Reading as a writer: Deconstructing a scene

image of the book Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen and a filled in scene deconstruction worksheet

This summer my wonderful local book store, A Good Book in Sumner, Wa, not only had a Summer Reading Bingo card, but came up with a Bingo card for writers as well. It looked daunting at first with squares like: Write your manifesto (turn your excuses upside down); Write seven days in a row; and Finish Something; but the more I worked on it, the more inspired I was to continue.

One of the final squares on my card before I got my blackout was, “Deconstruct a Scene.” The instructions were to read a scene from your favorite book/author and find what makes it work. I picked out scenes from different authors I enjoy and put the books on my desk with the scenes I’d chosen dutifully marked, but kept moving on to other squares of the Bingo card. Finally, I searched the internet to see if there were any forms or worksheets out there to guide me through the process of deconstructing a scene. I didn’t find what I was looking for, so I went to work creating my own.

I had recently attended my first meeting at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) cottage. I’ve been a member for years, but only watched some meetings online. I’m glad I went. Pam Binder gave a presentation on critique groups and created a hand- out with her ideas of how to evaluate a scene that were helpful. I also incorporated ideas from Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (8th Edition) by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French and Ned Stuckey-French and The Twelve Questions in Frencesca Block’s The Thorn Necklace: Healing Through Writing and the Creative Process.

Deconstructing a scene

Evaluating a scene is similar to evaluating an entire story. A scene encompasses the same elements:

  • The point of view(POV) character, in a specific setting, wants something
  • Something or someone stops them from reaching that goal
  • This leads to crisis
  • Which leads to reflection and/or insight
  • Causing the POV character to change and/or come up with a new goal

The point of deconstructing scenes by authors you admire is to look for the techniques they use to make a scene stick with you. You want to identify the choices they make that appear so effortless and keep you reading like:

  • How do the characters express emotion?
  • What invoked emotion in you the reader?
  • Did something surprise you? Why? How?
  • What kept you turning pages?
  • Was there a hook at the end of the scene?

The Worksheet

I tested my worksheet on a scene from Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. I chose this for my exercise because my current work in progress (I finished the first draft two days ago. YAY!) is in that vein: A murder mystery that brings a lot of eccentric characters into wild situations. The scene I chose did not specifically fit the scene and sequel structure, and I realized this by using my worksheet. I also discovered a technique to show emotion that I liked and may use in the future.

Filling out the worksheet didn’t take as long as I thought it would and the insight gleaned from filling it out was well worth the effort. The great thing about this Scene Deconstruction Worksheet is not only can I use it to read as a writer, but I can use it to evaluate my own scenes.

You can get a copy of my worksheet to use in your own reading and writing by signing up for my newsletter.

I want it button

When you do, you will receive a link to the file and a special message from me about once a month.

I hope that you will use this worksheet and find it as informative as I have.

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

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Plotting with Tarot: Interpretation for a friend-The Perfect Romance Plot

This is fun! My friend Diana Rose Wilson was having a bout of writer’s block, so I mentioned trying plotting with Tarot to get some ideas. She tried it, said it took her down a rabbit’s hole and gave up, but said I could go ahead and interpret her spread. I decided to give it a try, thinking it might be fun to see if someone else’s spread might inspire a scene for me as well since the cards are interpretive symbols with immeasurable possible interpretations.

awesome notebooks

I decided to make this the first entry in my I Regret Nothing Journal from The Mincing Mockingbird & The Fantic Meerkat (I love these journals) and wrote down each of Diana’s cards and positions. Many of the cards she pulled were reversed which I found interesting. While doing this, I noticed she was missing a card for a Celtic Cross which looked like her intended form, so I pulled out my hand-made Tarot cards and found the cards she had pulled, put them in order she would have pulled her spread and then started shuffling and cutting for her final card.

I shuffled and cut my deck three times while thinking, What would be the last card in Diana’s spread and What would the outcome be for Diana’s story? Believe it or not, the top card after the final shuffle and cut was The Lovers. Perfect.

