2018 Writing Prompts #2

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Write at least 100 words about something you love to smell.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem that begins each line with a five letter word.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story that begins with the words “I can’t remember”.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about the origin of something important to you.

Welcome to 2018

Greetings and Welcome to 2018.

For the new year I have brought back daily writing prompts. I am hoping to keep that up for the whole year, and right now I have over a month of buffer, so I am off to a good start.

I have also done away with display ads. There are still a few affiliate links to Amazon and such, but otherwise PoeWar is ad free.

Instead of relying on ads, I have created a Patreon account through which you can support the site and get added benefits.

Those benefits include:

  • Access to my fiction, poetry, and other writings. While I will post some if it here, the Patreon site will be very active.
  • The ability to post your responses to my prompts in a “gated community” rather than in public comments.
  • With higher levels of support, access to a special Chat Room and the ability to get direct feedback on your work.

Membership costs as little as a dollar, and I think you will be getting a lot for your money, so please take a look.


Become a Patron!

2018 Writing Prompts #1

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Write about a piece of clothing that you own or for some reason find interesting.

Poetry Prompt            

Write a poem about giving away something you wanted to keep.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story in which a character must clean something.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about the first place outside your home you remember visiting.

The End of My Facebook Timeline

Almost six months ago, I left Facebook. My first Facebook post was in December of 2008, and my last post was in May of 2017. That is a close to a ten year run, which is actually a long time in Internet years. Before I left Facebook, I downloaded my full history, which gives me an unflinchingly long timeline of a life spent (wasted?) on Facebook.

The Early Days of Facebook

Looking at the early posts, I see how simple they were. Back then the format of posts was a little different. I think every post automatically began with John Hewitt, and then I added the rest. So I mainly talked about mundane activities such as where I was going or what I was eating. It was dull, harmless stuff. Some of them were nicely esoteric such as John Hewitt is chasing butterflies in his mind.

After a few weeks, I discussed some work issues, and quickly learned that having work friends on Facebook meant having to be careful about what you said. That was my first and lightest experience with the downside of Facebook. Be careful what you share about yourself. I can tell I was getting sensitive because of this post about two months in, “John Hewitt has decided to replace the word disaster with adventure for the foreseeable future.”

Within the first few months I also picked up one of the other frustrating things bout Facebook, the regrettable friend. I had friended someone who I knew a bit in real life, but who seemed obsessed with me online, commenting a lot and saying things I didn’t agree with, but also didn’t want to fight about. They weren’t mean, just uncomfortable to be around. It was years before I unfriended this person.

For the most part, on my timeline, I stuck to pop culture references and quotes. There were posts such as

That was our first encounter with disco mutants. I was sure it wouldn’t be our last.

Pop culture references have been my go to from the first posts to the the last. The reasoning is pretty clear. They are innocuous, and pass (barely) for cleverness in today’s world.

The nice/scary thing about the timeline is that it is a sort of history of my life, from losing and finding jobs to losing and finding friends. It is not as meaningful as a diary or even a blog, but it does live up to its reputation as a timeline. Reading though it, I remember events that passed, and people who passed as well. When my wife and I had twins, photos and references to our children took up a lot of the timeline, especially in the first couple of years, when everyone wants a shot of the babies.

Why I Left

There is a clear reason why I left, but you won’t see it on my timeline. It is polarization. Facebook stopped being a celebration of life (in its own shallow way) and became a place for airing grievances and trying to convince people that they are wrong. Politics was the main way this happened, but there was also religion, health, and really just about any topic that required an opinion. For my part, when I got into arguments, I soon regretted it and deleted the posts. You can delete posts, but you can’t change the tide of posts.

As time passed I found myself unfriending more and more people. This started with people whose views were incompatible with mine, but eventually, it even spread to the people I nominally agreed with. Even the people who I agreed with were polarized. There was no room for a rational discussion of issues. Everyone was shouting each other down.

Even when someone posted something thought out and interesting, there was no respite. Why? Because the comments below them would turn nasty, and often threatening. So, I stopped unfriending, because these people were my friends, and started muting people instead, but at some point I started to wonder what the point was.

Additionally, I found that there was a new section, called Trending that I dreaded to see, but could not resist. I would quickly fall down the Facebook wormhole, finding myself reading comments from strangers, and being tempted to respond. I had to remind myself that a Facebook comment did nothing to further a cause. It was less than meaningless. It was contributing to the downfall of conversation and the end of civility.

