Friday 30 March 2012

#RomanticFridayWriters Featured Writer and Runner Up announced. And...RFW enters the #AtoZChallenge

We have returned to announce the Featured Writer, the Runner Up and the People's Choice Encouragement Award.

You read both Donna's and Denise's critiques of the eligible writers in Wednesday's post. (If you missed it, it's the post below this one). We wondered if you would guess who we'd be choosing!

Without further ado, both Donna and I have chosen Adura as the RU this week for her sensuous poem entitled, She Wears My Ring. Congratulations Adura. Your poem rocked!

For FW we both chose Madeleine Maddocks for her heartfelt romantic story of an elderly couple. It was a beautifully written vignette, well deserving of the FW title.

And the People's Choice goes to...Anna and ahem, Denise! Isn't that lovely! I was hoping for a last-minute vote to even the tie, but it didn't happen. So Anna and I will post our Encouragement Awards on our blogs. Thank you, lovely people!

If you want to refresh yourself by reading any of the winning entries, go to the She Wears My Ring post below.

We noted the comments regarding having a separate competition for poetry and prose and yes, that is one of our motivations to stop the one-size-fits-all judging. Bear with us till May...


I've previously said that RFW would be closing for the month of April as the A - Z Challenge was taking place and everyone would be too busy writing posts or reading them. However, I had an epiphany yesterday and decided instead of pulling down the blinds, I'm going to throw them open! 

RFW has entered the A - Z Challenge! 
There are several positive benefits:
  • We will gain more exposure for our group, something that many of you want to see.
  • Some visitors may follow RFW and become members in the future.
  • Flash fiction will be promoted.
  • Any RFW member taking part will possibly receive visits from commenters.
So, I took the train back to the city yesterday and while on the train I wrote 10 little stories, up to 'J'. Didn't take long, but I'm a crazy, quick writer - just give me an opening letter, sentence and my 'pantser' is away, writing the story for me. How about you? Does it take you long to pen a story/poem? (What slows me down is the editing, then more editing, then even more...)

Anyway, my challenge to you, dear members and followers:

Do you want to join this challenge with me? If so, you can write flash fiction from approx. 50 (called a Dribble - 100 (called a Drabble) - 200 words on any theme, hopefully, but not necessarily, with a romantic element, and email it to me for posting. I'll post the occasional 400 + word story so that's okay too! I'll need editorial rights so I can tweak it to fit the letter and fix up any little typos, tenses, grammar and punctuation if I should find any, perish the thought. If you send in a story, write a few words about yourself so I can post this under your story with your blog link. And send another picture if you want, otherwise I'll nab the picture you have when you joined as a member...

If you've already written a story in the past and would like to offer it for publication during the challenge, please send it along. We can post more than one each day if you offer up a surfeit of riches! 

To post to the A - Z I'm using the first word of the story as the letter of the month, so there's no theme for the entries. For example for A, the beginning of the story goes like this -" '...and that's the way it happened,' he said..."

I hope you like the idea of RFW stepping out into the bigger blogoverse and getting ourselves known just that much more. Remember, if you want to post an old story or write a new one or two or ten, please email me at Also, if you have any more questions about it, please ask. 

Hope to see you visiting during April - every day except Sunday (challenge begins the first Sunday as it's the 1st April) even if you don't want any of your stories posted.

Don't forget, we reconvene for our challenges on Tuesday May 1st. There will be new guidelines and other changes. Our May 4 prompt is going ahead on the first Friday. This one can be up to 600 words, (an epic poem?) but there are guidelines to follow...

I see some of you have signed up for the A - Z Challenge yourselves. Leave your name below if you have so I can visit you!

Have a great April!

Denise (L'Aussie)

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


Monday 19 March 2012

People's Choice Featured Writer announced. Challenge No 34, Friday March 23 - She Wears My Ring and breaking news...

Hi all! And a warm welcome to our new followers!

Thanks for your People's Choice votes for RFWer's prompt, I Love You Because. The votes were much lower than anticipated but two writers received two votes each so we are happy to announce a tie for Featured Writer - Nancy Williams and Joy Campbell. Thank you to those who voted and congratulations to Nancy and Joy. Now members, you really understand what a difficult, no, really impossible task choosing a winner is.

When I conducted a poll some months back, the overwhelming reason writers submitted to RFW was to improve their craft. No one likes to judge entries (including yourselves it seems!) as it is not really comparing apples with apples. We value the diverse group we have become - novice writers, unpublished writers, poets, authors presenting extracts from WIPs and at times published books and those who write a fresh piece especially for the challenge. All of these are legitimate modes of entry, as long as all entries respond to the prompt. But it is really impossible to judge fairly. 

So how do you feel about not having FW or RU from now on, or only occasionally when we all write in the same genre for a special challenge? Non poets can try their hand at poetry and poets will get the opportunity to write prose. It would extend us all; perhaps we'll find talent we didn't know we had! Of course this would only be a limited event... We need your thoughts on this...Perhaps She Wears My Ring will be the last time we choose a FW and RU...

