Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

Happy New Year's Eve to everyone...speaking of which:

Today's Prompt:

Write a story about a New Year's Eve experience involving you or someone you know.

Idea joggers:

  • too much to drink
  • special outfit
  • snow storm
  • plans that changed
  • meeting someone
  • other unique happenstance

Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bio Bits

Write a short bio about yourself. Keep it to 100 words or less.

Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year Writing Goals

Today's prompt is a bit different. I want you to consider your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve within the next year?

I set writing goals each year. From these goals, I set monthly goals and weekly goals.

Take the time to write down at least three writing goals for the new year.

Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bad Christmas Gift

I remember back in the 70's when I wanted a sunlamp for Christmas. One package under the tree met the bill. I just knew it was the aswer to my pale palor--I was excited. Christmas morning when I ripped the wrapping away, I stared at a box of new pots and pans. My heart sank--but I couldn't let the giver know how disappointed I felt. So I plastered a smile on my face and thanked him. Over time, the pots and pans proved to be the better gift, but at that moment on Christmas morning I expereienced an inner battle.

Today's prompt:

Develop a scene where a character opens a "bad gift." It can be serious, ture, fictional, or filled with humor.

Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

Monday, December 25, 2006

Two By Sea

Place two passengers in a boat and put them on the water. Add any two of these elements:

  • a ring
  • gusty wind
  • music
  • fie along the shore
  • a big fish

  • Donna
    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    Driving Down the Street

    It's easy to overlook details in familiar territory. Today's exercise draws these details into focus. Imagine driving down your street on July 4th. How would that be different from Christmas Eve--or when the fall colors are at their height? Develop a scene that picks up the details--you pick the season, day and time.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Saturday, December 23, 2006

    A "B" Story

    Write a scene including these three items:

    1. Bubble
    2. Book
    3. Board

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Did You See That?

    Create a character waiting to see something--but just when the time comes they aren't paying attention. What distracts them?

    Some ideas for things to watch for:

  • a baseball player up to bat with a full count and bases loaded
  • the bride and groom to come out of the church
  • someone in a crowd
  • Donna
    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Thursday, December 21, 2006

    How to Make a Cookie

    Holiday time can drain our engergy and zap our time to nill. To keep writing even through the frezy have fun with this one. Describe making your favorite cookie. Keep it to no more than three paragraphs.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Religion In The News

    Take a media bit from the news that deals with religion. Now develop a scene from the flip side of that news story. If religion portrayed in the news is strict--create it tolerant. If forbidden, allow it. And of course if war breaks out because of religion create peace. What news piece you select will determine the flavor of your story.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Shopping When Hungry

    It's easy to get caught up in running errands and skip lunch--or just plan to eat when you're done, but ohhh those delicious smells in the grocery store.

    Today's prompt is an effort to include smells and aromas in our writing. Create a hungry character drifting through the aisles at the local grocery. What do they smell and how does it affect their actions?

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Snap Shots

    Put a camera into the hands of a grandmotherly character. Does she know how to use the technology? Is it an old fashioned camera? Does it need a battery?

    Once you decide on the type of camera, put her into a family mix for the holidays. And one more thing--she likes to snap photos.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Sunday, December 17, 2006


    People find comfort in small things. To create believable scenes, small realistic details offering sensory information readers (as well as the character) process to equal comfort. Develop a character seeking comfort in one of the following:

  • a hot cup of coffee or tea
  • a chocolate sundae
  • looking through a scrapbook
  • walking in the woods
  • pick one of your own

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Saturday, December 16, 2006

    That's Not Music

    Describe the noise others consider music. Here's the twist. Write it with a sense of humor.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Show Off

    Develop two young male characters vying for a girl's attention.

    Idea starters:

  • athletic contest or game
  • hanging out at a local mall
  • offering help in a store

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Thursday, December 14, 2006


    What gives you the creeps? What sneeks into your nightmares? Write a scene with swarming vermin surprising or chasing your character.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Snack Time

    Develop a snack time theme around one of the following:

  • Super Bowl
  • after school
  • PMS time

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    School Days

    Create a classroom setting. What do you smell? Hear? Maybe even taste? Don't tell the grade--instead show it.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Mistaken Identity

    Have you ever called to someone in a crowd and then realized it wasn't the person you thought it was? Write a scene where mistaken identity evolves into a relationship.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Sunday, December 10, 2006

    The Interview

    Develop a character that's after a job. Include the following:

  • a scent
  • papers scattering across the floor
  • an unusual sound

    Have fun with this one!

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Saturday, December 09, 2006

    Going For a Ride

    This is a reasearch prompt. Look up one of the following modes of transportation and learn enough detail to take a character for a ride.

  • motor bike sidecar
  • sports car from 1935
  • pullman train
  • covered wagon

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Friday, December 08, 2006

    Comfort Food

    We all hear about it. Most of us even turn to it during times of stress. But, not everyone finds comfort in the same foods. Develop a scene describing the perfect comfort food.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Like the Wind

    At a recent writers group meeting, we discussed the incorporation of description in writing. What's the right amount and when is it necessary?

    I recommended "The Sky" exercise from Pumping Your Muse which offers promps that train us to practice writing description in one sentence.

    Today's Prompt:

    Show the wind in one sentence (each) using the following items.

  • dry leaves
  • long grass
  • snow
  • water

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Breaking the News

    Create a scene with two or more characters. One or two of these characters has news to share with the others. Is it good news or bad? Develop the exchange between characters. If you're looking for a springboard for your ideas consider these:

    Someone is:

  • in the hospital
  • moving
  • going to have a baby
  • promoted

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Take Over

    Write two scenes involving the same character. Here's the twist. Take over the character's mind for the second scene and place them in the same circumstances but acting opposite the first scene.

    Prompts to include:

  • Unexpected visitor
  • Fire
  • Storm blowing in

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Monday, December 04, 2006


    Write a scene involving a bathrobe and one or more of the following:

  • rose petals
  • a pipe
  • newspaper
  • sticky lock
  • big toe

    Choose a piece you've already written. Polish it up and submit.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Saturday, December 02, 2006

    Submitting Your Work

    I know it's not easy for new writers to let go of your writing and send it into the cold world of publishing, but if you don't you'll never see your name as a by line. Today's prompt is a bit different. I challenge you to send in the piece you've shown to friend or family. If you're looking for a market, contact me and I'll see if I can help. I read Sharon Hurley's Get Paid to Write blog and I thought of all the people I know who love to write but never submit. Don't let fear of rejection stop you from submitting. It's part of life as a writer.

    Today's Writing Prompt:

    Choose a piece you've already written. Polish it up and submit.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Choose the Rules

    Pick three rules from the following list and develop a scene:

  • Only one character speaks
  • In the dark
  • 4 objects start with the same letter
  • Write in third person
  • No adjectives
  • No adverbs
  • The antagonist is dead.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Thursday, November 30, 2006

    Finding Creatvity After NaNo

    It's not easy switching gears after working with characters on a long term basis. You get to know them, care for them and they haunt your dreams and waking hours. For today's exercise, write a scene where you say good bye to one of those characters.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    NaNo Day 29 - This Is The Day

    Today I confirmed my "winning" word count with NaNoWriMo and thus officially have another NaNo Race under my belt. This year, I outlined the end of the story so that when I get back to this project, I'll have direction.

