#Writober Day 17: Family

bokeh photography experiment with a wide angle attachment on a zoom lens

Galactic Unions photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Family and the suggested form is Kyrielle.

Unbreakable Bond

Whether of birth or of choosing
Family supports and they care
Bonds there is no risk of losing
When nothing is left, they are there

There may be strain and confusion
Misunderstandings and anger
Patience will bring a reunion
When nothing is left, they are there

When times are hard, their arms are strong
When dreams achieved, they celebrate
They hold a light when nights are long
When nothing is left, they are there

 

I did some exploring online yesterday and came across this great post: Invented Poetry Forms-The ‘Lewis Carroll’ Square Poem. If you’re looking to try a new form and you like a challenge. I recommend giving it a look.

I also found some great beautiful poems to read by Paul Vincent Cannon over at parrallax.

And don’t forget the great prompts and community of poets at dVerse Poets Pub.

#Writober4

The image for Day 17 on the Pinterest board shows a comic page for Vampira. I looked on Amazon and didn’t find any Vampira comics, but I did find Vampira and Me which looks like a fabulous documentary. Vampira and Me

My take: My favorite type of horror is the horror/comedy. This image makes me think of the schlock side of horror. What kind of character could we write that might be in love with Vampira? S/he may see her as the ideal woman, even want to be her. This electric chair also makes me think of the Addams Family Values movie (to tie this to the theme of family).

Micro-fiction: How could the electricity be on? Fiona and her brother had played in this abandoned building for years. Today, she finally coaxed her bother into the chair with the creepy arm clamps and rusting helmet. There couldn’t be any electricity to that chair, but somehow, there was.

Writing Process and Tools

Over at Go Dog Go Café I found some daily writing prompts for the Halloween season inspired by Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction by Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Andersen. When you need another prompt to get those brain juices sloshing, head over to Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt.

It’s also a great way to find another book for Readers Imbibing Peril!
st.-lucys-home-for-girlsOne of the prompts is St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves  by Karen Russell. I love this cover. I’ve heard it’s good. I have Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories. Maybe I’ll reread some of those stories, at my peril.

If you’re looking for a quick warm up, there are prompts for 5 lines or less poems and stories at Patricia’s Place.

emotion: disbelief

Creepy verbs: attach, bind, affix, link, adhere

Story Cubes Symbols: hand, building, key, keyhole, light bulb, bee, balance scales, eye, magnet

Woodland creature: slug – a cornucopia of slugs

Collective noun: a pandemonium of parrots

Horror trope: genetic experiments

Oblique Strategies: Towards the insignificant

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

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#Writober Day 16: Father Time

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Father Time and the suggested form is Blitz. I have enjoyed the blitz for in the past and Morgan’s right, it does have a bit of a running out of time, ticking clock feel to it. Let’s see what happens when I put some time into it. 😉

Time To Time

Time keeps on ticking
Time after time
Time in a bottle
Time for a change
Change your ways
Change your tune
Tune up
Tune out
Out of sight
Out of time
Time is precious
Time can tell
Tell a tall tale
Tell me a story
Story book life
Story time
Time enough for . . .
Time for work
Work at what you love
Work force
Force for good
Force for change
Change the channel
Change your mind
Mind over matter
Mind the time
Time keeps on slippin’
Time stood still
Still as a statue
Still doing time
Time flies when you’re . . .
Time crawled
Crawled under a desk
Crawled along with traffic
traffic of humans (how can humans be so horrible to each other?)
traffic stole your morning
morning glory
morning is coffee time
time is what you make it
time moves on without you
you space off
you stare out the window at the day
Day light
Day break
Break through the monotony
Break a habit a day at a time
Time to get to the point
Time marches on
On
Point

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 16 on the Pinterest board is an illustration by Russian artist Anton Semenov. It shows a blind creature with a beak holding onto an ill looking child.

My take: The cloth that I see as binding his eyes, could be a head band. What I took as nostrils could be tiny eyes. Though, at first impression, I took the scissors to be a horrible old medical tool, they could be the tool of a tailor and that changes the narrative of the child from being ill to perhaps being an over-worked apprentice.

