Good morning, Brigit's Flame!

Today is the final reading list for February's Drabble mini-contests. I hope you all had fun writing your tiny tales.

This list is made up of submissions written for the drabble prompt - “Ha!—would a madman have been so wise as this?”.

Title: End Game
Author: [personal profile] ayumidah
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: At Last
Author: [personal profile] darlinleo
Word Count: 48
Warnings: none

Title: Wiseman
Author: missflyer
Word Count: 14
Warnings: none

Title: The Path
Author: Bluegerl
Word Count: 92
Warnings: none

The voting will not be open all week, so get your reading done early and cast your votes by 11:45pm on Thursday. There will be only one winning drabble, but we'll give you three votes to weigh in with the other readers.

Don't forget to drop a note to your fellow writers to let them know they are appreciated. If it's an off-site blog and you have trouble with commenting, feel free to share your comments here and we'll pass them along. In fact, I encourage you to share some public thoughts below with the community. Let's talk about what we read, together.

We love it when our Embers write, but we also need the community to come together and read what's being submitted. Even if you didn't have time to write this week, please take a few minutes to read and encourage your friends to read as well. Share our fire!

VOTING POLL
 

Good Morning Flamelings!


Let’s talk about life’s little distractions.


I am a creature of habit.  I love making lists, checkmarking them off and having a routine on which I do these things. Part of the reason I do this is because I have a terrible memory so it helps things run smoothly in my life and the other part of why I do it is that I’m inherently lazy.   There, I said it.  I don’t like the fact that I am lazy but I am.  I find shortcuts to everything that I can.  Unfortunately that only truly gives me joy when I’m at work, playing in Excel.


This coming weekend I am going to visit my mother so it was doubly important that I stick to my weekend routine last week because I essentially had to do two weekends worth of stuff in one weekend and introduce some of the to-do list into the week work, which I hate doing.  List was made, plans were set and then, bam.  I fell sick with a sinus infection; not one of those piddly little bounceback ones, but make me fall to my knees, don’t want to get out of bed, someone chop off my head so I’d feel better ones.  


I didn’t do anything on my list.  I simply didn’t have the energy.   Now my whole routine is down the drain and I’m all willy nilly about everything.  It increases my stress and my memory loss.  I’ve also suffered from not knowing what day it is and what I still need to do to prepare for my visit to my mother’s to making sure my cats are okay while I’m gone.


One little distraction in life has burst my bubble.  Do you ever put yourself into these situations where one tiny little bump throws off everything?  Is it worse when it’s a big distraction or a little one?  On the other hand, do you sail through everything that life throws at you?



Reminders:


Voting deadline for week 3 heart-shaped paper is Thursday, February 26th 11:45pm EST (tonight).  Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.

Submission deadline for the mini contest for week 4 ‘Ha!—would a madman have been so wise as this?’ is Sunday, March 1st 11:45pm EST.

Workshops are still ongoing; click here to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!



Good morning to you, Flamefolk.

Do your characters get along?

I have a novel I started back in 2008 that is a far-future, full sci-fi, epic adventure through the stars. It is very precious to me as it was the first work of long fiction that I was ever able to commit myself to intensely and it was my NaNoWriMo project for that year. I reached a word count of about 165k after NaNo (without an ending). Exhausted, I put it away for a bit. When I took it back out I saw that it was not an unfinished novel but a great word beast that needed cropped, tamed, trained, deloused, and quite possibly exorcised.

My solution to this was to start rewriting the tale in snippets that condensed scenes to the best parts I'd written the first time around. I shared one such snippet with Boyfriend, my official beta reader, who (upon reading it) grabbed me by the shoulders and demanded to know why he had never heard about any of this before. Or he may have texted the question, the whole shoulder thing sounds a bit dramatic for him. I explained about the beast and the Catholic church's unwillingness to send a priest. Boyfriend dashed his stein to the floor and demanded I send him the entire work so that he might judge its worthiness. In the end, he didn't like it. The really boring stuff I was writing around with the new snippets intrigued him, but the parts and characters I loved he didn't.

One of his major complaints was that everyone got along.

