Did you miss Monday? Click here to join the discussion of poetry vs. lyrics.
Hello Flames,
Sorry this is almost a day late. Some local lightning knocked our internet out on Sunday night and it wasn't fully restored when I left for work this morning.

For week two, RicoChey challenged us to explore the choice between brilliance and ignorance or to find inspiration in the synopsis,

"For the ailing patient, intelligence is a miserable burden."

How brilliant were our writers? Judge for yourself.

Reading List:

Title: none
Author: hwango
Word Count: 637
Warnings: nope.

Title: The Burden of Intelligence
Author: Shane Bell
Word Count: 2130
Warnings: Drug use.

Vote Here
Good morning, writers and readers of the Flame!
Last week's reading submissions were excellent. Thank you to all the writers who submitted and to everyone who joined in to read and give the writers feedback. Voter turnout was amazing! It resulted in a tie between Kristina Van Hoose and Shane Bell. Shane won the dance-off vote-off, but now we know there are those with the power to defeat him. Keep an eye on your six, Shane.

We have a new writer joining us this week. Everyone say hi to Bibi! And in case we missed it last week (because I was half asleep) let's extend a welcome to Sonya, Kristina Van Hoose, and Heather who wrote with us the first time on "Knothole". So glad to have you join us :)

Let's get down to it, shall we? The writing topic for the following entries was "Doll's Eyes" and our writers were limited to a max word count of 200. Everyone had the opportunity to submit two entries and there was no (timely) sign-up post so submissions were open to any and all.

Once you've read through the submissions, be sure to share some #commentlove. Just keep your feedback kind and constructive. If you have trouble commenting on anyone's post, you are welcome to leave your comment here and we will pass it on.
Vote for as many entries as you like, but keep in mind we can have only one winner.

Your reading list awaits:

Title: Stare
Author: ayumidah
Word Count: 200
Warnings: none

Title: A Lonely Pain
Author: Bibi Nafeeza Yusuf
Word Count: 194
Warnings: none

Title: Babies
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 183
Warnings: hurt/pain'/madness

Title: Life?
Author: bluegerl
Word Count: 197
Warnings: none

Title: Doll's Eyes
Author: Heather
Word Count: 201
Warnings: Hints at child abuse

Title: The Eyes
Author: Kathy Boles-Turner
Word Count: 198
Warnings: creative nonfiction

Title: Doll's Eyes
Author: Kristina Van Hoose
Word Count: 192
Warnings: Not sure if it needs saying, but it discusses kidnapping

Title: Celestial Lullaby
Author: quil_quirks
Word Count: 17
Warnings: none

Title: The Doll's Eyes
Author: Shane Bell
Word Count: 200
Warnings: suggestive themes

Title: Doll's Lament
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 133
Warnings: feelings of loss and abandonment

Title: Good Girl Days
Author: Sonya Oldwin
Word Count: 100
Warnings: mature

Title: Too Close To Home
Author: Sonya Oldwin
Word Count: 100
Warnings: implied mutilation

Vote Here
Hello readers,
I'm back on topic for the study of humor in stories from various genres. My goal in this series of articles is to prompt you to examine how and why the stories you read are funny. To analyze how the humor works so you can better incorporate levity in your own writing to a degree that suits your needs.

We started out with a high-level look at an author who wrote for the sole purpose of being humorous- Erma Bombeck. It was her job to make mundane observations of her commonplace life and turn them into something hilarious. Her humor appeals because there are relatable truths within the hilarity, even if you were not a housewife during the Seventies.

Our next author was Christiana Ellis. Her stories are also written solely to be funny, but instead of anecdotes based on real life Christiana chooses fantasy settings and characters. The tales she writes are madcap and playfully raucous.

Then we moved on to a writer who uses humor, but it is not his end goal. Jim Butcher writes fantasy fiction that balances levity and action in a way that can make you laugh out loud, but it is really just a distraction for a sucker punch that will have you flipping pages and praying that there's still a pulse.

The novel up for discussion today is similar in its use of humor. The Martian by Andy Weir is about an astronaut who gets left behind on Mars.

