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Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino February 2023

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Hey Pal.”

“Kid, how’s it goin here at the Saddle Up?”

“Purty good so far. As ya kin see, Frankie an Burt are gittin their second wind afore continuin with their mail deliveries. Couple a women I ain’t seen b’fore showed up. Mebbe they’re from back east. A little one with big hair an a big one with little hair. They went inta the Cowsino.”

“Thet’s right! First Friday of a new month, thet means a new prompt from the ol story spine slot machine. Well, I hope they have fun playin. Reckon they kin read the directions down below fer themsefs.”

 🥕🥕🥕

“Cowsino? Hey, look, Marge, there’s an old-style slot machine! I told you this saloon would be a fun change for us.”

“Seems a bit gimmicky to me Ilene. Really? There’s a pig and a horse at the bar! When I said something about it that woman with the mail bag gave me a funny look. And those two in the hats? They’re just funny looking.”

“Be nice Marge. Come on let’s try this slot machine. Oh, interesting. It’s a writing game… using the three pictures in any order… okay, I’ll try…

Once upon a time that pesky little Cupid kept buzzing around like a deerfly until finally it bit the reluctant one-legged cowgirl princess.

Every day her cowboy cooed and wooed, brought her roses and stuff like that until they finally shacked up together.

Because of that he got complacent. There was no wooing and less cooing and he didn’t help with the dishes. She noticed the last rose forgotten in the vase, all thorny stem, its bloom blackened and brittle. She noticed that Cupid’s sting was beginning to fester and itch.

Finally, she pulled on her boot and walked.

“What do you think Marge? It’s 99 words exactly! The title is, ‘This Boot Is made For Walking’.”

“I think you should keep your day job Ilene.”

“That was fun. Now you try it.”

“Only if you go to the bar and get me another beer. Okay, let’s see…

One time a highly successful and skillful fisherwoman found herself in Florida, of all places. Every day she wanted to go fishing but what passed for creeks looked like ditches and were lined with alligators and snakes, not to mention snarly, snaggly brambles. Fishing was challenging until she switched her rod and reel for a small bow and arrow. Because of that alligators stopped chasing her bait and it was easier to maneuver. Her tall boots protected her from snakes and thorns. Finally, she’d found a way to put fish in the dish, but couldn’t wait to go home.

“Just in time with my beer, Ilene. Tada! Also 99 words, though I notice that is not a requirement for this writing game.”

“Really, Marge, you saw fishing from those pictures, not romance?”

“It was romantic, or at least Ernest thought it would be, a trip south.”

“Did you go to the beach?”

“Yes, we surf casted. I got snook and redfish. Ernest caught a jeep and gave up. Then he caught a sunburn which brought an end to some of the romance.”

“Maybe you should bring him to this place. Try a little ranch romance.”

“Do you think he’d mind that there’s a pig and a horse in the bar?”

“Probably not. He puts up with your friends, and they’re asses.”

“He doesn’t mind Nard or Nick— because they’re my asses.”

“He is sweet, your Ernest. Don’t let that one go, Marge.”

🥕🥕🥕

“Well folks, as you kin see, all are welcome in the Saddle Up an anyone kin try their hand at the story spine slot machine, as many times as they like. Come by ta write, read, or jist socialize.”

“Yep, this prompt is up all month an we’re open 24/7.”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more than one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino January 2023

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Yeehaw! The Cowsino’s done rolled over inta the new year! Write on, Pal!”

“Yep, we’re carryin on, openin up the back room a the saloon ta folks thet wanna take a gamble on this story prompt. The slot machine’s handle’s been pulled an the images has been rolled over too.”

“Well, move over, Pal, I gotta see what turned up this time. Oh. My. What the heck?”

“Step aside, Kid, they’s folks’ll know what ta do with them images. Member they’re jist an inspiration an they kin be rearranged in the story.”

“Yep, we’re pretty easy goin, it’s all jist ta git people ta writin an mebbe steppin outta their comfort zone.”

“Thinkin this could be a purty comfterble prompt, Kid. With thet story spine format there’s a structure ta follow, ya know, beginnin, middle, end, with clear cause an effect to steer the story.”

