I decided to do something different today for a short post. I’ve been writing for submissions today and this is a little poem that I did for the site The Sunday Wordle.
For those who don’t know what a wordle is, here’s how it goes. Choose a group of related/unrelated words–from seven to ten of them–and then write a poem using those words. If you’re not a poem kind of person, write a piece of fiction/non-fiction of no more than 100 words using all of the given words.
Think of this as a writing exercise that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter really how expert it sounds or how off-the-wall. It’s your wordle–make it what you want. One thing you’ll find with that this exercise forces your mind to shift gears and look at how you put things together and how you use language for the meaning you want to transmit.
Take a chance and have a whirl with a wordle. And when you think you’re ready, share it here or jump over to The Sunday Whirl and share there. Enjoy yourself. That’s the main purpose of it all.
A link to my port of call,
a deck on which to stand,
as I navigate foreign waters,
I store up scents and sights
to anchor me within time,
to sink into my marrow,
never to wake from this dream,
even as I pitch against the rail
of stern reminders of days gone
missing and lives gone stale of use.
© Claudette J. Young 2012
- Afterwards (hoofprintsinmygarden.wordpress.com)
- Dither (unduecreativity.wordpress.com)
- Wordle 68 (imnotaverse.wordpress.com)
- The Conservatory Links (2voices1song.wordpress.com)
- Wordle 62 (imnotaverse.wordpress.com)
- Seas of a Time-worn Heart (wojisme.wordpress.com)
- Clever Ideas for Wordle (gdstechtips.wordpress.com)
- Underneath (unduecreativity.wordpress.com)
The last few days have been interesting ones at Chez Young. Yesterday one of my Haiku poems was placed among the five finalists of a Haiku Poetry Challenge at Khara House’s website “Our Lost Jungle.” That was exciting. My Haiku poem stood with poems from four other marvelous poets, all of whom I’ve admired for a long time.
Today, my inbox held contests, challenges, and Calls for Submission from websites and publishers of varied types, no few of which were for poetry.
The first was an easy contest from the sense of an entry. It was a give-away contest by J.L. Spelbring (ebysswriter). The prize for this contest was multi-faceted. And you betcha, I’m entered in this one and gladly. will get copies of Dan Cohen’s book “Masters of the Veil,” either in paperback or PDF, and a chance at a B&N gift card at the end of summer.
The first Calls for Submission came from Robert E. Brewer of Writer’s Digest fame. Okay, so I’m a chump. You guessed it; I’m going for one of these slots, too. Robert’s looking for both how-to articles for the 2014 edition of Writer’s Market. He also calls for poetry to grace that year’s Poet’s Market. Call me an over-achiever. That’s okay. I am, and I’ll submit here, too. I do write poetry, after all.
To top off all the contests, challenges, and submission calls was Jane Freidman’s Newsletter “Electric Speed” which gave me great writer/reader tools to check out in my leisure time. How great is that?
With all of this going on, I’m going to be one crazy writer trying to keep up. My book of poetry “The Moon Sees All” is the in the hands of my beta readers, who are getting their responses and critiques back to me throughout this month. I’ll have that to finish off next month before going out to agents/publishers, That excites me as much as anything else.
For all of those writers out there who think they can’t compete, I ask this: how do you know? Have you don’t much of it? If the answer is “NO,” you might be short-changing yourself and your abilities. Remember: the only sure way to fail at something is to never do it. Be a doer, even if you think you can’t be good at it. Until you do, you can’t know.
Have a great weekend, peeps. Soak up the atmosphere wherever you are, smile at yourself as much as you do at others, and do something different with an hour or two. You never know—that something might become your next passion.
- Anniversary Week – Poetry Contest (dversepoets.com)
- Two Haikus Sprout from Travel (steffiwrites.wordpress.com)
- Here’s a fun poetry contest! (littleboxofbooks.wordpress.com)
- Andrea Gibson, DeVotchka and “How it Ends” (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- poetry contest – $1 entry fee! (roughverse.wordpress.com)
- Just Keep Writing (floatingwiththebreeze.wordpress.com)
- Winner of the Name That Abstract 8 and new Poetry Challenge (timzauto.wordpress.com)
- How Innovation Is More Poetry Than Science (fastcompany.com)
- Poetry Picks (guerrillapoem.wordpress.com)
If you’re looking for a lunchtime break with a little fiction of a different type, head over to Two Voices, One Song. I’ve posted a new bit of Flash Fiction there this morning titled “Choices.”
Later today, I’ll have a new, regular post here with pics, but I thought I’d give you all a heads-up about a quick read. Hope you enjoy it. While you’re there, and if you have time, take a look around. There’s plenty to see.
Here’s the link.
See you all in a bit. Have a great afternoon, peeps.
Good Morning, all. I’m excited this morning. A bit of shameless promotion here.
It’s a powerful little story that I think you’ll enjoy. To get the app and the story, please look here. Enjoy!
Have a terrific and relaxing day, peeps. Give your bodies engine a reason to feel good tomorrow and your mind a reason to surge forward with creativity.
