Transgressive Writing Prompt Recommendations & Other Info




Writing Prompts for Rookie Writers

Posted on June 11, 2015
Summer is coming. In two weeks across the United States, temperatures will be in the 70s to 90s from June to October. Some of us work indoors or outdoors or a combination of both. I will be doing both this Summer. We have the standard ways of stay cool in a long season like Summer, have a fan or AC running. For today’s prompt I want to take those luxuries from you. I have a story idea that I wrote about a week or the week before(need to label the dates I have these ideas) about solar flares disabling electronics.

The prompt is a solar flare erupts across the entire country of the U.S. People are trying to find ways to stay cool during a week-long heat wave that’s sweeping the nation. How will they find a way to keep cool?

I want you to write a short, short story or essay detailing creative ways to stay cool. Don’t do any research for this. Really think about ways no one has considered in staying cool. As always you can answer this prompt in the comments section or ping this post to your blog.

Posted on June 10, 2015
I discovered the discussion theme unpopular opinions recently. Some of you may already know what unpopular opinions are, but for those who don’t know it’s ranting your opinion about a certain thing in a negative tone. I chose writing to start this unpopular opinions series (it will be very often). Why have I chose writing? We’re all writers for starters. Whether we’re rookies or experts we all have an unpopular opinion about writing. For example, my unpopular opinion about writing is having a good idea but the story ends prematurely because it doesn’t translate well on paper.That’s our prompt for the day.

What is/are your unpopular opinion(s) about writing? There’s no word length for this prompt.
Posted in Prompts, Tagged unpopular opinions, Writing, writing

Posted on June 9, 2015
Today our prompt is about workshops. Two weeks ago, I attended my first writing workshop. It wasn’t a long session and it was free. I met one of Gotham Writers’ teachers, Jennifer K. Armstrong. It was a pleasant experience. It was also the first time I met an author. The one hour session was more than enough time to understand Article Writing (the workshop’s topic). I will attend more workshops in the future. I want to know your experience at a writing workshop. Tell me what topic the workshop was about, what did you learn, and was it helpful?

For those who haven’t attended a writing workshop, will you go to one? There’s no word limit for this prompt.
Posted in Prompts, Tagged Gotham Writers, Jennifer K Armstrong, writing prompt, writing workshops

Posted on June 3, 2015
Good evening followers. I know I was supposed to have prompts reblogged and queued. I’ve been busy this past week and have a lot of commitments at the moment. With that being said, how is everyone this week? For today/tonight’s prompt I want to know what you’re going to read this Summer. In less than 18 days away it will be the first day of Summer. Where’s the time going? Just yesterday we were digging our way out of 12 inches of snow, buying Valentine’s Day gifts and celebrating Easter. Pretty soon it will be Back to School sales, Fall semester, Comic-Con, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The fast cycle of life never ends or slows down doesn’t it? -sigh-

Back on topic, what books do you have planned to read this Summer or are going to read? I plan on reading anthologies I took out of the library (which a few are almost at their renew limit). I’m reading ‘Burnt Tongues’ an anthology of transgressive fictional stories, Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy of the Year Volume 1, Best New Horror Volume 25 and Wastelands. I’m reading anthologies because I have one in the works now. This anthology will be my first work, stories written by me. I have one story written, currently in draft mode and another one in the planning stages.

I want you to list the books you are reading or plan on reading this Summer. Give me a detailed short paragraph on why you’re reading said book or books. As always you can answer this prompt in the comments section or do a pingback on your blog. Have a good night followers!

Posted on May 26, 2015
Hello followers. It’s been two months since I last posted anything. School and life became hectic and I wasn’t able to post anything. I ended up hitting a wall in terms of creating prompts. Between volunteering and schoolwork creating prompts wasn’t in my thought process. However I did create story ideas for myself that I want to experiment and possibly publish. Now that I’m finished with school and have some time before my next chapter in life begins I will post regularly. However prompts will be slow. I will reblog posts from the Daily Post and other websites.

There are no current changes for this blog at the moment. I have some minor changes in the near future. There will be writing prompts, but they will be from The Daily Post. I don’t have many creative prompts at this time. I hope you all are keeping up with your writing.

