Interesting “Holiday-Free” Writing Prompts to Keep Your Pen on the Page

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Writing

Life can become hectic during the holiday season and finding the time to write can often be difficult. Writing opportunities are easily lost among the celebrations and chaos that is Christmas. Inspiration can also fade throughout this time of year, last years projects may have come to an end and the majority of writing is spent focused on ‘holiday themed’ pieces. Holiday writing can be fun, creative and profitable, but it can quickly become mundane. (Hence the fact that Christmas is only one day out of the entire year. The novelty of the holiday wears off…quickly!)So to ease off the holiday writing blues and get the New Year off to a good start, I have compiled a list of interesting “holiday-free” writing prompts that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and keep your pen on the page.

Interesting “Holiday-Free” Writing Prompts

  • Next time you are out in public pay close attention to the people around you, (shopping malls at this time of year have one benefit, tons of people, which means tons of inspiration.) choose a stranger and take a moment to study them. After you have created a mental image head home and hit the writing desk. Center a story solely around your chosen target, consider such things as appearance, body language and mannerisms. What do these things tell you about this person, who they are, what they are doing, where they are going, etc. This is a tried and true prompt that you have probably seen, read or used at some point in the past, it is a reliable way to get your creative mind working and can be an excellent source for practicing detail oriented writing. I often create small stories in my head as I run my errands, taking one stranger from each store I visit and creating a life for them in my mind. This simple act has been the foundation for a great number of stories I have written in the past, and has inspired works that would otherwise have never been created.
  • Finish the sentence, “I knew right away that…”
  • Describe an emotion, such as, fear, love or anger in as much detail as possible. Consider all of your senses in your writing and add as much detail as possible without sounding factual or rambling on.
  • Take your favorite song lyrics, or a portion of them, and turn them into a story. Be sure your story is complete with well-rounded characters, conflict, resolution and dialogue.
  • Create a character in your mind, or choose one you have already created in the past, and describe the following things from their point of view; a crowded room, an empty hallway, their home, their job, their partner, their life and their favorite thing to do. Be sure you involve all of the five senses and add descriptive details. This is a great way to build on characters and get to know them on a more personal level, while practicing detailed writing.
  • Consider the thing you hate the most, your biggest pet-peeve. Now, build a character that likes that thing which you despise. This is a great way to train your mind to see things from a different perspective and find the positive in every situation.
  • Describe the homes of the three following people; a teacher, a gangster and a crooked lawyer.
  • Write a story in a first person point of view about Josh or Janet who has been arrested for the first time. Write the same story from the limited third person point of view of the police officer that arrested the character.
  • Visit a local Thrift Store and browse through the items in the shop. Choose an interesting piece of furniture or another item. (you don’t need to purchase the item, you can simply view it and memorize details, or take a picture if you are able) Once you have arrived home recall the item and write its story. Where did it come from? Who was the original owner? What did it do? How did it end up in the Thrift Store? Etc. Be creative and spare no details.
  • Write a paragraph describing your characters hands in as much detail as possible. Try to create an image of your characters life  using only a description of their hands.
  • Choose a word you have never seen before from the dictionary and write a piece centered around that word. Start without knowing its definition and creating your own based on what you ‘think’ the word means, then create a piece based on the true definition of the word. How far off was your assumption?
  • A great prompt for story/poetry writing from Writingforward.com is to write using post-it notes. The prompt reads as follows:  Limit yourself to a few words (for poetry) or just a line or two (for prose). On each Post-it, write a line of dialogue or some basic action (she walked toward the door). You’ll be writing in a tiny space, and that will make you choose your words more carefully, and when you’re done, you can have fun patching all the Post-its together to complete your piece. I think this is a great prompt that forces you to get creative and think about the words you are using.
  • Create an expanded profile from an ad in your local newspapers personals section using the simple details provided, or base a character on one of the entries you find there.
  • Pick up a brochure from a travel agency or a real estate guide and write a piece based on one of the destinations, images or houses. Who lives there? What are they like? What do they do? Etc. This is a great story prompt, poetry prompt or tool for character development.

Feel free to share your results from the prompts above (or a link to them) in the comments section below.
Submissions for ‘Share and Shine Sundays’ are also welcome and can be sent to: perfectlyprompted@live.ca
*Please be sure to mention if you wish to remain anonymous in the post.*

Until Next Time…

Write On!

