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Writing Prompts

Great Creative Writers Are Serious About Their Writing. Are You?

If you want to be more disciplined and more inspired in your writing, consider getting a copy of 14 Prompts, free for subscribers. Enter your email address to subscribe and get your copy now.

“14 Prompts does what most writing books don’t—gives you practical advice while also inspiring you to want to take it.” Andrea Cumbo,

3 Tips to “Show, Don’t Tell” Emotions and Moods

show, don't tell

If you’re like me, one of the main reasons you read is to receive an emotional transference from the author. You love books that don’t just make you think, that don’t just entertain, but that make you feel something.

It’s the magic of reading: that an author can arrange a series of letters in a certain order and that these letters can affect our emotions.

As a writer, how do you develop mood in a short story or in the chapter of your novel without telling? Is it possible to build up emotional language without saying what the emotion is? In other words, can you make people feel something without writing like Stefenie Meyer or E.L. James?

One Word to Transform Your Writing

Years ago, I found myself chairing the writing contest for my local writers’ organization in conjunction with its annual conference. It was a huge undertaking, but I’d done it before and could do it again.

So I thought.

There’s oil on your computer screen (writing prompt)

Photo courtesy of Dan Root Photography

No, not that kind of oil. Not cooking oil, although the man in this photo is using plenty of it. I refer to the Rembrandt-like quality of this photograph. I’ve been looking at this image for ten years. It is one of the most stunning naturally lit, completely undoctored, photographs I have seen in those ten years.

This photograph carries with it profound and poignant meaning beyond the simple act of making poori, beyond its composition, light, and saturated colors, beyond its timelessness. It carries the stories of a quarter million people who perished ten years ago in a violent natural cataclysm that devastated the shores of eleven countries. No doubt you know which event I’m referring to. Its tenth anniversary is coming up this December 26.

Today I’m sharing this image with you because I’d like you to write a story about it.

Enjambment: Definition and Examples for Writers


I love new words. I always get really excited whenever I learn a new word, and I try to use it as often as is applicable in my daily life. Sometimes this is harder to do than I’d like. However, this is a writing blog, and the word I learned today is a writing word. Congratulations, you get to learn about enjambments.

Want to Write Faster for NaNoWriMo? Try This Trick

write faster for nanowrimo

If you’ve downloaded our nifty NaNoWriMo calendar then you know that by the end of today, November 3, you should have already written 5,000 words. Depending on how fast you write, that could be a very intimidating number.

How do you write faster for NaNoWriMo? In this post, I’m going to share a trick I’ve used to help me write four books and over 600 blog posts.

12 Thoughts On NaNoWriMo


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Are you thinking about participating in it? Do you know what NaNoWriMo even is?

Here are 12 reasons you should (or should NOT) participate in National Novel Writing Month…

3 Reasons You Should Write Ghost Stories

ghost stories

Ghost stories have a rich literary tradition, but for most of my life, I dismissed them. I don’t believe in ghosts, and I’ve seen enough horror movies to know I’m not interested in seeing another. However, I just finished Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, a finalist for the Pulitzer, and was surprised to see a very moving account of a ghost.

It made me realize how many ghost stories are in the literary canon. There’s Poe’s The Raven, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, basically all of Nicolai Gogol’s work, and more recently Michael Cunningham’s Specimen Days, among many others I’m forgetting. We love ghost stories!

So here are three reasons to write a ghost story:

Why Character Names Are the Secret Ingredient to Your Story

character names

This guest post is by Elise Abram. Elise is an English and Computer Studies teacher by day, wife and mother by night, and author whenever she can steal some time. Elise is the author of four books, including her latest book, The Revenant. Check out her blog, Thanks for joining us again, Elise! Helen Hunt Jackson, American poet, author and activist […]

A Writer’s Cheatsheet to Plot and Structure

Plot Structure

Plot and structure are like gravity. You can work with them or you can fight against them, but either way they’re as real as a the keyboard at your fingertips.

Getting a solid grasp on the foundations of plot and structure, and learning to work in harmony with these principles, will take your stories to the next level.

An Editor Says You Shouldn’t Edit During NaNoWriMo

Editing NaNoWriMo

A lot of writers and writing blogs on the internet are revving up their engines for NaNoWriMo, which starts on Saturday. I’m not one of those masses, mostly because my love is the editing process moreso than the actual story creation and writing process. As much as I champion the benefits of an editorial eye, I believe that the editorial process should be scrapped during NaNoWriMo in favor of making December NaNoEdMo (even though NaNoEdMo is actually in March).