October 22: Follow Your Gut #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

I Escaped the Void by Maria L. Berg 2020


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Residual Rubbernecking by Charles Bernstein

Online journal: The Baffler

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 21

Gongura on the Tongue by Sunita
I found it interesting that she also related flavor to pride.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Follow Your Gut

Forms Acrostic or Ottava Rima

For today’s poem, I had some fun. I looked up a list of horror podcasts and randomly clicked somewhere in a show and wrote down the first thing I heard. I used those lines to inspire my Ottava Rima.

Once I Escaped the Void

Taking a deep breath, I escaped the void
our restlessness was to me a paradox
an opportunity to be employed
like the worn off number on the celestial jukebox
repetition of continuation kept us annoyed
like each of the sullied grains freed from the sandbox
let them scatter into the universe
their upsetting choices making it worse

I understand the importance of most death
it can’t stop me either
though I’m flummoxed to draw my next breath
under the weight of that ravenous seer
time to strike and leave bereft
the shadow people in their fever
hands reaching out of the dark
leave a burn, a tender mark

Large heaps of flesh-colored wax
were scattered around the room
disobeying any logical syntax
melting in flame, bloom a heady perfume
the heat weaves it’s cracks
to the inter-dimensional vacuum
scattering me to the adverse universe
to disperse and traverse the inverse

Death from the Void by Maria L. Berg 2020


For today’s visual prompt, I chose “Lost” by Alex Timmermans

micro-story : The stranger arrived with the fall, leading a wild boar by a sheer scarf. They approached silently from the thick wood to the east, as if they did not possess enough weight to crunch a dry leaf. Yet everywhere they walked, trouble became too heavy to bear.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story There’s Enough Room in There for All of Them, in the End by Lillian Goode

Horror online magazine Reflex Fiction

NaNo Prep

This week’s goal of getting to my desk at 9:30 am every morning is going well. It helps that the chair at my desk is the only place I can sit comfortably since I hurt my tailbone.

It’s hard to believe there are only ten days left. I will be focused on my timelines, character arcs, and plot-points. When I need a break, I’ll be reading as much as I can.

October 21: Tasty Flavor #OctPoWriMo #Writober

summer squash, pole beans, kale, Swiss chard and a lemon cucumber nicely displayed on a wood countertop

I had trouble with incredibly slow internet all day, so I’m cutting this post short.


Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Taste

Forms Free Verse

The flavor of pride

Summer ends and flits away
leaving behind its bounty
the ears of corn from Father’s garden
have no need for butter or salt
the light-yellow kernels sweet and juicy
release the rays of the sun
delighting the tongue


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image

micro-story : The house, so full of its tragic past, too full for the new inhabitants, was well-lit and welcoming. The first of many deceptions.

October 20: Touching Textures #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

A Conglomeration of Textures by Maria L. Berg 2020


Read for inspiration and craft

Today was a serendipity-full day, so when I happened upon a site that does “Textile Poems,” I decided that was a perfect type of poem for today. I love making fabric art and really like the idea of its creation as a poem.

Recommended poem: Wildfires by Zwia

Online journal: Textile Poems

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 19

Right Here, Right Now by Annis Cassells
I enjoyed the immediacy of every line and the imagery of the conch held to the ear. The days are galloping by. Hold those reins tight.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Touch

Forms Nove Otto

The softness hides the danger

Reflected in the mirror slick
the sound-foam reforms elastic
ostrich feathers flutter tickly
all rest on faux-fur carpet soft
the centerpiece sandpaper rough
jagged saw-blade teeth look prickly
The fence climbed over of wire barbed
the next higher and razor-sharp
brush for metal mesh holds bristly

A Conglomeration of Textures with Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2020


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this photograph by Christian Hopkins

micro-story : He thought the replicator would solve his problems. After the first copy wouldn’t go to work, or even clean the house, but plopped down and moped in the other corner of the room, he probably should have stopped. He figured the replicator must have malfunctioned, or he had used it incorrectly, so he tried again, and again, again. . . .

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Appleseed of my eye

Horror online magazine Dreaming Tales

NaNo Prep

Yesterday, I put my printer through a serious workout. I printed worksheets like crazy and organized them in a binder that is now filled to capacity. It is organized into sections: Me, My Process & Motivation; Brainstorming; Characters; Settings; Plot, conflict, suspense, tension; and Scenes.

Once I had my binder filled to the brim with fun, I took a look at Eva Deverell’s One Page Novel plot generator.