- Find readers for your stories (valeriesirr.wordpress.com)
I received a terrific and helpful link this morning to an article by Anne R. Allen. In the article she talks about the Slow Blog Manifesto and what it means, as well as what it can do for the writer in general. I’ve fallen in love. I admit it.
For the first time in three years, I’m getting the kind of advice that makes sense to me as a writer of something other than blogs. Anne enumerated the eight Slow Blog Manifesto rules for long-term success as follows:
1) A slow blog has a longer life-span.
2) You reach more people by commenting on other people’s blogs than by madly posting on a blog nobody reads.
3) Busy people are less likely to subscribe/follow a blog that’s going to clutter their email inbox/rss feed every day.
4) Everybody has bad days. When you have to think of something to say on the day you got that nasty/clueless review/rejection, your emotions are going to leak out.
5) Nobody can come up with that many interesting posts. When you slow blog, and you don’t have anything to say, you don’t have to say it.
6) Writing nonfiction—which is what you should be writing on your blog—uses a different part of your brain from fiction.
7) You write narrative–remember? The blog is supposed to be about getting your name out there as a creative writer. It’s an aid to your serious writing, not a substitute for it.
8) Trying to blog every day is impossible to keep up, so you’ll constantly feel guilty.
With these rules to go by, I no longer have to feel guilty for not having new material here each day, or on any other of my sites. I can take pride in having one good piece a week that readers can take away and think about and, perhaps, utilize in their own daily activities or thoughts. And readers don’t have be slammed with announcements, notifications, and guilt for not looking in on my blogs each day.
Suddenly numbers of hits makes more sense to me. If I begin living my blogging life by these eight rules, I have more time to work on large projects, give more quality content to my readers, and still feel as if I’ve accomplished something during the week. That’s a big deal around here.
So, for those of my readers who feel pressured to read here each day or even every other day, rest assured that as the month progresses, your labor here is be lessened and, hopefully, you’ll have some terrific things to take away when you do come by. Perhaps you’ll see an interview with an editor you’ve yet to know, or an indie publisher that you might need in future.
And if you’d really like to look at the original Slow Blog Manifesto, you’ll learn all of the reasoning and the projected benefits to such a course of action.
I’ll see you all in a couple of days. I can’t let go quite that fast. I still have things to do this month.
Until your next visit, a bientot,
- How often to blog (or not)? A new blogger/writer’s perspective (katenewburg.wordpress.com)
- Who Authenticates the Blogged Word? The Publishers or the Readers? (Feature) (popmatters.com)
- How To Choose A Niche For Your New Blog (dailymorningcoffee.com)
Today, I want to show you how many writersgo about clustering ideas for
The process is simple. Daydreams draw on it all the time. Draw a circle, square, whatever you like in the center of a piece of paper. Go ahead, draw it. Inside that shape, put a word or group of words designating a specific something; desire, idea, plan, objective, goal, or whatever.
For our purposes here, I’ve put “Main Character—Isabel” in my circle. Now, all I’m going to do is let my mind provide everything it can think of that could be related to this character named “Isabel” and draw a line radiating from the circle to the new word. “short” “dark hair” “tanned skin” “Speaks with an accent” “watery eyes” “clubbed foot” “Orphaned” “City dweller” Hates mice” “Can’t read” “generous nature” “hears voices” “Knows the king” and on and on until I fill the page.
I do this exercise quickly. (Most of the time I do this on the computer with my eyes closed.) I don’t stop to ponder any of my associations or to question where any came from. I only write whatever word comes to mind as quickly as possible to make way for the next word.
When I look back at what I’ve written, I will find anomalies. In the example above, some items are capitalized and some aren’t. Why? What is it about the ones with caps that make them important enough to warrant a capital?
Isabel speaks with an accent. Where does she come from if that is true within this story?
Isabel is an orphaned city dweller who can’t read. Why is it critical that I know this about this character?
Isabel knows the king. How does she know the king? Now that’s helpful and important. So, why are the other pieces important, too?
Without answering these questions, I’ll move on to the plot cluster to see if I can find answers there.
Plot Idea Cluster center–(Isabel’s story) “Taken from the king’s household during infancy” “Related to the king” “lives in the weaver’s quarter” “indentured to Master Weaver Challen” “Doesn’t go out in the daytime” “King has ordered a celebration for his son’s birthday” “City faces a dread disease”
Lots of capitals here. Let’s see what I have now. Isabel, disabled with a clubbed foot, lives in the capital city where the king has just ordered the celebration of his son’s birthday and at a time when the metropolis faces a dread disease. An indentured person to Master Weaver Challen, Isabel lives in the weaver’s quarter and doesn’t venture out during the day. How she was stolen from the king’s household during infancy is unclear as yet or what blood relationship she has to the king remains a mystery. Why she was stolen may be a much more important question to answer.
As you can see, clustering works well to find interesting characters and plots. What is done with these ideas determines the final story. More clustering will come, I’m sure. There’re still items to explore like setting, environment (social and physical,) other characters, etc.
