The King Is Down!

"The King's been toppled. Toppled!"
The queen and court are trembling.
Felled by a pawn! A bumpkin knave,
his true intent dissembling.
In seeking for himself a crown
he trampled several pawns
His King's bishop assisting him,
en route, he hastened on.
He slithered past our bishop,
he lamed our brave knight's steed!
Before the queen could rush him
he'd done the devilish deed.
He crashed against his majesty
and caught the king off guard.
Our monarch being rather plump,
he hit the ground quite hard.
Still the pawn heads for his goal
while our good queen and host
have vowed to have his wretched head.
That upstart will be toast!
Image: Steve Buissinne — Pixabay

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today was TOPPLE

Waiting for the Starting Gun?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was INTERIM

Here we are, almost the middle of October, which means NaNoWriMo starts in eighteen days and ten hours. Which means I’ve got two weeks to think of some brilliant plot if I hope to take part in the Great Event. For those of you who haven’t heard, Nanowrimo is a month-long event where hopeful biographers, memoir and travel writers, novelists and poets all around the world sit town and hammer away, aiming for 1500 words per day, give or take.

In the interim — these October days so swiftly passing by — participants will need to get their ducks lined up in a row. And here I am without so much as a feather of an idea!

I enjoy the challenge of trying to write 50k words in November. Just the thought of it starts my blood rushing through my veins, ready to pour out onto the pages, as one writer put it. I’d be delighted to sign up and outline my project — but at this point I’d be like the writer who said, “I’m writing a novel. Today I did the page numbers.”

October is when we’re supposed to do the research, fix the era, verify the dates, outline the plot, determine the objectives, envision the characters with their qualities good and bad. Would any of you readers like to suggest a title and some characters for my potential Nov. tale?

I have this e-book where the writer claims anyone can write 5000 words in an hour, and his claim is quite believable. I’ve done a thousand words in ten minutes myself. BUT… you have to know when you start to type exactly what you’re going to say. No mulling, no research, no rethinking or rewriting. This kind of writing takes serious planning before and between sessions, unless you’re a really good “pantser” who can start with an opening scene — like Snoopy’s, “It was a dark and stormy night…” — and just go wherever the characters take you.

One thing I will say about Nanowrimo: it’s worth a try. It’s an exercise, an encouragement to write. Even if a person writes a short story instead of a full-length novel, you still have the satisfaction of accomplishing something. However, like any other journey, you need some idea of where you want to end up and the route you need to take to get there, or you may just wander around in inky circles, lost and discouraged.

Kind of like life, right? Life coaches encourage everyone to set goals. They warn us that if we just drift through each day without clear goals we’ll end up nowhere — and find the trip unsatisfying.

So here’s wishing you inspiration and clear objectives, if you’re among those who intend to join the Nanowrimo crowd. Should my muse deliver a semi-load of inspiration before Nov 1st, I’ll sign up, too. 😉

Apostrophic Lapses

Good morning everyone!
I have been reading in Lynne Truss’s book, Eats, Shoots
and Leaves and came across her lament about misused and AWOL apostrophes.
Ms Truss tells of how she wrote an article for The Daily Telegraph about incorrect or missing punctuation and got an avalanche of letters from readers sharing and ticked off over violations they’d seen.

A lack of apostrophic know-how & know-where leads to signs like:

Lemon’s – 2 for $1
(or even) Lemon,s – 2 for $1
Trouser’s shortened
Summer cottages’ for rent
Member’s Only
Mikes’ Garage
The Smiths’s Silver Anniversary
Cyclist’s only on this path
The guest speakers talk will be about…
XMA’S trees
Jamison Antique,s

Her account, coupled with various writing prompts yesterday and today, has led me to write this verse:


Apostrophe confusion
gives Editor such grief:
he finds them wandering randomly
or employed beyond belief.

For Thompson’s prone to muff it
typesetting the word beaux’s
and covering the Jone’s affair
his know-where hits new lows.

An ad reads “Naval orange’s”
and Molly’s ship is sinking,
while it’s and its and their and they’re
confuse that fellow Pinking.

Restrained the Editor may be
but don’t you know he’ll rage
should “Sports Marts’ Sale on Bycycle’s”
appear on his printed page.

He caught “the citys’ bylaw”
before it got to press,
but a write-up about the Queens’ speech
led to a royal mess.

So he begs them to get serious:
“Study punctuation rules!
We need to shake this errancy
so we don’t look like fools.”

“But I was sure I had it right,”
dumbfounded Molly wails.
Editor sighs and insists again
on accurate details.

“Our readers are nit-picking,”
young Thompson quickly states.
Editor growls. “Get it right or else
your job here terminates.”

“From now on I’ll be checking
on every bit of copy;
your pages will be cremated
if you hand in anything sloppy.”

“No apostrophic laxity
permissible henceforth
or there will be pecuniary
punishment in store.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: SERIOUS
Word of the Day: CREMATE
M-W’s Word of the Day: PECUNIARY

The Drought

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PELT.

This short scene yesterday was my Write Practice exercise: we were to tell about some activity during the day and add some kind of conflict to the account. My basic activity will be filling the dishes I’ve set in the back yard for the birds, and I’ve used the elements — the drought — as my conflict. Here’s that scene, embellished somewhat, as my RDP prompt response.

Watering the Birds

Looking out the window this morning I see half a dozen small birds clustered around the plates I’ve been putting out. The plates must be empty again. Full of dust, more likely. I’d better refill them – don’t want the poor birds dying of thirst.

There’s no other moisture for miles. Pot holes and sloughs disappeared back in June and the steady winds keep shifting dust along the ground, coating whatever plants may have a bit of juice in their leaves. The nearest place for the birds to drink would be the river twelve miles away. Even that’s just a trickle by now. Surely the fall rains will start soon?

I smiled as I filled the water jug and lugged it out to the garden. Many trips I’ve made already this fall, but I’m thankful Tom allows me this bit of “wasting.” He knows how I love to watch the birds and want to keep these last few with us just a little longer. We pray every day that the well will keep flowing. The birds aren’t the only ones needing water in this brutal country.

As I walk through what was once my garden, trying not to stir up too much dust, a relentless wind pelts me with falling maple leaves. The trees have suffered, too, this summer — but the fall rains will start any day now. Surely?