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September Writing Sparks


Old book bindings at the Merton College library.

Image via Wikipedia


It’s that time again. Time to take an accounting of the past month as we head into a new one. I’ve been keeping up with my “Have done” list and I’m going to start posting the results along with the monthly inspiration. For those of you interested, the results appear beneath the post.

Now, on with the inspiration.

Excerpts from Nonexistent Books is exactly what the name implies. A blog full of snippets written as if they belong to larger works. I ran across it one day last week and was immediately smitten with the idea of writing excerpts like these as an exercise. No pressure, just the freedom to imagine a part of a story, and write it down without having to commit to turning it into something else. It reminded me of some writing exercises that I used to do with my tribe, where one of us would offer a prompt, then we would all write for ten to twenty minutes using the prompt to start us. We didn’t have to complete a story, although I think some were born during the exercise, and it was just plain fun.

Awful Library Books Okay, confession time. This site is a guilty pleasure for me. Pleasure because the books can be hysterically funny. Guilt, because, well, you know, somebody wrote them and we writers should support each other. I consider them sparks material because even old, outdated books can inspire new cutting-edge ones. Or side-splitting parodies. The choice, really, is up to you.

Wisdom bits – Hyde immediately sat up straighter and said, “oooooh!” when this site’s colorful page appeared in the browser. Each one of the colored blocks contains a snippet of song lyrics. All are fun to ponder, but most make great writing prompts. If you can get the songs unstuck from your head, that is.

Who do you write like? You can find out at I Write Like . Plug in a text excerpt from something you have written and the analyzer will compare it with the styles of famous writers and tell you who you write like.  Okay, this is more of a toy than something to generate writing ideas, but it was fun and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share.  On second thought, you DO have to write something before you can use the analyzer, so maybe it falls under the category of motivational tool? (I fed the analyzer part of this blog post. The verdict: Cory Doctorow. Now it’s your turn.)

Last but not least, September 24, 2010 is  National Punctuation Day. Salute your friendly punctuation marks by entering the haiku contest at the holiday’s official web site.

Barb’s August totals

Projects begun in August:43
August projects completed: 33
August word count: 13,807


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