What she was doing with her fantasy novel wasn’t helping me, but she got me thinking (her cheat sheets) about obligatory scenes and the story grid. So I downloaded the genre story grid cheat sheets and started looking for obligatory scenes and conventions as I followed along with the One Page Novel technique and (pause for dramatic effect) I started coming up with specific scene ideas for my novel.

Tonight, I’m going to play with some timeline worksheets and the futurists thinking Reveal Unexpected Possibilities worksheet to explore my setting more.

What are you focusing on for these last days of NaNo Prep? Do you have any questions about NaNoWriMo?

October 19: Digging Deeper While Being Present #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


While looking for exercises to help me “did deeper”, I stumbled upon “The 5 Whys” and thought I would try using the technique in today’s poem

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Life is Beautiful by Dorianne Laux

Online journal: Canary

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 18

My World by Sunita had a lovely flow. It was relaxing to read.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Being in the present

Forms Synchronicity or LaCharta

Gypsy Curse Disappointment

The gypsy in a rage cursed him
like a sour breakfast blueberry

He called her ugly and inert
while flames flickered on the table

He had been drawn to her beauty
warm like his mother’s sitting room

But disliked the fortune she told
as the wind crescendoed to howl
in waves

When she placed the cards one by one
to keep teeth from ire and vengeance

She read he would face rejection
like red hots, not like cinnamon

And disappointment would follow
misty, overcast, and chilly

Because she revealed his future
a sharp chirp to a yappy dog


For today’s visual prompt, I chose Judgement by Kamila Szutenberg

micro-story : And this was how Halia described the new legal system, of which she was a part: a giantess, mind engorged, pulsating with all knowledge, ever expanding, scrolls through her lengthening lists of wrongs, lording them over the disembodied masses, drifting through her realm as quantum switches.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story The Eisenhower Interstate Phenomena by anonymous

Horror online magazine Creepy Pasta

NaNo Prep

Because I approach the page differently when I write by hand and when I type, I decided to set up a binder for my NaNoWriMo project. I collected worksheets and printables I think will inspire me and this week I plan to fill some in every day. If you find worksheets helpful, you may want to look at:

Eva Deverell
The Novel Factory
The Writer’s Craft
Jami Gold

Do you have other worksheets and printables that inspire you?

I also found a bunch of Scrivener templates other authors have created. Though I like the one I set up and it has a lot of information in it already, I thought I would take a look at these other templates and see if they inspire.

October 18: Relax and Process #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


Read for inspiration and craft

While looking for a poem to share for today, I found this really interesting article from National Writing Project called Channeling Emotion: One Way to Make Poems Out of Feelings

Recommended poem: Any Morning by William Stafford
Light Betrays by Krysta Lee Frost

Online journal: Wildness Journal

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 17

Into the Wild by payal

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Relax and Process Feelings

Forms Diatelle or previous form didn’t try (I went with the Channeling Emotion exercise I mentioned above)

A Glow in the Darkness

Curiosity is throwing a lantern
into midnight’s halitosis
an unsettling smell that tickles
like a crawling tick
she picks locks on dream diaries
though sometimes she doesn’t like what she finds
her twitchy fingers touch everything
collecting memories of textures and heat
like a campfire under a full moon
an antidote for darkness’s cover

Curiosity scoots her chair forward
aluminum legs scrape along the floor
she leans forward expectantly
bright eyes wide, eyebrow raised
she loves to dip a toe in the water
though she’ll more often dive right in
the questions burst with rapid fire
digging for desired answers until
the source of the well runs dry
like dismembering the eclipse of ignorance

Holding her torch high,
she plunges further into the void
the bad breath left by forbidden fruit
still stimulates her senses
the entries in stranger’s journals
may reveal the reviled
a risk she takes on her eternal quest
for all that’s new, she darts
through every cracked door,
ignoring boundaries, leaping fences
breaking through limits to find
a new shadow to light


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image of giant flying man-o-war jellyfish.

micro-story : She knew they didn’t mean to kill. They were wild and new to flight. Their highly poisonous tentacles, swimming through the mist, were but sensing their environment, drawn to her as she was to them.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Bakhtak by Ross Jeffery

Horror online magazine Idle Ink

NaNo Prep

Yesterday, I got a good start on my list of sound collecting for my sci-fi soundtrack. I recorded some sounds outside, some piano, selected bass effects and played with some riffs. I practiced the drums, but decided to start with other percussion instruments. Music is definitely one way I relax and process my feelings, so I’ll keep playing with my ideas for music that hopefully will inspire my writing.