To explain, I have two complete story tracks following one main character each. Main 1 is alone on her track and provides much of the history of the story in her reminiscences. The other is the hero who picks up stray humans he finds in destroyed or unsuitable ships as he travels across the Milky Way. The population on his ship goes from one to about eighty over the course of his journey and there are about twelve key players who provide the meat of the story in dialog and interaction with Main 2. These are the people who get along in a way that bugs my reader. I contend that they are being polite and respectful after having been rescued and that they are working together as a team against a common enemy. He says there's no way those twelve people would all play nice with no interpersonal conflict.

I figure there's a way that we are both right in this, but I haven't found that mix yet so I haven't rewritten the scenes. Since he brought it up, it's something I've started paying more attention to when reading or viewing TV shows and movies. The Walking Dead is a great example of a group of people who are bonded in adversity, need each other, and are always surfing through interpersonal conflicts while dispatching their enemy as a team. I need those guys on my spaceship. We are also watching our way through one of the Stargate franchises where all of the characters are trapped aboard an ancient Ancient alien vessel that is something like seven billion light years from Earth. They are in constant interpersonal conflicts and the four key characters are always scheming in ways that make me dislike them. I don't really want any of them on my crew, but if I maybe had one of them things might be more interesting.

This novel has a long way to go to get from beast to writer's best friend.

What are your thoughts on interpersonal conflict between characters in your writing and in your chosen form of entertainment intake?
Does that conflict happen naturally as you write or do you have to work at it? Do you have an ideal ratio?

Enlighten me :)




Just a few reminders and announcements and such -

February series of mini-contests 1 of 4 was won by RicoChey for the topic "Curioser & curiouser".

February series of mini-contests 2 of 4 was won by RicoChey for the topic "PBJ".

February series of mini-contests 3 of 4 is in the voting phase right now. Please put an end to RicoChey's reign of terror when casting your vote for the topic "Heart-shaped Paper".

Do you want to do more in the fight against RicoChey? Then join us for the final week of writing drabble in mini-contest 4 of 4. Submissions are due Sunday by 11:45 pm. The topic is "Ha! --  would a madman have been so wise as this?"

There are also a few workshops for dialogue if you want to work, work on the talking in your writing.  You really need to stop procrastinating and do that. (Note to self.)


#gowrite #fiction #writing #nonfiction #poetry #drabble #brigitsflame
Well hey there, Pilgrims -

Join me by the fire. We'll sit a spell and spin a yarn or two. I brought marshmallows.

This list is made up of submissions written for the drabble prompt -

Heart-shaped Paper



Title: First Sight
Author: [personal profile] ayumidah
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: 4 things about love
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 100
Warnings: 1 swear word

Title: Paper
Author: missflyer
Word Count: 99
Warnings: none

Title: Just
Author: RicoChey
Word Count: 100
Warnings: PG, brief violence

Title: Untitled
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 69
Warnings: none

The voting will not be open all week, so get your reading done early and cast your votes by 11:45pm on Thursday. There will be only one winning drabble, but we'll give you three votes to weigh in with the other readers.

Don't forget to drop a note to your fellow writers to let them know they are appreciated. If it's an off-site blog and you have trouble with commenting, feel free to share your comments here and we'll pass them along. In fact, I encourage you to share some public thoughts below with the community. Let's talk about what we read, together.

We love it when our Embers write, but we also need the community to come together and read what's being submitted. Even if you didn't have time to write this week, please take a few minutes to read and encourage your friends to read as well. Share our fire!

VOTING POLL

Happy Monday, Flames. The final topic of February is up, and it’ll get your heart going. Need help finding the words? Try a workshop.

In keeping with the theme of short fiction, let’s have some short non-fiction: I have this friend, and though I’ve known her since we were in grade school, we stopped talking for several years right toward the end of high school. We split, led two completely different lives, and somehow crashed back into each other last year. Now, barely a year after reuniting, her husband (also an old friend) has moved to Washington to start a new life for them and she plans to follow him some time in the next year.

I know exactly how difficult it’s going to be for her, missing her husband and eventually having to start a whole new life. I’m pretty much an expert on missing your significant other, and I’ve hauled off and started over twice so far. What’s new for me this time is being the one watching someone else move on and go away. Typically, it’s me doing the leaving. Now I’m not so sure I wasn’t too harsh when I told my friends, “You’ll be fine. I’m just moving, not dying.”

