On Writing

Thoughts on writing, editing and publishing, including works in progress and writing tips!

#30shorts January 31: Final prompt!

And so ends our month of short story prompts. It's been tough, but I finally fell into a rhythm halfway through the month. Today's plot is from the Pantomime Pony story generator. A gifted musician is suspected of a mysterious disappearance. And if you need something a little more exciting: When an argument ends in tragedy, a troop of girl-scouts ...
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#30Shorts January 30: Pyramid Scheme

I'm sad to say this is the end of our Storyteller Card prompts for the month! This has been a ton of fun though; going through all the cards today I feel like I'm revisiting some old friends. (Although it's not like I'll never get to use them again, geez.) Today's game is from the original Storyteller Card manual. We're ...
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#30Shorts January 29: Presidential Confidence

I can't believe how time is flying now. #30shorts is almost over! Here's our last update from Writers' Digest prompts. But don't forget to follow them for a new prompt every week. You have been elected president of the United States. When you get to the White House, you find out that there’s a note from your predecessor. The note ...
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#30Shorts January 28: Time for a burger

Another simple Storyteller Cards post. The magician in the top card is timing something. But the Superhero in the bottom card is chilling. What's going on? Remember you don't have to use all the elements, just the ones that speak to you. And there are additional cues below. (But I can't help but think there is a comic book in ...
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#30Shorts January 27: Guest post with Joanne Costantino

Joanne Costantino at the Life We Claim We Didn't Sign Up For blog has been the most consistent participant in the 30 shorts challenge, and  she offered to do a guest post today, on her birthday! She's given us a few options. Good, options are good. First, two photos: And just for fun, a story starter too: The Doomsday clock was ...
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#30Shorts January 26: The secret lives of strangers

Just another manic Monday, just another prompt from 642 Things to Write About for Young Writers by 826 Valencia, the excellent writing program for kids in San Francisco. Write down everything you don't know about your neighbors. This one is awesome, for me, because it makes me think of all the times I made up alternate lives for random strangers ...
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#30Shorts January 25: Inspiration Sunday

I had a moment while I was writing the date for this one. January 25! End of January already. And it's our last Inspiration Sunday from Mieke Zamora-Mackay. Be sure to follow Mieke's blog for a new photo prompt every Sunday! I think now that this challenge is almost over I'll be there for some regular writing prompts! For more ...
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#30Shorts January 24: Road Trip

Plot Generator Saturday! This one from Big Huge Thesaurus is pretty simple--click and choose how many prompts you want, and you'll get one vague sentence about each of them. I had to combine a few to get something that would get my imagination going enough! An army sergeant searches for her father in the big city. She hires a drifter ...
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#30Shorts January 23: Once Upon a Time, with Mad Libs

  Happy Friday, I mean Fantasy Friday! Long one with lots of ideas today. This game is based on the "Once Upon a Time" game in the regular Storyteller Cards Manual. It's for kids, so I modified a bit. This reminds me of Mad Libs, and I can't help but think how really flexible Storyteller Cards could be in some ...
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#30Shorts January 22: Elderly woman behind the counter in a small town

Thanks to my friend Erin Knoll MacMinn for this one; she's not a writer but when I asked (on Facebook), she said she had always wanted to know the story behind the Pearl Jam song "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town." And then because Pearl Jam's songs never match their titles, I had to look it up, ...
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#30Shorts January 21: The Discovery

Writers' Digest Wednesday! Time for another Hump Day prompt from the folks at Writers' Digest Magazine. When you return to school for a conference, you bump into one of your old professors, who is rambling on excitedly about a new discovery. He asks you to follow him to his office—he has something he wants to show you. What is the ...
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#30Shorts January 20: The Bride and the Blizzard

 Another simple two-card prompt today, featuring Storyteller Cards! I liked this combo. It could go either way. One card is the reason for the other. Have fun! For more inspiration: Emotion: Angry (Need more emotions?) Action: Mixed (Need more actions?) Thing: a Cow Obstacle: a Wrong Turn (Need more things or obstacles? Look around the room. Or apply a little ...
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#30Shorts January 19: The passenger

