Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Writing about CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN. And the Write...Edit...Publish team expands.

Hello there! Wow, it's nearly October. Lots of exciting things happening in October. Firstly, it's birthday month for a few of us...Roland Yeomans, Donna Hole and myself...anyone else?

And on October 1, the inLinkz list goes up, with calls for submissions for the Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) October challenge. So you can help us celebrate our birthdays by joining us for the WEP October challenge where you have a choice:

You can respond to the CONSTELLATIONS challenge, or
you can respond to the HALLOWEEN challenge, or
you can be very clever and combine the two.

Go HERE to read more about these challenges.

We accept flash fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photographs/photo essays, artwork. Written work needs to be 1,000 words or under to help with reading time.

We award 3 places for the best entries: overall WINNER (who receives a $10 Amazon Gift Card), the RUNNER UP and the ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD.

If you are the winner, you are offered an opportunity to write a guest post before the next challenge.

Poet and fiction author Nilanjana Bose was the winner for the August GARDENS challenge. I'm loving poetry at the moment, so I'm sharing the beginning of her amazing poem, Point me to...

Point me to the earth, always, always,
even one thousand years later,
when all you have is some fragments
and this yellowed, sparse dust of paper.

When words have lost their hundred tongues,
cities have plucked their hundred streets
and thrown them like javelins straight and hard,
when the meek come to leash the elite;

the smoke from rocks is tightly curled,
the sun’s lava a wrinkled-skin moon.
The skyscrapers have their yawns shushed
but still silence won’t carry a tune.

Point me to the Earth even then,
to lost wildflowers, fossils of pollen.

Here is an extract from her guest post, where Nila has researched CONSTELLATIONS to help you if you choose to respond to this prompt...


...The night sky has fascinated humans from time immemorial with its magnificence and vastness.  Ancient peoples looked to the stars as harbingers of seasons and for navigation across featureless lands or seascapes. They wove them into myth and folklore, faith and spirituality.  Constellations are imaginary star patterns the ancient humans drew connecting clusters of the brighter stars. 

The earliest written star catalogues go back to around 1200 BCE in Mesopotamia.  Around the same time, an astronomy system was developed in the Indus Valley Civilisation, though no written records of it survive.  The alignment of various ancient monuments to stars and planetary bodies tells us both of the fascination for them, and the sophisticated techniques the builders employed. Stonehenge in UK and the Giza Pyramids are just two examples where the skies have influenced buildings on earth; there are many others throughout the world. 

...Originally, the study of stars was possible only through what was visible to the naked eye.  Mostly plotting the stars and charting their courses and those of the sun, moon and the planets.  A branch of astronomy that is now called astrometry.  How the celestial bodies slotted into the universe as a whole was constructed through a philosophical exploration.  By the early medieval period, the ideas from Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, India and Greece had been pulled together into a geocentric theory which assumed that the Sun revolved around the Earth.

In the medieval period the learning centres shifted from Europe east to Persia, the Levant, India and further into China. Sophisticated mathematics and engineering skills, and the setting up of new observatories in the Islamic Empire led to a manifold growth in knowledge.  The astrolabe was developed in Islamic Spain and introduced to other regions. Scholars identified and recorded new stars and celestial phenomena, and even today many terms in astronomy – azimuth, nadir, zenith - have their roots in Arabic and Persian language. Omar Khayyam, more famously known for his Rubaiyat the world over, was also an astronomer-mathematician and knew more about the ‘flight’ of stars than he let on in his poetry –

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

...Poetry and stars/constellations go together like…chicken tikka masala and naan. However, constellations and stars pervade not just poetry but all spheres of art and literature, from Shakespeare to John Green via Van Gogh, everywhere you look you’ll see a million examples.  There are innumerable things to do with this prompt. The sky is literally the limit. Constellations can be tweaked to fit into any idea you may have.

Let’s take Romance.  Do the constellations work there? Yup, starlight and serenades, clandestine assignations, candle-lit dinners, I mean, darkened skies are almost a staple in love-stories.

Adventure? Yup. Think night, think navigation, think Ursa Minor or Crux. Constellations chart the course of our lives, they are the zodiac, fate, destiny, karma, repositories of mythology, they peg us to our own place in the vast scheme of things.

Crime/Mystery? Yes, of course, crime happens right under the noses of the stars most of the time!

Fantasy and speculative fiction? Yes again. And don’t let’s even start on Sci-Fi, more than half of which genre is based in inter-planetary/-galactic settings! There are constellations all around in deep space, no avoiding the things. 

And before I go, I’d just like to mention that constellation need not be of stars alone.  The word has been used as a name for paintings, music bands and albums, a cruise ship, an abandoned space exploration programme, books, films and journals.  Endless possibilities.  So bloggers, art-makers and story-tellers, let’s get the pencil points of imagination sharpened and put the prompt to work.  Can’t wait to read the results! Good luck! and see you soon…

Thank you Nilanjana!