Of course I plan to be supportive, but I’m prepared to take it as a personal affront. I’M supposed to be the one who leaves and gets missed, not the other way around. How am I supposed to process this? Guess I’ll just have to, I dunno, grow or something.

Have you ever had the tables turned on you, quite unexpectedly? How did you deal? Do you think you could have been more graceful?



Hello Brigit's Flame,


Today I give you the final prompt in our February event - The shortest Tales for the Shortest Month.


"Ha!—would a madman have been so wise as this?"



The line comes from Poe's story The Tell-Tale Heart. I have included an audio performance of the full tale for your amusement.






For the month of February, we have been hosting a series of weekly mini contests for drabbles. If you are unfamiliar, a drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length (not including the title). The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.



For our purposes, we will require 100 words or less. You may submit up to three per week as long as they are all related to the theme, but not to each other. You do not need to single one out for competition, they are all eligible.



Your topic for mini contest 4 of 4 is "Ha!—would a madman have been so wise as this?", interpret it however you like.



Concurrent with the contest, we will have a workshop open for anyone who would like to practice their drabble prowess for a live audience before the deadline hits. Share your thoughts and difficulties with fellow embers and the mod team a dedicated drabble forum.




I hope you enjoy playing with this line and find some inspiration in it.




Submit your entries here - this phase ends Sunday, March 1st at 11:45pm EST



#gowrite #brigitsflame

 

Good Morning Flamelings!


Let’s talk about making your characters flawed.


I’ve mentioned my terrible, undeniable, years-long friendship with writer’s block before.  What I didn’t mention is that I actively roleplay in an online video game (MMORPG).  I have a steady partner in which we tell each other stories about our characters for a couple of years now.  While our particular characters have been established for most of those years, we do occasionally make up new characters to start new adventures with that may last a night or two or they may stick around.  


One of the first things I think about is how this character can be flawed.  It’s way too easy to make someone perfect especially with video game character creations to be limited and those options to be perfect - unrealistic body types, scandalous clothing/armor, perfect hair, perfect skin and no real way besides imagination to insert anything beyond the ‘norm.’    I have to say that this is the typical case of the video games I play but I have come across where you can have scars, imperfect skin tone and various other little flaws.


Once I find my character flaw, I work around that flaw to build parts of a character but mostly letting my interactions in role playing to help shape the character like life often shapes us.


How do you make your characters flawed or seem more real, less perfect? Does it happen naturally or do you find yourself inserting little character quirks to make them appear more realistic?  Do you have ones that you tend to assign to characters over and over in different pieces or are they all individually unique?


Reminders:


Voting deadline for week 2 PBJ is Thursday, February 19th 11:45pm EST (tonight).  Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.

Submission deadline for the mini contest for week 3 heart-shaped paper is Sunday, February 22nd 11:45pm EST.

Workshops are still ongoing; click the link to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!


'Tis Wednesday, Flames. Aside from being my day to chatter, it is that mid-week slump (or peak) for some that must be endured to get closer to the weekend.

I have a few writerly things I'd like to discuss with you, but I feel more whimsical than writerly today. (Or maybe just extra tired.) So let's play a little game.

In the car last night, Boyfriend and I were talking about songs on the radio and their names. He happened to have the radio tuned in to a country station, so there were some fun opportunities. During the mockfest, Boyfriend tells me there is a song called "Sunshine and Whiskey" where the singer is comparing a woman's kisses to these two things that, to him, are the best things in the world. Boyfriend comments that sunshine's okay, but whiskey is gross. I'm not a huge fan of either, so if we were being super literal that hottie on the beach (in the song) would be fairly lukewarm.

Similies like this are accepted for the songwriter's sake as being in the good, or pro column in context - regardless of who is listening. But what if you are a vegan and the singer is waxing poetic about a juicy steak? Or the cowboy days of wrangling steer? Or you're afraid of dogs and the singer is bemoaning the loss of his faithful hound?

This is your chance to write a little diddy where the comparisons are not broadly appealing, but specific to your tastes and sensibilities.

Start with one of these lines and fill in your favorites.

"Every time you kiss me it's like... ... ..."

"I'm dreaming of ... ... ..., but I would trade them all for one more night with you"

".... ....
These are a few of my favorite things."

