Unique Writing Prompt: Letters of the Alphabet

wpid-img_20150901_200812317.jpgI thought this was a neat idea. I always like looking for different and unique writing prompts. I got the idea from The Pocket Muse, by Monica Wood, which I’ve had on my bookcase for about a year now. It is definitely time to use it more.

The writing prompt is this:

Pick 10 random letters from the alphabet and try to write an opening sentence with it. I came up with:

M A F G H N S E Y T

“Maybe a future guiding helicopters–” Nancy stuttered. “Erin! Your tooth!”

Or…

V A W E R T M D K B

Veronica answered Waldorf, “Even Richling thought magic dragons killed Boarders…”

And I’m sure with a few tweaks (or many) you could possibly have something great here. Now, get to writing! (And that includes me, hah!).

Hope everyone has a great night!

Writing Prompt #12: Write a story that consists mostly of dialogue

“So then Robbie told me that he caught this giant lobster, and it practically took his arm off.”

“What’d he do with it?”

A shrug from the man across the lunch table from me. “Dunno.” He picked at some chicken in his teeth. “Cooked it up–No. That one he threw back.”

Rafael has been regaling me with tales of fishing with his cousin in Maine. In the last fifteen minutes, I’ve learned that people in Maine talk funny, chowdah is the tits, and don’t stick your face in front of a lobster. Specifically, its claws.

“What’d you do this weekend?” He asks me.

I shrug. “Went to the park. Worked out. Got a pizza.”

“Your life is so boring, dude.”

I shrug again but its more like a wince. “Daniella left, you know. Again.”

“Why you wasting your time with her? Get a new one.” He juggles his hands in front of his chest knowingly. Our co-worker, Jane, makes an appalled face.

I bite back a laugh. “Naw, man…I don’t think Merlin would approve.” Merlin’s my five-year old rottweiler who’s part human and part dog-child all wrapped into one-hundred and thirty pounds of goofball; but mostly he just hogs the covers.

“I think I have a cousin, you can meet,” says Rafael.

“I hope it’s not Robert.”

Chicken goes down the wrong way, and comes flying out across the table. “You’re gonna kill me, man.” Another cough. “It’s Ashley. You know, bright-blond, kinda slutty?”

I grunt. “What happened to Sarah?”

“Oh, she got married last year. Met some guy in Vegas. I told her not to, but she said he bought her some kind of leopard-printed dress that matched her ring…and well, she said her new man’s got style.”

“He rich?” asks Jane. Rafael gives her an odd look, like he forgot she was there, eating her PB&J.

“Yeah, where you been?”

“Any kids?” I ask.

“Twins. Cute, too, although you wouldn’t think it, cause her new husband, some kind of Antoniohe’s got a dog’s face, dude. Guess you can be ugly when you’re rich.”

“That’s not very nice,” says Jane.

For some reason, I immediately feel sorry for her. She gets up from the table and  slumps from the room.

“What’s her problem?” says Rafael.

I shrug. “Bad weekend, I guess. ” But my eyes are still on the open door of the break room.

I get up then without thought. “I’m going for a smoke.”

Rafael looks up at me, startled and then he looks down at his paper plate and realizes he’s already eaten his chicken and he’s spilled his rice all over the table.

“You’re such a slob, man.”

He laughs as he swipes rice into the trash. “Wait up, will you?”

But I pretend I don’t hear him as I walk purposely from the room. I can hear him calling to me from down the hallway.

“Oh! And there’s also my cousin Mary-Patrice…”

 

15 Minute Journaling: The Butterfly

I wanted to post last night, but work has kept me busy the last few days. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to relax, and just let the words take me – time for a 15 minute journaling session.

notebook in candlelight

And for those of you who don’t know, “15 Minute Journaling” is something I used to do in one of my creative writing classes in college. The teacher would write a prompt on the board, and then we would write in our journals for 15 minutes.

It’s amazing how many stories have come out of those sessions, and amazing how much of a stress reliever it can be sometimes.

15 Minutes here I go! But first I need to find a writing prompt. Google brought me to this page > http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts < Writing prompts on writersdigest.com.

They remind me of the prompts my teacher used to give us. Quirky and not at all like the norm. My writing prompt app never gives me the idea of writing about a character with an extra arm…everything is so normal. Ah, what defines normal anyway?

