Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Impressions

First impressions of people aren't always on target, but what about first impressions of inanimate objects? Today's writing prompt will include such a first impression.

Wondering what on earth I'm talking about? Here's one example:

When we moved into our house the white porcelain sink brought back memories of childhood. Even though it was a double sink, unlike the sink I remembered, I thought it was perfect.

Then everyday reality set in. Pots and pans left gray streaks that needed regular cleaning with lots of scrubbing, coffee stained the sink, and the the middle section that divided the two sinks combined with the curve of the faucet made it difficult to rinse the coffee carafe. I after about the third clink of glass to porcelain I started to question the functionality of this sink.

I could go on, but you see what I'm getting at.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

For today's prompt include an inanimate object the character thinks is perfect at the onset. Develop a scene or short story about a first impression and how that impression changes through circumstances.

If you don't have something in mind, choose one of the following:

*Dress for a special occasion
*A new or used car
*Television
*Bowling Ball
*Shoes
*Lawn Mower

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Use This Sentence Prompt


Today's prompt is a take off of the first sentence writing prompt, only this time you can use the sentence anywhere in your story.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

I stood stunned; the body of our guide in a pool of blood in the secret room.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's Not Funny


Today's prompt is an exercise in creating tension and building conflict through an unlikely agent: laughing.

Have you ever laughed because you were nervous or scared...or just at an inappropriate time? I remember collecting frogs for my biology teacher for extra credit. A friend and I waded around in the muck and I decided to climb into a tree to see if I could spot any frogs from the air. I pointed here and there while my friend sloshed around...and then it happened. She lost her balance and landed in that slimy water! What did I do? I laughed. The more I laughed the angrier my friend became. "It's not funny!" She screamed it, but the more she said it, the more I laughed, even though my brain told me she was right. It wasn't funny.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

For today's prompt create a scene involving two to three main characters. One of those characters will laugh at an inappropriate time that causes others to react in a way that raises conflict and tension. If you feel a little stuck, here are a few scenario suggestions to pump your muse:

*Giving birth
*Attending church
*On the job
*Run out of gas
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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Finding a Treasure

If you're like me, you've got plenty of stories you've started and never finished. Sometimes you can tell they just arent' going anywhere, other times, you know it needs polishing, but then you forget about it. For today's prompt, I want you to pull out one of these old, unfinished stories and dust it off.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt


Before you start to tread through your story, take a blank piece of paper and draw lines to create three columns. Title the columns:

*Strengths
*Weaknesses
*Ideas

At the bottom of the page, write "What I liked" and "What I didn't like."

Choose one of your unfinished stories and read through it. Make notes on your worksheet as you do, noting the strengths/weaknesses and any ideas or thoughts that are inspired by the story. Often pulling out a previously written story after a long rest can be a real eye opener. You'll be able to view it with a fresh perspective.

Once you've read it, take a look at your notes and apply your new ideas to strengthen the weaknesses and add meat to the story. If there is anything you didn't like about the story, now is the time to fix it. When you're done, you may have found a real treasure by dusting off a relic found in your files.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Interview Your Character


Writing is a process and character development is part of that process. It is so much easier to know what your character will do when you understand them. One way to know your character, even a new or complex character, is to interview them.

Questions to include should be about their backgrounds, interests and other things than give them history.



Pumping Your Muse Prompt

Choose one of your characters and interview them. Ask the following questions or others to get the information you want to know.

1. Where were you born?
2. Who are your parents?
3. Are you close to your mom or dad?
4. Do you have any sisters or brothers?
5. What level have you completed in school?
6. Do you have a trade?
7. What do you do for a living?
8. What's your favorite food?
9. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
10. What would you like to accomplish in life?
11. Who is your best friend?
12. What is your favorite mode of travel?
13. What bothers you most?
14. Do you play a musical instrument?
15. Do you have a love interest?
16. What do you do to relax?
17. What do you read most often?
18. Do you have a secret?
19. If you could change something about your life, what would it be?
20. (Choose your own question(s)...I'm sure what you've learned has generated one or two.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Watch What You Wish For


I remember a moment in time when my pre-teen daughter said, "If I could only get braces, I'll never want another thing in my life."

I said, "I wish I had a recorder."

Man by our very nature never seems never to have enough, as our current economy testifies. For today's prompt, the theme will center on a wish come true...but let's add a twist. The reality wished for is not what the wisher intended.


Pumping Your Muse Prompts

Choose one of the following wishes to use as a springboard for your story:

*I wish I had a husband just like...
*I wish I could be as thin as...
*I wish she loved me like I love her.
*I wish I could get that car, then the girls...
*I wish Sci-fi was real
*I wish I could get pregnant

I'd love to hear what you do with this one! Have fun!

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Check out my latest interview at Stories That Read You.
And my 4 star review at Teens Read Too!