“Yep, a one thing leads ta anuther sort a story, but I notice some folks don’t always use the sentence starters, they find other wordin.”

“Thet’s okay too. An remember, we don’t count words fer this prompt.”

“So what’re we waitin fer? Step right up folks. The images have rolled ta a stop, the rules are posted below. Have fun, an play as often as ya like.”

“Yep. Ya’ve got till the first Friday a next month ta try yer hand with this prompt. Then we’ll do it agin!”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more than one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Snowed In

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Shut the front door Kid! The snow’s driftin in.”

“Yep, it’s really comin down out there Pal. Even a virtual ranch ain’t ‘scapin this weather. But whut’re we doin? Thought Carrot Ranch was stuck in the ditch with tech troubles.”

“Shorty’ll dig the Ranch outta thet mess, Kid. In the mean time all the ranchers is takin a break, mebbe tendin ta themselves an families, mebbe stoppin by the campfire ta chat. Mebbe, if they’re lookin fer a prompt they’ll pop inta the Cowsino. It’s still open.”

“Well, if everone’s on a break, whut’re we doin here?”

“Really, Kid? Where would we go? We live here. Asides, there’s always sumthin needs tendin, ‘tween the Ranch an the Saloon.”

“Yep. I been busy gittin ready fer this snowstorm.”

“Ya fed the hosses an cattle?”

“Yep. An I drove way up inta the far reaches a the ranch ta leave off some feed fer the unicorns.”

“Thought ya didn’t believe in thet.”

“Well, jist in case. Cain’t have em goin hungry. Left em some hay, some magic beans from Pepe an Logatha, an a course a bunch a carrots, carrots a all colors, all shapes an sizes.”

“Ya done good Kid.”

“Thanks, Pal. I also was out there building snowfolks.”

“Ya been playin in this storm?”

“Not zactly playin. Figgered rollin the snow up inta snowballs is a way ta contain it, keep it from pilin up quite so deep. But it’s comin down so fast, I had ta stack the snowfolks one on top a the other. Looks like jist a few out there but there’s more, they’s standin on each other’s shoulders.”  

“They soun like real supportive snowfolks, Kid, the sort we’d ‘spect at Carrot Ranch.”

“Pal? I hate ta put more problems on Shorty’s plate, but I’m gittin worried.”

“Bout whut?”

“Tween feedin the unicorns an givin all them snowfolks a nose, I’m worried the Ranch might run outta carrots!”

“Ya never need ta worry bout thet, Kid. Theys carrots aplenny, year round, thicker’n stardust. So brush thet snow off an you take a break too.”

“What’s all this, Pal? A celebration?”

“Let’s leave thet up ta people’s ‘maginations. Jist know thet the Saloon is warm an cozy with lights an all the Ranch Yarn characters are here, sharin food an drink an stories ‘mongst themselves till the Ranch is up an runnin again. Real folks is welcome ta join in too, or kin send their characters by. We’ll look fer ya in the comments.”

“It’s real nice Pal. Bet them lights shine roun the world!”

“Yep. They do. Annii. May the light of peace an goodwill shine for all.”

“Annii.”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino December 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Kid! Bout time ya showed up. Ya know I like ta be on time fer special events.”

“The Cowsino’s a special event? But it’s ever first Friday of ever month, Pal. What’s so special bout it?”

“Sometimes ya jist flabbergast me Kid. By havin the Cowsino at the Saddle Up Saloon we pervide folks with another place ta play with words.”

“Seems like a fun place ta play with one anuther too, Pal. Ya know, commentin an discussin with one anuther.”

“Zactly Kid. It ain’t zactly like the prompt fer the 99-word challenges though.”

“No, there ain’t Shorty’s purty prose to set ya up. Jist the roll a the images in the slot machine.” “Yep, luck a the draw.”

“Think ya mean luck a the spin, Pal. An what ya git is what ya git, but ya kin switch the order a the images.”

“An no word count. But folks are incouraged ta follow the story spine format, as outlined in the ‘Rules of Play’ below.”

“Why’s that Pal? What’s the value in that?”

“Anythin thet gits a writer writin is a win, Kid.”

“Seems kinda like a recipe er somethin.”