    Today's Prompt:

    Draw up a brief outline of a story tumbling around your mind. Get it onto paper so you have it handy when you have time to develop it.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 50,351

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Nano Day 24 - Heading Toward the Climax

    As we reach toward the end of the story, it's time to put pieces in place. Build tension and head toward the climax.

    Today's Prompt:

    Create a scene that builds toward the climax but doesn't quite reach it.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 45,070

    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    NaNo Day 23 - Arrived Back Home

    Needless to say, I didn't find access to the internet an easy thing during my travels. But now I'm back home as we enter the home NaNo stretch. I can smell the finish line approach this next week. Hard to believe it's almost been a month. The unforseen purchase of a house has added moving to my month, so I've upped my goals to prepare for days when I may not write.

    Today's Prompt:

    Move your characters to a new place on the map within your world.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 43,081

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    NaNo Day 19 - On the Road

    It's not easy keeping up with a blog while on the road because internet access it not at my fingertips. However, the NaNo words keep marching forward. I had worked ahead to create a buffer in my word count with travel and time with family and friends ahead. Today I only added a few hundred words, but 500 or so words is better than nothing and keeps the characters and plots actively growing in my thoughts.

    Today's Prompt:

    Consider window characters in your story. (Characters that see into the main characters' lives.) Write a short scene through the eyes of a window character that sheds new light on the storyline.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 34,680

    Sunday, November 19, 2006

    NaNo Day 18 - How Evil is Your Antagonist

    This morning I woke, turned on the computer and started to type. I had no idea how long I'd have before my hostess or husband stirred. I had worked ahead so that I have one day's word count in reserve, so even if I wrote half the words I needed, I'd be making progress.

    It worked out that I typed in the morning and again at night just before bed. I learned that my antagonist wasn't as evil as I thought. Is that a change of heart I see coming, or is he really regreting his actions?

    Today's Prompt:

    Write a scene from your antagonist's POV.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 34,076

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    NaNo Day 17 - On the Road

    Writing takes time. Sometimes life wants us to use the time other ways. When I started NaNoWriMo this year, I didn't know I'd find a house and be moving--which requires a trip to another state.

    I have a plan--that's how I get through NaNo and complete the project. However, a plan can't be rigid. If it was, the unforseen would thwart the plan and leave it in the past as an unaccomplished project.

    Today, I still wrote. I used time in the car (no I wasn't driving).

    Today's Prompt:

    Write. Even if you don't have time.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 32,316

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    NaNo Day 16 - The Challenge

    If you are trying to write a novel in a month following the NaNoWriMo schedule, you are now past the halfway mark. What creative trouble spot do you see? The climax should be coming into view, but what tension needs to build? This is the spot that stops many writers from finishing a novel. Don't let that happen to you. Choose a challenging scene and develop it.

    Today's Prompt:

    Write an active scene that serves as a stepping stone to the climax of your story. Choose the one you've been putting off. Once it's done, you can always rewrite or revise, it's the actual first draft that is the challenge.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 30,501

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    NaNo Day 15 - Dream Weaver

    Writing a novel in a month is a dream. Breaking it into pieces and writing a little each day makes it attainable. However, when you've already written 20,000 words and come up with a fantastic idea you wish you'd had earlier--it's time to add the idea and weave threads back into the 20,000 words so the newly formed idea makes sense.

    Today's Prompt:

    Take and exisiting scene and expand it. Word backwords and weave threads of logic to make the new detail work.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 26,890

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    NaNo Day 14 - Building to the Climax

    Writing the first draft of a novel in a month is actually a great measuring tool. The first half of the story is down and it's time to build toward the climax. Consider your possibilities. Tomorrow is the mid-point. Where is the story heading and why?

    My word count passed the halfway point today, and my story is right at the middle. Using the days of the month is actually a great way to measure where you should be in the storyline.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 25,134

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    NaNo Day 13 - Go For a Walk

    Writing for NaNo isn't just a challenge of time, but also of the creative process. Your fingers type until you run out of one or the other. More time is just beyond the horizon...and believe it or not so is creativity.

    When you feel you've drained the last idea from your mind, slip outdoors and go for a walk. Even a short walk. Away from phones, computer, chores and lists of things to be done. Walk long enough to let your thoughts wander.

    Today's Prompt:

    Go for a walk. Walk long enough to let your mind wander away from concerns and responsibilities. Once you get the spark of an idea, turn around and head home. By the time you get there be ready to write it down.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 23,204

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    NaNo Day 12 Dig a Little Deeper

    Today I used an existing scene as a springboard to delve a little deeper into not only the past but how the characters feel about that past, what they learned from it, cherished and even feared.

    Today's Prompt:

    Choose an existing scene and look back. Use it for one or more of the following:

    Develop a new scene that reveals how the characters feel about that past.
    Develop a new scene that reveals what the characters cherish about the past.
    Develop a new scene that reveals what your characters fear about the past.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 21,375

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Nano Day 11 - Learning Your Way Around

    My characters have bascially washed up on the shore of a new land. Now they need to learn their way around on foregin soil.

    Today's Prompt:
    Teach your characters something new. Of course, if you make it relevant to the plot of the story, you'll be able to use the scene later. But either way, when your characters learn--you learn. It may offer you a bit of backstory to help you know your character better.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 19,875

    NaNo Day 10 - Stepping Over the Threshold

    I've had a bit of a bug and although I didn't post here yesterday, I did get my NaNo words written. My characters crossed the threshold and entered the quest phase of the story. Everything is new, a bit uneasy and now I'm ready to learn about where they are...I've chosen Maine--a place I've always wanted to visit. That means I'll have to do a bit of research, even though my fishing village is fictional.

    Today's Prompt:
    Create a new place for you characters to visit. What sounds do they hear that are familiar. What's noises might stir concern? What time of day do they arrive? Don't tell--show it. What time of year is it? Who do they meet first?

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 18,096

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    NaNo Day 9 - Create a Question

    Today's NaNoWriMo scene started out with describing a new area of the world developing within the pages of Firesnake. It carried my protagonist to a rocky cliff and rough seas where she meets with the Threshold Guardian. Big change is on the horizon.

    Today's prompt:
    Write a scene that leaves questions in the reader's mind? How will the character survive? How will they live day to day with the current set of circumstances? Will they be alone? For how long? Or are they craving quiet personal time? What have they lost? What do they need? Make the reader care--about the character and about what happens next.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 16,309

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    NaNo Day 8 - The Tie That Binds

    Today I wrote a new scene with a secondary character as the main character. Her interaction with other characters provided elements of back story that tie to the main character. In my case, it's part of what makes the magic in my fantasy world work.

    Whether you write fantasy, mystery, historical or a contemporary novel, plot threads have to tie together uniting in a logical way that makes sense to the reader.

    Today's Prompt:

    Write a scene with a secondary character as the main character. Move them around, have them talk or interact with other characters.

  • What did you learn about your protagonist?
  • What's important to the secondary character and why?
  • What do they experience that ties them to the main character?

  • Donna
    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 14,103

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    NaNo Day 7 - Another POV

    Today I broke from my protagonist's POV and told another part of the story. What fun to put foundational backstory into place, not as narration but as an active scene.

    Create a new scene written from the POV of a secondary or window character.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 12,257

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    NaNo Day 6 - Above and Beyond

    As I go to sleep at night, I read a bit about geography or other cultures to feed my thoughts and imagination as I drift off to dream about the land coming into being within my NaNoWriMo project. This morning I awoke, and decided to take my character to a new place. This new location introduced her to a character she knew about, but had never met. Bringing my characer to a new location taught her all kinds of pertinent details. Before I knew it, I'd written over 2,000 words and didn't really want to stop. But, I had to. Can't wait until tomorrow.

