Summer Short And Sweets – Week 3

Hurray!  Hurray!  It’s a Summer Short & Sweet day! 🙂

badge created by Loni Edwards

First off, help yourself to some of these delicious cookies

and a glass of refreshing iced tea

because we can be more creative after a little snack 🙂

Now then, are you ready for today’s Short & Sweet?

I totally wrestled with this one and I hope it’s going to be fun and also work right… I guess we’ll see 🙂

So we have to go on the honor system again – no peeking! 🙂 – and I need you to get a piece of paper and a writing implement of your choice.  Then write down the following things in a list bearing in mind that everything below is supposed to be related so it can hang together:

1.  A noun (you know, a good old person place or thing)
2.  A color that describes that noun or some part of that noun you’d like to highlight (e.g. red, or, lavender, or, cerulean)
3.  A comparison to that color (in the manner of simile or metaphor e.g. summer sunset, or, shadowed snow on a January evening)
4.  Something that belongs to your noun written as adjective, adjective noun (e.g. wide, feathered tail, or, slim, brown limbs, or brass ratcheted gears)
5.  A verb ending in -ing that is something your noun could do (e.g. soaring, or, stretching, or, grappling)
6. Another verb ending in -ing that is something else your noun could do (e.g. sailing, or, reaching, or, frowning)
7. A place written as: preposition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun (e.g. over [a] broad green valley, or, across [the] shimmering shining stream)
8. A description of something your noun could do in relation to something else, written as:  verb ending in -ing preposition adjective noun (e.g. scouting for silver salmon, or, basking on sun-baked sand, or, digging up acorn jewels) – (yes, I realize “for” is a conjunction, not a preposition, but you can use it if you want.  The reason I didn’t put conjunction is because the others – and, or, nor, but, yet – won’t work.  But use “for” if you want :))
9. Repeat #8 with another description (e.g. plunging toward immovable earth)
10. Repeat #8 with a final description (e.g. hoping for sweet success, or, diving for delicious dinner)
11. A simile for the action in #10 (e.g. like a rocket ship, or, like a bow drawn across singing strings)
12.  Your original noun from #1.

Okay!  Got your list?  What we are accomplishing here is part Madlib, part poetry, and will hopefully result in lots of descriptive poems (haha – like how I tricked you into writing a poem? :)) that will also serve as story sparkers by giving all the devoted readers specific, detailed, poetic descriptions of characters, settings, or objects that they could use in a story!  For those of you who write picture books, there are a lot of similarities between picture books and poetry, so this is good practice 🙂

Wasn’t that totally awesome how I snuck that up on you?

So now, all you have to do is type your poem into the comments using this template and your list:

I am [a/an/the] noun from #1
Color from #2 as [a/an/the] comparison from #3
With [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #4
Verb from #5, verb from #6
Prepostition [a/an/the] adjective adjective noun from #7
Description from #8
Description from #9
Description from #10
Like [a/an/the] simile from #11
I am [a/an/the] noun from #1

Here’s my example:

I am a falcon
Gray as a stormy sky
With powerful, peregrine wings
Soaring, sailing
Across the shimmering, shining stream
Scouting for silver salmon
Plummeting toward wavering water
Diving for delicious dinner
Like an arrow sprung from a huntsman’s bow
I am a falcon.

Here’s another one because I think this is fun 🙂

I am a birch
Silver as starlight on snow
With strong, slim limbs
Reaching, stretching
For the faraway, fickle moon
Gazing at kaleidoscope constellations
Soaking in the dewdrop dawn
Standing among my slender sisters
Like a dancer waiting for the music to begin
I am a birch.

And one more:

I am Sarah
Gold and brown like honey on toast
With hidden, heartfelt hopes
Uncurling, unfurling
From their secret silent space
Running with quiet concentration
Leaving behind even the fastest few
Flying on winged feet to finish first
Like fleet Atalanta
I am Sarah.