“Yep. A classic recipe. Ya gotta follow a recipe afore ya go changin it. But dispite folks followin the recipe an usin the same three pictures, everone thet’s played has cooked up unique an savory stories, no two alike.”

“Reckon it’s a nice change a pace fer the writers an mebbe a good exercise in layin down a story quickly.”

“Yep. Thinkin the structure’s nough ta git em up an goin at a good clip, without ramblin too far afield.”

“Kin always go back ta yer story spine story an put more meat on the bones.”

“Yep. That’s jackpot!”

“Okay then folks, try yer hand at the slot machine. Give some backbone ta them three images an leave yer story for us in the comments section.”

“Ya kin leave multiple stories! Ya gotta play ta win.”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more than one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino November 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Hey Pal. Yeehaw! Another Cowsino Night at the ol Saddle Up Saloon!”

“Glad ya could make it Kid. Whut took ya so long?”

“Had ta git ma Cowsino git-up on. Got ma green visor, ma arm gaiters.”

“It’s quite a git-up Kid, but ya do realize we ain’t dealin cards, right? An, despite the most recent prompt, there ain’t no roulette wheel. Not sure ya need thet fer the slot machine. Speakin a which, let’s git on back there an see what the one-armed bandit has fer us this time.”

“You ain’t done that yet?”

“I ain’t the one whut pulls the lever. Shorty does thet.”

“Oh. All this time I figgered you done it Pal. Yer usually here ahead a me an I jist assumed.”

“Nope. Shorty.”

“So Pal, what zactly do we do?”

“Thet’s a tough one Kid. The rules a play is already posted… Folks jist come by an play and socialize… hmm. Reckon we don’t do much Kid.”

“Well, leastways one of us looks good not doin much a anythin.”

“Hmmf. Let’s go Kid, it’s time.”

“Write on Pal!”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more than one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino October 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Welcome back ta the Cowsino, ever’one. It’s the spot where ya git anuther chance ta practice yer writin chops without leavin the comfort an safety a the Carrot Ranch Literary Community.”

“Thet’s right, Kid. The famous story spine slot machine is in the Cowsino, at the Saddle Up Saloon, jist over the line from Carrot Ranch.”

“Atchally, Pal, I think it’s me an you that’s over the line. The Saddle Up is a part a the ranch, a waterin hole an restin place fer all our ranch hands an even their characters. But what ‘xactly is this story spine?”

“I first heard a story spine back in January 2020, in one a the challenge posts. In thet post lead buckaroo, Charli Mills, says the story spine kin be anuther draftin an problem solvin tool fer writers.”

“Reckon I’ll click HERE ta re-read that post an find out more.”

“Reckon thet’s a good idea. An in thet post is THIS LINK ta Aerogramme Writers’ Studio where teacher, author, and the Artistic Director of Synergy Theater Kenn Adams tells bout Story Spine, which he created in 1991.”

“But it’s basically jist a structure ta contain yer story?”

“Yeah, Kid, jist a way ta plot yer rersponse ta the three pictures thet come up on the slot machine. Ya kin switch the order a the pictures an the story ain’t gotta be zactly 99 words, not at the Cowsino.”

“An folks play as much as they like? Post their stories there in the comments; read an comment on other’s?”

“Yep, it’s a lot a low stakes fun. The rules a play’s listed below.”

“Well, then folks, look’t them pictures an play yer hand. We’ll catch ya in the comments.”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more then one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino September 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Well, yer a week late Kid. Jist hope ya ain’t a dollar short.”

“Don’t need a dollar. The Cowsino’s part a the Saddle Up Saloon, an the Saddle Up Saloon’s a part a Carrot Ranch. No need ta pay, Pal.”

“Thet’s right Kid. Folks kin play thet slot machine fer free an as many times as they like.”

“It’s a guaranteed winner!”

“Still, ya must a lost track a time or somethin Kid. Why’d ya miss pullin the arm a thet slot machine last Friday?”

“Jist did, is all.”

“Did ya go somewhere’s?”

“I dunno, it’s hard sayin.”

“Try.”

“Okay…

Once upon a time…

“Last week?”