At its core, the story is some seriously hard science related in a fictional setting. The character of Mark Watney is a botanist and mechanical engineer. And of course, he's an astronaut whose space mission went about as wrong as it could go while leaving him alive.

The Martian is the ultimate survival story. Though, instead of foraging for nuts and grubs on a deserted island -- he's on Mars. He can't breathe the air, there is no flora or fauna, and no ships to signal with a really large bonfire.

There is also no rum.

He has to figure out how to survive with the stuff NASA sent to Mars for various missions. The writer, Andy Weir, is a scientist. All of the math, physics, chemistry, and botany factored into the story is real. All of the space program data is real.

Aside from an initial thought of, "Wow, how's this guy gonna survive?" you might be thinking it would be a dull read. But it's not.

Can you guess why?

Because it's funny. It's not a constant riot of laughter, but the interjection of humor at key points bonds the reader to the character and his plight. It cuts through the hard science and gives Mark Watney a facet of personality that anyone can relate to. And a reason to keep reading.

Mark's an upbeat guy. He's stranded on another planet and may end up starving to death, but he takes each problem in bite-size pieces and cusses around them like a good-natured sailor. Indeed, the story opens with the line: "I'm pretty much f**ked." Watney is a master of the f-bomb.

While working out how to scavenge parts and stretch his resources, he irreverently muses on the entertainment tastes of his former crew, making his own manure, and all of the various ways he will likely die on Mars. About 70% of the book is told from Watney's point of view via a series of log entries. Unfortunately, if I share too many of the funny quotes from the book with you, it could ruin the suspense, but here's one of my favorite laughs:
"I've fallen into a routine. Every morning I wake up at dawn. First thing I do is check oxygen and CO2 level. Then I have a protein bar, and one cup of water. I brush my teeth using as little water as possible and shave with an electric razor.
The rover has no toilet. We were expected to use our suits' reclamation systems for that, but they aren't designed to hold 20 days worth of output. My morning piss goes into a resealable plastic box. When I open it, the rover reeks like a truck stop men's room. I could take it outside and let boil off, but I worked hard to make that water. The last thing I'm going to do is waste it. I'll feed it to the water reclaimer in the Hab.
Even more precious is my manure. It's critical to the potato farm and I'm the only source on Mars. Fortunately, when you spend a lot of time in space, you learn how to s**t in a bag. And if you think things are bad after opening the piss box...imagine the smell after I drop anchor."

That snuck up on you, didn't it? Yes, it's gross, but it goes with the story. Survival ain't always pretty.

Overall, The Martian is a wonderful story and I plan to look for more books by Andy Weir. I recommend it to you as not just a thought provoking tale with roller-coaster spikes and drops, but also as a great example of how writing with humor can make a difference. Without it, this book might only have appealed to a small niche of science nerds, the levity allowed Mark Watney to shine and cross barriers into a more mainstream audience.

Because nothing beats a funny astronaut.

Talk funny to me.


Reminder time -
Voting ends today. Don't neglect your right to vote or cheat yourself out of a good read. Our writers did a fine job this month.

There is a sign-up post for the week three topic. Get your name in before the list is locked down, tomorrow.

Saturday night is your last chance to submit a story (or two) for week two. The topic is "Doll's Eyes" and any form of writing 200 words or less is welcome.

Add a desiccated digit to RicoChey's exquisite corpse. Read an installment of Kathy's interview with Gentle-wordsmith Robert Okaji. Check out the info skyllairae shared on getting published. (She knows this stuff, you should see her CV.) And stay tuned for another article tomorrow on Brigit's Flame.
The whole month of July we will be exploring small things to accommodate our tiny word count caps.
For week two your prompt is:

Doll's Eyes

I went through many dolls in my childhood. They sat on shelves, shared my pillow, and sometimes were forgotten on top of the toybox and left to stare at the ceiling all night. I had one that closed her eyes when you laid her down. She had surprisingly long eyelashes for a doll. Not soft like a person's, the eyelashes were one stiff curve of plastic jutting from a little blue eye. I used to press my finger to the curl - open, close, open, close. Eventually, one of the eyes stopped pivoting and she lived out the rest of her days in a permanent wink. With those very adult eyelashes it's no wonder she turned out cheeky.

