Showing posts with label creative writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label creative writing. Show all posts

Tips for Writing Creatively


 by Deborah Lyn Stanley

We write blog posts, fiction, memoir and non-fiction pieces; But at the core, we are telling stories full of descriptive prose, narration, action and challenges.

Last time we talked about analyzing our writing. It’s healthy to analyze our plan, our goals, and to decide what’s working and what’s not. What if we have forgotten the reader here and there? Let’s backtrack to discover the root cause. Does the delivery have rhythm and flow? Areas of too much information? Is the language active with lively nouns and verbs? When reviewing these questions as we read our plan and the draft, some needed improvements may standout.

So, what is the best way to start an article, blog post, short story, or book? We need to focus on the heart of the article or story. Does it open with a promise of what is coming, a connection to the deeper story, an underlying cause? It’s probably a good idea to write that first chapter or opening sentence, remembering this is a draft, and we may need to change or rewrite the opening at some point. Once we are further along in writing the piece, we’ll likely know more thoroughly what we want to say—when we know the characters and flow of the story better. And how it should end.

Story structure is also called narrative structure, the flow of events as beginning, middle and end. Being acquainted with various structures can help and resolve the reader’s questions. Helping to connect the events of the piece with the significant points.

Most commonly, though, we talk about narrative in terms of Point of View (POV) such as:
1) First Person Point of View—The “I” telling.
First Person narration is the most personal. The reader feels they are hearing the story directly, as if the character is actually talking to them—like having a conversation with a friend. The reader may know a character by the way she/he describes her/his world. And thus gives the character voice.

2) Third Person Point of View—The “he or she” telling.
There are two types of third person POV: limited and omniscient.
It’s not speaking directly to the reader, but consider these options:
Limited viewpoint is specific to a character’s perspective, thoughts and experiences. But you can’t show what that character doesn’t experience or have knowledge about.
Omniscient viewpoint is not restrictive. The perspective can float from place to place, from one character’s thoughts to another character’s thoughts.

3) Multiple Points of View—Switching characters from one point of view to another at the end of a scene, section or chapter. In this way, you can show a situation from different perspectives, show your main character from the inside and out, or even when he/she wasn’t there. It allows you to choose to tell a scene along the most interesting path.

Keep Your Writing Practice 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available: on Amazon
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories



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Creative Writing Tips: The Importance of Story

 

Creative Writing Tips: The Importance of Story by Deborah Lyn Stanley
We often read blogs and books to assist our endeavors in the craft of writing. Many are written with tips and guides to approach: plot, character, setting and structure. We may write blog posts, fiction, memoir or non-fiction pieces. But we all are telling stories as we use descriptive prose, narration, action and challenges to overcome.

Dinty W. Moore, author of The Story Cure, has an intriguing approach. We may be planning scenes for a book or articles for a magazine series. Whatever we plan may be helped by Mr. Moore as he breaks down “just what the Book Doctor orders”.

Mr. Moore frequently uses metaphors to make his points and engage the reader. It’s not “pain-free” but, even-though writing is painstaking, it should not be painful. Don’t let negative thoughts and doubts overcome the thrill of creative discovery!

As we travel along, read and listen to this intriguing method, whether we are in the midst of a project or at the start, it’s healthy to analyze our plan, our goals, and decide what’s working and what’s not.

Explore the Heart Story you are writing. What’s first in importance for the flow of humanity that runs underneath it? Identify the primal concern or desire in your book, story, or post and focus on the heart of it. This is so much more than diving into “theme” or “meaning”. There’s action and power with the heart to guide the story.
   
For example, Dinty Moore, points to David Copperfield by Charles Dickens’s. Throughout Copperfield’s adventures, setbacks, and unexpected events, we become aware of what he wants most. Copperfield wants an end to the abuse of weak and helpless orphans, debtors and the mentally ill by the wealthy and powerful.

Our goal is to engage readers, to write something of value, purpose and inspiration!
So we want to write vital posts, stories, books—ones the reader can enter, that incite a desire to see what happens next.

To that end, What does your character really want? What is his/her chief desire?
Once known, consider the emotions involved. What is it really about? Disappointments, fear of being left, safety, failure—go deeper.

Next, go through your piece making a list of the areas that are clearly connected to what your character really wants and strengthen others as needed.

