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Writing Tips, Editing Tips and Writing Prompts

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Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 

 


 

 

Prompt 664 – Creative

Tag – List of Words

Use the following in a story – red basket, old coat, a boat, a diary, and a pear.

 

Prompt 665 – Creative

Tag – Chance Meeting

Last night you went out with friends and met a man who checked every box you ever had. He invited you back to his place, but you were out with friends, felt you couldn’t be in his league, and slipped away, eventually going home alone. Today, you met the new partner at your firm. The partner just happens to be the man from last night. What do you do?

 

 


 

 

Don't forget to share your prompt responses from last week!

Renee Stevens

Thanks to @comicfan, the prompts are back this week! Yay!!!! Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 

 


 

 

Prompt 662 – Creative

Tag – First Line

“Why do you always do this?”

 

Prompt 663 – Creative

Tag – The Crew

It seems like forever ago this began. You remember your mother kissing you goodnight and falling asleep in your bed. You awoke on the airplane with the others on the way to the spaceship. The crew were fellow kids except for the captain and  your four teachers. After ten years you finally will find out why you were all taken from your families. What happened?

 

 


 

 

Did you write a prompt response for one of the second chance prompts last week? Or a response the week before? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I was sitting here the other day, trying to come up with some new blog ideas when the idea for this blog popped into my head. There may be future challenges, but we'll start with this one.

 

Renee's Writing Challenge #1: Different Choices

Have you ever wondered what would happen if your character made a different choice? Wondered how it would affect the overall story and whether or not your story would end the same?  Now is your chance to find out. The challenge is to write two short stories (they can be flash fiction). Same characters. Same beginning. The catch is, that there must be a "turning point" in the first story near the beginning. For the second story, when you reach that turning point, the character must make a different choice. Some examples could be:

 

Example 1

Story 1: Character starts out having a horrible day at work and things have been going downhill for a while. He's ready to quit when he's offered a promotion. The promotion will mean even more work, longer hours, is more stressful, and it comes with minimal pay raise. Your character chooses to take the promotion.

Story 2: Same beginning, but when the character is offered the promotion he asks for time to decide. In the end, he decides that the promotion is not worth continuing to put up with everything going on at work. He declines the promotion, and instead turns in his resignation.

 

Example 2

Story 1: Dave is single, and hasn't been having much luck with dating. He's ready to give up. Then Dave gets a phone call or a visit from his friend, Mark. Mark wants Dave to go on a double date with him. Mark's girlfriend's brother, John, is in town and the girlfriend asked the friend to find someone to go with them to dinner as John's date. Marc assures Dave that everything he knows about John makes him believe that John could be a great match for Dave. Dave hate's blind dates, but Mark tells him that the date will be completely on him, and Dave agrees to go despite his reservations. 

Story 2: Same beginning, but Dave can't get over his hatred for blind dates. He doesn't care who's paying, he doesn't feel like sitting through what he figures will be an uncomfortable dinner. He tells Mark that he'll have to find someone else.

 

How does making a different choice affect the rest of the story? Can the 2nd story reach the same conclusion as the first one with such wildly different choices? If your goal is to reach the same conclusion, what other changes did you have to make to get there?  Keep these thoughts in mind. Post your challenges as a single story, with separate chapters, and then share the link in the thread, no later than May 13th. On May 16th, I'll post all the stories in a blog post for discussion on your experience with the challenge.

 

 

 

Renee Stevens

Well... as the title of this blog says, OOPSIE!  I didn't realize that I was out of prompts, so didn't send to @comicfan to get new ones!  Since I forgot, I decided to go through and pick a few recent ones that showed zero responses in the forum.

 

Creative

 

 

First Line

 

 

Word List

 

 

So there you go!  Hopefully I'll have some new prompts for you next week!

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 660- Creative
Tag – Dirty Dog
On your way to a wedding a little boy almost knocks you off your feet. While you manage to barely keep your feet, you turn to check on him, missing the dog he was playing with sliding into you and sending you head first down the side of a muddy hill. The dog and the little boy slip down after you. What happens next?

Prompt 661 – Creative
Tag – Artwork
You were given a copy of a famous painting you love. What painting is it and why do you like it?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 658 – Creative
Tag – List of Words
Use the following in a story – a bee, red roses, yellow rain boots, a pink balloon, and a squirrel.

Prompt 659 – Creative
Tag – First Line
I just got the results of the blood test and you better sit down.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 656 – Creative
Tag – The number
Most of us have a number that means something to us. Whether it is the day you were born, the number of children you have,  or your anniversary there is a number that stands out. Write a story based on your number and the importance of the number.

