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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Donor Perk: Give Me Prompts
This call for prompts is now CLOSED. Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm.

[EDIT 9/16/11] I have unlocked this entry so that everyone can see the prompts that inspired the poems.

The September 6, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl met the $150 goal, so you get a free series poem.  (Thank you for your support and enthusiasm!)  If you're reading this, you're on the donor filter currently, so you get to influence what kind of poem it will be.

The serial poetry poll was tied, after a very close race, and the people I usually ask to break ties had already voted.  So I just said fine, we'll try this with two series.  Those are Fiorenza, the Italian Herbalist and Path of the Paladins.  (For previous poems in these series, see the "Serial Poetry" page on my website.)  You may leave prompts for either or both series.  I will keep the prompt call open at least until Wednesday evening.

Each donor may leave up to TWO prompts, one for each series.  You can ask for a character, an event, a local color motif, an Italian form of poetry -- the usual kind of stuff that prompts can be -- related to the Fiorenza series and/or the Paladins series.  You're also allowed to ask for "side story" or "bit character" explorations since that was part of the original inspiration for this perk, a chance to go a bit further than what tends to appear in the main line of the series.    Please leave your prompts in a comment to this post.

There are currently 12 poems listed for Path of the Paladins, 4 of them unpublished.  If you want to know where the timeline is currently, "Gallery of Souls" is the town visit for trading the unicorn hairs for supplies; and the last published poem, "One Eye on the Horizon," returns to Ari's brother Larn (and the mule) when Ari's package reaches the farm.  This low fantasy series deals with such themes as moral strength, service, surviving traumatic experiences, and exploring human/divine relationships.

There are currently 10 poems listed for Fiorenza, the Italian Herbalist, 2 of them unpublished.  Regarding the timeline, "From the Free City" recounts the aftermath of an attack on Fermo, and "Plumbing the Depths" shows Fiorenza working on a mystical challenge while Giacinto looks on.  Last up is "Farm and Field" about the livestock in Fiorenza's village.  This historical fantasy series takes place in a magical version of Italy, probably late Renaissance or post-Renaissance.  Its themes include fairytale magic, rural life and relationships, gender studies, and Italian culture.

I may mix and match the prompts, or develop a poem from a single prompt, as usual. You will get one poem for free, per the terms of the perk. It's possible that more than one poem will emerge from this activity, which is fine. If there are extras, I'll look at what I have and figure out what to do with those -- you'll get a chance to sponsor the extras sooner or later. This is still a relatively new perk, so there may be other developments. I'll keep you posted.

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21 comments or Leave a comment
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: September 13th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Does Fiorenza have any living family? If so, why does she choose to live away from them?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 14th, 2011 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)


This combined with prompts from jenny_evergreen, aldersprig, and laffingkat. The result is "Winter Apples," a free-verse poem in which Fiorenza gossips with her aunts while putting up apples for storage. But something nefarious may be going on...
laffingkat From: laffingkat Date: September 14th, 2011 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

Ooh, and you worked in something harvest-related here too! Very appropriate for this time of year. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 14th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

Yep. The poem is set in late autumn, when the winter storage apples are ripening. marina_bonomi helped me figure out which apple varieties would suit different roles in the poem. As I discovered during my own research, it turns out that Italy is a major supplier of apples and hosts some of the oldest known varieties, probably dating back at least as far as the Roman Empire.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: September 13th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fiorenza is supposed to deal with the paranormal, but we haven't seen her doing that for a while; maybe it's time?

I was thinking that it might be nice to get more details about where Shahana came from, the shining city and the bright temple.
haikujaguar From: haikujaguar Date: September 13th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder if there are other god/goddesses in the Path universe, that also have wandering clergy/knights, and what they might think of Gailah's scattered foundlings. (I would hope some of them think kindly.)

I like Fiorenza's focus on the rural, but I'd like to see a city-dweller visit, for a hint of the contrast, and what a magical-version-of-Italy does with its cities. (Goodness, can you imagine a magical version of Venice? It is magical enough!)
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: September 13th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'd love this!

Maybe Fiorenza needs some rare ingredient, something that can't be found either in her village or Fermo.

Or...What about someone high up in Urbino having an unusual problem? The ducal palace there has always looked magical to me http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_Ducale,_Urbino

Or maybe in the village's countryside there are the summer residences of a few city families, that was common enough over here.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 15th, 2011 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)


You're right, the Palazzo Ducale is quite magical. When I read the article, I found some tidbits that are an utterly perfect fit for aspects of Fiorenza's world.

