11/27/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #332: Title Mania "Their Bodies" 30

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#332
Title Mania "Their Bodies" 30

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose that utilizes one of the following titles, and if you want extra 'bonus points' also include the three items from below the title list. These titles all come from the awesome David Wagoner poem "Their Bodies" which is featured in Poetry Out Loud.

Titles:
  1. In Death
  2. Remember Her
  3. They Believed in Doctors
  4. Do Your Best to Learn
  5. If You're Not Certain
  6. Those Useful Bodies
Bonus Exercise: Three Things
(Your piece must also include the following three 'things', if you choose this option)
  1. A Scar
  2.  A Doctor
  3. A Gift
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If you'd like some background music try this "Relaxing With Chinese Bamboo Flute, Guzheng, Erhu" playlist.

11/26/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #331: Beginning, Middle & End 30

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#331
Beginning, Middle & End 30

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with one image, scenario, line of dialog or place, includes another thing or event somewhere beyond the first and before the last stanza/paragraph, and ends with another required 'thing'.

Begin WithAn airplane crashes.

Somewhere in the middle: A piñata is beaten.

End WithA porch swing.

Extra Credit RequirementsYour title or first line must include the word "Home", and you should include the following five words: BoxingDetectiveLoonPancakeBaseball.

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If you'd like some background writing music try this "Raining in Osaka" lofi mix

11/25/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #330: First Line Bonanza 26

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing. 

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#330
First Line Bonanza 26

For today's writing exercise write a piece that begins with one of the following first lines.

1) We knew better.
2) There was a fire in the woods—we could smell it.
3) "They said he was a pervert."
4) More than just violent—homicidal.
5) The stolen boots would never be found.
6) Long, beautiful hair streamed from under the baseball cap.
7) The car's window read 'San Diego or Bust' but it was smoking on the side of a Missouri highway.

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Bonus 'constraint': You must include a paragraph/stanza in which the all sentences or lines begin with the letter "F" and have at least two sentences that are four words long.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Jazz Cloud" lofi mix.

11/24/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #329 Thankful for Anaphora—Repetition Files 22

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#329
Thankful for Anaphora—Repetition Files 22

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which focuses on repetition. In this instance we will work with anaphora. It's a handy little bit of poetic craft that goes a little something like this:

the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect.
Take a moment and read the above-linked Poetry Foundation article, even if you know the term. For even more fun check out this longer article called Adventures in Anaphora.

Your mission is to use the following phrase to begin at least 5 sentences. 

The word or phrase we'll use for our exercise today is:

"Thankful for" 

Bonus Exercise:
 Include these five words into your piece "Hook" "Brotherly" "Knives" "Stapled" and "Brazil".
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Chillhop Essentials Fall 2021" lofi mix.

11/23/21

The Journal Submission Journal Issue 7—Deadlines in the Next Week+ 11/24/21


The Journal Submission Journal Issue #7 
11/23/21
Deadlines in the Next Week(+)
37 journals with Deadlines (mostly) on Nov 30th or Dec 1st

It's been a long time since I've put out a JSJ, but it was time. There's a lot of deadlines coming up in the next week or so with December fast approaching. I did the research while I was out and about, and I have a lot of responses to get out that I need to spend time on, so let's just get to it! One quick note on another column I've slacked on lately first.

I'm hoping to get some more Spy in the Slushpiles out there in the near future too, just finding time to do it is tough, but I think it's a good resource. We'll see. Here's a link to the 'issues' I have out so far. I get some really good info from the editors of these great journals which will help you in your future submissions.
Issue One: Pithead Chapel
Issue Two: SCAB MAG
Issue Three: After the Pause 
Issue Four: The Collidescope
Issue Five: Gulf Stream
Issue Six: Apple Valley Review
Issue Seven: The Racket
Issue Eight: Santa Clara Review
Issue Nine: Whale Road Review
Issue Ten: Ghost Proposal
Issue Eleven: EX/POST
Issue Twelve: City. River. Tree

Then of course Eyes Forward is still very useful on the regular for those folks that are interested in experimental/avant-garde literature, I'm hoping to update it in early 2022, but the 2020 version still has lots of good info. Eyes Forward: Avant-Garde Literature and Literary Journals in 2020

OK, let's get to the deadlines!
For today we'll be focusing on deadlines (mostly) on November 30th and December 1st, with just a few that follow shortly after that. I'll list the 'no fee' submissions first, then the ones that have a submission fee afterwards. 

