• Craft,  Creativity

    Getting to ‘What if…’ Sparking Ideas For Your Writing

    by Christine Hennebury Writers often say that their stories started with a ‘What if…?’ Sometimes, though, it’s a challenge to get to that starting point.  It’s okay if you have trouble coming up with ideas, even if it happens frequently. But, to save yourself some stress, I recommend having some idea-generating techniques ready to go so you can get back to writing as soon as possible. So, what should you do to get your ideas flowing? In the big picture, you’ll want start cultivating idea-generating habits like going for walks, and regularly reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching shows that get you into creative mode. You can also spend…

  • Craft,  Creativity,  Discipline,  Uncategorized

    A Better Toolkit: The Value of Practice Writing

    by Christine Hennebury Note: I know that a lot of people don’t like to do writing exercises, or in fact,do any writing that isn’t their WIP. If that’s the case for you and things are going well, carry on! However, if you are finding it hard to get your writing done, you might want to consider the benefits of practice. Writing is like any other skill, it improves with practice. You can get practice by regularly producing stories and articles, but there is also value in deliberate practice for practice’s sake. I’d like to see more writers carve out a little time to write for the sake of practicing, without…

  • Creativity,  Discipline,  Motivation,  Self Talk,  Uncategorized

    Persistence, Perspective, and Fun: Working Through Writing Challenges

    by Christine Hennebury Writing can be a lot of fun but it also involves a lot of hard work. If you find ways to add fun while sticking to your project, you’ll be a lot more satisfied with your progress.   When we first imagine ourselves as writers, we envision fun things like best-selling books, talk show circuits, and piles of cash. Or, at least, we imagine ourselves triumphantly writing the perfect scene.  We don’t envision the days that we sit in front of the computer struggling with a single sentence.   When we do consider those days, the ones where writing is hard but we have to do it…

  • Creativity,  Inspiration,  Writing Prompt

    Prompts Are Everywhere: Using Writing Prompts to Spark Creativity

    Have you ever needed that spark to write? Try writing prompts. A blank page glares back at you, taunting you to write something. Anything. A minute passes. Then another. Three cups of coffee later, you find yourself on social media watching cats riding Roombas and the page remains woefully blank. Ideas are everywhere, but sometimes we need a kick in the brain to notice them. Writing prompts provide something the bottom of your caffeinated beverage cannot: a fresh idea. Prompts can help you out of a rut and trigger new creativity. Let’s say you been “adulting” all day and your brain is full of kids, bills, and work. Maybe your muse…

  • Creativity

    What’s So Scary About Writing What You Don’t Know?

    Writing what you don’t know can be scary! Creating a world out of thin air can be intimidating. This is exactly why there is this whole, big, stupid, “write what you know” controversy. Some who oppose “write what you know” argue that you should choose imagination over familiarity. Perhaps you should venture outside your own time or country. Perhaps you should dig around for inspiration that comes from subject matter you know nothing about. These are all good arguments, but generally speaking, the more outside of your current life you write, the harder and more time-consuming your creative work may be. If you decide to write what you don’t know,…

  • Character Development,  Creativity,  Uncategorized

    Shipping: 14 Ways To Develop Romance In Your Story

    Man, do I love a good, believable romance. I like the slow kind, where looks are exchanged, where she ignores him, where he adores her, where their journey leads to something beautiful and long-lasting. I like the kinds of romance where the undercover action is a result of commitment, not the possibility of it. Good romance stories, in my opinion, have the reader fully engaged in the feelings of the couple long before they figure it out themselves. I didn’t know there was a term for this. Oh, this is why I write fiction! I can get emotionally involved in the romance of characters without actually getting emotionally involved! And…

  • Creativity,  Drabble Contest

    Write a 100 Word Story! Include 3 Words! Win A Contest!

    This is the place for a weekly flash fiction contest! The Apples To Apples Drabble!  The Rules:  Write a drabble. A drabble is a 100-word story, with beginning, middle and end. A drabble can be any genre. Make it exactly 100 words. You can do it. That’s what adjectives and adverbs are for. Include each of the three Apples To Apples cards in the photo. All three. Not two. Not four. ALL THREE. New cards are chosen every week. And you can ignore the small words that explain it clearer. We just want the big three. Paste your drabble into the comments below. Then share this with your friends. The…

  • Creativity

    Want to be a Better Writer? Think Like A Sculptor!

