Saturday, February 28, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 28, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

An unfortunate sequence of events leads a man to breakdown in line at a fast food restaurant.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 27, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.

Today's artwork is...

Seasons by Erik Solheim animated as a gif.


This is a cool animated image which shows a full year's worth of pictures of the same scene. The metaphor potential here is amazing, as is the possibility for description.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 26, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Random Generation.

Random Generation exercises allow computers to help you find your prompt, you know, instead of visiting this website via messenger pigeon and cranking out the pages with your mechanical typewriter. Write a piece or fragment that utilizes the following random element.

Today's random generation is...

The book in the story. For this exercise a father and son are together and the father is doing something he doesn't want the son to pay attention to (whether it's dark, serious, or even just a surprise for his mother or something) so he asks him about various aspects of the book that the kid is reading. Find the title of that book in Cornelius Zappencacker's Pulp Sci-Fi Title-O-Tron, and decide the wacky or interesting aspects of the story that you want the son to tell the father about. If it can be ironic or informative of the task the father is doing then all the better.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 25, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

For want of a pen, a million dollars was lost. How?

(for bonus points include the image of a rubber ducky and a neon fast food sign.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 24, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.

Today's artwork is...



Nero PP 2008 by Vladimir Kush




Vladimir Kush uses myth and surrealism extensively which provides writers a veritable cornucopia of opportunity when it comes to ekphrastic writing. Is this man full sized or miniature? Is that actually a tree being pulled back, a facade meant to hide something, a stage piece? There is a lot here for interpretation. Have fun.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 23, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

A character becomes psychic but only when they are black out drunk. Tell of at least two psychic incidents.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 22, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: The How-To.

Today we'll work with the good old 'how-to' genre. Write a 'list poem' (or a regular poem) or a piece of prose that explains various ways or steps in how-to do something.

Today's how-to is...

How to dream you're a rabbit.

This one can be a look into lucid dreaming or a venture into writing for children, a fun genre many never even consider in their normal writing. It could be an allusion to Alice's white rabbit, or maybe it is a recollection of things that occurred before having a memorable dream about being a rabbit--and perhaps your attempts to recreate the dream. Plenty of options here beyond just silliness (but hey, why not a little silliness now and then?)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 21, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Wordbank.

For wordbank exercises take a few minutes to look through the following links which will have various lists of words. Pick out a dozen or so you like, whether for their uniqueness, their sound, even just their meaning, whatever the reason, pick a bunch of words. If any of the words' meanings are not crystal clear spend a little time both checking it out in the dictionary but also check through wikipedia for history of the word and its usage, if it's a place or has some significance in the world aside from just its meaning. In your notebook take note of anything interesting that you come across. Be sure to look through all the related words and antonyms. You won't need to use all the words now, just some of them and it's good to have a pool to choose from.


Once you have your list, have done some research and have at least a half dozen notes try to following exercises.

1) Use three of the words in the same sentence. Then take those same words and use them in a new sentence but in the reverse order.
2) Use two of the words in a sentence that includes three /k/ sounds (like, take, kick).
3) Using at least three words write a paragraph of sentences that are all four words or fewer except one.
4) Use two of the words in a phrase that is under five words.
5) Use the phrase from #4 as a title and write either a poem or a piece of short prose to fit it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 20, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

Write a road rage love story. 

If the love occurs between the two drivers, between driver and passenger in either car, or even something else like someone who interferes as the road rage escalates, however you'd like to interpret the phrase.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 19, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.

Today's artwork is...

The Folded Chess Set by Rob Gonsalves



This one speaks for itself. Whether you stick with the magic realism or turn the image into metaphor is completely up to you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 17, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Random Generation.

Random Generation exercises allow computers to help you find your prompt, you know, instead of visiting this website via messenger pigeon and cranking out the pages with your mechanical typewriter. Write a piece or fragment that utilizes the following random element.

Today's random generation is...

Random Plot! Click through PantomimePony's random plot generator until you find and write down three plots that sound like stories you might write. If you like you can mix and match plot elements from your options, but remember, sometimes the wrench in the gears makes the story unexpected and extraordinary.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 16, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything.

Today's artwork is...

Foreign Lands by Evan M. Cohen



Does the story begin with or lead to feeding a bird? Is it a lyric poem about a farmer's struggles with birds eating his crops, or a farmer making an offering during a fertility festival? Is it a vignette about a man late at night, alone in a workshop slowly making a woodcut to, so other late night, print? Is the image enigmatically plastered on a wall by graffiti artists and has drawn a crowd of theorizing onlookers? Does your piece merely involve the bird and plant and is something completely different that was for some unknown reason sparked by the image? Tons of options, don't worry that you've picked the absolute best one, just get writing.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 15, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

A bar owner fires his day time bartender for making dark predictions about customers when they order. When the predictions start coming true the owner is desperate to find him to discover what he meant by their enigmatic parting words.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 14, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Random Generation.

