Wednesday, 28 March 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters - mystery surrounding the Featured Writer, critiques from Denise and Donna.

Hello fellow writers! Welcome one and all. A special hello to our new followers. I hope you'll find a home here and begin to write for us.

I  hope you enjoyed reading the excellent entries for the prompt - She Wears My Ring. There was a diverse take on the theme - everyone had a unique way of making the prompt work. 

As announced last post, this is the last time we're having a FW and RU on a one-size-fits-all prompt. In future we'll write for our number one reason for joining - to improve our writing and keep judging for special challenges.

I keep saying 'we'. Well as well as me, there is now Donna Hole, co-host. See more below*

This week we're doing something different. Both myself and Donna are going to run through those eligible for FW and RU. This won't become a regular feature but we'd like to demonstrate how we both send each other critiques of your writing, then put our heads together to choose a winner. The winners will be announced on Friday this week. Call back! There's also more excitement to share with you then...

Also, you'll see a VOTE POLL in the right sidebar. This is for everyone who linked a story this week. We want you to click on the writer you'd like to receive the Encouragement Award this week, whether they wrote to the criteria or not. Do it now as it closes on Friday!


Firstly, here's what Donna had to say:

This week's submissions were incredible. So much variety for the theme.  I've probably said this before, but I'm truly awed by the range of writing talent in our submitting members.  I think I've left my heartfelt comments on each post, so I'll reserve my "judging" commentary for the members who I feel eligible for the FW and RU awards.
If we adhere strictly by the "she wears my ring" phrase and word count we immediately eliminate 5 members.  Nancy, Sheherezhad, Kiru, and Weissedorn are out for lack of the phrase.  Nancy's says "she wore his ring"; Kiru's says "you wear my ring"; the other two are missing the phrase entirely.  Roland very effectively used the phrase, but is over word count, the rebel. 
This leaves Adura, Andy, Anna, Madeleine, and Rek.  (Yes I know, we're stuttering with the alphabet.)

Technically, Adura's is more about sex than romance; but ooh is it ever steamy.  So much passion in love making, I'd almost hate to see them argue.  However, putting the phrase "she wears my ring" as the last line of the poem pulls the reader back from all those thoughts of a quick tryst to satisfy lust, and hits home with how sex-and-romance are intertwined in a marriage.  Perfect.

Andy's poetry is a celebration of all the qualities this man treasures in his wife.  This is all the words a woman wants to hear through the years of devotion, and assures the wife that as time goes on, he (the husband) will continue to lavish gifts and words of adoration to keep the romance of marriage going on.  The music perfectly set the mood for this stunning piece of poetry.

Anna's troll and faerie princess story touched my heart. It had all the sweet tidbits of star-crossed lovers, and obstacles to overcome in order for the romance to happen. I felt this excerpt was a ways into the actual story, and I was hooked enough to want to find the entire story and read the whole thing. It moved a bit fast, but did hit all the criteria for a complete, romance scene.

Madeleine's story had me in tears - of nostalgic longing for a life that wasn't mine, but I'd wish for in my old age.  This story embodies the "rocking chair" concept marriage.  From the first words out, to the end, this excerpt built a story; a life of companionship, compromises and enduring faith in each other. What completely captured me was the line "Though her memories drift in and out, I can still see the essence of Mary . ." Everything after was showing how he saw both the girl he married, and the woman she'd matured into. This concise excerpt completely revealed a life lived in everyday romance, not just special occasions.

Rek's was pure awesome.  I liked the sentiments, the story building, the intrigue.  A couple aspects confused me - but those were also the questions an author wants the reader to ask themselves to continue reading on and find out.  I think the "she wears my ring" phrase didn't fit well in the story, but Rek knew it had to be incorporated somehow so full marks for trying; the cultural issue was clearly brought home with the line "the black and gold beads among other jewellery on her neck glinted back, signalling her married status."  For the ring phrase to integrate effectively, this line needed to be rewritten to show the ring instead of the necklace as the signal of her married status.

Now, what did Denise think?

I thought the entries were amazing as always. Like Donna, I've left comments on everyone's entries and am truly sorry some of you were disqualified from FW this week for not adhering to the guidelines. However,  it's not fair to those who spent time thinking how to incorporate that phrase to say, well, it didn't matter anyhow! Good practise for sending your submissions off to the editor - you'll end up in the trash basket if you don't tick all the guideline boxes!

I'll start with sizzling Adura. She warned us her entry would be a bit naughty and was it ever. I must admit I had to do a few reads to make sure she was saying what I thought she was saying, the minx! Great poem from the expert. I need some lessons!

It was great to welcome Rek this week. Thanks Rek for plunging right in and offering up your story. I found it intriguing and I adore learning about other cultures. This story had humour, poignancy and yes, I felt suspense and sadness. A huge gamut of emotions in few words. There were some technical errors, but overall, a great first entry!

Madeleine tore at my heartstrings. Man, that girl knows how to hit the 'emotion' button for me. I simply adored this tale of love in God's waiting room. The love of this man for his wife was steadfast, gentle and sweet. I love how Maddy told it. It rang true to me. I've seen real life love stories played out in nursing homes and this was very real to me.

Anna's troll/faery story was straight from the pages of a children's picture book. It had me imagining the beautiful, mystical illustrations that would accompany the text. Anna is a writer who has developed before our eyes -  she's not missed a posting since she joined. I just hope and pray she continues to practise her craft with us as she just gets better and better. 