Ok, I’ll stop now because I’m really not very good at this even though I think it’s tons of fun 🙂

So do you get the idea?  You may of course tweak a bit.  If you need a different verb form or fewer adjectives or an extra word or one less line or two colors, etc. feel free to change it up.  The word prompts and template were just to make the job easier and less intimidating 🙂

I hope you’ll all have fun with this!  I can’t wait to see what you write!  And after my humble examples, I hope everyone will feel very brave about putting theirs up – I know without a doubt you can all do better than I did! 🙂

Have a great weekend, and please join me Monday to welcome Tiffany Haber as she talks about her debut picture book, The Monster Who Lost His Mean (which I just had the pleasure of reading and it is REALLY TERRIFIC and you should all get a copy for the littles in your life, or for yourself as an example of a well-done picture book in verse!!!)

Happy weekend 🙂

149 thoughts on “Summer Short And Sweets – Week 3

  1. Carrie F says:

    This was a fun one, too! I'm going to go back and do it again with a person rather than an object. It seems like a good way to start working on a character.

    I am a kite
    Orange as goldfish
    With a fluttering, swirling tail
    Soaring, floating
    In the endless blue sky
    Tugging my string
    Longing to dive into the blue
    Like a koi into it’s pond
    I am a kite

  2. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Hi Tina…thanks for commenting on Diane Kress Hower's blog re the Summer Reading Spotlight Series she did this morning on TV!
    Two creative writing exercises…and both wonderful. 🙂 “like an author gone made” love it!

  3. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Thank you so much, Susanna! This creative writing brings me back to college days…but I love it so much now because I truly understand how helpful it can be. 🙂 And yes, Erik's post was fantastic!

  4. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Kathy…I wanted to click on “like” 3x. 🙂 Especially loved the “like a lighthouse shining through the fog of life”…that is a perfect description of what a friend really is…thank you!

  5. Pamela_courtney says:

    These are some really great exercises. I'm learning LOTS!

    I am a door
    Gray as the emotions of ashes
    With an boastful, glass knob
    Opening, closing on an empty front porch
    Beckoning to passersby
    Creaking__slamming with abandon
    Jerking from the rusty hinges
    Like an undisciplined child
    I am a door.

  6. Lynn says:

    Wow! After reading some of the others' posts, I feel silly posting mine. But, I worked hard on it, so I'm posting it anyway! 🙂

    I am a zebra.
    Striped like the sun broken by fence posts
    With a muscular body
    Quivering, grazing
    Through lush green meadows
    Munching on sweet grass
    Wandering in quiet readiness
    Listening for hidden dangers
    Like a child woken up by a dream
    I am a zebra.

  7. Jarmila V. Del Boccio says:

    Here we go (it took me two weeks!):

    I am a giraffe,
    as yellow as tanned hide,
    With long lanky legs,
    Loping, galloping,
    Across the grassy veld
    Grazing from the leafy green branches
    Nudging forward her wobbly calf,
    Basking under the African Sun
    Like other creatures of the Savanna
    I am a giraffe.

    That's it!

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I love this, Lynn! It's beautiful! I can just see that lovely zebra – grazing, but alert – his striped hide blending him into the grass! Thanks for sharing – and you shouldn't feel silly! 🙂

  9. Laura Renauld says:

    Susanna, your birch poem is just beautiful. I just love “standing among my slender sisters/like a dancer waiting for the music to begin.” Here's mine… about socks!

    I am a pair of socks
    Turquoise as clear Caribbean waters
    With frilly, bunched elastic
    Stretching, arching
    Into the round, silver tub
    Sloshing in soapy suds
    Bumping into greasy overalls
    Trying for sweet scent
    Like a floral shop on Valentine’s Day
    I am a pair of socks

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I love this, Laura! So different and original. I love the setting you chose, too – not someone's feet, but the washing machine! Very creative! (And thanks for your kind words – I'm glad you enjoyed the birches :))

  11. Laura Renauld says:

    This is fun! Here's another:

