Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Today's the last day to enter the Buzz Roar Publishing Sci-fi writing contest. I don't often include writing contests, but since this one is based on writing prompts I couldn't refuse. So here's you prompts for the day courtesy of Buzz Roar Publishing:


1) I'd never seen him/her in so much pain.
2) The dumb thing doesn't work.
3) What color is the sky today?

Current Contest Rules:

a) Word count limit: 2,500 words.

b) At least one of the listed prompts must be used in the story as either narrative or dialogue.

c) Contest CLOSES September 30th, 2015 at 12 a.m. EST.

d) Winner/honorable mentions will be announced on October 15th, 2015.

e) No entry fee required.

f) Winner receives $50 and chance at publication as audio podcast on REDSHIFT

For more information visit their website.

Photo credits: pixabay

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Writing a Scene with Movement

Movement is the magical element that makes your scene come to life. Think about the times you've skimmed long descriptive passages, not because they aren't well written but because they don't move the story along. Movement helps show the story unfolding. A good example, is the Men in Black movie that starts out with a bug flying through the air. We follow that bug through the introduction until it splats on the screen of a moving vehicle.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:
Showing movement in writing takes practice just like any aspect of the craft. For today's prompt we'll use a video I shot this morning on my front porch of hummingbirds visiting one of my hummingbird feeders. They provide plenty of movement, and your challenge is to write a paragraph -- a short scene of what you're seeing. Select strong verbs that create an image in the readers mind. For instance instead of using the verb "move" you can choose dart or dance to paint a clearer image on that mental canvas.
Have fun! Be creative! Add some dialog.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Story of the Hands or Muse Palm Reading

I remember when I was young going to a carnival where a man guessed peoples' weight and age. I was surprised by how accurate he was. Later he told me that he could tell the age of a person from their hands.

Pumping Your Muse Writing Prompt

Today's writing prompt challenges you to show someone's age and part of their life through their hands. For example, hands that are well-manicured will have a different story than torn dirty nails. Hand's wearing black satin gloves will differ from Laytex gloves. If a hand is wearing a ring, the story will be different than a hand without a ring. Even the type of ring can tell a story. For instance, a Claddagh ring holds different meanings depending on how it is worn. Heart facing the body or not and which hand. Or think of a hand with a tan line marking a ring once worn and now missing. Even callouses tell a story and where they are located is part of that story. Fingertip callouses paint a picture different from calloused palms. Have fun with this.

Write the story of the hands. If you prefer use this photo as your writing prompt challenge.

Photo credit: Al Howat

Check out Donna Sundblad's books on Kindle: Pumping Your MuseWindwalkerBeyond the Fifth GateThe Inheritance

Friday, June 14, 2013

Create Conflict to Hook Your Readers

Conflict is an essential element in writing. It engages the reader. They want to see the conflict resolved.   But what exactly is conflict? While a fight is a form of physical conflict it is the psychological, internal conflict that really engages readers. They become involved through the thoughts and actions of characters. Sometimes it causes readers to root for the reluctant hero who has low-self esteem. Or for the abused wife to find courage to get out of her situation. Today's prompt challenges you to show internal conflict.

Pumping Your Muse Writing Prompt:

Write a short scene or story that shows internal conflict and then resolve it.  It does not have to be something big or disastrous. We experience conflict in little ways everyday. Here are a few suggestions if you're short on ideas.

  • Turmoil over making a doctor's appointment
  • Phone is ringing...should you answer?
  • Spot boyfriend/girlfriend with someone else
  • Reach for the toilet paper and the spool is empty or put on upsidedown
  • Those people over there are laughing...

Photo credit: cdedbdme
Check out Donna Sundblad's books on Kindle: Pumping Your MuseWindwalkerBeyond the Fifth GateThe Inheritance

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What If?

Get the creative juices flowing by asking the question "what if?" This is a good question to ask when you get stuck or experience writer's block. Sometimes it can inspire a new thread that takes the story in a new direction. For today's writing prompt, if you have a current work in process (WIP) choose one of your characters and ask what if...

  • They were single/married/finally find a girlfriend or boyfriend?
  • They won the lottery/lost their job?
  • They get a flat tire ?
  • They lost their temper at the wrong time?
  • They turn over a new leaf?
  • They overhear a plot to rob a bank, throw a game, to get someone fired....

Okay, if you don't have a WIP (shame on you), write a scene answering one or more what if questions about yourself. This is just to stretch your creativity, so have fun. If you come up with a "what if" feel free to share in the comments so other writer's can benefit.

Photo credits: 1$WEAR
Buy Donna Sundblad's book on Kindle: Pumping Your MuseWindwalkerBeyond the Fifth GateThe Inheritance

Monday, June 10, 2013

See How They Feel

Body language speaks loudly. Yesterday I was at a family gathering, and when the teens were asked to come in and join us, two of them walked in and slumped into chairs. One sat with her arms crossed, her lips drawn into a tight thin line. The other crossed her legs, sat twisted with her back toward us as she stared at the floor. I don't have to tell you they weren't happy to be there, because their body language already told you so.

Today's writing prompt is an exercise in body language. Choose a character of your choice. Man, woman, child, or baby; doesn't matter. Show how they are feeling in a short scene with body language. Creating a visual draws readers into the scene.

Some feelings to show:

  • depressed
  • angry
  • impatient
  • infatuated
  • curious
  • happy
  • afraid

Have fun with this one. If you really want to challenge yourself, show a character feeling one way and have those feelings transform into another.

Photo credits: B Rosen


To all those who showed up at the F2K author chat last night, thank you. I had a wonderful time.

Buy Donna Sundblad's book on Kindle: Pumping Your MuseWindwalkerBeyond the Fifth GateThe Inheritance

Friday, June 07, 2013

Show Paranormal Activity

Today's writing prompt is centered around paranormal activity. This is an exercise in showing what many times can't be seen. Even if you don't write horror, fantasy, or ghost stories, this prompt is a good way to stretch your writing by showing and not telling.

Write a scene or short story that includes at least three of the following: 
  • Psychokinetic phenomena: When you hear a door open that engages the sense of hearing, but when you see the door open all by itself, that also engages the sense of the unknown. Psychokinetic phenomena is a great way to introduce the presence of something otherworldly. It might even include feeling something bump, or brush against, but nothing is there.
  • Unexplained sounds: This can include muffled voices, cries, whispers, music. Think of a whisper calling a name, a music box playing a melody from a bygone era…there are endless possibilities.
  • Unexplained temperature changes: Have a character experience sudden cold (or hot) spot. This is a classic haunting symptom. And remember don't just say they felt a sudden chill. Show the cold. Can they see their breath?
  • Poltergeist phenomena: This is more extreme than Psychokinetic phenomena. Picture furniture sliding across the room…it might even slam into the wall.
  • Physical assault: This is a rarer form of paranormal activity but is often part of horror. It can include cuts, scratches, slaps, and hard shoves. It might even lead to the death of a character.
  • Apparitions: Physical manifestation of the entity. Is it a misty form? As it takes shape is it human or something else? Does it look transparent or solid?

Photo credits: Ajnagraphy'
Buy Donna Sundblad's book on Kindle: Pumping Your MuseWindwalkerBeyond the Fifth GateThe Inheritance