Happy Saturday, fellow writers! If you’re sitting around with writer’s block and need something to get your pen moving, I have just the thing: Brainstorming First Lines.
I have a confession: I struggle with first lines. When I sit down to write a fiction piece, I usually just dive right into the story and go back later to finesse the beginning – just like what I do when writing nonfiction. I want to draw the reader in without being cliché… but for me, sometimes that’s easier said than done. (Ha! See what I did there?)
Earlier today I started out with something that described the weather. How boring. I mean, really? I couldn’t continue, so I deleted the draft and started wracking my brain. When my writer’s block kicked in, I took to the internet. (I love the Internet. Seriously. It has literally everything.) I went through a few random generators on some random websites found via Google Search to help get some words, phrases, and lines to help me generate a story. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, I thought.
I jotted down a handful of lines I found that I felt had some promise. That’s when I figured I should share with my writing friends. Anything to help the creative process!
Here are some of the best lines I found that make me want to stop everything and write something down:
1. She knelt on the carpet of her new living room, a big cardboard box in front of her, unwrapping ornaments.
2. He was stunned. The stranger in front of him looked exactly like the girl he’d been dreaming about.
3. As he took in the view from the twentieth floor, the lights went out all over the city.
4. It was up to her to investigate how the accident had really happened.
5. The attack was over in seconds.
6. He watched, helpless, as the door closed behind her.
7. She felt for the lock in the dark.
8. More and more people were refusing to obey the laws of the land.
9. Under normal circumstances he would speak his mind, but, with a gun against his head…
10. He had waited twenty years to return it.
If any of these intrigue you, start writing and see where it takes you. If you want to see more variety or find something different, just do what I did – hit up Google and search for random writing generators to get some more ideas and prompts. Maybe you’ll find something for your next brilliant masterpiece. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Have a lovely Saturday and happy writing!
I love rediscovering the various forms of poetry. Acrostic poetry is one of my favorite forms. Acrostic is defined as “a composition usually in verse in which sets of letters (as the initial or final letters of the lines) taken in order form a word or phrase or a regular sequence of letters of the alphabet” (via Merriam-Webster).
Basically, the beginning letter of each line must then spell out a word when you put them all together. Clever, eh? I was inspired to create my own acrostic piece, which I have shared after the jump.
Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass is a well-known story that ends with an acrostic poem that shares the name of Carroll’s muse, Alice, who inspired what is more famously named Alice in Wonderland). Here’s his acrostic, titled “A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky.”
A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky
A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July –
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear –
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream –
Lingering in the golden gleam –
Life, what is it but a dream?
Alright! Without further ado, here’s my hand at acrostic poetry.
The Temple Tree
Falling for the scents of summer, we are lured back to the Temple Tree. We are
relishing each passing second, lazily lying with our backs against the trunk
as we realize the sun has already rolled past ten… eleven… and suddenly
noon is hours behind us. The sun begins her descent, sinking low and slow, low and slow.
Gone soon will be her enchanting rays; her transition to twilight
is inevitable. The day will end, but we will not.
Plumeria accents the summer breeze as you tuck the flower behind my right lobe,
all while the luminous rays begin to bleed into the horizon.
Night has crept in; the starlit canopy and sounds of a summer night lull us
into a sweet slumber, tangled beneath our Temple Tree.
Feedback is always welcome – did you make the connection? Feel free to compose one of your own and share it in the comments!
Greetings, fellow writers. A little while ago, I posted a blog that included some writing prompts, promising it would be a regular feature on my blog. Well, I’d hate to disappoint you… so here are some more writing prompts I’ve found around the web or dreamed up on my own.
You participate in a Space Time Capsule program. You can include a letter up to 5 pages long and 4 personal items. What does your letter say, and what items do you choose?
Start a story with this line: “No one else can ever know about this.”
What is it you think about when you stare for a long time into a starry night sky? (Source
Remember, just pick one at random and write for 15-30 minutes. Let your pen (or keyboard) take over; get the work of your great imagination on the page! Don’t forget to share your own prompts in the comments or email them to me to be featured in a later post.
If you want to look up more writing prompts, here are some sites you can check out:
Until next time… ciao!
Today, our world lost one of the most wonderful souls: Maya Angelou gave up her ghost quietly in her North Carolina home this morning.
Not only was she an accomplished writer, Maya Angelou wore several hats during her 86 years on Earth. Known for her poetry, she was also a civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, film director, author, actress, professor (Wikipedia). She published seven autobiographies and was an accomplished poet, in addition to earning several awards and honorary degrees between 1970 and today.
When I say “writing is therapy,” I can’t help but think of Maya Angelou and how she started writing. If you are unfamiliar with her history… she experienced something so traumatic during her early years that prompted her to become mute. Her strength came out in words, giving hope to so many others around the globe.
At age 7, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later beaten to death in an assault that some believed was carried out by Angelou’s uncles. The trauma of the rape and her assailant’s death left Angelou mute for six years.
She began writing during that silent period. She would chronicle the first 17 years of her life in the 1969 autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which her friend, writer James Baldwin, had encouraged her to write.
The book, which covers the racism Angelou had faced in the 1930s and ’40s and her fantasies of being blond and white, is considered an American classic. (Reuters)
Patrik Henry Bass, an editor at Essence Magazine, says “when we think of her, we often think about her books, of course, and her poems… but in the African-American community, certainly, we heard so much of her work recited, so I think about her voice. You would hear that voice, and that voice would capture a humanity, and that voice would calm you in so many ways through some of the most significant challenges.” (NPR)
Oprah Winfrey, who considered Angelou to be not just her mentor but also a very dear friend, will always remember how she lived her life: “She moved through the world with unshakable calm, confidence, and a fierce grace.”
Harold Augenbraum, the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, stated “we share the gratitude of so many for Dr. Angelou’s contributions to literature, human rights, and social justice. Her legacy is one that all writers and readers across the world can admire and aspire to.”
My favorite Angelou poems will always be Caged Bird and On the Pulse of Morning, which was made famous when she wrote and recited the poem for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Give these a read/listen. Hear her voice shine through her words. Share your thoughts in the comments section, if you’d like.
Her work and words are forever etched in our history and she will not be forgotten, but remembered and celebrated for generations to come.
It’s National Poetry Month! Now is the time to celebrate our poet roots and refine those writing skills by creating new work or refreshing/revising some of your previously-composed poems. If you’re a regular reader, you know I love asking if a poem is ever complete… but really, is it ever complete?!
There’s just shy of two weeks left, and I’m going to continue making the most of it by jotting down short poems and attempting to generate fresh lines to work with. Grab your journal, open up Word or your blog, and get some words on the page. Feel free to try the form I’m about to share with you!
I recently discovered Cinquain, which is a form of Japanese poetry. It’s a short poem of 5 lines and 22 syllables. The pattern is like so: two, four, six, eight, two (2-4-6-8-2).
American cinquain, created by Adelaide Crapsey, was influenced by both the popular Japanese poetry forms haiku and tanka. She imposes a stressed iambic pentameter on the lines in the following pattern: one-stress, two-stress, three-stress, four-stress, one-stress. Here’s an example of her poem, Niagara. Read it aloud to yourself and try to add the stresses to gain the full effect.