Writing Prompt

Most writing groups or books on writing will explain, to become a better writer, write often or daily. So what should you write about? If you are a new writer, and not working on a specific project, or you have been working on the same project for a time and want a break, find a prompt and write a poem or short scene following the prompts instructions.

There are many websites where you can find a prompt, so you will only find one prompt a month on the LCRW website. There will be a short essay about “something” and then the instruction to write about something mentioned in the essay. No, this is not a unique idea. It’s borrowed from other sites.

The following prompt was s written by Joe Mele, LCRW’s Vice President.: I’ve found that prompts from other writers have opened previously hidden doors, and engendered different perspectives on events.

As an example, here’s a light-hearted prompt: If you are too young to know these TV character sets, you could research them and then write, or pick two sets of like characters and answer the question. There is no word count attached to this prompt. Try explaining your thoughts succinctly but thoroughly. You can post your answer in the comments section to get a conversation with other writers started. Have fun.

Of the following sets of TV characters, who would win in a battle of muscle or wits – and why?

Ponch and John  vs. Starsky and Hutch

Matlock vs. Barnaby Jones

Jeannie vs. Samantha

Columbo vs. Monk

Baretta vs. Magnum

Our first of three critiques is coming up on Saturday, March 25.

This is a great time to get a manuscript of up to 2500 words looked at

          ALL manuscripts must be emailed to the moderator, Steve Yates at writingsbysay@yahoo.com by MIDNIGHT on Wednesday, March 15th.  (Note, this is ten days before the critique session.)  Any submissions received after that will be handled as time permits, at the end of the critique session.

Please include your email address at the top of the page. Non-members are welcome to have one piece critiqued, without joining the group.

          Critiques will be discussed in the order they are received.

          You will be receiving a manuscript from each participant and are expected to print it out and have your critique of their work at the meeting.

          Your manuscript must be formatted using: Times Roman, Courier, Tahoma, or Verdana font at 12 points.  Margins should be to one inch.  Double space.

Be sure to number your pages (Insert / Page Number).  Also, it makes critiquing easier if you insert line numbers (Open the Page Layout ribbon / Click Line Numbers in the Page Setup section / Select your options from the popup menu.)

Save your document in: .doc, .docx, or .rtf formant.  (All major word processing programs have this capability.)  All manuscripts will be converted to .pdf by the facilitator, with line numbers inserted if you have not already done so.

          Please limit your submission to about 2500 words.  (You may send as many words as you like.  The person critiquing may stop at any time after 2500 words.)

          Starting time is 9:00 AM Saturday, July 24th. Please be ready to start then.

          Please do not submit first drafts.  Spend some time editing before you send it out.  Also, it is requested you don’t send a modified copy of your manuscript after the original has been dispersed to the group.

·                 Everyone who submits a manuscript will be expected to critique all other entries and ensure they receive a copy of your comments.  (You are not required to send your critique to the recipient before the critique, but it is useful.)  In addition, we always have people who wish to share their knowledge of writing, yet not submit.  Those wishing to only critique are always welcome. 

The following information should be on the first page, before your story begins. (You may wish to copy/paste this to your manuscript and answer them.)

·       Genre: (Fantasy, Romance, etc.)

·       Demographic (target audience):

·       How long is the final piece (short story, novel):

·       Is there back story we need to know to understand what is going on:

·       Where does this fit in your manuscript (i.e.: two-thirds of the way through):

·       What questions do you want answered:

         When critiquing, consider:

·       Are the characters developed.  (You may not get to this in a limited piece)

·       Is there a strong sense of the setting/time.

·       Is it original (Not a requirement.  Some of the best stories are a retelling.)

Cinquain Poetry

Colleen Chesebro, author, poet, and prose metrist, from East Lansing, Michigan, presented a class on syllabic poetry during our February meeting. The syllabic verse is determined by the number of syllables per line, rather than the number of stresses. She highlighted Crapsey cinquain poetry, the style designed by Adelaide Crapsey, a 20th-century poet born in Brooklyn and raised in Rochester.

Cinquains are five-line poems that are usually about nature or a natural phenomenon. American cinquains have a 2-4-6-8-2 syllable count and do not need to rhyme. Words that create drama are built into the fourth line. The turn occurs on line five, which is the most important line. This is where you change your focus away from the drama in some interesting way. She had us write our own poems and gave examples of different types of cinquains. Poetry can be helpful with a visual impression of scenes or characters and can assist with dramatic chapter endings.

When writing and composing syllabic poetry, it’s best to use a syllable counter to check your accuracy, e.g., https://www.traveldailylife.com/syllables/ and the ProWritingAide extension (it’s free).

Cinquain Samples Written During Presentation

Poppet  by Kathy Plum


Poppet, plucky 

Poppet, so sweet and so

Innocent is my playful pup


I Visit   by Mary Lou Heilman               

Grief stone

Holds down my joy

Imprisons my thinking

Endures forever that stone


In the School Hallway  by Kim Gore


Bitter review

Envy wrapped in comment

Opened in a heat-filled moment


Sunset by S. Arthur Yates


Steals light from life

Returns it, but not all

Some is lost, never to be seen

Old age

1978 Baseball Fans  by Sue Spitulnik

Red Sox

Hate Bucky Dent

Cost them the World Series

Next Year


Welcome to the LCRW blog page. Each week we will share something new with you. It may be the summary of our last presentation, a writing prompt, a blurb about an upcoming presentation and who will be sharing their knowledge, a writing tip, or some news about one of the authors who belong to Lilac City Rochester Writers.

We hope you will be able to easily find your way around the site. Our authors’ page has short bio’s from our members with links to their own sites that might not be complete when the site is launched, so keep checking back. And, of course, we have a contact page so you can get in touch with whatever might be on your mind.

I don’t think I need to explain; click on the menu titles to go to other pages. We hope you’ll come to check out one of our meetings and become a member.