There will also be genres listed, P=poetry, F=fiction, NF=nonfiction, A=art, Hy=hybrid, Tr=translations. 

November 30th
3Elements Literary Review (Requirements: Mercy, Town square, Frost) P/F/NF/A 
Big Bend Literary Magazine ("Bright Lights" theme) P/F/NF/A
Black Fox Literary Magazine P/F/FF/YA F/NF/A
isotrope P/F/NF/A
Lammergeier P/F/NF/Hy
Open Doors Review (Italy) P/F/NF
OxMag NF/A
Split Lip Magazine P/F/FF/NF/A
$varies New Limestone Review P/F/FF
$3 Poet Lore P/Tr

December 1st

And here's a few more for good measure in the next 4 days

December 2
Puerto Del Sol (Water theme) P/F
Thin Air P/F/NF/A
$2 The Normal School P/F/NF
$3 Bellingham Review P/F/NF/Hy

December 3
Folio P/F/NF/A

December 4
$3 Permafrost P/F/NF

December 5
$3 New Delta Review P/F/NF


*

Journal Researching Lists
Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Entropy Mag's list of where to submit is a great resource and while this is the list for September/October/November, there' s a good amount of places that have rolling deadlines or aren't until sometime in the summer.
Derek Annis' Submission Calendar. He has a long list of journals with rolling submissions and a calendar with journal openings linked in the calendar (not closing, when they start reading). Very useful resource.
Eyes Forward. I use the "Big List" of journals that publish experimental writing to some extent, all the time still. There are a lot of eclectic journals that dig more straightforward stuff as well as more adventurous work as well.
Duotrope. Always. A great search and browse function.
Submittable Discover Tab. Good for deadlines, but not great for general browsing. That means peruse every month or so for anyone with upcoming closures and make sure you've gotten your sub in if you like the journal. 
Poets & Writers Contest Calendar. If you've got a little extra scratch and want to enter some contests this is one of the best places to go. 
New Pages Calls for submissions. New Pages is a tremendous resource, they have lots of supplemental information about hundreds of journals including lit mag reviews, which you don't see too many places. They're better in my experience for browsing than searching, but I definitely visit New Pages weekly.

Check out the lists and get your work out there! I'd love to hear other journals you fine folks have found recently, or are your favorites too. And if this post or my blog in general has been helpful, I'd really appreciate any donations you might be able to spare. Submission fees can add up for me too.



2021 Writing Exercise Series #328: Dueling Six Word Shootout 29

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#328
Dueling Six Word Shootout 29
For today's writing exercise write a piece that includes one or both of the following sets of 6 words. Don't front-load them all into the beginning of your piece, save at least one or two for somewhere to 'aim' your piece. Remember sestinas have 6 different end-words, but don't let me tell you what to write. Just use all 6 (or twelve) words in a fashion that isn't throw-away. Don't put them in in a way that you'll definitely later edit them out because they don't add to the piece. Make them important. This might require a little brainstorming at first. Don't be afraid, you can do it!

Set 1: 
1) Helmet 
2) Pellet
3) Element 
4) Diligent 
5) Welt
6) Climate 

Set 2:
7) Grit
8) Built 
9) Plot 
10) Refit
11) Dipped
12) Jilt

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Bonus Exercise: If that's not enough, also include the following three things: Clay, A Shopping Cart, and Disneyland.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Holiday mood" lofi

11/22/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #327: Three Things, Five Words 29

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#327
Three Things, Five Words 29
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, and these five individual words. The three things should be important to the piece, not just a throwaway reference used because it has to be. This is prompt time, baby! 

If you're not sure where to start, begin by finding a connection between two of the 'things'—whether that is a shared appearance, locale, one of the things might interact with another (or all three), some way that the two are likened or could be physically together. Use one of the things with two of the 'words' in the beginning of the piece and explore for a bit, knowing that you're aiming at the second ''thing' (where the two 'things' have their connection) about 1/3-1/2 of the way through what you imagine the length of the piece (which may be totally off). By then you should have a direction and it's off to the races, with that third 'thing' in your pathway to the finishing line.

'Three Things'
  1. Iced Tea
  2. A Shovel
  3. Oprah Winfrey
'Five Words' 
Include these five words in your piece: 
Dropped, Ford, Nails, Jam, Apple.

