October 31: Happy Halloween!! #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


It’s the last day of OctPoWriMo. Thank you, Morgan Dragonwillow, for hosting and for your inspiring prompts. Thank you to everyone who participated for your camaraderie and sharing your poetry.

It was a productive and creative month. I’m very excited about finally making the step in my exploration of klecksography to draw on my inkblots and write my poems on the inkblot page. I’ve wanted to get to that point for a long time. I’m also excited to continue exploring my new poetry form Tappswave and see where it takes me.

Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: Two poems by Ocean Vuong

Online journal: the Paris American

Poetry prompt The final OctPoWriMo prompt this year is light, dark, and shadow–pretty much my favorite topic.

Forms Parallelogram de Crystalline or Florette #2

For my final poem, I’m going to try an idea I had over a year ago. When I read (amazon associate link) Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, I was intrigued by his numbered poems in which the top half of the page had numbers typed in space as if notes or labels to the unseen and then those numbers were footnoted. The spacing of the numbers made me think of markers at a crime scene which led me to create my own crime scene photos with the intent to make poems that go with. I hope you will see what I mean below.

Into the Night by Maria L. Berg 2019

Into the Night
1. howling and yowling pull me from my bed into the moonlight
2. tufts of fur, ripped and torn bring worries of death
3. Don’t look up. I hold my breath as my ankle painfully turns
4. rustling leaves bare nerves aware I am not alone
5. on high alert, I do not turn around, but hurry, limping into the shadows


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this apocalyptic image

micro-story : When TV preacher Pat Robertson made his prediction I laughed and laughed. Watching Cthulhu rise from the waves in the light of a nuclear explosion, I have to ask myself: Whose laughing now?

NaNo Prep

Here we are. The insanity begins tomorrow. The time has flown by and though I am probably more prepared than I have ever been, I still don’t feel ready at all.

Tonight, my region is doing a costumed countdown to midnight. Since I doubt I’ll have any trick-or-treaters, and I’m not going anywhere, it’ll be nice to have an online Halloween with fellow writers.

For my final prep, I mowed the lawns and went to the Grocery Outlet where I stocked up on Amy’s frozen meals and a huge bag of coffee beans. This evening I plan to clean the bathrooms and vacuum, so I can start with a cleaner house.

One thing I learned throughout Nano Prep this month is putting my plans in these posts really helps me get things done, so here are my goals for the first week of NaNoWrimo:

  • Wake up early and go straight to my notebook for morning pages
  • meditate
  • butt in seat in office by 9:30 a.m.
  • take daily walks
  • read

I still haven’t decided what I’ll do here on this site during NaNoWriMo. I don’t plan on doing intensive daily posts like I have in the past. I want to get to my draft and write, but I also want to check in here.

What would you like to see on Experience Writing during NaNoWriMo?

I was thinking a daily photograph and something I find inspiring, motivational, or surprising while I’m writing. Other ideas?

Here’s hoping we all write great novels and have a lot of fun doing it.

October 27: A Magical Night #OctPoWriMo #Writober


Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Magical Halloween

Forms Terzanelle or Decuain

When the veil is thinnest

yearning for power
over fear of the unknown
chant into the night

ancient recipes
to command earth’s forces
and fight the unseen

something from nothing
symbols of knowledge reveal
the boundary torn


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this image by Anton Semenov

micro-story : Mikey had tricked the guardian into opening the portal to the depths of nightmares. He was starting to regret trapping his little brother down there. If he couldn’t bring him back, Mom was going to kill him.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story An Advocate for Nearly Any Situation by Hayley Ilso

Speculative online magazine Asymmetry

October 25: Breaking the Rules #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep

Since I finally got started drawing on my inkblots, I continued and made this two-headed gator creature.


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: An Approach by Roger Lewinter

Online journal: BOMB Magazine

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 24

Anxiety by cie
I liked how the two Joseph’s stars fit together to tell the challenge of facing fear.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is Breaking the Rules

Forms Create your own poetry form

A sprig of parsley

I bite into a parsley sprig and as its slightly bitter flavor reaches my tongue
I remember a time full of possibility
of juice bars and homemade fashions
utopian ideals of altruism
heady philosophies, discourse and exchange
I nibble at tasty lacy leaves and remember easier beliefs


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this epic fantasy landscape

micro-story : As his canoe rounded the bend, he gasped and pulled his oar to slow his approach. The recent earthquake must have caused a mudslide, revealing that what he had always believed to be large white stones was actually a giant skull. He heard a rumble and his canoe rocked. He couldn’t help but personify the quaking of the earth.

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror flash fiction story Autumn Leaves by Paul Kindlon

Horror online magazine Mystery Tribune

NaNo Prep

This certificate may say I’m prepared for writing my novel, but I’m not feeling it. Luckily, I still have time.

My main goal for this week is to read. I’m going to read as many of the novels and stories I’ve selected as comps as I can. I also want to finish up my futurist thinking classwork.

October 24: Daring #OctPoWriMo #Writober and #NanoPrep


Read for inspiration and craft

Recommended poem: In the Dark Times by Andres Rojas

Online journal: Diode Poetry

Spotlight Poem from OctPoWriMo Day 23

I Still Believe in Magic by Esther Jones

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is doing something you’ve always wanted to do

Forms Joseph’s Star or LaJemme

Ever since I started playing with klecksography, I intended to draw on my inkblots and put poems on them, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. I even made photocopies of a lot of my inkblots, but still couldn’t get myself to draw on them. So to go along with today’s theme, I grabbed one of my inkblots, drew this happy creature on it and wrote my poem on it. I dared to try a poem form I’ve been wanting to try as well: a grid in which the poem can be read in rows, columns, and/or diagonally.


For today’s visual prompt, I chose this still from The Double by Richard Ayoade

micro-story : She was tired of running up the stairs only to stare into an empty room. What did she think she would do if she saw the source of the banging, the footsteps? Her nerves were quickly fraying. What could she do?

Read for inspiration and craft

Horror fiction story each thing i show you is a piece of my death by Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer
An entertaining epistolary work.

Horror online magazine Apex magazine

NaNo Prep

Today I have a regional prep workshop. I’m excited to see what they have to say and to get to know the participants in my region better.

October 23: Being Grateful #OctPoWriMo and #Writober


Dodge Poetry Festival Eleven days of poets reading their work online.

Poetry prompt Today’s OctPoWriMo prompt is being grateful

Forms Trolaan or La’libertas

Satisfied Stillness

Thinking of gentle calm
thankful for this time
tender moments together
tension melting in his soft breaths

Having this time to appreciate
harmony in closeness
home in the curl of cuddles
holding soft warmth between us

Achieving ataraxia wrapped in fuzz
appeased by a wave of lethargy
aware of each choice left unmade
abounding in snug sloth

Coziness breeds gratitude
clinging this cool, rainy day
cautiously hoping time will stand still
cramming all the good into now


For today’s visual prompt, I chose Last night together

micro-story : Suddenly I was standing in a circle of light, like a spotlight was shining down from a star in the night sky. Then I felt a tugging sensation and my feet lifted from the sidewalk.

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.