 

romance plot spread.jpg

I grabbed my copy of Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, turned to page 75 (Note: after I published this post, I found out that Mark Teppo’s book is in second edition with significant additions, so that page number may not be the same in your book) and started my plot interpretation. During my first exploration of the Tarot last fall, I found that I liked using Teach Me Tarot for online interpretations, so I went to the site and started with Diana’s first card, The Ten of Pentacles in the search bar. The great thing about Teach Me Tarot is it thoroughly explores the upright and reversed positions for every card. Because I am using this for fiction plotting, I can pick and choose which aspects of the card, in the given position, are exciting to me for a plot-line.

Now that you know the tools I used for my interpretation, I’m going to give you my interpretation of the entire spread as a story plot. If you would like further instruction of how I came up with this interpretation, I highly recommend getting a copy of Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finish Your Book by Arwen Lynch, and reading my blog posts from November 2017.

Now. With no further build up . . . Drum roll please . . .

♥ Diana’s Most Amazing And Useful Romance Novel Plot! ♥

Your protagonist is wealthy on many levels: from a wealthy family and a well-known family name, may have old money or be “self-made” through hard work. S/he is from a close-knit, tight family unit and follows family traditions and customs. This protagonist starts out having it all, but something from the past threatens his/her happiness. Something from the past: a person, a document, a memory threatens to destroy this perfect life.

The story begins with the protagonist facing doubts and fears that something isn’t right. S/he wishes to let go and enjoy/reap the good life, but worries it is too good to be true. Whatever threat from the past has come to light (family, business, family secrets, blackmail, old business partner, old school friend, old lover, inheritance, current relationship falling apart, etc.), the protagonist has dug in his/her heels and stubbornly refuses to negotiate or compromise. There is a good chance that s/he is wrong, but pride/ego/family name is in the way. The protagonist becomes awkward and difficult, determined to keep the battle/conflict going. S/he will lose any honesty s/he had, willing to call black white to disagree on almost every item.

The protagonist wishes s/he could walk away, but because of original home/wealth/happiness, can’t. S/he wishes for space and time to think, to come up with a new approach, but is constantly pressured. S/he wants to find a way to be free from blame for every horror s/he is discovering created the wealth s/he enjoyed. And/or wants to know who is causing the unrest (blackmail/threats). And/or wants to come clean about past (family, business, secrets).

The protagonist makes an attempt create distance from the situation; makes a move from turbulent seas to calmer waters where s/he finds belief in self and sense of purpose. This is where the protagonist recognizes/discovers love for another.

No matter what this protagonist does, s/he is still a representative of the family s/he was born into, thus people see a person who: earned a place on the winners podium; earned success because s/he learned vital lessons of life; has balance in life and success that will be long term. This perception feels hypocritical and difficult through his/her changing reality.

The protagonist must overcome the past and transform into a lover. The love interest, met earlier, helps in discovery and realization with a sharp wit and intelligence. S/he sees through the wealth and prestige to her/his heart. This lover helps the protagonist to rise above the conflict and trouble. As lovers, they find the truth.

The protagonist finally finds real love–has changed from being selfish and entitled to someone who listens to needs, desires feelings, likes and dislikes and knows how to communicate his/her own. Through this change the protagonist finds balance and harmony in relationship and life.

The End

And there you have it–a delicious romance plot outline that you can use over and over again–from only one Celtic Cross Tarot Spread. Why do I think this is so fun? Because using this plot I already came up with these elevator pitches:

A young heiress, happily living in the lap of luxury, finds out she has been promised to her father’s business partner. Unless she can find proof that an accidental death that occurred before she was born wasn’t her father’s fault, she will have to marry a man she loathes, or her family will lose everything. With the help of a childhood friend, she delves into her family history finding more than her heart can hold.

