Dropping Like Flies

69473D7F-D573-4B5A-8F30-73A6CC5B8C0FYes, they’re dropping like flies, as opposed, I suppose, to flying like flies. I’ve noticed that some long time bloggers who have been hosting prompts have thrown in the towel. Scott Bailey ended his Scotts Daily Prompt. Also, Roger Shipp announced yesterday that his Daily Addictions prompt is ending, along, apparently, with his Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner prompt.

Priceless Joy has also announced that she is retiring her Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt. And I noticed that Bikurgurl didnt publish her 100 Word Wednesday prompt today. I don’t know if she just missed this week or if she, too, is calling it quits.

Have blogging prompts reached the saturation point? Are there too many word and photo prompts out there? I have two: My daily Fandango’s One-Word Challenge and my weekly Fandango’s Provocative Question. But I also participate regularly in a bunch of other word and photo prompts.

Anyway, I was thinking, which is always a dangerous thing, whether I should start a new prompt, “Fandango’s Flash Fiction.” It would be a photo prompt, like Priceless Joy’s, Roger Shipp’s, and Bikurgurl’s. I’d post it on a day that doesn’t have a bunch of other prompts. Maybe Mondays or Fridays. And I’d impose a 200 word limit.

But before I do, I have some questions. Are you sick of writing prompts? Are there already too many out there? Or is there room for one more? So basically, the question is this: should I start yet another writing prompt based upon a photo or image, or is this a terrible idea and I should just leave well enough alone?

Please let me know in your comments.

Thanks.

SoCS — Adverbs

D565E643-654E-4772-8799-BCA48E331BC7Interestingly, Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt this week asks us to start our post with any adverb that ends in “-ly.” She even offers us bonus points if we end our post in an adverb, as well.

First of all, let’s define the word adverb. “An adverb is a part of speech used to describe a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. It simply tells the readers how, where, when, or the degree at which something was done.”

Apparently, the biggest issue with adverbs is that people tend to overuse them. Some say that of all of the parts of speech, adverbs are the most likely to clutter your sentences pointlessly. Therefore, it is often suggested that writers should use adverbs sparingly.

(Hey wait. Aren’t “apparently,” pointlessly,” and “sparingly” adverbs? Oh crap. I just cluttered up my last paragraph by using three adverbs in just three sentences.)

I remember reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing, where he goes on and on about how he feels about adverbs. I was surprised by his strong feelings. He admonishes writers to minimize, if not eliminate, their use of adverbs by suggesting that “adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind.”

King famously wrote:

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day…fifty the day after that…and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.”

Personally, I think Stephen King overuses ellipses…as do I.

I have nothing against adverbs. I don’t use them often, but I do use them in my writing. And I don’t think of myself as a timid writer.

But I’m not a best-selling author, like Stephen King. In fact, I’m not an author at all. I’m not even sure I’d call myself a writer. I’m just a blogger who writes posts on my personal blog.

So, as the old song goes, it’s my blog and I’ll adverb if I want to, despite how Stephen King feels.

And now I need to end my post with an adverb ending in “-ly” in order to earn my bonus points. I will write my last sentence excitedly.

SoCS — Very Rare

0B29A314-9F64-496D-AE0D-8BF2C27238EEFor this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt from Linda G. Hill, we are tasked to use the word “affirm” in our post.

The word “affirm” is not a word I use very often in my everyday life. And it’s not one that I recall using much in my blog posts, either. But I was curious to know how many times I actually did use the word “affirm” in my blog. So I did a word search on my blog and I discovered that, in the 2,370 posts (not including this post) I’ve published, the word “affirm” appeared in just three posts.

And in those 2,370 posts, I wrote around 564,000 words, only three of which were the word “affirm.”

So I can now affirm that I almost never use the word “affirm” in my blog.

TL;NR

134761B0-AA2B-4B43-9DD6-955C3D55378FWhen I first started this blog, some of my early posts were fairly long, probably ranging from about 700 to more than 1,000 words. On one of my longer posts, someone wrote a comment that simply said, “TL;NR.” I had no idea what that meant. I thought it was a typo. I finally Googled “TL;NR” and found out that it means “too long; no read.”

Interesting. I was writing blog posts that were too long to read, or at least that was the opinion of one blogger. Was he or she right?

In July 2017, just a month and a half into this blog, I wrote a post titled, “A Man of Many Words.” In that post I wrote, “When it comes to the written word, I’m a man of many — not few — words. Maybe even too many words.” I acknowledged that I have a tendency to over explain things and that “my style of writing, verbose though it may occasionally be, adds color and life to what I write.”

I remember reading somewhere that concise writing helps to grab and hold your reader’s attention, to be more memorable, and to make a lasting impact on your reader. So I decided that I really needed to learn how to be more concise in my writing. Especially since I began responding to prompts that imposed word limits ranging from 50 to 300 words.

93A9CCD5-312F-4EDF-B095-8ED9BB59D277But that was hard for me. Removing what some might consider to be unnecessary words from my writing is difficult. I like to think that everything I write is germane to the subject matter. For me, removing words, phrases, and especially entire sentences, is akin to asking a mother to choose which child she’s willing to edit out of her family.

That said, I am clearly making progress in my efforts to be more concise. And I can prove it, too. Below are the average Words Per Post stats from my previously WordPress Blog (July 2009 to April 2015).B02BF791-0D4D-44BA-8994-CA706AF16BBEAnd here are my stats since I started this blog (May 2017 to present).CC4D54A5-23D5-48AD-A508-86A9695335EADamn, I really am concise after all!


Includes the Word of the Day Challenge (learn), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (concise)

Just Deserts

89085E6B-C713-417B-A77C-EE0412774CE5Last night, at around midnight, right before I turned off my iPhone and went to sleep, I scheduled THIS to be published at 6:30 am my time. It was written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers prompt in which she had a picture of a teepee and three chairs in what appears to be a desert setting at around sunset.

When I saw that picture, I remembered that it was raining where we live the night of the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse last month, so we couldn’t see it. And then I thought that it would have been cool if we would have driven out to the desert to watch it.

A little while ago I got a comment on that post from my blogging buddy, Kristian, at Tales from the Mind of Kristian. He wrote in his comment, “Was the dessert trifle?”

Oh shit! Did I do what I think I did? I went to my Friday Fictioneers post and sure enough, I had titled it “Dessert Viewing” and in the body of the post wrote, “…drive us out to the dessert in his van.” I have since corrected the title and the body to “desert.”

And to those of you who read my post before I corrected it and thought, “what a moron this guy is,” I apologize. I have learned that it’s not a good idea to post when you’re half asleep and bleary-eyes. But I guess I’ve gotten my just deserts* (or is that “just desserts”?).

And thank you, again, Kristian, for pointing out my faux pas.


*In the expression “just deserts,” deserts is the plural of desert, meaning “that which one deserves.” The phrase generally means that someone deserves the unpleasant things that have happened to them, because they did something bad. Desert, in that sense, is now archaic and rarely used outside this phrase. The spelling “just desserts” is non-standard. It is sometimes used as a pun in, for example, restaurant names.