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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Open!
The Poetry Fishbowl is now CLOSED for prompts.  New poem thumbnails may still appear for a few days.  Thank you for your support and enthusiasm.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "earn your happy ending."  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.

Click to read the linkback poem "Unfamiliar Feelings" (One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis, 22 verses available).

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 "earn your happy ending." 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 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.  Comment with a link to where you posted. "Unfamiliar Feelings" belongs to One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis and has 22 verses available.

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 be series poems if 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, there will be a half-price sale in one series.

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 "earn your happy ending."  I'll be soliciting ideas for heroes, villains, horrible relatives, innocent bystanders, daunting aliens, antagonists that are not persons, accepting the call to adventure, refusing the call, proving yourself, heroic feats, epic failures, dungeons, doom planets, creepy buildings, graveyeards, hovels, shipwrecks or other ruins, situations where the deck is stacked, legendary weapons, endings and beginnings, mementos, love polygons, the nature of happiness, flaws that impede happiness, 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 "Unfamiliar Feelings.") The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

56 comments or Leave a comment
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aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: January 6th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
First thing that came to mind: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Ov3EZ3jy9s8J:www.metrolyrics.com/its-the-climb-lyrics-miley-cyrus.html+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us "The Climb." Sometimes the happy ending is the journey.

Small accomplishments, big feelings.

Building your own prince(ess)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your building prompt inspired the free-verse poem "A Precious Princess of Pulleys and Gears." Herr Drosselmeyer's nephew has brought forth an impressive automaton.

58 lines, Buy It Now = $58
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)


See today's freebie from a Dreamwidth prompt, "Dressed in Overalls."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)


From a backchannel prompt comes "Fireside Rights," written in unrhymed couplets. It speaks to the earned benefits of old age.

26 lines, Buy It Now = $15
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: January 6th, 2015 07:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
A character overcoming hubris before it destroys him/her

Antagonists working together for a positive outcome

"And in ten more years a man walked on the moon!" (from Leslie Fish's "Surprise")

A project that wasn't built by the lowest bidder, and how that worked out well in the end

ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 7th, 2015 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)


From this I got "The Three Hands of Fate," today's second freebie.
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: January 6th, 2015 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Doing something good just because you can, and the unexpected consequences that can come of that.
kestrels_nest From: kestrels_nest Date: January 6th, 2015 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Signal boosted on FB.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: January 6th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to see something about where the "happy ending" someone thought they were getting turned out to be surprisingly miserable, and their escape from the expected ending earns them the real happy ending.

Sort of thing I'm looking for, based on something I have in progress: the Wandering Hero trope. He wanders into the kingdom, rescues the princess from the horrible fate awaiting her, gains half the kingdom and her hand in marriage -- only to find he has exchanged the carefree life of an adventurer for the bureaucracy and intrigue of palace life, and isn't going to be let out of the castle at all until he has ensured the succession of the royal family in the usual manner. What happens next is up to you. Or, take another trope and run with it the same way.

Bonus kudos for avoiding the ending of Heinlein's "Glory Road", and the definition of heaven as "a place where nothing ever happens". I'd like the earner of the happy ending to achieve some personal progress.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: January 7th, 2015 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Boosted at http://ng-moonmoth.livejournal.com/2940.html. I also left another prompt I thought of there, if you're so inclined.
From: siliconshaman Date: January 6th, 2015 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bad guy falls for heroine, and tries to turn himself around. Grinding to level up social skills.

Building a future, brick by brick.

Clearing the way... clear-cutting obstacles with figurative [or literal!] napalm.

Unexpected happy endings, the unlooked-for found while perusing the intended.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 7th, 2015 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)


Your building future prompt contributed to a free-verse poem, "The Responsibility That Comes." Dylan struggles to handle a barful of confused, fretful, possibly-former-terrorists of the IRA as they ponder what to do after the Reunification.

90 lines, Buy It Now = $45
From: siliconshaman Date: January 6th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, reshared on Lj and Dw..
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Your two new verses are up.
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: January 6th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
A love advice columnist who is too used to giving everyone else advice to take it her(or him!)self.

A hard climb for a breathtaking view

Making your own luck

Deciding that what you have is already happily ever after.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 7th, 2015 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)


From this I got "The Three Hands of Fate," today's second freebie.
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: January 6th, 2015 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
The boy/girl who didn't get the princess/prince but worked their way to the benefits that relationship would have gotten them anyway.

The loyal companion on the hero/hera/heroine's great and dangerous adventure and their reward.

Making your 'happy ending' happen when it didn't just fall into your lap with the help of a fairy godmother.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 7th, 2015 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)


From this I got "The Three Hands of Fate," today's second freebie.
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: January 6th, 2015 10:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Superpowers just means the soup messes up even worse, while common sense and kindness save the day.

A gifted license doesn't mean you get a free ride; you still have to do the work.

If you don't work during the summer, you can't relax come winter. (I expect this is especially true for rangers.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2015 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)


This contributed to the free-verse poem "The Cure for Anything." Aquariana understands how emotions affect water, and tries to explain some of that both to Seth and to a young soup called Dredge.

98 lines, Buy It Now = $49
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Painted Trifles and Fantastic Toys." Hannah enjoys seeing her children happy. Saraphina needs a little coaching to figure out what toys are for.

106 lines, Buy It Now = $53
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)


From backchannel and Dreamwidth prompts, I got "Three Precious Necklaces," a Mongolian world-triad about women's life.

3 lines, Buy It Now = $5
wyld_dandelyon From: wyld_dandelyon Date: January 6th, 2015 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
You seem to be missing the link to the linkback poem--or am I being selectively blind?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 6th, 2015 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oops ...

I just forgot to add that; it should be there now.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: January 6th, 2015 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Boosted (LJ, DW)

Person's happy ending depends on making a happy ending for a particular someone else whom person doesn't know at all.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 8th, 2015 07:24 am (UTC) (Link)


This led to the free-verse poem "A Room with a Garden View." Astin visits Supply Base Bounty 3D3N and finds far more than expected.

176 lines, Buy It Now = $88
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