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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 for your time and attention.  Please keep an eye on this post as I am still writing.

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open!  Today's theme is "This is NOT what I signed up for!"  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 "An Innocence Reclaimed" (9 verses, Yellow Unicorns).

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 "This is NOT what I signed up for!" 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 Dreamwidth, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, 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.  "An Innocence Reclaimed" has 9 verses and belongs to the Yellow Unicorns.   

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 "This is NOT what I signed up for!" I'll be soliciting ideas for adventurers, soldiers, sailors, police, firefighters, civil servants, clergy, superheroes, aliens, employees, minions, lawyers, other people who deal with contracts, traveling, troubleshooting, serving a boss, discovering problems, finding creative solutions, confronting deception, asking questions, exploring new techniques, discovering yourself, learning what you can do, battlefields, ships, the glory road, offices, courtrooms, churches or temples, magical laboratories, dungeons, other places where things go awry, contracts, terms of service, escape clauses, bait and switch, unforseen circumstances, when the whole world changes out from under you, cape fights, alien invasions, schools of magic, 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 New Book of Forms by Lewis Turco 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 "An Innocence Reclaimed."  The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.

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Current Mood: creative creative

17 comments or Leave a comment
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 5th, 2018 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt from Anthony Barrette inspired "Into the Unknown Country." Written in unrhymed quatrains, it follows a teacher into kindergarten.

Hold for original prompter.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 5th, 2018 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)


Several Dreamwidth prompts contributed to the free-verse poem "In a Time of Tension and Trouble." A Kraken team breaks into an Afghani base and finds a disconcerting scene.

192 lines, Buy It Now = $96
my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: June 5th, 2018 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

Regarding Damask

Dace becomes aware of one (or more) of Clement's headmates, and struggles to come to terms with this month's theme.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2018 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Regarding Damask

This inspired the free-verse poem "A Single Lie Discovered." Dace finds out that there's more to his friend than he realized. He doesn't take it very well.

506 lines, Buy It Now = $253
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 5th, 2018 11:34 pm (UTC) (Link)


It was a truck, actually. "Written in Dust" follows "A Pattern of Devotion" and "Always Repay the Cost" and shows how Fiddlesticks responds after the incident.

128 lines, Buy It Now = $64
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)


Your first prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Any Fight Worth Fighting." Cuoio gets sent to capture some human traffickers, but the mission gets a lot more complicated than anticipated.

344 lines, Buy It Now = $172
rix_scaedu From: rix_scaedu Date: June 6th, 2018 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)
A rescue pet takes a very unexpected turn.

A promise leads to an unexpected relationship.

There was supposed to be a twist in the plan's execution that absolved the protagonists of something, but the twist was something else entirely.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)


Your monster prompt inspired the free-verse poem "A Sea Silent of Dragon Shrimp." Everyone agrees that dragon shrimp are terrible, but they have a role to play.

50 lines, Buy It Now = $20
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 10:12 am (UTC) (Link)


Your friendship prompt contributed to the free-verse poem "Packing Away." Helping someone move can get messier than expected.

27 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)


A couple of Dreamwidth prompts contributed to the free-verse poem "Key Chains." Sometimes, it isn't about the things you think it is.

28 lines, Buy It Now = $15
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 10:34 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Slipping on Peels." What do you do when you realize that you bought the wrong food?

20 lines, Buy It Now = $10
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Done for the night!

I still have more to write, but need sleep now.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 6th, 2018 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)


Your AI prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Arduous Thing." Two AYES talk about the ups and downs of freedom in the Lacuna.

85 lines, Buy It Now = $43
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 7th, 2018 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)


Your courting prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Fishing in Shallow Waters." Maryam encounters new stumbling blocks in the process of searching for a spouse.

139 lines, Buy It Now = $139
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 9th, 2018 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)


A backchannel prompt from DW user Dialecticdreamer inspired the free-verse poem "Those Who Are With You." Joshua gets a surprise visitor. Much fluff ensues.

641 lines, Buy It Now = $321
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 10th, 2018 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)


This inspired the free-verse poem "Until One Is Committed."

Alfonso Durante has a nose for trouble, and he's picking on the wrong superhera.

113 lines, Buy It Now = $57
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 15th, 2018 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)


Your mazil prompt inspired the free-verse poem "As You Make Your Bed." Victor has to puzzle out a mysterious set of thefts.

368 lines, Buy It Now = $184
17 comments or Leave a comment