Prompt 657 – Creative
Tag – The accident
Imagine going for your driver’s license and getting into an accident. What happened?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 654 – Creative
Tag – Foreclosed
Write a short story where the main character is either having their house or business foreclosed.

Prompt 655 – Creative
Tag – Happy Dance
We all have something that will make us smile. Is it a song? A movie? A person? Write a story where something happens and all the character can do is smile and share their happiness.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 652 – Challenge
Tag – Description
Most times as a writer we will skip or give the bare minimum of a description so we can move ahead to what we want to tell. Then a reader begins asking for details and we realize what is lively in our imaginations begins to fall flat on the written page. Look out your window and focus on one action, animal, person, or plant. Now write about it including as many details as you can, but keep the scene you are creating moving, not stagnant. In other words, don’t go “Alice, 5’7’ tall, stood approximately two feet from her property line, bouncing a faded rubber ball for exactly five minutes in green shorts and yellow shirt.”

Prompt 653 – Creative
Tag – First Line
So, what did he take you for your first date?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 650 – Creative
Tag – List of Words
Use the following words in a story – a soldier, a school, a note, a red coat, and a large truck.

Prompt 651 – Creative
Tag – First Meeting
Two shy people are sent to do the initial meeting between their families entering into a business contract. How does the meeting go and what sort of contract are they discussing?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 648
Tag – The Dragon
You walk into the Dragon’s lair, swearing you are well prepared for anything. However, now that you are actually face to face, this isn’t what you had imagined. What is the dragon like?

Prompt 649 – Creative
Tag – The Eavesdropper
You have overheard something you shouldn’t have. Now, knowing this secret and keeping it means you could be complicit in a crime. What do you do?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 646 – Creative
Tag -The Rocket Ship
You were the last person placed into the ship. You haven’t fully realized what is happening when the ship begins to take off. Why are you on the ship and where are you going?

Prompt 647 – Creative
Tag – First Line
I’ll see him in hell before that happens!


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 644 – Creative
Tag – First Line
“I never would have expected that from you!”

Prompt 645 – Creative
Tag – List of Words
Use the following words in a story – a corgi, a manuscript, a phone message, broken glasses, and a bill.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 642 – Creative
Tag -  The storm
On the way home from work you hear on the radio that a storm is building in intensity and due to hit your area in a few hours. You pick up a few things, especially some food for your pet, and head home. Within moments of entering your home the storm knocks out the power. What happens?

Prompt 643 – Creative
Tag – The dancer
You walk into a room to find a figure dancing alone. Who are they and why are they dancing?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 640 – Creative
Tag – Alien
Driving home you manage to get past dozens of cars that are pulled over or stopped to watch some sort of accident. You get home and just strip off, climbing into a hot shower and trying to let the day go. When you finally finish, you pull on some clothes and go to make dinner. As you enter your kitchen you hear a crash in your backyard. Rushing outside into the darkening evening you see a figure spread out on the ground. When you finally are close enough you find a figure sprawled out on the floor. The deep green blood and light silver skin make it clear that the figure is an alien. What do you do?

Prompt 641 – First Line
Tag – First Line
“Do you honestly expect him to call you?”


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 638 – Creative
Tag – The Holiday Party
You’ve been invited to your sister’s holiday party. When you arrive your brother-in-law apologizes, but before you can ask your sister rushes you into the kitchen to help her. Once the guests arrive it becomes apparent that she is attempting to set you up. Is this good or bad?

Prompt 639 – Word List
Tag – Word List
Use the following words in a story – a gift, a winter coat, a nurse, a novel, and a glass of champagne.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 636 – First Line
Tag – First Line
“No way in hell am I going with him!”

Prompt 637 – Challenge
Tag – Emotion
No one enjoys dealing with the sad emotions. A breakup, a death, or even a serious illness can put a character through hell. Create a scene where your character is given some bad news and what happens when they are alone and process it. Remember to show and not tell. Bring the anguish alive for the reader.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 634 – Creative
Tag – The Romance Cover Model
He is the man who has graced a hundred romance novels. His long hair, broad chest, and sheer masculinity has captured the imagination of hundreds of readers. You have been asked to interview him. What sorts of things would you ask, knowing he has been interviewed dozens of times before? How would you try to approach him so he comes away as more than just a piece of meat selling romance?