Have fun with it. Do more than one if you like. Heck, write us a whole song.

Enjoy




A few reminders -

Week one of our February Tiny Tales [Curiouser & Curioser] was won by RicoChey. Balloonhat came in a close second with one measly vote less. Both submissions were excellent, but there can be only one.
The second of our drabble mini-contests [PBJ] is in the voting phase, make sure you read, comment, and vote before tomorrow night. Every vote counts.
Drabble 3 of 4 is open for submissions by all. The topic is "Heart-shaped Paper" and was inspired by our own resident poet, Kathy. #gowrite
Finally, join in the Dialog Workshop we have four exercises for you to explore.

Have a great week!

#flamechatters

Bonjour mes amis, mes flammes!


Week two of the drabble extravaganza is far less extravagant, but that's okay, I'm guessing the PBJ challenge wasn't for everyone. Here's hoping our week three topic of "heart-shaped paper" re-ignites their imagination.
Let's jump into the week two reading.

This list is made up of submissions written for the drabble prompt - PBJ.

Title: Different
Author: [personal profile] ayumidah
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: When The Time Comes
Author: [personal profile] darlinleo
Word Count: 16
Warnings: none

Title: PBJ
Author: missflyer
Word Count: 9
Warnings: none

Title: PB&J
Author: RicoChey
Word Count: 100
Warnings: Trigger, dark material. I don't believe in spoilers, so I won't be specific. Sorry.

Title: Into the Great Maw
Author: urb-banal
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: PBJ
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 100
Warnings: hurt?

Title: Pro Bono Justified.
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: PB-Just for Fun.
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 100
Rating silly. well. factual but JFF.

Title: Tradition
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: High Society
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 100
Warnings: mild profanity (the F-word once)

The voting will not be open all week, so get your reading done early and cast your votes by 11:45pm on Thursday. There will be only one winning drabble, but we'll give you three votes to weigh in with the other readers.

Don't forget to drop a note to your fellow writers to let them know they are appreciated. If it's an off-site blog and you have trouble with commenting, feel free to share your comments here and we'll pass them along. In fact, I encourage you to share some public thoughts below with the community. Let's talk about what we read, together.

We love it when our Embers write, but we also need the community to come together and read what's being submitted. Even if you didn't have time to write this week, please take a few minutes to read and encourage your friends to read as well. Share our fire!

VOTING POLL

REMINDERS: The Week Three topic invites you to write one hundred words or less on Heart-Shaped Paper. Our workshops also remain open, awaiting your contribution: click here for 1 & 2, and here for 3 & 4.

 

Back when I was in charge of two Chatters a week, I failed to deliver on either of my two promises to stick to a theme. Now, as a one-Chatter woman who also happens to be incredibly manic at the best of times, I think I'm ready to re-embrace Manic Mondays as my true calling. It stands to reason anything written by me is inherently manic by nature. Welcome back to the most neurotic day of the week, Flames.

 

I'm writing this Chatter on what I consider to be a Sunday night, despite the fact that it is definitely two hours and fifteen minutes into Monday proper. I would have written it hours ago and gone to bed, but my job thinks President's Day is a good reason to stay home, so I stayed up about five extra hours watching Buzz Feed videos on YouTube. I never considered myself one of those people who gets absorbed by videos and wastes hours viewing one after the other, to no apparent goal. Buzz Feed, however, pulls me in like siren song. Between the different Buzz Feed channels (Blue, Red, Yellow, etc.), you get an eclectic mix of comedy, social commentary, and educational montage. On average, they're about three minutes long, so my short American attention span does not suffer. It also helps that I have a crush on a few of the women in the videos...

 

All in all tonight (among many other things), I've learned about foreign cuisine, watched men try drag for the first time, listened to women read hateful YouTube comments they received just for being a woman posting a video, and learned how to properly refrigerate certain odd food items. Compared to the mindless scrolling through celebrity selfies or stalking several different exes' Facebooks to find pictures of their new girlfriends and boyfriends, I think I've chosen the more enlightened road.

 

 

I know you enjoy the internet, so don't deny it! What part of the web is stickiest for you? Where do you find yourself getting most lost, drifting through content with that general attitude of "just one more"?

