Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Frost


We had our first frost last night. How things change in a day! I brought in plants, and to my surprise a little bird had taken shelter in one of them. A surprise and adventure ensued as I worked to get the bird out of the house.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

We've talked about foreshadowing recently, and this is another exercise that incorporates nature as an agent of change that foreshadows things to come. For example, your piece doesn't have to be the actual frost...it can be about a bird flying around your house. Here are some ideas to get your muse peculating:



*Elderly person rubs arthritic hands expecting a long winter
*Individual who busies themselves covering garden plants to protect them a little longer
*A child wonders at the white coating covering the grass on the way to school
*Character mentally compares frost on the ground to manna in the Bible (never know where this one will take you!)

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Story Starter--Black Cat


Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

Today's prompt is a story starter in keeping with the theme of superstitions or Halloween. Write a short story that starts with or includes this paragraph:

The overcast day chased me under the throw on the sofa where I sat with my laptop and a hot mug of coffee. I settled in; the heat from the laptop warming my legs. A blur of movement drew my attention to the sheers at the deck doors. A black cat peered into the house with darting golden eyes. I stopped and stared. A black cat...

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dysfunctional Family Holidays - Photo Prompt


Most people tend to think they come from a dysfunctional family. With this in mind, writing a holiday story that involves family tradition and all the ins and outs that make for "interesting" relationships can be anything from serious to inspirational.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

Submitting holiday stories should be done months in advance, but now is a great time to write one with a market in mind. As the holidays near, memories will surface. Be sure to jot them down. For today, your writing can be fiction or non-fiction. Base it on this photo, and be sure to include that dysfunctional element.

Chicken Soup for Soul is looking for Christmas and Holidays stories for their next holiday book. Currently, there is no deadline date for story submissions.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Flip Side Scene - Take Two


Those of you who own my creative writing book Pumping Your Muse may remember the flip side exercise that generated a new female character. That character grew to become the protagonist in my novel Beyond the Fifth Gate. Look what the latest review says about her:

Beyond the Fifth Gate has a strong female main character who reminded me of Xena without the long hair or possibly Seven-of-Nine without the spandex. Elita starts off a little weak in her fighting skills (but realistically, how hard would it be to practice when you live in a hive and are guarded day and night by big bugs?) but her first mystical gate provides two teachers who not only give her a crash course, but join her on her quest to freedom. There are plenty of plot twists along the way and the ending is a real shocker which truly caught me off guard just when I thought I had it all figured out.


You can read the entire review at Queen of Convolution.

Review written by:
Caprice Hokstad
Author of the fantasy novel, The Duke's Handmaid, and its sequel, Nor Iron Bars a Cage.
Website: www.Latoph.com

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

With this review in mind, take an existing scene and practice the flip side exercise by changing at least three details. For more information look at our last exercise Flip Side Scene. If you haven't written your flip side scene do it! You'll be more than pleased at what you learn and who you meet.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Flip Side Scene


I want to take a moment to thank everyone for letting me know how much they enjoy the prompts here at Pumping Your Muse Prompts. You just make my day!

With that said, let's get writing. Take a look out your window. What do you see?

Outside my window, the wet deck planks shine under the overcast sky.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

For today's prompt we're going to write a flip side scene. For those of you who own my writing book, you'll know what this means. For those who don't: Write a short scene incorporating the weather outside your window. Then rewrite it flipping at least three details. For example, I'd look out the window in my flip side realm and see dull deck planks bleached by the harsh sun. Creating a world in the flip side gives birth to new ideas. Give it a try! You'll soon realize you're not in Kansas anymore.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sense of the Unknown


I posted a two part article on Five Senses in Your Writing over at Pumping your Muse Fantasy Writer. Can you name them?

  • sight
  • smell
  • touch
  • hearing
That's the top four, but todays prompt will center on the fifth: the sense of the unknown. A creative element that keeps the pages turning in a good book.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

Write a a slice of live scene. It's a normal every day kind of scene and then something happens that changes that...something that creates a sense of the unknown. Use one of the following agents of change to usher in the circumstances that raise questions and change life with an element of uncertainty.

*Out hiking and realize you don't know where you are
*The phone rings
*Laid off from work
*The power goes out
*A doctor's visit

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Melting a Hardened Heart


Continuing on the agent of change theme, today's prompt will melt a hard heart. Not an easy task in many cases. You can pick the hardened heart from the following list or one of your own:

*Divorced woman who caught her husband cheating repeatedly
*A young man who grew up in an abusive home
*Ex-con who was innocent but paid his time
*Person living in poverty without hope

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

Now you have an idea of the heart you're going to be dealing with in this scene. The truth is, that each of these people want to hope, want to dream, and want to be part of a relationship. Bring in an agent of change that starts to melt that heart and renew the hope that once burned there.

