Writing Prompt Saturday, Write an Ghazal Poem

Four days until a really awesome announcement

Yet another really obscure poetry form, ghazal poetry is going to be my new favorite thing for awhile. For one thing, it’s all about couplets, which means that it is twitter friendly.

So, a ghazal poem is at least five couplets, traditionally no more than fifteen. The first couplet should end with a refrain that will finish each couplet.

Traditionally, ghazal poetry was very melancholic. So if you’ve been getting the stupid amount of rain I have, it’s great.

Here is a example of ghazal poetry.

“Even the Rain” By Agha Shahid Ali

What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.

“our glosses / wanting in this world” “Can you remember?”
Anyone! “when we thought / the poets taught” even the

After we died—That was it!—God left us in the dark.
And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.

Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house.
For mixers, my love, you’d poured—what?—even the rain.

For all of us in the states, hope you’re having a great fourth. We are blowing things up and grilling greasy meat here. How about you?

Writing Prompt Saturday, When My Children are Older

I think we all spend more time then we should, dreaming of what our children will be when they grow up. Honestly, the only thing on that list should be ‘happy’. But we all dream.

Today, write a list of all the things you want for your kids when they are grown. Not what you want them to be, what you want for them. Here’s mine.

* I want my girls to have a lover who makes them see the best in themselves.
* I want them to have a passion in life that they can use.
* I want them to be healthy.
* I want them to have great friends who support them, and compete with them just enough to keep them both sharp.
* I want them to be able to enjoy a beer, or a hand of cards or a saucy book without losing themselves to those things.
* I want them to grow up, but not lose childhood joys. Never should they think themselves too old for an ice cream.
* I want them to mind their health, but never their pant size.
* I want them to always be happy on their birthdays.
* I want them to vote every single year. I want them to be with people who vote.
* I want them to stand up for others, but also stand up for themselves. Too often we see one but not the other.
* And finally, I never want there to be a day where they don’t laugh.

Writing Prompt Saturday- Create a Found Poem

Warning; this is not a poetry form for you if you’re not really cool with defacing old books.  This is the poetry form for you if you’re also into drawing, painting, scrap booking, or collage work.

A found poem is one that you discovered in the existing text on a page.  I think I used to do this during Science class by accident in my textbooks.  Basically, you go along, and in some way highlight the words of your poem.  Then get creative with the rest.  Here’s an example of mine.

found poem

If you can’t tell from that really bad scan job, that’s the first page of Treasure Island, and the words are, “I take up my pen in the time, and remember, in the broken voice.”

I had so much fun with this poetry form.  Fortunately I happened to have this really old Readers Digest edition of some classic stories that I intend to do this with.

Did you create a found poem you’d like to share with us?  Leave a picture in the comments below!

Writing Prompt Saturday- Fantasy food world.

Remember how I like food? It’s kind of my thing, well one of my things.

It’s not just me, though. Food tells you so much about a person, a culture, a life style.

So for this week’s writing prompt, I want you to spend ten minutes free writing about the most popular food in your book. Is it a modern dish like pizza, or something you make up? How about a world like Firefly where fresh fruit is a delicacy that only the well off can afford?

Take ten minutes to write on that.

Next, consider how your main character feels about that food.

Writing Prompt Saturday- Hometown

What can you tell me about your hometown?  I bet you ask anyone that question, and you’ll get a flood of stories.  some will be good, some will be horrifying.  Some, like mine, will be about this crazy guy who chased me off his porch with a shotgun while campaigning.  The guy had a taxidermy squirrel on his porch.  I should have known better, the blame lies with me, honestly.

The point is, our hometowns have a significant effect on who we are.  The same goes for your characters.

So, what’s your main characters hometown like?  What sort of stores, restaurants, and jobs are there?  Is this an average town in the world you’re building, or is it unusual in some way?

Does your main character like her hometown?  Or could she not wait to shake the dirt of the place from her shoes?  What about your character would let someone else in the world know she’s from that town?

Try to come up wit as much detail as possible, especially if your book isn’t set in the real world.  What’s an average hometown look like in a world where gargoyles walk around and mermaids live in the village fountains?

Writing Prompt Saturday- List Jobs

This week, I’d like to continue a writers notebook building exercise that I started at the end of last month.

That’s right, it’s a list!

I love lists. Today, we’re going to make a list of jobs.

100 jobs someone can have, to be precise. Because sometimes you’re going to have that character that has a job that isn’t a huge part of their story, but what they do for a living still matters. Lots of them, probably. And it’s far more fun to write about some unique or interesting job than a boring one, or one that everyone’s heard of.

Just like last month, I’d love to see a list built here, right on the site. So, same rules as last time. I’m going to list ten jobs. Then, anyone who wants can list ten more in the comments section.