The other thing that helps me relax and process my feelings is reading, so I just stocked up on ebooks from my library. I borrowed titles on writing sci-fi and a whole lot of science fiction stories. I also picked up other books on writing, especially focused on plot because I want to have my outline ready for November first.

This week’s NaNo Prep 101 theme is Find, Schedule, and Manage Your Time. These days, time just flies by for me, even on strangely slow days. I have yet to accomplish my butt-in-seat goals, so I’ll keep trying. Like I’ve said, listing my goals and publishing them here tends to help me get things done, so this week, I will be in my office, typing, by 9:30 am each morning.

October 17: My Wild Rhythm #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

I saw this video of fun, old Halloween music on A.M. Moscoso’s MY ENDURING BONES and I thought it fit nicely with today’s theme. There are a bunch of similar videos on Youtube, so my day’s soundtrack is set.


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Her Strong Enchantments Failing by A E Housman

Online journal: All Poetry

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 16

A Halloween Bedtime Story by Judy Dykstra-Brown
I enjoyed this fun Halloween rhyme.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is My Wild Rhythm

Forms ABC poem

We Each Have Our Thing

Asps aggravate Agatha while
Barracudas bother Brendon and
Calliopes creep out Christian when
Dracula deeply disturbs Devon
Electrical storms enrage Evangeline, but it’s
Frogs that freak out Freddy
Ghouls greet Gretchen gleefully while
Horrifying headless haunt Harry
Ichabod icily isolates ill-wind when
Jack Frost jumps and jives
Killers keep kicking Kenneth and
Lampreys lick at Lulu
Monsters menace Mandy while
Necromancers needle Nick and
Open graves’ odors obfuscate Olivia when
Poltergeists pester Penelope
Quagmires quell Quincy’s quickness
Rats require Ralph’s rancor
Spirits stress Susan and
Telepaths terrify Thomas
Unctures unbalance Unis
Voodoo vexes Vincent while
Wicca worries Wanda
Xenormorphs x-ed Xavier
Yeti yammers at Yolanda, but it’s
Zoospores and zoysia that zap Zach to zip


For today’s visual prompt, I chose Dreamer. 362/365 by Louis Lander-Deacon

micro-story : I had been looking down, trying to decipher the arrows on his phone when the brakes squealed and the car swerved wildly. I grabbed the dash, anticipating a collision that didn’t come. His chest heaved under his bloodless face. He didn’t answer my questions, only pointed to the street. I didn’t believe my eyes. I decided it was shock that made me see a woman, in the glow of the headlights, floating, horizontally, as if sleeping, about seven feet over the road.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story The Horror Next Door by Chris Mills

Horror online magazine LetterPile

NaNo Prep

Since today’s theme is Wild Rhythms and it’s the first weekend I’m not working on a story for the Writer’s Games, I’m going to start recording some fun sounds for my original soundtrack.

  • I’ll find some Youtube videos of drum beats I think will be good and practice for a while.
  • I’ll pick some fun bass effects and work on some riffs.
  • Record some piano melody lines to come up with some theme ideas.
  • Record some theremin while watching a movie with the sound off.
  • Record some sound samples: wind, waves, birds, etc.
  • Sample other instruments: harmonica, hulusi, flute, tambourine, talking drum, Tro Ou, etc. and see what combinations sound like the future to me.

Today’s going to be super fun! I hope you have some fun plans as well.

October 16: Turn the World Inside Out #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

Today’s theme made me think of tearing myself open and letting my insides pour out, but then I thought about radiating and rippling from a core or center which led me to creating these radiating inkblots.


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Inside Out by Diane Wakoski

Online journal: Poetry Foundation

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 15

Roshni’s Diamante “A Change of Perspective”

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Turn the World Inside Out

Forms The Pictorial or Mirrored Refrain

Holding the Vital Tenders

Skin, our largest organ
is but vibrating cells in space
an agreed upon frenetic shell
holding the vital tenders in place

Epidermis and dermis layered
easily sliced, pierced, bruised; it swells
holding the vital tenders in place
an agreed upon frenetic shell

The tangerine pulp of pain radiates
muscles clench to vermilion ache
an agreed upon frenetic shell
holding the vital tenders in place

A world inside out like belongings
in dumpsters after an act of God brings hell
holding the vital tenders in place
an agreed upon frenetic shell


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image

micro-story : After her long, dangerous pilgrimage, she knelt before the tortured giant awaiting its healing salve. She hoped it was still drooling angrily from its last piercing. The other-dimensional being hung in the cathedral as a reminder of human arrogance. Once it leapt through the portal, it devoured all in its path. Once it was finally captured, it could not be killed.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Backward Planning by John Young

Horror online magazine The Future Fire

NaNo Prep

I got a lot out of the Change Perspective exercise for OctPoWriMo yesterday. I did a mind-map with three things from my list and it really got me thinking differently. Today, I’ll try this exercise as my different characters and see what comes up.

