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 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

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    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,

    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 For the first time, 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!

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

    The Author Central Team

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    Story Starter: First Sentence Snow Writing Prompt

    I often find writing prompts when outdoors. That's where I found today's prompt as we experienced a rare snowfall in north Georgia. Schools closed at 11:30 and not a snowflake had fallen. In the afternoon, I went out for my afternoon walk and tiny light flurries started to fall and before I'd walked two miles the flurries transformed to heavy, wet flakes falling lazily to blanket the ground. As they hit the street, they melted, but snow quickly painted a light fluffy film across the grass. I felt like I was in a snow globe. It was one of those magical times. Things even sounded different, quieter. But unexpected snow also throws a wrench in the everyday comings and goings in the south. That thought inspired today's writing prompt.

    Pumping Your Muse Writing 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.

    Photo credit:  pexels

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    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?
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    Check out Donna Sundblad's interview at Authors Unleashed

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