                        Using Metaphors Adds Story to Articles, Posts & Interest to Narratives

Recommended links:
•    The Story Cure by Dinty W. Moore
A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir
https://www.amazon.com/Story-Cure-Doctors-Pain-Free-Finishing/dp/0399578803

•    What’s The Story by Melissa Donovan
The Storyteller’s Toolbox—Building Blocks for Fiction Writing
https://www.amazon.com/Building-Fiction-Writing-Storytellers-Toolbox/dp/0997671300/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1676233579&sr=1-1

 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories



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Book Review || Ready, Set, Write -- A Guide to Creative Writing

 
Ready, Set, Write—A Guide to Creative Writing by Melissa Donovan

Melissa Donovan’s informative instruction for writers is a consistent source of encouragement for a writer’s journey! Melissa’s Adventures in Writing Series, of which Ready, Set, Write is a part, is packed with helps, guidance and hands-on tips, coming from a lifelong writer and multi-published author.

I own and use several of her books for my writing journey. Ready, Set, Write has been quite timely, as I now have experience that enhances my understanding of each point presented. The book is designed with short chapters to be read one per day, or in quick succession.

This powerful book is 199 pages with 56 chapters. The Goal of the book is to equip aspiring and accomplished authors with the best understanding and skills for a fruitful writing practice.

I like to share my favorite parts when writing a book review. But, I enjoyed this entire book and found help and reminders at every turn. That said, my favorite section is Part II, where Melissa discusses specific types of creative writing we can explore, and discover what really resonates. Then on to expanding our choices, taking risks, and trying new forms of writing.

For me, I journal, blog, write stories and have published one book so far.

Enjoy the journey! Enlarge your choices and try new things.

I highly recommend this book. It’s refreshing, informative
and empowers the writers' journey.

Thank you, Melissa Donovan!

More about Melissa Donovan:
Blogging is one of my favorite writing passions, along with writing fiction and poetry.

I am the author of several books on the craft of writing, including Ready, Set Write, 101 Creative Writing Exercises, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts, and 10 Core Practices for Better Writing. I am currently working on the Writer’s Toolbox series, which includes What’s the Story? Building Blocks for Fiction Writing and Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises.      https://www.writingforward.com/books

Get to know Melissa and her work:
https://www.writingforward.com/

This Book Review was first seen on My Writers Life: https://deborahlynwriter.com/

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

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More Creative Writing Practice

 


 Whether we are preparing an essay, blog post, or story, we need idea sparks to motivate our writing practice.

Here are a few suggestions:
1.    Search your favorite subject or blog topic to spark ideas.
2.    A favorite holiday memory, including a favorite recipe or two
3.    Re-write a scene from a novel you’ve read
4.    Take a magazine or newspaper article you liked and re-write it as a short story or a poem.
5.    Check out Fred White’s “Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer’s Guide to Transforming Notions into Narratives.”
6.    Grab a Quote and use it for the first line of an essay.
7.    Create a new short story ending, use a story you like and make it different.
8.    As you drive around town on errands, your commute, or traveling, grab an unusual or common sight and give it a story. Create an article for its improvement.
9.    Use a subject word and make a word list to develop what it means to you. Then write a poem, a short story, or an essay relating your list. For example: I used the following list to develop a project about friendship:

a.    Finding Ruthie
b.    Friends
c.    Pals
d.    Companion
e.    Lots-in-common
f.    Walking-together
g.    Always there
h.    Camaraderie
i.    Close
j.    Buddy
k.    Chum
l.    Mate
m.    Comrade
n.    Partner
o.    Playmate
p.    Fun, play, dance
q.    Take-care
r.    Trust
s.    Love
t.    Joy & sadness
u.    Good times & bad
v.    Always sharing
w.    Together
x.    Support
y.    Encourage
z.    Dependable
aa.    Walking
bb.    Running
cc.    Keep friends & treat them right
 


Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres
Elizabeth presents creativity formulas for building original creative writing projects by layering seemingly random steps. Her Point of View (POV) discussion clicked for me. She likens POV to an artist’s perspective and purpose as the underlying structure for writing creatively. Here are the steps I traversed recently:
1.    To gain perspective, or viewpoint, I first described an acquaintance, as she or he—in third person.
2.    Then that person describes herself or himself.
3.    Thirdly, someone, maybe grandpa, who has passed on, describes the same person.