I want to know as a substitute prompt for the day. What writing have you done since the last post I made in March? Are you writing a novel? Short story? Anthology? Business related? Let me know in the comments section.
Posted in Prompts; Leave a comment

Posted on March 16, 2015
This post is from The Writers Helpers, a Tumblr blog. I think this will help improve our writing.
Posted in Prompts, Tagged sites to help improve your writing, writing resources

Posted on March 15, 2015
Posted in Prompts

Posted on March 13, 2015
I recently finished reading a novel called A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines for one of my English classes. Off topic, I’m taking two English classes for my final semester of community college. Sounds fun right (it’s fun but overwhelming)? Back on topic, the main character, Grant Higgins, must teach a young man named Jefferson how to be a man before he is executed for a crime he didn’t commit. I know most of you may have read this book so you know the outcome of what happens.

Today’s prompt is a bit unique and the events of this novel relates to what goes on in the media today involving young Black men such as myself. As you know from the novel, Jefferson is demonized by being called a hog. Grant does what he can to prove to Jefferson by telling him he’s not a hog.

We all have our moments when we feel like we’re not good enough or someone says something to us, out of anger and frustration usually, that gets under our skin. So for tonight’s final original prompt before the hiatus officially begins: Recall a time when you felt less than human. Did you fail a test? Did you make a mistake at work where your boss or co-worker made you feel upset? Did someone call you an animal or inhuman for any reason?

Let me know in the comments below or do pingback by linking my URL on your blog post.

The word length for this prompt is around 500 words or less. Try not to write about a story that’s too personal or hurtful to explain. I know it’s a bit contradictory, but if there are any stories that bring up old wounds or are too personal to share, you don’t have to.

Good night folks and keep on writing. I’ll see you soon!
Posted in Prompts, Tagged A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest J Gaines, self-esteem, writing prompt,writing prompts

Posted on March 13, 2015
Good evening followers! I hope you’re all doing well and keeping your pens and fingers busy. Mine has been busy a lot as of late which is why I’m typing this post. As of tonight, I’m taking a short hiatus from this blog. What this will mean is it will still be active but I won’t. My life has been a small roller coaster as of late. School is kicking my rear. I recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, rehabilitating a small family house. I had a great time and will be doing it again possibly next week (if transportation funds are well with me in the coming week, the perks of living in New York). I’m looking for part-time work.

I will post regularly on April 3rd to the 11th since I have Spring Break and back to hiatus mode. Now I said that this blog will be active. How if I’m not posting? I will be queuing posts from various blog sites, either from WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. Although most of these posts won’t be original content I still want to provide helpful tips and prompts for you all to keep writing. I’ve been sapped out of creativity for writing prompts as of late, but luckily enough I’ve been doing independent writing for myself. There will be a new prompt tonight before I close the curtain when school’s over for me.

As a developing community, I want us to grow as writers. I believe that all of you including myself, whether we’re rookie or veteran writers can improve further. Remember there’s always room for improvement. The new prompt will be up in a moment. I just wanted to let you all know what’s going on. if you have comments, questions and suggestions on what I should do spark some creativity, I would greatly appreciate it. I hope you all keep on writing and have a safe weekend.

Later fellow writers.
Posted in Prompts, Tagged announcements for writing prompts, Habitat for Humanity, life,sapped of creativity, volunteering, writing prompt, writing prompts

Posted on February 26, 2015
For today’s prompt, write about what writing means to you. We’re all writers, so writing about this hobby and profession is something we can share our personal feelings about. There’s no word limit for the prompt. Write until your heart’s content. I want to know why you love writing and how do you feeling when script on paper or type on a keyboard. Have fun with this followers! And as always, post your response in the comment section below or on your blog by pinging my URL into your response. Have a good day everyone.
Posted in Prompts, Tagged what does writing mean to you?, Writing, writing prompt, writing prompts

For more on this WordPress Blog, go to the link

Here’s an example from reddit of someone’s posted ideas based on the writing prompt:

Describe a superhero with powers that are normally associated with a villain.

Black Site Observation Log


Subject ID: 000-3-H

Brief: Subject is a type Theta multiple entity system(Demonic Possession) consisting of the human host Sheila McKinnon and the Demon Kathilonne. Unusually, the host retains a high degree of indepence, remaining in control most of the time, except during incidents of vigilantism. During these incidents, however, the demon seems to acknowledge and even ask for the host’s thoughts and opinions on various matter, sometimes even appearing to make small talk.

