Category Archives: Writing Prompt

New to the City – The Daily Post Writing Prompt

The Daily Post has asked its followers to participate in a writing prompt called, BYOB(ookworm). Followers are asked to write a blurb for the book jacket of the novel you would possibly write someday.

New to the City

Christmas time was Isabelle’s favorite time of year, especially in New York City. She would throw her scarf and boots on and trek 13 blocks to work each day, not minding as she took in the bright sight of the holiday decorations. She lived in the city for almost a year now, along with her roommate who she has been friends with since she was 8. Ava was like Isabelle’s friendship soul mate, she could not picture her life without her in it.

Isabelle had a decent job at a publishing company, trying her best to work her way up the corporate ladder. She would work crazy hours each day and sometimes on weekends too, but she knew in the end it would all be worth the trouble. Another trouble being that her boyfriend of three years was back home in Westchester and they only saw each other some weekends.

She was used to walking home late at night by herself; the city was always swarming with people so she never felt uneasy. Plus, her father trained her in boxing when she younger, so she felt confident about herself and always kept an eye on her surroundings.

She walked up the two softly-dimmed flights of stairs to her & Ava’s undersized apartment. When she went to put the key in the lock, she noticed the wooden door was cracked open. She pushed slightly and what she saw made her stop dead in her tracks. Her laptop was smashed along with the valuable China plates her mother let her take with her when she moved. She stepped slowly over her Bukowski books that lay scattered on the floor.

“Who would do such a thing?” She thought. She didn’t want to make a noise but knew she had to get Ava’s attention – if she was even in the apartment. She crept slowly down the hall to Ava’s lime green bedroom. It was her favorite color, said it made her feel cheery and optimistic when she awoke each morning. Ava was nowhere to be found, but tiny drops of blood decorated the wood floor. Were they Ava’s? Isabelle’s heart started to race faster and faster, she could hear it pumping through her eardrums. The sound was deafening her as she realized Ava’s cell phone sat beside her bed. Isabelle was going to have to find her best friend another way.

7 Invaluable Writing Tips from Stephen King

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1. Everything Begins With Rejection

Very few writers begin with immediate success, and if there’s anything to be gained from King’s book, it’s that you start with rejection. King began submitting stories to magazines as early as middle school, and whenever he received a rejection, he would pin the letter on a wall. By the time he was 14, he had accumulated so many letters that the pin could hardly support their weight. Yet none of these rejections daunted him. In fact, King says he learned some of his best lessons from the notes scrawled on the slips. One note that told him to cut down on wordiness changed the way he wrote “once and forever.”

2. Read a Lot, and Write A Lot

King argues that if you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all else: read a lot and write a lot: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” Every book has a lesson to teach. The bad books tell us what not to do, while the good books teach us about style, narration, plot development, and the elements that create a compelling story. More importantly, reading helps lead us into writing. It creates an “ease and intimacy” with writing, allowing us to dip into our creative processes without being self-conscious.

3. Master the Fundamentals Of Writing

To be a good writer, you must master the fundamentals of vocabulary, grammar, and style. Use only the vocabulary that you feel most comfortable with. Know your grammar. Avoid adverbs and passive voice like the plague. Understanding these fundamental skills will enable you to build powerful stories unfettered by poor language and misplaced pronouns. As he reminds us, mastery of these basic skills can eventually lead to the magic of a full-fledged novel: “At its most basic we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond your expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style … but as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic.”

4. Writing is Work, So Be Prepared to Do It

King wrote non-stop. Whether he was washing maggot-infested motel sheets or teaching English with only a few hours to spare, he found the time to pen his one-reel horror movies. Though King describes the best writing work as akin to “inspired play,” he also admits that writing isn’t always easy. However, persistence is key: “… stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.” Writing requires commitment, and “… if you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well.”

5. Stories Can Be Found Anywhere, At Any Moment

One of King’s first pieces of advice is that there is no treasure trove of ideas waiting to be found. Good story ideas come from anywhere, and it’s the writer’s job to recognize them. Most of King’s ideas came from overhearing snippets of conversation and building scenarios around them. He found his inspiration for Carrie during a brief stint as a janitor at a high school. While scrubbing the rust-stains off the walls of a girls’ shower, he imagined the book’s memorable first scene: Carrie discovering her period as girls threw tampons at her in the shower. There’s no need to wait for a muse when all you need is to keep your eyes and ears open.

