From the monthly archives: February 2013


…he held up the finished paper airplane. He went to the living room window, blew softly on the plane, and launched it out over the alley. “You thought I was joking, didn’t you?” he grinned.

“When you said you got messages by paper airplane? Of course I did.” The plane was a scrap of white, spiraling over the next roof in the updraft—and then it was gone. Not carried out of sight, but vanished between one moment and the next.

The phouka came and leaned on the other post of the doorframe, so that their hips barely brushed. “Of course, the very idea is a joke of sorts. We’re fond of children’s toys and games. The best of them have the power of symbol and ritual, polished and perfected through years of repetition.” -Emma Bull, War for the Oaks

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a unique means of communication using toys and use it in a story or scene.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite magical being and why?

Art Prompt: Paper airplanes

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the difficulties of communication that is not face to face. Give your audience information on how to avoid misunderstandings.

Photo Credit: Minhimalism on Flickr

The Thinker in the Dark - A5

“Much of American culture in the 20th century has been engagement in death avoidance,” said Albert Hamscher, the university’s Kenneth S. Davis professor of history. “Bucket lists signify a willingness at least to discuss death again. But note how it is purely secular in its contours. It focuses on the here and now rather than the hereafter, which has been how people typically frame death.”

Death avoidance is a relatively new phenomenon in Western society, according to Hamscher. Philippe Aries, a 20th-century French historian, referred to the attitude as “the forbidden death” in his book, “Western Attitudes Toward Death from the Middle Ages to Present.” Instead of being exposed to it, which commonly happened in Europe until recent generations, people have been shielded from death. This avoidance became more popular with medical advances and increased secularization.

“Religion has always given death a frame of reference,” Hamscher said. “Absent that, death becomes a frightening topic. Death can appear frightening in that context because it has no larger explanation. It’s an existential black hole.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the internal monologue for a character who is engaging in death avoidance.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about death, not just yours but the death of people you love?

Art Prompt: Death

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about death avoidance in our culture.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney on Flickr

Caught in the Act

Terms like thief and front man weren’t used in the industry anymore. Now Manson was in Redistribution Management and DeGere was an Acquisition Specialist. It sounded a lot more official than thieves ought to be. -Gerald Rice, The Beggar’s Bowl

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about an upscale thief.

Journaling Prompt: If you were going to give yourself a new title for your current job, what would it be and why?

Art Prompt: Thief

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write a humorous speech about convoluted job titles in today’s PC climate.

Photo Credit: *saxon* on Flickr

Joshua addresses Noah's behavior at the beach

Researchers wrote that “making amends can facilitative forgiveness, but not all amends can fully compensate for offenses.” Apology may be needed to repair damage fully, but it may be a “silent forgiveness,” while restitution without apology may lead to a “hollow forgiveness” in which the offenders are treated better but not necessarily forgiven.

“The results suggest that if transgressors seek both psychological and interpersonal forgiveness from their victims, they must pair their apologies with restitution,” they wrote. “Apparently, actions and words speak loudest in concert.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene between characters who have both offended against each other who struggle to find forgiveness.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your experience with forgiveness, apologies, and restitution.

Art Prompt: Forgiveness

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about how to apologize.

Photo Credit: Sherif Salama on Flickr

Turquoise Bedroom

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by Posh Living, LLC on Flickr.

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for February 24, 2013. 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.

Responses to Writing Reader Prompts

Louise Gallagher presents a short free-form poem in response to Prompt 578 Visual Prompt of the Week – Waiting.

The Creative Mindset

Joel Falconer presents 30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity posted at LifeHack.

Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner presents Best Ideas Are Never Very Creative posted at Creativity Post.

Tanner Christensen presents Want to hack your creativity? Here’s a powerful way. posted at Creative Something.

Sharing Our Work

Liz Shaw presents Today’s Word for Writers and Everyone Else posted at Liz Andra Shaw.

