Tag Archives: Writer’s Digest

NaPoWriMo: The Inevitable Catch Up – Day 1

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I took Easter offline and have been chasing my tail ever since. It was not an intentional break from online activity, but it was a blissful and practically fulfilling decision.

My first full writing day for a while (last Thursday) was spent sorting through the inbox, finding a fair few rejections and also some work accepted for publication. I also discovered a freelance job opportunity – I would have bid but unfortunately it was too close  to the deadline. Apart from this and the backlog of social media and emails my time offline has not had any great impact.

It does mean I am 18 days behind with NaPoWriMo and one of the jobs on the list today is to get busy writing. I am mid editorial on my manuscript so in the ‘take a break’ slots I am playing catch up.

I have discovered this year that they are featuring different poets;

As in prior years, we’ll be featuring a participant each day, and giving you an optional prompt. In years past, we’ve also featured a daily new book of poetry, magazine, or poetry-themed website. This year, we’ll be doing something a little bit different. Every day, we’ll be featuring a different poet who writes in a language other than English, but whose work is available in English translation, working our way from east to west.

Our first poet in translation is Japan’s Hiromi Ito. Known for her ability to uncannily represent spoken language on the page, several of her books have been translated into English and, incidentally, she’s a translator herself, having translated Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! into Japanese. But you don’t need to know Japanese to get to know Ito’s work: Poetry International features translations of a number of her poems into English, as well as audio files and essays. Also, one of her books, Wild Grass on the Riverbank, is available in English from Action Books, as well as a selected poems, Killing Konoko. © 2016 NaPoWriMo

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As well as this they still have a featured participant each day too. I spent some time this morning exploring Veronica Hosking’s poetry vhosking without reading her NaPo work (I like to write mine cold). I will link my NaPo posts to the featured blogs because they are great to share.

DAY 1: The first challenge was to Write a Lune, which is apt as I spent the weekend writing Haikus with my Young Writers Group.

The lune is also known as the American Haiku. It was first created by the poet Robert Kelly (truly a great poet) and was a result of Kelly’s frustration with English haiku. After much experimentation, he settled on a 13-syllable, self-contained poem that has 5 syllables in the first line, 3 syllables in the second line and 5 syllable in the final line.

Unlike haiku, there are no other rules. No need for a cutting word. Rhymes are fine; subject matter is open. While there are less syllables to use, this form has a little more freedom.

There is a variant lune created by poet Jack Collom. His form is also a self-contained tercet, but his poem is word-based (not syllable-based) and has the structure of 3 words in the first line, 5 words in the second line and 3 words in the final line.

As with Kelly’s lune, there are no other rules. © 2016 Writer’s Digest

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I like this genre as it is fun to play with and doesn’t take too long to come up with new poems (unless you are writing to demonstrate the ease to teenagers, then you will struggle to identify multiple syllables and finding words to fit)!

Generally I post excerpts of my NaPo Poems, as these are short form you get to enjoy them fully.

Go have a play!

Robert Kelly Lune

The grey day unfolds

work did not

call. Freedom to write.

The sky is white with

Spring, frozen

bird sits on bare tree.

Faint music. Thin walls

the daily

ghost playlist begins.

 

Jack Collom Lune

I thought a word count as opposed to a syllable count would be easier to compose, I actually found it trickier and it is quite hard to get the brain to stop counting in syllables.

My Desk (which is messier than this Lune suggests)

Black stapler, pen,

bulldog clip, paperclip, magazine, key,

notebook, receipt, diary.

 

Now

High flying dreams

catch invisible contours and soar

further than imagined.

April

Numb feet, stinging

toes, fluffy socks, extra layers,

the English spring.

I hope you enjoy them.

RELATED LINKS

DAY 1 Lune

 

 

Writing Historical Fiction: Research

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Last October I hosted INKSPILL – a virtual writing retreat, as part of the programme we looked at Historical Fiction.

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INKSPILL HISTORICAL FICTION Part1

Part 2

Today I am attempting to write a short story which is Historical Fiction.

Here is some of the advice I researched;

1. Fiction. Regardless of your time period, regardless of all the in-depth research you’ve done, you must remember that you’re writing fiction first, and historical fiction second. In other words, don’t forget that it’s action and conflict that moves the book forward.

2. Avoid history lessons …You know your period of history so well, but you must assume that your reader does not. So, it’s temping to fall into the habit of giving history lectures for a few paragraphs. Educating your reader may be necessary, but it works best when the history comes across as part of the action.

3. Using your research. Make sure the historical fact is of interest to your reader.

Don’t paint historical pictures without making them a part of the drama of your book.

4. Building a Setting. I’ve always found that an effective way to build a setting is not simply to describe the landscape, but also to make the setting part of your character’s journey.

5. Using languages or accents. I was always careful not to use words that took too much space to translate. The basic rule of thumb, I think is, if you want to use a foreign word for effect, then look for those words that are close enough to the language of your book that the meaning is obvious.

© 2014 Writer’s Digest wd

Pick your time period – it should be an area of history you either know about or have an interest in learning.

Then choose your character(s), setting and work on the plot – remembering this is a story first, you can edit, amend and add historical detail and facts at a later stage.

Immerse yourself in that time period.

 

 

2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 19

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Today is a “Two for Tuesday” prompt. In fact, it’s the one that I include in every challenge. Old hands knew this one was coming sooner or later. Here are your two options:

  • Write a love poem. Romantic or more general types of love. Or…
  • Write an anti-love poem. Some folks just don’t like love poems of any type, so have at it.

That’s just doubled what I have to catch up on, hoping for some time tomorrow to catch up with PAD poetry writing.