A Pop-Star in the middle of a world-wide tour finds out that her manager has stolen all of her money and disappeared. Not able, or willing to return to her hyper-religious family who has “dis-owned” her,  she ends up in a dive-bar in a small southern town where she sings on a bar-stool for tips. When a disgruntled lawyer gets lost and finds her way to her arms, she promises to help her get her life back.

A young developer thinks he has it all: wealth, property, a thriving business and the best name to use as a brand all over the world. When his father dies, he expects everything to smoothly continue into his wonderful future, but the will is cryptic and suddenly he has to face the questions of how his immigrant grandfather made his money. The business runs itself, or at least stays still while he tries to follow his father’s odd clues that lead him to a mysterious woman and a new understanding of himself.

Like I said, this is fun. I came up with those in the last 15 minutes. They’re not great or anything, but they have what you need to start an intriguing romance novel (imho).

Diana mentioned she might read this interpretation and write a companion piece, so keep your eyes on her website.

Happy Reading and Writing!

N is for Noosphere

noosphere: noun – the sphere of human consciousness and mental activity especially in regard to its influence on the biosphere and in relation to evolution

 

An Apple Is An Apple

Would you like to play a game?
All you need’s an active brain.
It starts upon the physical plane
But is played in the noosphere.

As Vladimir Vernadsky said
There is power in your head
To change material processes
A new riddle risen before us

You won’t need to leave your room
We’ll start looking at a blot and boom
Association levels bloom
Some meanings and duration shared

It can be played in any season
Just use the force of human reason
To control the will of legion
With consequence beyond the surface

We’ll meet beyond the horizon of
The imaginable and then think above
A heart symbolic of to love
To a higher dimension of meaning

If a match, a vision shared
Was there energy when we paired
Measurable, material aired
In the realm of the unimaginable?

No? Let’s play again.

 

Further Reading

Would you like to learn more about the noosphere? You may want to check out:

150 Years of Vernadsky: The Noösphere (Volume 2)

Cosmic Humanism;: A Theory of the Eight-Dimensional Cosmos Based on Integrative Principles from Science, Religion, and Art by Oliver Reiser

A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance by Rupert Sheldrake

The Global Brain Awakens: Our Next Evolutionary Leap by Peter Russell

Manifesto for the Noosphere: The Next Stage in the Evolution of Human Consciousness (Manifesto Series) by Jose Arguelles

The Economics of The Noösphere: Why Lyndon LaRouche Is The World’s Most Successful Economic Forecaster Of the Past Four Decades by Lyndon H LaRouche Jr. and Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky

Happy Reading and Writing in the Noosphere!

See you tomorrow.

L is for Lapidescent and Lamott

lapidescent – adjective – turning to stone; petrifying

Symbol in the Mountain

 

Watch for spiders when turning to stone

A spider outside titanium tombs admits to gathering glass and
Pokes positive whispers to flip
Lichen over rocky ruins welcome collected chlorinated streams to
Come to yes, the dust spinning
You between tungsten traps sanction catching carbonation and
Stay pro compliment still
Safety-pins under obsidian obsessions permit keeping keeps to
Arrive at every surrender lapidescent.

Anne Lamott’s Truth BombsSigned by Anne Lamott

Last weekend (for my birthday), my sweetie treated me to a talk by Anne Lamott at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Anne Lamott is the author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. My cousin (whose birthday is the day before mine) got me this book for my birthday years ago when I started my first novel.

We had great seats stage left and while we waited for the event to start, I admired the modern style of the room. The pod-like, tiered balcony seats reminded me of the floating senate sections from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

When she was introduced, we were told she likes to drop “truth bombs” and she did. She started by answering the questions “How do we keep going in these troubled times? Where do we even begin?” Her answer: “The system works because we’re not all nuts on the same day.”

I enjoyed her truth that “Help is the sunny side of control.” It reminded me of all the times my mother so kindly tells me about job opportunities. And sometimes my “help” isn’t what people need.