Andy? What can I say? You inspire me Andy to know there is such a man so in love with his Lady Flower. How beautifully you pen your love poems no doubt from the deep wells of your love for her. You make all women feel special by the use of your honeyed words.

So, who do you think will be FW and RU? Come back Friday to find out! And don't forget to cast your vote for your favourite this week. We will award them the Encouragement Award. Voting open til Friday.

GRAND RE-OPENING - changes...

Grand re-opening for prompts begins on May 1st. Here there will be new guidelines, other new changes announced, and a new writing season beginning. 

One major change will be that *Donna Hole has agreed to be my co-host. More about that later, but suffice to say, when we reconvene after the A - Z Challenge, Donna will be sharing the workload with me, hopefully enabling RFW to become bigger and brighter.

So members and followers, I hope you'll leave a comment in response to this post. Remember, now is the time to suggest any improvements/changes you'd like to see happening here. Some have already emailed me, which is great. This a supportive group where everyone has a say.

Don't forget our next prompt is for May 4th.

  • You must respond to the stimulus in some way.
  • From the image, choose who will be your viewpoint character.
  • Place your character/s in one of the following settings:
              * a nightclub
              * last day of high school/college
              * at a carnival/festival
              * a private party
              * an exotic island
              * audition for a part in the latest Romeo + Juliet production
              * a combination of two or more of the above settings...

Get your thinking caps on for this one. You have over 4 weeks to produce your best copy. The word limit is up to 600 for this one seeing you have so much time to write it... 


Till next time



  1. Hello Denise.
    WoW! Things really are heating up at RFW. I love a good mystery! It's great that Donna will be your co-host. Her comments and critiques have always been heartfelt and fair. I think she is the perfect fit.

    I spent last night reading & re-reading some entries. I've already cast my vote.

    You've definitely given us something to think about with the next challenge. 600 words...there'll be a lot of members doing back flips over that one! Personally, I'm wondering where I'll find them all. LOL

    I'm looking forward to seeing the new changes & what else you have up your sleeve. Thanks for everything you do to bring this platform to us. I know my writing has improved since I joined.
    I'll be back for the big reveal. Enjoy the rest of the week!


  2. Denise and Donna, bless you for your thorough and beuatiful critiques of everyone's work. YOu both deserve an award yourselves for doing such a remarkable job.

    I am delighted that Donna has agreed to co-host.

    WEll done to you both (& Francine) for creating such a wonderful blog with such great challenges.
    Huge admiration to you. x

  3. Hi Denise, Hi Donna
    Way to go. I think is a wonderful fit.

    I haven't read them all yet. Will do my best. Everyone knows my situation. I sure hope the month of April brings enough change to my life that I can be a better friend to you all.

  4. Andy, thank you for your support :) Believe me when I say I've learned as much from the variety of authors as I've learned writing my own excerpts. You've risen to every challenge of RFW, I am sure we will enjoy whatever you submit for the next challenge.

    Maddie, the gracious acceptance of all the members is reward in itself. We are all growing and learning together.

    Nancy; that you would comment with your support of the hosts and the authors is greatly appreciated. Join in when you can, as much as you feel you can contribute; but take care of your health. My thoughts and best wishes are with you through this break.

    I will be thinking of all of you as I also take care of some of my own writing projects through April. I wish everyone who is participating in A-Z, or other writing endeavors, the best of luck in accomplishing your goals.


  5. As Donna says, thanks for the support as we spread our wings a little.

    Writing projects - I'm sitting here working on my pitch/synopsis/summary for my Afghanistan novel for a Novel Workshop. It's a big project so I decided to get some expert help as I really want to get this novel written and submitted.


  6. Hi everyone:
    I managed to read all the stories, yea. I will vote but I must say, I wish there were two separate awards, one for text and one for poetry.

  7. Those were excellent review of the works...Thanks Denise and Donna for creating and sustaining this platform. Yes, I noticed some errors in my work later on. I wait till the last minute to write and then post it in a hurry. Will teach me to be better prepared next time. ;)
    I followed RFW for a long time through Anna's work but romantic writing wasn't in my journal given the events in my life.
    But I realised writing in various genres can actually help a short story writer's hone their craft, so here I am.
    Good luck to all those posting for the A-Z and other memes. See you all in May.

  8. Dear Denise, Donna and all other RFWers,

    Thank you for your generous critique of my writing. It warms the heart and makes me want to stick with you.

    What a happy post. There are so many good texts for this challenge, epecially if you include everyone, whether or not they followed the guidelines perfectly.

    Maybe, having a special prize for poetry, is something to consider.

    Congratulations Donna! I am so happy that Denise has chosen you as co-host. You two make a great team!

    Have fun in April!

    I look forward to May 4th! (I have already written a first draft!)

    Best wishes & hugs,

  9. Anna, I'm glad you picked up the happy tone of the post. I'm happy, Donna's happy to join me, we're all happy learning to become better writers. I want to say how happy I am that I've continued with RFW through the ups and downs, and I never once considered closing down. I hope RFW has a long future as this group grows and supports each writer in our pursuit of our craft.

    I hope some of you get back to see the FW and RU announcement and to hear our news...


  10. Yes and separate prizes for poetry and prose is certainly under discussion! D.

  11. What would happen if someone might want to have a go but always posted something else on a Friday? Could an entry be posted on a Saturday or a Thursday? You know, hypothetically speaking? *Grin*.


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