Saturday, December 8, 2007

Surreal Speeches

I think Tiff picked November's picture for its amibiguity. You people did not disappoint. Check out this genus of different species. A special welcome to two new contributors!

From Bobo -
The Fix is energized.
From Farrago -
Roar is saddened.
From Kingfisher -
Listen Close is confused.
From No Celery Please -
Without a Prayer is enlightened.
From The Only Daughter -
Is It What It Is is unexpected.
From Rennratt -
Done is tired.
From Tiff -
What You Long For is disturbed.

Well done, and thank you. Tiff and I are throwing some ideas around for a workshop of sorts. Stay tuned for that, and the December challenge coming soon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Look deeply, Look long

And tell us a story.

About this.

Post your tale before the end of November, please, and come back here to the comments to tell us you did.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kingfisher is a nag

Rightly so - it was my turn to publish the stories from last month, and I totally dropped the ball. I bobbled the pass. I committed an error. I whiffed at a fat pitch.

And so on.

Therefore, without further ado, I present the roundup of stories from last month's challenge, and invite all who come here to click on each one, go read, and comment profusely. You'll be missing out on some fun spook stories if you don't. Plus which, I've asked "The Hand" to come visit you in the middle of the night if we see you've been here and you don't go comment.....


Middle Girl cooks up a heapin' helpin' of the creeps

No Celery Please gets Handsy

Tiff wanders in the dark

Kingfisher pulls a switcheroo


New challenge comes next week. Anybody want to suggest something?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Give Us The Creeps

Last year we received some great entries for our scary October challenge.
It's time to do it again.
Go spooky and shivery with the picture below.
Submissions are due by a link in the comments section by Spooktober 31.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Stories From The Shack

We have six entries this month, which means Tiff owes me a case of beer.

From Bobo:
From Joe:
From Kingfisher:
The Weave of Esteem
From The Only Daughter:
Top of the World
From Tiff:
September Morn
From The Unknown Bear:
Stars of Fear, Skies of Hope

Go. Read. Critique.

Our 2nd Annual Creepy October Challenge will be up next week. Keep a look out behind you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Forget what you know

It's just a place, really. Who cares what MIGHT have happened there?

Tell us about it.

Ready, go.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The August Deliveries

Our milk wagon inspiration has delivered several new stories to the door of the Wordsmiths.

Bobo's got a quart of desperation on his hands.

The Unknown Bear serves up a gallon of quiet resignation.

Joe has a pound of history lesson on offer.

Bobo, unable to stop himself, hands over a pint of pity.

Tiff is selling a ramekin of anger.

No Celery Please rounds out the stock with a carton of sisterly affection.

Help youselves to what's on the table, then pull up a chair and share in the refreshment by visiting the authors and commenting on their efforts.


The September picture goes up on the 10th. Sharpen those pencils, folks, and get ready to write.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bucking Against Those Better Than Myself

I would like to respond to Joe's "Narrative Ethic," both parts I and II, as referenced by my respected colleague Tiff in the last post.

70% of it is sound advice. Neophytes should adhere to it and learn.

10% of it is nothing more than a caution.

10% of it is a purist's viewpoint of classical storytelling, which continually evolves. Valid points all, but I doubt Aristotle would enjoy Bradbury.

5% pisses off every capable writer who ever put pen to paper.

5% is his opinion that plot is overrated.

This last 5% is my sticking point. Plot is THE thing upon which everything else is attached. Without plot, theme has no meaning, characters wallow in centrism, and the author's vision has no voice. Plot may be secondary to a thousand other expressions, but it is the device used to display conflict, or the lack of it.

CHARACTER drives us to read further; PLOT allows character to hang his wardrobe on a peg. Otherwise, it is poetry. Poetry is laudible and the penultimate expression of human thought, but it is not storytelling. Poetry is rare and precious because so few of us can do it justice. Plot is necesssary for the fictional narrative voice.

Who am I to dispute Aristotle? Nobody but another in a long line of thinkers who acknowldege his greatness, but also question it.

Joe is right. And wrong. I have a feeling he would agree with me. Like I have said before, learn your ABC's before you break the rules. However, I get the feeling Joe and Aristotle don't believe in breaking those rules. I believe in breaking rules, as long as you have learned how to abide by those rules in the first place. Otherwise my argument is for naught.

Acknowledge the wisdom of others and the passion of your own art. Then question both.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quick link

Might help y'all think about your stories. I know it's jump-starting my capacity for clear(er) writing:

Aristotle's Narrative Ethic and why you really SHOULD care.

Thanks Joe!

