Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Writing Topic Tuesday – The Random Words and Subjects from My Bookshelf Edition

I’m sort of stuck for a theme today, so I just went with looking around my bookshelves to find a few topics that might inspire some writing.
  • Chaos Theory
  • Dungeons & Dragons
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Ideas That Stick (a book about creative uses for Post-It notes)
  • Boomerang Nation
  • Generation X
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • The End of the World
  • Mythical Creatures
  • WordPress
  • Coaching 6-and-Under Soccer
  • 3 Minutes or Less

Friday, August 26, 2011

Provocative Phrase Friday – You must understand evil. +11 Other Writing Prompts

Provocative Phrases for Friday, August 26, 2011:
Batman kicking ass
Courtesy of Richard Herbert via Flickr
  • You must understand evil.
  • It's really best to…
  • Is it them for you.
  • What's a parent to believe?
  • Isn't technology great?
  • I won the lottery.
  • Where are all the rest?
  • As one, dad.
  • It's a sign from God…
  • I told you…
  • I won't do anything…
  • I stared at him.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing Topic Tuesday – Back to School Edition

That time of year is upon us here in the United States again:  When yellow school buses roam the streets, the school supply sales are over, and the kids are all decked out in clean, pressed new school clothes and tucked away in classrooms from 8am to 3pm. So today’s topic is back to school.
  • First day of school
  • Last day of school
  • Describe the first school you attended
  • Your favorite teacher
  • Your least favorite teacher
  • The playground
  • School lunch
  • Your best friend
  • First day of high school
  • Junior High or Middle School
  • Getting sent to the office
  • school busses
    Courtesy of Rupert Ganzer via Flickr
  • The school bully

Friday, August 19, 2011

Provocative Phrase Friday – What I learned about him +11 Other Writing Prompts

Who wants to live forever?
Courtesy Andrew Whyte via Flickr
Sorry that this is so late in the day, but better late than never.

Provocative Phrases for Friday, August 19, 2011:
  • What I learned about him…
  • Everyone is on the take…
  • Were we wrong to buy it?
  • I was sure if…
  • I live alone in my bed…
  • Do you dare…
  • She's fierce.
  • Say again?
  • My morning with…
  • When I learned about…
  • It was like a…
  • It's time you…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Writing Topic Tuesday – The Working Stiff Edition

Getting laid off from my job last week has made me think a lot about work and the nature of it. The world demands that we trade our most precious asset, time, for money. And what we do with that time at our job often defines us and molds us. So this week’s topics are all about the life of the working stiff.
  • Workaholic
  • Blue collar
  • White collar
  • Your first job
  • The lessons you’ve learned on the job that you could not have learned anywhere else.
  • Retirement
  • Getting fired
  • Getting laid-off, downsized, right-sized… you get the picture
  • The worst boss you ever had
  • The best boss you ever had
  • Working lunch
  • The Protagonist
    Courtesy of Erin Nekervis
  • Cubicle

Friday, August 12, 2011

Provocative Phrase Friday – What's the Catch? +11 Other Writing Prompts

Provocative Phrases for Friday, August 12, 2011:
Courtesy of Kerry Lannert via Flickr
  • It was a set up…
  • He works alone.
  • And the winner is…
  • I stink!
  • Do I laugh or cry?
  • So who's your boyfriend?
  • It's alive.
  • What's the catch?
  • It's in the mail…
  • Remind me again why I married you?
  • Seems wrong somehow
  • He never ever forgets…

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Writing Topic Tuesday – The Dream Edition

Dreams are a powerful aspect of our creative selves and worth exploring.
Day 196 - Help
Courtesy of Christopher Verdier
  • What do you remember about your dreams each night?  Do you dream in color?  Do you remember feelings or sensations? Can you read in your dreams?
  • What are some of the common themes in your dreams? Do you have flying dreams? Dreams of being chased? Showing up naked at your high school?
  • Describe the worst nightmare you have ever had.
  • Can you control your dreams?  If so, how do you do it?
  • Have you ever had an important message sent to you via a dream? Or predicted something that came true?
  • Describe one of your favorite dreams.
  • Have you ever written a story inspired from a dream?
  • Create a dream sequence for one of your characters in a story.
  • What strange objects, people or places show up in your dreams again and again?
  • Many musicians use the word “dreams” in song and album titles. (For example: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, Dream On by Aerosmith and, of course, Dream Weaver by Gary Wright) What songs do you associate with dreams?  Why do you think there is such a popular connection between dreams and music?
  • Keep a dream log for a couple of days and then use a dream dictionary, such as the one on Dream Moods and use it to interpret your dreams.
  • Write the word “Dream” at the center of a blank page of paper and then create a Mind Map surrounding it. For details on creating a Mind Map, go to http://www.mind-mapping.co.uk/make-mind-map.htm