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Wordy Wednesday’s Wild Word Scramble

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Happy Hump Day!!

The beginning of the week can be a hectic time, between catching up on all the work that piled up over the weekend, to planning for the days ahead many us forget to take the time we need to unwind and enjoy all the little things that life has to offer. That is why this week Wordy Wednesday’s is a fun and challenging mid-week moment for you mind. Take a break and test your skills with these silly scramblers. Have fun!

Wordy Wednesday’s Wild Word Play

Please unscramble the words below
1. eciligelnten
2. ospmtrp
3. rigwtni
4. gblnoggi
5. ncnmmtioouica
6. ykawseed
7. ywdseaden
8. doswr
9. lsemcarbd
10. tmtaintneeren
11. mtictxneee
12. fnu
13. laenxratoi

Feel free to post your answers in the comment section… I will post the correct answers there tomorrow. If you enjoyed this Wordy Wednesday’s Wild Word Scramble wander over to The Teachers Corner and try their FREE Word Scrambler. It is a great site with tons of links, resources and FREE Printables. 

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Writing Prompts to Persuade Your Peers ….

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Persuasion is the process of guiding oneself or another toward the adoption of an idea, action, or attitude by rational and symbolic (though not always logical) means. – Wikipedia

Last week I discussed writing about controversial issues to get attention, along the same lines this week I am providing you with some writing prompts that discuss some much talked about issues in society. Taking a well-known issue and sharing your opinion is an easy way to get yourself some attention and recognition in your writing, especially if you can take the issue and convince others that your spin, or thought on it, is the right one  have. Persuasive writing is a powerful tool and one that requires much practice…

Here is a list of some persuasive, or expository writing prompts for you to try out. These prompts are geared towards making you think, and persuading others to do the same… Try them out and feel free to share the results if you are inspired. When writing on these topics you have two options, you may choose to research the topic in order to provide factual information in your writing, or you may opt to write simply based on your opinion of the issue… the choice is yours and the possibilities are endless. You are welcome to post links to your post or your own blogs in the comment area for others to see… Again this site is about getting writers connected to each other to promote inspiration and success…

Writing Prompts that will persuade you to think:

  1. Many people believe that television now-a-days promotes violence in our children, and has a negative effect on society. Do you agree or disagree?
  2. Many people spend their lives fighting for a cause, such as; freeing political prisoners, is there a cause you hold dear to your heart? Why? and Why should others as well? Persuade me to join your crusade!
  3. Does the music our children listen to really influence their way of life? Why or why not? What should change?
  4. Schools all over the world are adapting a “No Homework Ever” policy because studies have shown that children learn better ‘in’ class than ‘out’. Do you agree with this idea? Why or Why not?
  5. To fight the “War on Drugs” many schools across America are conducting random searches of students and their storage units. It has raised a large amount of discussion on the right to privacy at school. Where do you stand on this issue and why?

These topics are simple suggestions, the idea is to take an issue that gets a lot of attention and use it to your benefit. By sharing your opinion on a front page issue you will gain readership and move yourself up in the search listings. Use one of the above or think of your own ‘Hot Topic‘ to discuss in order to get your writing the attention it deserves…. Fill up the comments area with your results!

Until Next Time…

Write On!

The Power of Descriptive Writing

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Descriptive writing calls for acute attention to detail, as well as creativity and intense use of imagination. It is one way that a writer can practice adding detail to their writing without fear of going overboard, or swaying off topic. Perfecting this fine art provides many benefits to you the writer, as well as the audience you are trying to reach, and is generally easy to achieve and craft successfully.

What is Descriptive Writing?

First I will start by explaining what exactly descriptive writing is. Descriptive writing is a style of writing that allows the reader to gain a closer view of characters, scenes, or objects by providing detailed and vivid descriptions. With practice, a talented descriptive writer has the ability to capture the reader’s attention and emotions, making the reader feel as if they are part of the story, and it is evolving right before their eyes. There are certain elements of descriptive writing that one must cultivate in order to bring the reader ‘inside’ the story and enable them to visualize the scene clearly in their minds.