Known Aliases: Sheila McKinnon, Kathy McKinnon, Kathilonne, He Who Consumes, Old Kath, The Mother of Hunger, Liplicker, “Soul Food”, “Ghost Talker”, “Inquisitor Kath”

Location: 53.3498° N, 6.2603° W (Dublin, Ireland) No permanent address. Subject appears to be homeless. No known favored leylines or ritual sites.

Host Description:

Hair: Red, curly, usually kept closely cropped, but expenditure of demonic power causes rapid growth.
Height: Approximately 5’3″
Skin: Pale with freckles
Eyes: Green. While the demon takes control, they become pure black.
Age: Unknown. Appears to be 25-30 years old, but local legends describe a woman with similar powers dating back at least as far as 1322 ad, which would put her age at approximately 800 years old.
Demon Description:

Spiritual Pressure: >475yV (Elder Demon Class)
Aspects: fire, open mouths, molars, distended or swollen stomachs, scavenger animals such as rats or crows, raw or cooked meat, cannibalistic acts, cremated remains, willful destruction of material wealth, deliberate flaunting of excess
Domain: Hunger, Transgressive Acts, Thievery
Recent Activities:

01/05/2016 6:34pm GMT – subject intervened in the robbery of a convenience store, then tailed the robbers back to an abandoned chapel, ambushed them, and interrogated them by brutalizing their souls. Both robbers survived physically, but at least one will likely require spiritual intervention within a standard timeframe.
04/05/2016 12:00am GMT – Physically vanished from a park bench. Subject likely made contact with a fae or fae-affiliated creature during this time for reasons unknown.
05/05/2016 12:00am GMT – Subject reappeared on the same park bench she vanished from, now in possession of a magical artifact, likely a weapon.
08/05/2016 3:42am GMT – Subject boarded a ship bound for New York City. Paid in cash after unsuccessfully attempting to barter the magical artifact acquired three days prior.

Hope this gives you some ideas…



Five Easy Ways To Become Inspired To Write

Suffering from a lack of inspiration? Major case of writer’s block? Try these five easy ways to get inspired to write!

  1. Reading. Seeing the characters, concepts, and ideas of other writers can stimulate your own creative juices.
  2. Silence.  Too much stress in your life? Take some time out to relax and watch your creativity shine.
  3. Fun. All work and no play makes for dull writing. See friends, go out, have fun – you might just have a memorable experience worth writing about!
  4. Others’ Stories. Go on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or through your cell phone address book. Ask yourself what interesting things can be fictionalized from your friends’ experiences? A helpful note: If it’s embarrassing to them, change the details to protect your friendship.
  5. Writing Prompts. Still completely baffled? When all else fails, there’s a wealth of writing prompts online.
    What do you do when you’re out of ideas? Please share a comment to help other writers in this predicament.

Posted in Writer’s Life

Tagged creative writing, creativity, inspiration, writer’s block, writing, posted Oct16


Transgressive fiction is a genre of literature that focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways. Because they are rebelling against the basic norms of society, protagonists of transgressive fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic. The genre deals extensively with taboo subject matters such as drugs, sexual activity, violence, incest, pedophilia, and crime. The genre of “transgressive fiction” was defined by Los Angeles Times literary critic Michael Silverblatt.[1] Michel Foucault’s 1963 essay “A Preface to Transgression” also provides an important methodological origin for the concept of transgression in literature. The essay uses Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille as an example of transgressive fiction.[2]Rene Chun, a journalist for The New York Times, described transgressive fiction thus:[3]

A literary genre that graphically explores such topics as incest and other aberrant sexual practices, mutilation, the sprouting of sexual organs in various places on the human body, urban violence and violence against women, drug use, and highly dysfunctional family relationships, and that is based on the premise that knowledge is to be found at the edge of experience and that the body is the site for gaining knowledge.
The genre has been the subject of controversy, and many forerunners of transgressive fiction, including William S. Burroughs and Hubert Selby Jr., have been the subjects of obscenity trials.

Transgressive fiction shares similarities with splatterpunk, noir, and erotic fiction in its willingness to portray forbidden behaviors and shock readers. But it differs in that protagonists often pursue means to better themselves and their surroundings—albeit unusual and extreme ones. Much transgressive fiction deals with searches for self-identity, inner peace, or personal freedom. Unbound by usual restrictions of taste and literary convention, its proponents claim that transgressive fiction is capable of incisive social commentary.

