Writing Update

Image of pencil on blank background

What have I been working on lately? Here’s a mishmash of writing updates.


I finished the second draft of my Spheksophobia novel. It’s still a mess, but early drafts are messy.

The novel I worked on ad nauseum last year, Witch of the Manor House, has been tucked away in a drawer (or a coffin, but I’m not sure it’s cool to have a coffin in one’s kitchen, so I’m not saying). After working with an HWA mentor on it, I love 30 percent of it, I’m okay with another 30 percent, but I’d like to rewrite the remaining 40 percent. This week, during a walk with Dear Husband, our conversation took a morbid turn and sparked some delicious ideas for beefing up that last 40 percent. I worry Dear Husband sometimes . . .


I won a writing contest. Got a free book. It was like getting a pat on the back. Happy me.

I got two short story rejections. Eh, on to the next. Oh, but I did receive a few lines of helpful critique with one of the rejections, so that was nice!


I wrote a poem a day in April for National Poetry Month. I thought I liked free verse poems the best, but I’ve gained much respect for the American sentence poem and the dodoitsu.

The American sentence poem is 17 syllables, comprises an actual subject-predicate sentence, and is more about concrete things rather than intangibles. Like this:

Crows strutted on graves, plucking worms, when a bony hand rose, plucked a crow.
-Priscilla Bettis

The dodoitsu is a Japanese form with three lines of 7 syllables and a fourth line of 5 syllables. Like this:

Coroners found teeth in brain
Matter, hair in her windpipe.
A partially absorbed twin
Chewed and choked her dead.
-Priscilla Bettis


Next up, I’ll do another draft of Spheksophobia, then do reconstructive surgery on that pesky 40 percent of Witch of the Manor House.

Happy reading and writing everybody!

Feature image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

81 thoughts on “Writing Update

  1. Congratulations on winning the sort story contest! I like the sound of your Dear Hubby – anyone you can have a chat about morbid stuff with is worth hanging on to!
    Keep at it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on winning a writing contest and getting a free book! And congratulations on finishing the first draft of your novel. As you said, they are supposed to be messy and it is so great when you get it all out of the system and onto paper.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s fun to catch up with you Priscilla. You’ve been busy as ever. Congrats on the contest.
    I love Ray Bradbury’s story of all his early rejections. He practically wallpapered his office with them. Rejections are common, to be expected. However, getting a helpful critique with one — or any sort of non-form-letter reply is a great indication. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Teagan! I also like the Bradbury story about him having to write really fast because he was renting a typewriter by the hour in the library basement. (Oh, no pressure at all!) I’m glad you commented.:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Priscilla,

    It’s definitely cool to have a coffin in the kitchen! Congratulations on winning your writing contest, and have fun revising your stories. If you ever need a beta-reader, let me know.

    Keep smiling,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Paula. I really like crows (and ravens and magpies), so it made me feel a little squeamish thinking about a graveyard skeleton snatching a crow, but there ya go! I’m glad you popped by.:-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too. We have a one-footed magpie who comes to our garden. He manages somehow to stand on a branch on a windy day. I love the way magpie chatty to themselves as they go about their business. Very funny.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on winning the writing contest! As for the story, don’t worry, it will turn out to be a good one! Wow! I didn’t know what was a dodoitsu! Got to know something new…. Just followed you….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I LOVE your Cemetery poem, Priscilla. It’s wonderful! Good to hear all that you’ve got going on creatively–very inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

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