How to Write a Book in Three Days

Michael Moorcock, legendary fantasy writer, came up with a formula to write a book in three days, and this article at Wet Asphalt.com provides some of the details. Check it out right now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Notebook collection
Courtesy of Dvortygirl via Flickr
What does this tell you about writing? Regardless of how you feel about the writing process, whether it is art and should not be subjected to a rigid formula, or it is a carefully scripted process, this article states something important.

Preparation is the key. There needs to be organization in order for creativity to flourish. And if you are having trouble getting started, why not try a formula?

There is this myth that you can create fully formed original stories using some sort of mythical creative power. The truth: There are no new stories just creative twists on the old ones, and hopefully creative enough to keep things interesting.

Here are some of Moorcock's tips that I like:
  • Create a hero that a reader can relate with, and have them drawn into a conflict unwillingly because something happens that makes the conflict personal.
  • The hero needs an object of some sort in order to resolve the conflict, but many parties are also trying to get that object. Competing parties creates conflict for the hero. This desired object gives the hero a goal, and if you add a critical time limit for achieving that goal, it creates pressure to keep the story moving forward.
  • Take a total word count, in this case 60,000 words, and divide it into sections, such as four sections of 15,000 words each. Establish a general goal for each 15,000 word section then divide each section into six chapters. Then make sure that each chapter has action that moves your hero toward reaching his immediate goal.
  • Moorcock also generated a list of images, in his case fantastic images, that he could slide into the story when needed in order to create an obstacle, or to establish the atmosphere of the story. He often took an ordinary object he saw in the room and gave it a creative twist to create a desired effect in the story.
Sometimes seeing how something is done is just as helpful as doing it. It is OK to know exactly what you want to have happen next. It’s OK to know how everything ends. Having a plan gets you moving and helps you see where to go next when you get stuck. Having a plan doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. You can change it as you write the story to react to creative impulses or what makes more sense to you during the writing process. A plan is a guideline, not something that is written in stone.

Do you have a formula for writing? How does it work for you? Do you find yourself always sticking to the plan? Or does it change as you write? Comment below. Let’s discuss.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Provocative Phrase Friday – My mom's in there! +11 Other Writing Prompts

Courtesy of Pete Ashton via Flickr
Provocative Phrases for Friday August 5, 2011:
  • My mom's in there!
  • Each time I try…
  • You watch the clock…
  • If you wait…
  • I don't know how many…
  • He has built…
  • I'd be dead.
  • How can I eliminate…
  • Today I meet a man who…
  • He wouldn't talk to me…
  • Where was he from?
  •  I can't get up.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Writing Topic Tuesday – The Change is Inevitable Edition

Mark Twain once said that “The only person that likes change is a wet baby.”

the Book of Changes
Courtesy of Nikki L via Flickr
And I have dramatic changes coming up in my life.  So this week’s Writing Topic Tuesday is all about change.

  • How do you feel about change? Are you very resistant to it? Or find yourself embracing it?
  • What are some of your routines that bring you comfort?  What are the routines that seem to be engrained in you?
  • Do you have any bad habits?  What have you done to try to bring about change to break them?
  • What are some of your favorite family traditions? How did they come about and become traditions?
  • “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”  -- Leo Tolstoy What do you think about this quote?
  • What does it mean to “change a person?” Is this truly possible? Or is this a commonly held fallacy about human behavior?
  • Write about a period in your life that was filled with changes for the good. Even if you didn’t know it at the time.
  • Write about a period in your life that was filled with bad or challenging changes.  What happened? How did it change you?
  • If you could go back in time 10 or 20 years, what would be the one thing that you would change?
  • If you could meet yourself from 20, 10 or even 5 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?
  • If you could change the world in one little way forever, what would you do?
  • One of the expressions often associated with change is to “shake things up.”  Is this a good description of what change is like?