Weekend Writing Prompt #265- Brevity

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Brevity

Challenge

wk 265 brevity

Weekend Writing Prompt #265: This weekend your challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 12 words using the word “Brevity”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s submission guidelines here – now open for general submissions

Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Tolkien Tuesday #23…on a Thursday

~ 23 June 2022 ~

It’s been one of those weeks and truly I have no idea where my time has gone these past few days. But here we are, about to finish Book 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, and conclude the first part of our journey. Can you believe we’ve been on this slow re-read for half a year? So grab a mug of something nice – as always, I’m drinking tea – and let’s begin…

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we finish Chapter 12: Flight to the Ford, and Book 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring!

Frodo, Sam and Strider follow Merry and Pippin further along the path to where they spotted the trolls. But it isn’t long before Strider, teasing the younger hobbits, shows that the trolls were the very same ones turned to stone while Bilbo was on his own adventure. Sam recites a poem he made up about trolls and Frodo declares he is learning a lot about Sam Gamgee.

The company continue on their journey, all in better spirits than they have been for some time and with Frodo feeling a little better. They come across a runestone marking where the dwarves and Bilbo hid their treasure and Frodo declares Bilbo gave all his treasure away.

Photo by Darwis Alwan on Pexels.com

Now back on the Road they are once more uneasy. As they are looking for a safe place to make camp, they hear the sound of hooves on the Road behind them. Hiding, they fear the approach of Black Riders, but it turns out to be Glorfindel, an Elf-lord that lives in Rivendell.

Glorfindel shares all the news he knows. Gandalf has still not arrived at Rivendell. There are five Black Riders chasing the company down and he suspects the other four may be lying in wait ahead. Knowing the danger they are in, Glorfindel, now taking over the role as guide from Strider, urges them on. He insists Frodo rides his horse, Asfaloth, who has the best chance of bearing him to safety should they encounter the enemy.

For the next couple of days, Glorfindel pushes them on, even though they are weary and exhausted. Concern for Frodo and his wound, and the peril he fears both in front and behind them, drives him.

They are a mile from the Ford when the sound of pursuit reaches them. Glorfindel tells his horse to swiftly bear Frodo away, as five Black Riders come into sight. As the horse does as it has been commanded, another four Black Riders appear ahead of Frodo, but Asfaloth outpaces them all and crosses the Ford.

Frodo, now delirious with exhaustion and the effects of his wound, is only barely conscious to see the river rise up against the Black Riders and their horses and carry them away. After that, he knows no more.

I loved this part of the story, especially with the crossover with The Hobbit. Strider really gets to show his humorous side with the trolls and this injection of levity amid so much danger is welcome. The tone in this scene with the trolls also reminds me more of The Hobbit. I’ve been thinking a lot over recent weeks of the opening stage of both Frodo and Bilbo’s journey, and I’m sorely tempted to begin reading the opening chapters of The Hobbit again.

Next week: Do we look back and reflect on Book 1 or do we jump straight into Chapter 1 of Book 2? If no-one states any preferences in the comments, we will just carry on reading 🙂

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

Glorfindel has always been one of my favourite characters from The Lord of the Rings (and beyond), and every time I read this section of the book, I relive the disappointment I felt the first time I saw The Fellowship of the Ring and realised he wasn’t coming to help rescue the hobbits and Strider from the Black Riders. And although I’ve loved the films since that very first time seeing them, this slight change to the story has stayed with me, more so than not getting to see the Barrow-Downs in the movies.

I understand why his role is taken over by Arwen for the film, and I think she does a great job of it, and of course, it’s great to see a female character doing wonderful things in such a male-dominated story (though to be honest, this doesn’t bother me in the least). After all, we have to remember that Tolkien and Peter Jackson were producing a different end product for a different audience who had different expectations.

If you could have a character, scene or setting which was not included in the film, included in it, who, what or where would it be?