In analyzing the three views, I noted the different levels of information given about the person. Which view might lend itself with glimmers into the person’s life and motivation for story development? Hmm.

I continue to work through the book, making discoveries, and having fun learning layering methods for Creative Writing Ideas.

Write & Embrace the Process

Helpful links:

https://www.creativewritingcenter.com/about
https://www.amazon.com/Writing-Wave-Inspired-Aspiring-Writers  

 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

 

 


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Creative Writing Practice

 


 Creative Writing Practice by Deborah Lyn Stanley

At a loss for story ideas? How about randomness to boost you into new patterns of ideas?
1.    Open a book to any page, choose a word from the first sentence.
2.    Open another page in the same book and choose a word from that first sentence.
3.    Put your two words together — imagine a story or a poem.

Today, we’ll look at two creative writing strategies.
First:
Writeriffic II written by Eva Shaw

Following a class through www.ed2go.com, I purchased Writeriffic II to continue creative writing studies, increase my self-confidence, and to find my writer's voice.

It is a great little book full of gems and encouragements throughout Chapters 1-19. Then practice follows with creativity assignments in Chapters 20-54—assignments designed for fun, taking risks and writing creatively.
Via Assignment #21, I wrote a fun story choosing Cinderella and Robin Hood as my protagonist duo. I added 10 words found in the dictionary—words new to me, ones I don’t commonly use.
It’s fun—try it! 

https://evashaw.com/writeriffic-ii-creativity-training-for-writers/

Second:
Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres

Elizabeth presents her creativity formula for building original creative writing projects through fun steps to gather story ideas.

As you work through the book, as I am, you will become aware of various techniques to generate raw writing material in layers. You will use boxes, lists, circles, step by step.

Then focus on our viewpoint choice and use it to launch into character descriptions. Thus, we’ll have raw material with potential.

As we travel though the book, we identify the main idea and develop it in an organized fashion with structure in Part 2.

With our piece in progress, we move on to Part 3 and troubleshooting the issues that have come up in the usual course of a project. Polish the work by adding life and strength to our text and expressions.

Creative writing with Elizabeth Ayres is a different way of working to generate new material, whether it is articles, stories, essays or books. Elizabeth teaches a step by step; don’t skip ahead method. Sometimes her language and approach seem like a foreign language. Keep traveling, jump but keep going (as I do). There is something to learn that likely will equip for better writing and ideas.
https://www.creativewritingcenter.com/about

Good practice points for a satisfying writing life:
•   Don’t wait for inspiration. Do something you love, play, it will spark ideas.
•   Set aside your best time to write for 20-30 minutes, make it an appointment and keep it.
•   Let go of perfectionism! It defeats playfulness.
•   Change things up—write by hand, write on scraps of paper, be messy, break the rules, do whatever works to stay playful!
    Forget mistakes. You can fix them easy enough on the next draft.

Just Write!
Love the Process

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/

Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love is available:
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories




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Techniques for Cultivating Creative Writing Ideas by Deborah Lyn


Make cultivating ideas part of your writing process. Creative writing needs inspiration—motivation will follow quickly to get that personal essay, story, or novel written!

“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play.” And
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein.


Whether we write fiction or non-fiction stories, growing our list of project ideas is vital. As our list grows and our process expands, we’ll foster descriptive writing techniques. We will use sense words—sight, sound, smell, taste & touch to enhance our writing.

So let’s get playful!

The “What If” game is great for exploring ideas outside the box.
“What if I could…?”
“What if my hero…”
“What if I had made a different _______________ choice?
“What if someone found out…?”
Continue to ask “What Ifs” to use now or later for inspiration.

Be curious with “Why” questions:
“Why a story instead of a poem?”
“Why set it in the country rather than a metropolis?” Rural vs City dwellers
“Why not write from a different perspective.
•    How would my favorite author describe this?
•    How would a four or five-year-old describe this scene?
•    Describe a scene from a fast-moving train or flying in a single-engine plane, or better yet, a helicopter.

