From the monthly archives: February 2012

In a Duke University study out November 22, researchers found that pre-teen girls may not be any better at friendships than boys, despite previous research suggesting otherwise. The findings suggest that when more serious violations of a friendship occur, girls struggle just as much and, in some ways, even more than boys.

The girls in this study were just as likely as boys to report that they would seek revenge against an offending friend, verbally attack the friend and threaten to end the friendship when their expectations were violated, such as telling one of their secrets to other children.

The girls also reported they were more bothered by the transgressions, felt more anger and sadness, and were more likely to think the offense meant their friend did not care about them or was trying to control them…

“Our finding that girls would be just as vengeful and aggressive toward their friends as the boys is particularly interesting because past research has consistently shown boys to react more negatively following minor conflicts with friends, such as an argument about which game to play next,” Asher said. “It appears that friendship transgressions and conflicts of interest may push different buttons for boys and girls.”

The study found that anger and sadness played significant roles in how boys and girls reacted to offending friends. For both genders, the more strongly they felt a friend had devalued them or was trying to control them, the more anger and sadness they felt.

The angrier they felt, the less likely they wanted to fix the relationship. But feelings of sadness actually motivated both genders toward reconciliation: The more sadness the children reported feeling, the stronger their desire was to want to solve the problem and maintain the friendship.

Sadness, the authors said, can sometimes function like “social glue” that holds relationships together. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about betrayal of friendship involving pre-teen girls.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a childhood friend who betrayed your trust and friendship.

Art Prompt: Girlfriends

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about betrayal in pre-teen girls

Photo Credit: Dottie Mae on Flickr

waiting, waiting, waiting

I began to exist in a tension between wanting and not wanting-waiting for something I couldn’t even pin down in my most naked and honest moments. Waiting for a balance where I neither ached nor forgot, regretted nor accepted. Waiting for my heart to be light again yet fearing the implications of that same lightness. I suppose I waited for peace-an end to my own personal warfare. -Nicole Baart, After the Leaves Fall

Writing Prompt: What is your character waiting for? How does he or she feel as he waits?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you had to wait for something important. How did it feel?

Art Prompt: Waiting
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Give your audience strategies for surviving a difficult wait.

Photo Credit: gilles chiroleu on Flickr

jail cell

The Pennsylvania Quakers initially introduced the concept of reforming criminals through time spent under confinement. The Quakers built a small prison, which was comprised of sixteen individual and fully isolated cells. This new concept was intended to achieve reform by forcing criminals to serve out their entire sentence in complete isolation and silence. The criminals were left only with a Holy Bible and the reformers believed that this would help them to achieve penance. It was from this practice that the word “penitentiary” was cast into modern society. Michael Esslinger, Alcatraz: A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years

Writing Prompt: Create a scene where your protagonist is placed in solitary confinement and/or is brainwashed.

Journaling Prompt: Could anyone force you to change your beliefs?

Art Prompt: Solitary
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the benefits of solitude.

Photo Credit: Dawn Endico on Flickr

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for February 26, 2012. All links will open in a new tab or window, so feel free to click through and leave some love in the comments. Once you close that window, you’ll be right back here for more linky goodness.

The Creative Mindset

Patti Onderko presents Get Unstuck at Success. 17 ways to bring more creativity into your life and work.

Chrys Fey presents Yes, You Can Write A Novel! posted at Write With Fey, saying, “Writing a novel has never been impossible in the past, nor will it ever be in the future. Anyone can do it, even you!”

Pamela Jorrick presents A Letter A Day posted at Blah, Blah, Blog, saying, “Why do I participate in these crazy challenges that I find on the internet? I don’t really know. I actually don’t need any more challenge in life, but this sounded like a fun idea, so I wanted to give it a try.”


Sheila Scarborough presents How to know when your content is pinned on Pinterest posted at Sheila’s Guide To The Good Stuff, saying, “The visual bulletin board service Pinterest is getting a lot of attention lately, and it’s certainly fun, but how do you know if your own content has been pinned on someone else’s board? This post gives a quick how-to explanation.”

Sharing Our Work

Derrick Roberts presents Mid-week Ramblings: ‘Front-porch Wisdom’ posted at Writing Wrong(Handed).

