Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 31, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

About today's writing prompt genre: About today's writing prompt genre: 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 receive a phone call from a restricted number. A voice that sounds familiar but you aren't able to identify says only two words before hanging up: "Two days."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 30, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

About today's writing prompt genre: 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 poem "Blandeur" by Kay Ryan. Kay Ryan loves rhyme. She peppers her sparse verses with it, especially internal rhyme, or as she calls it "recombinant" rhyme, or rhyme not occurring at the end of the line. Her poems are almost always very slim and extremely musical.

Blandeur

If it please God,
let less happen.
Even out Earth's
rondure, flatten
Eiger, blanden
the Grand Canyon.
Make valleys
slightly higher,
widen fissures
to arable land,
remand your
terrible glaciers
and silence
their calving,
halving or doubling
all geographical feature
toward the mean.
Unlean against our hearts.
Withdraw your grandeur

from these parts.

**

Now, it's your turn. Take one aspect of the Kay Ryan poem, any aspect, and run with it in your own piece. Whether you are sparked by the frequent internal and end rhymes, the portmanteau (essentially a mash-up of two words—one of the most used words would be "spork") of the title Blandeur (here is a list of already recognized portmanteaus), or perhaps the idea of doing away with something that is universally liked (as in, with this poem, the grandeur of geological features like the Grand Canyon or the Eiger. Maybe you could facetiously argue that the world would be better without chocolate, or starlight or palm trees/beaches or something. The options are virtually unlimited.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 29, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: The How-To.

About today's writing prompt genre: 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 rid yourself of everything you hold dear.


That's right buddies, self-sabotage! Or a terribly unfortunate series of events. Or, the path zen-like simplicity. Or something entirely different

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 28, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

About today's writing prompt genre: This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.

Today's constraints are...

1) Only two sentences may be over seven words long.
2) The sound of thunder must be included.
3) The word "calendar" must appear at least twice.
4) A character must receive something mysterious or disturbing in the mail (or email).
5) Describe an elephant's foot pad without saying what it is.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 27, 2015


Daily Exercise Genre: Ekphrasis.

About today's writing prompt genre: 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...
Acrobatic Engineering by Rob Gonsalves



This is another amazing piece by surrealist extraordinaire Rob Gonsalves. There are so many ways to approach this piece I almost don't want to taint your impression with my own, so I won't. Have at it!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 26, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Narrative thread.

About today's writing prompt genre: 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.
Screencap from the game "The Wolf Among Us"


Today's thread is...


Asking a stranger for "a light" begins an adventure involving a city bus flipping over, a drive-by shooting, and the most beautiful sunset that you've ever seen--all in one day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 25, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Image-Based Piece.

This differs slightly from an ekphrastic exercise in that the image you're to be inspired by isn't a traditional piece of art, and is more of a snapshot, diagram, map or something similar.

Today's image is...

The Tokyo Metropolitan Rail System map. There are so many lines, so many colors, shapes, the Tokyo Bay, but beside that, this is all underneath millions and millions of people in Tokyo, with an average of 6.33 million people using the system everyday. Where to start? The humanity of the image through passengers or those above in the city with the warren of train tunnels weaving beneath it? The intricacies of the pattern? The intricate manufacturing and upkeep of the system? Or are you more interested in the map itself? Its color choices, the curves, the small details tucked in text that peppers the map? This is a little different of an exercise, but I believe in you guys. This can spark something.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 24, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

About today's writing prompt genre: This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.

Today's constraints are...

1) If you're writing a piece of prose do not indent new paragraphs, if you're writing a poem do not capitalize any proper names. Why? Because most people do it by rote, and sometimes shaking things you're never critical of can open new doors or show a slightly different perspective on the form of your piece of writing.
2) You must include the image of a paper clip fastened to a single piece of paper.
3) You must use the word "salt" at least four times.
4) You must include the phrase "wiggled from under" somewhere in your piece.
5) Do not describe the sky in any way other than "troubled" if at all.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 23, 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 Plough and the Harrow by Vincent Van Gogh tilt-shifted in Photoshop by graphic artist Serena Malyon.

The separation of the plough from the background really brings to mind William Carlos Williams to me, but what do you see?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 22, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.


Today's constraints are...


1) Your piece must only have three settings.
2) One character must repeat one word every time they speak.
3) There must be an intentional shin-kick.
4) One character should pause what they're saying, and rephrase it.
5) Include a character named "Princess".

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 21, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Image.

About today's writing prompt genre: However you use the image, use this as your seed image. Start here. Whether you take it literally, you proceed surreally, you bounce around like lyric poets trailing a tail of intention. Right? In other words: Use this image in a piece of writing, wherever it may appear. Not necessarily the image linked, but the image described, close your eyes. Use your brain.

Today's image is...


A ladder on its side beside a building.



What type of building? Night or day? Is this portentous or a clue or neither? Is someone trapped on the roof, fallen to the ground, slacking off somewhere entirely else? This is up to your interpretation, as always.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 20, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Wordbank.

About today's writing prompt genre: 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 "Sprung" 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 an imperative sentence.
4) Use two of the words from your wordbank in a phrase that is under five words. Do this again.
5) Use one of the phrases from #4 as a title and write either a poem or a piece of short prose to fit it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 19, 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.
Illustration by Nick Edwards



Today's how-to is...


Haggle with a family member.



(What you're haggling for, or with, is at your discretion.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 18, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.

Today's constraints are...