Here we go. 15 Minutes on the clock please! Feel free to write along if you want! This is the one I chose:

“A Few Sips Off” – You take a few sips of your drink and feel different. That may be because your torso has an extra arm protruding from it. Another sip, another arm. Then a wing. What happens if you finish the drink?

I asked the magician to give me a potion to make me beautiful. In my mind, I had it all figured out: a dress shimmering a blue and green, like the tail of a mermaid, a pretty version of the Cinderella dress. This isn’t what I asked for.

I choked on the last few drops. It tasted like copper, like the time I bit my tongue and blood poured into my mouth. It was sweet and metallic and I gagged. I looked down at the vial that had held the purple liquid in horror. It crashed to the ground and shattered into a million bits as my fingers began to change. I was shrinking! My arms became long and black and hairy. Two arms sprouted from each side of my torso. My jeans and t-shirt disappeared. My long body was black and green-blue iridescent. I cried out as wings sprouted from my back, long and blue and black. My face elongated and my vision blurred. I had freaking antennas on my head! Was I a butterfly? I felt the wings on my back flit nervously and air brushed my face.

Source: desktopnexus.com

Source: desktopnexus.com

I felt cold, and clammy and brand new. Like the new skin on a wound just beginning to heal after someone ripped the band-aid off. I wasn’t ready for this bright new world. I tried to speak but nothing came out. My vision had doubled, and then quadrupled. I had been standing next to the table in my dining room…now I was standing on top of it. The table shuddered underneath my feet as I watched a huge form coming my way. It was the dark shadow of my tall, older brother coming to the kitchen for a snack.

Would he see me? Would he squish me? Or am I to remain like this forever? Beautiful and tragic? No, tragically small. Forever contained in this simplistic beauty, but as powerless as I was before.

Help me big brother, I cried silently and jumped up and down, my wings lifting me to one spot and then the next. Help!

***Oh, interesting. I have a few more minutes on my 15, but I think I will leave it at that.

What inspires you guys to write? Any writing prompts that you like to use?

Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #38: “Oops”

Writing prompt # 38: You turn a corner at work and bump into a coworker, spilling your coffee on them.

“Oops,” you say, and laugh as coffee

spills down a mound of breasts

and a shirt now stained the color

of dirty milk

She was the bitch who told you to copy that file

as soon as possible  was the one

who told you, don’t forget there’s a meeting at 10

don’t forget to button your shirt

don’t forget about the coffee stains on your desk

don’t forget

don’t forget

well isn’t it funny you think

how you forgot to slow down around that corner

how you forgot to say “sorry” as you left her sputtering next to the copier

“Oops…don’t forget.”

Special Friday Post: What would you guys like to see?

Last night, I was thinking about making Friday a special post day. In which you guys would look forward to something recurring – either a continuing story, or a movie review, or a book review, or…something. I’m a big foodie, maybe I’ll post a picture of my lunch or something. (You think I jest? Just wait. 😉 )

canstock4658567So, what would you like to see every Friday?

Here’s some ideas…feel free to chime in with your own of course:

  • A recurring story, each Friday we will see a new chapter, or new piece of that story. (I’m thinking short story length when it is done, not novel length. Maybe 20 pages or so.)
  • A poem.
  • Book review.
  • Movie review.
  • TV Show review
  • Pictures…of something pretty?
  • Writing prompts/ story inspiration
  • Food; either something new I’ve tried, or some of my favorites
  •  A list of anything; probably in article format. Like 10 favorite places in the world, etc…

**Did you know: Charles Dickens Great Expectations was published first in serial form in Dickens’s weekly periodical All Year Round, from December 1860 to August 1861. (Wikipedia).

Well what do you guys think? Here’s your chance to weigh in!

I do like the idea of a continuing story…but let me know what you want to see, though, and I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Happy Writing!

 

 

15 Minute Journaling: Don’t let fear get you down

I need to do some writing, so what am I doing? I’m sitting here doing everything but that. I’ve painted my fingernails, I’ve gotten on Facebook – I’ve even read a few other blogs here on WordPress, including some of my own posts. Then why aren’t I writing? What am I afraid of? I thought I’ve gotten past all this.

Me, being silly!

Me, being silly!

I guess the fear was this: What’s the point of writing if its going to turn out terrible? Well, that’s not the point is it? The point is WRITING.

All things writing. Write, write, write, write, write!!  Gahhhh….Now why am I sitting here staring and fearing the blank page?

