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 (http://thedabblingmumpress.com to order a work-at-home e-book, or visit her online publication for BUSY parents at Dabbling Mum (http://thedabblingmum.com/busness/index.htm).

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.
  • Thursday, February 09, 2006

    Stranger than Fiction

    I'm a fan of Sci-fi and Fantasy. Did you ever wonder where writers come up with ideas for their mythical creatures. How do they make them believable? Take details from one or more of the following sea creatures and put them together to make your own. I'd love to see what you come up with on this one. Don't bother with extensive research. Grab interesting facts and use them. For example, the smooth dogfish can change color.

  • Sea urchin
  • Octopus
  • Eel
  • Smooth dogfish
  • Spiny dogfish
  • Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    You Smell Smoke

    The smell of smoke can trigger good thoughts. The aroma of pine burning in a fireplace after Christmas or around a campfire. But, if you're in your home and the odor of an electrical fire permeates the house and panic shoots through your limbs it's a different story. You run to warn others that fire is a real threat. Write a scene based on the smell of smoke. Is the smell of smoke a good thing or a scary thing. Show the reader what to feel.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Important Phone Call

    The scene opens with a phone ringing. Your character doesn't quite get to the phone before the answering machine kicks on. An unfamiliar voice announces exciting news.

    What happens next? Do they grab the phone and talk before the machine clicks off? Do they miss the call? Can't quite understand the phone number on the tape? What else could possibly happen?

    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Dream Comes True

    Your character wakes from a dream (good or bad), and the following day sees it unfold in reality. Do they try to change the outcome? Can they change the outcome? Or, does trying to change it actually fulfill the prophetic dream?

    Saturday, February 04, 2006

    Sounds of Winter

    I grew up in the Midwest, north of the windy city. Winter winds howled and snow crunched under my feet. Snow plows blades scraped to the pavement trying to keep up with what Mother Nature decided to deliver. Today I'm in Florida. Winter sounds mean crowded restaurants (as the snowbirds flock for their annual escape), children playing basketball in the park and voices calling to each other over the surf.

    Write a scene that includes at least one sound showing the time of year is winter.

    Friday, February 03, 2006

    Wet Dog

    Write a scene from a wet dog's point of view. What the dog's doing, where it's headed, and what it's thinking are up to you. Have fun with it.

    Thursday, February 02, 2006

    Benchmark Birthday

    My sister turned 50 years old yesterday, and her friends at work decorated her cube with all kinds of "over the hill" memorabilia. Birthdays can be special, depressing, or something to be ignored. Write a benchmark birthday scene, showing how your character feels as they go through their special day.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006


    Write a scene showing the weather. Choose one of the following:

  • picnic
  • football game
  • walk in the woods
  • driving down a country road