Random Generation exercises allow computers to help you find your prompt, you know, instead of visiting this website via messenger pigeon and cranking out the pages with your mechanical typewriter. Write a piece or fragment that utilizes the following random element.

Today's random generation is...

Random sci fi title! I'm a fan of Cornelius Zappencacker's Pulp Sci-Fi Title-O-Tron. You don't have to write a science fiction story or poem (not that anything is stopping you), just look through the various generated titles and write down any that sound interesting, make sure you get at least five before you start your piece, so you can later look back when struggling to find something to write. Don't be scared by the science fiction aspect of the title generator, because there are tons of general titles generated. My first spin pulled up "Gods of the Bridge" "The Expanding Mansion" and "The Benevolent Ice Gardener" which could all easily be any sort of story or poem.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 13, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.

Today's artwork is...

House by the Railroad by Rob Gonsalves


So if you've been doing the daily exercises you may've noticed I like Rob Gonsalves. I think his magic realism works especially well for ekphrastic exercises because its surreal nature allows the reader to interpret where the line between reality and metaphor lies. Perhaps that oncoming train is a large change in life for this young boy who is just getting past 'playing with trains'. Is it a destructive force or a transformative one? Has an actual train somehow crashed into this house/apartment? You decide, just don't let yourself be paralyzed by possibility and not write anything. If daily notebooking exercises are for anything, it's to just write, for not worrying about writing the best or right thing, but to get your brain producing words to describe something specific. Mental calisthenics if you will.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 12, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

Imagine  and set an adventure in a surreal generic crayon factory (perhaps run by a secretive/eccentric millionaire).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 11, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Wordbank.

For wordbank exercises take a few minutes to look through the following links which will have various lists of words. Pick out a dozen or so you like, whether for their uniqueness, their sound, even just their meaning, whatever the reason, pick a bunch of words. If any of the words' meanings are not crystal clear spend a little time both checking it out in the dictionary but also check through wikipedia for history of the word and its usage, if it's a place or has some significance in the world aside from just its meaning. In your notebook take note of anything interesting that you come across. Be sure to look through all the related words and antonyms. You won't need to use all the words now, just some of them and it's good to have a pool to choose from.


Once you have your list, have done some research and have at least a half dozen notes try to following exercises.

1) Use three of the words in the same sentence. Then take those same words and use them in a new sentence but in the reverse order.
2) Pick two pairs of rhyming words from your list. Write rhyming couplets with those words as the end words, try to keep the lines under ten syllables.
3) Use two words from your list and write an American Sentence with them (an American Sentence is, essentially, a 17 syllable sentence).
4) Use two of the words in a phrase that is under five words.
5) Use the phrase from #4 as a title and write either a poem or a piece of short prose to fit it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 10, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: The How-To.

Today we'll work with the good old 'how-to' genre. Write a 'list poem' that explains various ways how-to do something.

Today's how-to is...

How to... remember which (numerically) a lesser-known president is.

Browse this list of interesting facts about the presidents, pick one that isn't celebrated on President's Day and isn't from the last 30 years. Once you have the president picked out, read a little more about him. Come up with a couple convoluted ways to remember which number the president is (potentially even nonsense, in fact, I encourage one or two items on your how to list of ways that are presented confidently even though the rationale does not make logical sense). If at all possible, come up also with a reasonable way to remember which number that president is for the last list item.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 9, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

A man has broken through the road in a cul-de-sac and is digging a hole.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 8, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.

Today's artwork is...

a piece by Simon Stålenhag whose title I was unable to locate. He released a book that looks really cool, you can order it here, with shipping to the US it comes out to be I think around $55, but it really looks cool, 1980's Sweden populated by fantastical machines and creatures as well as normal people. Unfortunately the writing is in Swedish, but hey, the art's universal.



I love this Swedish artist's work, blending simple, almost nostalgic landscapes and people with sci-fi elements. It kind of makes me think of peasants living in the shadows of Roman aqueducts decades after the Romans had left. However, there are many different ways to interpret this picture. Maybe those kids are revolutionaries in a sort of Red Dawn-like setting, or maybe those kids aren't as young as they appear and are the sentry machine's operators, guarding the populace from monsters or aliens or something. Or the mech could be entirely metaphorical and it stands for a rite of childhood. Give it a go and once you start don't look back.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 7, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Wordbank.