1) Include a superhero that refuses to use their powers (even if the 'superpowers' are merely someone's extraordinary aptitude).
2) Include a bear that is not just a one-off mention.
3) Include one paragraph that is a single sentence of at least 80 words.
4) Do not end any sentence with the letter 'E'.
5) Include at least one awkward high five.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 17, 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...

"Self Portrait on the Road to Tarascon" by Vincent Van Gogh tilt-shifted in Photoshop by graphic artist Serena Malyon.

By separating the subject from the background to such an exaggerated extent, the graphic artist was able to draw all of the viewer's attention to the portrait. How might this affect or inform your narrative?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 16, 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...

Fish realize that they can swim in the air and emerge onto the space above land, eating insects, slipping through open windows and disobeying the laws of gravity as we thought we thought we knew them.


This could be just part of a dream, it could be magic realism, it could be a surreal fable that recalls Russell Edson, whatever you feel like.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 15, 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 rhyming quatrain that uses 4 words from your list as end words. Include images and don't worry about making linear sense.
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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 14, 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 speak to a fish.



I'm wondering too, writers. This is a great opportunity. Teach me how to speak to a fish in your own way.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 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...

Twilight of an Old Country Road by (I'm not going to try)



The contrast of the title phrasing "An old country road" and the image are an interesting aspect and can be definitely used as a metaphor for any old country road that somehow found itself on the outskirts of a astoundingly sprawling metropolis such as this. This could also be the setting for a great heist, a coup, a return to nature even. The possibilities are as usual, endless. The sky in this piece is very important to its balance, perhaps this is more of a space-based story than might otherwise be expected. Have at it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 12, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.

Today's constraints are...

1) Write in the second person.
2) Aside from not crying about writing in the second person, never use the word "said" in your story aside from in dialogue.
3) Include three sentences that are three words or fewer.
4) Use the word "wind" in at least two different ways.
5) Use the word "Algae" in dialogue.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 11, 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 find a mysterious object (which you keep mostly-secret) in a Chuck-e-Cheese ball-pit that sends you on a three week-long mission.



Before you get to far, remember that a) it must feasibly be in the ball-pit, and b) you must be able to leave the area with it without drawing attention.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 10, 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 rationalize eating breakfast for dinner.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 9, 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...

Paris 1930 by Yannick Corboz (2015)

There is a lot going on in this piece. What is the artist's intention with this framing? Aside from the 'artist', this (to me) reads like the POV of an artist framing his subject--the occlusion in the bottom left corner perhaps his canvas/the cover of his large sketchpad. So many great elements to work with. What is the focus of the piece? The Parisienne skyline, the model, the perhaps feral cat with its bell-like shadow? Is it the sketch on the wall behind the unmade bed? This is why I love art, its interpretation is so open. Personally, I'm watching the cat's eyes. They're after the lady's hair flower, I think. There will be batting. But what do you see? Please check out more of this amazing artist's work.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 8, 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...

The purchase of a 5lb bag of potatoes somehow sets in motion a series of events that makes the main character realize that they have been wasting their life on a lie.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 7, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.

Today's constraints are...

1) The story must take place where snow covers the ground.
2) Someone must eat cereal.
3) A main character will spend at least half of the story with part of their face disguised.
4) Every instance of the word "and" will be replaced by an ampersand (&).
5) Never use the word 'red' but at the same time, describe at least three things that are of a red hue.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 6, 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 whitewash your previous places of residence.

(Consider using the worse aspects of the residence and make an absurd argument for how they aren't a negative but a positive. Also consider framing this as a passive aggressive yelp review.)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 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...

Imagine a roadkill animal's spirit hovering over its body. Does some good Samaritan come bury you? Does your carcass rest there for weeks? Circle of life and whatnot? I don't think a picture is appropriate, but if you want to google roadkill for results, feel free.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 4, 2015


Daily Exercise Genre: Image.

However you use the image, use this as your seed image. Start here. Whether you take it literally, you proceed surreally, you bounce around like lyric poets trailing a tail of intention. Right? In other words: Use this image in a piece of writing, wherever it may appear. Not necessarily the image linked, but the image described, close your eyes. Use your brain.


Today's image is...

A balloon tangled in the brush with a note attached to its string.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 3, 2015

Daily Exercise Genre: Five Random Constraints.

This is an exercise to make your brain work within a confined space. There will be a few constraints pressed upon your writing, some meant to help drive narrative, some meant to slow the process of the ever-flowing feed of words that stream through the mind. To make you meditate on specific word choice not necessarily at the most important plot places, but irregularly so that even connections can dictate concern and consideration at the word-level.

Today's constraints are...

1) Write a highly stylized story where the bad guys are not one-dimensional evil-doers.
2) Include a scene alongside a stream where there are at least three descriptions of the stream.
3) There is a teapot. It isn't exactly a MacGuffin, but it has an odd significance.
4) One character whistles at an extremely appropriate time.
5) End your piece on the word "scraped."

Monday, March 2, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 2, 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...

Something by Eran Hilleli. I say something only because I couldn't find a reliable title for the piece, but nevertheless, enjoy and be inspired.


Your mission, gumshoes, is to be inspired by this animated gif and from at least one aspect of it sprout a brand new piece of writing. See, see what I did there?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Notebooking Daily Writing Exercise March 1, 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...

Change the stoplight with your mind.

The supernatural is pretty squishy when it comes to rules, didactically so, sure, but why all the big words. However you can imagine the control of the stoplight, whether folklore, hacking, psychic connection, whatever. Maybe there isn't an understand of the mechanics but only the cause, only the circumstances of its random occurrence.