Each writer has a unique way to play with ideas. Each has a different perspective on clustering and how it’s used. And each decides for her/himself how deep into it to go. The plot cluster above can be an effective part of a story synopsis, which is critical for the writer. That’s why I’ve come to enjoy them.
There you have it. One technique that’s pliable, friendly, and recyclable. Give it a spin if you don’t use clustering on a regular basis. See if it can work for you.
Tell me your take on this technique and about your experience with it.
Until later, a bientot,
- Morgan Locklear…Wordslinger (June) (bookishtemptations.com)
- Guest Post: Writing Characters With Character by S. A. Garcia (elliscarrington.wordpress.com)
- Loading Words with Lightning (Bugs) (chauncestanton.wordpress.com)
This morning has been one of entertainment and revelation, as well as finding two more writers I want to get to know much better now that I know so little about them. Odd phrasing, I know, but true, nonetheless.
I met John Jakesthrough a short article he did for the June issue of The
Jakes talks about how plot, while important, seldom brings someone back for a second reading of a book. Rather, it is a character that calls the reader back for another look into the life represented within the confines of the book’s covers. That reasoning is one I can agree with without reservation.
audiences both surprised my composition teacher and dismayed her. She felt I wouldn’t be able to grasp the complexity of its story, characters, and plotline at a mere 15 years old.
I devoured this story of colonialist India with it’s coming revolution for sovereignty and its interwoven native characters and English colonials, its love stories—both adulterous and forbidden inter-racial unions, and its political statements. I couldn’t put it down. The depth of the story spoke volumes to me. I wanted more and took the time to find just that.
I went to the public library to find more books by this author. I came away with his Pulitzer winner, “Autumn Leaves” and counted myself fortunate that it was available. I’d discovered a world beyond kid’s literature. I could read something again with the depth and knowledge of Tennyson, Homer, and Shakespeare and get away from what was “acceptable” for my age bracket.
I understood perfectly what John Jakes spoke about. I’ve reread Bromfield’s books half a dozen times since that first introduction. Now I can look forward to reading Jakes’ marvelous volumes of “The Kent Chronicles” and “North and South,” along with anything else I can find.
Once I put way The Writer, I found Canteen Magazine online. I was looking for a new market. I found much more than that. I perused a past issue, while I sorted through the offerings, and came across one of the best writer’s articles I’ve read in months.
Of course, I’d heard of Joyce Maynard but never read her books. There are so many books out there and so little time, I hadn’t yet come to hers; a situation about to change soon.
In her article A Storytelling Life, October 3, 2011, (from Issue Two), Joyce talked of her mother and the early training in storytelling that she obtained by continual exposure. Joyce says:
“THERE YOU HAVE IT. My legacy. Daughter of a master storyteller—for whom allegiance to the truth took second position after reverence for good drama—I took to heart the lessons of two stories told to me when I was very young. One was of the princess locked in a room each night with a pile of straw, instructed to spin it into gold. That was what a writer had to do, I knew: Study a pile of dry sticks and grass, and figure out a way to make it glittering and precious. But the legend I loved even more came from Arabian Nights. It concerned Scheherazade, a young woman condemned to death, who kept a man from killing her by telling him a new and irresistible story every night. Spinning a tale well, I figured, could actually save a person’s life. Possibly mine.”
Throughout the article, phrases spring out to grip the throat of the reader, forcing one’s full attention to the detail given in spare, sharp words. Hers is an example of living without adverbs, of allowing the story to be about character while placing them on a train called “story line” and taken for a ride to allow the reader to see the characters from all sides. Her sentences flow into one another with such ease of statement that one is seldom aware of individual bits of punctuation, while the words place vivid images into the mind without effort.
Maynard explains: “But I learned more than craft under my mother’s ceaseless tutelage. She instructed me in the essence of what well-told stories are meant to accomplish—the idea that the joy of writing well might actually redeem and even trump the raw material of painful experience, thereby revealing deeply meaningful truths to the reader. Days when I’d come home from school, upset by some injustice or the hurtful behavior of a friend, my mother’s words of consolation seldom varied. “Never mind,” she said. “You can always write about it.”
Along with John Jakes article, Maynard’s example of what’s important to any kind of writing will have a special place in my new reference notebook. Take an opportunity to read these articles for yourself. You can find them at:
The Writer Magazine: http://www.writermag.com/en/The%20Magazine/Current%20Issue.aspx
Canteen Magazine: http://www.canteenmag.com/posts/joyce-maynard
And if you happen to come across others that are of special note, drop the link in a comment here for everyone to share.
Happy reading, all, and happy learning. A bientot,
- Canteen magazine seeks to restore writers’ glamour (sfgate.com)
- Whether You Already Have an Angle or Not (claudsy.wordpress.com)
- A “Sexy Magazine” For Serious Creative Writers (pittsburghflashfictiongazette.com)
- One Writer’s Journey (fromdreams.wordpress.com)
- Whirlwinds and Whithers…. (mercuryretrogradeoutandandbout.wordpress.com)
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Readers On Claudsy
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