Write a short short piece about this tree. You can do so using any method you desire. Perhaps it’s a poem bringing it to life? Maybe it is an origin story? Or perhaps it is the focus of a journey? Whatever the case may be, tell me a story.
Today’s post is a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. Check it out below, and let us know what you come up with!
Create a character with five or more distinct features (eyes, scars, build, etc). Then choose one of those features and describe it in as much detail as you can.
Happy Friday! This week on the blog we have another collaborative piece you can take with you into the holiday weekend.
Addey and I collaborated on a poem (poems are easier to write collaboratively it seems!) that you can read below.
To concoct this poem, Addey and I texted lines back and forth (we stole the idea from the poem Amber and Addey wrote a few weeks ago). It’s a fun way to get some inspiration if you’re feeling a little bit stuck–you never know where a poem or story is going to go when using this method, and usually it’s not where you would expect!
Try collaborating with a writer friend and see how your separate inspirations combine into one creative work, and check out our poem below!
by Nicole McConnell and Addey Vaters
What does it mean?
When you dream about someone–
someone lost to the dark abyss?
And no gravity exists to pull you to the light.
A light that glistens on broken shards of mirror
like the stars had fallen from the sky.
The sky might as well have fallen down–
it should have, but you held up the sky as every
night I dreamed to have your strength–
prayed that the falling stars would give me peace,
because every day I have to wake without you.
Write a story or poem and tell a tale but in six words–of where this little girl came from; where she is going; if the lion she is dragging is really a stuffed animal or if it protects the little girl from monsters at night; or if the lion teaches the girl to be a little princess warrior by day and night. What adventures has that road carried them on? Whatever sparks the ignition, use it to write about this girl and her lion.
Please comment below with your six word story or poem.
This week on the blog we have another collaborative piece–this time written by our fiction and poetry editors. It’s not an exquisite corpse, per se, but was written in a similar style.
To concoct this poem, Amber and Addey texted lines back and forth. It’s a fun way to get some inspiration if you’re feeling a little bit stuck–you never know where a poem or story is going to go when using this method, and usually it’s not where you would expect!
Try collaborating with a writer friend and see how your separate inspirations combine into one creative work, and check out Amber and Addey’s poem below!
by Amber Porter and Addey Vaters
A glimmer, a splash of steel in the night.
Stars twinkle in shimmering red metallic pigment,
copper stringlets woven between fingers.
Frustration escaped her lips in a loud sigh.
Ignorance is bliss they say,
but his ignoring her was far from blissful.
Clouds moved across the sky, shrouding the moon—
the stars now ignoring her, too.
Fate seemed determined to make her feel less than.
No—enough. It was her turn to do the ignoring.
Turning her back on the moon,
she yanked the car door open. Plucking keys
from their hiding place, she revved the car and sped away—
leaving him to his Apple illuminated face.
This week I have a writing prompt for you. It’s nothing too outlandish and should, hopefully, be a fun challenge.
Write a short story—or flash fiction piece—that has seamlessly integrated the first ten titles of your current song playlist or watch list.
Remember that you shouldn’t be afraid of wherever your writing takes you!
I hope you all have a good week, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some results of this prompt in our spring journal submissions!
Experience art once a month to gain creativity!
Some places to go:
To see a film
Go for a hike
Some place magical
Don’t just go and look at paintings or try to find art—feel art, it will find you. Embrace the emotions. Study the craft.
Any artist knows it takes hard work, patience, silence, a flood of emotions, or a lack of emotions, and sooo much time to create—and it helps if you have natural talent. And if you don’t, the great thing about art is everyone can do it at any level. I learned how to paint like I learned how to ride a bike (both of which, I learned from my father).
So, think about the passion—where does the artist’s love of art come from, the technique—are they self-taught or professionally taught, the sacrifice art takes—working a full-time job could mean art is clocking in during personal time (unless you get to create art for your job, in which case I envy you).