    Give yourself a word count goal. Create a new location and place your character there. Is it a secluded place with trees and rolling hills? Perhaps a lake? Or on a waterway with busy docks and rough window characters? Or maybe it's a new home. Wherever you take your character, develop it enough to incorporate smells, sights and sounds.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 10,335

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    NaNo Day 5 - Knowledge and Growth

    Today's 1,700 words carried my protagonist a step beyond the threshold. She's growing and doesn't realize it. Why? Because she's gaining new information that will affect who she is and what she must do.

    Today's Prompt:

    Place your character in a scene where they learn new information. Make it something specific and important to the plot thread but present it in a way that the character doesn't realize it. As they ponder what they learn, create growth in your character as you plant the seed of change.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 8,890

    Saturday, November 04, 2006

    NaNo Day 4 - The Threshold

    NaNoWriMo is quite the challenge. I start out wondering how on earth I'll write 1,700 words and by the time I've finished I love the new information I've learned about my characters. Today, my protagonist stands at the threshold of the real story. She's heard the voice of her guardian. But where is he? I'm not sure. Guess I'll learn more about it in future days.

    Today's prompt:

    Place your character at the threshold of a new world. Now what? As they take a step, what do they see? Is the world friendly? Does it look like earth or is it different? What about smells? Did they expect to arrive here? If not, what happened? What do they have to learn? Have fun. Create a new world.

    I'll be answering some of these questions in tomorrow's 1700 NaNoWriMo words.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 6,981

    Friday, November 03, 2006

    NaNo Day 3 - Fear

    This morning I ran past my NaNoWriMo writing goal by about 100 words. I don't limit the high end, just have to meet the minimum. Today I placed my character in a situation that frightens her.

    What scares your character and why? Sometimes writing a scene like this not only gives us insight to what makes the character tick, but it also opens up possibilities to write backstory. We fear things for a reason, and so do our characters. In today's scene answer these questions.

  • What does your character fear?
  • Why do they fear it?
  • Now don't tell it--show it.

    For more NaNoWriMo tips visit the Reader's Station.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 5,252
  • Thursday, November 02, 2006

    NaNo Day 2 - Wedding Day

    This morning my 1700 words took on a mind of their own. My original plan was to follow the next item on my list of scenes, but my imagination settled on a wedding scene (which was not on my original list).

    The wedding in my story is not traditional. Do research on weddings in other cultures and bring one element into a wedding scene. Research is a great way to add a unique flavor to your writing.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 3,427

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    NaNo Day 1

    Last night before bed I jotted down ideas for my NaNoWriMo novel. These were just quick one sentence ideas. I numbered them. This morning, I started with #1 and started writing. The first was a marriage between the falcon and the otter. Sounds wierd, I know. But these animals represent qualities that bear meaning within the plot.

    This morning, I wrote through the first 7 ideas and have that many for tomorrow's 1,700 words. I carry my trusty notebook with me to harvest new or evolving ideas as my mind has time to wander in the car or while waiting.

    1. Jot story ideas down.
    2. List four main characters.
    3. Now write a two-paragraph scene (or more)

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    NaNoWriMo Current Word Count: 1,707

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    Preparing for NaNoWriMo and Research

    For the month of November, prompts will reflect ways in which I keep myself writing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This will be my third year to participate, and I recommend the experience for anyone who dreams of writing a novel but hasn't. I'm currently researching geography and cultures and drafting a rough sketch of my next fantasy world.

    Today's prompt: Research

    Research a part of the world you know little about. Choose an interesting tidbit and expand it into a paragraph (fictional or not).

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Lights Out

    Write a scene that requires "lights out."

    A few ideas to get your imagination churning:

  • children's bedtime
  • war time
  • power outage

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Lunch at the Diner

    In today's fast-paced society many small mom and pop restaurants continue to dissapear. Capture a slice of lice 20-40 years ago in a local diner. Paint a warm atmosphere. Show colors, dialog, smells and sounds. While you're at it, let's see what's on the menu.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, October 27, 2006


    Create a shy character and place him or her in a new job. This is the first day. Show them making their first "friend" or "enemy."

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    Story Starters: Coffee, Newspater and Dog Next Door

    Use the ingredients listed below to mix up a new short story:

    Cup of coffee, newspaper, the dog next door and just for fun add something wet.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    You're Getting Drowsy

    In an effort to show and not tell, for today's prompt strive to show a character getting drowsy.

  • How do they feel?
  • What do they think?
  • What physical reactions do they SHOW?
  • Do they fight it? If so how? Why?

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Out Of This World

    Do you believe in life out there beyond our planet? Do you know some people who act like they're from another planet?

    Your prompt today is to write about someone from another planet whether they are or not.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    The Search

    Write a scene about searching for something lost. Make it something as lighthearted as a misplaced love note, as frustrating as car keys, or as serious as a missing pet. Show emotion through actions and reactions, inner monolog and dialog.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    Children's Games

    Describe children playing a game. Include dialog that represents conflict.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    Story Starters: Bootcamp

    Start a story ith the following sentence:

    Cold wind whistled through the barracks at the end of my first day at bootcamp.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Monday, October 16, 2006


    Design a scene showing thankfulness without saying the words thank you.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Fair Experience

    Write a scene from a visit to the fairgrounds for a carnival or other event like apple fest, taste of the town or best of the bands. Incorporate smells wafting from food booths, 4H projects, or vendor booths. Narrow the focus to one or two characters.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Saturday, October 14, 2006

    Exercise Ball

    Various exercise contraptions litter spare rooms, garages and the like. Any one of these make for a fun story, but today's prompt is the exercise ball. They come in various sizes and strength and require an air pump or compressor to blow them up--not too much of course.

    Create a scene where the character used an exercise ball (even if it isn't to exercise).

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    A Word - From A Word A Day

    I receive A Word A Day by email. Today's word:

    This week's theme: words that aren't what they appear to be.
    slaver (SLAV-vuhr, SLAY-vuhr) verb tr., intr.

    1. To slobber or drool; to smear with saliva.

    2. To fawn.


    Saliva dripping from the mouth.

    [Probably from Old Norse slafra (to slobber).]
    Today's word in Visual Thesaurus:

    Use this word in a holiday story. It's that time of year. Halloween is just around the corner, as well and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Life Of a Baseball

    At this time of year when baseball fans crowd before TV screens to see who makes it to the World Series, think about a story from the Baseball's POV. What does it feel? What does it hope for? What does it smell? How about taste? And for the conclusion--where does it end up by the end of the game?

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    School Days

    Write about school. Present, past or future.

    What was worn? Do students own books? Are students grouped by age, grade, sex or gift areas? What about students who struggle to learn? Is there one teacher or more? Do students catch a bus, walk or something else? Is the school heated or air conditioned? Does it have windows?