There is also some overlap with literary minimalism, as many transgressive writers use short sentences and simplistic style.

The basic ideas of transgressive fiction are by no means new. Many works that are now considered classics dealt with controversial themes and harshly criticized societal norms. Early examples include the scandalous writing of the Marquis de Sade and the Comte de Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror (1869). French author Émile Zola’s works about social conditions and “bad behavior” are examples, as are Russian Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novels Crime and Punishment (1866) and Notes from Underground (1864) and Norwegian Knut Hamsun’s psychologically-driven Hunger (1890). Sexual extravagance can be seen in two of the earliest European novels, the Satyricon and The Golden Ass, and also (with disclaimers) Moll Flanders and some of the excesses of early Gothic fiction.

Early 20th century writers such as Octave Mirbeau, Georges Bataille, and Arthur Schnitzler, who explored psychosexual development, are also important forebears.

On 6 December 1933, US federal judge John M. Woolsey overturned the federal ban on James Joyce’s Ulysses. The book was banned in the US due to what the government claimed was obscenity, specifically parts of Molly Bloom’s “soliloquy” at the end of the book. Random House Inc. challenged the claim of obscenity in federal court and was granted permission to print the book in the US. Judge Woolsey is often quoted explaining his removal of the ban by saying “It is only with the normal person that the law is concerned.”

In the late 1950s, American publisher Grove Press, under publisher Barney Rosset, began releasing decades-old novels that had been unpublished in most of the English-speaking world for many years due to controversial subject matter. Two of these works, Lady Chatterley’s Lover (D. H. Lawrence’s tale of an upper class woman’s affair with a working class man) and Tropic of Cancer (Henry Miller’s sexual odyssey), were the subject of landmark obscenity trials (Lady Chatterley’s Lover was also tried in the UK and Austria). Both books were ruled not obscene and forced the US courts to weigh the merit of literature that would have once been instantly deemed pornographic (see Miller test). Similarly, the author Vladimir Nabokov published Lolita in 1955 to a great deal of controversy due to the pedophilia that occurs between the book’s main characters, Humbert Humbert and Lolita. The transgressive nature of this subject has made Lolita a book often found on the list of books banned by governments and the list of most commonly challenged books in the United States.

Grove Press also published the explicit works of Beat writers, which led to two more obscenity trials. The first concerned Howl, Allen Ginsberg’s 1955 poem which celebrated American counterculture and decried hypocrisy and emptiness in mainstream society. The second concerned William S. Burroughs’ hallucinatory, satirical novel Naked Lunch (1959). Both works contained what were considered lewd descriptions of body parts and sexual acts. Grove also published Hubert Selby Jr.’s anecdotal novel Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964), known for its gritty portrayals of criminals, prostitutes, and transvestites and its crude, slang-inspired prose. Last Exit to Brooklyn was tried as obscene in the UK. Grove Press won all these trials, and the victories paved the way both for transgressive fiction to be published legally, as well as bringing attention to these works.

In the 1970s and ’80s, an entire underground of transgressive fiction flourished. Its biggest stars included J.G. Ballard, a British writer known for his strange and frightening dystopian novels; Kathy Acker, an American known for her sex-positive feminist fiction; and Charles Bukowski, an American known for his tales of womanizing, drinking, and gambling. The notorious 1971 film version of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, contained scenes of rape and “ultraviolence” by a futuristic youth gang complete with its own argot, and was a major influence on popular culture; it was subsequently withdrawn in the UK, and heavily censored in the US.

In the 1990s, the rise of alternative rock and its distinctly downbeat subculture opened the door for transgressive writers to become more influential and commercially successful than ever before.[citation needed] This is exemplified by the influence of Canadian Douglas Coupland’s 1990 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, which explored the economically-bleak and apocalypse-fixated worldview of Coupland’s age group. The novel popularized the term generation X to describe this age demographic. Other influential authors of this decade include Bret Easton Ellis, known for novels about depraved yuppies; Irvine Welsh, known for his portrayals of Scotland’s drug-addicted working class youth; and Chuck Palahniuk, known for his characters’ bizarre attempts to escape bland consumer culture. Both of Elizabeth Young’s volumes of literary criticism from this period deal extensively and exclusively with this range of authors and the contexts in which their works can be viewed.