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Milk Wagons of August

Whenever I'm stumped for ideas, my wife and I play a game. She has ten minutes to come up with a topic, and I have 48 hours to write a short story about it. It's fun for both of us, and it really helps with creativity and writers block.

This month, I was stumped for a picture for the August Wordsmiths challenge, so I asked my wife for a story idea. Without hesitation she said "a milk wagon." How she pulled that one out of the air, I don't know.

A Google image search for "milk wagon" turned up this gem. There's enough story fodder in there for a hundred tales. Have at it folks.

Stories are due by August 31 as a link posted in the comments section.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

July: Weather is Hot but Imagination is Hotter

Wholly Carp!

This month's response is exactly the reason we started this in the first place. What a crop of stories! Applaud yourselves, then use those hands to visit your fellow Wordsmiths and effuse over their bravery and magnificence, then tell 'em what they did wrong. For my part, I use my hands to shake yours and clap your shoulders.

In Untitled (shame on you!), Biff isn't in his right, or left, mind.

In The Array, Bobo cannot make head nor tail of it.

In Charlie, The King remembers and wishes.

In Score Bored, Kingfisher searches for the culprit.

In The Message, No Celery gets it, but isn't telling.

In Contradictions, Shari is going to make a fortune.

In Hours Devours, Skully goes all confusing creepy.

In Playing God, Tiff tries to fix a game of croquet.

In Shutting Down, Ursus sees a love story from the inside.

In the words of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon: "Thank you! Come again!"

Monday, July 30, 2007

One More Day!

The story post will be up on Wednesday. Y'all have one more day (Ed. note: well, OK, slightly more than a day, truth be known. More like a day and a half, but with editing and revisions you'd better go ahead and get started now because that stuff eats time like a ravenous plecostamus eats algae) to get those stories written.

If you HAVE written, feel free to use the code below in your blog sidebar as proof of your participation. We thank you so very much for your interest and for sharing your insight and talent.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What do you make of THIS? The July Challenge

Ah summer, time for picnics and parties, the beach and cool beverages, lazy hazy crazy days.

Crazy indeed. It must have been the heat that called the Wordsmiths to choose this pictures as the inspiration for July's writing prompt.

What does it tell you? What story does it want YOU to tell? If you listen very carefully, you might hear it begin its tale.....

(click to pop open LARGE version)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The June Challenge Results

Ah, a little summer time reading, straight from the minds of the Wordsmiths.

Go, read, comment, and enjoy.


Kingfisher takes us on a journey through generations

Tiff envisions a different kind of beach scene, then channels the reptilian mind

JC goes to the extreme

No Celery Please serves up something NOT celery, but still crunchy.


Thanks for some great stories, everyone.

Next month - something to REALLY sink your teeth into!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Clear All Moorings!

Welcome one and all to the reincarnation of Wordsmiths Unlimited! Your hosts were not happy with the proto-WSU for many reasons. We missed it, and hope you did, too.

If you haven't yet, review the simple rules under "Need Help?"in the sidebar. Then set sail with us on our first adventure aboard the WSU II.

We're keeping it easy on our first voyage out. Think of a story using the picture below. Make it the focus, the theme, a character, a metaphor, whatever you like. Then write your story. That's all.

Submissions are due by June 30. Thanks for joining us!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Greetings! Welcome to the new and improved Wordsmiths Unlimited: a writer's workshop, roundtable, and place to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your creativity.

Wordsmiths was started many moons ago by Tiff and Kingfisher, two amateur writers with notions of grandeur and a desire to improve in their craft. KF has retired his moderator hat, so db grin has jumped in to continue the duties. We invite you to join us in a monthly writing exercise that has just a few rules:

1) All entries must be 500 words or less. NO KIDDING!

2) Spelling and punctuation are important, except where rule departures are used for effect.

3) Entries must be submitted by the deadline given. You may submit your piece by providing a link in the comments section of the monthly challenge.

4) You should be willing to read the other entries and comment in a constructive fashion, pointing out high and low points of the piece in workshop fashion. Feedback from other writers is half the point of Wordsmiths Unlimited, and as a participating writer you're expected to critique the other submitted works.

There. Enough rules to count on one hand, with a digit left for dialing or picking.

We will link all submissions in a monthly results post on this blog for easy browsing. One click will take you off to the submitter's blog, so there will be opportunities to discover new blogs and new people. There is no prize or penalty for your submission; this is a forum for fun creative exercise.

As a submitter, you retain full copyright.

It's our hope that Wordsmiths Unlimited will spur imagination, hone skills, facilitate improvement, and create community. Come write with us!