Micro-fiction: I don’t remember how I came to be the tailor’s apprentice. Maybe she found me in the rubble when I lost my parents. Now I follow her, walking the grimy, sticky streets until my feet bleed. The smells of death in the thick air cling. When we find them, she shows me the delicate stitches, the careful way to hold the edges together. For now, I tie the knots.

Writing Process and Tools

Read to get inspired: This morning I found this great list to links to flash fiction stories at Lit Hub: 11 Very Short Stories You Must Read Immediately. It’s a good list with links to famous flash pieces. I enjoyed it.

For further reading,Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World is an intriguing collection of stories from around the world. John Dufresne, whose books on writing are always good, wrote FLASH!: Writing the Very Short Story which is full of good examples. I wrote a review of the book a while back.

Today’s emotion: Nostalgia

Creepy verbs: attack, onslaught, outbreak, raid, invasion, intrusion

Story Cubes Symbols: lightning bolt, sheep, fish, key, airplane, monster shadow, thought bubble, bridge, postcard

Woodland creature: rat – a horde of rats, a pack of rats, a rabble of rats, a swarm of rats

Collective nouns: a rumba of rattlesnakes, a lock of hair

Horror trope: zombies

Oblique Strategies: Don’t be afraid of things because they are easy to do

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 7: Tongue

tongue-flavors-300

physical sensations on the tongue

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Tongue, Tasting and Speaking. I wrote a post about taste back when I started this blog and did a series on exploring the senses. Today’s poetry form is Tongue Twister.

Bitter, Sour, Sweet

Flitter glitter emitter
jitter critter
transmitter
spitter embitters
sitter knitter

Deflower willpower
scour our shower
devour cauliflower
cower glower hour
in wallflower tower

Defeat deceit
complete browbeat
discrete elite cheatsheet
eat treat receipts
backseat heartbeat
concrete feet
meet, heat, repeat

 

#Writober4

The image for Day 7 on the Pinterest board shows two hands (the rising dead) reaching up the base of a tree that has a picture of a missing cat stapled to it.

My take: That zombie really wants a kitten, or perhaps the poor kitty got run over and the dead don’t want the owner to look for it anymore. Either way, the dead are rising and are interested in your business. It’s not a good sign.

Micro-fiction: Approaching the bookstore, I noticed a lost kitten poster on a tree. The kitten was so cute. My heart ached for the owner. Before I stepped up on the sidewalk, the ground shook. A warm gust flooded my nostrils with decay. Two large hands burst from the dirt and reached up the trunk of the tree as if reaching toward the kitten. I turned, got back in my car and drove home, vigilant for small creatures. One should pay attention to bad omens.

Writing Process and Tools

Plot-O-Matic: I thought we would switch things up today and use a different plotting tool. Follow the link to learn more about the plot-o-matic and how to make your own.

Today’s plot: A conspiracy junky–wants to be happy again–paints the kitchen at three a.m.

Creepy verbs: terrify, terrorize, bludgeon, force, dragoon

Story Cubes Symbols: padlock, flower, airplane, key, pyramid, sleeping person, die (dice), alligator, lightning bolt

Woodland creature: turtle

Horror trope: possession

Oblique Strategies: The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten

Sleep on it: This morning, “sleep on it” actually worked for me. I woke up with the idea I needed for my story and went straight to writing. Remember to always keep a notebook and pens and pencils next to your bed. Don’t get up to get coffee or anything first. Get the ideas down, then go get your coffee. I am so glad I did.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober 2019 Day 6: Blue

Quintessence of the abstract

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s OctPoWriMo theme is Blue. I liked all the different ways blue is used, especially “bluing the air.” I don’t remember hearing that before.

Blue Sidewalk

You yelled ’til you were blue in the face
while the blue clad woman just won the race
and the blues man played his bluest blues
without hitting a single blue note
which made you bluer than blue
but no one would know because your blue eyes
reflected the bluest skies.