And if you want to have a better life, “start each day by feeding the hungry babies.”

Her advice for writers?

  • Stop! not writing.
  • Trick other people into writing
  • Write terrible first drafts
  • Get a lot of help
  • Pay attention
  • Wake up

Her newest book Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, in its gorgeous orange cover, was inspired by this song:

Though she said she sang it in church, so maybe not this particular version 🙂

These are fun too:

Want to listen to this song over and over? There are a lot of different recordings of Hallelujah Anyhow to choose from.

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

K is for Kainotophobia and Kakorrhaphiophobia

kainotophobia – fear of change

kakorrhaphiophobia – fear of failure

Rorschach mask

 

Summer Comes Too Soon

Wind whips a chill of impatience. Roiling waves chop at the bulkheads and ramps, speeding the jade of aged concrete, leaving lapilliform spaces for the next surge to fill.
Only the lowest hills are free of the cloud blanket. Toes of snow hint of the giant hiding behind the screen.

Unexpected kainotophobia isolates and penetrates this paradise;
man versus nature in constant battle. He fights the clover, the moss, the dandelions;
the crabrass, lambsquarters, and pokeweed. He is always on the defensive
to the marestail and witchgrass. But kakorrhaphiophobia rules the day.
Every day. Every moment of every day. And he will rule his Eden prison, this utopian cage.

Molten lava heart
Commander of the cloud sky
All watch the mountain

Feather in the Foreground

This is my first attempt at a haibun. When I read the prompt, I worried that today would be the first time my word of the day didn’t fit with the theme, but I think it worked.

Interested in haibun? You may want to check out Contemporary haibun online,

or one of these books:
Journey to the Interior: American Versions of Haibun by Bruce Ross

Landmarks: A Haibun Collection by Ray Rasmussen

Journeys 2017: An Anthology of International Haibun by Angelee Deodhar

Happy Reading and Writing!

See you tomorrow.

J is for Jeremiad

jeremiad: noun – a prolonged lamentation or complaint

In you go

The NaPoWriMo prompt for today talks about the body as a union and about the future state of the union. It’s a fun coincidence that the prompt uses the state of the union as metaphor because Wikipedia states: “A jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in verse, in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of society’s imminent downfall.” That sounds similar to a state of the union to me.

Thinking about the body as a union, I noticed that there are a lot of movement “J” words:
jut – extend up, out or forward
jump – to spring free from the ground
jumble – to move in a confused and disordered manner
juke – to fake (someone) out of position
juggle – to hold or balance precariously
jounce – to move in an up and down manner
jostle – to come in contact or into collision
jolt – an abrupt sharp jerky blow or movement
joggle – to shake slightly; to move shakily or jerkily
jog – to go at a slow, leisurely, or monotonous pace; to nudge
jive – the dancing performed to jive music
jitterbug – a jazz variation of the two-step
jitter – to make continuous fast repetitive movements
jink – to move quickly or unexpectedly; a quick evasive turn
jiggle – to move with quick little jerks or oscillating motions
jig – any of several lively springy dances in triple rhythm
jibe – to shift suddenly and forcibly from one side to the other
jettison – action of throwing
jet – to move or progress by or as if by jet propulsion
jerk – a single quick motion of short duration; jolting, bouncing, or thrusting motions
jar – a sudden or unexpected shake; an unpleasant break or conflict in rhythm, flow, or transition
jag – to move in jerks
jade – to weary or dull through repetition or excess
jabber – talk rapidly, indistinctly, or unintelligibly
jab – to poke quickly and abruptly; thrust

For today’s poem, I’ll try to work some of those great verbs into my jeremiad.

 

Make The Body Great Again

For too long this union was mind-focused.
A jitterbug of reading and typing,
eyes jibing, fingers jouncing
Hours spent sitting,
jading seats in chair, couch and mattress,
lost in thought and self-jabber
But I say Body first.