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community

 

PAD Challenge – Another Catch Up!

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2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 16

For today’s prompt, write a half-way poem. The poem might deal with a half-way point in time. Or perhaps, a place in the dead center of here and there–in a physical sense. Even a compromise on terms in a negotiation can work.

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    2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 17

    Whew! These are the dog days of the challenge, right? The middle wasteland, but remember: “The Wasteland” is like a pretty incredible poem (for some folks anyway). As we wander in the desert of the November PAD Chapbook Challenge, be sure to let your mind wander and maybe a mirage or two will spring into a keeper.

    For today’s prompt, write an element poem. Maybe an element from the periodic table (hydrogen, oxygen, etc.). Maybe an element of surprise?!? Or a missing element, which could refer to a person, tool, or poem. Run wild with it.

     

    I had to study The Wasteland for A-level English, it was good to re-read it today without having to dissect the meanings. 

      2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 18

      Mondays feel so much better when we’re poeming. Well, I feel that way anyway, and I hope at least a few others do too.

      For today’s prompt, write a “forget what I said earlier” poem. This poem could be a response to a poem you wrote earlier in the challenge (or just earlier in general). Or it could cover one of those moments–I have them all the time–when you say something that ends up proving wrong or that you wish you’d taken back.

       

      I can’t wait to catch up with the poems in this challenge – I have my work cut out though!

       

      PAD Challenge – The Catch Up Post

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      I have not written a poem for the PAD Challenge as I was performing at SpeakEasy and then out at Stanza followed by a weekend away *which was supposed to include a poetry workshop and a performance – long story I will link to that post when I have written it – so here is the PAD Challenge update and later on I will plug into the poetry machine and create!

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        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 14

        Two weeks! We’ve made it two weeks into the challenge. I don’t know why I ever doubt it, but this month is flying by as it usually does.

        For today’s prompt, write an exploration poem. Maybe you’re exploring a new land, the depths of quarks, outer space, the mind, the soul, etc. Your call. In fact, it could be said that most poems are an exploration of one sort or another. So get at it.

        Robert Lee Brewer

        Robert Lee Brewer

        Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community

        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 15

        After we finish today’s poem, we’ll have crossed the half-way point in this challenge. Congratulations for making it this far! It’s all downhill from here, right?

        For today’s prompt, take the phrase “What (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “What Luck,” “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas,” “Whatever You Say,” and so on.

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        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

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        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

        For today’s prompt, write a self-help poem. It can be written in the style of a self-help article or book. Or you can take it in a more subtle self-help direction.

        Robert Lee Brewerwd

        Robert Lee Brewer

         

        I wrote a tongue in cheek poem called ‘Self-Help’ it is in its infancy – I know I will work on this one and make it something at a later date.

         

        PAD challenge – back in real time after a hefty 4 poem catch up!

        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

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        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 9

        Nine days may not seem like much, but hey, we’re now 30% of the way through November, and that’s a lot of percents, right? We’re making real progress, and I hope making some real poems.

        For today’s prompt, take the phrase “The Other (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Some possible titles may include: “The Other Side of the Story,” “The Other Brother,” “The Other Hand,” or whatever else you concoct. And remember: I really don’t care if you bend or break the prompt in your favor. My prompts are just a starting place.

        Robert Lee Brewer

        Robert Lee Brewer

        Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community

         

        Possibly the best poem I have written yet on this challenge, yes I know I have already made this claim, about the one before the one that you are now – something we can all relate to – the ex. I called it ‘The Other Lover’.

        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 8

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        We’re eight days into this challenge now, and I’m actually starting to feel more energized about what I’m going to write next. I hope you’re feeling the same way.

        For today’s prompt, write an inanimate object poem. Obviously, you could write an objective poem about an inanimate object, or you can write from the perspective of the inanimate object. If you can think of a third option, have at it.

        Robert Lee Brewer

        Robert Lee Brewer

         

        Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community

        My first step towards catching up tonight, with a poem called Cat – all about an ornament I bought from a Garden Centre many moons ago!

        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 7

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        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 7

        Wow! We’ve made it a week into the challenge now. Let’s keep the momentum going.

        For today’s prompt, write a hardship poem. The hardship could be moving forward after a tragic loss, having to work through a difficult problem, or even just showing up to work. It can be serious, funny, or complicated.

        Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community

        Robert Lee Brewer

        Robert Lee Brewer

        And I am FINALLY (2 hrs later) up to date with the PAD challenges, with 5 new poems in the collection.

        This Sunday is Remembrance Day and I am attending a Poems for Peace event, fs poppywhere I am reading a set (of yet to be written, chosen poems) – this prompt spoke volumes and I thought of the hardship soldiers face in life after the battlefields. It is a poem written especially for Sunday’s event. A list poem. Every verse is a question.

        2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 5

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        Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides Blog

        For people new to these challenges, I like to do “Two for Tuesday” prompts on Tuesdays. In that way, I get to pretend like I’m a DJ on a radio station. Here are the two prompts today:

        1. Write a concealed poem. Could be about a concealed weapon, concealing emotions, concealing intentions, etc. Cover it up and write about it.
        2. Write an unconcealed poem. Okay, take everything from the first prompt and uncover it. Reveal everything that’s hidden.

        Completed on day 7

        I loved this prompt – had loads of ideas swimming around my head. What I finally wrote was semi autobiographical and was an experience I had once on a tube. The reveal was even better because I had no idea what was concealed and didn’t know until the end of the poem as I was still undecided.

         

        Both poems have some amazing lines (you know when you write a stunner and think WOW!) and I have used clever word play in the title – I think I might perform part 1 or both next week at the SpeakEasy event.