Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eating Habits


When you don't know what to write, a prompt can get your started. Today's writing prompt takes essay form, but it can be used to give one of your character's a quirk. And no excuses! This is a prompt everyone can write.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt - Eating Habits
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you can write an essay. Today's prompt deals with eating patterns. Are you someone who mixes food on their plate or one who doesn't want anything to touch? Do you eat one thing at a time, or a little bit of everything throughout the meal? Do you rinse your plate before adding something taking a helping of something different? Do you eat your favorite food first, last or with everything else? Do you eat every crumb or throw food away when you're satisfied? Do you eat big helpings or small amounts and many snacks?

As you write this from a personal perspective, it gives the passions behind why you do what you do. Take that passion and give a fictional character eating habits. This is the type of detail that offers realistic quirks that make our characters identifiable.

Write one to three paragraphs about your eating habits--not just what you do, but why you do it. I challenge you to include either the sense of smell or hearing These are the types of details used to give a fictional characters a quirk that makes them stand out amid a sea of characters.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Feeling of Sentence Structure


At times writers use shorter sentences to build tension, and other times longer languid prose provide a relaxed look around at details. Today's prompt is going to use both.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt
Chose one of the following actions and write a short paragraph that shows tension while the action takes place and write a second paragraph using the same action but portraying it in a languid almost distracted way.


  • answering the phone
  • car approaching
  • making dinner
This prompt practices the use of sentence structure to add to the "feel" of your story.

* * *
Watch for author Donna's Sundblad inspiration fantasy due to be released in time for Christmas.

Written within the allegorical tradition of classics like Pilgrim's Progress, The Inheritance offers a literal but symbolic story for today's fantasy enthusiasts. You'll laugh, experience dangers and snares and witness a budding romance. This cleverly devised tale doesn't tell you what to think, but stimulates thought as to why you believe what you believe in your own quest for the Eternal City. The Inheritance is an ideal discussion starter for youth groups, homeschoolers, and families who enjoy meaningful discussions.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Face of a Stranger


Today's is a photo prompt I call "Face of a Stranger," but by the time you're done, she won't be a stranger anymore.










Pumping Your Muse Prompt
For today's writing prompt, place this woman pictured in one of the following scenarios:
  • Sitting on a park bench watching two lovers walk by hand in hand
  • Riding the bus, clutching a bag of groceries.
  • Watching children ice skate on a frozen pond.
* * *
For more writing prompts, jump start your imagination with Donna's unique book for writers. Pumping Your Muse gets you writing andt helps you learn how to develop and improve your scenes.



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seeing the Future


In a bit of back-and-forth conversation with one of my online friends, the mention of seeing into the future came up. I thought it would make the perfect element of change for this writing prompt. Have fun!

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

For this prompt, choose an existing scene you've written. If you don't have one, borrow one from a story you've read. We're going to add one new element that will change everything. You're viewpoint character has somehow seen into the future. Perhaps in a dream, or a vision reflected on the water's surface. How he or she sees into the future is up to you, what I want see is the difference it makes in the scene. Now they know something that hasn't happened yet. How does it change their actions? And does it change the outcome or is the future set in stone?

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For more writing prompts, jump start your imagination with Pumping Your Muse. It gets you writing andt helps you learn how to develop and improve your scenes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Three Words Prompt

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

Today's prompt challenges you to use these three words in a scene or short story.

*goatee
*cell phone
*headlights

This prompt is a great opportunity to learn how to show a snapshot in time. What do the headlights show in an instant? Use it to pull readers into the scene.

* * *
For more writing prompts, check out Pumping Your Muse. This book not only jump starts your imagination and gets you writing, it helps you learn how to develop and improve your scenes.

Friday, September 17, 2010

First Sentence Story Starter

Today's prompt features an elderly couple, in my mind. I hope you enjoy this one.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt
Use the following sentence to start a short story.