Elsewhere

In last week’s Tolkien Tuesday #22 post, I mentioned that I stumbled across a DVD in a charity shop called “Creating The Lord of the Rings Symphony: A composer’s journey through Middle Earth”.

Since posting that, I have watched it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved listening to the music, hearing the explanations given by Howard Shore, and seeing the artwork which was chosen to accompany it. And as we’ve mentioned before regarding the films, you can take one element from it, in this case the music, and feel very much connected to the story and see it play out in your mind’s eye. All the elements are just so wonderfully interconnected.

If you’re a fan of the film soundtrack, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

What’s your favourite quote (or one of your favourite quotes) from Book 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring?

Like every other reader, no doubt, I have so many favourite quotes from what we have read so far. I shared a couple of them along our journey, but thought it would be good to share one I haven’t yet mentioned.

So I picked this one, which I find very moving, from the first half of Chapter 12, when Frodo asks Strider if he has often been to Rivendell:

“There my heart is; but it is not my fate to sit in peace, even in the fair house of Elrond.”

Cold and Grey

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com
Give me the cold and grey
The picturesque monotone
Of a watercolour painting
Brush strokes in variations of
British weather

Enchant me with silver skies
Charm me with hard granite and rocky outcrops
Offer me storm clouds as love tokens
And downpours as a sign you're missing me
Give me the cold and grey

Written for Weekend Writing Prompt #264: Picturesque | Word count: 54

Weekend Writing Prompt #264- Picturesque

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Picturesque

Challenge

wk 264 picturesque

Weekend Writing Prompt #264: This weekend your challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 54 words using the word “Picturesque”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s submission guidelines here – now open for general submissions

* And don’t miss our special call with guest editor Bartholomew Barker – Sorta-Sonnets – click for details *


Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

Sorta-Sonnets…can I write one?

You might have heard that over on Whispers and Echoes, we currently have a very special open call: Sorta-Sonnets from Guest Editor, Bartholomew Barker.

The call has been open for a few weeks now (and closes on the 24th June 2022), and since then I’ve been wondering if I am able to write one. Those who have been here a while will know I do try and write some poetry, mainly free verse, sometimes haikus. And I have been lucky enough to have had some of my poetry published. However, I have never in my life written a sonnet. But can I write a sorta-sonnet?

I’m going to try.

Bartholomew Barker explained in the submissions call post what the rules are for a sorta-sonnet:

  • 14 line poem
  • under 100 words
  • no rhyme

Nice. Simple. Clear instructions. And best of all, there’s no need to get to grips with a particular meter and rhyming scheme. It sounds do-able…

So here’s my first attempt at a sorta-sonnet:

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

These Words

I craft worlds out of words
That only exist in my head
These words build cities and
Grow gardens, make history as
Well as bake cakes
These words that create
Transform into people, with
Thoughts and actions all their own
And so my words become theirs
Or is it the other way around?
These words...their voices
My craft...their art
My daydreams...their adventures
All inside my head

Tolkien Tuesday #22

~ 14 June 2022 ~

The sun has been shining, and the temperature steadily rising, so I’ve been sitting outside reading and writing this week’s Tolkien Tuesday post, which you know, is quite a civilised way to spend an afternoon…

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we begin Chapter 12: Flight to the Ford

Frodo regains consciousness to find he is still clutching the ring. The fire has been banked high and the other hobbits are close by, concerned. Of Strider there is no sign, but soon he returns to say there is no sign of the Black Riders, who are not at their full compliment. He fears it’s only a matter of time before they attack again in the knowledge they have dealt Frodo a grievous wound. Strider tries his best to help Frodo with the use of the leaves of the Athelas plant, but its healing against such a wound is limited.

They spend the night watching over Frodo and keeping watch against further attacks. With the daylight they know they must continue on. This begins a long and arduous crossing of a wild and pathless land. Frodo has to be carried by the pony for most of it, for he has lost the use of his arm and shoulder.