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this 1971 Czechoslovakian jazz album, Blue Effect - Nová Syntéza.

11/21/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #326: Between a Fact and an Exact Place 21

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes. 

#326
Between a Fact and an Exact Place 21

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following place (either as the setting, referenced or some aspect of it described) and the following fact in some way (its discovery, used as a metaphor, witnessed etc).



Exact Place:  Vrbnik, on the island of Krk, Croatia (Built in the 13th century, here is more info about the location

As an additional assignment, should you choose to incorporate it, is as follows: Also include the words "Tide" "Turkish" "Spectrum" "Novelties" and "Navel".

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If you'd like some synth background music, try some Bulgarian jazz with Sofia Orchestra's album  "Pithecanthropus robustus"

11/20/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #325: Erasing Roger Ebert 45 "The Outsiders"

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#325
Erasing Roger Ebert 45 "The Outsiders"

For today's exercise we have split paths for fiction and poetry, though I highly recommend that even fiction writers try the poetry exercise, because erasures can be a blast!

Poetry: For poetry do an erasure or black-out poem from the following:  Roger Ebert's review of the 1983 film "The Outsiders" (Two and a Half Stars).

Roger Ebert has been the archetypal film critic for decades, and he's written thousands of reviews. Because of their nature, almost their own bit of ekphrastic art, this series of erasures will be lots of fun!

An Erasure/Blackout is really simple: you take the given text and remove many words to make it your own new piece. One way to go about the erasure that I like to do is to copy the text and paste it twice into your document before you start erasing or blacking out (in MS Word set the text background color to black), that way if you get further into the erasure and decide you want a somewhat different tone or direction, it's easy to go to the unaltered version and make the erasure/black-out piece smoother. Another tip is to look for recurring words, in this example 'bingo' occurs multiple times and could be a good touchstone for your piece.

Fiction or (poetry): If you insist on fiction (or just feel like writing a "Title Mania" piece), write a piece with one of these  titles taken from this section:

  1. Tough Teenagers
  2. Trapped Inside Too Many Layers of Storytelling
  3. It's About Class Warfare
  4. The Town's Ranking Adolescent Hood
  5. In Backlights
  6. Lighting and Framing and Composition
  7. A Stylistic Exercise

Erasure Selection:

Roger Ebert's review of "The Outsiders" 

It's unfortunate that Francis Ford Coppola's "The Outsiders" opens on the same day as "Bad Boys." That makes the contrast all the more dramatic between the high-energy realism of "Bad Boys" and Coppola's stylized, over-careful, deadening approach to somewhat similar material.

Both movies are about tough teenagers. The kids in "Bad Boys" are hardened 1980s street criminals, while the kids in "The Outsiders" are 1950s Nebraska greasers, living in a time when even their toughness belongs to a more romantic tradition. But even so, those are real kids in "Bad Boys," while Coppola's teenagers seem trapped inside too many layers of storytelling.

"The Outsiders" is based on a well known novel for teenagers by S. E. Hinton. It's about class warfare between rich kids (the "soches") and poor kids (the greasers). The greasers try to pick up a soche's girlfriend at the drive-in, there's a fight later that night, and a rich kid gets killed. The two greasers who did it run immediately to Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon), who is the town's ranking adolescent hood. He gives them money and tells them to hop a train out of town.

Although the two scared kids (Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell) are convincing enough, the story isn't -- and neither is the way Coppola sees it. He seems to be struggling with some sort of fixation on the contrived Hollywood sound stage look of the 1950s; there are scenes in which he poses his two heroes against a lurid sunset and bathes them in backlights so improbably reddish-orange that the kids look like Gordon MacRae in "Oklahoma!"

The problem with seeing characters in a highly stylized visual way is that it's hard for them to breathe and move and get us involved in their stories. That's what happens here. The thin narrative material for "The Outsiders" only adds up to a movie of 90 minutes, and even then there are scenes that seem to be killing time. Nothing that happens in the movie seems necessary; it's all arbitrary.

This is Matt Dillon's second outing in material by S. E. Hinton. In "Tex" he played a three-dimensional character, complicated and convincing. In "The Outsiders," he's required to do little more than standard "Rebel Without a Cause" behavior.

The problem, I'm afraid, is with Coppola's direction. He seems so hung up with his notions of a particular movie "look," with his perfectionistic lighting and framing and composition, that the characters wind up like pictures, framed and hanging on the screen.

