Tuesday, January 31, 2006

First Impression

Write a scene leading the reader to develop a first impression of a character. Close the scene with a twist that shows how wrong first impressions can be.

Monday, January 30, 2006

It Gives Me the Creeps

Write a scene that takes the reader by the hand into a setting that "gives you the creeps." If you feel stumped, use one of the ideas below:

  • You saw a cockroach, but it scurried into your bedroom before you could kill it.
  • You're home alone and heard an unusual sound outside the house.
  • You've taken a wrong turn and find yourself in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
  • Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Aches and Pains

    A person with back problems moves differently than an athlete in peak condition. When a person subs their toe, the pain may or may not go away. If it doesn't, they will hobble until the toe heals. Write a scene showing aches or pains. Don't just tell about it. Let the reader feel it.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Ethnic Look

    Red hair, freckles, green eyes, fair skin.... When you hear this description what ethnic background comes to mind? Create a character's outward appearance. Place them in a scene with surroundings that correspond to their heritage.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Games People Play

    Growing up in the 50's people sat around the table playing games for entertainment. My dad's side of the family played penny poker, while mom's family played pinochle. Grandpa took bidding seriously and expected his partner to count meld; Grandma liked to chat.

    Paint a scene showing a game in progress that takes interaction, complete with dialog. Let us feel the emotion involved.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    The "Odd Couple" Approach

    The "Odd Couple" movie and television show were popular. They portrayed two extremes. An compulsive neatnick and a slob who didn't notice the rotting banana under the dirty clothes in his bedroom.

    Write a scene with two characters with opposite personalities. It doesn't have to be clean verses messy. It could be anything. Energetic/lazy, big eater/picky eater, bold/fearful...you pick them. Here's the key; be sure to show it.

    Monday, January 23, 2006


    People run for exercise, children run for fun, people run in fear. Write a scene with a running character. Show the reason they are running.

    Sunday, January 22, 2006


    This past week, I went to visit my daughter's family in another state. The anticipation of seeing my grandkids and spending time with all of them gave me something to look forward to. As the day to leave drew near, excitement mounted. When writing, we don't want to use phrases like "excitement mounted" because it is a "telling" statement. Instead, we want to show the emotion.

    For today's writing prompt, write a scene involving a character excited about something. Let us feel the emotion build.

    Saturday, January 21, 2006


    As humans, we all make mistakes. We gain wisdom and learn not to repeat them, but sometimes mistakes work out to our advantage. Write about a mistake that turns out to be a blessing.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    House Hunting

    I just returned from house hunting in Georgia as we prepare to leave Southwest Florida and move to higher ground where hurricanes will not threaten us with such turbulent summers. As I walked in these different homes, I realized what a ripe assortment of details sits at our fingertips in magazines, model homes and houses for sale. For today, take a peek into an existing home and write a description that "shows" the reader what you see.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    A Weather Event

    I grew up in Illinois where blizzards, tornadoes and rain storms could be counted among weather events. Since I've been in Florida, I experienced the reality of hurricane Charley. No matter where your story takes place, weather of some sort will be there.

    Write a scene describing the weather event of your choice.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    What Was I Doing?

    Most of us have experienced lapses in memory. We walk into a room and pause to recall why it is we stepped foot into the room in the first place. A certain amount of forgetfulness is normal, but how do you know when it crosses the line? Write a scene that shows a character struggling with memory loss and the affect it has on the people around them.

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    Pets See It Differently

    Write a scene from a pet's POV. It doesn't matter what the pet is--dog, cat, bird, snake or other reptile. Pick an animal and write a scene from their POV.

    Saturday, January 14, 2006


    Routine is part of everyday life. Write a short scene describing a routine in your life. What do you do in the morning? How about when you walk in the door from work? What do you do to relax? Giving your characters routine, makes them real and gives you something from which to veer when your plot takes them in a new direction.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    First Job

    A first job is a pretty big deal for most. Money to buy what you want! And then the reality sets in. Responsibility, schedules, expenses...write a scene about your first job.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Emotional Evidence

    Writers are continually reminded to show and not tell. For today's prompt write a scene that shows a depressed character. Remember to include the senses.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    The Accident

    As a fairly young bride, I was in a car wreck. It wasn't my fault, but I feared my husband would be upset that I'd smashed up the car. He shook his head and said, "That's why they call it an accident. It's not an on purpose."

    For today's prompt write a scene including an accident that's planned.

    Sunday, January 08, 2006


    We've all been there, trying to keep our distance from the stinky breath of the person talking to us--or worse kissing us. Write a scene that shows the effects of your main character's halitosis on the world around him/her.

    Saturday, January 07, 2006


    Write a scene involving a boyfriend that talks his date into going to a playoff game. She doesn't really have an interest, but goes because it means so much to him. They arrive, find their seats, and he runs off to get some refreshments. While he's gone the seats around theirs fill in and an ex-boyfriend takes the seat beside her.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Short and Sweet

    Write a complete story in 100 words. Yes, a complete story. That means a beginning, middle and end.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Write a Query

    Have some ideas for articles or a story? Sit down and gather your thoughts into a query letter and send it off to possible markets. When you hear back and they want to see the piece, you'll be motivated to see it through to completion.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Hints that Show

    Today, I sit home with the start of a head cold. I felt it coming on last night. This morning I considered the hints that warned me of the coming inconvenience. In the back of my sinuses, a familiar burning I've come to recognize over the years warned me that by morning light I'd feel less than ideal. Before bed, I experienced aches in my legs brought on by a low grade fever. I tossed and turned, fought chills and sweats and sure enough crawled out of bed feeling rather poorly.

    Give a character a cold, flu or some other ailment, but don't tell how they feel, show it coming on. Give details making it real to the reader.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Test the Nose

    Have you ever played the game where someone blindfolds you, waves something under your nose, and you guess what it is without seeing it. Scents trigger emotional responses. Today, I smelled the scent of freshly turned earth and it brought memories of my dad tilling the garden.

    Choose one of these scents and incorporate it in a scene:

    bread baking
    stinky socks
    wet dog
    hospital room

    Tie the scent with a memory or emotion.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Eye on the Birdie

    As I went for a walk this afternoon (yes, I live in Florida), birds of all kinds called to each other. Suddenly a flock of doves took flight. Imagine yourself walking through the woods when a flock startles you. What frightened them? Are you in danger? Where do you go from here?

    Have fun, and let your imagination take flight along with the birds.

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    New Year, New Perspective

    Write a short first person scene about a character bringing in the New Year. Once you've completed the scene, write it from another perspective. It can be third person from the point of view of another character, a narrator, a pet or even an inanimate object in the room.

    Once you've done that, consider what the new perspective taught you.