In all things in life you can’t let fear let you get behind, and that includes writing.

I’m even sitting here with my new headphones on (a nice birthday present from yesterday, woo hoo!) trying to drown out the world, and FOCUS.

Hmm…okay, let me visit my book shelf and see if I can scrounge up some writing prompts. That might help.

A few weeks ago at the Barnes and Noble, I found this book: A Writer’s Book of Days: A spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves.

IMG_20140608_171217531

It’s basically like a writing devotional. It offers you daily writer prompts, as well as lessons for each month on writing and how to improve the craft. I have a tendency to over think some of the writing prompts – actually now I’m starting to realize that I work best sometimes with a challenge. It’s okay to take the prompts where you need them to go.

It is fun sometimes to see how creative you can get. Instead of just one word or one sentence to get the creative juices flowing, lets try about five of them.

Here are the prompts for five days in June from June 6th – June 10th:

June 6:  While the world sleeps

June 7:  I have a confession to make

June 8: “There is a place somewhere called Paris”

June 9: Across the railroad tracks

June 10:  The place where wild pines grow

15 MINUTES ON THE CLOCK….GO!

There is a place somewhere called Paris,” she told me with a flick of her blond hair as she started reapplying her lipstick. She squinted at herself in the tiny blue compact mirror and then smacked her lips loudly. “They say that everyone walks around naked, I’d like to go there sometime.”

I eyed her smooth body, the tan legs and free arms, the way her hips curved over her jean shorts. “I bet you would.”

“Don’t be an ass,” she snorted as she put her make-up away. “It exists somewhere out west they say, across some railroad tracks at some nudist colony. You know, the place they say where the wild pines grow.”

I couldn’t imagine her anywhere surrounded by naked people, much less trees as a walk through the park seemed too much for her most of the times. She hated the squirrels that scurried down the trees, she hated the babies that cried on the playground, sometimes I think she even hated me.

I was her boyfriend, too. The one she was supposed to love – supposedly.

I have a confession to make,” I breathed into her ear as I wrapped my arms around her thin frame and crushed those curves against me. “You’re beautiful.” I kissed her neck. “You’re sexy.” My hands trailed down her hips. “You’re lovely.”

She laughed a cruel, sarcastic laugh, and pushed me away. “Please,” she said with her hand on my chest. “Don’t make a fool of yourself.”

“I didn’t want to be here anyway,” I muttered. She’d taken me for a drive, and then had parked on the side of the road across from the local park. I could see pine trees and several screaming kids running towards picnic tables as she’d put the car in park. The air tasted fresh on my tongue, was cool and fresh in my nose.

Then she’d uttered those dreaded words as she turned towards me. “We need to talk.”

We walked hand and hand for about two minutes and then she pulled away from me. I could see the coldness in her posture, the way her body seemed to be trying to avoid me. She adverted her eyes, pretended like she was crying. But I knew she wasn’t.

“You live in your own world,” she continued then. “Like, everyone else could die, and the world could continue sleeping and you would be the one outside of it, like in slow motion or something. Living your life oblivious to those around you.”

God, she was so stupid sometimes. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Of course you don’t. The world doesn’t evolve around you Isiah Crane.”

“It doesn’t revolve around you either,” I said.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about!” she cried, as she turned back towards me. “That sarcasm! You’re so God-damned sure of yourself!”

I thought about that. I mean, why wouldn’t I be? I was smart, strong…and intelligent. I was pretty sure I was good looking. I shrugged. “Yeah, I got nothing.”

She started to cry then, loud, horrible tears. “I don’t understand why you’re so mean to me.” I didn’t really understand anything either. How she seemed to use everything but the truth to get what she wanted. She played games. She probably thought: maybe today, I’ll grab his balls and tug just a little bit more. I winced as I thought about it.

I didn’t want anyone tugging anywhere. “So this is it, huh?”

She brought her hands away from her face. Her mascara had left black tracks down her cheeks. “Aren’t you even just a little bit sad?”

I looked out at the fresh air surrounding us, the trees and green grass and water gurgling in a fountain nearby. Everything seemed brand new all of a sudden. I laughed once. “Should I be?”

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Writer’s Block

It is raining here in upstate, New York (thank you, hurricane, Isaac,) and I am having one of those days where the couch, a nice, warm blanket is where I want to spend the rest of my day. Suffice to say, you might think that this might be a nice time to write…NOT.

