Writing Activity: Acrostic Playlist

Are you a music-enjoying nerd avoiding actually writing by looking through the writing tag on WordPress while pretending that counts as writing? Then I have the writing activity for you!

First choose a word from your work in progress. It could be a theme, a character’s name, a prominent object, your magical MacGuffin, or what have you…. For the examples I am going to use GUARDIAN, an Important with a capital I word from my Stone Spoken series.

Next, prepare your word with each letter on a separate line like so:

G

U

A

R

D

I

A

N

We will be doing an acrostic poem with a twist! If you can’t remember what an acrostic poem is from your school days, it’s a poem where the first letter of each line also spells out a word or short phrase.  Our twist here is that it is an… ACROSTIC PLAYLIST!

Rather than a line you make up, attempt to find a song title for each line. The best of these acrostic playlists will make a poem, musically match your work in progress, and have thematically appropriate lyrics. If you manage even one of those you are doing great. Good luck!

You can thank some insomnia for this boredom-bashing activity. As always leave a comment with your poem or link to your post if you want! I’ll give you two examples, both based on Guardian. 

Musically Thematic:

Gryphonheart

     by Jo Blankenburg

Unforgiven

     by Two Steps from Hell

Above and Beyond

     by Audiomachine

Rise

     by John Dreamer

Dream Chasers

     by Future World Music

Into Darkness

     by Thomas Bergersen

As One

     by LiquidCinema

Never Back Down

     by Two Steps from Hell

 

Bonus Challenge of Thematic Lyrics:

Gatekeeper

     by Aisha Burns

Until We God Down

     by Ruelle

All is Well

     by Austin Basham

Rescue My Heart

     by Liz Longley

Dear God

     by Lawless

In the Shadows

     by Amy Stroup

A Quiet Darkness

     by Houses

Need the Sun to Break

     by James Bay

 

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Getting to Know Your Characters: New Year Edition

A writing exercise I enjoy is to pretend you are chatting with your characters. Imagine you are on an interview with them, out for coffee, or whiling away the hours in a park. Have a conversation with them. Let you be you and them be them.

Sometimes this can be done all in your head. Do you have a long bus ride? Start interrogating your characters about their life choices. Just don’t miss your stop. Other times, you might benefit from doing a free writing while thinking about this. Let your words and thoughts flow. My general advice for this is not to think too much. Go with your first instinct with a character’s answer. You might be surprised.

We’ve had a list of backstory related questions once upon a time, but let us begin this year with some New Year inspired questions.

  1. How do you celebrate the New Year?
  2. Do you have any traditions you do not celebrate anymore? Alternatively, how has your celebrations changed?
  3. What is your reaction to the phrase New Year, New You?
  4. Where do you see yourself at the end of this year?
  5. What goals did you accomplish last year?
  6. What goals did you not accomplish last year?
  7. How would you have approached last year differently if you could go back and do it again?
  8. What year would you consider your best year, and why?
  9. Is there anything you want to change about yourself this year?
  10. What does a new year mean to you?

 

Worldbuilding Aside:

While we are on the topic of the New Year, stop to consider how you arrange your year/time if you are writing speculative fiction! Is a year religion based? Season based? Celestial based? How do your characters measure time and dates?

Writing Prompts, Writing Tropes: THE SEER

Let’s write up a character study today. The only caveat is that this character is a seer, an oracle, a soothsayer, a psychic, a sage, a clairvoyant, a ????.  They could be believed by others or they could be ignored by others. They could believe in their own powers, or they could be the most skeptical of their powers. However, they need to use one of the ten powers of divination listed. How do their powers affect how they see the world? Go as literal or as figurative as you want. Funny or serious. Whatever genre you please. Go write a character today.

  1. Cybermancy – Divination through computer
  2. Geloscopy – Divination through laughter
  3. Hydromancy – Divination through water
  4. Moleosophy – Divination through moles on the body
  5. Phyllorhodomancy – Divination through rose petals
  6. Pyroscopy – Divination through burning paper
  7. Tyromancy – Divination through cheese coagulation
  8. Ailuromancy – Divination through observing cats
  9. Alectryomancy – Divination through chickens pecking through grain
  10. Crithomancy – Divination through food, often bread

Writing Prompts: Summer Solstice

Today is a great day. Today marks the fact the days are going to start getting shorter. Come back to me chilly winds of autumn and winter. I am weary of such disgusting heat and it hasn’t even gotten that hot yet this year (where I live). Mostly, I cannot wait for the sun to set at a more reasonable hour, I say as I look outside at the bright 9:00 p.m. sky. Following up from the first line prompts for the Spring Equinox, I figured I’d keep it up and do a whole set this year. Have a dozen.