Good descriptive writing is comprised of four elements; Sensory Description, Figurative Language, Precise Wording, and Careful Organization.

Sensory Description – Descriptive writing uses all of the five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell) to pull the reader into the story and allow them to experience the same sensations as the characters inside their minds. For example a writer who is good at using descriptive writing may describe a log home by first describing the wood it is made from, the smell of it, the look of it, and the feel of it. They may then describe the setting around the cabin, the way it smells inside or the sounds that surround it in the night. The idea is to “show” the details rather than “tell” them, allowing the reader to visualize them in their mind.

Figurative Language – Figurative, or Illustrative language is used to produce ‘imagery’ by comparing the described setting or object to something else that the reader is easily able to visualize and associate in their mind. There are many ways to use figurative language, and it is a talent that should be practiced until perfected. Metaphors are used when you wish to connect or compare things equally, where similes are used to compare two objects while keeping them separate. Other forms of figurative language include: hyperbole, which exaggerates an object to add effect. Puns, which add a humorous tone to a words different meanings, and personification which takes an abstract object and relates to it as a person. Figurative language is an important part of descriptive writing, and something that can always be expanded and improved upon with practice.

Precise Wording – One of the main points of descriptive writing is the use of timing. A good descriptive writer has the ability to make the reader feel as if the event being described is happening ‘right now’. This is done through the use of active verbs, rather than commonly used passive ones. It is also important that the writer carefully select precise modifiers, nouns and adjectives to describe objects and settings. Rather than the general nouns that one normally uses, the writer should be aiming for more specific words that allow the reader to feel like they are part of the action. All adjectives, adverbs and other words should be chosen with care.

Careful Organization – Organization is probably the most important part of descriptive writing. The writing needs to be organized with some sense of purpose, be it: chronological order, importance, or in balance with the relations involved. Whichever way the writer chooses to provide the information in must be done in a well thought out, organized fashion, that is easy for the reader to follow and understand. Lengthy descriptive pieces may involve intricate planning and preparation before you even begin to write your first draft, but it is very important to the flow and functionality of the information, and should be taken very seriously. Practice is the only sure-fire way of improving upon this ability.

When and Where Descriptive Writing Can Be Used

Descriptive writing is found commonly throughout every genre, and can be incorporated in to every piece of writing in some form. It is most commonly seen in the form of “first person” because many writers find it easier to describe something that they are actually seeing, for example: “I heard the footsteps on the creaky wooden floor boards. I could smell the aroma from his pipe, and the strong scent of his cologne before he reached the top of the stairs. The smells mixed together and reminded me of stale garbage on a hot summer day, that scent that fills your nose and never ceases.” Learning to describe these senses from a characters point of view takes more practice, but is a talent that is well worth the effort.  Try adding some descriptive detail to your next blog post, or personal story, you can also easily incorporate this style of writing into an essay to help make your point more clear to your reader.

How Can Descriptive Writing Be Practiced?

The only way to practice is to jump right in feet first. Below are a few basic descriptive writing prompts to get you started. Don’t stress about the outcome, the best way to start is by closing your eyes and visualizing how the scene or prompt makes you ‘feel.’ What do you see? Smell? Taste? Hear? Use precise words, and as many details as possible. Allow the words to flow as if you were telling a friend. The goal is to make the reader see, hear, and feel the way you did at that exact moment. Try the scenes and ideas below in a short descriptive paragraph or essay, and feel free (as always) to share the results of your writing in the comment section below.

Descriptive Writing Prompts

Describe….

  • a waiting room
  • your favorite treasure
  • your dream house
  • a dark closet
  • a long hallway
  • an accident scene
  • a child’s secret hiding spot
  • the morning commute on the bus or train
  • an item forgotten in the back of the refrigerator
  • your favorite food
  • a cemetery or funeral
  • a small town (seaside or mountain top)
  • a storefront window
  • an inspiring view
  • the most relaxing place on earth
  • your wedding day (or dream wedding)
  • your partners hands
  • a special feeling
  • your greatest childhood memory
  • your mother (or mother-in-law)
  • a porcelain doll
  • the scene at work when something went wrong
  • a bad date
  • a dark alley


Try one of these prompts out, or create your own. Check back often to share ideas and get inspired by other peoples writing. I will be posting my own shortly. You can keep them as short, or as long, as you like. The idea is just to see where the image takes you, and to touch on a talent that may be hidden inside your writing soul.