In 200 words or less, tell us a tale from the doll's eye view and submit it by 11:45 pm edt on Saturday, July 18. I flubbed the sign-up so anyone may submit a maximum of two contest entries as long as the submissions do not rely on each other to tell one story and are not continuations of one another. Poetry and other forms of written expression welcome. There are no JFF entries this month.

For those of you who are writing with us for the first time. Your entry should be posted to an online blog or journal with public reading access for the duration of the voting process (anywhere from three days to a week). Work you submit to the contest always belongs to you. It should be original work and first written for the prompt provided.

Submit Here

Is it Monday again? It seems as though a great deal of time has passed. For one thing, you may have noticed the format has changed somewhat in the last week. Today we bid farewell to ‘Manic Monday’, ushering in a new future for the beginning of your week. Stay tuned! But today, the topic is change, primarily that of scenery.

There are many kinds of change, but one of the most dramatic is a change of location. We, as human beings, have an evolutionary imperative to associate shelter and the home front with security and comfort. As even a migrating tribe would build camp during pauses in exodus, today we exhibit similar habits and traditions on a modern day scale. People tell you, “Home is where the heart is.” I suppose that means the first thing you have to find is your heart. If you are a writer, your heart may be in your work. It follows logically that home is actually where you feel safest to write.

If your heart is in your writing, then home is anywhere your computer (or other writing tool) is. What surrounds and lies beyond your computer is the other story. Beyond the desk and the chair and the temperature of the room, what defines the comfort and security of the home for your heart, for your craft? And what of the writer who never writes in the same room, or has no room at all? Every person, and so every writer, draws their peace from a different source or combination of sources.

Most of us are taught and socialized to accept that home is where you pay your rent, wash your own dishes, and keep your own shoes next to the door. There is a reason we use a general term like ‘homeless’ to describe anyone who does not live inside. A simple Pinterest search proves that many writers swear by the importance of a well-designed writing space. If it takes a collection of colors, angles, and textures brought together in specific syncopation to maintain the stability needed to write, then change of scenery is only rendered irrelevant when that small corner of one’s environment is reclaimed and set back into stone. Every new apartment, house, or otherwise has potential. After all, what are walls and floors and ceilings except another blank page? But the life one lives with pre=printed address labels is not always freedom — for many others, it is prison.

Consider the life of a traveling writer. From whence does a wandering scribe draw harmony? For a traveling writer, the bread and butter is the constant change of one’s scenery, and the adventures that develop as a result. Surely, a different constant tethers a traveler to the center of their own sense of zen. When every hotel room, foreign hostel, camp tent, and blanket beneath the stars must serve as home one day at a time, how does one collect from fountain of stability? Yours truly believes it is the glorious lack of tomorrow’s itinerary that drives a wandering salmon upstream. If upon the rise of every sun the same day lies before you, how then can you paint the picture of a different possibility? Similarly, it is a brave soul that writes only from experience, and it is upon the winding road of adventure that one lives more than the one life each of us is guaranteed.

What role does scenery, characterized here as where one might call ‘home’, shape your writing and your identity as a writer? Is there a part of you that hungers for the traveler’s life, or do you seek the homestead? It is arguable that one can write most clearly from what one has truly experienced — do you agree, or can the talented artist work from fresh, unblemished clay?

The June contest marches on with its chosen theme, Lost & Found. Follow the link to play along, or to support your fellows. In addition to writing games hosted throughout the month, you are also invited to attend a Google Hangouts session on June 14th, an official Flamestorming meet-up for any and all to attend!

As promised, I bring you another writing sprint.

Interview your favorite character in the story

Ask them the following questions:

1. Does it take much to get you angry? Or - What would frost you enough to start a fight with someone?
2. What is your first thought when you see a rainbow?
3. Do you enjoy a good mystery?
4. Name something you would really like, but would never buy for yourself.
5. You are standing at a fork in the road. If you turn left the road leads home. What is waiting for you down that other road? Will you turn left or right? 