There's not much life in this movie, or spontaneity. It's a stylistic exercise. The man who made the "Godfather" pictures and "Apocalypse Now" is a great director. He ought to reserve these exercises for the rehearsal halls of his fancy and get back to making movies.

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If you'd like some 80s throwback synth background writing music, try this: Donald Walters - Rainbows And Waterfalls [Full Album New Age / Zither / Nature Music Cassette 1983] from somewhat new background music friends of the blog, Sounds of the Dawn.
 

11/19/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #324: 'Wedding' Multi-Prompt 18

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#324
'Wedding' Multi-Prompt 18
For today's writing exercise you actually have 4 choices! In the spirit of a wedding needing "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue." The first offered prompt is one from Notebooking Daily's past, the second is a brand new prompt for the day of one prompt theme or another, the third prompt is a 'borrowed' prompt from one of Sparked's 'Prompting Partners', and the fourth prompt is a wildcard riffing on the idea of 'Something Blue'. Take a look and dive in! First thought, best thought for these prompts.

Something Old: No Frills Prompt 48 (Published on Notebooking Daily on 10/19/2018, this ekphrastic prompt has you write an erasure poem from the text of the article "Why Narcissistic Parents Treat Their Children Like Babies" in Psychology Today).

Something New: Three Things (include these three things in a piece): Oatmeal, Flu, Baja California

Something Borrowed: Dorianne Laux | Rattlecast #44 (The Prompt: With your eyes closed, open any book to a random page. Make the title of your poem the first word you see.).

Reminder, this piece can be sent to Sparked Lit Mag! It doesn't have to have been written when the issue was currently reading.
Something Blue: Write a piece which includes a blue Camaro (or El Camino), and a blue Easter Egg.

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try the Masaru Imada trio album "Green Caterpillar"

11/18/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #323: Ekphrastic Fantastic 27

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#323
Ekphrastic Fantastic 27

For today, we're pairing images for you to respond to. The two images will be contrasting and it will be up to you how they can interact, how your writing can make the two pieces of art meet. 

Or, just pick one of the images and run with it if you'd rather. I'm not here to tell you exactly what to do, just to help you get the ball rolling. But if it was me, I would look for commonalities or how one image could be an imagination or memory or media within the other image, or if they exist in the same 'world', how you can get from one point in space and time to the other. But you do you boo-boo.


Image 1:Void (1921) by Reddit User "Outrun Youth".


Image 2:  Starry Night and the Astronauts (1972) by Alma Thomas.


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How do these two images play off of each other in your mind? Is the second image what the person on the gas station roof is seeing/imagining? Is the abstract image all that can be seen from inside a waiting car in a downpour, whereas the first what could be seen without that rain on window effect? Is someone's memory being lost, their mind (whether to old-age, drug use, a neurodegenerative disease? Something totally different? How might they be connected? Are they completely unrelated? You decide. Don't overthink it, take a couple minutes perhaps, but dive in and make this happen! And always remember that if you're onto gold—run with it.

You got this!
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If you'd like some 80s throwback synth background writing music, try this: Don Robertson - Starmusic [Full Album Electronic / New Age / Ambient / Synth Music Cassette 1982] from somewhat new background music friends of the blog, Sounds of the Dawn. I think it pairs especially well with these images.

11/17/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #322 Micro 101 Episode 21

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#322
Micro 101 Episode 21

For today's writing exercise you will write a few micro-poems or micro-fictions. These will be either poems under 20 lines or stories under 250 words.

For inspiration go read some micro or hint fiction in this Buzzfeed article, at Microfiction MondayAlbaMolecule50 Word Stories and Nanoism. Or also this Barnstorm blog post "How Microfiction Could Transform Social Media".

Check out all of the prompts and pick a couple to write. Once you've done that, focusing on one at a time, read the full prompt twice before you start writing because you're looking to keep it minimal, so have ideas. If your first draft is longer don't fret. Hone it down. And the piece will be what it is. I've started out with a goal of 100 words but hit on something and had to cull the end result from 1350 to 1200 for a contest because I loved the result. So each story will be its own beast, but we're ideally aiming for 20 lines or 100-250 words with these. And if they grow into something much larger, hey, you've got something longer!