A view from my front porch; rain dripping off my mother’s hummingbird feeder.

The more I know I need to write, the more I can’t. When writing becomes an obligation, it becomes not fun anymore and then I  get that dreaded writer’s block. (This has been happening more often than not lately, now that I’ve given myself a deadline for this eBook and definitely want to see this one completed! I think I’m going to aim for November. I want a draft and some finalizations for November at the latest.)

I’m reminded of a fantastic article I found on Patricia Briggs’ website. (Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite authors…she writes primarily Urban Fantasy; the Mercy Thompson series…amoung other things.)

Anyway…where was that article again?

Ah, well I couldn’t find the article I wanted…buut, at any rate, the main gist of it was this: to find a way to make writing fun again.

  •  Go out for a walk, take a break from it, phone a friend…etc.
  • Try another project than the current one.
  • Write in a different character’s perspective for a while.
  • Think outside the box…think outside the current chapter you are working on.
  • Start writing in another place.
  • Research.

What I do sometimes: Take a character in your novel or current idea and have that character write a letter to another character. The end result is this: You get to know what your character is feeling, you know their relationship with that other character based on the letter that he or she wrote, and you get a better understanding of the motivation behind why he or she does what he or she does.

I like this technique because it is very personal and because it’s so personal, you can really understand and hear the particular voice that your character has. (I’m not just talking about the voices that writers hear in their heads, although, there is that too.) I’m talking about the voice, the mannerisms of your character; why he or she is the way he or she is.

Anyway, perhaps, I’ll go follow my own advice now…

Because when it comes down to it, only 20% of what you know of your character actually gets on the page; so you better know that character 100%! And who is a grand example of this? Only J.K. Rowling of course!

Self Publishing — Great Writing or No?

I was doing some reading today on Smashwords.com and was taken to this page: http://blog.smashwords.com/

It is Smashword’s blog, where there is an interview with a self published or “Indie” writer, Rachel Higginson. (For those of you wondering what Smashwords is, it is a company that helps you create your own eBook. Out of all the eBook publishers out there, they seem to make it the simplest and the cheapest to publish to Kindle and all the other Electronic stores and I have chosen them to publish my own eBook.)

Rachel expresses in the interview, how she had a dream of being published since college, but all of the queries that she sent out to publishers kept getting rejected.

Now, she is a self-published writer and making a living at it! The article felt inspiring to me, who has the very same aspirations…to see my work in print and to make money from it someday.

Nasty spider who built its web in the corner of my house. Sometimes the art of writing is like a great web–there are so many different strands that make up the greatness of the whole, that sometimes one weakness can corrupt the overall structure.

I have not read Rachel’s work, so I cannot say anything as to the quality of her writing…but if she is a best seller, it must mean that it can’t be too terrible right?

My biggest fear is this: to present something that I might consider a work of art to the general public and have it be trash. There are many best sellers out there that have been critiqued for that very reason (Stephenie Meyer for example). They write a novel that reaches a large audience of people and while their characterization and their plot line isn’t original, or their writing, something in their story drew people in.

While one can argue that the writing is not great, the writer has presented an idea that is catching. While the plot is mediocre, and the writing cliché, I would like to argue that in some cases, there is a way to write good cliché.

And perhaps this is the case in many self-published novels. While editors are waiting for that next, great, purely, original idea, the readers and general public are saying: No, we like simple and we like fun and no amount of originality can make up for a good, simple and relatable read.

While I want to be a great writer and to be appreciated for the art of my writing, I also want to create a book that is relatable and fun for a wide audience. I think to create something that is relatable and fun to read is also difficult, because it comes down to style. Every writing style is different, just like every writer behind the writing is different.

My question is this: Is there a way to write well, but also make it accessible?

You see books out there classified as “great reads” but they are not best sellers. And while great reads are not always easy reads, they are not always the most interesting either.

Is there a way to write intelligently, but also make it accessible?

I think, that when it comes to a great writer, great writing is all about balance. And every self published author, must find their very own balance. Finding that balance, on the other hand, is a whole different matter…

New TV Show: Revolution! Yeah!

Is anyone as excited as me about this new TV show coming on NBC in the fall??

My Dad’s only comment: “Where do they get the bows and arrows and swords from?” Hehehe. I love him.

Finally, NBC’s taking a show of post apocalyptic proportions and presenting it to us for entertainment! (Eh, with the exception of Terra Nova…and we all know how thaat turned out.) J. J. Abram’s involved, so it can’t be too terrible, right? Very excited about this!

