Newsletter: 13/4/1: Meeting Wednesday, a Month of Figment Prompts and Writing Contests
I’m back! At this point, I’m sure, you are either giddy with anticipation for more Figment prompts, contests, newsletters and Write Group meetings (I have all these today) or you are exasperated for the same reasons and because I just won’t go away. I feel for you. Life is hard. We should write something about that.
So, I was visiting various relatives on both my mother’s and father’s sides. Most everyone was sick, except for my Uncle and me, and the sun was too brilliant for me, so I stuck inside most of the visit, working on a MOOC and editing DG’s Sapling.
(DG, it is not done. But a chunk of it is, and I will bring it to Wednesday’s meeting.)
Hey, big news: this Wednesday is our next meeting.
30 Poems in 30 Days (Starting Today)
I hope you have all had a chance to do some writing. I would like to point out that today is the first day of NaPoWriMo. No, that is not related to SohCahToa nor to ChoShaCao, wondrous as their story may be; it is in fact the official acronym for 30 poems in 30 days. So, let’s get our poets out and see if we can meet the challenge. Visit the National Poetry Writing Month site for prompts to spur you on this month. But most of all, have fun. The most creative product comes from the most playful process.
We have Figment and Daily Post prompts as well. I decided today to plug the Daily Post prompt site (which includes the Weekly Writing and Weekly Photo prompt tags) for a change in pace; it is listed however in our Diigo Prompt page, along with dozens of other prompt sites, if you are looking for prompts not offered by Figment. Since I missed the last four weeks of newsletters, due to the fact that I was taking four MOOCs simultaneously four weeks ago and I could not send out e-mails while I was out of country during the last three, I have a long list of Figment prompts to pique your interests today. Some of them are really interesting, and Figment has discovered as many poets as prose writers use their prompts, so most prompts explicitly encourage the writing of prose or poetry. Enjoy.
The prompts for March 4 to March 8 deal with story prompts and character development. The Opening Line of March 4 and Photo Prompt of March 8 seem made for each other. Imagine the stories they invoke. The remaining prompts develop character. How does your character deal with loss and anger? How does she or he approach awkward dialogue (a personal letter is dialogue, right?)? And what would his or her soundtrack be? Wow. I never considered that before. It is one of those strike you in the temple moments. How would your development of a character change if your character had a soundtrack illustrating him or her? How would events in your story or poem change each character’s soundtrack? And how would the soundtracks interact?
For the prompts for March 11 to March 15, once again the Opening Line and Photo Prompt could work well together or independently. The photo prompt has a bit of story attached to it already (much like the photo prompts from Daily Post) and either this story or the photo can link with the Opening Line. I personally noticed the Obey sign, though the Baba Yaga image on the wall and sign are suggestive as well. The date of this prompt is also informative. The March 12 and 13 prompts continue to develop character. How does your character behave during the period of awkward silence between conversations? What does anxiety taste like? Look like? Feel like? Smell like? Sound like? March 13 wants to know. March 14 is similar in that it pits you against unusual juxtapositions. How do you solve these awkward puzzles? How do your characters?
Hope is a strange emotion. It is filled with optimism, pessimism and anxiety. At its deepest level, what makes hope so potent? How do your characters react or act while trapped in a limbo of hope? And how does a villain (antagonist) see his or her role in the world? Where is her or his inner-hero? Not all your characters can be familiar to you. How similar to you is each character? How different is each from all others? Does he come from your culture? Does she have a dialect of voice? Of thought? What are his mores? In this light, can I just say the Photo Prompt for the week of March 18 to March 22 is rather creepy or unnatural? Or perhaps you see something in it that does not make your skin crawl. Write about it. Let us know. No matter how “real” your story or poem is, you are in fact creating it and the context (world) it is set in. Your writing and story choices — even of the diction you use — shape your story or poem’s fiction. The March 20 prompt explores world development and provides an example in which you might re-envision the world of your poem or story.
I am in a connect the Opening Line and Photo Prompt mood today. Just how can those of the last week of prompts fit together to form a poem or story? The prompt of March 26 meanwhile has similarities with that of March 5. Do items (what is an item? Must it be concrete? Inanimate? Man-made?) exude luck? What would the source and backstory of this luck be? How many people does the luck serve? Or is it a Genie from a lamp? The March 28 prompt similarly is related to that of March 14, yet notice how much deeper and in different ways it delves. The final prompt, that of March 27, combines character and scene/plot development. How does a story change as the point of view and perspective change? How reliable is narrative? How does the ability to enter minds and make judgements change how a story unfolds?
And today’s Figment (April 1): what first profoundly influenced your life? Which one pops out?
I hope you find something inspiring, creative or thought-provoking in these prompts. Enjoy writing poems or stories in response to them.
As usual, we have writing competitions this month.
- The April 1 Figment Prompt (above) has a contest attached to it. The prompt comes from a book, 25 copies of which are up for grabs for those who submit their response to the prompt. Deadline: April 6.
- The Fountainhead Essay Contest is offered annually to encourage analytical thinking and excellence in writing. Top prize is $10,000, though there are more than 200 other cash prizes. Deadline: April 26.
- The Iowa Poetry Prizes are offered for the best previously unpublished book-length collection of poetry. The winning manuscript earns publication under a standard royalty agreement. Deadline: April 30.
- The 82nd Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition has many categories for fiction, non-fiction and poem writing. Early Deadline: May 6.
- The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award also has many categories. Deadline: June 2013.
- The 13th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition is also offered. Deadline: June 2013.
Remember, we meet in two days, on Wednesday. I hope to see you there. Remember also this this is National Poetry Writing Month; write a poem a day, starting today.