Category Archives: Writing prompts

great expectations – the gap between what we want to write and what we actually produce

Does the end result of your story stop you from even beginning? That seems to be my current problem…

“I dream of an Eagle, I give birth to a Hummingbird.” ~ Edith Wharton

There is a gap many writers experience. Between the expectation and the final product. In my head it’s a beautifully weaved quilt of literary genius. On paper (or screen) it’s a mess of my random connections between characters, inner intentions and very vague symbolism. An example is one scene I wrote in the Finding your Writer’s Voice Workshop… (can’t believe I’m sharing this; don’t stone me!)

Tiffany saw the way the Earth looked at dusk, but never from yards above the rooftops. She didn’t expect it to be so cold and wobbly. Though Gretchen did say there would be flashes of lightning.

“All the better to see you with, my dear,” she had said in her wicked witch voice. Complete with a cackle.

Tiffany couldn’t get used to that voice on Gretchen. But she really couldn’t get used to the energy that surged under her skin and lifted her feet from the ground.

“The umbrella is for effect?” She asked Gretchen.

“No, Mary Poppins, the umbrella is for control. The wind will carry your five foot frame wherever he wants, but at least you can guide the journey.”

 Journey. Exactly what Tiffany had wished for at the beginning of the summer. This is not what she had envisioned.

When Dad came home alone from the hospital last month, Tiffany just thought the baby needed more time to grow, develop, heal. And mom, too. But Dad’s face…

The image that prompted this rambling start of a YA story is pictured below (the girl holding the flying umbrella.)

top row, third from the left

Yes, this scene is very disconnected, riddled with grammatical errors and paced awkwardly. Given, it was written in Three Minutes. So, I need to forgive the drafting phase and remember…

“Value the process, not the product.” ~ Jane Yolen

How are you valuing your process? Do you have rituals? Ways to work through the doubt, through the Big Expectation?

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Filed under Advice, Believe, characters, Fiction, Inspiration, procrastination, Voice, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

Finding your Writer’s Voice

My NaNoWriMo group met at the library a few weeks ago to practice an exercise our liason learned in a workshop.

This is Intense. It WILL resurrect your creativity.

  1. You should have at least one partner, but a group of 3 or 4 works best.
  2. each writer brings 3 pictures to the workshop (cut from magazines, printed from online, taken from your own camera) images should be interesting because these will be used to prompt ideas
  3. everyone lays their pics onto one table and each writer selects 2-3 images that really pique their interest or speak to them
  4. back at your notebook or laptop, one person sets the timer for THREE MINUTES
  5. as a group, pile your pics together and choose one picture to start with, study it, let your mind churn out characters, settings, story lines or dialogue and get ready …
  6. Timer goes – Start writing! Write as fast as you can, no thinking, no plotting, No EDITING
  7. Time’s UP! Stop writing even if in the middle of a sentence.
  8. Flip to the next picture, look it over quickly – you should only have 60 seconds before starting the next round.
  9. Timer starts – Start Writing again! THREE MINUTES. This should be an independent scene or story idea from the first one you started, though if you’re an amazing prolific writer, you can connect the scenes….
  10. Repeat these writing sprints through your stack of images (should have 9 total).
  11. After the 9th scene is written, take turns READING aloud your story snippets to the group. You should read them straight through, pausing briefly between to give your partners time to jot down some thoughts on your work.
  12. After each writer has read aloud, offer your feedback. Feedback should remain positive  – think of it as writing a fan letter to your favorite author. These are all very rough drafts, remember.
  13. One more time, each writer reads aloud straight through all 9 snippets of their writing.
  14. This time, each writer will offer feedback based on:
  • How each scene made them feel
  • What genre they believe this scene would fall into
  • Ask what the author had in mind for the story plot and the ending
  • Which of the 9 was the strongest story

At the end of this fun, fast workshop, you will each have 9 story starts, a full tank of confidence and a better idea of your writer’s voice and the genre that you write the best.

Here are the pics my group used:

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Filed under Advice, Fiction, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, teaching, Voice, writers, Writing prompts

plant a SARK seed

So, I’ve talked about discovering SARK well after her height of popularity. But still, her concepts and inspiration ring true at any time. The magic of an artist’s spirit soars beyond society. 

Some SARKisms I jotted down in my notebook:

“I believe we need to go to where we want to be, and the resources will follow us.” ~ SARK, Inspiration Sandwich

WRITE IN COLOR…use a sketch book as a journal and my old scrapbooking markers to journal, make lists, collect quotes and draw/doodle little flowers and random patterns.

