From the monthly archives: November 2012


berate v. [with obj.] scold or criticize (someone) angrily: she berated herself for being fickle.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, poem or haiku using the word “berate.”

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time that someone berated you.

Art Prompt: Berate

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the effect of a berating style of leadership.

Photo Credit: DWallis on Flickr

What a cute couple (IMG_7501a)

Archetypal fairy tale figures yearn for their total opposites. Thus, the vilest villains vie for the purest maidens, while temptresses lose their hearts to the gallant hero. “What is it about you?,” the dainty princess asks the ruffian. “You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever met.” Within this compelling danger lies the attraction. -Valerie Estelle Frankel, From Girl to Goddess

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a poem, story, or scene about opposites that attract and the fall out that occurs.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you were attracted to someone who was very different from you.

Art Prompt: Opposites attract

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story about someone you know who was attracted to someone completely unlike them.

Photo Credit: Alaskan Dude on Flickr

cafe con leche

…researchers studied people’s reactions to two consumer experiences: tasting a cup of coffee and choosing a digital camera. In both studies, there was a quality product and one that had been altered to affect its quality. Test subjects were asked to rate their satisfaction with the product’s quality. The researchers discovered that respondents fell into two categories: promotion-focused (pleasure-seeking) or prevention-focused (pain-avoiding). “These two types of people respond very differently to having the same kind of service encounter or having the same kind of problem with a product,” said Murray.
“People who are promotion-focused tend to get a lot more hurt when something goes wrong, but they’re also a lot happier when something goes right,” he said. “The prevention-focused people are less upset when something goes wrong — when they buy a product and it breaks or they have a bad service experience — but they’re also less happy when something goes right.”

Prior research suggests that there is segmentation across both gender and age lines. Specifically, previous work indicates that women and older adults are slightly more chronically prevention-focused, whereas men and younger people tend to be more promotion-focused. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Is your character prevention or promotion focused? Write a scene that shows this bias.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your prevention or promotion focus. How has that affected your experience as a consumer?

Art Prompt: Customer Service

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about how sales people can recognize and cater to people with differing focus.

Photo Credit: marfis75 on Flickr


According to my wife, when a woman reaches a certain age, she disappears. People stop noticing she’s in the room. – J. Mark Bertrand, Back on Murder

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem from the point of view of a woman of a certain age who feels invisible.

Journaling Prompt: Have you ever felt invisible?

Art Prompt: Woman of a Certain Age

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about our culture’s treatment of women as they age.

Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr

serious intentions

“The way we read another person’s intentions changes our physical experience of the world,” says UMD Assistant Professor Kurt Gray, author of “The Power of Good Intentions,” newly published online ahead of print in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Gray directs the Maryland Mind Perception and Morality Lab.

“The results confirm that good intentions — even misguided ones — can sooth pain, increase pleasure and make things taste better,” the study concludes…For those in relationships, which is pretty much everyone, the message is to make sure your partner, sibling, friend, etc. knows you care. Gray notes, “It’s not enough just to do good things for your partner — they have to know you want them to feel good. Just imagine saying, ‘fine, here’s your stupid hug,’ — hardly comforting.” The same would also seem to apply to cooking, where emphasizing your concern about the experience of the diners makes things taste better.
Relatedly, these results also apply to business strategy. “It’s no surprise,” says Gray, “that food companies always pair their products with kindly old grandfathers and smiling mothers — thinking of this make believe benevolence likely increases our enjoyment.”

The study also suggests the general benefits of thinking that others mean well — including God. “Painful events attributed to a benevolent God should seem to hurt less than those attributed to a vengeful God, says Gray. “To the extent that we view others as benevolent instead of malicious, the harms they inflict upon us should hurt less, and the good things they do for us should cause more pleasure,” the paper concludes. “Stolen parking places cut less deep and home-cooked meals taste better when we think well of others.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. What does your character think about the intentions about the other characters in your story? How does it affect their relationships?

Journaling Prompt: How do you view the intentions of the people you live with? Work with? How does this affect your relationships?

Art Prompt: Good Intentions

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about how changing your perception of people’s intentions can change your worldview.

Photo Credit: gagilas on Flickr

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for November 25, 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.


Lynette Chandler presents 2013 Blogging Calendar & Planner posted at BlogEnergizer.

Sharing Our Work

Eula McLeod presents With Eyes Tightly Closed posted at View from the Wine Press.

Writing Quote of the Week

Never stop when you are stuck. You may not be able to solve the problem, but turn aside and write something else. Do not stop altogether. -Jeanette Winterson

Writing Tips and Prompts

Martina Boone presents Character Worksheet Part 1: Is Your Character Novel-worthy? posted at Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing.

Gabriela Perreira presents Prompt: The Opposite of Eavesdropping posted at DIY MFA.

Lisa Hall-Wilson presents Conflict posted at The Candid Writer.

Charlie Jane Anders presents Strategies to Make Sure You Actually Finish That Novel posted at io9.


This week’s podcast at Writing Excuses is all about Raising the Stakes to keep your readers glued to your book.

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


Frost feathers on the window, Lužec nad Vltavou, Czech Republic

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by elPadawan on Flickr.


“When a traveller in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of Aylesbury Pike just beyond Dean’s Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country.” — H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or poem inspired by the first line of the week.

Journaling Prompt: Where is the most lonely and curious place you have ever visited?

Art Prompt: Lonely and curious country

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a lonely and curious country.

Photo Credit: Darren Shilson on Flickr


canard: A false or misleading report or story, especially if deliberately so.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in a story, scene, or poem.

Journaling Prompt: What is the biggest lie anyone has ever told you?

Art Prompt: Canard

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the use of canards in today’s society.

Photo Credit: Dyanna Hyde on Flickr

Guitar smash

We’re playing R&B: ‘Smokestack Lightning’, ‘I’m a Man’, ‘Road Runner’ and other heavy classics. I scrape the howling Rickenbacker guitar up and down my microphone stand, then flip the special switch I recently fitted so the guitar sputters and sprays the front row with bullets of sound. I violently thrust my guitar into the air — and feel a terrible shudder as the sound goes from a roar to a rattling growl; I look up to see my guitar’s broken head as I pull it away from the hole I’ve punched in the low ceiling.

It is at this moment that I make a split-second decision — and in a mad frenzy I thrust the damaged guitar up into the ceiling over and over again. What had been a clean break becomes a splinter mess. I hold the guitar up to the crowd triumphantly. I haven’t smashed it: I’ve sculpted it for them. I throw the shattered guitar carelessly to the ground, pick up my brand-new Rickenbacker twelve-string and continue the show…. -Pete Townsend, Who I Am: A Memoir

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, poem, or haiku focused on the description of sound.

Journaling Prompt: What your most electrifying musical memory?

Art Prompt: Smashing Guitars

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about your favorite rock and roll moment.

Photo Credit: Suicine on Flickr