    These questions are prompts, not limitations. I'd love to see what you have to write on this one. If you'd like to let others take a look, post your entry in the comments.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Saturday, October 07, 2006

    Square Peg in a Round Hole

    Create a gifted character that just doesn't fit within the circumstances of today's world. Consider some of these challenges:

  • Technology (VCR, DVD, computer, fixing a car or some other mechanical device, setting the clock, making coffee, using a new appliance)

  • Manner of dress

  • Society's behavior

    Or, if the muse struck with a unique idea run with it.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Friday, October 06, 2006

    Mmmm Delicious

    Describe your favorite dish. Include taste, smell, sight and the sense of hearing.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Always Prepared

    It's a motto, but not many people are as prepared as they hope to be. Create a scene where your character realizes she/he is not prepared.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    The dog, Squirrel and the Red Pen

    Write a short story including these three items:

  • dog
  • Squirrel
  • red pen

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author
  • Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Like Riding A Bike

    Some things you never forget--but it doesn't mean you don't get a bit rusty. Create an older adult character doing something they did long ago. Something they were good at. It can be anything from childhood or teen years. Before you start, ask why they want to do it. Are they proving something? To whom?

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Monday, October 02, 2006

    It Wasn't Funny At theTime

    High stress situations can escalate as tiny events add up to an explosive crescendo or emotional meltdown. As bad as these situations seem to be, have you ever found yourself laughing after the fact as you sit around the table sipping a cup of coffee?

    Write about one of these situations.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Death of a Dream

    Create a character who lives an unfulfilled life. They have a dream. What is the dream? How long has it laid dormant? Did they set it aside or was it ripped from them? How do they feel at the start of your story? Do they still dare to dream or is the spirit of hope crushed?

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    The Blanket

    As the weather gets cooler, thoughts turn to snuggling and keeping warm. Recently we received souvenir blankets at a baseball game. As a child, I remember the quilt my great-grandmother made for my father with his initial at the center in red, his favorite color. I've also known children who can't go anywhere without their blankie. Recently, I learned of electric blankets that have dual controls.

    Write a story about a blanket.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    Clutter, Clutter Everywhere

    Develop a scene full of clutter. Feet shuffling through discarded containers, papers, garbage or clothes. Sinks piled with dirty dishes or laundry heaping on the bedroom floor. Add some smells for fun.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006


    Expose something hidden.

    A bird flies into a lush green tree and hides in the branches. A wife pours herself a drink to calm shattered nerves behind the doors of her million dollar home. As you walk or drive down the street consider the possibilities. Write a short story or scene based on something hidden.

    Check out more articles and classes on writing at the Inspired Author

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Story of Teeth

    Our smiles say a lot, but what about our teeth?

    Write a short story about teeth. Include one of the following:

  • Braces
  • Over whitening
  • Missing teeth
  • Rotten teeth
  • Getting a crown
  • Tooth fairy
  • Monday, September 18, 2006

    Life On the Run

    Take a character that loves routine and thrust them into life on the run. How do they grow? What do they learn? And do they change for the better?

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    Sound and Setting

    Daylight brushes the horizon and bird calls pierce the silence. Crickets sing a chorus under the shade of the front porch. Sounds add dimension to setting. Write a scene or short story 1,000-1,200 words. Include at least two sounds. If your stumped, stop and listen.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    New Shoes

    Write a story about new shoes. It can be anything as long as the shoes are new to the character. Remember, shoes can show part of the story.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006


    What does the color blue green bring to mind? No hints, no other prompts. Just write about something blue-green. Can it be associated with a sound? A taste? A feeling?

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    Story Starter - Hummingbird

    Start a story with this blurb:

    I drifted mindlessly back and forth on the glider. The buzz of hummingbird wings drew my attention to the last yellow flowers on the stunted rose bush.

    Monday, September 11, 2006


    Write an underwater or aquarium scene. Present vivid images, but remember to include how it feels and sounds.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    Expectations and Reality

    Children look forward to reaching a new destination. Their imaginations run with details they've gleaned from adult conversations. They chatter in the car, study brochures and then reality hits. "We're here? This is it?" or "We're here, we're here."

    It's no different for adults. Write a short story based on someone's expectation, and bring it to conclusion with the reality.

    Friday, September 08, 2006


    Write a description of what it feels like to be tired without using the word tired.

    Thursday, September 07, 2006


    1. an annoying or troublesome person, animal, or thing; nuisance.
    2. an insect or other small animal that harms or destroys garden plants, trees, etc.
    3. a deadly epidemic disease, esp. a plague; pestilence.

    Create a scene involving a pest.

    Monday, September 04, 2006


    A good haircut can make a person feel good--a bad haircut can ruin special plans. Children dread sitting in the chair. Women like to go to get pampered. Some hair salons now offer spa services. Men go in and shoot the bull as they get clipped.

    Write a scene including a haircut.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006


    Gateways, portals, wormholes, star gates, and other such passageways leading to fantasy worlds usher a reader's imagination into realms beyond our imagination.

    Create a gateway. What does the person entering glean about the world beyond as they make their approach? How is it activated? How does it feel to step up to the threshold? Does your character enter or does something make them change their mind? If they step through what's the first thing they smell?

    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Trends and Traditions

    Describe a family tradition (good or bad) or a new trend you'd like to see in family life.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    Long Time No See

    Write a story about a reunion. It can be happy, sad or funny.

    Idea joggers:

    adopted child and parent
    hightschool sweethearts
    army buddies

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Hungry, Thirsty and Poor

    Write a scene with a character that is hungry, thristy and poor. Here's the catch. Don't use those words (or a root of those words) within the text. Instead show the hunger, thirst and poverty.

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    Plateau, Fallen Tree, Blanket

    Develop a short story or scene including these three items:

    fallen tree

    Saturday, August 26, 2006

    Planet and the Turtle

    You pick the planet, real or fictional. It can be hanging in a sci-fi or fantasy sky, or your characters can be walking on the planet's surface. A turtle-like creature is flipped onto its back at the opening of your scene and struggling to get upright.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Build a Character

    Build a character from head to toe. Don't offer additional information about personality--just phyical detail. With that detail show that your character is one of the following:

  • Procrastinator
  • Proud
  • Poor
  • Efficient
  • Vain
  • Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Childhood Memories

    Write a short story about a childhood game where imagination was the magical ingredient. Did it take place outside or indoors? Be sure to include the sense of smell to help travel back in time.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Stubbing A Toe

    Describe the pain experienced when stubbing your toe and use it in a short scene.

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    10 Years 10 Pounds

    Create a character--place them in one of the following situations:

  • Taking the garbage out
  • Getting ready to exercise
  • Carrying groceries into the house and putting them away

    Now, add ten years and 10-20 lbs. to your character and have them repeat the same activity.
  • Thursday, August 17, 2006

    The Curtain Falls

    Create a character in a dressing room after "the show." They read a review of their performance in the local paper. Show them taking off their makeup. Are they happy, sad, contemplative? What do they smell? What do they think.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Letter Home

    Write a fictional letter from a character away from home. It can be from the past, present or future. Include details of everyday life, such as my horse threw a shoe, my car had a flat, or my transporter block blew a circuit. Pick one of the following reasons for your characters absence from a home they long for:


    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Walking in the Rain

    Sometimes simple things like weather symbolize something else in writing. For instance, walking in the rain can be the setting to hide a character's tears or represent a cleansing in theirlife. Place you character in the rain--the season is up to you. Make it pour, or make it sprinkle--that's up to you. Whatever the amount of wind and rain, make it means something in your character's life.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    School Days

    What do you remember about the first day of school? How did you feel? What did you wear? Did you carry a lunch or did your school have a cafeteria? Perhaps you were lucky enough to go home for lunch. How about waiting for a bus? Write a short essay about the first day of school from a child's POV. (Any grade)

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Missing Day

    Have your character awaken to learn they have somehow missed an entire day...or have they?

