Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Nov. 20

Theme: Midway

Words:
dappled
fearsome
firefly

For any of the NaNoWriMo novelists out there struggling to stay on track, despite increasinly unweildy plots and unruly characters, here are some suggestions to get your characters out of a rut. These don’t have to end up in the finished book, but they might teach you something about your characters
along the way, and besides, they’re far more fun than following a pre-planned plot:

  • Dream Sequences – great for wordcount, these can be written in pure freefall, stream of consiousness mode; best of all, you don’t have to worry about them making any sense (although you can feel free to pack them full of meaning and symbolism if you really want to)
  • Flashbacks – not sure where your characters’ motivations are coming from? Take a trip back in time. What were they like as kids? Did they experience any life-changing, momentous events (tragic or otherwise)?
  • Unexpected Encounters – How would your characters react if they were thrown into completely unexpected circumstances? How would they handle themselves if, say, the world was suddenly attacked by aliens? Invaded by giant pink mushroom-eating alligators? Or if the town they lived in inexplicably became a circus overnight?

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

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Sat. Scribes & NaNoWriMo Writing Prompts: Nov. 6

November is novelling month for all the NaNoWriMo writers out there, so for each Friday in November we’ll be posting special novel-related exercises along with the usual word and theme prompts.

Having trouble fleshing out your characters? Wanting to get to know them better, without taking time away from that frantic push towards 50k? Set up an interview with your characters. Sure, it’s a bit of a detour from the story, but it’s amazing how much more you’ll know about your characters once you’re finished. Best of all, you can write it right into the story! MC lost in space, or wandering through medieval Germany? Not a problem.  It’s NaNoWriMo, after all, where spontaneous purple elephants and other random gear shifts into ridiculous improbability abound – who says Oprah isn’t waiting around the next corner, just dying to interview our famous hero?

To help get you started, I’ve compiled a list of interview questions over the past couple of years, many of which were gleaned from a forum on that very topic over at the April Fools NaNo-spinoff site. Clicking on this link here will get you to a PDF version of the interview questions.

For those of you who are in poem or short-story mode, consider the most unlikely interview you can imagine having (think of how much success Anne Rice had running with that idea!).  For the traditionalists, the usual weekly prompts can be found below.

Theme: Complicated

Words:
curvaceous
latitude
beneath

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompts: Oct. 9th

On time this week!  Don’t forget to sign up for NaNoWriMo if you haven’t already. Only 23 days to go…

In November, along with the usual Saturday Scribes prompts there will be special novel-development prompts and exercises, for those working on their 50k-novel-in-30-days.  Participants are welcome to post links to their NaNo novel excerpts during the month of November.

Theme: Preparation

Words:
scramble
brag
human
factory

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

Saturday Scribes’ Opposite Day: May 15

Usually we’re all about giving you words to play with, but on opposites day, the challenge is to make due with less words. Last August, we challenged participants to write a piece of fiction without using the five most common words in the English language.

This week, the challenge is to write a piece of fiction without using any adverbs or adjectives. Metaphors and similies, on the other hand, are fine (everyone who just spent a month immersed in poetry can smile smugly now – but remember, the challenge is to use your recently honed metaphorical skills to craft a piece of prose this time around).

If you’re not already a grammar maven, you might want to review the rules for adjectives and adverbs. For instance, did you know: When the words this, that, these and those are followed by nouns, they are adjectives (e.g. This book is for sale), but when they appear without a noun following them, they are pronouns (e.g. This is mine).

