Good morning, Flames!
Limited response on the 'Departures' prompt, but I'm hoping that means a number of our members are plugging away at that NaNoWriMo goal.
Even though we have a list of two, don't forget to share constructive feedback with our writers so that they may learn what their readers are looking for.
Your reading list awaits:
Word Count: 774
Author: Kathy Boles-Turner
Word Count: less than a zillion
Genre: speculative z-fic
Warnings: Profanity and violent deaths
This piece is reworked from an old story, but it has undergone a complete overhaul.
In keeping with the month's theme of
Your topic for the next two weeks is
When I think of arrivals I don't think of a character arriving at their destination but the people at that destination waiting to receive them. There is so much preparation that goes into receiving a guest. The days leading up to their arrival pass in a blink, as do the days of their visit. Have you ever noticed how fast a vacation passes? Ten days in the office take about twelve to get through, but ten days on a beach or holed up in a woodsy cabin only last about five. Vacations are the worst kind of time travel.
So what will you write about? Is the family coming over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving? Did your astronaut take her first steps on Enceladus? Maybe there was an addition to the family or the zombies are at your door. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. We can't wait to see what you come up with.
The contest submissions for 'Arrivals' are due by 11:45pm (EST) on Sunday, November 29. I forgot to mention with 'Departures' (due tonight) that there was no word count limit. I think a reasonable max cap is 6,000 words. Don't go too crazy with it ;)
October came down to two of our long-time members writing it off! Many thanks to all who played the game -- see you in November. #gowrite
Compose a letter from a leading character [of your making], to yourself.
If you aren't sure what to write about in the letter think of it as a resume or missive to a long, lost someone (you) who needs to be caught up. It's a Dear Author letter containing your characters’ life histories.
Include any or all of the answers to the points below.
Whom or what your characters love and despise.
Details on education, employment, finances, political affiliations, social class.
Skeletons in cupboards.
Believer, agnostic, or atheist.
How afraid of dying are they?
Have they ever seen a corpse?
Glass half empty, glass half full, glass too small?
Snazzy or scruffy dressers?
It’s a letter, so consider their use of language. Would they say ‘mellifluous’ or ‘a sharp talker’? Foul-mouthed or profanity-averse? Record the phrases they unknowingly overuse. When did they last cry? Can they see another person’s point of view?
This exercise - taken from David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks, delivered by his character, Crispin Hershey, who was a lauded writer and who took up the teaching of writing in his golden years - is a way to really get to know your character. Even if the answers to your questions are not directly relevant to the story you are writing around them, these are personality seeds, motivators, detractors. They will help you pin down your character as a full-bodied person and not just a string of words ready to react to the stroke of your keys (or pen). It is easy to get caught up in the telling of your story and leave your characters to be paper dolls who are only there for you. A character your readers can invest in has a mind separate from yours and a life that existed before and after your writing.
Please enjoy the exercise and, if you have a mind to, share a link to the outcome below or on the original post at https://brigitsflame.wordpress.com/2
Mitchell, David (2014-09-02). The Bone Clocks: A Novel (pp. 389-390). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Foreshadowing is a device that must be handled with care. If you say the wrong thing, you can put a reader off right away. Personally, I do not like to be told what is coming, but Chrysler Szarlan definitely did her foreshadowing right. Her first mention of the impending death gave me enough pause to wonder what kind of book I'd gotten myself into. By the sixth I was ready for her to stop beating around the bush and just kill him already so the grieving process could begin. I was invested.
It's made me think about a few years ago when a Brigit's Flame mini contest included an assigned writing device combined with two prompts. Before the cues were doled out, there was much discussion in Flame Chat over foreshadowing. Some people wanted it, others were hoping not to get it. I was on the fence. In order to properly foreshadow, you need to know your story up front -- you need to be in touch with your endings. Ninety percent of the time I write my way from beginning to end on short stories, with only a vague concept of where I'm going. Foreshadowing takes forethought.
It also takes death, destruction, or mayhem. You can't foreshadow happy times or mediocre accomplishments. (Unless you're writing satire...or you're hwango...hwango could probably use foreshadowing opposite to its intended purpose.) In this vein, the dictionary description of foreshadow uses the word in the example sentence fragment: "it foreshadowed my preoccupation with jazz". Not only is that a terrible example of how to use a word, imo, foreshadow has a more profound intent than 'suggest' or 'indicate'. It comes from the harbinger, and he does not put his energy into warning you what kind of music will be your jam. Unless that interest will be your DOOM!
Lemony Snicket is a writer who used foreshadowing as a marketing device. "A Series of Unfortunate Events?" No mystery there. Snicket's books say things on the cover like, "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning, and very few happy things in the middle." I picked the book up immediately upon reading that and stuck it out for about ten volumes.
Despite my desire to unravel the mysteries of a book on my own without wink-winks and nudge-nudges from the author, there is a way to do foreshadowing where even I can be drawn in by it.
