Writing Prompt Saturday- Write a Burlesque Poem

No, there’s nothing inherently inappropriate with this type of poetry. Well, maybe there is, but not in the sort of way you’re thinking. At least, there doesn’t have to be. There could be, if you wanted there to be, is what I’m saying.

A burlesque poem is one that takes a comical look at something serious. Personally, I would categorize the poem, Mighty Casey as one such poem, because I think the thought of this big shot striking out is really funny, but there are some that would not agree, I’m sure.  Possibly my favorite example would be the poem The Unicorns, by Shel Silverstein.

Take a shot at a burlesque poem this week. Then, feel free to post it in the comment section. Have a good weekend, everybody.

Don’t forget to join the discussion on Facebook- Paper Beats World

Market- Pod Castle

Filling out the ‘Pod’ trilogy of great places to send submissions, this week we’ll be looking at Podcastle. This is a fantasy market, and one that I am very eager to send things to, since Fantasy is sort of what my main focus is. You know, with that fantasy series I’ve been working on for a year and a half now. For your convenience, this is the sister site to Pseudo Pod and Escape Pod.

Right now they’re reading for a theme, called Dirty Jobs. Here’s what they have to say about it on their website-

Every society has them: the hidden jobs that no one knows about, the hard jobs that no one glamorizes, the secret jobs that everyone pretends do not exist.
Every society has them. Every society needs them. Even a society inhabited by magic, myth, and monsters.
Tell me that doesn’t just shoot off ideas in your head.

Genre- Fantasy

Word Count- Same as Pseudo Pod, they want either longer pieces around 2,000 words, or flash fiction at around 500 to 1,000.

Sub Date- Jan 15 to March 15

Wait Time- Unspecified.

As always, here’s a link to the site.

Looking for more market tips?  Check out my Facebook page every Monday for a new literary agent of the week.

Payout- $100 for a longer piece, $20.00 for Flash.

Check This Out- All Indie Writers

Alright, so I spent a minute and a half on this site, and signed up for the newsletter.  Then I realized that if I was going to explore the site and get a post written on the site, I’d better set a timer or I was going to get lost in the archives.

All Indie Writers is all about being a self publishing, freelance or independent writer.  Since that’s something I’m hoping to move closer and closer towards (the ten year goal is to be a full time writer with no day job.) this site is my new favorite thing.

The first post that really grabbed my attention was A Simple To Do List Tweak.  I won’t ruin it for you, but it did give me a new idea about how I write blogs for this site.

There’s also a podcast!  This has been my new favorite way to learn things, because I can listen to them on my 20 minute walk to and from the day job, or while I’m cleaning, or knitting, or doing anything that would prevent me from holding a book, or looking at a screen.  (If Brandon Sanderson ever reads this, I’ve listened to your podcast in the bath tub.  Sorry.)

It really is a one stop website with job postings, advice columns, a blog, and forums for deep discussion about the craft and the job.

Definitely check out All Indie Writers today.  I know I’ll be taking some time to explore it in depth.

The Writing Life- The useful desk

As I write this, I am sitting in my armchair,  with my tablet on a lap desk.  I am the poster child for not sitting at a desk when I write.  Really, I sit at a desk all day at my dayjob, and the desk I have at home is not a great one.

Which is why I am in the process of making plans to build a new one.  Because I need a desk.  Every writer needs a desk.  But it needs to be one designed for your use.  Specifically,  your writing use.

While you might not need to write your rough draft at a desk (I don’t,) you will want to do any other work there.  Here are some things go you want to keep in mind while setting up your writing desk.

1. It doesn’t need to be huge, but it does need to be big enough for the things you need to do.  Which means you need some elbow room.  Personally,  I need room for the lap top, my tablet, and an open composition notebook.   Also my coffee cup and elbows.  This is one of the things keeping me from using my desk right now.  It is just too small.

2. Drawers, there should be a lot of them.  Because you need the room.  Paper, pens, notebooks, post its, staplers, stencils, chocolate stashes.  One thing I am doing on my new desk is putting in shelves, not drawers.  That way I can find and access all of my tools when I need them.  Also, if I need to ask one of my kids to get something,  they can’t sneak and get some thing else, like my chocolate stash.

3. The chair should be comfortable enough to spend hours in, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep.

Finally, if you can avoid it at all, don’t share your desk at all.  Your space is your space, and you need things to be as you left them the last time.  Besides, there is a good chance that you share every other room in your house, you don’t share your desk.

Personally,  I also don’t use my desk for anything else.  I don’t play games, color, write bills, or anything else.  It is my writing space only.

Take some time this week to set up your writing desk.  Then sit yourself down, and start getting some work done.

Red Pens

Red pens. There’s a love hate relationship there with most writers. It starts in grade school the first time a teacher whips one out and starts going through your essay with it. “Tighten this, misspelling, run on sentence.” My biggest one was misspelling.