Heart-shaped Paper






Please refrain from metaphors
Made of heart-shaped paper,
And I will know your love was real.
Describe it glistening with viscera,
Not rose-scented.

Authentic emotion is far removed
From that bloody muscle laced with blue veins…
It’s down beneath the pasty brown stink
Of the liver, in the vicinity of the appendix,
That love throbs and twists–where it thrives
Or dies.

That muscle to the north
Keeps pumping on, uninterrupted,
Unaffected, as love gets ripped from the gut.

I Will Know Your Love Was Real by Kathy Boles-Turner






For the month of February, we will be hosting a series of weekly mini contests for drabbles. If you are unfamiliar, a drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length (not including the title). The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.

For our purposes, we will require 100 words or less. You may submit up to three per week as long as they are all related to the theme, but not to each other. You do not need to single one out for competition, they are all eligible.

Your topic for mini contest 3 of 4 is "Heart-shaped Paper", interpret it however you like.

Concurrent with the contest, we will have a workshop open for anyone who would like to practice their drabble prowess for a live audience before the deadline hits. Share your thoughts and difficulties with fellow embers and the mod team a dedicated drabble forum.

Enjoy!

Submit your entries here - this phase ends Sunday, February 22nd at 11:45pm EST



#gowrite #brigitsflame #wehaveourownpoet

Good Morning Flamelings!


Let’s talk about how you interject drama into your stories.


I live a low key kind of life and keeping to myself.  If I had decided to try something new and adventurous, it would be along the lines of going to a new museum or exploring somewhere without my GPS on or a destination in mind.  Saying this, my brain insists on keeping the drama involved somehow.  A visit to my mother is a cause for weeks of planning, lists, far-fetched incidents that may occur and she only lives two hours away.  A phone call regarding something simple as a utility switched into my name turns into battle plans, ready to defend my right to what I want.


In my own writings, I tend to go towards fantasy so drama in a story involves magic spells going awry or angry dragons, vampires or the newest werewolf threatens to destroy everyone’s happiness.  I wonder since my creative mind turns my mundane day to day tasks into something larger, what would it do if I turned it loose on to fiction that isn’t so fantastical?


Where does your fiction take you typically?  Is drama created by over the top events like fantasy or some hero action packed film?  Or is your drama created more around everyday events like a lost toothbrush?


Reminders:


Voting deadline for Curiouser & Curiouser is Thursday, February 12th 11:45pm EST (tonight).  Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.

Submission deadline for the mini contest for week 2 PBJ is Sunday, February 15th 11:45pm EST.

Workshops are still ongoing; click the link to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!



Good morning to the fine Flamefolk out there.

Not long ago, Bardi asked you guys if you've created a place of your own within your writing. I'd like to know how you feel about world-building in general, as a writer or a reader?

I know that not all of our writers are science-fiction or fantasy writers, which are the genres one might immediately associate with the idea of world-building, but I believe world-building is something we see in novels across genres. It is not just space ships, alien landscapes, and shires, world-building can be any limiting setting that is as integral to the story as your characters.

Those corset-busting Harlequin romances set their breathless little vamps in 15th century Scotland or 18th century France - even if it's an era passed with accurate historical markers, it is still a world the author built in order to control the characters and events by the rules or mores of the day. In my tweener years, I read several books in a series called "Sweet Valley High" - the "world" in that case was a modern, middling town and the high-school all the town kids attended. In Veronica Mars the world was Neptune Beach California. Is the real Neptune Beach anything like the corrupt and seedy place in the TV show? Maybe, maybe not, but if it weren't for that seedy side the protagonist might have grown up to be an accountant instead of a P.I. and then there would be no interesting story to tell.

When it comes to worlds within the pages of a book, I am an advocate, as long as it is done well and correctly. Tolkien is labeled as the first author to create a complete world in his novels - with maps and languages and lore - and I do love what he did. (For me finding a map inside the cover of a book is the promise of a true adventure.) But this is not the only option when building a world, and not every reader has the patience for it. I would argue that Tolkien was the first to create an elaborate world of that kind. You cannot deny that the dingy, orphan-hating London of David Copperfield or the stormy Moors of Wuthering Heights were any less encompassing of their stories and players for lack of orcs and Rivendell.