 Prompt 635 – Creative
Tag – The Choice
For most of your life things have gone wrong, but last few months were beyond perfect. Your job has seen your worth promoting you, and you are dating a man who loves and respects you. But the last forty eight hours have seen your boss offer you the job of your dreams, only it is in an office on the other side of the country. At the same time, your boyfriend proposes and tells you the child he had with his ex is going to be his now after winning his court case and he wants you to help pick out a new home for all of you that will be close to the school and his aging parents. Which option do you take and why?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 

 


 

Prompt 632 – Creative
Tag – Snow Job
You’ve rented a cabin up in the mountains to get away for a while. You barely settle in on your first night when a horrible storm hits, burying the area in over a foot of snow within a few hours. You are comfortably wrapped up in bed when you wake to a loud crash and as you look out the window you see the falling snow and flames a few hundred feet away coming from a car. You grab clothes and race for the door. What happens?

Prompt 633 – Word List
Tag – Word List
Use the following words in a story – Soldiers, a bomb threat, a mouse, handcuffs, and a blanket.

 


 

Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

When deciding what to post for today, I took a look through some of the things I have in reserve. I found a writing tip sent in a while ago and when I took a look back, I realized I'd never used it in a blog!  So, without further ado, here's "Things to Keep In Mind" by craftingmom!

 

Things I constantly keep in mind as a writer

by Craftingmom

 

 


 

1.  The Opening needs to grab the attention of the reader and be interesting enough to hold it.  Starting the story in the middle of an action scene engages the reader immediately.

Example:

At age eighteen, he was rather short and thin.  He had black hair and green eyes.  He loved to run and climb.

Or

He hit the ground.  Hard.  He gasped as something sharp pierced his side.  Damn rocks.  The air whooshed out of his lungs before he felt an arm press across his throat.

Technically, you know more about the character in the first paragraph, but do you really care?  Are you anxious to know more?  The second paragraph often has most readers already on edge just from the first few words, and they will continue reading to know what is happening, even if they don't know much about who the person is yet.  

 

By jumping into the story in an active scene, a reader is more likely to become invested in the character(s) and want to know more about them. 

 

2.  Try to describe your characters and settings actively.

Examples:

Non-active:  Kathleen was sixteen years old and rich.  She had blonde hair and bright blue eyes.  She loved reading, and she usually had a book with her at all times.

Active:  Kathleen's blue eyes flew open in surprise as she tripped over the edge of the ornate coffee table, the book she'd had her nose buried in flying from her hands.  She landed in a thud on the oriental rug, her long blonde hair falling in her face.  She cursed to herself, how many times in her sixteen years had she fallen over something because she was so engrossed in reading.

Both descriptions tell you the same thing about Kathleen—she's 16, she's a blue-eyed blonde, she loves reading, and even that her family has money.  However, in the second paragraph, you learn even more about her because of her actions.  You aren't told about how much she loves reading (in fact, those words are never even used), you actually SEE it because of how oblivious she is to her surroundings when she does read.  The author didn't have to say "she loved to read" because you experienced it.

 

3.  Use a thesaurus!!!

I have Thesaurus.com open on my laptop every time I'm writing.  When I was younger, I carried a paperback thesaurus around.  It is too easy to fall into using the same words over and over again (I still do it sometimes, but I try to catch myself):  she was sad, he was happy, she was mad, he was tired.  Use words that tell more.

She wasn't just sad, she was depressed, heartbroken, grief-stricken

He wasn't just happy, he was ecstatic, overjoyed, thrilled.

She wasn't just mad, he was furious, enraged, agitated

He wasn't just tired, he was exhausted, fatigued, drained.

(Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, anyone?)

 

4.  Be aware of repeating words. 

My editor gets me for this still, and because of her diligence, I've become much more aware of when I do it.  Most of the time when I'm editing other's works, I'll see things like:  And then, he did ...., And then he went to...., etc.  And next, he...

 

5.  Don't rush it, and be willing to accept constructive criticism. 

Sometimes it's hard because you just want to get to the 'good stuff', but building your back story is just as important.  Be willing to listen to what others have to say.  Sometimes what you have in your head, doesn't get onto the paper, or you assume your reader might already know it.  You can't assume that.  You may know what the "Hurricane Mile" is, but your reader might not.  So you may have to spend some time explaining things you might not have thought about before.

 

6.  Be willing to start over. 

There are times when I've had to scrap a whole chapter.  It's okay to say 'this isn't working' and throw it away, even if it's 5,000 words or more. 

 

7.  Dialogue!

Dialogue makes your story more interesting and real, in my opinion.  Life isn't quiet; people are always talking, even if it's in their own head.   Keep your dialogue natural and fluid; write as they would speak. 

 

So that kinda covers what I've learned over the years to help me become a little better writer.  Many of them are probably pretty obvious, but they weren't always to me as I was starting out.  My very early writing (in middle school and high school) was rather boring looking back on it.  Over many years, I think I've become a little better and hope others enjoy the stories just that much more.

