Sunday Writing Challenge 3/4/12

Another week has passed and it’s time for our authorial confessions. Its just like going to the worship house of your choice, except without the religious overtones!

Last week I offered up three options: write 400 words a day, enter artist Camilla Engman’s competition for her  illustrations, and Linotte Melodieuse’s Lentian-NaNo challenge. It was an and/or challenge – who did more than one?

Personal confession time: I stunk up the house. It was a total non-starter of a week for me. I even ended up having to bow out of one of my regular slots (sorry, Buffy fans) here on Persephone. I’m wavering between trying to not beat myself up too much – we all have those weeks where nothing comes together for us – and trying not to be too forgiving. I believe strongly in the Newtonian laws of writing: objects at rest want to stay at rest. Honestly, it’s a harder balance to achieve than one might think. No stars for me this week.

Linotte also posted this week about her challenge. You can read her post here.

Leave your updates in the comments below.


This week: There’s two parts to this week’s challenge:

1. We’re keeping our word count at 400 words per day.

2. The great and mighty Ursula K. LeGuin shared this challenge in the book How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead, in turn adapted from LeGuin’s own book Steering the Craft.

Write a page of whatever kind of narrative you write – fiction or non-fiction – without any adjectives or adverbs. You can  also take a few pages of narrative you’ve already written and remove all the adjectives or adverbs, rewriting your sentences as necessary. There’s more about this exercise in my book Steering the Craft, where I call the exercise Purity. I do think it’s the most scariest and useful exercise I know.

This will count towards your daily word goal.

That’s it! You have until 10 p.m. next Sunday to check in and tell us how you did.

New friends and old friends, don’t forget that our writers group is open 24/7 for commiseration and support, as well as helpful links, contest submission information, and tips.


By [E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at

She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

44 replies on “Sunday Writing Challenge 3/4/12”

I did my writing everyday, but. . . I didn’t get through my whole story for the picture challenge. just vague draftiness. Behold:


There once was a little girl named Maria. She lived in a place with cacti and plateaus, sand and scrub brush under a great, bleaching sun. The days were hot and the nights were cool, leaving her shivering under her abuela’s blanket.

She loved her Abuela, very much, but life was not easy for them. It was hard work to live there. Some days, she would run her tongue over her teeth after eating, and there would be grit from the sand. When she bathed, the dust in the air would stick to her wet skin, leaving her golden skin dull and dusky. The farm withered when the rains were away too long, the dust making mud of the water trenches.

At night, Abuela would tell her stories and songs from her childhood. She sang of rain, and of trees and great animals that lived in them. She told stories of Large cats and kind birds who fought or gifted people.

Once, she talked of a great village of kindly creatures who talked and walked like people. When they left their skins behind, they would go into the villages and trade as people, hurrying back to their skins by nightfall. She cried that day, but wouldn’t say why. She never told that story again.

When Maria was 7, her favorite horse had a lovely brown colt. He trotted like the wind as he grew, and she named him Paul. She played with him and watched him grow. But one summer, the rains were late in coming, and Paul’s mother couldn’t find enough food. Maria found her laying in the pasture, flies above her as Paul nudged her form.

Maria cried, and took Paul to the house hitch. Abuela just shook her head and went out to the pasture with a shovel. When she came back that night, there was more dust than usual caked in the wrinkles of her hands, and her hair was damp with sweat. Over her shoulder was a sack slowly turning red from the meat within. She went to the smoke house before coming inside.

Maria didn’t look her in the eyes, but instead went to the hammock on the porch with a blanket.

Some day, she thought, I shall go to the distant forests where abuela is from. There I will not have to dig sand from my teeth, and there will be plenty of food for the horses. I will see the animals, and I will climb trees. I will drink all the water I want, and I will never have to eat the meat from my horse again.

In the morning, she grabbed Paul’s saddle and left for the south.

She passed mountains and dried up rivers, pastures and distant homes with lights that twinkled as the sun went down.

On the third day, she met the rabbit. Or rather, the rabbit captured her.



And, uh. . . yeah. . . So, I changed the little girl from angloest anglo to latina. I like thinking about or writing about Latinas and Hispanic women who have been distanced from a part of their culture. My grandfather is half Hispanic, but he looks super anglo and there was a lot of benefit when he was a kid being raised by his brit mum to not following that ID. Interestingly, he’s now with my abuela Sandy, who is peutro rican. :)

Last week’s post inspired me to create my Lentian challenge (no where as hard)- simply to write 100 words a day, every day, for forty days- poetry, short stories, journaling– I’m trying to get into the habit of writing every day, and 100 words seems fairly manageable (and hopefully easy to scale up). I’m five days in, and so far, so good. Any one want to join in? Try and keep each other honest?

The Embarrassment is still chugging along. I’m averaging about 1,000 words a day, I think. I’m currently sitting at 107k total. Someone even drew me fanart (on her own initiative, no less).

Now as for my serious writing…that is another story all together. I REALLY suck at that.

Haha, it’s okay! I don’t mind answering “publically” but, uhhh, it’s Skyrim fanfiction. I always wanted to write a novel about a badass scarred and cheerful mercenary lady and that character just fit in REALLY well with the game. Things have snowballed from there. It’s just killing me that I can never try and clean it up for publication, lol. :( It’s a conundrum. I think part of the reason it’s been so easy to write is that I don’t have the pressure of knowing it needs to be perfect, but on the other hand, it’s been so much fun that it makes me sad I can’t really share it beyond the internet, hah.