    I am a poem
    Chartreuse as spring buds birthing
    With clipped, free-verse lines
    Observing, comparing
    Above the austere, practical nest
    Snatching up wriggling worms
    Swooping after scheming crows
    Sitting on robin eggs
    Like a Buddhist sand mandala
    I am a poem

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    You always sell yourself short, Tracy! Your entries are terrific – always excellent! Keep up the good work and thanks for playing along 🙂

    Tracy Campbell wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    I'm at the bottom of the pile. Better late than never. Here's goes:

    I am a gymnast

    Brighter than a twinkling, yellow star

    With muscular, lean limbs

    Leaping, lunging

    Before cheering, crazed fans

    Striving for the elusive, glimmering gold medal

    Tumbling toward the Olympic dream

    Nailing tough, bare soles

    Like a hammer driving in a stake

    I am a gymnast

    I'm glad I didn't read the above outstanding entries, I'd never have entered.
    Amazing stuff!

    User's website
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  13. Sue says:

    Red as red roses
    With a second-hand bike
    Running, jumping
    Bouncing a blue-stitched ball
    Picking a bunch of flowers
    Wrapping a pretty gift
    Offering his cheek for a kiss
    Like a loving child

  14. Robyn Campbell says:

    I am stallion
    as golden as a king's crown (ugh, awful I know)
    long mane graceful
    blowing, flowing
    from his little piece of earth
    racing for the prize
    panting whooshing
    pushing past the herd
    like a shadow never to be overtaken
    I am stallion.

    I really don't blame you from blocking me from access to S & S. No really, I don't. I did this in five minutes. Isn't that what we're supposed to do? Or can we plan it out all day long? Mine smells like stinking garbage. *sigh* I told you. I ain't no good at instantaneous stuff. Did I get caught up before being banned?? *deep sigh*

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    First of all, this is great. Second, I would never ban you 🙂 Third, yes, you are supposed to do it spontaneously, to get those creative juices flowing and not censor yourself. And fourth, yes, you are caught up! 🙂 Now go take your golden boy for a ride 🙂

  16. Karen Lee says:

    WOW this was new for me and not easy…Here it is off the top of my head…not too deep…haha…

    I am the sun…
    red smoldering anger…
    with shining firing hot glowing arms…
    heating the earth…
    burning the sand…
    tingling the feet…
    like a tinging flame on the skin…
    I am the sun…

  17. Karen Lee says:

    WOW this was new for me and not easy…Here it is off the top of my head…not too deep…haha…
    I am the sun…
    red smoldering anger…
    with shining firing hot glowing arms…
    heating the earth…
    burning the sand…
    tingling the feet…
    like a tinging flame on the skin…
    I am the sun…

  18. Kim Murray says:

    I can't believe I skipped this one…it was daunting, but really fun! Here goes…

    I am a Kite
    Orange as the yolk of a fresh egg
    With a shimmering, multicolored tail
    Gliding, soaring
    Over a vast, flowery meadow
    Diving under the creamy, white clouds
    Whipping around the darting dragonflies
    Careening toward the green grass
    Like an absentminded bird
    I am a Kite

  19. Kim Murray says:

    I didn't think I was a poet either, but it looks like we ALL are thanks to your wonderful prompts. I will do this again and again. I'm seriously saving all of your Short & Sweets prompts for future ideas! Thanks so much!

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Now the challenge is on for me to keep it up past summer! It was one thing to come up with 8, but to keep going? I'm going to have to expand my bag of tricks 🙂

    Kim Murray wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    I didn't think I was a poet either, but it looks like we ALL are thanks to your wonderful prompts. I will do this again and again. I'm seriously saving all of your Short & Sweets prompts for future ideas! Thanks so much!

    Link to comment
    IP address:

  21. robincurrie1 says:

    I am an Javalina
    Brown as a dust devil,
    With a rough hairy back.
    Racing, squealing
    over the dry barren desert,
    sniffing around prickly pear cactus,
    rubbing against a cholla
    looking for scratch the itch on my back,
    like a scrub brush on a sea urchin.
    I am an Javalina.

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