    When I was a new writer, I had a lot of misconceptions of how writers wrote. I had a mental image of a writer sitting in front of a typewriter with a stack of blank paper next to them.  Wasn’t that was how all writers worked. I thought that the first sentence I read in a book was the first sentence that the writer wrote. And I thought that the first thought was the best one. I thought that writers had to have everything in their story figured out long before they sat down to write it. Foolishly, I thought writers who were good enough to be published never had…

  • Creativity

    10 Writing Prompts To Help You Unstick Your First Draft

    Sometimes drafting that story stinks. You’re all excited in the beginning, you can’t stop writing! But somewhere you get stuck. And you may want to quit. Keep in mind, your purpose in writing the first draft is to just get the raw material of a story. You don’t have to create a masterpiece. You don’t even have to be all that coherent. In fact, what you’re doing wrong may be stressing you out. Instead, just write down what comes to your head. Don’t self-edit. Don’t go backward. Just put down word after word.   1. Describe what everyone is wearing. This is especially for your girly-girls. Go into detail about the…

  • Creativity

    Tell A Story In One Hundred Words!

    This is the place for a weekly flash fiction contest! The Apples To Apples Drabble!  The Rules:  Write a drabble. A drabble is a 100-word story, with beginning, middle and end. A drabble can be any genre. Make it exactly 100 words. You can do it. That’s what adjectives and adverbs are for. Include each of the three Apples To Apples cards in the photo. All three. Not two. Not four. ALL THREE. New cards are chosen every week. And you can ignore the small words that explain it clearer. We just want the big three. Paste your drabble into the comments below. Then share this with your friends. The…

  • Creativity,  Inspiration

    What’s So Bad About the Advice, “Write What You Know”?

    What’s so problematic about “write what you know?” I swear, sometimes in writing circles, these are fighting words. Mark Twain famously gave this advice. And in the context of who he was (um, very famous for his fictionalized accounts of his boyhood on the Mississippi River) and the time period in which he lived (yeah, so authors in the late 19th century were just dipping their literary toe into fantasy) this made a lot of sense. He also had his own sales figures to contend with: his books Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were commercially successful. His more fantastic stories,  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court  and The Prince and…

  • Creativity,  Drabble Contest,  Uncategorized,  Writing Prompt

    The Weekly Apples to Apples Drabble Contest! You Can Win!

    This is the place for a weekly flash fiction contest! The Apples To Apples Drabble!    The Rules:  Write a drabble. A drabble is a 100 word story, with beginning, middle and end. A drabble can be any genre. Make it exactly 100 words. You can do it. That’s what adjectives and adverbs are for. Include each of the three Apples To Apples cards in the photo. All three. Not two. Not four. ALL THREE. New cards are chosen every week. Paste your drabble into the comments below. Then share this with your friends. The more comments you get on your entry, the more likely you are to win! Absolutely…

  • Creativity,  Drabble Contest,  Writing Prompt

    The Weekly Apple to Apples Drabble! Submit Your Entry Below!

    This is the place for a weekly flash fiction contest! The Apples To Apples Drabble!  The Rules:  Write a drabble. A drabble is a 100 word story, with beginning, middle and end. A drabble can be any genre. Make it exactly 100 words. You can do it. That’s what adjectives and adverbs are for. Include each of the three Apples To Apples cards in the photo. All three. Not two. Not four. ALL THREE. New cards are chosen every week. Paste your drabble into the comments below. Then share this with your friends. The more comments you get on your entry, the more likely you are to win! Absolutely no…

  • Beautiful Words,  Craft,  Creativity,  Uncategorized

    Description: Six Ways To Tone It Down And Make Your Story Stronger

    Description can be overdone like Girl Scout cookies, sunny days and reality television. In our fiction writing, description can play a key role. It can make the details of the story come alive vividly. Good description engrosses the reader in the story. But like fine wine, news in an election year, and most pork products, if you have too much description, you may regret it. Many times writers get a little too excited with their descriptions of the people, places and things in their story. As much as I loved the beauty and genius of Les Miserables, I totally skimmed through dozens of pages describing the sewer systems of Paris. With apologies…