#Writober4

The image for Day 6 on the Pinterest board shows a frightening head/mask floating in the corner of a kitchen.

My take: I find this image particularly disturbing. I think it’s the juxtaposition of the giant, disproportioned figure-are there shoulders there in the shadow?-to the mundane, every day, safe kitchen. Is that monster always there lurking and only showed itself in this moment. If you hadn’t looked in that split second would it have only been a chill or a shudder?

Micro-fiction: Brenda sat at her meager kitchen table, her tear dripped into her coffee. It had been their first night apart in ten years; she didn’t want to face this first day alone. But she wasn’t alone. She shivered and looked toward the stove. Through the blur of tears a distorted head floated near the ceiling. A shadowy hulk blocked her way from the room. She settled in with her tear-salted coffee. At least she was distracted from her other problems.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots: How could we use yesterday’s reading for today’s plot?

What if: our character has been sick for a long time and has finally gotten out of bed and gone to the kitchen to get some tea. While she was ill, she reflected a lot on her life and has decided it’s time to quit the rat race and start a new project. Just as she is feeling like she knows what good she can do for the world and how to get others involved, she sees the haunting figure staring at her from the corner. She feels it judging her. It frightens her. She wonders if it will see the her of her past or the her of now, but mostly she fears not knowing what it wants. The creature won’t say anything, so she has to come up with a plan.

Did the tarot plot inspire or change today’s story idea inspired by the image? It brought up the idea that the character had been ill for a long time which I think goes well with the image and brings new meaning to the scene.

Creepy verbs: startle, jump, burst, jerk, seize, shiver, revive, resurrect

Story Cubes Symbols: bridge, arrow(bow&arrow), earth, keyhole, magnifying glass, rainbow, balance, question mark, fire

Woodland creature: frog

Horror trope: cabin in the woods

Oblique Strategy: Emphasize the flaws

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober 2019 Day 5: Doorways

conjoined twins

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is doorway- open or closed. Bop poetic form

Crossing the threshold

Inside
Flannel pajamas
covered in blankets
heating pad on my belly
alone in thoughtful silence
imagining a better world
Need a push to cross the threshold

Outside
People, places, things
aspirations and collaborations,
beauty, love fresh and new
expectations, disappointments,
together in thoughtful silence
peppered with communication
that can be misunderstood
Need a push to cross the threshold

Inside Out
Comfort or  adventure
alone together
creating more existence
forming bonds
entering or exiting
Need a push to cross the threshold

#Writober4

The image for Day 5 on the Pinterest board two women in masks, sitting at an upright piano, pointing guns at each other. A man’s head sits on top of the piano between two bottles.

My take: Two women are in a deadly stand-off. Will they continue to play duets, or can only one pianist survive?

Micro-fiction: Azealia couldn’t practice the duet with her sister anymore. She would rather die. She should have known her twin would pull her gun at the same time.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots:

  1. Four of Swords 2. Ten of coins 3. Nine of cups 4. The magician 5. The Hierophant 6. Seven of coins 7. The Chariot 8. King of swords 9. Ace of swords 10. Three of wands

Today I’m using The Tarot Revealed: A Beginner’s Guide by Paul Fenton-Smith to interpret the cards for our plot.

A person in physical or mental retreat is in conflict with material success. S/he reflects on success earned, but it is time for a new project. S/he believes others will follow. S/he is at a crossroads pondering long-term needs of hopes. Others see him/her as clear-thinking, practical and honest. S/he puts these plans into action.

How would this plot work with a scary story? I’m thinking one member of a business partnership gets a conscience and wants to dissolve the business, maybe come clean about bad business practices. The other partner needs to stop him putting them at deadly odds.

Creepy verbs: awe, reverence, wonder, scorn, frighten

Story Cubes Symbols: cane, bridge, apple, light bulb, keyhole, rainbow, scarab, magnet, key

Woodland creature: snail

Horror trope: omens of death

Oblique Strategy: Use filters

Oblique strategies are creativity cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. I often like to draw a random card for inspiration. Today’s card “Use Filters” is an interesting one for me. I like to use filters in my photography: color filters and handmade bokeh filters. What kind of filters could we create for writing?