Of the enemy they see or hear no sign of them, except when they are starting out: a cry answered by another. The terror this, along with the attack at Weathertop, inflicts is enough for them to fear the hours of darkness, over which they must stand watch in pairs.

On the sixth day out from Weathertop, they must return to the Road, and cross the Last Bridge over the River Hoarwell. Strider and Sam go on ahead to see if the bridge is being watched, it isn’t, but Strider finds a beryl elf-stone. This he takes a sign that the bridge is safe to cross, though he is unclear if it was purposefully placed, and if so by who.

On the other side of the bridge they once more leave the Road behind them and enter a wooded, hilly country. Again the going is difficult, but they eventually find a path which leads to the door of a troll-hole, which Strider and Merry investigate and determine it has long been abandoned. They continue along the path, Pippin and Merry going on ahead as the former wants to prove to Strider he’s no longer afraid. However, they return quickly, and in a panic. They have spotted some trolls up ahead.

This was a tense passage to read. The fear the hobbits feel, and the aura of concern coming from Strider, at the possibility that they are being pursued by Black Riders, whom they can’t locate and have no idea where they are, is palpable. All this whilst at the same time worrying about Frodo and trying to make it across uninviting and inhospitable terrain is so suspenseful.

Next week we conclude the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 12: Flight to the Ford.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

I’ve been musing this week on how landscape has been used in the story so far, and interestingly it’s not only present to document the geography of the journey.

In the earlier chapters, we are presented with a familiar landscape, whether that’s familiar because its one we ourselves inhabit, or if not, it’s one we recognise. This helps to ensure the reader connects the Shire with home. The hobbits home and our home. The Shire is special and we feel that as we read the story. We understand why the hobbits long to return home.

But as the story moves on, the landscape is given another use. It is a vehicle for the hobbits, and of course, the reader, to learn about the history of Middle Earth. We’ve see the burial places of the first kings of men in Middle Earth, standing stones, the ruins of a once great watchtower, ruins of settlements long since forgotten to time…

The landscape also helps to introduce less familiar things, more fantastical things into the story. In The Old Forest a bitter tree dwells, and where the house of Tom Bombadil and Goldberry is to be found, and wooded hills and rocky cliffs in which are built doors to troll-holes…The landscapes maybe familiar, but the things hidden in them are not as tangible to us.

Elsewhere

This weekend I stumbled across a DVD in a charity shop called “Creating The Lord of the Rings Symphony: A composer’s journey through Middle Earth”. As a fan of the soundtrack this was something I could not pass up and I am eagerly awaiting watching it. And when I do, I shall share my thoughts here 🙂

This is what it says on the back of the DVD:

Creating The Lord of the Rings Symphony includes excerpts of live concert footage from The Lord of the Rings Symphony: Six Movements for Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists, documentary commentary by Howard Shore, and the illustrations of Alan Lee and John Howe. The concert footage was recorded live at Salle Wilfred-Pelletier, Place des Arts, Montreal. Canada in February 2004.

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

In this first half of the chapter, we cover a lot of ground, from Weathertop to the Trollshaws. If you could tarry (in safety) and explore any of the places seen or visited, which would you choose?

The ancient stone walls and ruined towers seen after they crossed the Last Bridge. There is something quite evocative about buildings left to decay in an abandoned, lonely landscape.

Regular visitors to this blog will know I love nothing more than exploring ruins…

The Power of Little Things

Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

You’ll find them in the liminal spaces

The cracks in the pavement

Where the sea meets the shore

Those places between

Here and there

Whispering words from another place

Where the dark gives birth to the light

Where dreams are born

Hope’s hunting ground

Where those who dwell in the margins

Unseen, unheard, unnoticed

Can make thunder with a single breath

And enchantment is carried on the wind

And rain drenches the land in blessing

Where songs are spells

Where paintings on cave walls

And carvings in stone

And drawings made in sand and soil

Tell tales of the future

Where emptiness, waiting to be filled,

Is the cauldron of inspiration

And a blink of an eye

Holds the secrets to all creation

Weekend Writing Prompt #263- Vernacular

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Vernacular

Challenge

wk 263 vernacular

Weekend Writing Prompt #263: This weekend you challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 90 words using the word “Vernacular”.