The brain is an organ, only one of many
We must set aside our differences
And learn to work together
Jettison idle mindfulness
Jar loose ideas, jig those joints to junctions
Jostle that jumble in juvenile jubilation
Juxtapose jogging with juried jurisdiction

Though we have a long way to go
We should focus on our many accomplishments
We have juked more than anyone could imagine
And jinked in ways no one could understand
Everyone is saying that our jiggle is the very best
But are they reporting it?
Why not focus on our great joggle for a change?

As we jut toward the stars and jab our own flab,
I say jump, get that body jostled
Remember, idle hands are the devil’s playground
There’s little we can do to completely
silence the jibber-jabber,
but a tired body quiets the mind.

 

Happy Reading, Writing and Juggling!

See you tomorrow.

April Is Coming: NaPoWriMo & A to Z Challenge & Me

Close-up of daffodils

Life Lessons: Always Learning

These last couple months, I have learned a few things about myself:

1. Joining the YMCA is a good way to pay money to inspire me to stay home and write.

2. In the Fall and Winter, I write stories that will eventually be called for on Dark Markets.

3. When Winter is over, I suddenly want to finish all my stories and send them out to get homes and readers. Guess that’s how I sow (I have plans to sew) my oats, so to speak.

4. I am good at physical (better than my self-imposed) deadlines, but I might as well stop telling myself I’ll start months ahead when I know the work gets done in the final week. It’s not procrastinating; I’m a thinker and I think better while doing other things.

5. And most pertinent to this post: I either blog once a day or once a month and there is very little in between.

Conclusion: I’m creative and like to be in the now of the creative process. I’m not a planner. Thus, starting my day with a blog challenge that includes creative writing is the most reliable way to get content here for you to read (Instead of, say, spending my time making klecksography–magnetic poetry with inkblot illustration–and posting it to twitter: My Klecksography Twitter Moment).

National Poetry Writing Month

With this in mind, I was happy to remember that April is NaPoWriMo – National (Global) Poetry Writing Month. It came to my attention when I did OctPoWriMo last fall. Since I enjoyed writing daily poems and continued to enjoy writing daily poetry through November and December, I am looking forward to doing it again.

Last Fall was an intense re-introduction to poetry for me. It started with the CalArts Poetry Workshop with Douglas KearneyI took (free) through coursera.org. The readings, examples, videos and assignments opened my eyes and inspired me to look for more poetry challenges. October Poetry Writing Month (OctPoWriMo) created by Morgan Dragonwillow( @MorganDragonwillow) was my first daily challenge and introduced me to a plethora of poetry forms.

After October, I wanted more, so even during the intense writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo, I joined another poetry challenge. Writer’s Digest offered the PAD (poem-a-day) Chapbook Challenge. I used the prompts and wrote poems from my characters’ points of view (mostly my MC) and it enhanced my NaNoWriMo experience.

When that challenge ended, I put together my first poetry Chapbook and entered it in the contest, but I wanted to continue and end the year strong, so I did the MoSt Poetry New Year challenge which offered prompts through the new year and part of January.

 

The Book

Journal: Carnet PAPERBLANKS modèle Nocturnelle Ultra 180x230mm – ligné by paperblanks

For Christmas, my sweetie got me the most beautiful hard-cover journal. I love the textured, embossed, old-world style with metal clasps and two attached ribbon bookmarks. To me, it is more than an everyday-morning-pages-stream-of-consciousness journal, or even a notes-for-my novel journal. So after writing in it for the first two days of 2018, I stopped. I thought I would use it for daily poetry, but I’ve been neglecting the daily poetry.  This beautiful journal will be one of my tools during the fabulous challenge that is April.

A to Z Challenge

When I joined Thursday evening’s #StoryDam chat, I was proud to announce that I had signed up for April’s National Poetry Writing Month, but then the second question of the evening was if anyone had signed up for April’s A to Z Challenge. The A to Z challenge is a challenge for bloggers to blog daily about a topic or topics starting with the letter A on April 1st and following each day (except for the following Sundays) with consecutive letters of the alphabet.