For wordbank exercises take a few minutes to look through the following links which will have various lists of words. Pick out a dozen or so you like, whether for their uniqueness, their sound, even just their meaning, whatever the reason, pick a bunch of words. If any of the words' meanings are not crystal clear spend a little time both checking it out in the dictionary but also check through wikipedia for history of the word and its usage, if it's a place or has some significance in the world aside from just its meaning. In your notebook take note of anything interesting that you come across. Be sure to look through all the related words and antonyms. You won't need to use all the words now, just some of them and it's good to have a pool to choose from.


Once you have your list, have done some research and have at least a half dozen notes try to following exercises.

1) Use three of the words in the same sentence. Then take those same words and use them in a new sentence but in the reverse order.
2) Use the word snow and two words from your wordbank in a phrase or sentence.
3) Write a three sentence paragraph that uses one word in each sentence, the final sentence must be under four words long.
4) Use two of the words in a phrase that is under five words.
5) Use the phrase from #4 as a title and write either a poem or a piece of short prose to fit it.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 6, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything.

Today's artwork is...

The Grand Canyon by David Muench



The perspective opportunity for this one is great. The cameraman watching the person watching the river which is partially occluded (and maybe hiding another perspective that is unseen in this photo). Also a great opportunity to work with description. If you're having a hard time figuring out where to start, try to be as descriptive as you can without using an overload of adjectives.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 5, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

On an empty road in the middle of the day two cars collide head on--why?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 4, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Wordbank.

For wordbank exercises take a few minutes to look through the following links which will have various lists of words. Pick out a dozen or so you like, whether for their uniqueness, their sound, even just their meaning, whatever the reason, pick a bunch of words. If any of the words' meanings are not crystal clear spend a little time both checking it out in the dictionary but also check through wikipedia for history of the word and its usage, if it's a place or has some significance in the world aside from just its meaning. In your notebook take note of anything interesting that you come across. Be sure to look through all the related words and antonyms. You won't need to use all the words now, just some of them and it's good to have a pool to choose from.


Once you have your list, have done some research and have at least a half dozen notes try to following exercises.

1) Use three of the words in the same sentence. Then take those same words and use them in a new sentence but in the reverse order.
2) Use two of the words in a sentence that includes three hard /E/ sounds (like in three or see).
3) Write a paragraph where one of your words is the name of a place and one of the words is a character's name or nickname.
4) Use two of the words in a phrase that is under five words.
5) Use the phrase from #4 as a title and write either a poem or a piece of short prose to fit it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 3, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.

Today's artwork is...

Toward the Horizon by Rob Gonsalves


The options for narrative and lyric are immense here. How much is metaphor, is the perspective in the car, from a boat, neither? Are you the artist or a viewer of a piece of art instead of being a part of the scene?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 2, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.

Today's thread is...

You wake up one morning and everything in your house is individually wrapped.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise February 1, 2015

Greetings Again!

Notebooking Daily is relaunching as it was intended, a place for daily writing exercises. I'm sure there will be some dry stretches, but I'm going to do my best to plan ahead and keep the exercises different every day. There are general categories of exercises like ekphrasis, narrative threads, wordbanks, random generation, how to's, as well as many others, and even unique exercises if something happens to strike me. Usually there will only be one or maybe two exercises (The wordbank micro-exercises are an exception) a day, but for the first day here are a few different exercises to choose from.

Ekphrasis:

Ekphrasis is from Greek meaning the description of a work of art as a rhetorical device. That's actually pretty straight forward, but another way to look at it, is it's highfalutin fan fiction, usually about paintings or pieces of music, but it can be about virtually anything. Look at or listen to the following piece of art and write a piece of prose or poetry that is inspired by some aspect of it.



1) Facebook by Waldo Lee. There are many ways to interpret this for your own piece, whether it's the culture that 'makes' you, it's a visualization of being an open book or bearing yourself to someone. It could be more realistic in a horrific, nightmarish sort of way. There are tons of opportunity to use this image as the spark for a story or poem.


2) Welcome Home by Jeff Edes. This abandoned house surrounded by a wheat field in Oregon is an amazing setting whether returning to the home after a long absence, a metaphor for the decaying structure of a relationship, an actual residence or one maintained as a memorial. Options galore.


Narrative Threads:Take the following story aspect and work it into a piece, whether poetry or prose, whether you explore what led up to this place in the story, it begins with the thread, or the thread is merely a tiny aspect of the story that has crystallized around the original image. However you choose to write it, use the following as a jumping off point.1) Adulthood begins early at the skatepark for one boy. Interpret that how you will, and make it however large or small an aspect of the story as you wish.2) "It's just not a ghost." Use this phrase or a near variation of this phrase three or more times in your piece. How does this drive the narrative for you?  
Good luck with your writing, and I hope to see some comments on if any exercises are fruitful or confusing or just plain boring.