From this I got "A Small Separation," a free-verse poem. A messenger from the Duke hires Fiorenza to visit Urbino because 1) the palace is tilting on its foundation, and 2) something is making a bizarre racket. Can our clever country girl solve a magical mystery in a big city? Read and find out!
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 13th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's pretty clear that Ari has benefitted from being taken in by Shahana. At the very least, she's now protected from the raiders who attacked her village and raped her. Certainly, the adventure she's upon is also expanding her knowledge and awareness. However, I don't think it's all one sided benefit. The obvious things she brings to the table is companionship (NOT to be underestimated) and has proven to be a logistical benefit with the care taking and such. But is there more to this? What of the intangible things? When Shahana first took Ari under her wing, it appeared to be mostly from a sense of duty. Has that changed? Is she seeing some of the things that we, as an audience, do? Is Ari the only one rescued by this partnership?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 14th, 2011 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)


I put this together with prompts from jenny_evergreen, haikujaguar, aldersprig, and laffingkat. The result is "Opening the Gate," a free-verse poem. Shahana and Ari walk through mostly-empty pastures, talking about war and peace and history. Then the present intrudes with harsh demands of its own.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 14th, 2011 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

Looking forward to it. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 15th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poem

I'm planning to send out the prompter copies in a batch, after I finish writing. I am still going on this round of inspiration.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: September 13th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
As for Fiorenza, what's going on with the witch's son? Do we ever hear back from him? It's clear that his expertise in things supernatural differs from hers (werewolves versus vampires). What if one needed to consult the other on such a matter? (What if one is merely looking for an excuse to consult with the other?)
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: September 13th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
How do others, outsiders, see Shahana and the paladins of the fallen temple?

What does evil look like in Fiorenza's world? What about winter, preparing for winter? Putting up supplies...
From: minor_architect Date: September 14th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
For Path of the Paladins: as I've mentioned before, I want to know more about Johan. What are these "standards" he and Gailah can't measure up to? And how did he displease his "lord"...whoever that may be?

For Fiorenza: I agree with jenny_evergreen, she needs another supernatural problem to solve! Maybe something odd is ravaging the crops or Fiorenza's herb garden? Or the wells go dry for no apparent reason?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 15th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)


The last time I talked to Johan, he clammed up and wouldn't say much of substance.

This time, he wouldn't shut up. (I get the impression that "moderation" is not in his vocabulary.) So today I wrote two long, evocative poems from his perspective. I have inklings of other things in the future.

"Will Not" is a free-verse poem that takes place some days after "Stained." Johan walks through the forest, lost in thought, and winds up spending the night in a travel shack with a priest of Talaton, god of balance. Johan isn't too keen on that, but the encounter does not go quite as he expects.

"Strike Twice" is a free-verse poem set considerably later, so it's not for sale yet. Johan's sense of duty drags him into a confrontation between a group of mercenaries and some children in a village. Ouchy hurty action ensues.

I am beginning to realize that what Johan thinks he thinks, and what his actions imply he actually thinks, are so far apart that it's a wonder he can keep one foot on each of them at the same time.
From: minor_architect Date: September 16th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
The last time I talked to Johan, he clammed up and wouldn't say much of substance. This time, he wouldn't shut up.

Perhaps that's because people are showing an interest in him? >;)

At any rate, I appreciate the backchannel copies you sent of the poems I helped to inspire! The glimpses into Johan's character are...enlightening. I dare to have hope for a better future.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 16th, 2011 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)


>>Perhaps that's because people are showing an interest in him? >;)

It's possible. He seems inclined to hunker down and hide, rather than let people see him at less than his best. But he's also got a whiny streak. I think it helps that some of the other paladins are determined to pry him out of his shell, too.

>>At any rate, I appreciate the backchannel copies you sent of the poems I helped to inspire!<<

Yay! I'm happy to hear that. It's a nice extra perk for folks who are helping to support the serials. (I've added some of my volunteers to the Donors list, along with cash-sponsors.)

>> The glimpses into Johan's character are...enlightening. I dare to have hope for a better future.<<

Sooth. Despite rockfalls and chuckholes along the way, this series really is about making the future better. I'm starting to see more of an overall pattern now, the state the world is in, how and why it's changing. Of course, when you're used to the world being a disaster area, those positive changes can be disconcerting. Take small steps.
laffingkat From: laffingkat Date: September 14th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
For Path of the Paladins, I love learning more about this world and its inhabitants through our heroines travels and discussions. Has it always been devastated by war and slavery, or did things change when the war-priests gained power? How many different deities are there, and are rivalries amongst them common?

For Fiorenza, I really want to see "From the Free City" and "Plumbing the Depths" funded so that we can watch Fiorenza's relationships develop with some continuity. How will Don Candido and the other villagers react? It seems like we've mostly seen Fiorenza interacting with men. How does she get along with the women in the village, or at the market in Fermo?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 14th, 2011 08:58 am (UTC) (Link)


Regarding Fiorenza interacting with women, I put that together with a prompt from jenny_evergreen. The result is the free-verse poem "Husband by Hand." Fiorenza isn't the only girl in the village who a) is getting pressure to marry and b) isn't terribly impressed with the local options. But not everyone opts for the same solution to this dilemma...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 15th, 2011 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)


Okay, I think I'm done with this batch of prompts for now. I may revisit some of the others eventually; you gave me great ideas here.

I wrote 6 poems. I'm going to go back over these and revise them before I post a poll for the general audience to pick the freebie. Hopefully it won't tie again. The poems are:

"Winter Apples" (Fiorenza)
"Opening the Gate" (Paladins: Shahana & Ari)
"Husband by Hand" (Fiorenza)
"Strike Twice (Paladins: Johan)
"Will Not" (Paladins: Johan, not for sale yet)
"A Small Separation" (Fiorenza)
21 comments or Leave a comment