Michaeline: Tsukimi

It’s inspiring still: Golden moon in times gone by. One glimpse, and I’m sunk. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Tsukimi, or the moon-viewing night, was last Thursday, and I almost missed it.

What is it? It’s a ritual that was enjoyed by Japanese aristocrats in the Heian era (approx. the 900s). They’d go out in boats and watch the moon on the water. Or sometimes just sit on their veranda, and catch the reflection of the moon in their teacups, and write very, very short yet poignant poems. (Wikipedia)

This time of year was considered the best time to view the moon, and I have to say, the moon has been just gorgeous as it rose into the night sky this week. Continue reading

Michaeline: Story Bites for When You Just Can’t

There are a lot of excuses and reasons for not writing, and let’s face it: they are boring, often similar, and people will try and talk you out of them. You know your own business best, and if you say you can’t write today, I believe you. Some days are like that. Hell, some years are like that.

But, if you have a story that you are feeling guilty about, there are little things you can do that don’t take up much time at all – things that will help you feel better, and may even provide some of that spark and energy you need to find the time to write the rest.

If you’ve got five minutes . . . . (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

If you have five minutes:
Find a song, listen to it, and decide to add it to your playlist (or not). Either way, you are thinking about your story and the basic building blocks that define it. We’ve talked about playlists on this blog before. Nancy: A Little Mood Music (March 16, 2015) and Jilly: Building a Playlist (March 6, 2016)
Find a picture for your picture file. You may want to set a timer for this so you don’t drop down some Google Image Rabbit Hole. My heroine, Bunny Blavatsky, mostly sprang from a picture search, and you can find some sketches and flash fiction about her and her world right here on this blog. Michaeline: Bunny Blavatsky Arrives in New York (December 26, 2015)

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Michaeline: Autumn Haiku

A young woman in Greek costume sitting on a crescent moon with an owl.

Autumn! The days are cooler, the nights are longer, and the imagination can stretch all the way to the moon. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Sunday night is Fifteenth Night in Japan. It’s not a national holiday—that was the Autumn Equinox last week. But many people all over Asia will stop and try to catch a glimpse of the harvest moon.

 

If the night is fine, I will make a cup of tea, and try to catch the full moon in my cup. Then, I’ll try to catch the moment in a haiku.

My English haiku
Are clumsy things compared to
The moon’s beauty.

But I’ll try anyway. Sometimes, I don’t make it, and the full moon catches me by surprise, like last year.

Driving home tonight,
My parking lights are blinking.
Stopped by a gold moon.

By the time I got home, clouds had covered the sky, and my last glance at the moon was a golden globe, hanging in the blue sky you get about 30 minutes before sunset, over the freshly tilled autumn fields.

Japanese kids are trained to have a special fondness for all of the seasons, but it seems to me that fall has the most nicknames. They call it Foodie Autumn, and Arts and Crafts Autumn, and one of my favorites, Reading Autumn. After all the busy-ness of summer, it’s nice to sit down and reflect before we go into the hibernation of winter. The longer nights give us a chance to sit down and relax.

How about you? It’s a little early, but would you like to give haiku a try? This link from Wikipedia is a good refresher course. (-: And of course, limericks will not be turned away, either.

Michaeline: The Very Short Pitch

ca 1913 A young lady sitting on fence outside of a baseball park, cheering her team on. On her fan is written, "forty thousand tons" -- a reference to the fertilizer she's selling.

We’re all cheering for you as you pitch it right into the catcher’s mitt! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

So, I was goofing around this morning and stumbled upon something that I didn’t know was a thing: the Twitter pitch contest. I have never participated, and I haven’t done enough research to recommend specific contests, but it sure caught my imagination!

The idea is to write a 140-character pitch (well, probably 130 after you include the contest hashtag and genre hashtag), put it out in the great wide Twitter-world, and then wait for agents and editors and fellow-writers to notice you during the span of the contest.

Wow. One hundred and thirty letters. Talk about your challenge! A good pitch would include your protagonist, your antagonist, your major plot complication and motivations. Could you do it? Why would you even try? Continue reading