“Yeah, last week. Every day led ta anuther. Until our writer ended up stayin over ta housesit an take care a the puppies an chickens. Because a that she was all discombobulated, knew it was the weekend an all but missed that it were a new month. Because a bein outta place an outta sorts, she ended up readin a fair amount, got lost in books. Because of that, she weren’t jist outta place, she was outta time an that long weekend went by quickly.

“Then what happened?”

Finally ever’one ended up in their own homes an that’s when our writer finally recollected that we don’t exactly write ourselves. She needs ta least push the buttons.”

“Sometimes you push my buttons Kid, but I reckon it’s okay. Better late then never.

“Alright folks, have a look at what’s rolled aroun fer this month’s Cowsino story spine prompt. Share yer stories in the comments below an be sure ta read an comment on others’ stories.”

“Have fun!”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more then one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: A Whole New World

As writers, we come up with worlds in our heads and commit them to paper. Even fiction that ostensibly takes place in our own world must contain fictional characters and elements that make it differ from our own.

Today at the Saloon, we’re going to sip our brews and chat about how people (and characters) make the world just as much as the world shapes us.

The Importance of Diversity in Characters and Worldbuilding

The world is rich and alive with many different people and many different backgrounds. If everyone were the same, we’d have no fun at all. There would be no discovery of others, no real friendships. To make characters in books come alive, they must be distinct, have different goals and needs, and sometimes they must be in opposition to one another.

When we think of diversity of characters, we often think first of racial and gender diversity. These are very important (and discussed in more detail in the next section), but they are not the only ways to incorporate diversity into your work. Here’s just a brief list of important diversity elements that can make your characters more distinct and real.

  • Race
  • Gender (and attraction)
  • Age (think about how much popular media includes real characters of multiple generations – I’m only coming up with Orange Is the New Black right now, and it was chock full of interesting characters!)
  • Class
  • Ability and disability
  • Religious affiliation or lack thereof
  • Country of origin (distinct from race, even if it’s hard to separate in American culture)
Look – even this Pexels picture meant to represent “Diversity” has no obvious Age, Class, or Ability diversity. Just because it’s not obvious doesn’t mean it’s not diversity!

Remember, if it takes place in any world with humans, you can include elements of diversity. Even in places, you think diversity would be impossible to include, you can; just look at Othello, if you want proof!

Diversity in Today’s Book Climate

If you take half a look at writing Twitter, Instagram, or a plethora of other online writing circles, diversity is a big push right now. It ranges from encouragement to read authors from underrepresented backgrounds to insistences that books must contain “X” amount of diversity.

You’ve read it. I’ve read it. We’ve felt the gamut of feelings from “That’s a great idea!” to “That made me feel attacked.” While none of us will ever be perfect, the climate as it stands can be very daunting.

A rule of thumb is to be more careful when you get closer to a subject. Do more research, and have more sensitivity readers. If, like me, you are white, and you want to write a book with a non-white main character set in the modern world, you definitely want to have sensitivity readers and do a lot of research. At the same time, if I wrote that book, it would be a disservice if I pretended like I was an expert on the subject when I didn’t have that life experience.

While most of us probably will stick with mains similar enough to ourselves that we won’t have that issue, I encourage you to try and push yourself with one character in your next work. Use the opportunity to learn new things, then write a piece that will expand your boundaries.

A Whole OLD World

Whenever you’re writing a fictional world, no matter how dissimilar to our own, your book will still be read by an audience steeped in our own world. No matter how dissimilar the histories of our worlds, anything written for humans to read will be read within the context of our own world.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

If you write a world in which women are in power and men are not, it still is read in the context of a world in which men have long had most of the power. The switch of political power will still remind any reader of this fact. A book written in such a world could be very thematically interesting, or it could feel very ignorant of the element it switched. How you speak of the issue is just as important in a very different world as it is in our own.


About the Author

H.R.R. Gorman often doesn’t feel diverse, even if other people say he is. He loves writing, history, and science, often in erratically changing orders. If you want to know more about this white-trash-turned-excessively-bourgeois maniac, you can go to https://hrrgorman.wordpress.com/ or read the old “Into the Past” columns here on the Carrot Ranch!