Micro Exercise 1: Christmas 1. Write a short piece that details the things that go horribly wrong on Christmas Eve dinner. Include a specific argument about a past event, at least 2 food items being burned or inedible, and one person leaving in a huff.
Micro Exercise 2: Christmas 2. Write a very short piece in which a child is extremely disappointed over their Christmas presents, which the gift-giver was actually excited to give.
Micro Exercise 3: Christmas 3. Write a micro piece in which three neighbors swap stories about their Christmas decorating woes.
Micro Exercise 4:  Under the Ice 1Write a micro piece details animal/plant life existing beneath the ice of a lake or the Arctic/Antarctic. Make some sort of an observation as to how different that life is from your speaker/narrator's life.
Micro Exercise 5: Under the Ice 2. Write a very short piece about someone falling through the ice of a river and dying.
Micro Exercise 6: Under the Ice 3. Write a piece that is exactly 150 words which talks about a boat or ship that was crushed by spreading ice and sank. Give us a little bit about both what things were on the boat, and about the previous lives of at least two crewmembers (who may have escaped or may be down under that ice still).
Micro Exercise 7: Wolves 1. Write a short piece in which a pack of wolves create dread for a lost hiker.
Micro Exercise 8: Wolves 2. Write a very piece that uses the transformation of wolves into dogs as a metaphor. Also include the phrases "in time lapse" and "before sunrise".

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this "Cozy Christmas Beats" lofi mix.

11/16/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #321: Title Mania "Burning in the Rain" 29

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#321
Title Mania "Burning in the Rain" 29

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose that utilizes one of the following titles, and if you want extra 'bonus points' also include the three items from below the title list. These titles all come from the awesome Richard Blanco poem "Burning in the Rain" which is featured in Poetry Out Loud.

Titles:
  1. Indulge
  2. Confess For Me
  3. Sheet By Sheet
  4. Let them Smolder
  5. Ghostlier Shades of Myself
  6. Windchimes Giggling in the Storm
Bonus Exercise: Three Things
(Your piece must also include the following three 'things', if you choose this option)
  1. A Shower
  2.  An Elevator
  3. London
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If you'd like some background music try this "Whispers from the Fireflies" lofi mix from our lofi buddies at Dreamhop Music.

11/15/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #320: How to... 24

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#320
How to... 24

For today's prompt we are focusing on imperative directional pieces. What does that mean? A "How to"! You don't have to title your piece "How to ..." (though you certainly can if you'd like to), you could write a prose piece that merely includes someone giving another directions or you could make it a step by step process like a recipe, however you want to interpret the prompt, the process that is the 'how to' should merely be described at some length during your piece, in some fashion. 

For a couple examples of "How to" pieces. "How to Get There" by Philip Levine, "How to tie a knot" by James Kimbrell, the villanelle "The Grammar Lesson" by Steve Kowit, Mónica de la Torre's wonderful "How to Look at Mexican Highways". and the awesome short story "How to Write a True War Story" by Tim O'Brien.

How toDress for Failure.

Extra Credit RequirementsYour piece must include a small airplane, and the words "Mug" "Growth" "Eclipse" "Fodder" and "Jackals".

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If you'd like some background music try the Brian Eno album "Ambient 1: Music for Airports"

11/14/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #319: Beginning, Middle & End 29

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#319
Beginning, Middle & End 29

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which begins with one image, scenario, line of dialog or place, includes another thing or event somewhere beyond the first and before the last stanza/paragraph, and ends with another required 'thing'.

Begin WithA bottle of champagne being 'popped' opened.

Somewhere in the middle: A car accident.

End WithA man pulling a red wagon.

Extra Credit RequirementsYour title or first line must include the word "Home", and you should include the following five words: ElectricityBalloonNoonCoopedObligatory.

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If you'd like some background writing music try this: Trent Ivor. "Window To An Outside World" lofi album presented by Dreamhop Music.

11/13/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #318 We can't just Anaphora—Repetition Files 21

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#318
We can't just Anaphora—Repetition Files 21

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which focuses on repetition. In this instance we will work with anaphora. It's a handy little bit of poetic craft that goes a little something like this:

the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect.
Take a moment and read the above-linked Poetry Foundation article, even if you know the term. For even more fun check out this longer article called Adventures in Anaphora.

Your mission is to use the following phrase to begin at least 5 sentences. 

