Do You Haiku?

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve used haiku puzzles for my theme in the April A-Z Challenge for the last three years. Haiku is an ancient Japanese form that’s been adapted to English in a few ways, but the most common is three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables each. It focuses on sensory images that conjure a specific moment in time, and traditionally contains two images with some form of cutting between lines to separate them, with the cut either after the first or the second line. My haiku aren’t so traditional, though I adhere strictly to the 5-7-5 format.

I find haiku a lot of fun to write, which is why I use it for the challenge each year. Just recently, though, I discovered another outlet for my haiku obsession. On Twitter there’s a daily haiku challenge run by @baffled. Each morning at 8:00 am Eastern time, they post a word, and people are invited to create a haiku that includes that word. People use different haiku forms and some post to the #haikuchallenge tag with different key words. If you like haiku, or any form of micropoetry, you should check it out. You can see my most recent offerings in the Twitter roll, which you’ll find either on the right side of the browser window or the bottom of the scroll in the mobile version. I invite you to join in as well.

Such tiny poems ~
To inspire such imagery ~
I haiku…do you? ~


Some Writing Updates

While we’re all anxiously awaiting the start of the WordWacker Photo Challenge, I’m going to take stock of where I am now and what I have planned regarding my writing.

  • My novel is out collecting beta reads. One has come in already, but I haven’t taken a look yet. Partly that’s because I want to wait until they’re all in. I think it makes sense to look at all of them together, to get a broader picture of how readers respond to the book. The other reason is …
  • I’ve started sketching out my next book. That’s what you are supposed to do while one book is out on submission, right? Well, this feels a bit like submission — people are looking at it and responding to it, and i can’t really make any changes until that’s done.

Yes – the next book! It will be another contemporary fantasy, with a character in our world who initially has no idea magic is a thing. I’m just getting started so I haven’t figured out yet whether the bulk of the action will take place here, in our world but with magical elements (that’s what the current novel is), or whether she’ll be transported Elsewhere, to where the magic is dominant. Although the current book has definite series potential, this new one is not a sequel. I don’t know yet whether I’ll be able to sell the first one, and if not then I obviously won’t be able to sell a sequel. If this new one sells, though, I’ll have the first one in the drawer and ready to offer.

There are three things I’ve noticed as I go about this process.

  • I’m really enjoying laying out a whole new story from scratch. It’s so different from the detailed focus of the editorial process. Everything is up for grabs.
  • Though I do all my actual writing on a computer, I find planning works much better on paper, in longhand. The image above shows just some of the notebooks I’ve used in planning out various stories. When I write on computer I can’t stop myself from going back to fix spelling, sentences, and paragraphs. With pen and paper, I just keep writing, pouring out what I’m thinking in a stream of consciousness. (Yes, I know the resolution is low on this image; I would be embarrassed for anyone to read these scribbled notes.)
  • I stumbled on a new blog that I’m finding really useful: Helping Writers Become Authors by K. M. Weiland. I found her series on story structure and on character arcs particularly useful. Everything in there is something I’ve heard before, but the way she lays it all out works well for me. Giver her blog a try; you may find something useful there as well.

I’ve given myself a challenge: I’m going to try to get the major plotting and planning done in another two weeks, and then write a first draft in Camp NaNoWriMo in July. That will be a tall order and I wouldn’t put a high percentage on it, but hey, it could happen! I’ll let you know how that’s going.

So that’s where I am with my writing. How are things with you? I’d love to hear from you.

Introducing: The WordWacker Photo Challenge!

As I mentioned before, the WordPress Photo Challenge is no more. I’ve looked around for a similar challenge for someone like me, who takes casual pictures with a cell-phone camera, but haven’t been able to find one. So, guess what: I decided to start my own. It’s a challenge I’m putting to myself, but I invite you to join in if you’d like. Here’s how it will work.

  • I noticed that there are (usually) 52 weeks in the year, which happens to be exactly twice the English alphabet, and that we’re coming up on the precise center of the year. So the plan is that I will run through the alphabet, starting at the first of the hear and starting over again in the middle, assigning one letter to each week. The day of the week I picked is Friday. The chart posted above (and on the right or the bottom of the page as well, where it will stay as long as the challenge is still running) shows the letter associated with each Friday. The alphabet begins with A on July 6 and ends with Z on December 28. If this year goes well, it will start over yet again on Friday January 4, 2019.
  • On Friday each week I’ll pick a theme and post it in the blog, based on that letter. For example (here’s a preview!), for the letter A on July 6, I’ve picked ACTION as the theme. I’ll post a picture of my own and some ideas for responding to the challenge.
  • If you’re interested in playing along, just post an image on your blog any time over the next week or so. You don’t even have to follow the theme if you don’t want to, but it’s more fun that way. If your blog includes a link to my post with the challenge, I’ll get a notice about it, and I’ll add a link to your contribution on my own page. That way everyone can check out each other’s pictures.

So, what do you think? I’m looking forward to having a photo challenge to work on each week, even if it’s just me. But the more the merrier, so I hope other people join in with me as well. I look forward to linking to your stuff, starting on July 6.

Out to Pasture

The WordPress Photo Challenge is shutting down! I’m shaken by this, since posting something for the photo challenge each week has been the backbone of this blog for a couple of years now. I like having the structure of this challenge, giving me a reason to bring new content to the site.

I will take a little time to figure out what my response will be, looking for something to replace that structure. I will have something lined up by next week. In the meantime, enjoy a shot of the two cameras I used before I switched to my phone camera. As you can see, I’ve always gone for something small so I could always have it with me. the one on the left is a Canon PowerShot (digital) – the older one on the right is an Olympus film camera. Yes, actual film! Yes, I’m that old! Before this, I used a Pentax 35mm SLR, also film, but it was too big to carry all the time so I traded it to my husband and got the Olympus.

So let us say goodbye to cameras past, and to the Photo Challenge, and look forward to what comes next.

Sailor’s Knot

My husband is a sailor, and sailors love knots. He owns and regularly refers to the Ashley Book of Knots, THE definitive compendium of nearly 4,000 different knots. This example is the Turk’s Head knot, where a single cord weaves over and under to make various shapes, from buttons on the end of a line to this lovely bracelet. He made a purple one for our daughter, and she wears hers constantly. (She only took it off once, a year ago, because it didn’t go with her wedding dress.) I tell him it’s the sailor’s version of crochet, which is also a single line twisted around itself to make complex shapes. I don’t think he’s convinced.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Twisted

Rain on the Roof

This is the view looking up through the cabin hatch cover on our sailboat during the rain. I was intrigued by the monochrome texture of the drops pooling on the thick glass. Looking at it now, it calls up the cozy feeling of being in that small space with water in all directions, but dry and warm inside.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Liquid