Saddle Up Saloon: Cowsino June 2022

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Holy cow, Kid! Look’t the saloon! Shorty’s got it fixed up real nice. I
like how the stage is center stage.”

“How now, Pal? What’s that cow doin in here?”

“Really? The Saddle Up Saloon’s a part a Carrot Ranch. Ranches have cows.
Asides, what’s yer beef? Yer kid goats has been through here, not ta mention Frankie’s horse
Burt, an thet hoglet a yers.”

“This is udderly dif’rent.”

“Well, here’s Shorty. Take it up with her.”

“Hey Kid. Hey Pal. I see you’ve met Tildie. This cow is trained to pull the
handle on the slot machine.”

“Slot machine? Never woulda bet there’d be gamblin in the saloon.”

“Not gambling, Kid, just takin a chance that folks will want to play with a
different kind of story prompt. See, everyone wins with this slot machine. But I need you two ta run Cowsino Night here at the Saddle Up Saloon.”

“Run Cowsino Night? You betcha! Um, what zactly is Cowsino Night?”

“That’s right, you two had already disappeared when I pulled the lever for
the first one. Just make sure Tildie pulls the handle. Then encourage folks to use all three images to write a story.”

“99 words?”

“More or less, Pal. On Cowsino Night the challenge is to use the story spine
to structure a story. Words count, but we’re not counting words. Responses go
in the comments.”

“Souns like a good time, Shorty. We’ll be happy ta hep out.”

“Every first Friday of the month.” 

“Yeehaw! Let’s git writin ever’one!”

“Yep. Be sure an read an comment on one ‘nuther’s story spines in the comments below.”

Rules of Play

  1. Use the three pictures that spin to a stop as inspiration or subjects (use in any order).
  2. Write seven sentences following the Story Spine (you don’t have to use the phrases of each step):
    • Once upon a time…
    • Every day…
    • Until…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Because of that…
    • Finally…
  3. Share your story here at the Saloon (post on the story/comment board below).
  4. No links to other places. Play the slots as much as you like (you can write more then one story).
  5. Say howdy to those playing with you! Be friendly and have fun!

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and built the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via shiftnshake@dslayton.com.

Saddle Up Saloon: Anyone Can Poem

Howdy once again! It’s been a wild ride but this here’s the final post for Anyone Can Poem.

I’d planned to use this last post to wrap up everyone’s free verse poems from last month; problem is, no one came round to share ’em.

Instead, we’re a-gonna wrap up everything we done did learn over all the past year o’ poeming:

  1. March, 2021. This was whare it all began. I asked you to take yourself on a relaxing date. While moseying around with such a stunning partner, you then needed to “word dump prosaically.”
    This was a way to loosen up any of y’all who was feeling nervous about writing.
  2. April, 2021. Next, naturally, we tried mimicryParodyPastiche.
  3. May, 2021. I introduced haiku -sort-of. I’d always meant to come back to this beautiful form and do it right proper, but it is what it is.
  4. June, 2021. This month was one o’ my favorites! We all tried limericks.
  5. July, 2021. After expressing mah pet-peeve of messed-up meter, I suggested we mess up meters.
  6. August, 2021. Continuing with meter, we ‘fixed’ some famous poems.
  7. September, 2021. This ‘un discussed the need for concise poeming.
  8. October, 2021. To further improve our poetry, I said to “pick impactful, meaningful words and phrases that put the reader in the moment.”
  9. November, 2021. I delivered a healthy baby boy, and suggested we try an Acrostic Poem.
  10. December, 2021. We faced the greatest poetic challenge of all: free verse. I’d meant for this ‘un to be a two-parter, but had to take a break on completin’ the second part till…
  11. April, 2022. The follow-up on where we’d gone with free-versing.

An’ now we’re here. We’ve spent a year working together so y’all can be right cozy with writing a poem. I have no more challenges for you, excepting that you go through them steps anytime you think, I can’t write poetry.

I’m telling ya: YES, YOU CAN. Anyone can poem.

And, as always, you can send me any poem you’re struggling with. Just use the form at the bottom o’ one o’ the old challenges. I’m happy to help.

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©2022 Chel Owens