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The lamp lived by her bedside. It lit the dark nights with a lavender glow. It was like jewelry for the eyes, and gave the curious sense of wearing sunglasses in the dark. Or glasses that created sun. It was clean. That’s why she placed it in this space. It was clean and the light was warm, but in daylight it felt stark. Like it was only pretending to be pretty. It was too much like her and she hated it. There was a reason she smashed mirrors with abandon,

It’s party time! Remember that invitation you made last week? How did your story unfold? Now it’s time to edit your piece. That’s right, this is an editing prompt. Here goes! BYO . . . ? Review your story with the following question in mind: What does the reader need to bring? Some parties are bring yourself. Some are BYOB. Is your story a potluck for your reader? If so, there is work to be done. Your reader will always bring their own life context to a piece. They shouldn’t also

Here is a writing exercise for developing plot. I often get stuck wondering,” What happens next?” This prompt can guide prevent that question from stalling your work. Chances are, you’ve done this before, but not with writing in mind. The Invitation Imagine that you are planning an event. It can be for someone you know or for yourself. You pick the details. Now, create an invitation to your party. Answer the following questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? What should attendees bring? With these questions answered, you have a plot

“… you need the room. You need the door, and you need the determination to shut the door. You need a concrete goal, as well. The longer you keep to these basics, the easier the act of writing will become. Don’t wait for the muse. … Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ‘til noon or seven ‘til three.”  ~Stephen King, On Writing Tell me a story about being a writer that you define as successful. What does that

I was recently asked if we (writers) can change our voice by writing in a different style. I answered by saying, “Your voice is different from your companions’ voices. If you can hear the difference, you can write the difference.” Certainly, you would use a different approach when writing a medical document than a prose poem. It follows that a writer might change voices frequently. I am told my voice is very strong and identifiable across genres, but that I have a “soft” voice, a “teacher”voice, a “mommy” voice and an

I keep a list of writing topics handy for those times when I get stuck. Because I write on difficult themes, I get stuck frequently. Sometimes, my list isn’t enough to burst my thought dam. In that case, I like to mine completed pieces from my writing history for phrases and inspiration. When even that fails to get my creative juices flowing, I trick my writer brain with the following exercise: Time Capsule Find a completed story, poem, essay or journal entry on a topic you haven’t worked with in awhile

I have long thought of poetry as the gateway drug of writing. It is how I began as a writer, telling small stories in rhyme. For some years, I thought I had grown beyond poetry, as though it was a genre of incomplete thoughts. This assertion was passed around as a joke in conversation during the years I pursued my MFA. The barbed retort was that fiction writers were all liars, all of us unable to glorify the truth as the poets did. Most of my early fiction is nonfiction.

One of my favorite writing exercises is one I call “Epistle.” The term is probably best known in relation to the Bible, but epistle refers to a letter in multiple forms. e·pis·tle əˈpisəl/ noun formal noun: epistle; plural noun: epistles a letter. synonyms: letter, missive, communication, dispatch, note, line; More a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters. a book of the New Testament in the form of a letter from an Apostle. noun: Epistle; plural noun: Epistles “St. Paul’s epistle to

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