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    As Small as an Eyelash

    Something as small as an eyelash can provide enough evidence to place someone at the scene of a crime. Develop a short scene based on a small piece of evidence complete with DNA.

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    The Screen Door

    First impressions can be misleading, but nevertheless we all tend to make them. Today's exercise is to write about a screen door.

    Is it new or old?
    Does it make a sound when it is opened?
    Does is make a noise when it closes?
    Is it dirty or clean?
    What color is it?

    What impression does the screen door make upon the person walking up to it? These are the kind of details that show the reader what to think rather than tell them. Go on now, write--and don't let the door hit you.

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Getting to Know Your Character

    Invite your character to have a seat and offer them something to drink.

    Where are they?
    What are they sitting on?
    Do they have a selection of what to drink or where to sit?
    One they sit, what will you talk about? Add a bit of dialog.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Two Swords

    Write a scene involving two swords. They may be used in a clash of steel as to swashbuckers fight for some booty, or hang on a while in a showcase. All that's required of you is to put together a scene using the two swords.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    In-law Visit

    An in-law or two will arrive this afternoon from out of town. Write a scene describing the build up--getting the house ready, dialog between family members as they get ready. The in-laws will be staying for a week. Have fun with this one.

    Sunday, July 30, 2006

    Heated Words

    Write a short scene consisting of verbal conflict between two characters. It can be two adults, a child and an adult or two children. Here's the catch. Don't TELL how they feel. Show it.

    Saturday, July 29, 2006


    Mundane chores can be boring--until you change the POV. Write a scene depicting a chore from the POV of an object involved. For example: A dirty garment as laundry is being done (or the washer or dryer)


    Cleaning the bathroom
    Cleaning up after a pet
    Washing the car

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    Sticky, Dark Droplets

    Follow a trail of sticky, dark droplets and write about what you find.

    Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Use of Light

    The use of light within writing can offer information. Used correctly, it can show time, a presence, a warning....

    Use light to describe: (for example if sunlight comes from the east we know it's morning, dew glistening on the branches will further confirm time of day without telling the reader it is morning).

    A line of trees
    A mountain range
    A bed

    Now, rewrite the same scene with light coming from a different direction. It doesn't have to be the same source, but it does need to be light.

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006

    The Dreaded Birthday

    Every person's different. I knew someone that dried up about age 30 thinking he was old and others who love life at 60. Develop a short scene around an approaching birthday. Make it one of the biggies marking a decade. Write it from one person's POV but involve two characters. One that wants to make the birthday special and one that would rather pretend it isn't happening.

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    What Do You Get When You Take the Family Hiking?

    Characters: Grandpa, Grandma, Couple in mid to late thirties, and two children (you pick the age). Have this family make a plan to get away from TV, video games, loud music, etc. and get back to nature. Take them anywhere in the world. They can plan to pack a tent and rough it, or they can plan to start by hiking a mile on a local trail. Have fun with it.

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    The Smell of...

    Incorporate one or more of the following smells into short story.

    fresh cut hay
    wet dog
    dirty socks
    raw sewage
    rotting garbage
    Thanksgiving Day

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Dirt Road

    When you read the title to today's prompt what picture flashed into your mind? I'm working on a story for an anthology and want to paint an image of a country road winding under a canopy of trees. If that same scenario was presented in a desert scene it would be entirely different, but both would be dirt roads.

    Write a description of a dirt road and use it in a scene.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006


    He sat there impatiently.

    This is a passive, telling sentence. Rework it to show impatience and bit of the surroundings.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Body Sounds

    Our physical being processes food, aborbs stress, needs rest and most of the time we don't give a second thought to the fact we breath in and out and that our heart beats without being mentally conscious of it.

    As the body goes through the day it makes noises that most of the time we ignore or don't even here. It's not until we sit in a quiet place that we notice our stomach rumble with hunger, or feel our hiccoughs might be disturbing the person beside us.

    Write a scene that takes place in a quiet setting. Include a body sound or two.

    Idea starters:

  • a church
  • courtroom
  • blind date
  • middle of the night in bed
  • Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Berry Picking

    Put a country boy and a city girl in a blueberry patch together. What do they learn from each other?

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Change of Plans

    Have you ever planned a picnic, hiking trip or some other outdoor activity only to have thunder in the distance warn that you might have to change our plans? Place your characters in such a situation and show their creative side as they work through the unexpected. Include conflict, tension and resolution.

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Mmmmm Popcorn

    Certain scents stimulate our appetites. On the other hand, some activities stimulate our appetites. For example, going to a ballpark. If you walked into a ballpark today what would you expect to eat and drink? What about a movie theater? How about your favorite restaurant?

    Choose one of the following scenarios and develop a short scene describing what you want and what you do.

  • ballpark
  • theater
  • favorite restaurant
  • Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Flexibility of a Child

    Children bend, jump, stoop and run with natural ease. As adults, our brains tell us we can still do all those things, but reality dictates we change our ways. Write a story about an adult who slips into thinking they can still move with the agility of youth, but soon learn things don't work quite like they used to. Add the element of pride, and make it funny.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Snakes, Bugs and Things that Go Bump in the Night

    Describe the experience of fear. Setting is your choice. The object feared is your choice. Make the exerience real. Include the sense of smell, taste or touch (choose two). Have fun, and sweet dreams.

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    The Old Woman and Her Cat

    The old woman shuffled along the moss covered stepping stones with an orange colored tabby walking in her shadow. The woman bent to pull a weed from between the cracks...TAKE IT FROM HERE

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    An Animal's POV

    Describe the world through an animal's POV. Choose one of the following:

    old dog

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Close Your Eyes

    Close your eyes and think back to your childhood. What games did you play? What dreams did you hold dear? What difficult situations did you face? Who was your best friend? Did you own a pet? Take music lessons? Write a paragraph or two describing an element from your childhood.

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Thorn Prick

    A thorn can leave an almost imperceptible prick. Use this small wound as an integral part of the plot of a short story.

    Stump busters:

  • Poisonous or other substance that causes a change in the character.
  • Reminder that time has not passed as the character is led to believe.
  • Used as part of a bridal ritual.
  • One of your own ideas.
  • Monday, July 03, 2006

    Telltale Signs

    Did you ever take a shortcut while performing a chore because your heart wasn't in it? Perhaps stuck something in the dishwasher even though you knew it was at risk to warp or melt, or wore a new shirt while doing a task that might ruin it thinking you can be careful enough not to get grease, food, hair color (you get the idea) on the spanking new fabric.

    Write a scene from the first person point of view depicting an episode where lack of good judgment leaves behind a telltale sign.

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    Abandoned House

    Describe the outward appearance and grounds of a well-maintained house in a paragraph or two.

    After you've completed this exercise, describe the same house after being abandoned for a month, then a year and then 25 years later.

    Saturday, July 01, 2006

    A Child's Love

    Place your adult stick-in-the-mud character with all the personality of Scrooge in a situation with a loving accepting child that doesn't seem to notice the negative qualities.

    Friday, June 30, 2006

    Just Around the Corner

    Story starter: Develop a story based on this sentence.

    The cool night breeze tugged at her hair as she slipped around the corner into the shadows.

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Oh My Aching...

    Ever go to a theme park and walk around all day in the heat?

    How about lifting a box that's too heavy, or a wet dog that struggles and jerks you around as it slips from your arms?

    Maybe it's a weather pattern that spurs a sinus headache.