Gertie cradled Herbert's hand in hers and stared the the age spots on the back of her hand.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Transition Writing Prompt

Learning to transition from one scene to another takes practice. You don't want to leave your writers feeling like they've missed something. The transition that carries the reader into your story is just as important. It must gently guide the reader into the world and lives of your characters and at the same time hook them.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt
Today's prompt will create a gentle transition with the wind as your tool. The wind itself is unseen, but what it does to the world can be seen and used to introduce your world. For example:

A balmy gust brushed the grass in waves. Dandelions growing between the cracks of a brick walkway bowed their yellow heads, except for one that had gone to seed. White fluffy seeds caught a ride on a dirt devil. They flew high toward the bright sky and glided freely over the park. Over the couple huddled in secrecy on the park bench.

Use one of the following items with the wind to transition into a fresh scene:

  • Dried leaves
  • Sand
  • Dandelions
  • Butterfly
  • Bird

If you think of your own, that's great. Just add wind, mix...and write!

* * *
Watch for author Donna's Sundblad inspirational fantasy due to be released in time for Christmas.

Written within the allegorical tradition of classics like Pilgrim's Progress, The Inheritanceoffers a literal but symbolic story for today's fantasy enthusiasts. You'll laugh, experience dangers and snares and witness a budding romance. This cleverly devised tale doesn't tell you what to think, but stimulates thought as to why you believe what you believe in your own quest for the Eternal City. The Inheritance is an ideal discussion starter for youth groups, homeschoolers, and families who enjoy meaningful discussions.



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Map Story Starter

Today's writing prompt will start out with dialog. Create a conversation between two characters starting with...

"Cap'n, we found this map on them."

Within the scene, add one sound and one odor or aroma.

Have fun!

* * *
Watch for author Donna's Sundblad inspiration fantasy due to be released in time for Christmas.

Written within the allegorical tradition of classics like Pilgrim's Progress, The Inheritance offers a literal but symbolic story for today's fantasy enthusiasts. You'll laugh, experience dangers and snares and witness a budding romance. This cleverly devised tale doesn't tell you what to think, but stimulates thought as to why you believe what you believe in your own quest for the Eternal City. The Inheritance is an ideal discussion starter for youth groups, homeschoolers, and families who enjoy meaningful discussions.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stray Dog


Situations come into life unplanned and how we deal with them is a story. I sat at a garage sale today and a stray dog wandered into our midst. His golden coat was dingy and dirty. He'd been around for three days. Someone probably dumped him hoping he'd find a home.

The grandkids begged to keep it, and with each potential shopper the dog's ears perked up as if to ask, "Are you my new family." Each individual reacted differently.

For your prompt today, write three short paragraphs telling the story of three different people and how they reacted this this two-year-old yellow lab.

Include the sense of smell or hearing in each paragraph.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Fall: A Screenshot in Time


Our life experiences color our writing. When we've experienced something, it is easier to provide realistic detail to our writing. Today's prompt is going to draw from one such experience.

Think about the last time your fell. As an adult, we don't fall often. I remember one time when I still worked a 9 to 5 and went to collect the mail for my department. Back then I wore heels and a business suit with a skirt.

My arms full of mail, I walked toward my cubicle to sort and distribute. Along with loose envelopes, I juggled a couple of boxes. With the mound clutched in my arms, I didn't see a misplaced wastebasket in the middle of the aisle. My shin rammed into the metal edge of the wastebasket. The pain shocked me. Boxes tumbled through the air, mail burst like fireworks and scattered, and my mind told me I was going down. I slammed into the floor, clasping the remaining envelopes to my chest. People rushed to my side. "Are you okay?"

I shot to my hands and knees and collected the mail. "Good thing I had my arms full, or I would have tried to catch myself and probably broke my wrists!"

* * *

You see how this could be developed into a story? I've fallen twice since then over the following 20 years. I remember the experiences clearly. It's amazing what details run through your head while it is happening. It's kind of like taking a screenshot in time.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

Think of a time when you fell. It can be anytime in life. Did you ever fall while riding your bike? Climbing a tree? On the ice? Did a fall ever leave you embarrassed? Get you dirty? Hurt?

Write a scene that uses details from your experience. This can be a true slice-of-life vignette, or a fictional piece.

