December Writing Challenge: Prompt #4

Have you been writing every single day? Even if just for a few minutes? I hope you’re all discovering that the December Writing Challenge is more doable than you anticipated. I realize it can be difficult to work a bit of writing time into your schedule when life gets busy, but when you can pull it off, the feeling of accomplishment should more than balance out your efforts. If you’ve been missing days here and there, don’t feel bad. Just re-commit to hitting your writing goals. Each day is a new start.

That said, I offer up another writing prompt for anyone who is in need of a little inspiration or something new to distract them from a misbehaving WIP or a wave of writer’s block. Imagine your most disastrous holiday experience. Were you stuck somewhere in an airport, unable to get home? Did a new holiday cook forget the giblet bag in the turkey before popping it into the oven? Was the entire family feuding about something or other? Doesn’t matter what holiday it was, just whichever one goes down in your personal history as the worst, most ridiculous, least enjoyable… your pick. Now write about it, either autobiographically or in a fictional setting. Can you make it poignant? Laugh-out-loud funny? Uncomfortably familiar for your potential readers? Milk that life experience for all it’s worth.

Happy writing!

December Writing Challenge: Post #3

It’s December 17th and we’re just past the halfway mark for the month, and so also with the Writing Challenge. How are you all doing? Is holiday shopping trying to distract you? Have you found yourself mindlessly humming along to carols instead of getting your writing time in? Don’t despair. I’m here with another prompt that will, I hope, inspire you to get back to work.

It’s hard the miss the recent popularity of mashup novels. Books like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, for instance. These books take a common practice to the next level, which is to combine two existing stories, themes, or ideas — preferably popular ones — in order to create something a little bit different.

So, for prompt #3, try coming up with a mashup of your own. It need not be something you intend to write all the way through — though it’s great if you do. Just brainstorm a bunch of twists on some of your favorite stories. A steampunk version of PERSUASION? LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIES OF… PLUTO? (Yes, I realize they’d be fields of ice or something similar, but you see where I’m going.) Either add a major change to a favorite book, or take two very different ideas and see how they might work together. Then write a page or two to see where it goes. Have fun!

December Writing Challenge: Prompt #2

We’re just about a third through the month of December already. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m am scrambling to get things done before I leave town to visit my family for the holidays. However, there are things that I have put high on my list of priorities, including a few manuscript reads for clients, seeing friends before I go on vacation, and making sure I keep everyone revved up for my Writing Challenge this month.

So, without further ado, I offer up this photo for a bit of inspiration. Where could this be? What happened to this wall, and who is responsible? Was it meant to be artistic, or is it the result of some mysterious event? Let your imaginations roam and see what you come up with.



If you happen to write and post something as a result of this prompt, please feel free to return and link in the comments. Happy writing!

Friday Links

Happy Friday! It’s also Day 7 of my December Writing Challenge, for those of you following along. If you somehow missed the first few days, don’t panic. There’s no minimum word count for the month, so just start writing today and commit to write daily through until the 31st. You can do it!

Be sure to check back and see my week #1 Writing Prompt if you’re looking for a little nudge in your writing. I’ll have another one up in a few days. If you’re looking for additional inspiration, try Sunday Scribblings. They have a nice backlog of prompts up that you can try, and a new one each week around Friday/Saturday. The idea is to use the prompt to write something quickly (or the start of something) for Sunday. Nice way to shake your brain loose and knock out some words.

More links follow below. I hope they keep you engaged and entertained. Happy weekend, and happy writing!

The Bookstore Strikes Back – A wonderful article by Ann Patchett on how she came to help open and run a bookstore in Nashville.

Ironing Out the Wrinkles – The Complexities of Madeleine L’Engle – A review of Leonard Marcus’s new biography of the author.

Gift Ideas for Teens – A nice wrap up of some unusual titles by Colleen Mondor for Bookslut. (And quite a few of these books would be great for grown up readers, too.)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Coming to the BBC – The BBC is adapting the book for TV; we can only hope that it will hit PBS here in the U.S. soon after it airs in the UK.

December Writing Challenge: Prompt #1

I’ve set you the challenge to write every day throughout the month of December (with two flexible days off if you need them), so I thought I’d help you along by throwing out the occasional prompt or exercise. I realize not everyone is in the middle of a major writing project, or even if you are, sometimes you need to take a break to work through some difficult scene or plot point. So these little prompts will be here to give you a change of pace.

My goal is to offer up prompts and exercises that you can work on as a stand-alone scene to hone some aspect of your writing skills, that might prompt an idea for a short story, or that could even be worked into an existing WIP. Use them however you like. But if you do happen to write a one-off scene or something similar that you plan to share online, please feel free to link back here in comments. I’d love to see what people come up with. Happy writing!

Prompt 1: Write a scene in which two characters are arguing, but stay in only one of their points of view, using either first or third person. Include the POV character’s thoughts during the argument. Then rewrite the exact same scene from the other character’s POV. See what aspects of the scene remain the same (dialogue, for instance) and what changes. Focus on how each character’s perception of the argument alters the thrust of the scene as a whole. What message does each version send the reader?