If this all sounds too much like work, you can (as always) ignore the rules and just riff on the theme instead.
The Theme for this week is: Paradigm

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompt: May 1st

Now that the April poetry blitz is over (and what a month it was), we’re going to be dedicating the month of May to creative prose, specifically short fiction. We’re expanding the umbrella of short fiction to include flash fiction, prose-poems, excerpts, and the classic short story. If you’re primarily a poet, this might give you an opportunity to stretch those writing muscles a bit. If you’d prefer to stick to poetry, that’s okay too; you can still feel free to play with the prompts each week, and post links to your latest creative endeavour. Without further ado, here are this week’s writing prompts:

Theme: Strange Occurrences

Words:
 stray
 warbled
 rotating
 flick

Bonus prompt – Headline:
 Fighting crows halt trains

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

Saturday Scribes Writing Prompt: April 24

Theme: What we need

Words:
rising
rain
sugar
deep

Bonus Challenge: Twinned Poems

For twinned poems, the challenge is to write two poems that can stand alone, but are also somehow thematically linked. You can do the two poems side-by-side, so that they could potentially be read as one poem (like this one here), or they can be linked in some other way. You could even make the connection be that the poems are polar opposites of each other.

NaPoWriMo participants can feel free to post links to their poems here, whether they relate to the prompts or not. Prose and other forms of creative writing are also welcome, regardless of the source of inspiration.

As usual, remember comments are semi-moderated, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away. Newcomers can learn more about Saturday Scribes here (including how to do a permalink to your post) and read the prompt guidelines here.

Impossible Poetry Words

…And other ridiculous challenges for bored writers.

I’ve been collecting random words from friends as part of an ongoing poetry challenge (for  NaPoWriMo over at ReadWritePoem).  The goal was to get at least 50, and I’m up to 144 so far.

Naturally (what with my friends being the kind of over-educated, overly-imaginative geeks that they are), some of the words I’ve been sent are pretty hard to imagine appearing in a line of verse.  So I’ve started up a challenge on one of the writing boards, to take three impossible words and weave them into a short poem, or bit of flash fiction (a minimum of two lines or the equivalent of one sentence, and not longer than 5-6 lines, or a few sentences tops for a story).  Anyone who manages to wrangle the words into something creative gets to pick the words for the next person.

Here was the first (rather horrific) attempt, based on three of the words my friends sent me:
  Aristotelian, flugelhorn, soporific

  With inevitable Aristotelian logic
  that each of the four worldly elements
  will eagerly seek each other’s company
  the flugelhorns,  tubas, French horns and  trombones
  have gathered together to form a soporific symphony
  the audience snores in harmony – oh, if only they were in tune!

(The Vogons would be proud, they would.)

If you’re feeling a strong urge to procrastinate, and you want to spread the evil virus around, here are some more impossible words that my (so-called) friends sent me, to get you rolling:

artichoke, fez, zygomatic, replicator, cholesterol, fatuous, regulator, sorghum, undercarriage

(..and those are but a few..)

Happy (Inter)National Poetry Month!

What better time of year than spring, to kick off a month-long celebration of poetry around the world? You can find out more about National Poetry Month over at poets.org. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also join the other National Poetry WRITING Month (NaPoWriMo) participants who have committed to writing a poem a day for 30 days. More info (including daily prompts for inspiriation) can be found over at Read Write Poem.

We’ll be starting up the regular weekly writing prompts again this Thursday, in case you need that little extra nudge of inspiriation.

If you’re part of NaPoWriMo this year, feel free to post links to your daily poems in the comments section of any of our April posts. I’ll be participating in NaPoWriMo over on the Mimosa Effect. Happy poeming, all!

Get Your Write On

Just a few of the worthy writing challenges & events coming up in March-April:

National Novel EDITING Month (March) – Have a finished novel that needs polishing?  Having trouble motivating yourself to edit your finished stories? This is the site for you.  Even if you have no amibitions to get published, the editing process can teach you a lot about your own writing foibles, and about writing in general.  And it can be a lot more fun than you might think, especially if you have a supportive community to spur you on.

National Poetry Month (April) – An initiative led by The Academy of American Poets, and supported by numerous other poetry sites around the net. It was started to as a way to “highlight the legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets… and to introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry”, however it has since expanded to embrace poetry from all around the world. One popular way for poets to celebrate National Poetry Month and give themselves an added challenge, is to write one poem per day for the month of April.

Script Frenzy (April) – Write a 100-page script in 30 days!  Now includes screenplays, stage plays, teleplays, and even scripts for graphic novels and comic books.  SF rule #5: “You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.”