Artists learn from other artists, in my opinion, just as writers learn from other writers. So, how can experiencing art once a month help you?
Writers can learn to walk into a painting. A character from a play can inspire a creation of your own. Music expresses more ways to say things in beautiful ways like poetry, since writing song lyrics is a form of poetry. Every writer can learn something from art. I am a painter, and what I feel and what I want to say I can conveying through a painting.
So when I go to an art festival, I carry around a small pocket book. I jot down what I see—colors, shapes, animals, animated people, clothes people are wearing, face paint on children, the Ferris wheel turning high in the sky, and the type of art I would like to recreate but differently and in my own style. I take these creative notes home and I can write by using them as prompts, or start a painting by trying to imitate the Ferris wheel as a clock with the people in the little buckets as the numbers.
While sitting at an art museum, I sit in front of a painting and use it as my muse to write a story. What kind of world would that painting be, what characters would exist there, and I attempt to give the story the tone the painting gives in the form of emotion.
Or while hiking, sit down to sketch the chipmunks chasing each other. Or write a story about how the leaves of trees whisper to each other.
The greatest inspiration for me is when I am connected to mother nature because she teaches us what beauty in art is after all.
This week our executive and fiction editors took a fun writing prompt and wrote up an exquisite corpse to share on the blog. If you’ve never heard of an exquisite corpse before, you’re probably scrunching up your nose and thinking about how morbid it sounds right about now, but we promise you — it’s not.
An exquisite corpse is an old writing activity/parlour game that was supposedly started by the surrealists in the early twentieth century, but was probably used even before then. It’s a method of creating a story where one person starts off with a sentence (or word, or whatever fits into the parameters the participants set) and then the next person in line builds off of that initial tidbit to slowly create a story.
All of us editors were first introduced to the exquisite corpse in college where we divided into groups, and sometimes even utilized the whole class, to create what often turned out to be absurd (or sometimes pretty fantastic) stories and poems. Now we all like to do it for fun, and it certainly does get the creative juices flowing!
It’s nice to carry forward a traditional exercise that has inspired writers for over a century — and it’s fun to imagine fanciful lords and ladies sitting in parlours creating what could have been the inspirations for countless classic stories and literary tropes. Give this exercise a try if you are looking for some writerly inspiration!
The Desert Runs Red Tonight
By Amber Porter and Kenna Jackson
Ice cubes clinked in amber colored liquid, condensation pooled around the small glass.
It went down smooth considering I just buried a guy in a shallow grave in the middle of the Nevada desert.
Other than the two dried spots of blood on my hiking boots, there was little evidence left on my sin.
Will the devil drink with me tonight or could his wife of an angel forgive me for what I had done.
Not that I cared for forgiveness, that asshole had it coming.
But I didn’t give it to him. I only washed away the crime, buried the evidence along with him, letting nature take back what she gave, and breathed a sigh of relief.
I heard someone sit beside me at the bar, the scent of lavender wafting over me. The smell of my sister’s shampoo was unmistakable—least it was better than the stink of blood she had been covered with.
It was her husband we laid in the ground. I poured her a drink, and selectively plucked a chunk of ice from the bucket. It clicked in the glass and she busted out laughing.
I looked at the old scars and new bruises across her exposed skin, but her laugh proved too infectious and soon I joined in. After all, it’s not every day you get away with murder.
This past weekend, our executive and poetry editors attended the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference (PPWC). This was the third conference that we have had borrowed solace representatives at in some capacity, and it never ceases to provide a tantalizing learning and networking experience for whoever is in attendance. This week on the blog, we thought we would recap what we learned — or, at least, recap what was the most instrumental thing each of us learned — during PPWC 2019, It Takes a Tribe.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
If there is one thing that I took away from PPWC this year it is that things take time. I think we’ve all probably been told something similar, or used it as an excuse when we’re feeling blue, but it was so refreshing to hear all sorts of industry professionals and New York Times best selling authors expound on that fact.