•    Use story structure basics, then branch out to make it original, even inventive: A character struggles to overcome a problem, and meets with eventual success.
    -Jane Austen used this format to create great original variations. She borrowed and created new.
    -Heidi is another example: orphaned children journey to find a home
    -It’s a Wonderful Life, classic Christmas movie
    -Cinderella: cruelly and unfairly treated, in the end she’s the heroine

•    Try using TV listings, or movie synopsis as prompts to stimulate ideas
•    Magazine and online images can be great writing prompts, for story or free writing
•    Folktales retold your way
•    Coming of age struggles, confusion, and solutions
•    Contemporary prince or princess in love with a commoner
•    A school for superheroes to rescue ______________
Keep building your ideas list.
It’ll be hard to keep-up with the rush of thoughts!

Good practice points for a satisfying writing life:
•    Don’t wait for inspiration. Do something you love, it will spark ideas.
•    Set aside your best time to write for 20-30 minutes, make it an appointment and keep it.
•    Let go of perfectionism! It defeats playfulness.
     -Change things up—write by hand, write on scraps of paper, be messy, break rules, whatever works to stay playful!
     -Forget mistakes. You can fix them easy enough on the next draft.

Just Write!
Try Stuff, First Get It Written, Revise the Next Draft


See post: WOTM: 9.17.2021 Read Well, Creative Writing Resources, by Deborah Lyn Stanley


Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   

Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love on Amazon



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Read Well, Creative Writing Resources


by Deborah Lyn Stanley


When we read well, we write well. I list a few good Creating Writing books below.
Standout subjects include; plot and story structure, developing creative ideas, the flow of narrative, dialogue, and character development.

1.    Ready, Set, Write: a Guide to Creative Writing by Melissa Donovan

2.    Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres

3.    Telling True Stories: Nonfiction Writer’s Guide–Multiple Contributors, edited by Mark Kramer, Wendy Call

4.    Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

      “Plot & Structure, Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish,” is 234 power packed pages in 14 chapters and 2 appendices.  

The introduction lays out a fine tuned strategy for learning to write fiction.
What it takes to Learn Plot: Become your own plotting coach. Get Motivated:
1.    Write a statement of purpose, one that gets you excited, and print it. Put it where you can see it every day. Come up with your own visual motivation. Inspirational words taped to your computer, or maybe a photo.
2.    Try Stuff—try out what you learn, see if you get it, try some more. Take time to digest and apply what you learn about plot & structure to your own writing.
3.    Stay loose—A tense brain freezes creativity. The guidelines in this book give you material to work with techniques that can help you.
4.    “First get it written, then get it right.”
5.    Set a quota—Writing is how we learn to write. Write daily – by a certain number of words or for a period of time.
6.    Don’t give up—the difference between a successful writer and an unsuccessful one is persistence. Keep writing.

The author: James Scott Bell developed the LOCK system, a simple set of foundational principles for the writers and his success:
L = Lead Character
O = Objective (A want, A desire, driving force - Will the lead realize her objective?)
C = Confrontation (obstacles in the way)
K = Knockout
The author’s intent is to share his writing gems to strengthen all writers for a lasting career of productivity and publication.

 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   
 

Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love
 https://books2read.com/b/valuestories

 

 

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Strategic Creative Writing Tips

 


by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Consistent writing hones our skills and expands our experience—the key to writing success.

Creative writing is beneficial to all writers.
•    Enhances imagination and creativity
•    Shapes thoughts to logically create the plot
•    Growth of confidence
•    Clarity and skillful communication
•    Creates a change of pace and stimulates fresh ideas

The best suggestion is using creative exercises to foster imaginative stories & ideas that relate to people.
•    Include dialogue between characters to express relationships.
•    Give attention to Point of View.
•    Similes build images by comparisons.
•    Use a short narrative anecdote to develop your characters.
•    Ask yourself “What If” questions.
Just get into the flow and write! Later—review, revise, and polish.

Story starters can help us get going. Check the internet for: 1) Creative Writing Now/story ideas and 2) Writing Forward  https://www.writingforward.com/writing-prompts .

Read well to write well. Sample a new author’s work, go beyond blogs and social media to classical literature—there’s a wealth of written works to learn from and enjoy. Some things that standout to me include: plot and story structure, the flow of narrative and dialogue, and character development.

Our discussion of Commonplace Books (post #1 & #2) could be very useful.
In the first post, I mentioned—the essential commonplace book (or journal notebook) is your personal place for useful and informative content.  Post #2: https://www.writersonthemove.com/search?q=Commonplace+books  

It’s your idea book—uniquely yours, a central storehouse of knowledge. It is a helpful resource to gather your notes of wisdom, impressive sayings, and practical applications. As you read, capture an idea by making notes, scribbles, or comments. Let your commonplace book become your treasure store of ideas and wisdom. Organize it as you wish: diagonal snippets, vertical standout points, doodles and diagrams.