  1. Even on midsummer, she thought, the sun should set.
  1. Elderflower blossoms swirled atop his tea.
  1. “Gather herbs at the most potent,” they said, “on noon of the longest day.”
  1. A wreath of flowers drifted from her hands to rest on my head.
  1. The picnic lasted as long as the day.
  1. “Y’all can whine about the heat all you want, but I’m having a feast.”
  1. I lit the family fire for the first time.
  1. “And you thought building our own Stonehenge was silly,” he said, surveying the lopsided creation.
  1. She dressed the darkest on December 21st, but the brightest on June 21st.
  1. “I thought maypoles were put up, in you know, May?”
  1.  We watched the earliest sunrise crest the horizon, the lights painting the sky in a way we could never describe again.
  1. Quicker and quicker and quicker the dancers leapt around the fire; the crackling flames chased their steps.

First Line Prompts: Now With Added Dragons

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a princess in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a dragon.

Do you ever think to yourself while reading a book, let’s add dragons? I certainly have. Here are ten of American Book Review’s Best First Lines for your first line writing prompts this week, now with added dragons.

  1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a princess in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a dragon.
  1. Happy dragons are all alike; every unhappy dragon is unhappy in its own way.
  1. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by any other dragon, these scales must show.
  1. There was a dragon called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.
  1. He was an old dragon who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
  1. A dragon’s life has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
  1. Once upon a time, there was a dragon who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.
  1. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, are dragons.
  1. Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of a dragon.
  1. I have never begun a novel with more dragons.

Bonus round: It was a pleasure to burn.

As always, drop a link in the comments if you want to share your dragons!

 

Writing Prompts: Spring Equinox

This morning I woke up to a hail storm. Nothing really rings in spring like an aerial attack of ice. However, even with the grey skies, startling bolts of lightning, and a layer of ice, the birds were particularly chatty this morning.

The sun is coming back.

Spring is here.

Have a dozen first line writing prompts for today.

  1. Fingertips grazed the earth, trailing sprouting seeds in their wake.
  1. “Snowdrops,” he muttered, “just wait for the snowdrops.”
  1. “Do you know who makes the shamrocks appear?”
  1. My mom always said the robin was the first sign of spring, but I knew better.
  1. A fairy finds a home every time a tulip blooms.
  1. The nurse took a note down: “Female: Born 6:28 AM. March 20, 2017. Name: ______.”
  1.  I somehow found myself staring at a perfectly balanced egg.
  1. My sister grinned, “Your duckling impersonation needs work.”
  1. She murmured quietly as her broom swept east to west.  
  1. A faint peep floated down from the cherry tree.
  1. The white ice broke away revealing warm brown earth below.
  1. “Well, I thought they were rabbits.”

If you write anything with one of the prompts link to it in the comments! We all can use a little sunlight these days. Happy writing!

10 Ways to Use Those Notebooks You Will Receive this Holiday Season

If you mention you write people will get you fancy notebooks. It is practically a rule. I have a pile of them stacked up beside my desk. Some are half-filled with nonsense, some are completely filled with cramped handwritten rambles, and others that still haven’t been touched despite having them for years. My current favorites are from Ex Libris Anonymous and The Goblin Trader. I am always trying to find new ways to fill them.

Journals

 

1. An Object a Day

Describe an object in perfect detail without ever actually saying what it is.

2. Letters to the Abyss

Write a letter to someone you don’t know. Write to a fictional character. Write to a stranger you saw in the grocery store. Write to the bird flying outside your window.

3. Tweet A Story

Everyday write a 140 character snippet per page. Add on to the burgeoning story every day. By the end of the year, 365 pages later, you will have a complete short story.

4. Title Poetry

Write poetry only using titles. For variety try songs, books, movies, comics, and television shows.

5. Paint Chips

The names of paint amuse me. Every shade is given some vaguely related and occasionally punny name. Write a description of a character based on a paint’s name. If you are more of an artistic type, trying drawing the characters instead.

6. Random Names

Go to a random name generator and write an acrostic poem spelling out the name.

7. News Report

Write a piece of fiction based solely on the title of the current top news story.

8. Song Titles

Randomize your music listening device. Incorporate the first three song titles into a short story.

9. Review Your Day

Write a review of your day as though it was a movie. How did the cast play their parts? Did the soundtrack align well with the plot? Did the pacing drag anywhere?

10. Lists

Need I say more?