6. Always Be Honest

King repeatedly returns to the necessity for writers to be honest with themselves and their interests: “Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work,” he writes.  In a variation of the “write what you know” rule, King encourages writers to write what they feel to be true. Using what you know and what is unique to you will bring an honesty and truth to your characters, dialogue, and scenarios.

7. Support Goes a Long Way

Of the many stories embedded in King’s book, perhaps one of the most heartwarming and inspiring ones is that of his relationship with his wife, Tabitha. King describes Tabitha as the person he turns to for support and advice. He considers her his ideal reader. When he decided to throw out his first few pages of Carrie, Tabitha fished out the pages the next morning and encouraged him to keep going, which he did. Carrie would go on to become King’s first major success. Support goes a long way, and King states it best: “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

Source: http://www.policymic.com/articles/64509/7-invaluable-writing-tips-from-stephen-king

Daily Prompt: The Guilt that Haunts Me | Learning to Live with A Lingering Guilt

Daily Prompt: The Guilt that Haunts Me | Learning to Live with A Lingering Guilt

The Daily Post @ Word Press has asked its bloggers to write about a time they were overcome with guilt and what was done to overcome those feelings. Here goes nothing!

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Maybe things would have been different but what if this was the way things were supposed to be? A question so many of us ask ourselves but never seem to find the answer to. I don’t have guilt for anything silly, I have a guilt that weighs on my shoulders each day like I have a toddler sitting on them. But, guess what? You can’t let guilt kill you, overrule you. I’m not talking about the type of dead when you’re in the ground either, I’m talking about taking away the life inside of you as you walk the streets like every other human being. You’re alive, but you’re not living.

So, what happens when you face a guilt trip that never seems to fade away? Learn to live with it in the back of your mind? Try to find the happiness and positivity from the situation? I do a little bit of both. I do the first because a certain guilt will always be present, even when you pretend it’s not there. I do the second so I can still live a fulfilling, happy lifestyle. They say to forgive others because at the end of the day, you’re only hurting yourself. What about forgiving yourself? This should be more important than any other kind of forgiving. Because you have to live with yourself. Nobody else, you. People can try to help you until they’re blue in the face but no changes will be made until you make them happen.

If you have read any of my previous posts, some can sense why I have a certain guilt that hangs over me. Family is the most important thing in the world, the ones you would most likely do anything for. My guilt comes from a night where I wish I had done things differently, where I should have prevented things in a different way rather than the way I chose.

Matthew is my 17 year old brother, he graduates high school this year and I can’t even believe it! Makes me feel like I’m getting old, too. He almost passed away at the young age of 15 at the hands of a 19 year old boy that was on my front lawn with a baseball bat, along with a couple of other teenage boys. When you’re in a certain situation, your mind and body automatically go into defense mode and do what you feel is right in the moment. You don’t see clearly when your body is pumped with adrenaline, or maybe you see clearer than ever before. If this is the case, I doubt anyone would ever admit it. My brother got hit in the face with a full on baseball swing, causing damages to his entire face. Shattered bones, broken nose, broken eye socket, broken and missing teeth, broken jaw. He now has 35 screws and 8 titanium plates holding his face together along with a mesh netting in place of his eye socket along with some lose of sight in his left eye. He went thru months of intense pain and doctors/dentists visits. There are things that he will forever have to keep an eye out for, like hitting his face against something or being in a car accident where the airbag deploys because it can break his face all over again.

I was the only family member home with him that night. I have always been very protective of my two brothers, almost like a mother. I know he does not blame me for anything that happened, but at times I cannot help but blame myself. But instead of constantly hating myself, I try to look at the positive. He’s still alive, looking handsome too! The surgeon did a great job on his face and it’s hard to even tell that anything happened to him. Another positive, I feel closer to him than ever before. Because no matter how hard and devastating it was, it’s something we share as brother and sister. I did take precautions to make sure he did not get hurt that night, I won’t get into that though. So he knows I tried my best. And to me, if he knows that deep down then this is something I can live with. Although, I have no choice. He doesn’t have a choice either though, so I shouldn’t be the one complaining. That’s another reason right there for me to look at the positive.

So, as for overcoming this guilt. I’m still in the process. I’m doing much better than I was a year ago though. (This happened last March) so I give myself credit. Things can always be worse, yes something can be incredibly bad to cause you to question things but always remember what could have happened instead of what did. And I’m happy to say that I have both my brothers to open gifts with tomorrow morning on Christmas. That, I am extremely thankful for.