Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
Poetry Fishbowl Open! - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED.  Thank you all for your enthusiasm.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "military science fiction."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

What is military science fiction?  This subgenre explores how conflict evolves (or doesn't) over time, often setting battles in space or on alien planets.  Military space opera is an overlapping subgenre that emphasizes large-scale space battles with futuristic weapons.  Such writing often focuses on courage, sacrifice, duty, fellowship, and human ingenuity -- but it can often be about loss, betrayal, failure, and devastation.  Combat in general, and the actions of specific soldiers or troops, form the core of the storyline.  I haven't done a lot with this previously but would like to explore it further.  For some examples, see The Clockwork War (a completed series), Kung Fu Robots (ongoing, and really wuxia SF), and Starfather (ongoing).

Watch for the linkbacks perk to go live.  Click to read "No Secrets" (One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis, 23 verses).

What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "military science fiction."  I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.

Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.

2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A new feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated.  There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.

3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.

Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem.  One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal.  dreamwriters  has volunteered to ost the verse this month, so you'll need to notify her of your linkbacks in a comment to her post, in order for them to count.  "No Secrets" belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis and has 23 verses.

Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.

5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl.  These will usually beseries poemsif I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size.  If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row.  Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day.  If donations reach $300, you get a half-price sale for one week in one series.  Everyone will get to vote on which series to feature in the sale, out of those with extra poems available.

Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "military science fiction." nbsp;I'll be soliciting ideas for futuristic soldiers, people they rescue, sentient starships/weapons/AIs, troublesome aliens or other antagonists, SF arsenal or equipment, medals, battlegrounds, planets or moons, unexpected terrain for a futuristic war, sudden changes in the flow of combat, famous future battles, strategy and tactics, examples of how nothing will kill you faster than intel that used to be  true, reasons for fighting, changes in the military over time, and poetic forms in particular. But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have the first edition of Lewis Turco's The Book of Forms which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations.  Linkbacks reveal verses of "No Secrets.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

Tags: , , , , ,
Current Mood: creative creative

45 comments or Leave a comment
Page 1 of 2
[1] [2]
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: January 8th, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
What does a fox-hole become in a space battle? Front-line combat? Infantry? Civilians caught in the crossfire?

War mechanized to the point where it is no longer about human casualty at all - The War the Robots Fought.

If war pleases the gods, than what gods are pleased by war in the skies?

The territory that got tired of being fought over - so it moved.

Mascots in a space war.

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)


The prompt about a territory tired of being fought over led to the free-verse poem "Disembattled." Space battles, infantry battles, a very pissed-off planet, and creative interpretation of what constitutes collateral damage.

78 lines, Buy It Now = $39
siege From: siege Date: January 8th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the first uses of computers was, of course, war: things like artillery and missile trajectories, mostly, as the math regarding continuous curves can be complex, tedious, and time-consuming. Of course that expanded, particularly with the advent of the database and communications protocols.

What roles might computing take in war in the Steamsmith's world? Could this be combined, possibly, with Laquerware computing?

Moving forward, how about the role of flight in military situations?

Combining those, would any of the Kung Fu robots learn to fly, or walk on water (both common "wire-fu" abilities associated with wuxia)? Why would they? "The man without wings often desires them. What does the man who has wings desire?"

Speaking of wings, what happens to soldiers in the world of Fledging Grace? What wings do they gain? How are they treated? How do they use their new wings, and what problems occur?

And then let's ask after Queen Choufa's descendents, who have the ability to choose. When one may choose to fight, who refuses and why?

Soldiers who spend time in a country often befriend not just the human citizens there, but the animals and even plants around them (note the number of cats and dogs who've made the news by coming home with American soldiers after recent military actions). This seems quite shamanic in nature to me, but it's natural human behavior. Warriors have their role, as do those who work with spirits; some are both. But let's move this more toward sci-fi: What of warriors stationed on a distant world with life of its own? Is it even compatible with a human-safe environment? And what about bringing one's pets and companions home? (Perhaps this ties in with the Starfather, perhaps not.)

Speaking of pets and companions and home, who waits for lost soldiers -- the ones who'll never come home -- to walk in the door in the world of the Monster House?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


From your prompt about lost soldiers came the Monster House poem "Widow's Walk." The son of the little old lady ghost returns, but it's not exactly the happy reunion that might have been wished for.

54 lines, Buy It Now = $20
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


I combined the space concerns with futuristic armor to get the poem "ARG." This poem is written in rhymed, metered sestets and it describes the qualities of armor needed for space battles.

24 lines, Buy It Now = $10
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: January 8th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Game Workshop's trademark of 'Space Marines' and their effort to apply it to fiction.

What's the futuristic equivalent of origami?

time dilation as a factor in battles/campaigns

An unexpected weapon

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)


The prompts about an unexpected weapon and origami remaining origami inspired my poem "full moon in a western sky." A scientists folds spacetime as a defense against enemy attack. This poem is written in haiku verses.

27 lines, Buy It Now = $15

Edited at 2013-01-08 09:16 pm (UTC)
marina_bonomi From: marina_bonomi Date: January 8th, 2013 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
>What's the futuristic equivalent of origami? >

Origami, of course ;-), maybe self-folding though http://gizmodo.com/5902004/this-inkjet-prints-self+folding-origami

Master Mo and his disciples, or how the followers and proponents of universal love were also the best siege engineers in acient China, always giving their services to cities and states under attack by aggressive neighbours http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohism
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)


The prompts about an unexpected weapon and origami remaining origami inspired my poem "full moon in a western sky." A scientists folds spacetime as a defense against enemy attack. This poem is written in haiku verses.