    Pick a body part from the waist up and one from the waist down. Now add a pain and write two short scenes. Remember to show the pain not just tell it.

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Boxes in the Attic

    While in the moving process, I came across boxes I had moved 17 years ago. I didn't have a clue what was in them until I opened each one. Place your character in an attic where they find a box. When they open what do they find? How does it change their life?

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Haste Makes Waste

    Haste makes waste, a stitch in time saves nine and other such sayings originated somewhere for a reason. Really they make sense. Choose one of these familiar sayings and develop a story line that teaches one such moral. Make up one of your own or use one of the old standbys.

    Possible ideas:

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • Don't count your eggs before they're hatched
  • A penny saved is a penny earned
  • Haste makes waste
  • A stitch in time saves nine
  • Monday, June 19, 2006

    What Happens Next

    You've been short with your spouse and in a frenzy getting the house ready for dinner guests. Why does the time run out before the things to do? The doorbell rings, and you slip your shirt over your head before you whip the door open. You force a smile but not for long--build a scene based on this bit of information.

    Sunday, June 18, 2006

    Cartoon Character

    Cartoon characters' actions and reactions are exaggerated for effect. Watch a cartoon and follow a cartoon character through a scene. Jot down actions and reactions as you see them. Develop your favorite into a scene.

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    In the News

    Some days the news can seem stranger than fiction. Last night I heard a sad story about a family pet being killed by a coyote. The owner of the pet is funneling her grief to make a law that if a dangerous animal is in an area that SOMEONE must let the residents know.

    Find an unusual news clip and use a few of the details to write your own story.

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Stinky Socks

    Sense of smell is one often overlooked when writing. For practice and a few laughts, develop a scene around a pair of stinky socks.

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Describe the Sky

    Describe this sky in one sentence and use it in a paragraph.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Tee Shirt

    People express themselves by what they wear. Schools make rules and establish dress codes to control the environment while adults display sayings and photos. Dress your character in a tee shirt with detail and make it part of the story.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    Road Trip

    I've had stories published that were the direct result of a writing prompt. In fact, the first story I ever had published came about when I incorporated three different writing prompts as a challenge. Following those prompts helped me discover a story of murder and mystery that I didn't know was in me. With that in mind, today's prompt contains five elements to choose from in a scene regarding a road trip. This one is wide open. I can see that it could easily incorporate humor or horror! Or just a slice of life with a moral. Let me know what YOU find.

    Pumping Your Muse Writing Prompt

    Write a scene involving a 9 hour road trip that turns into a 12 hour road trip. Choose three details below to incorporate:

  • Two vehicles
  • Two families (one with children, one without)
  • One drives a van pulling a trailer (what kind of trailer is up to you. Anything from camping, horse or other livestock, to a moving trailer)
  • Top goal, get through a major city before rush hour
  • A family pet (your pick)

    Have fun!
  • Saturday, May 27, 2006


    The Odd Couple, Felix and Oscar were a good example of two very different people trying to function as a household. One a slob and the other a neatnick. Write a scene with two main characters. Give them opposite personalities and put them into a stressful situation.

    Possible scenarios:

    Having people over for the first time

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    What's the Weather Going to Be?

    Write a scene with characters who have special plans. Base the outcome of their plans on the weather. Will it be rain? Snow? Hot? Cold?

    Sunday, May 14, 2006


    Sports--fun, stress, and more.

    Write a scene at a sports event from two points of view. The first from the player's POV and the second--the same scene from a spectator's POV.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    The Haircut

    Write a story centered on a haircut. It can be a makeover, or a bad hair day, funny or not. Haircuts are something everyone experiences. This can be a true story or a work of fiction.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Story Starter

    Tires screeched. Acrid smoke seeped into the car. Tory opened her eyes...

    Saturday, May 06, 2006


    Choose one of these settings and add a flashlight.

    Side of a dark road
    Under the hood

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    The Drill

    The sound of a drill--high pitched, low grind--what one hear helps prepare for what they see. Write a story based on the sound of a drill.

    Monday, May 01, 2006


    It's the time of year here in SW Florida when the fire danger is high. Recently, 400 acres burned a couple of miles from my home. Ash fell from the sky like large grey snowflakes. If the fire department knocked on the door and told you that you had to evacuate, what would you do? Would you leave or try to save your house? What would you take with you, if you had to leave within 10 minutes?

    Sunday, April 30, 2006

    The Light Switch

    Write a scene involving a light switch. Bloody fingerprints smeared across the switch plate, or a light that doesn't come on. It's up to you. The only requirement is that the light switch is part of the story.

    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    Your Feet

    Describe your feet. How do they feel? How do they smell? Write a brief description, add it to a character and use it in a brief scene.

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    These Three Words

    Write a scene incorporating these three words:


    Wednesday, April 26, 2006


    Sometimes shadows offer shade, othertimes they might be scary. Describe shadows in a way that strikes an emotion in the reader.

    Sunday, April 23, 2006


    Write a scene describing the emotions experienced when a long awaited piece of mail arrives. It is an acceptance or denial?

    Possible scenarios:

    Student hearing from a college
    Writer hearing from a publisher

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Blessing or Curse

    Write a scene where the character gets what they've always wanted, but not with the result (or perhaps in the way) they were expecting.

    You may write it as general fiction. For example: a young woman longs to be married and her desire is fulfilled. However, the reality of everyday life makes her wish for the days when she had more freedom.

    Or, you can take more of a fantasy, thriller, horror route. I think of Stephen King's Thinner.

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Notice in Your Mailbox

    Write a short story about receiving a notice informing that a package awaits your character at the post office. Why couldn't it be delivered in the mailbox? Did it require a signature, or perhaps was too big to fit into the mailbox. Build the anticipation and bring the story to a close with opening the package.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Essay Contest at the Dabbling Mum

    "Standing out on the deck, observing the birds in flight, and admiring the view..."

    All entries must be received by July 1, 2006, no later than 8 p.m. Central Time Zone.
    A new contest will be posted by the 10th of the following month!

    Submit Your Winning Essay!

    Subject: Essay Contest Entry
    Your full name:
    Your email address:
    Your complete address:
    (Required to send prize.)
    Your phone number:
    (Required in case email bounces or prize returns.)
    Please tell us how you found us?
    Paste your descriptive, story-telling essay using the following format:
    (1) Tell us if the essay is hypothetical, made up, or true,
    (2) Your 500-600 Word Essay
    * If your essay is longer or shorter, it WILL be disqualified.
    (3) Your Web Address (optional)
    Send your email to:

    * Please type this email address into your email program.
    It is a .jpeg and not clickable; to prevent spam.

    See: for all the details

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    A Bell Tolls

    In the steeple of a little village church a bell hangs, but doesn't ring as often as it once did. Tell the story of this bell.

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Forbidden Fruit

    Way back to Eden, humans desired what they should not have, taste, touch, or look at. Write a scene with a character lusting after something off limits. If you can't think of something, choose one of the following:

    dieter--a food they are not to eat
    man or woman--someone else's date
    teenager--a father's '69 Corvette

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Natural Inspiration

    In my book Pumping Your Muse you'll find an exercise called "One Inch Tall." In that chapter, I explain how a drainage ditch inspired a whole new world. That world not exists as the soon-to-be-released Windwalker. As I went for my walk this morning, I snapped a picture of the drainage ditch where it all started. Imagine yourself one inch tall, and see where it takes you.

    Friday, April 14, 2006


    Create a scene involving two ships at battle. These can be seafaring ships, space ships or any other type of ship your imagination conjures up.