Hard work and dedication pay off — at least, I’m hoping they do.
Writing, or editing, or agenting (is that a thing?) or literary journal-ing (that’s definitely not actually a thing) all seem to take a lot of turns around the sun to finally become anything fruitful. I heard from some amazingly successful authors this past weekend on how they didn’t even quit their day job until (insert shockingly high number here) of books were published. There was even one New York Times best selling author who still was working her day job. I listened as agents expounded on how remarkably naive they were when they first started in their career and now 10, 15, (insert shockingly high number here) years later they finally get what those well seasoned gurus at some of the first conferences they spoke at were talking about.
Sure, this thought could be seen as a bit distressing, but I have chosen to see it as a positive sentiment. For me, this idea harkens back to the Bible in Ecclesiastes —“to every thing there is a season.” For any bright eyed new writer hoping to one day be a New York Times best selling author giving the keynote, rather than listening intently to it from the audience, I think this is encouraging. Right now, you (and me) may be going through a season of sowing. We are working day in and day out, planting the seeds of our writing endeavors but not yet seeing the end result. One day, if we keep at it, and water those seeds with a lot of effort and even more persistence, I think we will come into a season of blossoming.
For everything there is a season — for some, they are in that season where writing takes the back burner. For others, they are in the season where hard work is starting to pay off, and for others, they are already in the season where they are starting to be invited to speak at conferences (those lucky few!) What PPWC taught me is that everyone can go through each and every one of those seasons, but to get to that season of blossoming and prosperity, the harder seasons might just have to come first.
So I am going to keep plowing the fields of my writing and planting those seeds for as long as I need to, because I have faith that a greater season is coming — one where I can look back on today and see the serendipitous moments that led me to success.
Learning even more about characters!
I know already that society has become more self indulgent, but now know that we writers, too, tend to become character indulged. People no longer want to read large paragraphs of scenery or world-building. Most editors and authors at the conference who were presenting or critiquing went straight for the connection to the main character. They wanted to know their name on the first line, then their description, in five words or less — who they are.
I am a YA fantasy writer and spend a lot of time building my cultures; different races and classes; the weather and atmosphere; the wars that scared the land; and how the world differs, or is similar to, Earth. But now, I’ve learned that instead of showing the readers this up front, those things must be woven later in the story. This truly amazed me. The story you are supposed to tell (write) is a series of events your characters comes to and overcomes to reach the final destination — this is what we all know. But even developing a scene is now centered on how primary and secondary characters should react, feel, internalize, voice their opinion, and act towards others in the story — this gives the reader more insight to connect with your story. It tells who the readers are supposed to love, hate, cry with, rant with, join the emotional train ride of when they fail or triumph, celebrate with when they win the guy or girl at the end, or seethe with anger when it all gets lost even though they were supposed to be the hero standing in glory.
What I really mean to say is that I learned how characters now come before anything else. They must be fully developed and evoke the reader to reader more. They must set your character on a train track and let their engines be fueled with emotion….and they always come first.
I haven’t had much time this week to concentrate on writing. However, I’ve found—at least for myself—that the writing spirit doesn’t care if you’ve got the time or not. It likes to strike when it pleases. There I was, minding my own business, watching the most recent episode of NCIS when it decided to lunge at me.
One of the characters watches a funeral come to an end a few steps away. Memories of a previously deceased wife and a broken engagement no doubt filled his mind. His voice, full ofremorse, says “I was trying to do the right thing for her, but she still ended up here…”
All I could think was “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” with the addition of “so you may as well do.” And just like that a new character popped into my head. Within minutes I had his whole backstory planned out. His mannerisms, his quirks. Likes and dislikes. I even had a scene with him saying the above. I don’t know where I’ll put him. I don’t even know if he’ll be used beyond writing practice.
But that’s a concern for another day. For now, I’m just marveling at the persistence of the writing spirit and awed by what it finds inspirational.