These questions are intended to help you consider your character from a perspective outside of the story. However, if they suit the story or plot - go with it. If you missed the sprints last weekend, you can find them here and here.

Use only as directed:

This game is open to the whole community, not just those who signed up to write for May's theme. For those who are working on their month-long story, the content of your resulting sprint DOES NOT need to be included in your final story. It is an exercise for you, not a requirement.

If you want to share what you wrote in the sprint, paste a link in the comments below. Sharing is also not required.

If you write something today and want to share it with us we'll read it, and share some #commentlove as the reader sees fit. There is no voting for this exercise.

Typically a sprint would be timed, but since we are scattered across time zones and have work and families to attend to the only limitation I will give you is this - the time to share your sprint results with us will end Sunday night at midnight (wherever you are).

Our flamestorming session is tentatively set for Sunday around 4pm EDT for a few hours. We will be using Google Hangouts.

You can find us at the address below, send us an email anytime Sunday and we will add you to our Hangouts Contacts. If you are protective of your gMail address or do not have one, consider setting up a free gMail account to use strictly for flamestorming in privacy. You must have a gmail or Google + account to use Hangouts.

Brigit's Flame - flamestorming.tng@gmail.com

It's simple to use, just open gMail or Google + and choose Hangouts. I will include you on the initial group message and you can join at your leisure.

#lightAfire under your muse
Happy writing.
Good morning, Flames!

Let’s take a break from reality, or at least talking about it, to discuss the future.

Being a science fiction fan, my brand of escapism comes with much speculation about the future and what we might find there. There are examples throughout the Sci-fi world of how things authors imagined fifty years ago are real objects or machines in use today. Is it a case of chance, inspiration, or foresight?

A few years ago I was listening to an audio version of “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury when I came across a piece of his speculation that completely jived with modern fact. His main protag’s wife spent all of her time engaged with the people in their dining room wall - family, friends, and even took part in a game show. Ray Bradbury described facebook (and wall screen TVs) in 1953! This still blows my mind. He was wrong about Mars (to the best of our knowledge), and he was wrong about books being outlawed (mostly), but he imagined that the television would take over our lives and somehow incorporate real-time interaction with other people hundreds of miles away. To me that’s pretty cool.

PKD did not do so well in his speculation. I find it humorous as I read through his stories that he can imagine a world populated with robots for all of the mundane day-to-day functions. They have attitude and some sense of personality (always bad) - sneering at people as they demand their payments of nickels and dimes. He refers to them as homeostatic machines, but I’m not sure what he was envisioning when he labeled them because the definition of homeostatic doesn’t really fit.

He also imagines people traveling around Earth in ships and rockets and colonizing moons as far out as Saturn, but secretaries still use typewriters and all of the data of mankind is saved on stacks and stacks of tapes. I’m certainly not criticising the imagination of a man who came up with a plot so densely twisted in on itself that a perfect clone, designed to be a weapon, didn’t even know he was the weapon or even not the actual man until it was too late. And even then he wanted to be a good human, sacrificing himself to save humanity. Or a plot wherein a man is so haunted by his nightmares and confusion he goes to a service to have his memory wiped and replaced with something happy, only to discover that his true memories had already been replaced and he wasn’t the man he thought he was. I guess we all have our strengths.

Robert Heinlein imagined the future would see data storage that would allow the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of ream of paper to be stored on a microchip the size of your fingernail, then he filled a character’s hollow prosthetic leg with them. He predicted the Micro SD card you have in your smart phone right now, and he did it in 1985. (Somewhat less ‘dun-dun’ than Ray Bradbury in 1953...I expected that date to be further back because his characters speak like they are from the Forties.)

Honestly, the plot and the characters are the most important pieces of a story. The rest is just backdrop. And if you consider the effort required to layer a truly memorable plot that catches your reader unawares (without cheating), the props and setting are definitely places a writer might save some brainpower. We certainly don’t want to see them sacrifice good characters and dialog to make their spaceship really imaginative and filled with crazy innovations.