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Low Battery

    Write a story about a low battery in one of the following:

    Cell phone

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Story Starter

    The young girl huddled in the shadows of the pub. Her dark, disheveled hair hung in her eyes.

    "She ain't talkin'," the barkeep said as he swiped a dirty rag over the worn wood counter. "Don't know where she's from...who's her people." He shrugged.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Favorite Dish

    Describe your favorite dish. Entree or dessert. Smell it, taste it, feel it. Mm. Make the reader want some.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Hamburger Joint

    Depict a visit to a hamburger joint back in the 50's. What's the floor look like? Is there a counter with stools? Is music playing? Is it crowded? Have a blast with the past.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Comic Book Story

    Comic books tell stories in frames. Dialog shows in balloons and sounds are written out in letters like ZONK. Write a story in Comic Book Form. Make each short paragraph a frame.

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Home Improvement

    Write a scene depicting a home improvement project. It can be a small task or a large refurbishment job. Write the story from one character's POV.

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    The Boat

    Place your character in a charter boat leaving the dock for a day of fishing. A small group of people and one charter captain head out to the great unknown. Describe the day. Be sure to include the sense of smell and sound.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Missing Day

    You character opens their eyes and blink in the early morning sunlight. What time is it anyway? Have them start their morning routine and discover they've missed a day.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Blurred Vision

    Your character rubs their eyes. They strain to focus, but their vision is blurred. What are they trying to see and why?

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    The Gym

    Place an overweight, middle-aged character at the gym among fit twenty-somethings. Music blaring, face paced instructions and the latest equipment create a frenzied pace. Write a humorous piece from this character's POV.

    Saturday, April 01, 2006

    One More Thing

    Create a scene where your character is trying to get out the door for an appointment, but has one more thing to do first. Do they get side-tracked, run late, experience a mishap?

    Friday, March 31, 2006

    Can That Be?

    You're running late. A pickup hauling a trailer stops, blocking traffic. Your blood pressure flares and then you notice the driver getting out. Can that be who you think it is?

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Nursery Rhyme

    Think of your favorite nursery rhyme. What did you like about it? Incorporate that element in a short scene.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    One-Sided Conversation

    In this day of cell phones, it's not uncommon to overhear someone speaking on the phone. For this exercise, let the reader hear one side of a conversation. Mislead the reader to think one thing only to hit them with a different reality at the end.

    Monday, March 27, 2006


    Smoke, the smell of can evoke good feelings or bad. It warns us to run, or it can invite us to the cookout in the back yard. Use the scent of smoke to usher your reader into a scene.

    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    That Old Song

    Sitting at an outdoor cafe, your character listens to the musician strumming a quiet song. It's that same old song . . ..

    Write about the memories and where they are today.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Point of View

    I sat at a traffic light watching an Osprey fly overhead, carrying a fish in its talons.

    Tell this story from the driver's POV, the Osprey's POV and then the fish's POV.

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    Animal Talk

    Animals communicate with a language of their own. I have one parrot that squawks if I'm at the other end of the house because he thinks he's being left out. Cats purr when they're happy and hiss when they what to frighten us. Dogs wag tails, bark, whine, snarl and bare teeth.

    Write a scene involving an animal trying to get a message across to another character (animal or human).

    (For those of you old enough to remember: Think of how many times Lassie saved the day! Or in the same era, the horse Fury who also saved the day. Or, Rin Tin Tin!)

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Christmas Memories

    Most publications want seasonal stories 6-9 months in advance. So what better time to think of Christmas. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, you'll have a story to tell. This can be a fictional story based on a true story, or a slice of life vignette from your past.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Wood Stove

    Do research on wood stoves, learn how they work and incorporate one into a scene. It can be present day or a blast from the past.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    It's Time

    Some people go into labor and make it to the hospital with little drama. For today's prompt, write a scene about a woman in labor. The baby's coming. Where is she? Will she make it to the hospital? Are there other children involved? A husband or boyfriend? The scene you write should be filled with drama.

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    A Cup of Coffee

    Write a scene involving a cup of coffee. It can be the first cup in the morning, a meeting with a friend at a local coffee shop, or coffee on the run. Anything is fine, as long as it includes a cup of coffee. Be sure to include the senses of taste and smell.

    Saturday, March 18, 2006

    Long Time No See

    Create a scene that reunites two or more people after years. However, this is not your typical reunion. Let it ignite anger, horror and similar negative emotions.

    Friday, March 17, 2006


    Write a scene that shows your character is hungry. Don't tell it--show it.

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    TV Commercials

    Pluck a character from a TV commercial and build a story around them. Surf the channels and find one that works for you. Can you imagine the lady that's "got to go, got to go, got to go right now" running in your imagination to or from the situation of your making? Have fun.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Crossing on the Ferry

    Do a bit of research on ferries to find a tidbit or two you didn't know. Incorporate the new information in a short scene.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    A Walk in the Park

    Take your imagination for a stroll in the park. What do you see, smell and hear?

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Sounds of Morning

    Describe the sounds of morning as the world around you comes to life.

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Last Sentence

    Write a scene or short story making this the last sentence:

    A pair of pelicans glided over the glassy sea reflecting the fading orange halo of the setting sun.

    Saturday, March 11, 2006


    Failure, whether real or perceived, can make people stronger or send them spiraling into the depths of depression. Write a scene depicting a character dealing with failure.

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    I'm Late, I'm Late

    Remember the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland? Always in a rush, disruptive and late. Base your character on a fictional character from children's literature. If you can't think of one, use the rabbit.

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    World War II - Rations

    Write a scene depicting life when rations pushed people to make due with what they had. Make it a story of a special day when family gathers.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Mmmmm, that Looks Delicious

    Write 1-3 paragraphs about a favorite dish. How does it smell, taste and look?

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    This Day Couldn't Get Any Worse

    Imagine one of those days. Nothing goes right. You know the ones I mean. Like when you spill coffee on your shirt on your way to an important interview. Write a scene where one incident after another builds into a perfectly horrible day. But here's the kicker. Write it with humor.

    Monday, March 06, 2006

    Bubbles, Butterflies and Falling Leaves

    What do bubbles, butterflies and falling leaves have in common? They gently ride air currents. Watching them initiates a calming, and more peaceful mindset. Choose a character mindset below:

    worried or anxious

    Now position this person in a place where bubbles, butterflies or falling leaves catch their attention. What happens?

    Sunday, March 05, 2006


    Place your character in a cemetery standing before a worn gravestone. What does it say? Use the inscription to create a flashback to the real story of the person buried there.

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Waiting for the Call

    Write a scene with a single character waiting for a call. Let us see the anticipation. Will they experience butterflies and sweaty palms, or does dread stir nausea, dry lips and a pale pallor?

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    White Roses

    The lights dimmed and with the hoist of the curtain a sparsely furnished stage blurred as Angela focused on the vase of white roses on the small table at the back of center stage. She’d ordered white roses. Did they actually get them? Could this be her ticket back stage?

    What led to this moment?


    Who does she hope to meet backstage…and does she meet them?

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Creaky Floorboards

    Twilight scattered charcoal clouds scuttling along the horizon. The old house took on a surreal quality as shadow swallowed the diminishing sunlight. Floorboards overhead creak. Your character thought they were alone? Who or what could be upstairs?