Writing Quote of the Week

This is what a writer does. You take your precious babies, your life’s dreams, the very best work you can do and you gather it in your hands and hold it out to be admired—and when it’s then slapped out of your hands to the ground and you’re instructed cheerfully to buck up, it just needs a little cleaning…you buck up and get out the scrub brush. Because that’s what being a writer is all about. -Laurie R. King

Writing Tips and Prompts

Stephanie Orges presents Show Don’t Tell: If you must tell, have something to show for it posted at Be Kind Rewrite.

Tara Maya presents How To Take Criticism Of Your Writing posted at Tara Maya’s Tales.

Chuck Sambuchino presents Freelance Editing: How to Hire an Editor for Your Book or Query Letter posted at Writer Unboxed.

Brenda Moguez presents Shall We Dance? posted at Passionate Pursuits.

Gabriela Pereira presents Description vs. Exposition posted at DIY MFA.

Livia Blackburne presents 7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter posted at Writer’s Digest.


This week’s podcast at Writing Excuses is all about Cliffhangers and Icebergs with Robison Wells.

The Business of Creativity

Sandi Krakowski presents Using InstaGram For Business posted at A Real Change.

Michael J. Sullivan presents Publishing Options – Many Choices Now Viable posted at Amazing Stories Magazine.

Lianne Froggat presents Nine Surefire Ways to Make Your Blog Fail posted at MarketingProfs.

Spam of the Week

You extremely know any stuff… keep the good job!

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

Tagged with:

skinny dip

The naked actress was laughing, splashing, her flesh incandescent against the shimmer of blue, now on her back, then bottoms up, her happy sounds echoing, as if she were the only woman in the world—and wasn’t she? -Max Allan Collins, Bye Bye Baby

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time you went skinny dipping and how it made you feel.

Art Prompt: Skinny dipping

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about an adventure you had involving water.

Photo Credit: Mimoza291 on Flickr


bête noire French n. (pl. bêtes noires pronunc. same) a person or thing that one particularly dislikes. French, literally ‘black beast’.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: What is your bête noir?

Art Prompt: Bête noir

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: chedder on Flickr

K2 from Concordia

It was more beautiful than she could ever have imagined. The picturesque mountains of the Alps, the Andes, even Nanga Parbat couldn’t compare to the majesty of the mountain in front of her. It rose out of the deep valley, its summit cone crowned by an enormous hanging glacier. If she looked long enough, she was sure she’d see the thing crack and fall off. With a stupid shock, she realized that if she was actually there, looking at K2, then she was as far from her home and family as she had ever been. Her body tensed with the exhilaration of exploration; she knew with every fiber of her being that having received this mountain into her soul, she would never again be the same. -Jennifer Jordan, Savage Summit

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a woman undertaking the challenge of K2.

Journaling Prompt: What sight has had this effect on you?

Art Prompt: K2

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the power of beauty and wonder.

Photo Credit: sjorford on Flickr

Happy Thanksgiving

Consumers frequently have to choose between options that satisfy very different and often competing goals. For example, you’re at a restaurant and that piece of chocolate cake displayed under the counter is talking to you. But your “fit self” thinks you should grab an apple instead. Or you’re out shopping and have to choose between two pairs of shoes. One pair is more stylish but the other is much more comfortable. Such situations are common and consumers who find themselves torn between two goals are the most susceptible to influence.

Goals initially ignored by consumers do not fade away, but will instead linger in the backs of our minds. During the time we ignore a particular goal, it will get stronger and eventually come to the surface. We can no longer ignore the goal and we then flip-flop between various options…

“Our study provides a glimpse into why consumers feel so much angst when they encounter choices with conflicting goals. Namely, the goal that appears to have been initially ignored finds new energy on the back burner and reasserts itself at the next earliest opportunity. In short, important goals are hard to ignore because ignoring them just makes them stronger,” the authors conclude. –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: What goals does your protagonist have on the back burner that may be interfering with his or her focus on the primary goal for the storyline? Write a scene that shows the interference.

Journaling Prompt: What goals do you flip flop on? How do you deal with it?

Art Prompt: Consumer flip flop

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your readers about how goals that they ignore become stronger and how they can use this psychological quirk to attain their desires.

Photo Credit: faith goble on Flickr