Talk to me today about speculative props and circumstances in your favorite novels. Do you have evidence that any of your authors were visionaries? What about predictions of political changes or exploration?
When you write longer fiction, how much emphasis do you put on the backdrop? How important is it to you when you read or write? Not to leave our poets out, have you ever considered poking at the future in your verse? Do you know of any published poets who have?


I hope you are hard at work on writing about What is Reality?, #gowrite.

Stay tuned for a new sprint coming Friday evening. Hopefully you found the weekend sprints useful, check them out here and here. We will have a flamestorming session this weekend (Sunday), possibly on Google Hangouts. Check back with us on Friday evening for more details.


We want you! to be a Beta reader. Support your writing community by reading and sharing your thoughts with our writers.
Good morning, Writers of the Flame!

As you know, RicoChey has challenged us to write a four part play or story for the month of April. Week One, ACT I pressed us to start some interesting tales. It's time to see how ACT II was shaped from the prompt - "Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wisemen say it is the wisest course."

This line was taken from Act III of Shakespeare's Henry VI, part 3 and was spoken by [deposed] King Henry VI himself. In the scene, he is passing through the woods - disguised because he was a man with a bounty on his head - and worrying aloud, thinking he is alone. But in Shakespeare's tragic histories, no one is ever alone. A character can always expect to be overheard and then found out because they said too much.

Did our writers reveal too much? What kind of adversity will their characters face? Let's jump in and find out.

Your reading list:

Title: Pain
Author: ayumidah
Word count: 696
Warnings: none

Title: A single mind, awake.
Author: bluegerl
Word count: 960
Warnings: pc and no warnings.

Title: Adversity
Author: Kathy/darlinleo
Word Count: 222
Warnings: none
Cento Poetry

Title: Willa the Wisp Act 2
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 1,059
Warnings: none

Title: Never The Wisest Course
Author: jlly_Tami
Word Count: 978
Warnings: still none


Title: Let me embrace thee.
Author: bluegerl
Word count: ~1,000
Warnings: no

The polls close by 11:45pm on Wednesday (EDT).
With this competition the goal is to write a four part story, so we will suspend weekly eliminations and choose the best, complete work that meets the three acts and an epilogue criteria at the end of the month. There will be a poll each week to provide feedback for the writer on how well received their story was, but the votes that choose a winner will not happen until May 1st.

Remember when you are voting to consider how well the writer has met the criteria given.

The contest is now closed to new competitors, but we encourage any latecomers to submit as JFF if their inner bard is provoked by a prompt.

Be sure to spread some comment love, let your fellow writers 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 [constructive] 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!


Good dawning to thee, Friends!

Yes, I am still on the Shakespeare kick. The man is like black, he goes with everything.

How many of you out there hate editing your work? How many of you end up rewriting instead of fixing here and there? We all know it's a necessary evil of the writing process, and even if I had an editor, I'd still prefer to use my words (and eyes and brain) to alter a story than have someone else do it for me.

As a person who dreams of publication one day (and hopes the word self does not proceed it). I know the only way I'm going to make it happen is to take the stories I've written and make them as close to perfect as I can manage. For some that's sacrificing chapters and playing with the order a bit. For others, like my favorite work-in-progress “Adrift”, it means treating what I have written in the past as a wire-frame or skeleton and trying to reshape a story around it that comes from a more experienced voice and a goal-oriented structure in the story-telling.

It’s a huge pain, a timesink, a distraction from writing NEW things - but it must be done.

Sometimes I wonder about the big name authors and how perfect their work was when it first left the pen, ribbon, or cursor. Would we want to see the pile of discarded pages lying around Margaret Atwood’s feet? Would we love her any less if we saw that level of human experience on her office floor instead before it made it into her stories? Do the crumpled pages in Stephen King’s wastebasket bleed? Do Neil Gaiman’s strikes-through delete words from our dreaming?

As I was clicking through Shakespeare’s sonnets to pull some inspiration for today’s chatter, I came across an example of Shakespeare editing his work. I found a resource to his entire collected work here and I am hoping what I found is not an error of the people who compiled the site.
Sonnet 153 or (CLIII)
Cupid laid by his brand, and fell asleep:
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrow'd from this holy fire of Love
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distemper'd guest,
But found no cure: the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire--my mistress' eyes.