(Check out About.com’s Examples of Descriptive Writing here before you begin if you are looking for inspiration)

Descriptive writing can easily improve your writing and make it more pleasurable to read. It can add pages and pages to your written work, and can change the entire outlook of a single piece of writing. It is one of the best ways to show your talent for writing, as well as your passion. I strongly urge you to challenge yourself with these prompts regularly no matter which genre you prefer.

I look forward to reading your results… and remember descriptive writing is wonderful because there is no ‘right or wrong’. There are simply different perspectives on the same ideas.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Why Self-Discovery is Important to your Writing

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Welcome, this is the 1st edition of Mystery Mondays and I hope that this post finds you all in good health as you start off your week.

Learning about yourself will improve your writing.

Mystery Mondays is geared towards asking questions, finding answers and getting to know yourself on a deeper level. It is a way of challenging yourself to grow, both personally, and as a writer.

This post is going to look at the benefits of self-discovery and your writing.

Self-DiscoveryNoun: The process of acquiring insight into one’s own character.

The mind is a fascinating instrument of creativity. This intricate device is constantly working and accessing different ideas, whether you are aware that it is happening or not. Like an instrument, a mind needs to be cared for and tuned regularly. That is where self-discovery comes into play. Asking yourself questions and learning to understand the way you think is a big part of living a full and happy life. Knowing what you truly want and need in life, and discovering those things which make you happiest are essential to success. The same principle applies to you as a writer, you need to understand the way your mind creates to be able to create successfully. You need to learn to take your thoughts, conscious and subconscious, and be able to harness them for a creative purpose, rather than just a fact of everyday life.

A successful writer operates on more than mental capacity, these writers have learned to dig deep within themselves to pull out those ideas, stories, and creations that are hidden inside the corners of the mind, threatening to disappear into the unknown. They have discovered the way that they think, and have found a way to utilize their specific mode of thinking to create deeper more passionate writing, thus connecting with their readers on a more intense level. Whether they have accomplished this purposely or simply as a result of their drive for success is truly irrelevant, by paying attention to themselves and their needs they have chosen this success through thinking.

What you think about, and focus on becomes your reality. We have all heard about the power of positive thinking in some form; one of the most known sources of information on this topic is the book “The Secret” which discusses the way our thinking patterns create our lives. This “secret” is actually no secret at all… Your thoughts are what makes you who you are, and what has gotten you to where you are today. That is why it is important that people pay attention to their way of thinking, in order to prevent unwanted results, and also why it is important that we look at the things that we truly want and need in life.

What does all this have to do with your writing?

A major part of self-discovery is becoming more aware of what and how you are thinking, as well as learning to tap into the unending resource that is your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is the storage facility of the brain, it is where any information, thoughts, or emotions that are not relevant to the current momentary situation get sent to be sorted and stored until they are required. The downfall to the subconscious mind is, that like a filing cabinet, this information needs to be removed as more takes over the space. Thus learning to locate and utilize these thoughts and ideas are a great way to increase your creativity. There is a large amount of information that can be lost if it is not used, and each piece that is wasted holds the chance of having become an amazing piece of work. This is not to say that every idea you have will become an extraordinary piece of writing, but your thoughts as a writer are like the lottery, you can not win if you don’t play!

How to tap into your subconscious mind and improve your writing:

Learning to utilize the thoughts that are stored in your subconscious mind can become life long journey, but you “the writer” can easily enter the vault and pull a random file at anytime, creating the possibility of successful passionate writing with every thought you choose…