October 15: Change of Perspective #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

Blue Moss by Maria L. Berg 2020

Today’s theme, along with this great post on infrared photography and Halloween decorations, inspired a fun photo-adventure this morning.

My camera has a cool filter that will let me choose red, blue, yellow or green and make everything else black and white. I grabbed my exercise mat and lay under some trees to see what I could do with these new perspectives.

Illusion of Reflection by Maria L. Berg 2020


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Three poems by Rosemerry Whatola Trommer

Online journal: One Art

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 14

The Scrapbook by Amrita Paul

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Change of Perspective

Forms Diamante or Prose poem

And the work is never done

In the subdued light at the tail terminus of a daydream, behind the fret of journey’s end, I grieve the rudder of purpose and mope in the posterior of objective. Ruminating design’s end, I sulk in the threatening atmosphere of ambition’s conclusion. The final revision is worry’s resting place where I speculate the extremity of intention, and reflect upon this stub I found to Haven, considering the target of that train.

Pieces of Yellow by Maria L. Berg 2020


For today’s visual prompt, I chose “Good Night” by Stephen Koidl

micro-story : She watched each steady breath. His eyes jerked under his lids. His fingers twitched. Her elongated fingernails reached out. She had the strongest longing to dig into his dreams, but she was still able to stop herself, for now. Ever since he took her hiking in that cave, she couldn’t sleep. All she could do is hover, and watch.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story Nobody Gets Out Alive by George R. Galuschak

Horror online magazine Electric Spec

NaNo Prep

It’s a beautiful sunny day and I may not get another one in a while, so I’m going to spend my day with my notebook, brainstorming plot-points. I didn’t get very far on my outlining, so I’m going to try again.

October 14: Truth #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: The Real Meaning of Inferno by Lauren Scharhag

Online journal: Poetica Review

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 13

Crypt or Chrysalis by Kathleen Allen

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Exploring your truth.

Forms Villanelle or Cascade

Feeding Fears

An other-worldly black widow incapacitates
mesmerisms’s ghost on the stairs
satiated as a bat that drained a goat
nourishment natural to gritty horrors

Predators locked in the trunk crawl
over the soul-sacrifice of trapped next-door neighbors
wide-open, silent screams their new embouchure while
an other-worldly black widow incapacitates

She scurries through the chaos mind
spying on wriggling prey
glistening drool forms and drips on
mesmerism’s ghost on the stairs

Watching the collector arise from the grave
to shock the teenage scarecrows
leaving a blood red message or trail
satiated as a bat that drained a goat

Eyes and mouths without minds
uncovering the buried fears
giant ants knocking at the cave
nourishment natural to gritty horrors


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this photograph by Gregory Crewdson

micro-story : He couldn’t stand that scraping sound under the bathroom floor for another day. He chiselled through the tile, and cut through the wood. He gripped the hammer, prepared for something to run out: a mouse, a rat, even a opossum, but nothing came. The scratching continued. He couldn’t see anything in the darkness. He grabbed his flashlight and slowly reached down.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story Blood Magnolias by J. Check

Horror online magazine Dissections

NaNo Prep

Today, I am going to continue to update my daily planner. I’m going to look through my posts and journals from previous NaNoWriMos and search for when I had my slumps and how I got out of them. Hopefully, by planning ahead for tough days, I can avoid them.

October 13: Outside the Box #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

Flow by Maria L. Berg 2020


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Drawing from the Boneyard by Ian McFarland

Online journal: Vita Brevis Press

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 12

Silly Sophie by Kay

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Outside the Box

Forms Pantoum or Oddquain


bobbing and weaving
arabesque twirling on a


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this monster in the basement

micro-story : Her brother’s experiments in the basement had been getting out of hand. The spooky vines and growls could no longer be ignored. After not seeing her brother for two days, she sneaked down the steps. The door flew open. A snarling beast said, “Good Morning.” It sounded just like her brother before he stole her pancakes.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Episode 453 Flash fiction winners

Horror online magazine (podcast) Tales to Terrify

NaNo Prep

There’s a virtual write-in tomorrow at 11am.