Thinking About #Writober

It might already be a zombie vampire. Watch Out!

I got in the Halloween spirit a little early this year. Yesterday, I was tweeting about Readers Imbibing Peril. It starts the first of September, but I always forget until October. So in one way I’m early by only starting a couple weeks late. This year’s group book is The Sundial by Shirley Jackson. I started reading it just after watching the first episode of the new season of Slasher and something was oddly familiar. I think I’ll finish the book and then see if Slasher really is mangling it. I haven’t picked any other scary books to read this season yet, but I do have a bunch of thrillers on my kindle. Readers Imbibing Peril also has a fun photo challenge this year and a BINGO card. Oh, so much Halloween fun!

I also went through a list of the top 200 horror movies of all time on Rotten Tomatoes and made lists of movies I haven’t seen yet that looked interesting, or at least were famous, and movies I want to watch again. I would have to watch two or three a day (don’t have time for that). But at least I won’t have to search for something to watch for a while.

Usually for #Writober, I create a collection of images on Pinterest and challenge myself, and you who want to join me, to write a piece of flash fiction inspired by the image each day of October. The first and second years I actually came away with some finished flash fiction. The last few years I haven’t gotten much past a one or two sentence microfiction each day. This year, since my focus is revision, I thought I might choose about six of my favorite microfictions from previous years and expand them into flash and or short stories. I think Ray Bradbury’s schedule of a story a week is much more doable than a story a day, especially when I’m doing OctPoWriMo as well and writing a poem a day.

So that was the working plan for #Writober, but then I saw A. M. Moscoso’s Halloween Prompt Challenge over at MY ENDURING BONES and those all look like fun. So now, the working plan is to go through the last five #Writobers and pick my favorites to revise and turn into stories, and to pick some prompts from the Halloween Prompt Challenge to write new stories to, too.

When I went to Pinterest to link to last year’s images, I noticed I had been collecting images for this year, so I filled up a folder for #Writober6 in no particular order for you to pick and choose from when you’re in need of inspiration. Since I’ll be going back through all the #Writobers to find my favorites, here are links to each of the collections:

  1. #Writober
  2. #Writober2
  3. #Writober3
  4. #Writober4
  5. #Writober5

I hope all of that creepy, scary goodness gets you in the Halloween spirit, too. Or you can bookmark it, and come back when you’re ready 👻

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 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 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.