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 4: Escaping the Cage

Escaping the Cage

Burning sculpture by Spencer Matthews photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme “Cage – Pewter, Silver, or Gold” has to do with feeling caged, even in a beautiful, shiny cage. The poetry form Tetractys looks like fun. It is a form of counting syllables that can be used forward and backward.

Hem No More

Hem
inside
expecting
available
Not this time: without respect: I want more
Friendship isn’t a one way street today
I don’t serve you
I want some
equal
ground

#Writober4

The image for Day 4 on the Pinterest board is a painting by Berlin artist Daniel Richter. The painting shows two electrified looking silhouettes with frightened eyes.

My take: This image works well with the idea of escaping the cage. For some people, their whole world is a cage. If a portal to a new world opened up, that could be an escape from a cage. The figures appear to be running through an alien, unknown land that is unstable, perhaps erupting, crumbling, deconstructing. They appear frightened and look to be carrying weapons.

Micro-fiction: Dr. Haviaras pulled the plug and smashed the crystal of Havmillarium. She knew there might not be another speck left, so her life’s work could never be repeated. The glimpse of that world and the figures running toward her was enough to quash her ambitions.As she yanked the cord and raised the hammer, one of the attackers put a hand on the other’s chest as if to restrain their flight into her dimension, but she didn’t have time to ponder what that could mean. She had to stop them. She was the only one who could.

Writing Process and Tools

Celtic Cross Plots: Here’s another celtic cross plot

Writober plotting with tarot 2

  1. Four of Swords 2. Ten of coins 3. Nine of cups 4. The magician 5. The Hierophant 6. Seven of coins 7. The Chariot 8. King of swords 9. Ace of swords 10. Three of wands

Creepy verbs: slash, gash, pierce, slice, hack, flay, blister

Story Cubes Symbols: pyramid, flashlight, magnet, arrow (down, left), clock (four o’clock), crescent moon, question mark, flower, scarab

Woodland creature: hedgehog

Horror trope: monsters

 Using the October Planner Pages

Planner exterior

Last night, I posted the Fourth quarter opening pages and the pages for October. I started working with the pages this morning and found that the prompt for October 14th somehow moved up to the middle of the previous page. Sorry about that.

I typed in the names of my stories and poems that need homes. I needed to add text boxes to type inside the boxes. I highly recommend starting with this exercise. I found it inspiring to see all of the work I have done that is ready to be sent out into the world listed on one page like that. Fun and exciting!

Planner interior

Then I printed the planner. Make sure, when you select duplex printing, that you select staple on short side left. I took my little chisel (couldn’t find my awl) and quickly pierced the pages along the fold. I sewed them together into a book. I am really liking the look of things now.

Self-critique: At this size, I think the boarders around the sections are a little too thick now. The writing prompts need to come down a bit from the top edge on some of the pages and the fonts within the daily boxes can now be smaller. Next month I’ll definitely try a different color scheme which I plan to do each month anyway. Overall, I think it’s almost there.

This month, I hope to fill in every box on every page, so I get the full experience. I hope to try every prompt and hope you will tell me which prompts (written and visual) you like the best. Thank you for playing along. I hope you find inspiration in these pages.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

 

#Writober 2019 Day 3: Inside Out

DSC05671

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Womb. I once went to a festival that had a “womb room.” You had to walk through stuffed fabric labia to enter.

My Womb

The lake is a womb I return to each summer
I am reborn

#Writober4

The image for Day 3 on the Pinterest board shows a yard flamingo that has not only lost its feathers, it lost its skin. It makes me think it might have irritated the witch it stands next to.

My take: Maybe our witch tried to raise the dead, but made a mistake and all the dead animals came to life. That would be terrifying: flocks of skeletal flamingos. My theme “Inside Out” made me think of the movie The Fog and of course Inside Out (Theatrical) the Disney movie. I think I’ll put on The Fog while I work to get in the mood.