 
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Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 

 


 

Prompt 630 – First Line
Tag – First Line
“When did I get so old?”

Prompt 631 – Creative
Tag – The Card
It is your birthday and no one remembers. You go home and as you prepare to make dinner you notice a card in among your bills. Opening it you are surprised at who remembered your birthday. Who is the card from and why are you surprised?

 


 

Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 628 – Word List
Tag – Word List
Use the following words in a story – a turkey, pumpkins, a broken chair, a football, and a book.

Prompt 629 – Challenge
Tag – Setup for a Crime
A crime has been committed and you’ve been called in to work on the case. Everything seems to point to one character, but you figure out it is all a setup. Explain the mystery to your superior and how you solved the case.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I hope everyone is having a great week! It's time for this weeks prompts, supplied by our prompt guru, Comicfan. Just a reminder, and for those who haven't worked with the prompts before: prompt responses under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection

.


Prompt 626 – First Line
Tag – First Line
“Who did you just invite to dinner?”

Prompt 627 – Creative
Tag – Trainee
Your boss has hired someone to help out as you prepare to go into the busy season at work. However, the trainee has never done anything like your job and you have exactly one day to train them. What happens?


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

Renee Stevens

I've received quite a few editing tips from our membership. Today, we're going to look at some provided by JayT. Enjoy!

 


 

There are three common editing issues that I come across frequently. They are punctuation (ie. missing commas, misused commas, and dialogue punctuation), misused words (ie nauseous instead of nauseated, then/than misused, they're, their, there misused), and sentences that don't read correctly and interrupt the flow of the story (they can be fragmented sentences, run-on sentences, or sentences that are structured incorrectly). 

 

Commas can be the bane of both a writer's and an editor's existence. I've found that writers will either totally ignore using a comma because they're not certain where to place them or they'll overuse the comma and randomly place it where it does not belong. There are several resources on this site and out on the internet that will help writers when it comes to comma usage.  Additionally, there is a blog on this site about proper dialogue punctuation.

 

The next common editing issue that I've often encountered would be the misused words. An easy example of this would be they're/their/there. They're is a contraction for they are, meaning the only time a writer would use they're is when they combine the words they are. Their is used when referring to a group of other people. Finally, there is used when referencing a location. Some common misused words would be then and than, break and brake, neither/nor and either/or, and finally nauseous and nauseated. Then is used when you are referring to whatever will happen next. An example would be- When I get home from work, I change clothes then I decide what I want to eat for dinner." Than is used to compare things- "This is better than that." So, basically, then is used for chronological references and than is used for comparisons. Next, writers often misuse break and brake. While I'm working, I take breaks. The car's brakes are going out. Another common misuse is neither/nor and either/or. If you were given the choice between two things and you wanted to let the reader know that no matter what was chosen, nothing would work, you would use neither/nor. I've read sentences that say, "Either Chuck or Rick would not make a good teacher." That is incorrect. The proper way to word that sentence is, "Neither Chuck nor Rick would be a good teacher." The next misused word I'm going to mention is mainly a pet-peeve of mine- nauseous vs. nauseated.  Other things give off smells that are nauseous, making someone nauseated. If you write, "I started feeling nauseous," you are saying, "I started felling like I was giving off an offending smell." If you were to write, "I started feeling nauseated," you would mean, "I started to have a queasy feeling in my stomach." 

 

Finally, the most common editing issue I come across is poorly structured sentences that do not flow well. They can be anything from a fragmented sentence like, "I noticed everything in the room. The grand chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The tables lined with white linen table cloths. The green balls." In this example, "The green balls," is a fragmented sentence. What were the green balls doing? They can also be run-on sentences that should have some sort of punctuation but don't so the sentence just keeps going and overloads the readers with constant information instead of helping the reader understand what is going on in the story. I believe that last sentence is a great example of a run-on sentence. Lastly, poorly structured sentences are ones that a reader has to go back and reread to try and make sense of what the author is really trying to say. I cannot think of a good example right now. 

Renee Stevens

Hope everyone has had a great week so far. It's time for this weeks writing prompts. If you're stuck, or you're considering writing for the first time, these might be perfect for you. Don't forget that stories under 1,000 words must be posted as part of a collection.

 


Prompt 624 – Challenge
Tag – Point of View
Right about your day from the point of view of your pet. If you don’t have a pet do it from the point of view of a spider that has built its web in your home.

Prompt 625 – Word List
Tag - Word List
Use the following words in a story – Maple tree, winding road, storm clouds, a green jacket, a ball.


Did you write a prompt response last week? Don't forget to share it below.

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