Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from my book 1200 Creative Writing Prompts. Enjoy!
My mom always says, “Don’t ever discuss politics and religion in mixed company.”
She has a point: these are taboo subjects that can destroy friendships, rip families apart, and even divide an entire nation.
But politics and religion are important elements of any culture. So I don’t completely agree with my mom’s advice. Sure, it’s bad form to talk about these subjects in certain situations, but I believe that we should explore and share our political and religious views to the extent that we’re comfortable doing so, and we should try to be more open-minded, tolerant, and understanding of viewpoints that differ from our own. Read more
We writers can’t be inspired every day.
Sometimes we get burned out. Other times, we have ideas, but they just don’t seem appealing at the moment when we sit down to write. Sometimes we need to take a break from a writing project and spend a little time on shorter projects, which can recharge our creativity. Other times, we’re just stuck in a writing slump.
That’s when keeping a little stockpile of writing ideas and inspiration is a good idea. Read more
Today’s fiction writing exercises are designed to help fiction writers gain a better understanding of their characters, including antagonists, by learning how to relate to contradictory or opposing viewpoints.
Remember, an antagonist is not necessarily a villain. An antagonist is anyone whose purpose is at odds with the protagonist’s goals.
The most effective characters are unique and complex, not cardboard cutouts of ourselves. That means we have to get into the heads of people who are strikingly different from us.
These fiction writing exercises will help you do just that. The idea is to try and view the world from a perspective that is completely different from your own. Read more
Believe it or not, the words further and farther have different meanings, although people tend to use them interchangeably.
And it’s no surprise, because these two words look alike, sound alike, and the difference in meaning is subtle. Plus there are a few circumstances when they are legitimately interchangeable.
Let’s solve the further vs. farther mystery once and for all. Read more
Today’s post is an excerpt from What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing, chapter seven: “Action and Dialogue.” Enjoy!
Action and dialogue are the wheels that carry a story forward. The easiest way to imagine action and dialogue in written narrative is to think of a movie. When characters onscreen do things, that’s action. When they talk, that’s dialogue. Most of a story’s momentum is contained in action and dialogue.
You may have heard the old writing adage, “show, don’t tell.” It’s one of those sayings that becomes blatantly obvious once you get it. Readers want to see what’s happening. Characters walk and talk. They kick and punch and scratch. They cry and laugh, run and hide. They do things and say things. That’s how story happens: through action and dialogue. Read more
Have you ever sat down to start a new writing project and then realized an hour later you were still sitting there, staring idly at the blank page?
Sometimes writing inspiration doesn’t come easy.
In a writer’s ideal world, the blank page is something we always look forward to, a fresh canvas we can color with ideas and texture with language. When our muse is dancing around, we feel motivated and inspired, so the blank page feels like the start of an exciting adventure.
But if our mind isn’t in the right place, if our muse is on vacation, that same page is nothing but a source of frustration. Read more
We tend to look at successful people and believe they made it overnight, and that’s not limited to how we see authors. We see wildly successful people enjoying the fruits of their labor, but what we don’t see is the labor itself — the struggles and failures they endured to get to where they are now. Read more
The first time someone told me, “show, don’t tell,” I had no idea what they were talking about. Show what? Isn’t writing, by its very nature, telling?
I was a young writer and didn’t yet understand the many elements of good writing. But I kept hearing that advice over and over: show, don’t tell.
Then, one day, it clicked. I got it. To tell was to write a synopsis. To show was to write a scene, to take readers through the events with action, dialogue, and detail. Show, don’t tell. Of course. It was so obvious.
Now every time I read that advice, I have to smile. Read more
Poets have a unique relationship with language. For a poet, language is more than a tool for communication; it’s a set of paints and paintbrushes that can be used to create scenes and images that resonate with readers.
A poet must then foster a loving relationship with language, learning its secrets, understanding its idiosyncrasies, and mastering its structure, then bending it to the poet’s will.
Today’s poetry prompts pay credence to language and encourage a more thorough mastery of grammar, sentence structure, and all things wordy. Read more