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Dreaded Bug

    Showing fear in our writing can be a challenge. Choose your least favorite insect and write a scene where you come in contact with the varmit. Write it from the bug's POV.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2006


    The doctor asks her patient to cough.

    You hear a cough from another room.

    The man in the park takes a drag on his cigarette and coughs.

    Coughs tells a story. Write yours.

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Where Are You?

    Describe what's around you. Furnishings or landscape, smells and sounds. Provide a sense of space. Are you crowded by stacks of paper or sitting on a park bench beneath a magestic canopy of oaks.

    Sunday, February 26, 2006


    Sunburn tells a story. Does it ruin a vacation, or prove your character went on vacation to a sunny place? Did your character in fact get it on a vacation get away or standing on the beach for a wedding? Use sunburn to introduce your character and tell the story of how they gained their telltale sunburn.

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    A Visit with the Dabbling Mum

    Today is my son's wedding, so I'm scurrying about like a mad woman. Instead of a writer's prompt, today I'm taking the opportunity to share a mini interview with Alyice Edrich, a successful writer and stay at home mom. I've received her newsletter for years and wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of her expertise with my readers.

    Donna: What amount do you think is realistic for a first year income of a stay at home mom initiating a freelance writer/editing business?

    Alyice: That truly depends on the mom’s “get up and go.” It’s really hard juggling mom duties with working out of the home. There isn’t a boss keeping you on your toes and most deadlines are self-perceived deadlines or deadlines given to the writer from a client that he/she usually never sees.

    If mom has never been published before, she’ll need to learn the ropes of the industry and fine-tune her writing skills. If the mom has been published in the past, and knows the industry ropes, she’ll have an easier time jumping in and making an immediate dent in her annual goal.

    I have a colleague, Shirley Jump, who wrote for both business clients and magazines. Today she is an award-winning romance author. When I first began my writing career, I told her how frustrated I was with the way magazines work: query, wait forever to get a response, get rejected, send out another query, finally get an acceptance, wait weeks (sometimes months) to get your piece published, and only then do you receive a check from that publication. I knew there had to be another way and I was determined to find it. She told me to join the local chamber of commerce, introduce myself, and start working on business materials. She said, “businesses are my bread and butter money.” What wonderful advice for anyone starting out as a freelance writer.

    She gave me a wonderful article to share with women starting their freelance careers. It’s a blueprint to help women earn $1,000 per month from their writing. You can read it

    You don’t have to stick to writing magazine articles or articles for trade publications. There are so many ways you can use your writing talents.

    Donna: Do you schedule your work time/family time?

    Alyice: I am a big “scheduler” but over the years I have learned to tone down quit a bit. Sometimes, things that are scheduled get cancelled and if you schedule too many things you can feel so overwhelmed with your “to do list” that nothing gets accomplished.

    On my desk, I have a large calendar. When open flat, it shows me a week at a glance, with each date having time slots from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. I use this calendar for both my business and home life. I schedule in doctor’s appointments, school functions, business meetings, business deadlines, personal deadlines, and I even pencil in “wish I could do” things like attending the theatre (penciling those in allows me to erase if I can’t afford them or something else comes up).

    When my children were younger, I worked around them. As they got older, I could tell them, “this is mommy’s work time” and ask that they play quietly until I was done or watch a video in their bedrooms. Now that my children are both of school age, I try to do my work when they’re at school. Sometimes, I can’t complete everything so I’ll work when they get home from school, too. (Which is more than I care to like since I am a bit of a work-a-holic.)

    Donna: How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing?

    Alyice: I am terrible about measuring the effectiveness of my marketing tactics, and even worse at measuring the effectiveness of any ads I place.

    Some businesses use special extensions on their phone numbers, special toll free numbers, special post office boxes, or special landing pages to measure the success of specific marketing and advertising tactics.

    When working with online media, you can measure the effectiveness through your stats counter. The key is to get a stats counter that counts more than the last 100 entries (which most free stats counters do).

    A good article to read on this topic is:

    Making Marketing Measure Up

    You can visit Alyice Edrich at Dabbling Mum Press ( to order a work-at-home e-book, or visit her online publication for BUSY parents at Dabbling Mum (

    Catch up with Alyice by making another stop on her blog tour… here

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    Garage Sale Treasure

    Bring your character to a garage sale where they find a special item. Why is it special? Do they share the fact with the person selling it, or try to hurry up and buy it before the seller changes their mind? Write this scene from the first person POV. Convey the emotions your character feels and include at least one other sense.

    Thursday, February 23, 2006

    Here Comes The Bride

    The big moment, the organ plays and the entire congregation turns to watcth the bride head down the aise. Write a scene depicting events leading up to this moment.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2006


    Inviting a stranger into the home is uncomfortable, but the babysitter in your story was recommended by the grocery clerk. Write a scene from: (choose one)

  • the mother's POV as she opens the door and sees the babysitter
  • the father's POV as the babysitter steps into the kitchen
  • the child's POV when they first lay eyes on the babysitter
  • the babysitter's POV when meeting any of the above

    Write the piece in first person and me sure to include sensory information. What dose the character see, smell, taste, and hear?
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    The Toy Room

    Growing up, my cousins had one room for all their toys. At first I thought it was a great idea, because it contained the picking up process. However, we were not allowed to step foot over the threshold with a toy in hand. I felt sorry for the toys.

    Write a scene from a toy's POV, either from your childhood or the toy room above.

    Monday, February 20, 2006


    People love pets or find them distasteful. A few even walk the fence of Pets are okay as long as they stay outside mindset. Write a scene involving two characters--one that loves animals and one that thinks they are okay as long as they are served in hot grilled portions. For fun, add a pet or two.

    Sunday, February 19, 2006

    Cleaning the Garage

    Place your protagonist in a garage full of junk. He/she has just purchased a new car and has resovlved to get it into the garage. What happens? Do they get lost on memory lane as they come across old momentos, or do they get fed up and toss everything to the curb?

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    Long Time No See

    Write a scene depicting a reunion between two people that haven't seen each other for at least 25 years.

    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Broken Tooth

    Your character has an important meeting planned. Business, romantic or something other--it doesn't matter. Right now, they're in a hurry, stop for a quick bite to eat and break a tooth.

    Write a scene showing the preparation for the appointment, the broken tooth details and how or if the meeting takes place.

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Story Starter

    Start a story with this sentence:

    The full moon spread cascading shadows across the newly fallen snow like a patchwork quilt.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006


    Body language says a lot. How do people know if someone is flirting? Paint a scene where two characters interact. Show flirting (either blatant or innocent), and the response. Does it lead your character to a romantic encounter, or an emotional tangle that holds them in a black-widow type web?

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006


    Write a scene where athletes participate in a contest or game. Choose one player and show his sportsmanship qualities, good or bad.

    Monday, February 13, 2006


    Create a character living a mundane life, but doesn't realize it. In fact they live day to day satisfied with their rut, until a friend dares them to do something. The acceptance of this dare will change the rest of their life.

    Choose one or create your own:

  • accepts a blind date
  • goes to a spa for a week
  • attends a Star Trek convention dressed as a Klingon
  • Saturday, February 11, 2006

    The Road

    Roads and streets are part of every world. Set a scene along an unpaved road. Show the time of year without telling the season. Incorporate smells and sounds to create a vivid image of the era.

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    Creative Excuses

    Your character is expected to attend: (choose one)

  • a wedding
  • party for work
  • Dinner at the neighbor's
  • or the event of your choise

    Write a scene showing your character creatively trying to get out of the above obligation.