And the critique question. Don't forget this prickly one. Unless someone specifically asks for a full critique, just leave general feedback, highlighting the positive.

 I have to say excellent work everyone for your creative wide-ranging use of the prompt for I Love You Because. Awesome entries all. 

Now before I move onto our next prompt, I need to tell you that this is our last challenge until May 4.

After much deliberation, I have decided to close RFW for the month of April as this is A-Z Challenge time. Love it or hate it, this blogoverse challenge makes it pretty pointless to post if you're not in it. Already over 1,000 bloggers have signed up and hundreds who aren't accepting the challenge to post every day in April have been announcing on their blogs that they won't be posting in April as they know they'll be writing to themselves, well, not altogether, but close enough!

I, and some other RFW members will be participating in the April challenge. I won't have time to be posting prompts or writing to them, or reading entries, so thought it would be best to simply shut down the challenges for the month. That only means 2 prompts won't be happening. I'm adding the May 4 prompt to the end of this post so you can start imagining stories and poems to fit. 

When RFW re-opens on the 4th May, there will be some tweaking of the guidelines. There will be many other exciting changes as well, so stay tuned! You'll be so glad you did. And this is another chance for you to tell me any ideas you have for our writing group. I hope to receive some emails during April with your suggestions.

So, to our final challenge for the first trimester of 2012 -

The second prompt in our song series is 'She Wears My Ring.' Now this romantic song was recorded by many big names. Once again - Elvis Presley, then we have Roy Orbison et al, but my favourite recording is by Australia's own Elvis or Chuck Berry, Johnny O'Keefe, who rocked the Aussie song world in the '60s.

Here are the lyrics by the Bryants.

She Wears My Ring

She wears my ring to show the world
That she belongs to me
She wears my ring to tell the world
She's mine eternally
With loving care
I placed it on her finger
To show my love
For all the world to see

This tiny ring is a token
Of tender emotion
And in this pool of love
That's as deep as the ocean
She swears to wear it
With eternal devotion
That's why I sing
Because she wears my ring

Awesome lyrics. Once again, use this prompt however you wish, but we are looking for a story/poem that encapsulates the lyrics in some way. And the words: 'She wears my ring...' must be within the text.

Have fun with this prompt.

And here is a sneak peek at the Response to Image prompt for our return on May 4th. Just study this picture and see where the story takes you.

  • 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 5 weeks to produce your best copy. I thought about raising the word limit to 600 words for this one. What do you think?

As always, I encourage you to leave a comment here or email me with your responses to issues raised in posts. Please know that your input is most valuable in the decision-making process. My email:

Denise (L'Aussie)

Tuesday 6 March 2012

#RFW Challenge No 33 - I Love You Because - Stimulus and Particular Guidelines

Hi Writers!

I'm looking forward to our first song series prompt. Linky will be up Thursday (Oz time) and will remain up until Sunday (Oz time.)

Don't forget - it's People's Choice week I'm asking you to read all entries, comment, then come back to RFWer site and tell us your favourite for the week and why. 

For members or if you're a writer who has just stumbled across our site, you are welcome to write for us:

You can write:

  • Flash Fiction (up to 400 words) - FF has a beginning, middle and end to the story. Check out what makes up FF here on our RFWer page.
  • Prosetry (a RFWer term) - poetic prose often penned in couplets. Check out Andy's post here
  • Poetry - all types.
  • Vignette - a single scene, a snapshot - atmospheric; different from flash fiction or short story in that there does not have to be a traditional plot. (I'm writing this more and more.) For more about the vignette,  Check out my post here.
Check out our Submissions page for more guidelines and how to join up...

What do Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves have in common? They all recorded 'I Love You Because...' I like all versions, but the one I recognise is the Jim Reeves version from the '60s. Go to youtube and listen to each if you want further inspiration for this prompt. I think these words really suggest poetry to me. I might have a go at some more prosetry or I may stick to prose.


The words 'I Love You Because...' must feature in the poem/prose at some point - be as imaginative as you wish with this. It doesn't necessarily have to be in first person (I know some writers hate first person, I'm sure I don't know why.) Make it whatever person you wish. Just write us a lovely poem or story. Don't forget to include a romantic element...hmmm, can't wait to get started...

Here are the lyrics to the song. Do check it out on youtube:

I Love You Because..................(words & music by L. Payne)
I love you because you understand dear
Every single thing I try to do.
You're always there to lend a helping hand, dear.
I love you most of all because you're you.

No matter what the world may say about me,
I know your love will always see me through.
I love you for the way you never doubt me.
But most of all I love you 'cause you're you.

No matter what may be the style or season,
I know your heart will always be true.
I love you for a hundred thousand reasons,
But most of all I love you 'cause you're you.

And Nancy reminded me of the wonderful poem:

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Now you have all the guff, let's get writing. Post the direct link to your story on the linky after you have posted on your blog.

I'll leave you with Jim Reeves singing 'I Love You Because'.

Still need more inspiration? Go to Sarah Pearson's post on Romantic Songs here.

L'Aussie Denise