So let me bring this back around to the point. (I'm a bit scrambled today, I apologize.) In longer works of fiction, to what level do you flesh out your worlds? Do you paint them as you go with a roll of the dice here and a "I need more tension" over there? Or do you build it first and then unleash your characters on the world? What's your ratio of world known by the author to world revealed to the reader? As a reader, do you prefer minimalist worlds or elaborately constructed ones?

Talk to me.




And now for our reminders -
February Series of Tiny Tales 1 of 4 is available to read and vote on. Please go show your support and appreciation for your fellow Flames. Deadline on voting is tomorrow night.

February Series of Tiny Tales 2 of 4 is awaiting your submission(s). If you or someone you love is a writer, please pass on the link and join the fun. It's good for you.

Our darlin' Kathy lioness has updated the dialog workshop with some new exercises, don't miss out.

I have set-up a little nook for you guys to interact over your 100 words. It's not a formal workshop with assignments and such, but it is there for you if you need some flamecrunching.

#gowrite #flamechatters #brigitsflame #govoteflames

 
Guten tag mein Flamen!

Welcome to the first reading list of our drabble extravaganza.
Let's welcome the return of bluegerl after her few months hiatus and embrace our returning friend balloonhat with joy.
I'm happy to see all of the submissions. I've been receiving notice of them dropping in all week and each alert made me smile. Let's dive in!

This list is made up of submissions written for the drabble prompt - Curiouser & curiouser.

Title: Onward
Author: amri
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none really

Title: Abrupt
Author: ayumidah
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Curiosity's Toll
Author: Balloonhat
Word Count: 100
Warnings: None really? I warn you that it's been years since I wrote anything. Pardon the rustiness.

Title: Curiouser and Curiouser
Author: bardiphouka "bardi"
Word Count: 98
Warnings: none

Title: People
Author: darlinleo
Word Count: 99
Warnings: none

Title: This Curious Life
Author: missflyer
Word Count: 90
Warnings: none

Title: The Rare Ould Times
Author: RicoChey
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Hearts Desire
Author: urb-banal
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Escape
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Breathe
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Curious: What they want you to think (don’t listen)
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: The Thinker.
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: The Little Girl.
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Curioser and curioser.
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 100
Warnings: Rating R for... Warning. The Cheshire cat!

Title: Prophecy
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Insomnia
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 100
Warnings: none

Title: Requiem for Miss Ann
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 100
Warnings: death of a beloved elder

The voting will not be open all week, so get your reading done early and cast your votes by 11:45pm on Thursday. There will be only one winning drabble, but we'll give you three votes to weigh in with the other readers.

Don't forget to drop a note to your fellow writers to let them know they are appreciated. If it's an offsite blog and you have trouble with commenting, feel free to share your comments here and we'll pass them along. In fact, I encourage you to share some public thoughts below with the community. Let's talk about what we read, together.

We love it when our Embers write, but we also need the community to come together and read what's being submitted. Even if you didn't have time to write this week, please take a few minutes to read and encourage your friends to read as well. Share our fire!

*** VOTING POLL ***

Raise your hand if you like to cook. It can't be just me.

Since my decision to adopt a veganized lifestyle back in August, I've learned a lot about my own ability to cook. I knew I could, but choosing to live animal-product-free has presented the unique challenges I needed to really explore my capabilities. Now, I only eat food from outside my own home when other people are involved. It's nice to go out to eat with friends, and while I would love to cook for them in my own home, I'm not really set up for that at the current time. That being said, I've become a person who also makes her own food from scratch. I don't remember the last time I ate something at home that I hadn't made myself from raw, fresh materials. I have more routine now when it comes to food than I have ever had.

Once every two weeks, I go on my big grocery trip. I tend to rush through them, but if I weren't relying on other people's cars for it, I could probably wander through the aisles for a couple hours, squeezing produce and eyeballing labels. That's always on a Friday evening if I can help it, or a Saturday morning if I'm feeling reckless enough to step into a Costco with a paycheck burning a whole through the embossed numbers on my debit card. Saturday is my day to do whatever I please, and Sunday is... KITCHEN DAY. I don't spend the whole day in there, but I definitely spend the majority there. I like to cook things in bulk throughout the day so that I don't have to do anything but microwave during the week. The only thing I have to assemble are salads. Ultimate win.

