful IT guys, and gals for that matter, but none I’d necessarily like to date. At least, not yet.

Hermit is a flash from the mind of someone terrified of the world. Written as stream of consciousness, they go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee, and survive the trip to tell the tale. Again, not necessarily a situation I’ve found myself in. I’ve been at parties where I’ve wanted to shrink into the wallpaper, but never while purchasing fast food.

It’s a fun challenge, writing from a perspective that isn’t exactly yours. Taking experiences, twisting them, expanding them in a way you’d never take them in your normal everyday life.  For example, in the novel I’m writing now, the protagonist is in the middle of a divorce from her husband, who happens to be a zombie. Divorce I’m all too familiar with, but I don’t know many zombies.

Today, try to write from a different point of view. Write from a different race, or gender, from your own. Take something you’ve experienced, and imagine how someone else might handle that same experience.

 

To read these stories, click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bartleby Snopes   Leave a comment

Amy, singer of the spanish punk-rock band Sickno

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.bartlebysnopes.com/querrie.htm

This story came from a flash writing prompt on the online writers’ workshop I belong to, Scrawl. One of the prompts was ‘Fifth Column‘, and one was quisling. Of course that lead to a story about a rebellious teenage rock band, just the way my mind works.

Fifth Column really is an all girl punk band from Canada, contrary to this story, they’re not all that bad.

 

Liquid Imagination   Leave a comment

Decorated gingerbread cookies

Image via Wikipedia

To read the poem Gingerbread Mean, click here

Today, on snow day #2 for this week, my oldest son and niece are making gingersnaps with their grandmother while the younger ones nap. I figure this is a good day to blog about my poem about the dark side of gingerbread men, called Gingerbread Mean, that was just published in Liquid Imagination this week.

Before I go into the story though, just please click the link and check it out, for the artwork alone. It’s pretty good, perhaps the best thing someone has ever put with one of my poems. There have been times in the past I’ve really cringed at the kind of artwork an edtior will choose to put with a poem or short story of mine, but this, I’m really impressed. So please, click the link and check it out. I’ll wait.

 

…….

 

Ok? Seen it? Good. Pretty cool, huh?

Anywho, I love Christmas. I really, really do. I love to give, I’m a giver. And I’ve got a lot of people to give to. But there are times when even the most fanatic of Christmas lovers gets dragged down with all the commercialism, the busyness, the drama that goes into the modern Christmas. Especially one that is in the middle of a divorce.

So, this poem came out of that feeling, of being overwhelmed with Christmas cheer. And, being me, I had to add a dash of creepy anthropomorphism into it, making the gingerbread men feel the burn of the oven.

Think, on this day when most of the country is buried in snowpocalypse. When we’re glued to our tvs, wondering what the Egyptians will do next in an attempt to oust their president. What drags you down now, that at some point in your life you really, truly loved. What changed? Write about it, add a cookie or two for sweetness. Get out of your blizzard coma and write something.

Diddledog 2011   Leave a comment

Un otage nommé Bumpy

Image via Wikipedia

To read the flash fiction Feed Me, click here.

Everyone’s got a creepy monster in the closet/ under the bed story. The fact that, as children, we all see things that aren’t there going bump in the night speaks to me of subconscious, primal fears that have been passed on from generation to generation.

With this story, I wanted to harness that fear, but also throw a little humor into it, as well as more grown up fears, (dying alone, getting fat, remaining unloved) we all develop in one way or another over time. I wanted to present a creation story for my monster, give him a weakness, define him in a way that makes him not quite as scary anymore.

What is it you fear? Today, give those fears legs, a monstrous face. Teach that monster a lesson using storytelling to give your monsters a beginning, and an end.

Juked 2011   5 comments

Steacie Science and Engineering Library at Yor...

Image via Wikipedia

To read the poem Between Meals, click here

Getting laid off is hard. Getting divorced, is hard. Put them together, you have the hell that was my 2010.

The lay off was made better, or worse, by the fact that the school system offered me another job, that I wasn’t necessarily qualified for, that I hadn’t spent years and money training for. A job that took me out of the library and into numerous classrooms, with nowhere really to safely store my purse, my lunch, no desk or shelf of my own. Coming from three years of pretty much having a giant library to myself, that was hard. I almost didn’t take it, but had to weigh in the economic needs of my family, including health insurance.

So, I took the job, and this poem is born from that experience.

Happily, another library position became available and I was able to leave that other position, with no regrets. It turns out, this is a better place for me than my old library would have been had I stayed, so the lay off was a good thing. God knows what He’s doing.

Today, write about an unhappy or uncomfortable situation. Between Meals is,  I think, one of the best poems I’ve ever written, that comes out of one of the worst situations I’ve ever been in. Use your own worst experiences to create something beautiful of your won.

Word Riot   Leave a comment

Campfire flames

Image via Wikipedia

To read the poem, On Building a Campfire, click here

Word Riot is one of those places I’ve tried long and hard to get published in, and this little poem, written while camping out this summer, was the key to opening this market up to me.

If you’ve ever gone camping with me, you’ll know fire building is a skill of mine I’m willing to show off. I prefer campfires to wood stove and fireplace fires, the ability to walk around them, 180 degrees, makes it easier to build, and control. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned a well built campfire in a poem, if you’ve followed my work for awhile you might remember the poem One of the Boys, published in 2009 at Tonopah Review. But even a well built fire has its drawbacks, and while Boys gloried in the fire, Campfire sheds a little light on those drawbacks, and makes it a metaphor for other drawbacks we find in life.

A poem written shortly after my husband filed for divorce, it isn’t very hopeful in it’s outlook. But it is beautiful in its misery, and something I can look back on months later and glory in how far I personally have come.

Today, in your writing, look for a metaphor in something you do so well, you don’t give it much thought any more. Perhaps I’ll read it in Word Riot one day.

Time Out For NaNoWriMo   Leave a comment

sculpture: a dead man's hand

Day two of timing with the timer, and it worked again. Passed the thousand word mark on the zombie story, still not sure where it’s going to stop, but it’s still a pleasure to write. Putting poetry and Cain on the back burner for now seems to have been the best idea.

Writing is therapy, more than anything. I write because it makes me feel good, like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m hoping that come December 1st, I can keep this momentum going. Writing 45 minutes a day, you never get burnt out. It never becomes a drag.

Of course, what do I know, this is only day two of timed writing?

Good things that came from today’s writing, besides the thousand plus words:

The two main characters now have names, Jane and Max

Max has a job

Zombies prefer to be called the bodily impaired

Whatever you’re writing, or putting off writing today, think about the occupations of your characters. Have you given them one yet? Perhaps it’s something about their jobs, their coworkers, how they got there, that will give you the angle to open your stories up further, get you excited about writing again.