Thursday Writing Prompt No. 131

I designed this cityscape using Deco Sketch on my Samsung tablet.

I designed this cityscape using Ben Guerrette’s Deco Sketch app on my Samsung tablet.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Thursday writing prompt. I’ve been caught up in work projects and just generally so busy that I’ve gotten away from the blog for a bit of a breather. I also think I really, really need a good vacation. And taking a day off work to stay home isn’t a vacation. There are still the dishes in the sink, the other household chores, and the incessant screeching of lawn equipment morning, noon, and night, seven days a week.

I want some down time!

And so, let’s write about sound for this week’s prompt. Take a look at my illustration above and imagine yourself in the city. Those loopy thingsĀ  are supposed to be the arches of a bridge, and no, it’s not any particular city, so don’t look for a landmark.

Adding sensory details to your writing helps make the reader feel more immersed in your story’s world. But how do you describe sound? You can write about volume, for starters: loud, quiet. But those terms are so broad, and frankly, the words are kind of dull. To the thesaurus!

Synonyms for loud include fun words such as ringing and booming, which help describe what a noise sounds like. When a word imitates the sound it describes, that’s called onomatopoeia. Synonyms for quiet don’t really sound like anything. That’s kind of fitting, isn’t it? Muted, muffled, still, inaudible. If you can’t hear it, you can’t describe how it sounds.

Sound also has other qualities: pitch (frequency), tone, timbre, modulation. A shrieking ghost would emit a high-pitched sound, while a growling dog’s pitch would be a lower frequency rumble. Musical terms are good for describing sound (duh), but they aren’t necessarily common words or ones that a general audience would recognize. You’ll need to describe the sound rather than just give it an adjective, but learning the adjective and reading it’s definition will help you in that regard.

So, look at the cityscape above, and write a descriptive sentence or short paragraph describing the sounds (and maybe other sensory impressions) of the city. Don’t forget that atmospheric conditions affect sound. Have fun!

I Wanna Be a Pumpkin

I drew this pumpkin first as a pencil sketch and then scanned it and colored the line art in Photoshop.

I drew this pumpkin first as a pencil sketch and then scanned it and colored the line art in Photoshop.


I’ve ignored my blog for some time now. I could use the excuse that I’ve been busy, but I have really been wasting a lot of the free time that I do have. Part of it is stress, but I’m also finding some other creative things to do and so I’ve spent some time away from the computer. Look, I sit in front of the computer 12 hours a day already, so I really need to do something else. Unfortunately most of “what else” I do is on the computer.

I registered for a Zombies, Run! virtual race that’s coming up in April and I have done no training. I suppose I’ll be walking most of it, but my goal is to finish the 5K in under an hour. I’ve also signed up for a couple of noncredit online classes, including one on making comic books. It’s “How to Make a Comic Book” on Coursera, and the instructor leading the course is Patrick Yurick. The pumpkin started out as a pencil sketch for the first week of the class and I colored it electronically to add some pizzazz and made it my avatar.

And I also signed up for a quill-along with Erin Perkins Curet of Little Circles, so I’ll be making a peacock mosaic just for fun. Quilling is making art with little rolls of paper, which can be a simple flower or a complex mosaic or even 3D artwork. I did quilling a long time ago when I was a kid and then put it aside, but I still have a 3D paper dragon I made that has survived a house fire and a tornado. (Of course! Dragons are tough.)

This week is for getting back into my writing projects. I’ve been hammered at work and so mentally fatigued that I’ve spent most of my time playing Guild Wars 2 instead of writing. But now with this blog post under my belt I can say that I’m back in the saddle, so today is about taking stock of my works in progress and moving forward.

Have a productive, creative day, everyone!

Quilling a Dragonfly

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

This year has gotten off to a slow start and most of my writing projects are mired in various stages of incompleteness. It’s quite frustrating and I’ve decided I need some art therapy to let myself relax and play, and I really do believe that one form of creativity sparks other forms of creativity (mental cross-training and all that).

Many years ago my father bought me a quilling kit from a hobby store. The kit included an egg-shaped piece of Styrofoam and instructions for making a goldfish. After I finished the fish I played around with three-dimensional quilling and eventually made a dragon. Then I more or less put quilling aside until a couple of years ago.

I bought some supplies with an idea for doing a specific project, but that fell by the wayside when I got busy with school. I am still busy, but this week I bought Paper Quilling Chinese Style after seeing some fantastic photos from the book on Amazon.

The book arrived today and I decided to try making the dragonfly. My skills are rusty but I’ve managed a decent first project, although I’m not entirely happy with the composition. The card it’s sitting on is Strathmore multimedia paper. I’ve used Ranger Distress ink pads in Tumbled Glass and Weathered Wood, applying the colors to the paper with a foam applicator. For the edging on the card, I used a Faded Jeans color mini ink pad and simply wiped it against the card. The dragonfly’s eyes are 5mm rhinestones glued on top of tightly rolled quills.

The yellow eyes are done, and one wing is finished. The paper clip is holding a set of wings until the glue dries.

The yellow eyes are done, and what will become the head is just to the right of them. The paper clip is holding the wings until the glue dries and above that is the abdomen.

Thursday Writing Prompt No. 130

This morning I found myself wrapped up in reading old diary entries. Now my childhood wasn’t very exciting, unless you count watching drug raids on the apartments across the street or running home from school to avoid riots. I did not grow up in Yuppieville, but we managed. Anyway, in reading through I found this entry:

July 25, 1969: I really don't know what to do.

Unfortunately I seem to be reliving that day today. I have plenty of writing projects on my desk, as well as some craft projects to finish for gifts, yet I sit here trying to decide what to do. I think that’s the real problem: there is too much to do and I’m having problems prioritizing.

So, how can I turn that into a writer’s prompt? Simple: the task this week is to take a sheet of paper or index card and write down all your current works in progress. It’s okay if you only have one thing on that list.

The first step is to number them in order of priority, whether it’s a deadline-driven thing or not. If you don’t have deadlines for projects then you need to make some.

Second, take another sheet of paper or card and write the name of your priority project on it. Then list the first three things that you need to do with that project. It’s best if these are clear-cut goals, such as “figure out a name for the main character’s pet canary,” rather than “decide protagonist’s backstory.”

And step three — you got it — get to work on the first item on that list. If it doesn’t take long you can work on the other two, but make it a goal to finish at least one item.