Donna Sundblad
Author of Pumping Your Muse

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Check out my latest interview at Stories That Read You.
And my 4 star review for Beyond the Fifth Gate at Teens Read Too!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Haircut


Everyday life generates story ideas if you keep your eyes open to notice them. One of the first writers' prompts I ever had published was about shopping for ideas. I especially do this when on a day trip or vacation. I walk into stores actually looking for story ideas. I keep these ideas in a file. Some are never used, but often when I need to come up with a story all I have to do is go to the idea folder.

With that in mind, I have to tell you the inspiration behind today's prompt. My son-in-law cuts his own hair. He wears it very short. Yesterday he stood in front of the bathroom mirror cutting his hair and grooming his beard while he talked with his wife. It's a process. He changed the attachment for his beard, noticed a spot he missed near his temple....talking...cutting...attachment changed...on...off. He slid the trimmer up the front side of his head to his temple. No attachment! Zip! Down to the skin. Right at the front of his head. Kind of like those horrible pictures of when kids cut their own hair.

My daughter saw coming, but it happened so fast all she could do was laugh once it happened. What else could she do? My son-in-law stared at his handiwork and joined her. What else could he do? My daughter came up with an idea to temporarily "fix" the oops. For now my son-in-law looks like a jar head. Luckily his hair grows very fast.

Anyhow, this slice of life experience made me think of other hair cut stories. Like the time my girlfriend's little girls cut each other's hair the day before they were supposed to be flower girls. Use one of the following prompts to write a short story (fictional or non-fiction) or at least a a couple of paragraphs to get you writing.

Pumping Your Muse Prompt

  • First haircut
  • Cutting your own hair
  • Paying big money for a new hair style
  • Cutting your child's hair
  • Cutting your spouse's hair
  • Secretly cutting someone's hair

  • * * *
    Check out Donna Sundblad's latest interview at Authors Unleashed

    Buy Donna Sundblad's books:
    Windwalker
    Beyond the Fifth Gate
    Pumping Your Muse

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

    I normally don't post writing markets here but save those for my Anthology News and Reviews Blog. But I know many of my readers have drafts of novels tucked away in a drawer and this is your chance to do something with them! Here's a message from Amazon:

    Hello from Amazon.com,

    We’re writing to tell you about a great opportunity from Amazon for your work.

    The third annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award has begun! The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award offers authors of unpublished or self-published English-language novels a chance to win one of two $15,000 publishing contracts with Penguin USA, and distribution of their novel on Amazon.com. For the first time, Amazon.com customers will vote for two grand prize winners: one for general fiction and one for the best young adult novel. The 2010 competition will now be open to novels that have been previously self-published. Submissions will be accepted from writers around the world through Feb. 7, 2010, or until 5,000 entries have been received in each category. The two grand prize winners will each receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $15,000 advance. Find out more at www.amazon.com/abna!

    We hope you find this information beneficial. If you need help with Author Central, you can contact us any time at:

    https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us

    The Author Central Team

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    Story Starter: First Sentence Snow Prompt


    We had a rare snowfall in north Georgia today. Schools closed at 11:30 and not a snowflake had fallen. In the afternoon, the snow started. I went out for my afternoon walk and the flurries started and before I'd walked two miles the flurries transformed to heavy, wet flakes. I felt like I was in a snow globe. It was one of those magical times. I watched snowflakes hit the street and melt, while others gathered in a film across the grass. That experience inspired today's prompt.

    Pumping Your Muse Prompt
    Write a scene or short story starting with this sentence:

    Heavy white snowflakes dropped to the ground like silent bombs trying to destroy my plans.

    * * *
    Check out my latest radio interview: Back Story -The Behind the Scenes Look at Writing

    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    Photo Prompt


    Today's prompt was inspired as I wrote the post for Pumping Your Muse Fantasy Writer blog about creating a fantasy setting.

    Pumping Your Muse Prompt
    Write a scene based on this photo. If you want more to think about, first, visit the fantasy blog.

    Place a one character or more here and answer at least two of these questions:


    1. Where are they going?
    2. What do they feel?
    3. What do they smell?
    4. What do they hear?
    5. What's different from the world in which we live?
    * * *
    Check out Donna Sundblad's interview at Authors Unleashed

    Buy Donna Sundblad's books:
    Windwalker
    Beyond the Fifth Gate
    Pumping Your Muse