The word or phrase we'll use for our exercise today is:

"We can't just" 

Bonus Exercise:
 Include these five words into your piece "Keyboard" "Cinnamon" "Jubilant" "Laminated" and "Amazon".
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this 1975 Japanese jazz album by Isao Suzuki Quartet + 2, "Orang Utan"

11/12/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #317: First Line Bonanza 25

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing. 

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#317
First Line Bonanza 25

For today's writing exercise write a piece that begins with one of the following first lines.

1) It was too cold to leave the hut.
2) The sun had set once more.
3) Gunfire poked holes in the afternoon.
4) We waited for night.
5) Tourists had long ago stopped visiting our section of town.
6) We would climb the mountain, despite warnings.
7) The swamp stank.

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Bonus 'constraint': You must include a paragraph/stanza in which the all sentences or lines begin with the letter "C".
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try Japanese jazz group Isao Suzuki Sextet's 1976 album "Ako's Dream"

11/11/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #316: Dueling Six Word Shootout 28

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#316
Dueling Six Word Shootout 28
For today's writing exercise write a piece that includes one or both of the following sets of 6 words. Don't front-load them all into the beginning of your piece, save at least one or two for somewhere to 'aim' your piece. Remember sestinas have 6 different end-words, but don't let me tell you what to write. Just use all 6 (or twelve) words in a fashion that isn't throw-away. Don't put them in in a way that you'll definitely later edit them out because they don't add to the piece. Make them important. This might require a little brainstorming at first. Don't be afraid, you can do it!

Set 1: 
1) Halo 
2) Flail
3) Nail 
4) Wink 
5) Brink
6) Crinkle 

Set 2:
7) Wrinkle
8) Hail 
9) Ink 
10) Mail
11) Scale
12) Rink

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Bonus Exercise: If that's not enough, also include the following three things: Ice Skates, An Abandoned Mansion, and The Space Shuttle.
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If you'd like some background music to write to, try Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio's 2001 album "Autumn in Seattle"

11/10/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #315: Three Things, Five Words 28

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes.

#315
Three Things, Five Words 28
For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following three things, and these five individual words. The three things should be important to the piece, not just a throwaway reference used because it has to be. This is prompt time, baby! 

If you're not sure where to start, begin by finding a connection between two of the 'things'—whether that is a shared appearance, locale, one of the things might interact with another (or all three), some way that the two are likened or could be physically together. Use one of the things with two of the 'words' in the beginning of the piece and explore for a bit, knowing that you're aiming at the second ''thing' (where the two 'things' have their connection) about 1/3-1/2 of the way through what you imagine the length of the piece (which may be totally off). By then you should have a direction and it's off to the races, with that third 'thing' in your pathway to the finishing line.

'Three Things'
  1. A Kayak
  2. The Last Day of School
  3. A Chocolate Chip Cookie
'Five Words' 
Include these five words in your piece: 
Straw, Bold, Womb, Click, Gladiator.

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If you'd like some background music to write to, try this Japanese Jazz album, Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio's "Misty".

11/9/21

2021 Writing Exercise Series #314: Between a Fact and an Exact Place 20

The 2021 Writing Series is a series of daily writing exercises for both prose writers and poets to keep their creative mind stretched and ready to go—fresh for your other writing endeavors. The writing prompts take the impetus—that initial crystal of creation—out of your hands (for the most part) and changes your writing creation into creative problem solving. Instead of being preoccupied with the question "What do I write" you are instead pondering "How do I make this work?" And in the process you are producing new writing.

This is not a standard writing session. This is pure production—to keep your brain thinking about using language to solve simple or complex problems. The worst thing you can do is sit there inactive. It's like taking a 5 minute breather in the middle of a spin class—the point is to push, to produce something, however imperfect. If you don't overthink it, you will be able to complete all of the exercises in under 30 minutes. 

#314
Between a Fact and an Exact Place 20

For today's writing exercise you will write a piece of poetry or prose which contains the following place (either as the setting, referenced or some aspect of it described) and the following fact in some way (its discovery, used as a metaphor, witnessed etc).


As an additional assignment, should you choose to incorporate it, is as follows: Also include the words "Expansive" "Flood" "Watches" "Pinball" and "Delayed".

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If you'd like some synth background music with an appropriate title to write this prompt to, try this Textureworks ‎– Ancient Textures [Full Album Synth / World / Ambient / Computer Music Cassette] from friends of the blog Sounds of the Dawn.