NSFW: Gracie J presents Body Counts posted at How Sweet It Is To Be Gracie, saying, “For readers with an open mind and open discussions”

Writing Tips and Prompts

Rebecca Joines Schinsky presents 7 Surprise Twists I’d Rather Live Without [or The Airing of Grievances, Literary Style] at BookRiot.

Catherine Ryan Howard presents How (Not?) to Get Your Book Reviewed at Catherine, Caffeinated.


Writing Excuses presents The City as a Character at WritingExcuses. Mary and Dan discuss using a city as a character with Sarah Pinborough, for whom London is an important setting and one of her favorite places.

The Business of Creativity

Valaney Martin presents How to get your game noticed and get paid from it posted at Ubiquitense, saying, “Here are some guidelines for the average indie game developer to follow so that there’s a better chance of their game being noticed and making a profit from it.”

Writing Quote of the Week

Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there. -Thomas Berger

Spam of the Week

An intriguing speech is couturier annotate. I think that you should write statesman on this message, it mightiness not be a preconception soul but generally grouping are not enough to verbalise on specified topics. To the next. Cheers.

Well, thank you, I think…

That’s all for this week. Be sure to submit your article for next week’s Carnival of Creativity by Saturday at midnight!


Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by Bahman Farzad on Flickr.

I first see it as I’m driving back that night up the road—you can bet I pulled over. -Tanith Lee, Black Fire (free to read at Lightspeed magazine online)

Writing Prompt: Use the first line above as a story starter or inspiration for a poem.

Journaling Prompt: What would you stop for if you saw it on the road at night?

Art Prompt: Night drive
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous or dramatic story about something you saw while driving.

Photo Credit: Kyle May on Flickr


befuddle v. [with obj.] (usually as adj. befuddled) cause to become unable to think clearly: even in my befuddled state I could see that they meant trouble.

Writing Prompt: Use today’s word as an inspiration for a scene or poem.

Journaling Prompt: Write about something that befuddles you.

Art Prompt: Befuddled

Photo Credit: wonderjunkie on Flickr

Ocean Waves

People are like oceans, the powerful stuff moves deep down and you almost never see it. -David Tallerman, Jenny’s Sick (free to read at Lightspeed Magazine online)

Writing Prompt: Create a story or poem using the line above as a starter or for inspriration.

Journaling Prompt: What powerful secrets and emotions are beneath your surface?

Art Prompt: Still Waters

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write the story of someone who exemplifies this quote.

Photo Credit: Lel4nd on Flickr

Online romance

People liked potential partners that matched their ideals more than those that mismatched their ideals when they examined written descriptions of potential partners, but those same ideals didn’t matter once they actually met in person, according to a new study by psychologists Paul W. Eastwick, Eli J. Finkel and Alice H. Eagly.

“People have ideas about the abstract qualities they’re looking for in a romantic partner,” said Eastwick, assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M University and lead author of the study. “But once you actually meet somebody face to face, those ideal preferences for traits tend to be quite flexible.”

Say you prefer a partner who, online or on paper, fits the bill of being persistent. “After meeting in person, you might feel that, yeah, that person is persistent, but he can’t compromise on anything. It’s not the determined and diligent kind of persistent that you initially had in mind,” Eastwick said.

The idea is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, said Finkel, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern University and co-author of the study.

“People are not simply the average of their traits,” he said. “Knowing that somebody is persistent, ambitious and sexy does not tell you what that person is actually like. It doesn’t make sense for us to search for partners that way.”

“Thinking about this or that feature of a person apart from taking the whole person into account doesn’t predict actual attraction,” Eagly said. “While some online dating sites have video features that provide some context, generally people are matched on their answers to specific questions that do not capture the whole person.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about people who met on line and then get together for a date OR create a list for your protagonist’s ideal mate and contrast them with his or her actual mate.

Journaling Prompt: Write a list of traits for your ideal mate. Compare it to people for whom you have felt an attraction.

Art Prompt: Ideal mate

Photo Credit: Don Hankins on Flickr


Kit had lost people before, and it was always like this. There would be tears tonight, and anger at him and at his bridge, anger at fate for permitting this. There would be sadness, and nightmares. There would be lovemaking, and the holding close of children and friends and dogs-affirmations of life in the cold wet night. -Kij Johnson, The Man Who Bridged the Mist (October/November 2011 Asimov’s)

Writing Prompt: Write a poem or scene about grief.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your own experience with grief.

Art Prompt: Grief

Photo Credit: allspice1 on Flickr
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