Now, I will admit, I had completely forgotten that April was also the month for this blogging challenge, but I quickly realized that it shouldn’t be too hard to combine the two. Since I am new to each of these challenges, this will be an experiment, but I see it being fun. I’m thinking for the A to Z challenge, I will challenge myself to a new word starting with the letter of the day. Then I will use that word in my NaPoWriMo poem.

I also want to continue my Craft Book Reviews. I’ve had a couple Jack Bickham books lined up for this week, but I guess you’ll get those on Monday. The letter B. I’ve also been enjoying a couple of John Dufresne books, so I’ll have to hurry and get those reviews ready for “D” day which will be next Thursday. Depending on how this goes, those may be all the Craft Book Reviews for April because I got excited and requested books by all four living Nobel Prize winning poets (before Bob Dylan; I already read his book Tarantula) from my local library and downloaded some e-books as well.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep you coming back to Experience Writing in April, I am going to see Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life speak. I hope I have a ton of writer wisdom to share after that!

Happy Reading and Writing!

See You Tomorrow.

 

The Leviathan In The Fog

This week, I had fun with Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge over at terribleminds.com blog. He offered a list of ten titles and challenged writers to choose one and write its story. I tried out a few different titles and story ideas, but “The Leviathan In The Fog” triggered a memory of a personal encounter, so I felt the most connection to this story. And with no further ado . . .

 

The Leviathan in the Fog

by Maria L. Berg

Moments past dawn and it is already hot. Dew, settled on the long blades of grass during the chill of night, sizzles to steam, creating a thick fog that hovers near the earth. The orchestra of invisible locusts plays a deafening song. The leviathan stirs, alert to an invisible invasion.

Fumes of diesel and rubber, hours old, still linger. A pungent deterrent, narrowing possible paths. The leviathan slowly stretches along the cracks and pebbles, finding every sensation an irritant. Gone are the days of wandering in mindless solitude, tentacles swaying fearlessly in the breeze. With the humans encroaching and the new fad of rampant hermaphroditic reproduction, the once vast world feels confining. Recently, the bumbling masses started eating each others’ shells. Eating each other! That’s what their uncontrolled orgies have gotten them. Terrestrial gastropods have no self-control.

Contracting, toward a leaf, the leviathan smells distinct clues of foreign intrusion: an unfamiliar sweet, rotting fruit; soil of a course mineral make-up; the bark of an unknown tree. Curiosity becomes alarm. The invasion is happening, but where are the invaders? The locusts continue their two-note serenade without pause. No breach could escape their scrutiny. Hunger prevails over alarm, but the leaf is all wrong: rubbery and stringy; each vein leaks a gluey, bitter puss.

Dissatisfied, the leviathan stretches further through the fog and discovers, retracting in horror, a capacious piece of broken shell. The deep mahogany and umber swirls are slashed with jagged white edges where violent pressure transposed it from home to waste. Only two other small pieces remain, the rest are crumbled and trampled to tiny specks and flakes. While tasting one of the smaller pieces of shell, the leviathan worries that the pebble irritants, glided over earlier, are pieces of a trail of snails.

The recognition of self in the smell is difficult to process. A perceptual dilemma like sucking on one’s own eye stalk. The leviathan feels ill and wants to recoil, but the calcium is difficult to come by these days.

The sun rises behind the trees. The fog will soon burn off and the leviathan will need to dig into the soft dirt under the tall grass to hide from predators and the blistering heat, but the second small piece of shell is too tempting. Enraptured in gluttony, the leviathan doesn’t hear the lack of locusts’ song, or the generators’ rising hum as lights are flicked on. Vibrations growing underfoot like a stampede gaining momentum do, finally, reach into the gorge. The click and scrape of heavy doors is the final warning.

The sole of a shoe. An earth shattering crunch.