Ideas for Agent's of Change:

*a pet
*an abandoned baby
*a child in the park offering a hand-picked wild-flower
*a stranger who treats them kindly with no strings attached

Be sure to include elements of tension and internal conflict within your protagonist and then bring it to resolution.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Agent of Change


A good story introduces an agent of change. An element that stirs the plot, touches the characters and creates a question of what will happen in the readers mind.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

For today's exercise write a short scene of 4-5 paragraphs and add one of the following as an agent of change:

*bird
*speeding car
*an unexpected letter
*words
*a chance meeting
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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hungry

Hunger...how do we know you're character is hungry? If you say, "Joe was hungry", you get the point across in a passive way. Writers should work to rid their work of passive telling language and today's prompt will work on showing the hunger. in an active way that pulls the reader into your story.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

Write a scene with a character who is hungry. Include the senses of smell, taste and one other...sight, sound or the unknown.

For example:

Sounds: stomach growling, food sizzling, people talking about food

Taste: taste of food while cooking

Smells: turkey roasting, cookies baking, gilling burgers

Sight: stopping at the bakery window, pies cooling

Unknown: Dieter heading into an unknown scenario, when will they get their next meal

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Foreshadowing


Today's prompt will work to develop foreshadowing through the use of a sunrise or sunset. By their nature these acts of nature represent a beginning or an end, but by showing them, a writer can create an element of foreshadowing. For example, if the sun rises brightening fog that lays like a shroud over a tiny village, it creates an eerie sense that something could go wrong in that tiny village.

Today's Pumping Your Muse Prompt

Write a scene that incorporates a sunrise or sunset and an element of foreshadowing of things to come.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Capturing the Essence of a Short Story


Coming up with new ideas to write about shouldn't be a problem, but in the real world can cause a writer fits. I'm working on stories for a pet anthology and while I'm an animal lover, condensing details into one short story can be a challenge. All kinds of animals have touched my life, but how do I capture their story? For today's prompt we'll learn to capture the essence of a story.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

Answer these questions to form a skeleton for your story.

  1. In a few words, name the one event on which you’ll base your short story.
  1. Determine the ending of the story. Once you know where you're headed the story is easier to write.
  1. Work back from the end. What helped you determine this end? What was the Ah-ha moment?
  1. What dark moment made the event stand out? This can be adventure, decision, death, or something of that nature.
  1. What essential information do you need to convey to the reader about your everyday life before the dark moment occurred?
Number 5 is your story’s beginning, numbers 4 and 3 will comprise the middle, and number 2 is the end.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Buried Alive with a Twist


We've all read or seen those horror scenes when someone is buried alive. Think of the terror, the helplessness...and then the hero. We certainly can't leave our character in that situation, though we can use all that conflict and suspense to build the story.

Today's Pumping Your Muse Prompt:

First, make a list of emotions and physical symptoms brought about by being buried alive.

For today's prompt I want you to take those same feelings and symptoms evoked by the thought of being buried alive and carry them into an urban scene, to a character who is buried in circumstances that are overwhelming. They're so stressed they can hardly breathe. Here are a few ideas to get your scene up and running:

*buried in work
*buried in bills
*buried in responsibilities of motherhood, wife and caregiver to elderly parents
*buried in depression
*and if you want to actually bury someone for real: buried in rubble from a natural disaster

Once you've found your idea, think of a way out. Create a hero.

Now write the first draft of your short story!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Photo Prompt - Graveyard


I chose this photo as a prompt because it holds possibilities for just about every kind of writer. Notice some of the details.

Pumping Your Muse Writing Prompt:

Who is in that building in the background and how does what happens in the graveyard affect them?

Does the full moon affect what happens in the story?

If you're standing in the graveyard, what do you hear? Smell? Feel? Be sure to include these details in your writing to bring it to life and make it real to the reader.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's a High Pop Up


The creative process is fun. Your muse plays with "what ifs" and allows you to live the same moment in time with different results. Eventually, you determine the scenario that works for your story. Today's prompt is going to replay that moment in time so you can discover those different results. As an avid Cub fan, needless to say I'm disappointed that they are out of the running again this year, but I could write a great fantasy about how they won after 100 years!

Today's Pumping Your Muse Writer Prompt:

To tie in with the time of year, let's set today's prompt in the playoffs. It's your's choice which teams are pitted against each other. You can even choose to make it the little league playoffs. It is your story after all. The focal point of the scene is this: The announcer's voice says, "It's a high pop up..." What happens next is up to you times three. Write the same short scene three times with a different result based on that high pop up.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Photo Writing Prompt - Forced Entry


With my mystery writer readers, crime writers and the like, today's prompt is a change up from what I usually post. Write 500-1000 words based on this photo.

Today's Pumping Your Muse Prompt is titled forced entry. If you're not in the mood to write a crime thriller, switch it up. How could you make this a funny story? For example, could this be the result of a woman with a full bladder who is locked out of her house?

The story is up to you. Have fun and let me know what direction your story took.

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If you enjoy prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. The prompts included in this creative writing book challenge the imagination to take new direction and if followed to the conclusion of the book, provide a detailed outline along with completed scenes and developed characters for one novel, as well as a solid start for a second novel.