Writing Roulette Results

 

She came dressed in nothing but the dust from butterfly wings and had dragonflies in her hair.  She shimmered with a silvery arctic sheen that barely covered her skin.  He wondered even if it was her skin.  He’d been in the mental hospital for so long that he wondered if humans had evolved this way, perhaps the climate was changing so much that people on the outside were developing ashen skin, burning in the sun until they came off on your fingers when you touched them.  He wanted her on his fingers like that, burned or not.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” she said. When she spoke, bumble bees came out of her mouth, whispering against his cheeks and wrapping him in honey.  They rested on his shoulders and chest, pollinating his skin.  He was hooked immediately.

“I’ve been here for years.”  He looked around to see if other people noticed her.  He didn’t trust his own eyes any more.

“You should have come sooner.”

“Why are you here?”

“Don’t you recognize me?” Her hair was white, long, silky strands, stronger than steel and he was caught in it.  Her eyes fluttered.   The bees which swarmed him tugged at something in the back of his mind, but she was too strange.  Her tongue curled and he was sure she was part insect.

Suddenly, her poetry came rushing back to him.

“Callie.”

 

Yesterday I posted a prompt about using various plot generators.  I wanted to share with you a little taste of what I came up with.  This came from one of the 5.1 million plots that Big Huge Thesaurus generated.  It was so inspiring as a prompt that it’s become a much, much larger (and still unfinished!) project.  I’ve shared the beginnings of it with you.  Has anyone else used any of these prompts?  What did you come up with?

Creative Commons love to Mr. Greenjeans on flickr for the amazing artwork.  Thank you!

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Prompt: Writing Roulette: Plot Generators to Spice up Your Literary Life

 

 

 

Need a little spice and adventure in your writing life?  Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to write more and now your motivation is waning?  Did you join the My 500 Words Challenge, but can’t figure out what to write about?  Maybe you and the muse have just gotten into a rut and need a little more passion in your relationship.

Perhaps it’s time to leave things up to chance, play a little writing roulette and see where it takes you.  There is a huge array of plot generators out there, which will give you anything from a random sentence to hypothetical scenarios, to symbolism, to stories complete with weather and villains.  Here are some fun tools that might help get you through a little bit of writer’s block:

The Big Huge Thesaurus Story Plot Generator: 5.1 million possible story plots.  Just click the link for six possibilities.  Not inspired by those?  Just hit refresh until you find one that gets your fire going.  This one actually started me on a novel.

Plot Generator UK: This one takes a little bit more of your own input into consideration.  Choose a genre.  The options are Romance, Crime, Teen Vampire, Mystery, and Song Lyrics.  Or (my personal favorite) you can recreate a lost Bronte Sisters novel, complete with a well-to-do hero and a poor, lower class hero and a weather description. For this one, you can choose the names, jobs, descriptions, weapons, and hometowns of your characters, or the generator will suggest them for you.

Writing Exercises UK: This generator gives you characters, a setting, a situation, and a theme and you can put them together to create your plot.  If you don’t like one of the elements you’ve been given, just hit the button again to get a new one.  One of the exciting things about this site is that it also has other writing exercises, like a random first line, random title, subject or random words to use.  Very, very useful if you just need a little kickstart.

Seventh Sanctum Story Generator:  Another one where you can choose the genre, this generator gives more in-depth scenarios in Fantasy, Science Fiction, Modern, or Free-for-All categories.  These plots are interesting because of the details that they contain.  This website also has a What-If-inator and a Symbolitron, which might be my favorite find in all of the plot creators!

Hopefully this will be enough to get your writing juices flowing.  If any of these work out for you, please share the results with us!

 

Creative Commons love to Adam Lerner for the awesome photo!

Prompts to Start the New Year

 

 

I always feel like there’s an excitement in the air this time of year, a freshness that’s just waiting to be plucked.  The new year is pregnant with possibility and is just waiting for us to snatch it up.  In celebration of that, here are some revisited prompts to get your creativity and inspiration going.  Enjoy!

The Encyclopedia Game

Myths in New Places

Anagrams

Reimagining History: Rasputin

When the Goddesses Come Out

Write Fast

 

Creative Commons love to http://www.flickr.com/photos/bartmaguire/ for the photo! Thanks!

Prompt: Write Fast

I’ve been told recently that I write too slowly.  I will admit, my process is meticulous.  I follow in the footsteps of Tom Robbins (swoon)* in which I try to make the most perfect sentence possible before moving on to the next one.  There’s all kinds of research that happens and word-associations and trials and retrials.  I realize that this flies in the face of most writing process advice, which is to just get as much down on paper and then edit afterwards, but I have to admit, that’s just not the way it comes out for me.