In India, Charu Nivedita’s works are considered transgressive.[4] His novel, Zero Degree[5] is placed on par with William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.[4]

The early 21st century saw the rise of writers like Rupert Thomson, R D Ronald and Kelly Braffet with their protagonists further pushing the criminal, sexual, violent, narcotic, self-harm, anti-social and mental illness related subject matter taboos from the shadows of the transgressive umbrella into the forefront of mainstream fiction. Ronald’s novels The Elephant Tree and The Zombie Room are based in the fictional city of Garden Heights, providing a fresh, contemporary melting pot to showcase the amalgamation of UK and US cultural and societal dissatisfaction and frustration, that had previously been portrayed very differently.

In the UK, the genre owes a considerable influence to “working class literature”[citation needed], which often portrays characters trying to escape poverty by inventive means, while in the US, the genre focuses more on middle class characters trying to escape the emotional and spiritual limitations of their lifestyle.


On Goodreads: Their List of Top Transgressive Lit 

You may need to sign up for a Goodreads account in order to view the extensive list of the top transgressive books (587 books are listed, but if you are interested and if you love to read, like I do, this account (free) is well worth it…so many offerings and keep track of what you have read, receive customized recommended literature, join community forums, win free books in contests, and so much more.


Best Transgressive Fiction
Books that contain depictions of behavior that violates socially acceptable norms, often involving taboo subject matters such as drug use, violence, incest, crime.

The focus is on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual and/or illicit ways. Rebelling against the basic norms of society, the protagonists of transgressive fiction may seem mentally ill, anti-social, or nihilistic.

Fight Club
by Chuck Palahniuk (Goodreads Author)

A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess

American Psycho
by Bret Easton Ellis

by George Orwell

The Catcher in the Rye
by J.D. Salinger

by Vladimir Nabokov

by Irvine Welsh

The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

Invisible Monsters Remix
by Chuck Palahniuk (Goodreads Author)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by Hunter S. Thompson

The Stranger
by Albert Camus

by Kurt Vonnegut

by Chuck Palahniuk (Goodreads Author)
Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
by Patrick Süskind
by Chuck Palahniuk (Goodreads Author)

Less Than Zero
by Bret Easton Ellis

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
Last Exit to Brooklyn
by Hubert Selby Jr.

Naked Lunch Naked Lunch
by William S. Burroughs

by William S. Burroughs

The Hollow Dolls by M.T. Dahl (Goodreads Author)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)
by Stieg Larsson

Requiem for a Dream
by Hubert Selby Jr.

by Chuck Palahniuk (Goodreads Author)

The Zombie Room
by R.D. Ronald

You must check this page out, & if you’re not a member of goodreads yet, there is so much to offer for so many.


Still Have Writer’s Block? Another Idea to Think About

Date today: Today, This Moment in Time; Weather: What it is; Hmmm, what to write…blank sheet of paper before me…doodle, doodle, swirls swirl spin turn into flowers leaves insects…just another Journalled Rorschach Test you made and took for yourself by yourself interpretable only in yourself






Just for fun, if you like:

The Original Rorschach Page


IF YOU WISH TO TRY IT OUT, HOWEVER, AT HOME TO SEE…test yourself at home and share with your friends

you may also visit the ink blot self-testing test so you can test yourself then tell your friends Self-Test Yourself…You Know U WANNA

(It’s kinda like the FACEBOOK-QUIZ-kind-of-things; that is, highly scientific, valid and reliable methods and results, so take heed)

or you can do a self-test with this website

Hermann Rorschach test online

The Following was so great, I provided the link but also included the contents of the article highlighting/editing it in a way that, to me, made it easier to sort through…

Some Info You May Not Know Otherwise

Rorschach Inkblot Test
By Jane Framingham, Ph.D.
~ 7 min read
The Rorschach Inkblot Test is a projective psychological test consisting of 10 inkblots printed on cards (five in black and white, five in color) created in 1921 with the publication of Psychodiagnostik by Hermann Rorschach. During the 1940s and 1950s, the test was synonymous with clinical psychology. Throughout much of the 20th century, the Rorschach inkblot test was a commonly used and interpreted psychological test. In surveys in 1947 (Louttit and Browne) and 1961 (Sundberg), for instance, it was the fourth and first, respectively, most frequently used psychological test.