Nurture creativity. Devote time to this grand adventure. Here are a few ways to foster creative writing skills:
1.    Spark it with art projects or art field trips,
2.    Schedule writing appointments with yourself,
3.    Use writing text prompts or magazine images,
4.    Listen to music, write the story that comes to mind

Understand & Strengthen Your Personal Creative Process


Helpful Books & Links:
What is Creative Writing?
https://www.writersonthemove.com/2021/07/what-is-creative-writing.html  

Ready, Set, Write: a Guide to Creative Writing by Melissa Donovan

Writing the Wave by Elizabeth Ayres

Telling True Stories: Nonfiction Writer’s Guide–Multiple Contributors, Edited by M.Kramer & W.Call
Telling-True-Stories-Nonfiction-Foundation
 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   

Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
"Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love"


 

 

 


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What Is Creative Writing?

 

by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Creative writing is any original writing that falls outside technical, journalistic or academic writing. But wait, there’s more.

Storytelling and fiction, screenwriting, songs, poetry, playwriting are considered creative writing. However, creative writing is not limited to fictional classifications. It also includes personal essays, memoirs, journals and diaries, letters and literary journalism—stories about the human experience.

Practicing creative writing is beneficial to all writers.
It helps:
•    Develop imagination and creativity
•    Organize thoughts, logically to create the plot
•    Grow confidence
•    Improves communication skills
•    Creates a change of pace and stimulates fresh ideas

So, how will we write more creatively? We grow with creative exercises that foster creative thinking & ideas. Make time for art and read well.

Art feeds our creativity—we cannot produce creative works unless we take them in. All forms of art are inspiring, so, make time for your artist’s dates. Films and books inspire story lines, and pictures or photographs can inspire a memory or story.

We must read well to write well. Try out new author’s works, go beyond blogs and social media to classical literature—there’s a wealth of written works to learn from and enjoy. I recently have found three new authors’ from the 1890s and early 1900s—my new favorites! Their well-developed stories, short or novel length, are entertaining. Gratefully, these stories are expanding my grasp of descriptive writing and character driven stories. Newspapers published serials of short stories in that day.

Nurture your creativity, take care of it, and devote time to this grand adventure. Here are a few ways to foster creative writing skills:
1.    Schedule creative writing sessions, choosing your topic ahead of time, then dive in for 20-40 minutes.
2.    Use writing prompts: one word or a theme sentence to boost your ideas and motivation.
3.    Use photographs to trigger the start of your piece. Is it a memory that promotes a story? Write it!
4.    Listen to music, get into your favorites, move and sing it out! Is it smooth and lovely, or wild and hopping fast? Write the memory or story you imagine.

Write a Page or more, Prepare an Outline or a List of Ideas—Just Get Going
Your creativity will flow.


Helpful Links:

Experiment with creative prompts.
https://www.tckpublishing.com/creative-writing-prompts/
https://www.tckpublishing.com/creative-writing-exercises/

Unusual Writing Activities That Will Boost Your Creativity by Melissa Donovan
https://www.writingforward.com/creative-writing/writing-activities 

 

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her My Writer’s Life website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/   

Visit her caregiver’s website: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love
https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Lyn-Stanley/
& https://books2read.com/b/valuestories



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Try This for A Creative Start to Your Day

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, it's good to start your day with a little creative writing practice.

It gets your juices flowing—so no matter what you spend time writing the rest of the day, the writing seems to come easier.

Plus, if you try this on a regular basis, you'll get better at writing dialogue, using sensory details, and creating dramatic tension in your work.

Here's what to do.

Get a new spiral notebook and use it just for your creative writing practice.

I say "practice" because most of what you write in this notebook won't be full-fledged stories, just snippets of stories.

Still, the longer you stick with this morning writing practice, the more creative you will get.

And, after a while, you'll find that you might be writing complete stories using the prompts.

If so, good for you.

But the main purpose of the prompts is just to give you some creative writing practice every day.

Here are some visual and written prompts to help you get started:
1. "Where are we going?" Evan asked his sister.
"You'll see," she said.