  • Pay closer attention to the world around you – The world we live in is a constant source of inspiration, yet many times we are so busy living our lives that we fail to see what is right under our nose. Take time to look around as you go about your daily routine. Stop to enjoy the world, take note of all that inspires you. Allow yourself to really “feel” the emotions that things bring to your mind, and explore the different ways you can share those emotions with others through words.
  • Carry a notebook at all times – One of the most basic rules of successful writing applies to self-discovery as well, never let a moment of creativity pass you by. Your mind is constantly working and you can not rely on it to remember a small detail at a later time. With so much information being processed it is easy for a great idea to get lost among the clutter, carry a notebook and take a moment to write down anything that gets your attention. When you look back later be sure that you have written it in a way that you understand, in order to spark the same emotions in your subconscious that you felt at the time.
  • Take time to get to know yourself – It is important that we regularly ask ourselves questions and consider our answers in order to grow as people and as writers. Asking general questions such as; What do I want? Need? Dream? are a great start, but you need to look deeper within in order to truly know who you are inside. Ask yourself such things as; Who are you? Where are you heading in life? What are you most passionate about? and Where do you hope to be in the future? By responding to these questions regularly you will learn about your true desires, rather than the wants that we ‘superficialize‘ in regards to material things. Forget what others think, what others want from you, and consider only what you want for yourself.
  • Be at peace – Spending time in a quiet environment is a great way to tap into your subconscious mind. Sit in a place where you will not be disturbed and simply ‘be.’ Don’t worry about what you have to make for dinner, your to-do list, or the kids. Forget your laundry, your schedule, or your busy life. Take a moment to simply enjoy the peace and then see where your mind takes you.
  • Write Freely – Free writing is one of the easiest ways to get inside the creases of the mind where thoughts and ideas can easily be lost. Sit only with a pen and paper and allow your hand to guide you. Do not think consciously, instead let words flow out as they please. The point is not to make sense, but to rid your mind of all the clutter and then review it to see if any of these thoughts can be used in your work. You may feel strange when you first attempt free writing, try setting a timer for five minutes and keep writing until that time is done. It is important that you keep in mind it is not about creating anything usable, there does not need to be rhyme and reason to this piece, it is only about letting go of inhibitions and discovering those thoughts that your mind has filed away inside.
  • Pay attention to how you “feel” – Paying attention to your thoughts is just as important as paying attention to your emotions. When it comes to growing as a writer the usual goal is to produce more passionate writing that grabs the reader’s attention and holds them there. You want to be able to have your audience ‘feel’ the way your feeling through your words, thus exploring your emotions can be a very beneficial journey. The easiest way to accomplish this is to consciously think about how something makes you feel. By using your conscious mind you are making something a reality, and are more likely to be able to express and relive the thought later.

Whatever your goals in life, personally or in your writing, discovering and learning to understand the way you think through self-discovery is going to benefit you, and your writing, in many ways. By knowing yourself you will learn the ways that you can manipulate your thoughts to be able to write even when you don’t feel up to it, you will be able to produce more writing at a faster pace that is more in-depth and appealing. By journeying down the road to self-discovery you ‘the writer’ will be happier and probably more successful, and chances are you will be able to see what it truly takes to make you happy. Some writers “think” that they need to write a Great American Novel to be happy and feel accomplished in their writing, but they later discover that just writing anything and possibly making some money doing it is enough, and vice-versa. Once you learn more about yourself and your true desires you will be able to decide what it is you need to do, and it will be easier to accomplish your goals and achieve those things. You will have a stronger writing voice, a more passionate approach, and deeper understanding. You will benefit endlessly by learning about yourself and discovering the person that you truly are inside.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Sinful Saturdays #1 – Controversial Questions

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I apologize for the lack of posts.. the world around me has been chaos! But without any further delay here is the First Edition of Sinful Saturdays which aims to have you look deeper at yourself and your views through prompts and questions that spark conversation.

Too many times we restrain ourselves. For fear of offending others we avoid certain topics. Some of my best writing has occurred when I address those issues that get my blood boiling. Try writing an editorial piece, story, or other form of work about a topic that some might deem inappropriate.

Before you write though consider both sides, and answer the arguments of them as well…. For all negative reasoning there is positive reasoning…

Take for example the issue of Abortions…

There are major arguments as to why abortion is wrong, such as; taking away an innocent life, some say it is equal to murder, some think it is like playing God, Adoption is a viable alternative,  in the instance of rape or sex crimes the child is not the offender and should not suffer, abortion is being used as a form of contraception, it cause stress on your body and mind…. etc…

But you also have to look at the arguments that support abortion as well, for example; abortion is no murder because nearly all abortions occur in the first trimester when the fetus can not survive independently, if a fertilized egg to be used for in-vitro is not used it is the same as abortion then, it is better to save a child from a life of suffering with a parent that will be unable or unfit to care for them, pregnancy can occur even with the use of contraception and a child should not suffer due to a mistake or accident, in the case of rape or sex crimes the victim has suffered deeply looking at the face of a child created by such violence can cause deeper pain thus affecting the child and the way it will be treated due to mental suffering on the victims part, the choice to abort saves millions of tax dollars and mothers who will struggle on the welfare system… etc….

