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Flotsam Detail

flot·sam [flot-suhm] noun
1. the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water.
2. material or refuse floating on water.
3. useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.
4. a vagrant, penniless population: the flotsam of the city slums in medieval Europe.

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

Journaling Prompt: Is there any flotsam in your life?

Art Prompt: Flotsam
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Use the word in your article or speech this week.

Photo Credit: scalespeeder 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!

open workspace

One of the biggest stressors in our lives is the workplace. There are a lot of studies about how to design a productive work place, but what really works?

While building a supportive environment for employees may seem intuitive, Dr. Toker says that many workplaces have lost their way. Despite open concept offices, many people use email rather than face-to-face communication, and social networking sites that may provide significant social connection are often blocked.

How to make an office friendlier to your health? Dr. Toker suggests coffee corners where people can congregate to sit and talk; informal social outings for staff members; an internal virtual social network similar to Facebook; or a peer-assistance program where employees can confidentially discuss stresses and personal problems that may affect their position at work — anything that encourages employees to feel emotionally supported, she says. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Where does your character work? Describe the environment. What is your character’s feeling about this space? How does it create tension or nurture your character?

Journaling Prompt: Write about the work space you have at your job and how it affects you emotionally.

Art Prompt: Office

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous story about your workplace.

Photo Credit: mundo resink on Flickr


lucky cat statues

I struggle with description in my writing, so I was charmed by how this writer took a simple question from a blogger and turned it into a beautiful and creative writing exercise. 

I’m holed up in my lair, a.k.a. my home office. The walls are a poisonous apple-green, a hue suggested by my colorist and agreed to by me for reasons I no longer recall. My desk faces a window that’s obscured by an immense Entish pine tree which may well tear apart the entire house one day. Large bookshelves flank the walls, containing hundreds of research books, various editions of my own work and a handful of treasured childhood tomes, as well as an array of tchochkes and keepsakes including a replica of a Minoan libation vessel, a Yoruba woodcarving, a Xena: Warrior Princess action figure, a Fortune Beckoning Cat, and the bust of a Gorgon sporting a jaunty top hat that says “Happy New Year.” -Jacqueline Carey in an Amazon Omnivoracious blog interview about her new book, Naamah’s Blessing (Kushiel’s Legacy)

Writing Prompt: Write a description about your work space that introduces a reader to your personality.

Journaling Prompt: What does your desk say about you?

Art Prompt: Work space

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about your workspace.

Photo Credit: Auntie K on Flickr

waterfall in the rain

Weather, climate, and vegetation are part of your world building if you are writing science fiction or fantasy. In other types of fiction, weather can play a role in setting the emotional tone of the story. This single sentence from Samuel Johnson places the reader in the wilderness of Scotland and establishes an emotional tone for the travelogue that follows:

The wind was loud, the rain was heavy, and the whistling of the blast, the fall of the shower, the rush of the cataracts, and the roar of the torrent, made a nobler chorus of the rough musick of nature than it had ever been my chance to hear before. -Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (free for your Kindle or Kindle software)

Writing Prompt: Write a description of weather that evokes an emotional response.

Journaling Prompt: What is your favorite kind of weather? Why?

Art Prompt: Stormy Weather

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a story that requires a description of the weather for its humor or drama

Photo Credit: Alaskan Dudeon Flickr

dandelion in the wind

aeolian (US eolian) adj. chiefly [GEOLOGY] relating to or arising from the action of the wind. early 17th century: from the name AEOLUS + -IAN. (source: Oxford Dictionary of English)

Writing Prompt: Write a place description or scene using the word “aeolian”.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a memory associated with wind.

Art Prompt: Aeolian

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous or touching story that involves a windy day.

Photo Credit: Vvillamon on Flickr

messages on leaves

What if you could not communicate directly? What would you do? In this first line from a novel, David Markson gives us a unique idea.

In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street. – David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress

Writing Prompt: Create a scene where a character must communicate by leaving messages in the street. Describe the setting and atmosphere.

Journaling Prompt: Describe a time when you had to resort to unusual communication methods.

Art Prompt: Messages in the Street

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the many different ways we communicate.

Photo Credit: Eric Kilby on Flickr


My mother worked in churches when I was little, so I grew up playing tag in sanctuaries. The concept of hallowed ground wasn’t introduced to me until I was older. Now I feel that sense of sacredness more frequently in nature than in buildings. Here is the story of one place considered hallowed ground by the natives of the region.

Kangchenjunga translates as “five treasure houses in the snow.” Tibetan mythology deems the mountain the sacred seat of the Gods and says it contains their five treasures: gold, silver, copper, corn, and divine books. Although climbers have traditionally gotten to within feet of the true top but out of respect stopped short of that holy ground, it has become increasingly trampled by climbers with little or no spiritual connection to the sacred surroundings who want to tag the true summit. For women climbers, simply avoiding the hallowed ground evidently isn’t good enough to mollify the Mountain Gods; local legend has it that the spirits don’t want women anywhere near the sanctified summit for fear they will “pollute” its purity. Many devout believe this is why women have had so little success on Kangchenjunga. -Jennifer Jordan, Savage Summit

Writing Prompt: Describe a place that will be considered hallowed ground in your story.

Journaling Prompt: Describe a place that is hallowed ground for you.

Art Prompt: Sacred

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience how to create their own sacred space.

Please share your story about hallowed ground in the Comments.

Photo Credit: Jakub Michankow on Flickr