As I am an avid TV watcher and lover (of course I am! I’m nerdy like that!) I will occasionally be reviewing some of my favorite TV shows on here. Revolution will most definitely be making an appearance. Also, keep an eye out for reviews of Vampire Diaries, Bones, and Once Upon a Time later on.

I love the summer, but I am excited about the new season of TV starting soon! FINALLY! Something worth watching! Can’t wait!

 

Fifteen Minutes of Fame – Words Worth a Thousand Images

Spent the majority of the day watching my niece and after the pancake and bacon making, the Lego Star Wars, and the playing on the playground, aunt Amanda is whooped! So, thought I might relax on some of the research of eBook making for the day, and focus on another very important interest of mine: Writing.

In my creative writing classes over the years, we used to take at least 15 minutes of the beginning of class to do a little creative journaling, usually inspired by a prompt that the professor provided on the board. A couple of months ago, I discovered this webpage:  http://creativewritingprompts.com/

It is a website that lists hundreds of writing prompts for free. Although a trifle simple perhaps, the fun is in not knowing what might spark the imagination just by scrolling through the various numbers on the page.

I usually like going through until one sparks my interest, but tonight I’m going to just pick a number at random by scrolling over the page…

#200: Create a story based on this plot: gets trapped in the bathroom on Valentines Day:

Hmm…now, let’s see what I can create out of that. I’ll give myself 15 minutes and will write it now, and will leave it mostly unedited…like I would if I were writing in my journal (Beware of run-ons):

For some reason, Buffy the Vampire Slayer seems to come to mind…I imagine a girl crying, make up running down her face, dark hair, a bruised eye and red lipstick that’s been smeared a bit at the corners, giving her a grim smile…

Veronica wiped at her wet cheeks and her wet lips and then grimaced as she looked at her fingertips. The lipstick that she had carefully applied that morning was sticky and wet from her tears and looked like blood — she was just thankful enough that it wasn’t her own. Who knew that her date at the Valentine’s dance would turn out to be a Vampire? One really couldn’t tell these things…and who would know that he had a vampire posse, or was it a horde? attack everyone in the school cafeteria? She was sure she saw Mrs. Collins taken down by one of the monsters in the large, pink cake next to the punch bowl and Mr. Peters, the Principle, watching, with a fork dangling in the air somewhere half-way between his mouth and plate– his piece of chocolate, pink-slathered cake smeared on the floor next the blood running out from the crown of Mrs. Collins’ head. Her friends had all fled to their cars, but she, the idiot, just had to use the bathroom and first dates were usually rough the first time…right?

There was a tap on the door of the bathroom, the creek of the door swinging open and she heard footsteps and she very quickly tucked her feet up on the toilet she was crouched on. It could be one of them…ran the thoughts in her brain. I’m next…I’m another, quick, snack…. But the door swung open and she was almost knocked  to the floor when someone with large, red, hair poked their head in and said loudly, “Well, hi!”

The head belonged to a young girl, with very, carrot-colored hair and a lot of it. It ran down her back, in a mass of curly, wriggling, orange ripples. The girl had to at least be twelve years old, a startling difference to Veronica’s own fourteen–whoever decided to combine the school into seventh through ninth graders were idiots, but that wasn’t what startled her. The girl had huge, blue eyes and she was wearing a too-cheery smile, the grin stretched widely across her face, white and fixed and planned…

Well, that’s that. Fifteen minutes and I’ve got a poor Vampire-attacked Veronica and a mysterious creepy-clown-like twelve-year-old. *Insert sinister grin here, haha*  Well, the cliff-hanger is kind of lame, and while not great, original plot writing, and very raw and unedited– where was that comma supposed to go again? The point is this: the imagery!

I forgot how great it feels to lose yourself in something that is completely different from other writing projects and I am very proud at the detail that such writing creates! Curly, wriggling, orange ripples and pink-slathered cake notwithstanding!

What a great way to get the creative voice flowing! By remembering that sometimes the simplest writing can create such alive, evocative images. And images are very, very important in great writing.

Occasionally, I am going to post in this blog with my random image-worthy creative writing prompts and here might be a way that can inspire other stories, OR, it’ll help to remind me to keep the visual images flowing on current projects.

Oh, and there is always that other thing: It’s fun!