I try to experiment with new recipes when I can. I memorize recipes well, so once they're committed to memory, I don't even need grocery lists for them anymore. It's incredibly liberating. This weekend, I made creamy lemon bowtie pasta with roasted asparagus, dairy-free crockpot mac & cheese, French red potato salad, and I still have lemony orzo and handmade pretzels to add to the arsenal. That pasta? Whoa. That's definitely a keeper.

 

 

What's your personal food ritual? Are you a pre-packaged creature of convenience, or do you prefer the tactile experience of doing it all from sratch? Maybe you fall in the middle somewhere. Either way, any favorite meals you'd like to share?

REMINDERS: You have a second drabble to contend with, don't you? Good thing we just talked about food -- now you'll be ready for PB&J!

PBJ




illustration of children at desks sharing a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. On a blackboard behind them are written the letters PBJ
book cover to small square children's book titled i haiku you by betsy snyder. The word haiku is presented on a valentine's heart-shaped balloon. A little boy is handing the balloon string to a little girl.

you be my jelly,
i'll be your peanut butter --
let's stick together!
- Betsy Snyder














For the month of February, we will be hosting a series of weekly mini contests for drabbles. If you are unfamiliar, a drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length (not including the title). The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.

For our purposes, we will require exactly 100 words or less. You may submit up to three per week as long as they are all related to the theme, but not to each other. You do not need to single one out for competition, they are all eligible.

Your topic for mini contest 2 of 4 is "PBJ", interpret it however you like.

Concurrent with the contest, we will have a workshop open for anyone who would like to practice their drabble prowess for a live audience before the deadline hits. Share your thoughts and difficulties with fellow embers and the mod team a dedicated drabble forum.

Enjoy!

***SUBMIT HERE***


#gowrite #brigitsflame #ireservetherighttohaiku

Good Morning Flamelings!


This time of year always makes me homesick.  I’ve lived in my current area for 8.5 years and it’s considerably more south than where I grew up.   While my home state gets snow, my new state is currently hovering around 50 F.  I get homesick this time of year because this is when I start remembering it’s now halfway through winter and I haven’t seen snow yet. I yearn for a cold sweater-wearing, hot chocolate-sipping, snow-has-cancelled-life kind of day.


This homesickness starts showing up in my writings.  Characters suddenly starting to yearn for something of their past, even when it isn’t very typical of them.  How often does your real life start peeking through the barrier and bleed into your characters’ lives?  Is there something that happens regularly that makes the barrier thin more such as my love for winter?


Reminders:


Voting deadline for Utopia: Search for Meaning is Thursday, February 5th 11:45pm EST (tonight).  Show some love to the Flamelings that got inspired.


Submission deadline for the mini contest Curiouser & Curiouser is Sunday, February 8th 11:45pm EST.

Workshops are still ongoing; click the link to find both the dialogue and drabble ones!

Good morning to all of my friends in the Flame,
Today I am here to ask the question - what brings out the character loyalty in you?

I’ve mentioned before that I have an affection for detective novels that began when I was a small child. (If you have small children who like to read, find them some Encyclopedia Brown books. The character was first published in 1963, 29 novellas followed and a movie is in the works. It’s a great series for teaching deductive reasoning to your little Sherlocks. /promo)

Though I love my fantasy novels with faeries and magic, and my science fiction novels with aliens, robots, and space exploration, I have never outgrown my first love for a good Who(AndWhy)Dunnit.

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the television series Veronica Mars. Yes it is a high school setting and I am far from high school age, but the stories were solid and the character wise beyond her years. I watched every episode in a DVD marathon. Then sqeeeed with joy when the movie came out last year and gobbled that up. Recently, my Audible account served up an audiobook that continues the series from where the movie left off (read by Kristen Bell) and I spent three sick days listening to Veronica solve the case of “The Thousand Dollar Tan Line”.