In the throws of death, the leviathan hears, “Ew. What is that? There’s like slime up to my ankle. Is that a snail? A snail? We must be in hell because a snail that big will eternally haunt my dreams.”

Then a scream of shattering revelation.

“They’re everywhere. Oh, Lord help me, they’re everywhere.”

Review: A Compendium Of Collective Nouns

Over the weekend, I went to West Seattle and had brunch with an old friend. After we ate, we walked around the shops. In a home furnishings store, I noticed a beautiful book and had to have it. So I am now the proud owner of: A Compendium Of Collective Nouns

A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras from Woop Studios.

The collective nouns in this book were researched from The Book of Saint Albans, An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition by James Lipton which I talked about in my post Exploring: Collective Nouns, and other historic examples of collective nouns.

A collection of collective nouns is fun for anyone and everyone who enjoys playing with words, and this book is beautiful as well.

A Disguising of Tailors

This is the page I turned to in the store that turned this book from, Oh, I want this, to I’m taking this home with me. As a person who worked many years as a seamstress and tailor, I absolutely love the idea of being part of a Disguising. I’m going to extend that to A disguising of costumers because it’s just perfect. As you can see, the full page graphic designs are also eye-candy.

A Duplicity of Spies

This page is full of fun collective nouns. I especially like:

  • A venom of spiders
  • A duplicity of spies
  • A scurry of squirrels
  • and A galaxy of starfish

I highly recommend treating yourself to a copy of A Compendium of Collective Nouns: From an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras from Woop Studios.

Also from Woop Studios:

A Raft of Otters: Collective Nouns Flash Cards from A to Z

A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns

 

How can you use collective nouns in your writing?

Happy Reading and Writing

 

Final Days of 2017 #FD2017 Day 25: Surviving The Rare White Christmas!

For our final odd ornament visual prompt I found a gift from 1996 still in its box. The box had some interesting info. I’m loving the name Grzegorz. I think the ball is painted with drums, but that’s a guess. From this view, it could be stylized black holes.

#vss very short story

While her family continued to open gifts, Carrie’s attention was drawn to the black spot on the painted, glass ornament. She could swear it was growing. Mom must have spiked the Christmas punch because she saw snow falling inside the black spot which was definitely growing.

Carrie stood on wobbly legs and touched the now floating void in the room. She felt cold air whoosh past her and closed her eyes to protect them from the burning cold. When she opened then again, a spritely crone with a thick pile of white hair neatly wrapped in a bun on the top of her head said, “Oh, Carrie. Good. You’re here. Santa’s in trouble.”

Today’s Poetry Prompt and Poem

Today’s prompt from MoSt Poetry is a form prompt. Fun! Write a tanka, a Japanese five-line, 5/7/5/7/7 syllable count form, concerning an emotion associated with this holiday season — positive or negative, neighborly or not, infused with eggnoggyness or something else.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/tanka-poetic-form

Smiling at the snow
Voices travel over lake
Love this; it’s Christmas
This winter wonderland is
A perfect morning present

Extra Writing prompts

I found a couple writing prompts @writerswrite on twitter for today.

 

#FlashFicHive

ff25

Graphic by Anjela Curtis

Anjela informed me yesterday that when #FlashFicHive comes around again in February, it will only be weekly prompts. Sad, but understandable. I’m trying to figure out how to approach my posts in 2018. Though I love the inspiration I find in theses daily posts, they are very time consuming. I may scale back to my previous bi-weekly posts in January and see how it goes.

Don’t Forget To Read!

Today is all about reading the books you got for Christmas! Yay New Books! Believe it or not, I did not receive a single book for Christmas, however, I still have one book to hurry through this morning before I gift it. And there’s still one more gathering that has book promise.

Today is also a great day to build your reading wish list. You can start buying those books with the money you get from gift returns and gift cards (fingers crossed).

 

Happy Reading and Writing!