Despite its widespread use, it has also been the center of much controversy. It has often proven to be difficult for researchers to study the test and its results in any systematic manner, and the use of multiple kinds of scoring systems for the responses given to each inkblot has led to some confusion.

History of the Rorschach
Hermann Rorschach did not make it clear where he got the idea from the test. However, like most children of his time, he often played the popular game called Blotto (Klecksographie), which involved creating poem-like associations or playing charades with inkblots. The inkblots could be purchased easily in many stores at the time. It is also thought that a close personal friend and teacher, Konrad Gehring, may have also suggested the use of inkblots as a psychological tool.

When Eugen Bleuler coined the term schizophrenia in 1911, Rorschach took interest and wrote his dissertation about hallucinations (Bleuler was Rorschach’s dissertation chairperson). In his work on schizophrenia patients, Rorschach inadvertently discovered that they responded quite differently to the Blotto game than others. He made a brief report of this finding to a local psychiatric society, but nothing more came of it at the time. It wasn’t until he was established in his psychiatric practice in Russia’s Krombach hospital in Herisau in 1917 that he became interested in systematically studying the Blotto game.

Rorschach used about 40 inkblots in his original studies in 1918 through 1921, but he would administer only about 15 of them regularly to his patients. Ultimately he collected data from 405 subjects (117 non-patients which he used as his control group). His scoring method minimized the importance of content, instead focusing on how to classify responses by their different characteristics. He did this using a set of codes — now called scores — to determine if the response was talking about the whole inkblot (W), for instance, a large detail (D), or a smaller detail. F was used to score for form of the inkblot, and C was used to score whether the response included color.

In 1919 and 1920, he tried to find a publisher for his findings and the 15 inkblot cards he regularly used. However, every published balked at publishing all 15 inkblots because of printing costs. Finally in 1921, he found a publisher — the House of Bircher — willing to publish his inkblots, but only 10 of them. Rorschach reworked his manuscript to include only 10 of the 15 inkblots he most commonly used.

**(You can review the 10 Rorschach inkblots on Wikipedia; the rest of the Wikipedia entry on the Rorschach is full of significant factual errors.) SEE BELOW THIS ARTICLE THE **

The printer, alas, was not very good at being true to the original inkblots. Rorschach’s original inkblots had no shading to them — they were all solid colors. The printer’s reproduction of them added shading. Rorschach reportedly was actually quite pleased with the introduction of this new addition to his inkblots. After publishing his monograph with the inkblots, entitled a Form Interpretation Test, he died in 1922 after being admitted to a hospital for abdominal pains. Rorschach was only 37 years old and had been formally working on his inkblot test just four years.

The Rorschach Scoring Systems
Prior to the 1970s, there were five primary scoring systems for how people responded to the inkblots. They were dominated by two — the Beck and the Klopfer systems. Three other that were used less often were the Hertz, Piotrowski and the Rapaport-Schafer systems. In 1969, John E. Exner, Jr. published the first comparison of these five systems entitled The Rorschach Systems.

 The findings of Exner’s ground-breaking analysis were that there actually weren’t five scoring systems for the Rorschach. He concluded that the five systems differed so dramatically and significantly, it was as if five uniquely different Rorschach tests had been created. It was time to go back to the drawing board.

Given Exner’s disturbing findings, he decided to undertake the creation of a new, comprehensive Rorschach scoring system that would take into account the best components of these five existing systems, combined with extensive empirical research on each component. A foundation was established in 1968 and the significant research began into creating a new scoring system for the Rorschach. The result was that in 1973, Exner published the first edition of The Rorschach: A Comprehensive System. In it, he laid out the new scoring system that would become the new gold standard (and the only scoring system now taught).

What the Rorschach Measures
The Rorschach Inkblot test was not originally intended to be a projective measure of personality. Instead, it was meant to produce a profile of people with schizophrenia (or other mental disorders) based upon score frequencies. Rorschach himself was skeptical of his test being used as a projective measure.

The Rorschach is, at its most basic level, a problem-solving task that provides a picture of the psychology of the person taking it, and some level of understanding the person’s past and future behavior. Imagination is involved most often in the embellishment of a response, but the basic process of the task has little to do with imagination or creativity.