Now we haven't forgotten about HALLOWEEN!

It's time to scare us silly! Give us your best 'Booooooo!' 
Have you got a scary story, fictional or real? 
Have you got a scary poem?
Have you got a scary image?
Make sure we can't get to sleep after reading  your entry! Send our scare-o-metre to the stratosphere!

If you can scare us while writing about CONSTELLATIONS, you're a genius of the first order!

Sign up October 1st
Post October 19 - 21

Now, some exciting news!

Hosting WEP is a huge commitment. So that we can continue this vibrant writing community, Yolanda Renee and I have added two more talented writers to our team, Olga Godim and Nilanjana Bose. If you don't know Olga and Nilanjana, please visit their blogs and say hi.

Please help spread the word for our October challenges. Copy and paste the badges onto your blogs. Share via social media. Encourage your writer friends to take part.

Image result for image twitter

Announce the Guest Post by Nilanjana Bose
and introduce our October Challenge!
We'd love if you'd Tweet one of these:

A WEP Guest post featuring Nilanjana Bose @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

A WEP Flash Fiction Challenge - the prompt is Constellations & Halloween @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

What's your October inspiration? The stars or the supernatural or both? @DeniseCCovey & @YolandaRenee #WEPFF

Thanks for coming by...

  • I'm so excited about CONSTELLATIONS, I've already got my post ready to go...
  • How about you? Would you consider posting something on CONSTELLATIONS or HLLOWEEN between October 19 - 21? 
  • InLinkz submissions go up on October 1, so watch this space...


  1. Will spread the news today and next Wednesday!
    A lot of directions we could go with the word constellation.

  2. Honesty, that is a hard decision:constellation vs Halloween. Maybe there's a creative way to combine them, ;)

  3. It's amazing what people built thousands of years ago.

    I might have something for Halloween.

  4. I wonder if those early astronomers ever envisaged what we can do today including sending out space ships. What they did was incredible in their day.

    1. Judging by the Sci-fi stories I wouldn't be surprised Jo.

  5. Thanks much Denise! They are both amazing prompts and I am so looking forward to the readings. It's going to be an exciting October and 2017 :) Didn't know about Roland being October born too... :-)

  6. Wow, wish I had more time to write at the moment. Everything is on pause while I deal with this moving thing. So much to do!

  7. Looking forward to see what amazing stories come from these prompts.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

  8. October 5 is my big day. It's been a long time since I participated in a writing prompt. Publishing deadlines have a way of squelching that joy, but I hope to be free to start participating again one day soon. LOVE the constellations theme.

  9. Hello Denise! Things are looking good around here. Oh that winning entry! That poem is filled with gorgeous imagery and dreams. I love it! The two challenges sound good and I'm compelled to try my hand at combining both...just to see what I could come up with! Hopefully I'll have a post in October for you! If not, I'll definitely stop by to read the entries! They are always so enjoyable :)

    All the best,

    1. Jen it would be so exciting to have you. I know what a fantastic writer you are. And you won the Halloween challenge once!

  10. You've been so busy holding down the fort while I take on a new adventure - Thank you! And a special thank you to Olga and Nila, their help is priceless! This October is truly blessed with the birth of so many talented writers! Happy Birthday, Denise, Roland, Donna, everyone born the hauntingly beautiful month!

    1. Thanks Yolanda! Hope things are on the up and up at your beach!

  11. Awesome post by Nilanjana. I look forward to all new stories coming from the prompts, Denise.

  12. I'm loving poetry too, Denise. And Nila's poem is right up there with all the amazing poets past and present. She's awesome. I'll definitely read her and try to read the others even if I don't get something up this time. My Life with Aides just isn't going well right now ... not that it ever really has ... Hope you're enjoying life on the planet "down under." :) :) ((( )))

    1. Hello, sis. Nila is amazing, isn't she? I'm sorry your aides are still trying your patience and strength. I'm sorry if you won't be able to pen anything for WEP this month. Life is pretty good Down Under. About to embark on another trip to Townsville. (((x)))

  13. I love the badge for the Halloween challenge - so creepy, yet kinda cute. (I know, I'm a weirdo. lol!) Congrats to Olga and Nilanjana for joining the WEP team. That'll be awesome for all of you. Yay!

    1. Yes, that Halloween badge is excellent. Olga is very clever.

  14. Hi Denise - I'd hope to join in .. but things ain't easy here - the stars are not aligned ... not out of this world .. but a nuisance of sparks around ... so I'll shall watch from afar ... cheers and good luck - Hilary

    1. What a shame Hilary. I was so looking forward to seeing how you ran with this. But I hope those stars align shortly.

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