INVENT NEW WAYS OF BEING…reflect on how my life has changed since practicing The Year of Nurturing

I HAVE A LOT TO SHARE WITH OTHERS…Writing is therapy – without the appointment

WRITE MY BOOK…only I can :)

What do these concepts mean to you? How can each help to bring your creativity to the forefront of your LIFE??

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Filed under procrastination, writers, writers block, writing inspiration, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing

Finish this line…

more from The Pocket Muse (Monica Wood)

Finish this line…

“Right after they posted the results, I tried to ________________”

+ call my dad

+ get lost in the crowd

+ deny the words in front of me

+ console Becky

+ tear the sheet from the bulletin board

+ avoid eye contact with Roger

+ “your own idea here!”

Share your finishing touches and any story ideas that steam up from the cup of muse. :)

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Dear Words: I love you! Forever yours, me

“Don’t forget to be grateful that you love words.” ~ Monica Wood

I LOVE words. I do. And I don’t care who hears me:

I LOVE WORDS!!!

Say it with me!

I LOVE WORDS!!!

Create words or unique ways of using them: “green” as a Verb?

The sun greens the Earth.

“Spoon” as a Verb?

She spoons the terrier pup, feeling his warmth and heartbeat.

How about “racket?”

Sammy is racketing across the yard, much to the dismay of the delicately balanced tea cups.

What other nouns or adjectives can you use as a fresh verb?

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Filed under books, Fiction, Voice, writers block, writing inspiration, Writing prompts

A Pocketful of ideas

I finished reading The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood and sizzle with exhilaration for my writing again.

 

OK, so as I read this little pocket-full of inspiration, I took notes, wrote down quotes, writing prompts and exercises then let my own imagination move my pen across the page. I thought I’d share some of these snippets with you:

Some conflict ideas:

  • a mismatch between person and place: someone in the wrong house, wrong job, wrong school, wrong church, wrong club, wrong DIMENSION
  • trouble getting from Point A to Point B
  • trouble being understood
  • trouble having something done to you (or for you!)
  • trouble talking
  • trouble listening

“I really like dialogue between two people who aren’t listening to each other.” ~ Raymond Carver

  • winning something you don’t want (a pet aardvark; an outdated set of Encyclopedias…)
  • saying “yes” when you meant to say “no”
  • a family secret gets out
  • a noise – or a silence – that won’t go away

Add some more conflict ideas! I’d love to have an ongoing list…

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Filed under Advice, Believe, books, Inspiration, writers, writing inspiration, Writing prompts

a pic a poem a day: day 10 (I’m a slacker)

Yikes! It’s April 21 and I’ve only posted 10 poems and 10 pics. That’s slightly shy of a poem and a pic a day, eh? It’s not lack of writing. It’s just lack of formatting, uploading and posting.  Too bad, so sad? Well, here we go again…

 

Inspired again by SARK, I began a list of words that intrigue me … I think it’s poetic just scribbled in my notebook this way. What do you think?

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Filed under Poetry, writing inspiration, Writing prompts

a.p.a.p.a.d. day 5 – outta order

Ugh-oh. I realized my day 5 draft was never finished or scheduled. I skipped right over to day 6.

To pay tribute, a list of words that rhyme with Oops:

Poops

Droops

Loops

Coops

Moops

Sloops

Snoops

groups

troops

Whoops

hoops

To make a poem – add a noun, and a sound!

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Filed under Poetry, Writing prompts

April – National Poetry Month: a pic & a poem a day

a.p.a.p.a.d.? a poem and a pic a day. My goal is to post one of each a day for the month of April. Let’s just say we began on time, shall we? ; )

crappy writing disclosure: I’m far from a poet, but believe that writing begets writing and any kind of writing that focuses on thought, word choice, meter, rhyme and syllables can only strengthen a writer from any genre, fiction or non.  Let’s begin

Walking

Through cul-de-sacs at night

Dogs wagging, children dribbling

In driveways and streets and front yards

Open garages filled with everything but cars

Folding chairs, cigarettes, radio static

glow from T.V.’s

Trapped in media muck

While cool spring wind blows

Through my hair, my heart, my soul

Invoking the air guides

Sylphs

 

random thoughts, images and story ideas. I’m thinking of a brooding boy dragging on a cigarette in his parents’ garage, a plastic tumbler filled with an adult beverage. Maybe call him Augustine? What do you see? What do you REALLY see? write it.

 

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Letter to things: alarm clock

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Filed under Perseverance, Writing prompts, Year of Nurturing