How the Rorschach Works

A person is shown an inkblot printed on a card and asked, “What might this be?” The responses are usually recorded verbatim (nowadays often with a recording device), because they will be later scored by the psychologist.

Exner broke down how a person responds to an inkblot into three primary phases. In phase 1, the person looks at the card while their brain encodes the stimulus (inkblot) and all its parts. They then classify the stimulus and its parts and an informal rank ordering occurs in the brain of potential responses. In phase 2, the person discards potential answers that aren’t ranked well, and censor other responses they think may be inappropriate. In phase 3, they select some of the remaining responses by reason of traits, styles, or other influences.

If a person responds to common contours of a blot, Exner theorized there was little projection going on. However, when a person starts to embellish on their answer or adding more information than they originally provided, it can be a sign that projection is now occurring. That is, the person is telling the examiner something about themselves or their lives, because they are going well beyond the features of the inkblot itself.

Once a person cycles through the 10 inkblots once and tells the psychologist what they saw in each inkblot, the psychologist will then take the person through each inkblot again, asking the person who is taking the test to help the psychologist see what they saw in their original responses. This is where the psychologist will get into some detail to clearly understand what and where a person has seen various aspects in each inkblot.

The Scoring of the Rorschach
The scoring of the Rorschach inkblot test is complex and requires extensive training and experience in administering the test. Only psychologists are properly trained and have the experience necessary to correctly interpret test results. Therefore any generic “inkblot test” you may take online or administered by another professional may be of little use or validity.

The Exner scoring system examines every aspect of the response — from how much of the inkblot is used, to what story is told about the response (if any), to the level of detail and type of content is offered about the inkblot. Scoring begins by examining the developmental quality of the response — that is, how well synthesized, ordinary, vague or arbitrary the response is.

The core of scoring revolves around coding the response according to all of the blot features that have contributed to the formation of the response. The following characteristics are coded:

Movement – when any movement occurred in the response
Chromatic Color – when color is used in the response
Achromatic Color – when black, white or grays are used in the response
Shading-texture – when texture is used in the response
Shading-dimension – when dimension is used in the response with reference to shading
Shading-diffuse – when shading is used in the response
Form dimension – when dimension is used in the response without reference to shading
Pairs and reflections – when a pair or reflection is used in the response

Because many people respond to the inkblots in a complicated, detailed way, the scoring system uses the concept of “blends” to account for complex answers that take into account multiple objects or the way used to describe the object. Organizational activity of the response assesses how well-organized the response is. Last, form quality is assessed — that is, how well the response fits the inkblot (according to how the person taking the test describes it). If an inkblot looks like a bear, and a person describes it as a bear, this might take an “ordinary” form quality — perfectly acceptable, but not especially creative or imaginative.

There are, of course, many popular responses for inkblots that look like some object or creature in real life. The Exner scoring system takes this into account by providing extensive tables for each card about common responses and how they might be coded.

Rorschach Interpretation
Once each card’s responses is properly coded by a psychologist, an interpretative report is formulated based upon the responses’ scoring. The interpretative report seeks to integrate the findings from across all the responses on the test, so that one outlying response is not likely to impact the overall test’s findings.

The psychologist will first examine the validity of the test, stress tolerance and the amount of resources that available to the individual being examined versus the demands being made upon the individual at this time.

Next, the psychologist will examine the cognitive operations of the individual, their perceptual accuracy, flexibility of ideas and attitudes, their ability to temper and control their emotions, goal orientation, self-concept and interest and relationships with others. There are also a number of special indices that are used less often to determine suicidal ideation, depression, schizophrenia and other concerns. Usually these things can be more quickly assessed through a clinical interview, but might help to flesh out areas of concern in an individual where some questions remain.

* * *
The Rorschach is not some magical insight into a person’s soul. What it is is an empirically-sound, projective testing measure that has been backed up with nearly four decades of modern research (on top of the existing four decades since the test’s publication in 1921). Through asking people to express what they see in a simple set of ten inkblots, people can often show a little bit more of themselves than their conscious selves may have intended — leading to better insights into the underlying motivations of the person’s current issues and behaviors.