That was when I decided it was time to move on. There are things I miss: event invites, pop culture discussions, my FitBit and writing groups, hearing about friends I never see, but I cannot deny that leaving took a weight off my shoulders. I no longer feel like I am investing a lot of time into the act of making myself unhappy. I am also starting to see others who are moving away from the shallow pool social media and looking for better things. I even remembered that I have a blog of my own…

Character Biography for Delbert “Dell” Martin

Below is a character biography I have been working on for my planned NaNoWriMo story. The goal with the biography for me is mainly to get some character details I can draw in as the story progresses. Dell is meant to be the lead character, but by necessity, he is not as flamboyant as some of the other characters I intend to introduce. I think he is interesting, but not a flashy character. If you read my post, Character Bio Sheets, you’ll see that I left some items off. The sheet is meant to be a tool that you can fill in as you go. This is what I have for him so far, and I will add more as I get more thoughts about the character.


Character Name: Delbert Martin

Nickname / Alias: Dell

Date of Birth:  August 29th, 1995

Place of Birth: Tucson, Arizona

Residence:  Dell lives in the town of Santa Creda. He lives in a tiny apartment above a sandwich shop. He moved there about a year earlier to take a job.

General Appearance:  Dell is pleasant looking, but not the type of person people notice for his looks. He is relatively fit, with a surprising amount of upper body strength for his size. He tends to dress neatly, if somewhat blandly.  He prefers solid colors, and mainly dresses in blues, grays, and browns.

Height: Five foot nine.

Weight: 155 pounds.

Clothing Sizes: Wears medium shirts and size 32 pants.

Clothing Choices:  For casual wear Dell generally wears Jeans and a t-shirt. For work he wears khakis and a polo shirt.

Hair: Dell has dark brown hair that he wears short, usually about two inches long. He does not have a beard or mustache.

Eye Color: Brown

Handedness: Right

Jewelry: He does not wear jewelry.

Tattoos / Marks: None

Role in the Story: Dell is the lead protagonist. If there are scenes without him, they will be few and probably focused on Zeke.

Key Relationships: Dell and Zeke spend most days together, he is the closest friend Dell has.  Mari was his best friend growing up. He had romantic feelings toward her that were never realized. Del’s Mother Rozalia has a somewhat strained relationship with him. He also has three older brothers, with whom he seldom speaks. They are eight, ten, and thirteen years older than him. Dell was closer to his father, who died three years earlier. Dell has another high school friend, Jared, but does not keep in touch after Mari began dating him. Dell has some interest in Janie, a girl who works the checkout counter at the independent grocery/convenience store across the street from the sandwich shop.

Education: Dell has an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. He is also a high school graduate. He graduated both schools with honors and has always been a good student who likes to read.

Work History: For the past year and a half, Dell has worked as an overnight Junior System Administrator for a health insurance company. He works three twelve-hour shifts a week and is alone for most of his shift. He sometimes gets called in on additional nights because they have trouble keeping other overnight personnel. During college he worked part-time at a call center for a prescription drug provider.

Skills: Dell spent two years on his high school wrestling team, and although he was never one of the top wrestlers, he has an above-average ability to defend himself. Dell is fairly handy with carpentry tools and general household maintenance. Dell can pick basic locks, especially padlocks. He can juggle, although nothing fancy. He spends a lot of time reading and trying to teach himself things.

Phobias / Fears:  Fears rejection and feeling unwelcome. Fears losing his temper. Fears failure, especially financial failure.

Good Qualities:  Dell is loyal to his friends, perhaps to a fault. He is good with money. He is trustworthy. He rarely drinks and does not smoke.

Bad Habits / Vices: Tends to close off to people when he is angry, often frustrating people who do not know what they have done to upset him. He is easily upset when people discount his opinion because of his age.

Quirks: Keeps a drawer full of wooden pencils that he can break when he is angry. Reliant on the wifi connection from the sandwich shop for his Internet.

Goals and Motivations: Dell values his independence. His biggest motivation is to remain employed and able to keep his apartment and live alone.  Dell’s older brothers have tended to be, in his opinion, unreliable and overly needy, with one or more of them moving back home due to job losses, divorces, and other mishaps. Dell also wants to contribute something to the world, which is why he helps maintain the shrines with Zeke.

Favorite Food: Oranges, preferably Navel and Valencia oranges . Dell usually eats five or six oranges a day. He also eats a lot of sandwiches due to his proximity to a sandwich shop.

Favorite Music: Dell is fond of indie rock bands, especially Wilco and My Morning Jacket. He also likes some older country/folk musicians such as Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, and John Prine.