Awards . . . Prompt #174

You can write on this prompt from your point of view or from someone else’s point of view. You can also write as your fictional character would respond. Write about an award you have received. Perhaps a certificate, a leather/letter jacket in high school, lapel pins, crowns, diplomas, trophies. Is there an award you didn’t receive and thought you should have?  Did your fictional character deserve an award and didn’t get it?  How did he/she respond? Writing Prompt: Awards

Just Write

Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.

“Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.”  Hemingway wrote this six-word tale that has become the ultimate short, short-story.  The reader can fill in the blanks. I wonder how many variations of a theme these few words have inspired. Grant Faulkner honed his skills to write short, 100-word essays and writes in the August 2015 issue of The Writer magazine: “A flash writer has to paint characters in deft brushstrokes, with the keenest of images in such limited space. Shorts require immediacy; they’re a flicker of light in the darkness, a prick, a thunderclap . . . Paring down my writing and focusing on what goes unsaid and unexplained help me build suspense.” Faulkner says, about Hemingway’s six-word story, “The story moves by implication– the empty space around those few words invite the reader to fill them, transforming the reader into a co-author.” If this type of writing appeals to you,…

Places to submit

Fiddleblack Journal might be right for you.

Fiddleblack journal might just be your cup of tea. “Fiddleblack’s mission is a basic path toward the discovery (and sometimes rediscovery) of literary and speculative works that eloquently capture what it means to know the finite bounds of self and place. A long road of inspiration led to Fiddleblack’s founding, trailed through many unconnected sources, from Cormac McCarthy to Michel Houellebecq.” Our role as a curator encourages us to accept diverse work, and to publish what sings, speaks, or stares as well as it possibly should. But we see our place in the world of small presses clearly: slipped off and secluded somewhere in the metaphorical sand. Fiddleblack is interested in works of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction that make purposeful commitments to figuring out whom one is meant to be, and how it is that one should exist in the space enclosed around him. We have a thin tie in each of…


Give up perfectionism.

“The most important thing that I have learned, or that I’m trying to learn, is to give up perfectionism, because when you keep trying to make the story do all the things you want it to do, you keep failing, and you end up going around and around in circles. You end up confusing yourself and your talent, and you begin to view things as a failure, even though they’re not failures.”  Akhil Sharma, interviewed by Gabriel Packard, The Writer magazine July 2015. Akhil Sharma is the 2015  Folio Prize winner and professor of creative writing.

Just Write

Writing has been a freeing force

Do you want to write true stories, but worry about hurting people’s feelings? Megan Kaplon, in an interview with Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk: “When working on academic projects, she (Helen Macdonald) experiences anxiety about being correct, about saying the right thing, but writing memoir has been a freeing force.” “When it’s yourself, you feel the truth inside yourself. . . It becomes something utterly manifest when you know you’re writing something from the heart.” – Helen Macdonald Quotes from “Giving sorrow words,”  The Writer, July 2015 Marlene’s Musings: In my opinion, you cannot go wrong when writing from the heart. Sometimes, when writing memoir, it’s wrong to write for an audience. Write for yourself. And if you find an audience, then hooray! But first, write from your heart. You can use these guidelines when writing about difficult subjects. Some of my favorite memoirs, where, I think,…

Places to submit

The Big Brick Review is ready for your submission.

The Big Brick Review wants original, non-fiction pieces up to 555 words by July 31, 2015. Submission must be in the form of a personal essay, prose, excerpt, or ramble that builds on the narrative of our lives, finding new insight to old struggles…old insight to new struggles…and all shades-of-gray in between. Pieces that include the concept of ‘building’ (which authors can interpret as creatively as they choose (it’s a noun! it’s a verb!)) are especially favored. For more info, visit Submissions Guidelines. Marlene’s Musings: Go for it! What do you have to lose?

Just Write

When you set the mask aside . . . Prompt #171

From Write From the Heart by Hal Zina Bennett, one of my all-time favorite books. During a trip to Disneyland, a priest became fascinated with the costumed figure of Mickey Mouse. Every time Father Sean turned around, there was Mickey Mouse shaking hands with people, talking with kids, keeping everyone’s spirits up. And Father Sean began asking himself, “I wonder who that person is under that costume? What are they like at the end of the day, when they take off their Mickey Mouse suit?” Instead of being who we really can be, we take on masks like the Good Little Girl, or we become the Black Sheep of the Family or the Rebel. Early on, we learn that if we are to be loved and cared for we’d better buckle under and be what is safe for us to be.  Prompt: Who or what is the character deep inside…