The challenge is simple: each week you will be given an exact number of words you can use to write a poem or piece of prose.  You can use any format or style you like; go wherever your inspiration takes you.  The only rules are these:

  • your poem / prose must contain this week’s word (see note below).  The word does not have to count towards the exact word count total – it can be in the title, or the first letters of the lines of a poem can spell it out – you can be as creative as you want as long as it’s there somewhere.
  • the length of your poem / prose must match the number of words stated in this week’s challenge.  No more.  No less.
  • A note on the word: you can use any variation of the word (for example: call, calls, calling, called etc).  If you find you are struggling to use this week’s word you may substitute it for a synonym – just include a note to explain the swap.  Remember, this is supposed to be fun! 🙂

Can’t wait to read what you have come up with!


Whispers and Echoes – is an online journal of short writing – read it here *
Check out the journal’s submission guidelines here – now open for general submissions

* And don’t miss our special call with guest editor Bartholomew Barker – Sorta-Sonnets – click for details *


Weekend Writing Prompt Year 1 Anthology: Outcast and Other Words – Read for free here

July’s Camp NaNoWriMo

I absolutely failed at April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Completely. I have no words and no excuses, it just didn’t happen for me. But I won’t dwell on the past, but instead look forward to July’s Camp… (If you want to learn more about NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo here’s the link to the site: https://nanowrimo.org/)

I’ve already decided I am going to participate, which is quite novel for me. Usually, it’s a last minute decision, often with only a slight nod towards planning. But this time, I have weeks to prepare! Yay! (Famous last words…?)

If you read my Tolkien Tuesday post from a few weeks ago, you might remember that I posted it a day late because I was putting together my step-by-step novel outlining process. Well that turned into a 17 page workbook, the premise of which is to create a full story outline in less than day. This is for my shorter outlining process. I do have another one which is much longer and much more in-depth, but this one I find is also good for novellas and short stories, as well as for reacquainting myself with a story I’ve taken a break from, one that perhaps lacked a certain depth in planning 🙂

So, in the weeks running up to Camp, I will be working through this workbook, which I’m really looking forward to (I know that probably sounds strange).

On a different note, I think I have managed to catch-up on the all comments I was behind with. So yay again!

Who is this new organised Sammi? I have no idea but I like her 🙂

Anyone else considering joining in with Camp NaNo in July? Let me know in the comments.

You can find me over on the NaNoWriMo website by searching for my username: Sammi Cox

Tolkien Tuesday #21

~ 07 June 2022 ~

With the end of the first book on the horizon (we only have one more chapter to go before before the first book of The Fellowship of the Ring is behind us), I can’t believe we have been navigating this slow read for almost half a year! And what fun it’s been so far to interact with other readers as we go, and how illuminating and enriching it’s been to notice things I’ve never noticed before…Definitely a worthwhile endeavour!

The Reading, and Ensuing Thoughts

This week we conclude Chapter 11: A Knife in the Dark.

The hobbits and Strider reach Weathertop, but when they investigate the area, it is clear something has happened there, recently, for the ground is scorched. If Gandalf was there, he is there no longer, and they are going to have to make their way to Rivendell on their own, which will take them a good fortnight.

From their vantage point they spot the enemy some way off and hope they pass by without picking up their trail. With nowhere else in the vicinity to offer them shelter, they are forced to remain at Weathertop overnight.

Strider, in attempt to keep the hobbits mind from turning towards the danger they are in, regales them with ancient stories of Men and Elves, before recounting part of the tale of Tinuviel. Once he finishes, night has fallen. In the dark, they feel the hopelessness of their situation.

However, it is not long before they feel they are not alone and sense the enemy is near. Strider keeps them close to the fire, encouraging them to use burning brands against the riders, should they need to.