As you can see above, when you look at both sides of an issue you discover that both have viable arguments.. you may find it hard to choose a side. This can create some of the best writing. Open minded articles that give the facts without judgment, or argumentative articles that fight for certain rights can help a writer to express themselves and their passions.

Try choosing a controversial issue that sparks you interest and write something for the opposing side to your beliefs. If this is too difficult for you to do emotionally, or you find that it is against your morals, etc… than write about your opinion, and why you support the topic the way you do…

You do not have to share your writing with anyone unless you choose to, the idea is more to create passion and to open your mind to other views and ideas that exist in the world around you.

Some Ideas To Consider:

  • Abortion Wrong or Right?
  • War Always Bad or Sometimes Necessary? 
  • Bin Laden – Dead or Alive? Should he have been killed or put to trial?
  • The Death Penalty For or Against? 

You get the idea… Try it out and see where it takes you…. Open your mind and write “outside the box” as always feel free to share your topic if you choose, and comments are ALWAYS welcome!

Until Next Time…..

Write On!

Wordy Wednesdays #1 – Learn Something New

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The life of a writer revolves around words. Writing words, using words, and find the right word to express exactly what they are trying to say. Many writers will tell you that they turn to a thesaurus almost daily in their writing looking for new and interesting words to use in their writing. A thesaurus is a great way to find new words to use and an excellent source for expanding your vocabulary. I love learning new words and finding ways to incorporate them into my writing and even my daily communications….

And so, for Wordy Wednesdays #1 I have decided to share a list of new and interesting words, some of which you may have heard, or even used in your own writing, and some that may be new to you. Enjoy reading through the list and try using your favorites in a sentence. Feel free to  post your sentence in the comment section for everyone to see and enjoy, be creative and have fun.

New and Interesting Words:

Expurgate(EX-PUR-GATE)Verb – To edit out rude, incorrect, offensive, useless or otherwise undesirable information from a book, CD or other publication; to cleanse; to purge.
*The publisher decided to expurgate the love scene from the book, to make it more child-friendly.*

Neatnik(NEAT-NIK)Noun – A stickler for neatness or cleanliness.
*His mom is such a neatnik that a dirty dish never even hits her sink.*

Fuscous(FUHS-KUHS)Adjective – of a dark brownish-gray color; dark or dusty.
*The rain was falling fast from the fuscous sky.*

Conchology(KONG-KOL-UH-JEE)Noun – The study of the shells of mollusks; the hobby of shell collecting.
*He spent much of his life studying conchology and had gathered a large personal collection.*

Innards(IN-ERDZ)Noun – The internal organs of a human or animal; The inner workings of something; The insides or guts.
*He took the cover off his computer and looked at the innards.*

Cankle(CANK-EL)Slang Noun – When the calf blends into the ankle.
*The woman at the bus stop was slightly obese and the skirt she wore showed off her cankles.*

Stipend(S-TIP-END)Noun – A fixed payment; A modest allowance.
*My stipend for doing public service is barely enough to cover living expenses.*

Logorrhea(LOG-UH-RI-UH)Noun – An excessive flow of words.
*Jeremy’s writing often suffers from logorrhea.*
(Click on the link above to view the International House of Logorrhea a great site full of new and interesting words)

Distish (DIS-TI-SH) Noun – A couplet; A two line stanza making complete sense.
*The poet spent days trying to create the perfect distish with no success.*

Fankle(FAN-K-EL)Verb – To tangle or entangle.
*She found her favorite necklace under the bed in quite a fankle.*

Splosh(SP-LAW-SH)Verb – The sound of splashing; To spill or spill over.
*My daughter dropped her toy in the bath creating a great splosh.*

(Special Thanks to Wiktionary.com, The Phrontistery, and Dictionary.com)


Try them out and feel free to add your own in the comments section….

Until Next Time….

Write On!

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