Weekly Poetry Challenge – Qunituple #Tanka

For me, Colleen’s weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge has been a source of joy for some weeks now, but this week it has been hard.
In the face of the horrific events in Florida and the unbelievable indifferent reaction of so many US politicians, I couldn’t but reach out across the ocean and show my solidarity with the people of Parkland and the students of Stoneman Douglas Highschool. I can’t even begin to grasp what they are going through.

The prompt words for the 71st challenge were: Affection and Character. I used thoughts & kindness for affection and puppet & spirit for character.

 

~Awoken~

Apathy’s henchmen
Send thoughts and prayers your way.
Rancid, callous tools
on puppet strings, offering
Drops to quench an inferno.

The world ought to stop!
Instead, keeps turning, turning.
Relentless sorrow—
Even shared a thousandfold
Still fails to lessen the pain.

I see you weeping,
Tender heart and broken soul.
I see you craving
For yesterday’s lost kindness,
Gone, but never forgotten.

In awe, I behold
Your spirit’s awakening.
From pain to passion—
Horror reshaped to resolve,
I see your courage rising.

Furious voices
give birth to a roaring choir,
Demanding action.
I hear you! I hear your call
And amplify your message.

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Weekly Poetry Challenge

 

I’ll keep it short today. Here’s my contribution to Colleen’s 70th weekly #Tanka challenge. The week’s prompt words were destiny and challenge. Enjoy.

 

~Take Heart~

Opportunity.
Risk and promise intertwined.
I dare you, seize it!
Your courage lifts new hope
From future’s murky waters.

Bullet Journal – a writers approach

During 2017, I got increasingly frustrated with the progress of my WIP despite my regular attendance at #5amwritersclub. I had trouble getting my daily workload organized in a reasonable way and still get some writing done – all day every day something came up and interfered. So, I was searching for a remedy, something new worth trying. In came my first Bullet Journal.

That was in August 2017 and now, almost half a year later, I’m still using it. I’ve written a guest post for the SCBWI Germany/Austria chapter’s blog. Head over there if you want to know how I personalized my Bullet Journal and organize (not only) my writing.

Got a journal yourself? Any ideas how I could improve my journaling? Write me in the comments – I’d love to hear about it!

Weekly Poetry Challenge – a #Tanka

I’m a mom of two girls and to me, it’s pure wonder seeing them grow up and develop into individuals with distinct ideas and traits. They grow so fast and the day will come when they are ready to leave our house. On the one hand, I look forward to it. On the other, I wish I could keep them with me, protect them for eternity.

This week’s prompt words were bond and seek. Somehow these words immediately stirred an old memory. The memory of a picture I took years ago… I wanted to share it for this week’s installment of Colleen’s Tanka Challenge. I had some trouble reactivating that long forgotten Flickr account but managed in the end.

So here it is. Wintry day, some unknown trail in Bavarian woods, and my excited daughter.

I just love her open expression and the sheer joy of handling such mundane thing as an old fir branch. It always reminds me that children have a special view of the world around them, one that we as adults have often ceased to experience. We often skim over the details where for them everything is exciting, new, and fascinating. Through my girls, I got a glimpse of that world once more.

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~Forgotten Perspective~

Through your eyes I see
The world awash with wonder.
Anchored here, I watch
In awe. Your winged soul takes flight,
Chasing dreams, probing limits.

Children are our legacy. But all we can do is to accompany them for a while, make the joined part of the journey as happy and secure as possible and prepare them, so they are ready when they leave us to follow their own paths.

Webinar – Three interesting talks @ Agent Day

Last Saturday, on 27th of January, the SCBWI-WI team held a half-day webinar featuring advice from three agents, namely Lauren Spieller, Taylor Martindale Kean and Natalie Lakosil.

Unfortunately, I could not attend the webinar at the time it was streamed but the SCBWI WI crew provided a recording of the talks just 24h later and I watched it the following week. Here’s a quick overview of all three sessions.

Lauren Spieller – How to write a decent query letter.

Author herself and an agent with Triada US Literacy agency, Lauren talked about the art of writing a killer query and get agents and editors to request a full manuscript. To do so, she broke down the structure of a query letter and explained basic information that should be given.

The most important thing is: a query letter is a business letter, therefore you should treat it as such. I knew many of the key points Lauren spoke about but here are a few crucial points to keep in mind: the agent wants to be intrigued, don’t tell the ending, don’t include smash-hits as a comp titles even if you think what you wrote is, of course, the next Harry Potter; and double check the triple checked spelling of the agent’s name!

Taylor Martindale Kean – Voice in MG and YA Fiction

Taylor Martindale Kean is with Full Circle Literacy agency and she gave a talk about voice in middle grade and young adult fiction.

What’s voice anyway? It is, in short, what’s gripping about a novel – a certainly intangible concept – and therefore one of the most sought-after achievements in the craft. Yet, no foolproof method for developing said voice exists. As it seems, it’s a matter of practice and, as Taylor put it, a combination of tone, style, and personality that is unique to the author. But there’s hope. At least there are a few approaches one might try and Taylor went ahead and gave her audience an idea where to start looking for one’s very own voice.

My main takeaway from her talk is to strive for a more tangible prose that fits the character’s origin. And of course, reader bonding by keeping the author intrusion at a minimum.

Natalie Lakosil – Tips and Tricks for Quick Revision

In her talk about how to revise a manuscript, Natalie (of Bradford Lit Agency) first pointed out how she likes to broaden the word revision to re-envision. A valid approach, since we often are stuck with the ideas we conceived first. It’s not easy to pinpoint the shortcomings of a manuscript (MS) if you are still deep within its grasp. So, unsurprisingly the first thing to do is to ignore the whole thing a for a while so you can come back with fresh eyes. I read that so often and still think it’s going to be very hard to do it.

What to do during this time, then? Natalie recommends extensive reading in the genre and researching characteristics the MS should meet. Think word count, for example. But looking up comp titles is vital, too. These help to discern what published books have or don’t have and compare it to your own work.

After the resting period, it’s time to revise at last. I can’t possibly list all the advice Natalie gave. The idea that stuck with me most was the Plot Dot Test – I am definitely going to try that one. Other than that I got some good info on improving the tangibility of the prose and working in motifs and symbols.

Natalie’s best advice, however, was to keep in mind your own idea of your story when you judge feedback by peers, beta readers, and even agents. It’s your story after all and impossible to make it perfect for everybody – so you might as well keep a firm grasp on your own idea and focus.

So. This is it–another webinar done and blogged about. I hope it was a good read and held at least a few new insights. Thanks again the SCBWI Wisconsin chapter for all the work in setting up the webinar.