Micro-fiction: Anjali watched as the live deer frolicked among the recently risen. Her longing for her lost love, the inspiration for this mistake, still consumed her, but she was also filled with wonder by this lone creature unaware or unafraid of those defying death while the other living cowered and hid.

Writing Process and Tools

Creepy verbs: alarm, worry, unhinge, forewarn, appall, carillon, toll

Story Cubes Symbols: crescent moon, erupting volcano, sleeping person snoring, rainbow, cell phone, parachute jumper, worried face, monster shadow, tall building

Woodland creature: deer

Horror trope: past lives

Other People’s Writober Prompts

I found these lists of daily prompts on twitter, in case you are looking for even more inspiration:

Inktober promptsWritober Writing Prompts

Happy Reading and Writing! I’ll see you tomorrow.

#Writober 2019 Day 2: Changeling

Contemplating the Other

photo by Maria L. Berg

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Changeling. I can really related to this theme as I often said I must have been found somewhere as a baby. I did not believe I could have been related ;). I also like the example Minute poetry form. I don’t think I have tried it before. I’ll give it a try later since the poem that came to me does not fit the form. My poem was inspired by the definition given for Changeling.

When I Think of Me

I wonder where they took her
That me that might have been
Did they shrink her down
and give her wings
to secret among their kin

I wonder where I come from
and why they placed me here
Did they make me big
and break my wings
just so they could leer

Does she send the hummingbird
that flits among the flowers?
Or the squirrel
who sits and chits at me
as the summer fruit sours

What would be the purpose
of the changeling child
to never know
one’s true home
nature never reconciled

#Writober4

The image for Day 2 on the Pinterest board shows a group of five monsters standing in a row in a field.

My take: This group of monsters looks poised and ready, but ready for what? And what are they waiting for? Is there someone commanding them? Has someone conjured them? Each monster is unique, and appear to have different animalistic characteristics. They may each have different skills or powers, but they all have huge sharp teeth, so I would think they are all carnivores.

Micro-fiction: As she stared into their dead eyes, she wondered what they were waiting for. She was relieved that they hadn’t eaten her too, but that made her wonder if it was her rage that had invited them. She worried they would never leave.

Writing Process and Tools

Yesterday, I forgot to explain what I meant by Story Cube Symbols. I’ve added a link to a post I did about story cubes and different ways to use them. Recently, I’ve been using them a little differently. I’ve been rolling them to look for symbols, either in relation to a character during character creation, or as a way to think up theme symbols.

Celtic Cross Plots: Today I linked to a post from November of 2017 when I started plotting with tarot. It talks about the spread and how I interpret it.

Yesterday I showed this spread as an idea for some creepy flash stories:

  1. Queen of swords 2. Seven of swords 3. Two of cups 4. Death   5. Judgement 6. Page of swords 7. The Chariot 8. Two of wands 9. King of coins 10. Queen of coins

Today, I looked at my copy of The Ultimate Guide to Tarot: A Beginner’s Guide to the Cards, Spreads, and Revealing the Mystery of the Tarot by Liz Dean and came up with this interpretation:

A strong, independent, well-off, recently-married woman finds out her partner betrayed her. The partner dies of “natural causes,” but she fears judgement. She becomes alert and carefully observes what others say. People see her as a rising star and help her further her ambitions. She has firm boundaries and will not tolerate those looking to take what is hers and she ends with wisdom beyond her years and physically content in her physical world.

So can we apply this to today’s story? Is one of the monsters in the picture a strong independent woman who was recently betrayed by one of the other monsters? Or does our strong, independent woman command the monsters to do away with her new husband who betrayed her? Did the monsters kill her husband and no one believes her? Does she feel guilty because the monsters killing her cheating husband makes her happy? Or are those monsters perhaps aspects of her own psyche?

There’s a lot to play with there. This is why I enjoy combining different kinds of prompts to spark ideas.