As far as sonnets go, it’s fairly straightforward - cupid fell asleep, some sworn to Diana virgin nymphs decide to do away with ardor and thought, we’ll just put this arrow out in some water. But the arrow turned the water into a hot spring. Men discover the healing properties of the springs and flock there for vigor. But water cannot heal a man who is weakened by his lover’s presence. Through her (or him) Cupid’s fire is renewed.

Now read this:
Sonnet 154 (CLIV)
The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow'd chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm'd;
And so the general of hot desire
Was sleeping by a virgin hand disarm'd.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure, and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.

The numbering suggests that this was the second version. To me it looks like he used more poetic words, but obscured the overall meaning some. Cupid is unnamed and the Maid of Dian is expanded upon. The place lost some of it’s geographic description, but the last two lines of 154 have a much stronger impact and show that back and forth play on words Shakespeare liked to do.

So next time you have to pick apart your poem or story or essay, consider that even Shakespeare - after having writ more than 100 sonnets - still had to chuck his parchment ball into the fire and start again.

Have you ever come across an interview piece about a favorite author or filmmaker and discovered that their original story actually went a completely different way before it was offered up to the public? Tell us about them that we might better commune with the Spirit of Revision. (I almost typed Revicious - I’m keeping that one.)

What are you building for Act II? It's due on Sunday. Be the Bard you've always wanted to be and #gowrite

Another brick in the steps to Bardishness - APAD. We are halfway through the month of April go be a poet now and share it with us. It's a known fact that quoting poetry improves your posture - added benefit.

What's that you say? You want to write 10k words or more in the month of April? And you want to do it from a virtual tent? Well go join the campers over at Camp NaNoWriMo - there are fourteen days left in their spring event. Get your words out.
Since it is reminder day, I thought I would be fitting to stir up some old memories.
I apologize in advance to the people of other nationalities and generations who cannot relate to my memory.

Back when I was a kid there was a TV show I used to watch with my parents every week. Most of the spoken humor I was too young to get, but the characters would get themselves into exaggerated situations that were almost slapstick in nature and that I could understand completely.

That show, a spin-off of "Happy Days", was "Laverne & Shirley".

At the kick-off of the title music, the two main characters would link arms, do this little crouch-bob dance and say, "Schlemiel. Schlimazel. Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!". Being a child, I would sing along and do the dance. In fact, I was so obsessed with the sounds of the words schlemiel and schlimazel I would often blurt them out for no reason - at any time of day, in any social setting. Of course back then, most people identified the words with the show immediately. But no one ever told me they had a meaning.

Today, thanks to the magic of #wordoftheday and dictionary_reference. com I was brought back to that childhood memory and have something explained that I had stopped questioning long ago.
schlemiel [shluh-meel] noun, slang.
An awkward and unlucky person for whom things never turn out right.

schlimazel [shli-mah-zuh l] noun, slang.
An inept, bungling person who suffers from unremitting bad luck.

What are you building for Act II? Be the Bard you've always wanted to be and #gowrite

Another brick in the steps to Bardishness - APAD. We are exactly halfway through the month of April go be a poet now and share it with us. It's a known fact that quoting poetry improves your posture - added benefit.

Did you read what our Flames wrote for Act I? Today is your last chance to show your appreciation for their work through votes. #govoteflames and share a little #commentlove
(Be sure to check out Willa the Wisp's story in Act I - she's a true Flame.)

What's that you say? You want to write 10k words or more in the month of April? And you want to do it from a virtual tent? Well go join the campers over at Camp NaNoWriMo - there are two weeks left in their spring event. Get your words out.

Happy Monday, Flames! We have some fun stuff goin’ on.

The second topic of April is up — are you ready for Act II? Be on the lookout for the reading list and voting poll from Act I!

APAD is still afoot! Contribute to our effort to collect A Poem a Day during the whole month of April.

