Part II of your prompts & my answers!

10. (@el_blackden_rains) Something about the word 'flame.'

The first thing I thought of when I saw this prompt was making s'mores at the fire pit in my back yard. I remember a picture that I took one night of my beat-up black Converse and the dwindling fire in the background, all surrounded by heavy grey rocks and a sense of forest-y calmness. It's a comfortable, traditionally rustic scene that makes me feel cozy inside to think about.

... And then, there's a different kind of flame.

The night that picture was taken, there wasn't a fire ban. But it was a long time after that before we were able to make another fire because, where I'm from, wildfires are a serious threat. Recreational fires are usually banned to prevent devastating accidents.

Sometimes I drive not far from my house and see charred tree stumps and hills that have been destroyed by a tiny spark. I've seen it from the sky, too. It's beautiful, but chilling (unless you're too close, and then it's exactly the opposite!)

'Flame' can have hundreds of different meanings, from the flickering light of a candle to the huge wildfires that cloud the sky with smoke. But I'll never be able to think of it without remembering the s'mores, the fire bans, and my home town.

11. (@slateraven_author) Every date you've ever been on, and every other line has to rhyme.

The first one was scary.
The second one was short.
For this I used a dictionary,
And now I shall abort.

... there's a reason why I write fiction and essays, rather than poetry.

Just in case you couldn't tell.

12. (@rownaknurson) Writing!

"Writing: somewhere between torture and fun."

If you haven't printed that out and stuck it to your wall yet, here it is:

Image result for writing between torture and fun

Writers should keep this in mind at all times. It's not nearly as discouraging as it looks. Realizing that writing can be torture means you won't expect it to be happy and fun and rainbows and unicorns all the time, which in turn gives you motivation to get through the pain. On the flip side, you always know that, eventually, writing will be fun again (in my opinion, that's as soon as you remember why you started writing in the first place).

Writing is an art, and like all art forms, it requires a certain amount of pain to master.

13. (@fuentespens) Write about your revision method.

My revision method is erratic at best.

I try to bribe other people into proofreading for me, since I'm better at catching big picture mistakes than detailed grammar or spelling errors. That way, they end up (mysteriously) reading through the whole book and giving me feedback on anything they didn't understand or didn't like or think should be changed.

As the author of a story, you have the whole picture in your mind, so you automatically fill in any details that are actually left out of the manuscript. These are the most important mistakes to catch, since they can ruin the reading experience for anyone who can't read your mind. That's why it's important to ask for external feedback, rather than trying to fix everything yourself.

14. (@esthah.james) Iron magnolias.

I wanted to insert a Steel Magnolias reference here, but I know nothing about it. Can someone tell me what I ought to have said?

15. (@royalty_sabrina_999) Something unique and different.

Here's something that's unique and different. It's a theory I've come up with to explain observed facts.

Simply put: I think my cat, Mittens, is secretly a crossbreed between an otter and a domestic cat.

There's good evidence:

1. Have you ever seen how otters lie on their backs in the water with their paws up in the air? Mittens sleeps like this. She also likes to be picked up and held upside down like a baby.

2. Otters like water, and so does Mittens. I've never seen a more soulful look in an animal's eyes than when she looked deep into the swimming pool and contemplated taking a dive. She'll also participate in a shower.

3. Otters are curious, and so is Mittens. That's probably how she ended up twenty feet above the ground on the beam of an A-frame house.

4. Otters eat things with spikes on them [sea urchins], and so does Mittens [figuratively]. If it's dangerous and could possibly kill her, she'll eat it. Cat food? No, that's too boring.

Voila. An otter-cat cross = unique + different.

On August 1st, I will be hosting a "first line competition" on my Instagram (@lsmythbooks). There's a great prize, so be sure to enter!