Creepy verbs: frighten, scare, dread, curdle the blood, curl the hair, strike terror into, spook, startle

Story Cubes Symbols: postcard, hand, fire, apple, key, thought bubble, arrows in all directions, bee, arrow (up, left)

Woodland creature: squirrel

Horror trope: demons

I hope you find inspiration and do some fun writing today.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#Writober 2019 Day 1: Dark Night of the Soul

Halloween writing fun

Fun tools are motivating even when approaching the dark night of the soul

#OctPoWriMo

Today’s theme is Dark Night of the Soul. I really like this as the theme to start Writober because it gets to what flash fiction and poetry are all about: confronting the self, inspecting the human spirit, facing change and facing fears.

A Shudder in the Shadows

Is it that I finally see?
You that always follows me,
a shudder in the shadows,
a spark just out of sight
Or is it you who leads?
My silent guide through endless night,
the tiny hope at tunnels end,
or but a trick of light?
Scattered photons on the mist
perceived as wondrous sight
Are you of bad omen or fair?
Are you with tidings or but glare?
Do I face truth?
I do not dare.

#Writober4

The image on my pinterest board I chose for day one shows a person deep in the woods on a foggy night encountering a giant floating fish with glowing eyes. The person appears to be about catch a glowing orb, or perhaps forming a glowing orb in space. Is s/he receiving a gift from a spirit guide? Attempting to communicate using his/her own life force?

My take: I think this image is a great illustration for the theme “Dark Night of the Soul.” Today’s story is about a man who is given the opportunity to see beyond the veil. He has to choose if he wants to live a life with this new truth or go back to not knowing: a more comfortable, but less complete life.

Micro-fiction: Bertrand opened his arms wide to accept the gift of sight from the great fish floating in the misty wood, but at the last moment he put his arms down and ran back to his tent. He didn’t want to spend his days surrounded by giant all-knowing floating fish with glowing eyes. He wanted to curl up in his warm sleeping bag, go back to sleep and forget what he had seen.

Writing Process and Tools

To prepare for a month of writing a flash story every day, I opened one of the great little blank books (pictured above) and made some inspirational notes to use as needed. Feel free to use any or all of these elements in your story.

Celtic Cross Plots: A couple years ago I learned about plotting with tarot cards. It has nothing to do with divination, but everything to do with the symbolism of the cards and layout to inspire your storytelling. If you follow the link, you’ll see how I made my own cards. I had always intended to continue decorating the cards as I learned more about their meaning and symbolism. This year, to get myself started, I added Halloween stickers to the cards as they came up. Here’s a picture of the first horror story plot for this Writober:Halloween plot with tarot one

  1. Queen of swords 2. Seven of swords 3. Two of cups 4. Death   5. Judgement 6. Page of swords 7. The Chariot 8. Two of wands 9. King of coins 10. Queen of coins

Creepy verbs: paralyze, deaden, maim, demolish, destroy, petrify

Story Cubes Symbols: balance scales, arrows in all directions, tall building, alligator, postcard, monster shadow, shooting star, footprint, sleeping person snoring.

Woodland creature: bunny

Horror trope: The grim reaper

R.I.P. (Readers Imbibing Peril)

Since I am currently editing a thriller and planning a thriller for NaNoWriMo, I am reading–you guessed it–Thrillers. Since this challenge started September 1st, I can include the last book I read,
Blind Side by Catherine Coulter. She did a good job of keeping me turning the pages, though I did not find the sudden marriage aspect very interesting.

Now I’m reading Gone for Good: A Novel by Harlan Coben. I liked his book The Stranger and Gone for Good: A Novel was used as an example in Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass for creating tension on every page. The specific example was about creating tension even in friendly dialogue. I’m excited to give it a read.

Happy Reading and Writing!

I hope you are all having a great first day of Writober. I’ve got to go type up my flash story. Check back tomorrow for more poetry, inspiration and fun. I look forward to hearing about what you are doing for Writober and reading your poems over at #OctPoWriMo.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Writer Shed Stories for only 99 cents. Available today! I hope you enjoy my story “More Than He Could Chew.”