I carry my flash drive with me wherever I go. I’m like one of those kids who carries their bank cards in the same dangling lanyard as their bus pass. I can’t help but have it with me at all times. I have had actually paranoid delusions about my house burning to the ground with my flash drive inside. I worry about the animals too, of course, but my flash drive is definitely up there! I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever had to against writer’s block, just to get through ONE of the books in a series I dream of completing. In an effort to change the game a little, I used my junk paper pile to print off everything I have so far. I combined the pages into a binder and separated them by section/topic. The idea is that my natural inclination to edit hardcore with a red pen on physical paper will kick in and put my creativity into overdrive. I got so into the idea, I even made a hard copy binder for a second project of mine, and for a joint project my boyfriend would like to pursue.

Just seeing my book (or what I have so far) in print like that… it was a great feeling. It really helped me envision what it will be like to have a real, finished manuscript. I’ve already taken a red pen to some parts, changed up a few big chunks of the story, and whisked up some new ideas and plans. Something about taking a red pen to actual paper just felt more like I was taking something apart and putting it back together the way it needed to be. Editing from the computer is definitely quicker, but I think I missed the idea of having “drafts” — instead of mistakes going away, you get to keep copies of where your work started, so that you can truly compare it to h0w far it’s come. I am hopeful this means I’ve found the trick for jump-starting my brain… or whatever organ it is that writes books.

By what method do you inject a dose of adrenaline into your drive to complete a project? Also, do you edit more effectively by computer, or by pen and paper?

Welcome to Week Two, Flames! Remember, April is a themed month, so if you need help understanding the goal, visit this link to read the preamble I presented before the prompt for Week One. We can also address questions in the comments, if you need a little clarification. To put it basically, we are dividing up the four weeks of April into four parts of a “play” (the entries do not have to be plays): ACT I, ACT II, ACT III, and Epilogue. Visit the aforementioned link for specifics!

ACT II – “Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”

Ah, character development. Story arc. Plot bunnies everywhere. As it is with the second act of any good story, the second act of my life has thus been the most riddled with trial. I consider these chapters of my life, between gaining independence and learning to thrive, to be Act II of my (hopefully) long years upon this earth. I expect my own second act will be a lot more boring, however, than your own.

Just four short years ago, I couldn’t have supported myself if I tried. I was living off of those around me, sometimes in the worst ways. In 2011, I took the first job that ever meant anything to me and everything changed. One insanely out-of-character decision at a time, I began to evolve. I created and took on new responsibilities for myself. I sought out challenges that had previously been terrifying to even consider. I endured hardships with stubborn bravery and deliberately took note of what I had to learn as I plowed through. For all that, here I stand today, so different a woman than the one I was in 2011 that people have actually told me I’m unrecognizable. That is simply narcotic.

My second act is about personal growth and learning the courage to continue to move forward. How will your second act bring us closer to your story and the character(s) in it? Take me through the developing action of your tale. What kind of story has this become? Am I hopeful for this world’s future, or fearful of what comes next? I challenge you to draw me in so deeply, I see this world through your characters’ eyes.



Remember that entries are meant to complement one another as a series, and that the concepts of “Act II” and the Shakespearean quote provided are for inspiration and do not necessarily represent a requirement for content or word use.

The poll is here!

Good morning, Flames!

For week two darlinleo asked us to write for the theme "What Worlds may Come". I look forward to reading your submissions and to seeing what worlds you came up with :D

Your reading list awaits:

Title: Dreams
Author: ayumidah
Word Count: 213
Warnings: none

Title: ... What worlds may come?
Author: Bluegerl
Word Count: 730
Warnings: none

Title: The Storm Before the Calm
Author: cedarwolfsinger
Word Count: 470
Warnings: none

Title: Green Opal Gateway
Author: missflyer
Word Count: 588
Warnings: none


Title: Telekinesis
Author: skyllairae
Word Count: 126
Warnings: none

Title: What worlds may come? Poem
Author: Bluegerl
Word Count: 170
Warnings: none

Get your reading done early and cast your votes by 11:45pm on Wednesday. For the March week two prompt we will not need to vote to eliminate, just appreciate. For that reason, you have three votes to cast.

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!

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