Even so, I love red pens. I have a lot of them, but I only use them for one thing, editing. It’s one of the reasons why I have to print out drafts, so I can go through them with red ink, crossing out and leaving similar notes as the ones my teacher would have left, but probably with more swear words. “Show, Don’t Tell!” I’ll write, or “Cliche, rewrite.” My favorite one, “You can do something better than this!” By the time I’m done, my manuscript is awash in red ink. Then the next draft isn’t so bad.

Why do we use red ink for editing? Is it a sense of tradition, dating back to when pens only came in three colors? If so, why do we keep doing it when we’ve got so many options? I actually can’t bring myself to write in red ink, only edit. I can write deadlines in it, too.

Is it something about the color itself? It’s a very authoritative color. Maybe it’s the symbolism of blood, as though while we edit and cut our darling drafts, they are literally bleeding.

For me, color is so very important. I’ve mentioned before that my books are told from two character’s third person pov. I switch ink colors when I switch character. Right now I’m using Le Pens Blue and Oriental Blue. But when I edit, I’ll be using red, for much of the same reason. From years of habit, it tells my brain, ‘We are editing now. We are perfecting.’

The red pen also helps me step away from my writer self, and into my editor self. This is not my darling. This is a piece of work, and it’s my job to find the flaws. With my red pen.

Print out your manuscript, at least the first, second and fourth draft. Go through it with a red pen, preferably a brand new right out of the package one. Cut, shred, prune, correct and murder. Kill off characters, cut whole pages, whole chapters! Underline when you’re being cliché, learn the short hand editing notes. Your book needs a firm hand just like your children. When you’ve gutted it, then all that’s left standing is the good, the gold. Then you build up more gold around it.

But first, you’ve got to make your book bleed.

Writing Prompt Saturday- What do you hate about your first draft?

Alright, this is something I do with all of my fist drafts. I unload. I am furious at my first draft! I spent all that time and ink, slaving over a hot notebook and keyboard to make it perfect and for what? It’s not perfect. It’s not just as I want it to be. It’s full of spelling mistakes, terrible dialog, and plot holes I could drive a Buick through! Basically, I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.

So I write about all the things I hate about my first draft. I get it all out on paper, without judgment. Then, I know what I want to fix.

What do yo hate about your first draft? Tell it all about what you don’t like about it. Go ahead and hurt its feelings. It hurt you.

As always, feel free to post what you hate about your first draft in the comment section below!

Markets- Pseudo Pod

Awhile ago I posted about a site called Escape Pod. This is a sister website, Pseudo Pod, that’s all about horror. I am a huge fan of scary, macabre, and anything creepy and crawly. So, I love this one.

Genre- Horror.

Word count- they want either flash fiction of around 500 to 1,000, or longer pieces from 2,000 to 6,000 words.

Sub Date- Any time.

Wait time- two months

Payout- $100.00 a story, either length.

We’re on Facebook!

There is now an official Paper Beats World Facebook Page!  To compliment the Paper Beats World Pintrest page, and the twitter feed.  I’m also going to start doing more with said twitter feed, but not much more.

So, what’s going to be on the facebook page that you can’t find here?  Lot’s, eventually.  I’m going to be doing geek reviews, contests and agent opportunities, even more writing prompts, and conversations.  I might even run some contests of my own at some point.

This is a chance to have a conversation.  Feel free to go over any time and see what I’m talking about.  Because, let’s face it, I talk a lot.  I want to hear what you have to say, too.

So, let’s here it. 

Check This Out- The Pomodoro Method

If you’re getting into the thick of your editing process, you’re in danger of running into one of two walls. Maybe you’re getting immersed in the process and forget about other things, like eating or personal hygiene. Or, you’re so daunted by the whole process that you’re waiting until you’ve got ‘real time’, to get into it.

Here’s the thing. You don’t need more than a small snippet of time, so long as you take it every day. And you shouldn’t even try to devote too much time on it, or you’ll burn out.

I recently found a new tool to help with both of those things. Actually, I’ve got pretty bad adult ADD, and this is helping me with literally everything in my life. It’s called the Pomodoro method.

Here are the basics. You set a timer for twenty five minutes, and work like hell on whatever your project is for those twenty five minutes. You do this with a pad of paper next to you, to write down anything that might pop into your head while you’re working. I mean things like random story ideas, ‘oh, I have to do this soon,’ to do lists, and whatever . The website suggests keeping a journal, but I just use a legal pad, and transition stuff into my bullet journal.

After twenty five minutes you take a five minute break. Stretch, get some coffee, use the potty. After four 25 minute sessions, take a longer fifteen to twenty minute break. Keep track of how many sessions you get in.

So, the names a little crazy. It’s the Spanish word for tomato. The creator started this out by using a tomato shaped timer.

I love this method. I’ve been getting so much more work done since I’ve started using it. As already stated, I have ADD. It’s very hard for me to focus on one thing for long. My brain just starts racing if I’m only doing one thing at a time, and this helps. Instead of telling myself ‘you must focus until this project is over’, or worse, ‘I’ll just go and fill the dishwasher real quick’, I work for the whole session. If I think of something I need to do, on this list it goes, to be dealt with after I’m done with whatever I’m doing.

Check out pomodoro this week. And let me know what you’re doing with your sessions in the comment section below.

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