Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Writing Prompt: Funeral Home Antics

Something funny is going on at Whitfield's Funeral Home and your character is going to find out what.

Write the scene where your protaganist discovers the funeral home's secret. Aim for 2 pages.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Weekend Writing Prompt

This isn't so much of a writing prompt as it is something to think about. If you have a few minutes today, think about what your character(s) like to eat. What do they crave when they want comfort food? What do they grab out of the fridge or pantry to munch on in the afternoon? What type of dessert do they always choose at restaurants? It's these little details that often help to define real people, and it works for characters too.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Writing Prompt: Train Wreck

I cross a lot of train tracks where I live, but most aren't used during the day so I sail over them without stopping. Sometimes when I'm crossing a track I think, "what if I get hit by a train this time?" That gave me the idea for this prompt.

Your character crosses the same train tracks without thinking every day for work. Today is different. Today he gets hit by a train. What was he thinking about up until that point? What had his day been like so far? Was he in a hurry? Write a short story based on this concept in 500-1000 words.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Writing Tip: Incorporate What You Know and Love

I've often found myself less inclined to write what I know, and more interested in writing the exact opposite. However, as I've learned to incorporate more of the familiar into my writing, I've come to appreciate the value of applying that same advice. Using places, careers, and interests that you know and love has three key advantages:

1. Believability. If it's a place you've been (or lived in), an interest you have, or a career path you're familiar with, your writing will show it and your readers will buy it.

2. Less research. Instead of starting from scratch with something you know nothing about, you can go into your writing with a foundation. You may still need to do research, but you may be more driven to delve into the subject.

3. Enthusiasm. We tend to put more heart into something we're passionate about. So if you use what you know and love, either as a starting place for your writing or to fill in details, your enthusiasm for it will seep through and affect readers.

If you often shy away from including what you know and love in your own writing, try the opposite. Consciously choose settings, careers, or interests that you're familiar with and/or are passionate about. It may take you in unexpected directions and to equally exciting places as the unknown.

Try This>>
Experiment with your work-in-progress or another piece that takes place in unfamiliar territory. Change the setting and place your characters where you currently live, a favorite vacation spot, or another place you know well. Write a new scene in this new setting and see what happens. Are the details more clear? Do you find your writing is less stilted and more free flowing? How does this new environment affect your characters? Aim for 2-3 pages.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend Writing Prompt

If you have 15-20 minutes this weekend, try this prompt:

Your character picks up the phone to make a call and hears someone she knows planning a criminal act. Who's making these plans? And what will your character do about it? Aim for 2-3 pages.
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