1. Vet
2. EMT, or Ambulance driver
3. Housekeeper
4. FBI agent
5. Waiter
6. Copy editor
7. Police officer
8. Illustrator
9. Librarian
10. Writer

Funny thing is, I’ve also wanted to be all of the things on that list at one time.

What can you come up with?

Writing Prompt Saturday- Write a Habin

How is it possible that I have never heard of this before? What with my love of haiku, sent you and tanka poetry, you would have thought I would have found Habin a long time ago.

It’s not a poetry form, strictly speaking. Think of it as more of a prose form that is designed to complement haikus. It should, in fact must, be beautiful and poetic on its own.

When writing a habin, you want to remember a few things. First, while this is prose that reads like poetry, it traditionally is impersonal. While this is hard to master, it’s not impossible. It’s really a masterful form. Think about it; you’re trying to invoke deep emotions in the reader without imparting any of your own.

I love that. It gives the reader the opportunity to decide how they feel about an image, instead of depending on what the writer thought about it.

So let’s try it. Take a haiku you’ve written, and write a habin to go along with it. If you need some inspiration, here’s one of mine.

Wetness in the air
Grey clouds heavy overhead
Washing off old snow

It’s a simple moment in a simple day, these clouds above a rain soaked ground. While the sun might be a pleasure at this dark and wet time, if there was no rain, the dark mess of the snow might linger until it’s covered by fresh again.

Our affiliate sponsor for the week is Pen Boutique. They’re still doing a ten percent off sale. Which is a pretty good deal if you’re looking to invest in a Filofax planner, like I am.

Did you write a Habin poem? Let us see it in the comment section below.

Writing Prompt Saturday- List character traits

So, I’ve got a thing about lists.  I really like making them, and reading them.  List the 20 best movies in the last fifty years, worst songs from the 90’s (that would be a really long list) most offensive things said by church officials.  They’re fun.

Lists are also a great way to organize thoughts and ideas when writing.  I’m going to try to incorporate at least one list every month.  This is a big writers notebook building exercise, as well a a great brainstorming technique and at least some fun.

Here, then, is our first list.  We’ll do it to 100, because that should be enough to get beyond the normal and really make you think.  List 100 character or personality traits.

Now, I think you should do this on your own, but it’s also something we can do together.  How about it?  Add ten character traits in the comment section until we get to 100.  I’ll start us off, with the first ten.

Generous, vindictive, optimistic, musical, creative, traitorous, foul smelling, faithful, grating, and finally, dependable.  What else can you think of?

This week’s affiliate sponsor is Shutterfly.  I get any pictures I have printed from them, and have never had a bad experience.  Everything I get is well priced, good quality, and gets to my home fast.  Which is good, because I’m not the patient sort. 

Writing Prompt Saturday- Write An Abecedarian Poem

This post contains an affiliate link at the bottom

For those of us who have little ones, this is a poetry form that you can share with your kids. Especially if you’re kids are little enough that they’re still learning there alphabet.

Like so many other poetic forms, this poetry form started in Greece.  Ah, Greece, you’ve given us awesome food, great poetry, and an amazing collection of mythological stories.  Thank you.

An abecedarian poem will have 26 lines, because each line starts with a letter of the alphabet, going in order from A to Z.

As always, I love poetry that has rules, making your carve your creativity around natural borders like a road carved around a mountain. I think it makes you think beyond your first idea.

Here’s a great example of an abecedarian poem. It’s only an excerpt, though, because the whole text is rather long. Here’s a link to the whole thing.

Nonsense Alphabet
Edward Lear, 1812 – 1888

A was an ant
Who seldom stood still,
And who made a nice house
In the side of a hill.

Nice little ant!

B was a book
With a binding of blue,
And pictures and stories
For me and for you.

Nice little book!

C was a cat
Who ran after a rat;
But his courage did fail
When she seized on his tail.

Crafty old cat!
So try your hand at an an abecedarian poem this weekend.

What do you think about abecedarian poetry?  Did you try writing one?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Writing Prompt Saturday- A twist on the journal prompt

Alright, so this is a classic writing exercise. There’s a reason you’ve heard the advise before to write a journal entry for your main character, so that you can learn their voice. Do that, do it more than once. Write a journal entry for a normal day, the day after the climactic scene. Hell, write a mock bullet journal, if you think it’ll help you.

That’s not today’s prompt, though. No, that wouldn’t be the best advise. Remember, if the thing you’re writing’s been done before, twist it. Make it different, better, harder, or just give it a new ending than has been done a thousand times.

So, I don’t want you to stop with writing a journal entry for your character. Write a journal entry for a secondary or tertiary character. But it can’t be just any character. He or she should dislike your character. Not like the bad guy. Just a regular character, probably an ally, who just is rubbed the wrong way by your protagonist. Why?

Writing this kind of journal entry will allow you to explore the flaws your character has. Everyone’s got flaws, after all. Your character shouldn’t be any different.

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