"Plenti 'Games For Days'"
STEAMPUNK CHESS PIECES except from “Untitled Unfinished Work” by Amcii Nona Soumy excerpt: “Check-…,” he almost said, as she carefully pushed his king on it’s side with her forefinger. Then, moved her rook in place, just The Place.”Uh, sorry,” she uttered in a weak voice. “Now, that IS CheckMate… CheckMate…”He looked over at the face of his lifelong love and she was blue with transparent skin of which all color had faded. Her icyclic tears froze as he watched her slip suddenly into the check-mate of all her check-mates. After all the years of his forgetting her…how beautiful she is, he realized once again, He watched her in shock and disbelief as she took one last shallow breath, then one word, she wish he had wished to hear and understand for so long and she had tried to let him in but he never wanted to talk about anything with her. She could not be shut up by him this time. He was frozen in shock at what was happening before him that he wanted to believe was an act, an exaggeration, a display to get his attention. Then, the word from her lips, out like a roaring whisper, “toska,” she managed to tell him and then the game was over. He realized when she lay there so beautiful and still the unfortunate game they had played; one of which there was no ‘do-over.’ Never before in his life had he yearned for to reach for the restart button like he did now.






Chess Match: Not Atari…No Do-Overs

“Check-…,” he almost said, as she carefully pushed his king on it’s side with her forefinger.

Then, moved her rook in place, just The Place.

“Uh, sorry,” she uttered in a weak voice.  “Now, that IS CheckMate… CheckMate.”

He looked over at the face of his lifelong love and she was blue with transparent skin of which all color had faded. Her icyclic tears froze as he watched her slip suddenly into the check-mate of all her check-mates.

After all the years of his forgetting her…how beautiful she is, he realized once again.

He watched her in shock and disbelief as she took one last shallow breath, then one word, she wish he had wished to hear and understand for so long and she had tried to let him in but he never wanted to talk about anything with her. She could not be shut up by him this time.

He was frozen in shock at what was happening before him that he wanted to believe was an act, an exaggeration, a display to get his attention.

Then, the word from her lips, out like a roaring whisper:

“Toska*,” she managed to tell him and the game was over. He realized when she lay there so beautiful, unmoving. 

He looked at the game’s board where his king had been put in checkmate. As no other game he had played before, this was one of which there was no ‘do-over.’ Never before in his life had he yearned so greatly, to reach for the restart button like he did now.



“Toska – noun /ˈtō-skə/ – Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness.

“No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”― Vladimir Nabokov
tags: definition-untranslatable-words Read more quotes from Vladimir Nabokov

I just happened to run across the word toska for the first time when I came across this site:

AUGUST 18, 2015

HERE ARE A FEW instances where other languages have found the right word and English simply falls speechless.

1. Toska (yes, it was number one, and when I read this, I nearly cried knowing of this existential crisis of which I had never seen explained so utterly remarkable and with such lovely eloquence.) THIS WORD NOW LIVES DEEP IN MY GUT…I wish for this one word to be all that is engraved on a site as a reminder of my existence one day.
Russian – Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody or something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

2. Mamihlapinatapei
Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.” (

3. Jayus
Indonesian – “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh.” (

4. Iktsuarpok
Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.” (

5. Litost
Czech – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that, “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

6. Kyoikumama
Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.” (

7. Tartle
Scottish – The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name. (

8. Ilunga
Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – A word famous for its untranslatability, most professional translators pinpoint it as the stature of a person “who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense.” (

9. Prozvonit
Czech – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.” (

10. Cafuné
Brazilian Portuguese – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.” (

11. Torschlusspanik
German – Translated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.” (

12. Wabi-Sabi
Japanese – Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.” (

13. Dépaysement
French – The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

14. Schadenfreude
German – Quite famous for its meaning, which somehow other languages have neglected to emulate, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune. I guess “America’s Funniest Moments of Schadenfreude” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

15. Tingo
Pascuense (Easter Island) – Hopefully this isn’t a word you’d need often: “the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.” (

16. Hyggelig
Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire. (

17. L’appel du vide
French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

18. Ya’aburnee
Arabic – Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

19. Duende
Spanish – While originally used to describe a mythical, spritelike entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature, its meaning has transitioned into referring to “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.” There’s actually a nightclub in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion, where I teach, named after this word. (

20. Saudade
Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.” Fado music, a type of mournful singing, relates to saudade. (

This post was originally published on October 9, 2010.



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