2. Nathan frowned. "You never told me you had a cat," he said to Martha. "I'm allergic to cats."
3. Logan had waited all day for Lacy to text him. But there was still nothing from her. What's going on with her, he wondered.
4. Maggie sat looking out at the water. Her dog, Max, sat next to her. Her boyfriend, Richard, had dumped her this morning when they met for breakfast.
"At least you'll never leave me," she said to Max.
5. Casey wanted to keep running forever. But she knew she'd eventually have to stop running and go back home and face everyone.


First thing every morning, choose one or more writing prompts and spend just 15-20 minutes writing in response to the prompt(s).

Make a commitment to do this for one week and see what happens.

Try it!

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 35 published books and a writing coach. Visit her website at www.writebythesea.com for more articles and resources about writing. And, for daily tips about writing, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at www.morningnudge.com.

You Know You're a Writer When . . .


Bloom where you're planted  Photo by Linda Wilson
You have a desire to express yourself. It won't go away. Pieces come out in your everyday life. At work. At home. With the people you know and love. With acquaintances and strangers, too. You might trek to the farthest reaches of the earth and sea. Start your own business, a new hobby; begin an exercise program, pick up a musical instrument. Go into politics or find volunteer opportunities. Yet you still want to do more. So, you sit down and write. You become a writer.

As busy as you are with your life, have you ever wondered where this desire to write comes from? You may be a physician/writer, a teacher/writer or a writer/writer. But deep down you know: Writing is your heart and you never want to stop.

The reasons one becomes a writer are as varied as life itself. Some of them are collected here, for you to ponder and perhaps to remind you of your own beginning, when you first noticed that pulse that beat so strong inside that it spilled onto the page and hasn't stopped. It's only grown. And you've grown, too.

You know you're a writer when you . . .

. . . Enjoy looking up words in the dictionary and thesaurus.
  • Speaking from personal experience, I like nothing better than to look up words. I am now in the market for an electronic dictionary/thesaurus. Any recommendations left as a comment would be appreciated.
. . . Are willing to forgo a social life, belonging to clubs, playing bridge, etc.
  • Years ago, I read an article where best-selling author Barbara Taylor Bradford (A Woman of Substance, and twenty-nine other books), was quoted as saying that you must choose between having a busy social life or becoming a serious author. In a recent article where Bradford offered writing tips she wrote: "First and foremost, you need to be serious about your desire to become a published author. It takes an extraordinary amount of time, effort and dedication to hone your skills and produce a work worthy of publication. But like anything else, if you possess the talent and the determination, you will likely succeed."
. . . Love the process without concerning yourself with the end result. Your mind is always working on an idea or problem for an article or story.
  • Newbery medalist and well-loved children's author Betsy Byars described one of the best things about our craft in the reference book, Something About the Author,  " . . . creativity. I can't define it, but I have found from experience that the more you use it, the better it works."
. . . Are willing to keep learning your craft and grow.
  • In the article, "Timeless Advice on Writing from Famous Authors," June 18, 2012 published  by Brainpickers, Chilean novelist Isabel Allende is quoted as saying, "Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too."
. . . Keep working and don't give up despite any odds against you, such as rejections, self-doubt and lack of time.
  • Through the years, I've heard successful writers and editors say that it's sad. Many talented writers give up too soon. They've become discouraged because of the demands that come with being a published author. If they had hung on a little longer, their work would have been ready.
. . . Want to share what you've learned.
  • A Catholic nun was the first person who encouraged me to write. I had made puppets and a puppet stage and written and adapted puppet plays for the children in our church when my daughters were very young. She told me how my project could help others if I would take the time to share what I had done. The article I wrote and photographs I included became my first published piece. Thanks to her encouragement I learned right from the start the satisfaction that comes from sharing our work.
. . . Have become a good listener, a good observer, a good student of life.
  • "A writer, early and late, does a lot of listening at doors . . ." Richard Peck, Newbery-medalist
I hope you will take the time to leave a comment about how you got started on your creative path.

Next month: You Know You're a Writer When . . . Part II

Sources:
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/03/advice-on-writing/


Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, recently completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction course. Linda has published over 40 articles for children and adults, six short stories for children, and is in the final editing stages of her first book, a mystery story for 7-10 year olds. Follow her on Facebook. 


Creatively Dreaming



Last week my husband asked me, "Don't all authors only have one book in them?"