Talk to me about your foreshadowing experiences. Have you written using the device? Do you have a favorite story or author who uses it well? Do you have a negative opinion on the subject or example of a story that used foreshadowing in a way that ruined the reading experience for you?
To our poet followers - have you tried playing with foreshadowing in your writing? If so, share it with us or tell us what prompted you to play with the form.
There is reading to be done and tonight is your last chance to vote for your favorite.
#gowrite the plane is at the gate and is on schedule. Tell us about your Departure today.
Original post at https://brigitsflame.wordpress.com/2
Writing's submitted. Let's see who's won.
Our October prompts took us to dark and mysterious places. They allowed us to decide if we were the type to run or hold our ground. This final prompt led us to a deeper quality, to a potentially darker place. Let's see what our writers made of Hubris.
Title: Making Up
Word Count: 485
Word Count: 450
Genre: Fan Fiction, The Walking Dead
Many thanks to Kathy Boles-Turner for hosting our prompts this month. It has been a fun ride. Be sure to get your votes in by 11:45 (EST), the night of Thursday, November 5th. Share some love and feedback in the comments for our writers.
Over the past year, we at Brigit's Flame have offered prompts and contest formats designed to inspire writers of many types to explore, exercise, and hone their skills. We know that the irregularity of the due dates has caused some confusion with our long enduring members who have spent years relying on weekly contest deadlines to cycle like clockwork. We are sorry for the confusion, but we hope they saw some benefit from the changes as well. For example, this year we introduced the month-long single topic to give our members a chance to really dig into their story and then refine it into something not simply written off-the-cuff for fun, but as a work worthy of submission to a professionally judged contest with the chance of publication.
Writing is a great hobby. It is also a great profession. Either preference enhances your life and the reading enjoyment of our community.
As we move into November the NaNoWriMo energy will infect many of our members as they endeavor to pump out 50,000 wonderful words in a single month. This means fewer submissions on our end, but we wish all of our NaNoWriMo participants huge blocks of uninterrupted writing time and fingers that type like the wind. Look for writing exercises in our Friday chatter posts that are designed to help you dig deeper into your story development.
For those of you not joining the November writer's frenzy, we have yet another set of topics and peer driven contests for you.
There will be two contest due dates in November - Sunday the 15th and Sunday the 29th.
The theme for the month will be: Arrivals and Departures
The topic for your submission due on the 15th should be your take on
Do your writing justice, don't wait until the final weekend to write your entries. Get started today and give yourself time to refine.
I have had the opportunity to travel more in the last twenty-four months than at any other point in my life. Travel is one of those things that has always been on the top of my list of things to do if I won the lottery. There was a time when I wanted to visit every dot on the globe. I wanted to glut on foreign accents, diet on foreign food, and only know where I was by the currency crumpled up in my
In reality, travel is not all dreamy vistas and duty-free shopping. There are mazes of infinite lines; delayed/canceled/overbooked flights; poorly laid out airports combined with terrible footwear choices; cruise ships that lose power; lumpy hotel beds; and insane taxi/shuttle drivers who learned how to drive from Misters Toad & Magoo. Any or all of these challenges must be endured to capture that memorable moment overlooking a turquoise sea, a snow-capped peak, a fog-covered fjord, or a park full of pink cherry blossoms.
Then there is the travel that has nothing to do with vacationing. Sometimes we are required to pack a bag and travel to a bedside or a graveside -- endings to witness. Other times we pack a bag (or tons of boxes) and venture out for new beginnings -- forging our own destiny.
No matter the destination, your story can't begin until you depart.
Please submit your entry for the week four prompt Hubris in the form below.
Thank you for writing with us this month.
We have a few responses on our call to write for the prompt Fight or Flight. Let's jump in and see who tripped over the root in the path as the guy with the chainsaw revved menacingly.
Read, vote, and share a little feedback in the comments to let the writer know what aspects of their hard work appealed to you. As a community of unpublished authors, we are here to learn what stimulates the reader so we can do more of it. Constructive feedback is the key to honing our skills.
Your reading list awaits:
Word Count: 600ish
Warnings: abstract talk of war and casualties
Title: Can't Run From Love
Word Count: 2,953
Genre: Detective Story
Warnings: some language
Word Count: 435
Be sure to check out this week's prompt: Hubris. Even if you've sat out this first three weeks of October, there's a Just For Fun category just waiting for you to drop your story in it.
'Tis the season for creepy, and nothing says creepy like two-legged monsters creating the downfall of all humankind. Agree?
Whether you prefer the slightly dark and dramatic, or the eerie and the horrible, there's plenty to glean from this word describing the ultimate human flaw. Tell us the tale in 4000 words or less, please.
Your entries are due by 11:45 PM (EDT), Sunday November 1st.
The entry poll will appear before midnight on Saturday the 31st. #gowrite
Hi Flames! Are you ready to turn in your writing? Pencils down isn't until tomorrow night (11:45 pm EDT), no rush.
When it's polished up shiny drop it in the form attached.