Lately, I’ve been trying to exercise my “sprinting” muscles a little bit more and one way of doing this is with oneword.  It’s lovely for speed-thinking and writing and a nice little way to start a story.

So, here’s my challenge.  Go on oneword, write for the sixty seconds that they give you and use something you write in those sixty seconds as the start or end of a story.

Ready?  Go!

*It has recently come to my attention that for years I’ve been fostering a schoolgirl crush on a 77-year-old man.  I am not sure how I feel about it, but Switters would be proud.

Call for Submissions: Places to Stand

Saw Palm, the University of South Florida’s literary magazine, is calling for submissions for its series Places to Stand.

I found this call for submissions while working on my Submission Bonanza!, an attempt to submit work to thirty literary magazines in the month of July.

Since a huge part of my interest in writing and words is place-based, I am in love with this project and I wanted to share it with you all and encourage you to submit too!

Even if you don’t have writing about Florida, it’s a really lovely prompt.

 

What Is It?

Places to Stand is a literary map of Florida, using words instead of photos.  Each pushpin marks a point where a contributor has written a short nonfiction piece about what it’s like to stand at that particular place at a particular moment in time.  Some of the Places to Stand pieces are memories.  Some are written on the spot.  Some are written as poetry.  Click on the pushpins and take a literary tour through Florida time and space!

 

Places to Stand in Florida   (appears on sawpalm.org)
Please tell us what it’s like to stand at a specific place in Florida at a specific time of day in 500 words or less. While we enjoy the unusual, locations should be public and accessible (so not your bathroom!) Please include GPS coordinates.

Unlike other categories, current or recent USF students and faculty are welcome to submit pieces for the Places to Stand series.

Poems submitted as part of the Places to Stand series are welcome but should be justified left and otherwise not have complex formatting and spacing. This is due to technical limitations in Google Earth.

 

You can submit here!

 

 

 

places to stand

Writing Challenge: When the Goddesses Come Out

 

 

Nymphs, goddesses, apsaras, maenads!  It’s May.  There’s a fresh exhilaration in the air.  Mother’s Day is coming up.  I have been incredibly inspired by all those bloggers who did the A-Z blogging challenge in April.  These things all fit together nicely in a little challenge that I am setting for myself.  This month, I am endeavoring to write about 26 strong, creative women from mythology.  So, the goal is to write 26 short stories, one based on a female mythological figure for each letter of the alphabet.  Feel free to join me, or to set your own goal for this month.  New growth and new beginnings are in the air!

 

A special Creative-Commons “Thanks!” to itjournalist from flickr for the photo!

Inspiration: Look Up More: The Shared Experience of Absurdity

I’ll just come out and say it, I love the absurd.  There’s something magical and beautiful about frivolity that’s not tied down to reason and rationality.  Absurdity has this detachment from the material world which makes me remember that I am not only a physical body that needs to eat and shit, but also a mind that needs to be stimulated and awed.  There’s some sort of wizardry that the ludicrous possesses which can turn even the most mundane of situations and surroundings into a wonderland.

Take for instance Christo and Jean-Claude’s outdoor art, The Umbrellas.  It instantly turns a brown, barren California landscape into a fairyland. And that’s exactly what’s amazing about absurdity.  It’s play for adults.  It’s a time when we are pulled out of daily routine and everyday life and invited to immerse ourselves in imagination and wonder.  It invites us to see the world around us not as a hard, material setting but as a playground ripe with beauty and ready for exploration.

The magic and wonder of the ridiculous is never so powerful as when it is shared.  In the TED Talk below, Charlie Todd, founder of ImprovEverywhere, discusses the power of sharing absurd experiences.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the video:

“I love this moment in the video, because before it became a share experience, it was maybe a little bit scary, or something that was at least confusing to her.  And then once it became a shared experience, it was something funny and something she could laugh at.”

“There is no point and there doesn’t have to be a point.  We don’t need a reason, as long as it’s fun.”

This video really inspired me because it made me think about how something just a little bit absurd lends itself to an entire story.  The people who witnessed the no-pants subway ride (and all the previous ones that followed!) will forever have that story to tell — and to share.  It will be something to connect over and an experience that they can give to others through the telling of that story for the rest of their lives.

All storytelling should have an element of this.  Stories should leave you wanting to retell them, to share them.  Good stories are instant bridges between people.  They bring us together and link us in common experience.

And for me, I always want a little bit of the absurd.  I want a little bit of play, a little wink at my reader.  I want that moment when my reader and I are both frolicking in the playground of wonder and imagination and beauty that is the world we live in.

Because it’s really fun to play by yourself, but it’s even more fun to play with others.*

*Sexual innuendo absolutely intended.  I’m sorry.  I couldn’t resist.

Creative Commons love to Jon Delorey for the photo and, of course, to TED for the video!