I don’t think I could remove the obvious plot points well enough! If anything I’ll probably have to scrap most of it, construct another mythology all together, and just keep some of the character interaction scenes. Which actually seems like more work than just buckling down and getting started on my Serious Medieval Historical Fiction Trilogy. :(

Heh. My local library had a YA author in talking about her books. So I went and she started talking about how honored she was to be among the ranks of Clare and other fabulous YA writers and it took a great deal of self control not to yell something negative from the back of the room.

One of us! One of us! (And haha, the X-Men are certainly cooler than some fandoms, that’s for sure!)

I don’t know… I wrote it in college for a bit, then stopped, and now I’m writing it again. I find it’s a good low stress way to motivate myself to at least get words and a story down on paper without the pressure that comes with original fiction. Sometimes I find it easier to write my own stuff after it. Of course sometimes it backfires and then I end up with a monster Epic. :P

I mean in my head I wrote for loads of fandoms but I only got shameless enough/the fandom made me hyper enough to put it down in writing.
It’s a writing exercise for me. To follow the characters, to write about stuff I’ve never heard before (scarred for live because of several kinks and male pregnancy) and eh.. fans are very thankful.

Oh, I wish I could read it! But unfortunately I’ve promised myself that I won’t play Skyrim until I finish my PhD.

(Yeah, I know, but honestly I’m a total addict when it comes to RPGs – I am literally incapable of playing for just an hour or two. I will stay up for four days straight, I’ll call in sick to work, I’ll do whatever it takes to finish the next damn quest, and the next one, and the next one… I make myself sad sometimes.)

Ha, this probably doesn’t make you feel any better, but that sound awesome to me!

I once spent days trying to re-find the perfect dusky mauve oriental rug to go in my shabby chic Chinoiserie cottage that I built in Morrowind. I knew I had it somewhere because I had downloaded ALL THE RUGS but just couldn’t remember where I had put it… in my collection of 13,476 digital rugs.


I fully endorse video game chat. I don’t write when I get sucked into playing games either. I used to MUSH and I absolutely can not do that any more because it sucks all my energy away from creating original stories. Also, its made me lazy about characterization, because I only ever needed to flesh out my own PC and other people would provide characters for me to bounce shit off of.

Oh man, I used to MUSH too! (Where did you do it, out of curiosity?) Actually, this is how I first got my start on the internet, waaaaay back in middle school.

Totally get the downsides of this, though. :( I stopped after a while because it just wasn’t as fun as it used to be anymore, but I can definitely see both of your complaints being serious issues as well.

I did primarily WoD mushes — Cajun Nights, Tampa, Denver (Dark Destiny), and Los Angeles were ones I was fairly prominent on. I never branched out because I am kind of lazy, and I knew the rp rules on WoD, so there I stayed.

I honestly didn’t even realized the downside to a bunch of it until I started to concentrate on my secondary characters in the novels and realized how much I had relied on playing off of other people. I’m working on it though!

I’m somebody who thrived on “side characters”; people liked my characters because they were hidden depthsy and not at the centre of the drama – I got to make the pithy one liners, in other words. In the end,  I ALWAYS killed them off because people never expected the nice guy to die, and writing for myself has forced me to make those side characters step into the lime light and really start to assume a mantle of power within the story.

It’s weird. I’m finding it much easier to deal with ensemble casts because I get bored of one character at a time. I think my challenge in the future will be to write a story with only one main character or just one perspective.

Yeah, you definitely don’t want to read this until you’re done the game! It follows two of the major quest lines fairly closely so you’d be spoiled a looot. If you ever do finish, though, I’m gunhilde on and AO3. :)

I’m the same way with RPGs! Or at least, with this one. I go in intending to do just ONE mini quest or ONE dungeon and then it’s suddenly midnight and I have no idea where the time went.

I sucked, I’ll be honest. But I spent an hour or so last night thinking about plot and I don’t feel like I’m groping in the fog anymore. I mean, the fog is there, but it’s about a half-mile away…

Great exercise idea. I’ll definitely have to try that.

I did OK today, but I spent most of the weekend researching.  I went over to the Casebook: JTR site and they have a lot of info on the Thames torso killings and Victorian London, particularly the East End.  I even listened to some podcasts and there were some truly headdesk moments at some of the things some of the experts said.  But they have a lot of info, even on witnesses.  It’s crazy!

Yeah – that’s kind of my deal.  Although not really, because I haven’t worked on my fiction in years…but when I think of it, my immediate reaction is “I HAVE TOO MANY OTHER THINGS TO DO LIKE WRITE FOR PMAG.”  So I think it shouldn’t count.  But for now, it’s all I can manage.

I SUCKED. I SUCKED SO BAD. I SUCKEDY SUCK SUCK. Okay, I did write an article. But that only covers four days and I did it in one flushed hurry, I am terrible at regularity. I really sucked.

In my defense though, I did get hit really hard by the migraine stick this week and lost three days which wound up consisting of hazy semi-consciousness, so I’m not too upset.


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