I tried to explain to Boyfriend why I enjoy this detective so much even though she started out as a nosy teenager. I don’t think I did her justice and I’ve been trying to put it into words ever since. Why is she such an appealing character to me? Well to start, she’s sarcastic. Veronica is street smart and book smart. She has a great relationship with her father, but she does what she’s gonna do whether he allows it or forbids. Veronica is highly observant and the writers do not allow her to miss obvious things for the sake of furthering the story. (I can’t tell you how many times I have yelled at characters in books for missing the obvious.) She is witty, loyal, stands for the underdog, chooses her friends wisely (although I think her first boyfriend was a questionable choice), and she is a little bit broken. The writers/creator made her very relatable and truly realistic (if a teenage, unlicensed PI can be realistic).

Some of these traits can be found in other characters I have loved over the years, so as I spell it out a type begins to emerge that includes Gregory House, Mal Reynolds, and Harry Dresden (just to name a few). Oh and Boyfriend himself, though he doesn’t solve any mysteries; smuggle cargo through space; and (sadly) is not a wizard.

What’s your type? Share some characters you get excited over and involved with; tell me what you love about them? Do you find yourself building your own characters with their traits or voice? Can you draw lines from these fictional people to the RL people you have folded into your inner circle?

Talk to me.




A few reminders -
Be sure to vote on our January week four submissions - Utopia: Search For Meaning

Join in February's story soupçon - dash off those drabbles and drop them here. Curiouser & curiouser is your prompt this week. There is a related workshop space reserved for those who want to crunch their words in good company.

Have you followed our Instagram feed yet? Do you get your Brigit's Flame notifications through Twitter or Facebook? You can follow us just about anywhere now, we are even across the street at that bus stop watching you when you think you are alone...


#brigitsflame #flamechatters



I did something fairly grown-up recently.

I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for two years now. We have a lot in common, we get along well, and we respect each other. Yeah, I’m a little crazy. Yeah, he’s a little too thick-skinned. We bicker. We have weeks that we don’t text for a few days while we blow off steam. But, Saturday rolls along and we’re just us again. Warm, close, and understood. It’s nice.

Two weeks ago, I brought up my future and what it holds for me. I’ll be living alone by the other side of Fall, for the first time in my life. I’ve been looking forward to facing that particular challenge. Not everyone gets that chance. So, naturally, it took me some time to come to the decision that the following proposal was not the wrong idea. I invited my boyfriend to consider the idea of living together when I move again.

It’s just as casual as I’m making it sound. One adult to another, I made a pitch. We love each other, we enjoy each other, and we have agreed on numerous occasions that the majority of our issues would be resolved by the freedom to see more of one another, and the unique liberty to choose when we spend time apart. And, also, ya know, split bills! We love each other, but we also rather love our money. It’s kind of a win-win in a lot of ways. I’ve almost forgotten to consider the inherent risks of taking that next step. I haven’t really discussed it with anyone. It doesn’t feel like a huge deal. We’re just in the “it’s out there, we’ll discuss it” stage, and really, we’re both so busy we haven’t thought about it like we promised we would. I’m really comfortable with how much of a big deal it isn’t right now. I think… maybe that’s why I haven’t shared it with anyone.


 

Everyone processes differently. When you find yourself in the midst of a traditionally life-altering decision, how do you go through its motions? Passively? Reactively? Dismissively? Stories welcome.

Don’t miss the first topic of February!: Curiouser and Curiouser…

Curiouser & Curiouser



  Curiouser & curioser
  grew the child in you.
  Wishing for a rabbit hole
  she might, headlong, trip into.

Down & down
dreams to buffet the fall.
Wonder at the bottom wells
starlight beckons down the hall.

Writing & writing  
with brevity and measured care.  
Nibbling words to fit again  
through doors what may return her there.  




For the month of February, we will be hosting a series of weekly mini contests for drabbles. If you are unfamiliar, a drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words in length (not including the title). The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.

For our purposes, we will require exactly 100 words or less. You may submit up to three per week as long as they are all related to the theme, but not to each other. You do not need to single one out for competition, they are all eligible.

Your topic for mini contest 1 of 4 is "Curiouser & Curiouser", interpret it however you like.

Concurrent with the contest, we will have a workshop open for anyone who would like to practice their drabble prowess for a live audience before the deadline hits. Share your thoughts and difficulties with fellow embers and the mod team in a dedicated drabble forum.

Enjoy!

***SUBMIT HERE***

#gowrite #brigitsflame
.

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