Photo by Oussama Elhaidi on Pexels.com

Suddenly, three riders are in the dell with them. Compelled by an outside force, Frodo puts on the ring, and he can see the world the riders, now appearing in grey robes, two wearing silver helms, the other a crown, inhabit. The crowned figure stabs Frodo through the shoulder. After which, Frodo has the presence of mind to remove the ring, just in time to see Strider attacking the riders with fire.

I felt that this part of the chapter was tense. The hopelessness of their situation really hit me; they know the odds are against them, they know that before they will feel safe again, they have two weeks of travelling ahead. And as we’ve seen, so much can happen in the space of a few hours, so a fortnight sounds impossible and overwhelming!

Also, my heart went out to Frodo when he looks at the Road and imagines it heading back west, all the way to Bag End. He’s not my favourite hobbit, but I sure would have given him a hug then if I could.

Next week we start the last chapter of Book 1, Chapter 12: Flight to the Ford.

Middle Earth Musings and Meditations

I’m hoping my journey and exploration of Middle Earth isn’t sounding too much like a pub crawl, but this week I’ve been musing on another tavern…

In this chapter, Strider drops into conversation the name of another inn, one we don’t visit, but the name is just fantastic. The Forsaken Inn. Located a day’s travelling east of Bree, Strider describes it as the mostly easterly point on the Road from which known distances are measured. Beyond this, the land is unmeasured, suggesting when you pass this landmark you move into places where civilisation hasn’t reached, or more likely given the history of Middle Earth, no longer holds sway.

The name and this brief description of its location makes for an evocative image. The last inn on the edge of the wild, probably feels very much like it’s on the edge of the world. It conjured in my mind images of Jamaica Inn. Lonely. Desolate. Tumbledown, maybe. Wild, certainly. And I bet it feels like a long way from anywhere else, even though it is still, just, in the Bree-land.

And as for the company it would attract…an interesting mix of people, I would think, both good and bad. Helpful and troubled. Rangers, dwarves travelling west, Bree-landers on business, but also strangers who perhaps don’t want to be found.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As for the atmosphere…I imagine it could get quite lively. Lots of singing. Many people holding court and opining on the state of things to anyone who would listen. Lone travellers keeping to themselves. Yet I can equally envisage quiet evenings, when there seems to be an unspoken consensus to keep conversations low and voices down. You would be happy to go there during the day, but returning home by night might not be a good idea, especially if you’re on your own…

Let’s not forget the ghosts. A place like this would surely have some, don’t you think? Old buildings on ancient roadways are full of history, each with their own stories to tell. The old inns along The Great North Road in England, with connections to the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin, immediately come to mind.

Anyone else loving the sound of this place? If you thought I could go on and on about how I imagine this place to be, you would be right! I’m thinking it would make a great candidate for where I should take up residence in Middle Earth!

Are your impressions of The Forsaken Inn like mine? Or do you imagine it quite differently? I would love to hear your thoughts on this…

Elsewhere

Not much to report here, this week…but then, that’s not a bad thing when I see how long this post is already 🙂

The Lord of the Rings Question of the Week:

We have already come across songs and poems in earlier chapters, but this one had two, and one is fairly long. What are your thoughts on Tolkien’s inclination towards poetry and song? Do you enjoy it or do you find it disrupts the narrative?

I understand why Tolkien uses poetry and song in his stories, but I think, if I’m being honest, it depends on the poem / song. Some I really love and others I am not so keen on. However, as I’ve got older, I have realised I tend to enjoy the poetry more than I used to. When I was younger I used to think of it almost as an obstacle I had to overcome before I got to the “good bits”. Not anymore.

Interestingly, on this slow re-read, I found reading the tale of Tinuviel easier and more enjoyable than ever before (don’t get me wrong though, I love the story of Beren and Luthien so much!), and the reason? I followed Tolkien’s advice and read it as Strider recounts it: I chanted it softly.