Monday Morning Writing Prompt–The Month of May

never enough magnolias

Image by greenhem via Flickr

The time of the year can set the tone for poetry or fiction. In some cases it can even act as a character. May has characteristics that are unique to different parts of our world. For this week’s prompt, write a poem that tells us something about May where YOU live, or a short story that you set in the month of May. If there are cultural events that take place this month, you might want to share something about them. Try to give your reader an experience of May.

Please leave a link featuring your work in the comments section of this post. This prompt is open indefinitely. I want it to be fun, not stress-filled and would like to have others join in and share your work.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Circular Poetry


Image via Wikipedia

It’s Monday afternoon here and Tuesday in some part of the world. My house guests have left and little-by-little I will return to my routine and become re-acquainted with the goings-on in the world of our poetry communities.

For today’s prompt, I would like to suggest a circular poem (or short fiction.) Think about something that begins and ends back where it begins. You may consider life cycles, seasons, journeys, relationships, sacred geometry…anything that is cyclical/circular. You can use any poetic form if you choose to write poetry and may want to try something that uses repetition or even a structure such as a circle or spiral.

This week I didn’t have a chance to write anything, but hopefully I will have something for you very soon. Please submit your poem or a link to it in the comment section of this post. Short fiction is also welcome.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt: Let’s Do Details

Writing samples: Parker 75

Image by churl via Flickr

For today’s prompt I’d like to focus on details. We’ve all been taught that it’s those minute sensory excursions that bring our writing to life, whether poetry or prose. Engaging the five senses allows the reader to share the experience. And so I encourage you to write a short poem or paragraph in which you involve as many senses as you can. It can be helpful to go someplace with a paper and pen (or laptop) and turn on your powers of observation–a coffee-house, thrift store, the mall. If you’re snowbound go someplace in your own digs or your memory. I’m working on a poem now that I hope to post later today or tomorrow using a memory trip into an old lady’s closet. Have fun with this and link it in comments if you would.

Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Write Light!

Photo: V. Ceretto-Slotto

For our Monday Morning Writing Prompt, I suggest that you play with the theme of light and darkness. Around the world, people of different religious and cultural backgrounds are celebrating festivals concerned with bringing light into the darkness of winter.  Consider just a few of these: Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Winter Solstice…and so many more. If you like, please share your poem, short story or essay by adding a link in comments. Here’s mine (a rough draft):

Darkness is Only a Degree of Light

When the year is at its nadir
and darkness overtakes
the light, someone,
lights a

The flame eases into your
consciousness and
you understand
that we were
to see.

Join with all the children of
Earth. Revel in your need
to join in celebration.
Now’s the moment
to set the world
on fire.

I’m adding a link to a couple of websites that discuss many different celebrations of light:

Wordsmith Wednesday–A Love Affair with Words

I’m in love with verbs. Properly chosen, a verb can replace adjectives and add life to your manuscript. Here’s a suggestion for editing: Do a word search for boring, passive verbs–variations of to be, to have–you get the idea. Evaluate adjectives and adverbs. Is there a verb that will better create the desired effect and inject a shot of life into your work?

I’ll give you an example from “Winter is Past.” Claire, my protagonist, is with her donor, Kathryn, who’s receiving dialysis. I could have written:

I had memories of dialysis when I sat in a chair and chemicals cleaned my blood. There were lots of unpleasant side effects. I was waiting for a cadaver transplant.

While that sums up the scene, do you really have a sense of what Claire experienced? Here’s what I wrote, instead:

A flashback swamped me and I broke out in a sweat. Memories of hours bound to a recliner poured in: claret red blood cycling in and out of my body; chemicals dispensed by a machine that beeped and groaned; nausea, weakness, restless legs and insomnia; the thought that someone would have to die in order that I might live.

Now, let me show you how verb choices can enrich a poem:


About five-thirty

the morning of Friday before


light spills through blinds,

pools into discrete

silver puddles

at the foot of my bed.

Through the half-moon window

near the ceiling,

swatches of gray satin

unfurl across the sky.

Tears in the fabric

allow slices of blue to

peek through,

toss hope in my face.

In that shadowy space between

asleep and awake

ideas pelt my brain

so I can’t escape back into

my dream about the circus

where I rode barefoot,

standing on the rough coat

of a white mare.

I slip into awareness.

Cold smooth wood

greets my feet as I stand

and yawn.

My dog

shakes her silky fur, glares at

me for interrupting her dreams.

We stretch, enter the day,

touch life.

Writer beware. Don’t force it. If it’s stilted your writing will become cumbersome. He said, she said works fine most of the time. You don’t want to distract the reader’s by using words like retorted, exclaimed, insisted. Take a look at a scene or a poem with an eye for variations of verbs like to be, to have, to go and ask yourself if you have other choices that will liven up your writing.

(Note: this post is adapted from a previous post 3/10/10–but back then, nobody was reading my blog!)