27 lines, Buy It Now = $15

Edited at 2013-01-08 09:16 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)


Dreamwidth user chordatesrock left a backchannel prompt that inspired the poem "A Solitary Secession," which I've posted as today's first freebie.

Edited at 2013-01-08 07:38 pm (UTC)
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: January 8th, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
ARG - air, radiation, gravity - three major concerns a spacefairer needs to be always aware of - (borrowed from the Cyberpunk supplement, Near Orbit)

The soundlessness of a space battle - you never hear the one that kills you

The hunt for the dread pirate Mary, Captain of the skyship Cloudsilk (okay, so steampunk might not quiiite be science fiction...)

Edited at 2013-01-08 07:29 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


I combined the space concerns with futuristic armor to get the poem "ARG." This poem is written in rhymed, metered sestets and it describes the qualities of armor needed for space battles.

24 lines, Buy It Now = $10
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: January 8th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Service in the expectation of death.

Volunteering for dangerous duty so those with more of something you value to return home to, can.

A day that's less of a snafu than others.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)


I combined your prompts about death and danger with one from DW user Primeideal on time travel. "A One-Way Trip" is free-verse about how death can be a surrounding circumstance rather than a personal experience, and the horrors of four-dimensional combat.

87 lines, Buy It Now = $43.50
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: January 8th, 2013 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
What happens when a military mission turns into a first-contact situation?

Something about the frightened spaceships.

Rescue missions.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Dealing with PTSD when home and relative safety are millions of miles away.

Tropes in military SF, like the commander who by skill and luck (or luck and skill) overcomes all odds, over and over again.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)


I combined cyborg veterans and rescue missions to get the free-verse poem "Cybernetic Plowshares." After the war, cyborgs strive to find peacetime applications for the bioenhancements that cannot be removed.

62 lines, Buy It Now = $32
From: siliconshaman Date: January 8th, 2013 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Imagine a war fought by Gen-Mods, genetically modified warriors, regarded as living weapons, not people... Now imagine how they'd feel about the out-break of peace and prospect of being 'decommissioned'.

In the art of War, it says: "The most excellent victory is the one that does not have to be fought for, the battle that is won before the foes take to the field." One has to wonder how that would apply to future warfare...

Cyborg warriors, returning home and re-purposing their modifications into something to be used in civilian life, turning swords into ploughshares.

Edited at 2013-01-08 09:53 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)


I combined cyborg veterans and rescue missions to get the free-verse poem "Cybernetic Plowshares." After the war, cyborgs strive to find peacetime applications for the bioenhancements that cannot be removed.

62 lines, Buy It Now = $32
thesilentpoet From: thesilentpoet Date: January 8th, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Work was surprisingly busy today, so if it's not too late...

Had the Space Race taken any different turns, how might it have affected how we fought the Cold War? And really, any subsequent wars?

In 2025, we successfully colonized Mars. By 2075, the colony is utterly decimated. What happened? And what might it mean for those left behind?

A child finds an alien in his/her backyard. His/her parent just happens to be [major world leader of choice].

We fired first.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)


Your prompt about a world leader's child finding an alien hitched up with recent discussions of Judaism and older discussions of why Israel is so violently protective of its turf. The result is the free-verse poem "The Law Was," a very brief first-contact encounter about how human behavior is so often an expression of human history.

34 lines, Buy It Now = $15
From: rhodielady_47 Date: January 8th, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps you won't mind some silly military SF?
The phrase "some pretty strange latrines" keeps running through my mind in conjunction with soldiers who keep meeting soldiers from other planets on their trip to the latrines.
Shore leave and space marines sounds like it might be fun.
I wonder what the military police might be like if instead of their nickname being "Mule Patrol" for "MP" what if the mule patrol was composed of aliens who LOOK like mules?

On a more serious note, imagine what a soldier might be feeling if he/she was standing watch at night on a strange planet where they have NO IDEA what the night sounds should be like or the animals who make them. (Just imagine what someone fresh off the boat in colonial America probably thought the first time he/she heard a bullfrog croak at night or in Africa, someone who heard their first hyena laugh in the darkness.)
Hope this helps.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)


From the prompt about strange latrines and military police came the free-verse poem "The Mule Patrol." Some soldiers really are capable of learning from other people's mistakes; we'll assume you're one of them.

46 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2013 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)


Over on Dreamwidth, Jjhunter's prompt about battling bots combined with one from Paka about anthropomophizing AIs and led to the free-verse poem "Jumpship." These artificial intelligences are not programmed like ordinary humans ... but they get along really well with some autistic separatists.

182 lines, Buy It Now = $91
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: January 9th, 2013 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
The Problem With Guns

Not-So-Basic Training (Linux?)

Supply Lines

If you can't talk to the enemy, how can you negotiate terms?


P.S.: I tweeted!

Edited at 2013-01-09 01:30 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)


I liked the idea of not being able to talk with the enemy; it matched neatly with an eternal war prompt from Cadenzamuse on Dreamwidth. The result is "Oxydizing Agents, Reducing Agents" and it covers a galactic conflict over resources between oxygen-breathers and methane-breathers. Everything is geopolitics ...

75 lines, Buy It Now = $37.50
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)


From a comment by Dreamwidth user Wytchcroft came this poem ...

The phrase "med tests" stuck in my mind and turned into the free-verse poem "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer." An alien attack leaves two men under pressure to have sex with each other. This has complications.

186 lines, Buy It Now = $93
45 comments or Leave a comment
Page 1 of 2
[1] [2]