Writing Prompts-And other inspirations

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Do you ever get stuck? The ideas just aren’t flowing? Yeah, me, too. Sometimes I have to take a break from my current writing project and work on something new or fresh. But what if new and fresh just aren’t coming? There are a couple of things you can do, and one of my favorites are writing prompts.

You can find them just about anywhere. I love to do searches on Google for them. Writer’s Digest Magazine has weekly prompts that are fun to write about, just to give the brain something else to try. Often the prompt may be outside your genre, but a good story is always a good story. More often than not, the prompt is nothing more than a slight diversion. But every once in a while it might spawn an idea.

Another fun place to look for writing material is through contests that provide the prompt. Writer’s Weekly¬† has a quarterly short story contest. I’ve entered a few and haven’t won, but seriously that’s okay, because I’ve had two great book ideas come out of them. One of my losing stories sparked an idea for a series.

Have you tried morning pages? (Or pages for whatever time you sit down to write.) The idea behind this is to write about whatever is on your mind. It doesn’t matter. It can be why you didn’t get the dishwasher loaded last night, or the crazy neighbor who grills steak every week when you’re on that blasted vegetarian summer diet. The important thing is to do it in long hand. Yes, that means with paper and pen. I love to write in colored pen. I feel like it unleashes my creativity.

Sometimes I’ll peruse book titles and think about what that story might be like and how I would write it if it was mine. Or I’ll come up with my own book titles. Sometimes I like the way the words of a title flow, like “Code Talker’s Daughter” and wonder who the characters are and what they are like.

How do you come up with ideas?

 

Show, Don’t Tell

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How do you get your reader emotionally invested in your character? While it’s simple to rattle off phrases like, “show, don’t tell,” it’s not always that easy to apply. One of the things I used to love to do with my high school English classes is to ask them to identify emotions, feelings or states of being. We make a list on the board. I’ll pick a couple of their ideas on the board and have them think about what a person might do that shows the feeling/emotion/state of being. Sometimes I am met with blank stares. So I’ll start with an easy one, like “cold.”

Telling: It was cold.
Showing: Carla pulled the collar of her jacket tighter around her neck. The huff of her breath formed clouds of steam when she exhaled. She stepped out onto the sidewalk, the snow crunching under her feet.

Telling: Jake felt frustrated.
Showing: Jake slammed his locker closed, the sound reverberating down the hall. He ran a hand through his hair and leaned against the wall. His breath came in short rasps as he pinched his lips together.

Telling: She felt like crying.
Showing: Tara’s lip trembled. Fighting a losing battle with her tears, they rimmed her eyes. One sneaky little drop deserted ranks and ran down her cheek. With a quick swipe of her hand she annihilated the betrayer.

Yes, I make them use a thesaurus! Another activity I use that helps them to show is to model a common activity and then have them write down exactly what they saw. I walk across the room and sit in my chair.
Invariably they write: Mrs. Love walked across the room and sat in her chair.
I let a couple of them read them out loud. BORING! Then I have them pull out their thesaurus and we make a list of all the different ways to say “walk.” We usually end up with a list of 20-30 words. We do the same thing with the word sat. I tell them to get creative with their words.

It’s fun when I get sentences like this:
Mrs Love sauntered across the room and perched in her chair.
Mrs Love strolled across the room and flopped in her chair.

Then I ask them to show anger, or tired, or happy.
Mrs Love stomped across the room and threw herself into her chair.
Mrs. Love dragged herself across the room and sagged into her chair.
Mrs. Love skipped across the room and flung herself into her chair.

Show, Don’t Tell! That easy…

How do you get in touch with your characters feelings/emotions/states of being?

The Princess Festival–It’s here and you don’t want to miss it!

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You want to go

Seriously, YOU. REALLY WANT TO GO!!!!

Five plays, each with a message of light, hope, and the truth of what being a true princess is what it’s all about.

It’s about character, about responsibility.

It’s about making right choices.

Princesses and their story characters sign autographs, take pictures with your Kings and Queens in making.

Sprinkled in with all that awesomeness–Face painting, arts and crafts, free gifts,

and a fun Princess store

AND

It’s about time¬†young girls and yes even their brothers learn about what it means to be a true princess in these days of mixed message with the media industry.

Three more days is all you get and then you’ll have to wait until next year.

I have tickets at a discount price. Message me at my email address

betsylove.ccc@gmail.com

And I’ll make sure to get you and your little princess (or prince) have an amazing time.

To learn more follow this link.