I think I almost snapped at him, "No, the saying is all people have at least one book in them.
Writers have too many to count and they just keep coming."

The reason I might have almost snapped, well everything is an opportunity for another project. Which is why it's such a struggle for some of us. We hear a snippet of conversation in a grocery store and it's the beginning of a novel or the scene for a great character. We see a movie and think, what if they'd gone a different direction? What would that have done to the story? I have so many ideas, and so little time to flesh them out. Right now my idea notebook is full, and I found my last one in a drawer a couple of weeks ago and thought, hmm, there's some good stuff in there.

As a creative writer, I'm finding that I'm constantly inspired - what causes me the most challenge is the 'behind' in the chair kind of work that is required to get them completed. Or even the 'which one should I work on now' kind of thought. Which is why I'm creatively dreaming these days.

Do you have a writing dream? Mine is a cottage or cabin far from everyday life. A place without internet or television, but with running water and heat. I think I could get by with just that.

So why don't you find me on a mountain top? That's a great question. One I'm still asking myself. I guess to some degree I feel selfish doing something that brings me so much pleasure. Your work shouldn't make you that happy. Right? Wrong!

But creatively dreaming inspires me to exciting realms of new thought. Places where I can be and do anything. It's better than reading a good book, only because I can determine the direction I will go, and even though right now I'm also working a 'real job,' creatively dreaming means I'm always ready to get to work when the moment presents itself.

The best news is, that creatively dreaming doesn't mean you can't have and live any of your other dreams. So today, start dreaming.
_______________________________

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook

Follow that Writing Trail!


We all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, right? No? Well, basically this is a well-known German fairy tale originally published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. When a young brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel, wander into the woods, they take a slice of bread and leave a trail of crumbs to follow home. Brilliant idea, however, the birds eat the crumbs, and they are lost in the woods. We'll leave the story at that point.

Recently, I spent time following crumbs left by other writers. Thankfully they weren't eaten by the birds. (The crumbs that is, not the writers--they're fine.) The crumbs I followed were actually links tucked into posts on blogs and even in comments. 

This leads me to the question, How often do you follow links (URLs) in articles?

Certainly, if you followed all the links in some articles, you would never reach the end. I make it a practice to always read the complete piece, then if a link interests me, I go back and follow it. Even then, I am careful to right click and "open link in new window". That way I don't lose the referring article until I know I'm finished with it.

The post I was reading was on the this Writers on the Move blog and was titled, Why Write a Memoir? Wait! Remember what I said? Read to the end before following those links! The writer, Heidi M. Thomas, speaks about how to capture short snippets of life. I opened the comment section to add a response and read the other comments. A fellow writer, Mary Jo Guglielmo, had this to say, "I like doing short memoirs or Flash memoirs." And she added a link. 

Hmm. Flash memoirs? I read to the end of the comments and added my own. Then I returned to Mary Jo's comment and followed her link. This took me to a guest post on the same blog by yet another writer, Jane Hertenstein. In the second paragraph, Jane wrote,  "Six Minute Magazine is looking for quality fiction that can be read in under six minutes." And she gave a link.

I finished reading then returned to that URL. I'd never heard of the Six Minute Magazine. It sounded fun. I had a look around their landing page, and then spotted an invitation to "visit our partner website, FLASH FICTION FORUMS." And you've guessed it. Another link!

Intrigued, I right clicked on that one too, and it took me to a series of forums. I was about to close the window when I spotted a topic that caught my attention: Word Games: Got a word game? Have a short writing game? Share it here with members of the site!

This sounded intriguing, so off I went to a page full of fun-sounding games. I noticed the topic Three Word Story had 7 pages of comments. 

How could you write a story in three words? I decided to investigate. This link took me to a post that introduced a new idea like this -- Each poster copy/pastes the previous post then adds three new words to develop the story. The writer then gave the command, "Start!" and then the words, As he was . . .

Those were the initial three words of the story. I glanced ahead and saw the next seven pages were loaded with a gradually unfolding story. What fun! Time to stop following links. I had work to do.

I opened my mail program and commenced an email to my on-line writers group for South African Christian Writers. I explained how the exercise worked and then issued the command, "Start!" I gave them the words, "The elephant lowered . . . " and hit send. I can't wait to see how it turns out. Should be fun. 

