Winter Acrostic

Searching through my website, I discovered I’ve never had a prompts for a winter acrostic poem. So here’s your chance to flex your poetic muscles. I like acrostics because if it doesn’t rhyme, no one can say I did a bad job. Here’s mine:

S pell is cast.

N ow I’m five.

O nly snow

W orks this magic.

For more poetry prompts, click here.

Three Words for January

What three words for January would you use if you described a setting in a story placed in the month or wrote a poem about it?

The first scene of my YA mystery is set in mid-January in southeastern Ohio. I start the book on a sunny, cold day. The weather grows more gloomy as my main character encounters obstacle after obstacle, trying solve the mystery. The three words I had in mind were “cold”, “blue”, and “bright.”

Here’s the finished product:

The sun shone ice white in a clear sky so blue that it looked like an illustration in a hyper-cheerful picture book for preschoolers. But despite the sun’s dazzling appearance, not an ounce of warmth made it to the hilly streets. 

From A Shadow on the Stone

For more inspiration about January, click here for posts on winter weather, New Year’s Day, and other January holidays

What three words for January would you pick?

Winter Haiku

I haven’t had a poetry prompt in a long, long time, so here we go with a prompt for a winter haiku. My oldest took this photo when my family and I went birding on New Year’s Eve Eve. A flock of over a hundred swans milled about in a cornfield as we headed to Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Marion County. My oldest took this photo. I like the contrast between the white feathers, gray sky and black trees.

Black and white against

Gray. Winter strips the world to

Its elegant bones.

What does winter look like where you live? Of if it’s summer where you are, what the weather like? Leave your haiku about it in the comments.

If you’d like to try another form of Japanese poetry, check out my post on how to write tanka.

What are Your “Weasel” Words?

To kick off 2021, I chose editing for this month’s theme. I realized that I don’t have much posted about editing and thought I should fill that gap. It’s hard to have writing prompts about editing, so I will have to branch out for my Monday Sparks this month. But I did want to ask you what are your “weasel” words?

I’m borrowing “weasel” words from the authors of Go Teen Writers: Edit Your Novel. These are also called “weed” words, words that pop up far too often in a manuscript, usually in the first draft. I sometimes deliberately leave in a “weasel” word when I’m writing my first draft because I don’t want to break the flow. When I go back to edit, I watch out for those words and try to replace them with something better. I can get away with more “weasel” words in dialogue, but if I over use certain words, although it’s in character, readers will get bored or irritated.

Here are a few of my “weasel” words:

Just and only. I like to be precise when I speak, but in writing, these two words usually don’t add much meaning.

Eyes, smile, and grin. Because many readers expect a more cinematic experience in books, describing a characters’ body language and facial expressions is a way to cue them into the characters’ feelings. But I tend to overuse what the eyes and mouths look like. I’m trying to broaden descriptions to include how characters carry themselves and their mannerisms.

So what are your “weasel” words?

What’s the Ending?

What’s the ending for this final prompt of the year? The photo is suitable for any holiday or celebration, but I’ll set it during New Year’s Eve. For more prompts for endings, click here.

Here’s my inspiration:

“Let’s burn up the old year.” I hand him sparkler.

He takes it, and I light one for me and one for him.

“But some good things did happen.” A smile pushes aside his weariness.

“Yeah, some good things.”

We lift the sparklers high, and the burning sparks mimic the stars glittering over us in the height of the sky.

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