This got me thinking. How often do we miss some real treasures because we don't follow the trails laid down for us by other writers? Now I'm not for one second suggesting we click on every link, but maybe we need to glance back at the article when we finish reading it, and see if there are any trails worth investigating. After all, if you're not a South African Christian Writer, you probably don't want to follow those crumbs. But sometimes following an almost hidden path could lead to some fascinating on-line destination.

Just don't forget to right click and open in a new tab or window so you can find your way home, otherwise the birds might get there first, and you could be lost on-line. Forever. 

Let's have some fun. Click on comments, copy/paste the previous comment, and progress the sentence by a further three words.

Start!  
 The sun is . . . 

 Other posts about writing exercises: 

Wanted: One Writing Buddy

SHIRLEY CORDER  lives a short walk from the seaside in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with her husband Rob. She is author of Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer. Shirley is also contributing author to ten other books and has published hundreds of devotions and articles internationally. 

Visit Shirley on her website to inspire and encourage writers, or on Rise and Soar, her website for encouraging those on the cancer journey. 

Follow her on Twitter or "like" her Author's page on Facebook, and provided you leave a link, she'may even follow you back.

Write on... don't give up the dream!


Do you dream of being a writer?

If you want to be a writer, the only thing required is to put your butt in a chair, place your hands on a keyboard, pen, pencil or whatever you use to write, and write, write, write.

Consider writing as your job. If your dream is to publish, remember writing is a business, and treat it as if you’re an entrepreneur, because you are.

It doesn’t make any difference if you are young, old, or in between.

Don’t let anyone; including yourself talk you out of your dream of writing. Just write what subject you want to write about.

It doesn’t make any difference who you are, what sex you are, or anything else. Determination and persistence is will make you a writer.

Every writer can come up with myriad excuses not to write. The writer doesn’t use them, but writes in spite of them.

One major excuse is not having the time. This is a cop-out  If you want to be a writer, you’ll make time by going to bed later, get up earlier, or turn the Television off instead of watching some inane program. If a movie or some show is important to you, record it for a later time.

For the novice writer, the internal editor is a major problem. Overcome this by just writing, and then edit it.
It’s simple, writers write and that’s it, period.

If you want to be a writer, sit down and write the darn book; it won’t write itself.

Now is the time to organize your thoughts, notes, research, or outline and begin telling your story as only you can.

Today is the day you become a writer.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Proofreader, Reviewer, and Marketer
Find me on the Web http://xeeme.com/RobertMedak

A Little "Sniff"


Today I’m having a “sniff” day. No, I do not have a cold or allergies. What I have is a desire to smell my way around and see what can be added to scenes.

Taking a day to focus on each of the senses creates a different way of viewing the world around us and then also gives us new insight into what we can put on the page.

A day focused on visuals might showcase the subtle changes that light makes as the sun sweeps across the sky. A day focused on sound might bring into focus the bantering of birds, or the swishing of branches in the light breeze. Of course, a day full of taste is a favorite day of the week. Already my mouth waters, as I decide what amazing meal to share. Perhaps the swordfish I had last week served over blueberries. A day of touch might find me wandering the backyard running my fingers over roses or just as likely fabric shopping.

But today is “sniff” so my nose is called to action. And away I go. I’ve pulled a book from my shelf. It has sat there for more than a year untouched and has the musty smell that reminds me of used bookstores. It is a scent that takes me immediately to an old overstuff chair that sat in the afternoon sun of my public library as a child. Even though it is “sniff” day, I can still see the dust motes that flew around me when I sat down. My dog rubs against me for some one-on-one time. I breathe deeply into her coat. Grass - that fresh scent that reminds me of days log rolling down hills. Her feet though, remind me of sweaty boy socks and that bath time might have to occur soon. It’s birthday week for my grandson, so I had was allowed to bake a chocolate cake. The smell of vanilla followed me around the rest of the afternoon and always lifts my spirits. Finally, I drew a warm bath and added lavender. What a great way to end a lovely “sniff” day.

What will you “sniff” today? 
______________________

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and Young Adult Science Fiction. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with her coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at www.djeanquarles.com

You can also follower her at www.djeanquarles.blogspot.com or on Facebook

Authors Need to be Realistic

By Terry Whalin  @terrywhalin Over the years, I’ve met many passionate writers. One brand new writer told me, “My book is going to be a best...