Back to 642 Things to Write About, Young Writers Edition by 826 Valencia. Took me awhile to find this one, truthfully.  Trying to keep a balance between fantasy and reality, and I think we've been heavy on the fantasy lately! But here's a good one that could go either way: You get on to the bus and see the other ...
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#30Shorts January 18: Inspiration Sunday

And another week is beginning, so it's time for another Inspiration Sunday post from Love and Joy, the creative blog of Mieke Zamora-Mackay. Photo from ImprovisedLife,com Click here to view the full post! Don't forget to come back and add a link to your writings! For more inspiration: Emotion: Confused (Need more emotions?) Action: Vanished (Need more actions?) Thing: a Beard Obstacle: ...
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#30Shorts January 17: An imposter in Cairo

I think that story prompt generators are becoming my guilty pleasure. The Seventh Sanctum Story Generator will give you a WHOLE BUNCH at one time! How can I choose? The story is about a watchful college student and a novelist. It starts in a strip mall in Cairo. The story begins with the revealing of an impostor, climaxes with a ...
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#30Shorts January 16: Pitch it, fantasy style

T.G.I. Fantasy Friday! A simple game today, but a fun and relevant one. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are familiar with the "elevator pitch" -- a quick summary of their business that can be told to a new acquaintance while taking the elevator, at a conference for example. Writers should also master the craft of the brief summary, especially if ...
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#30Shorts January 15: Guest prompt by Karen Harbin

 Guest post Thursday! Today's guest post comes from South Jersey Writers' Group member and Outlander fan Karen Harbin. Karen is a flower photographer, and is currently shopping her first novel, Everything, to literary agents. There it was. Finally. Our island. Our very own island. It looked beautiful above the waves and fog, but there was still one question to be ...
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#ROW80 Wednesday: a Procrastination Conference

Slightly easier week so far. I got a bunch of posts scheduled last night, and had my very first Mastermind call. Nice group, going to be interesting. I think I'm too busy to do the kind of forward-thinking that a Mastermind Group requires. Although one of my abstract 2015 goals is to stop being so busy. If I "do the ...
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#30Shorts January 14: The Tunnel

Another Writers' Digest prompt by Brian A. Klems: You’re outside cutting your grass when you come across a large hole in the ground. You’ve never noticed the hole before, but it looks to be some sort of tunnel to another world. You decide to peek through and see where it leads, only it leads you to a pivotal moment in your ...
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#30Shorts January 13: Somebody Wanted But So

Today's prompt comes from a great old podcast I used to listen to, called Inside Creative Writing with Brad Reed. Unfortunately, the podcast seems to have been abandoned due to the host's other projects, but I've listened to almost all the episodes and wish there were more! (Brad has a soothing, storyteller's kind of voice, and it was great to ...
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#ROW80 Sunday: Trivia Crack and other distractions

This was an exceptionally busy week, but that seems to just be an indicator of how the year is going to go. My book club was supposed to meet on Thursday, but no one had read the book except three of us so the other canceled and I ended up having dinner with a friend. I had too much to ...
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#30Shorts January 12: Fanfiction time!

I just finished reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for my book club. (And I liked it; review coming soon!) And when perusing 642 Things to Write About for Young Writers by 826 Valencia, I stumbled on this relevant, new-to-me-but-not-so-new gem: What story from television or books would you must like to enter? What character would you like to play? Well, I can think ...
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#30Shorts January 11: Inspiration Sunday

Hope you are all enjoying a relaxing Sunday! I had to pre-schedule this post due to traveling very early in the morning to the Poconos Writers' Conference. Looking forward to sharing the experience! You can see the photo for Mieke Zamora-Mackay's Inspiration Sunday post here. (I hope it shows up. This auto-scheduler has a mind of it's own.) Thanks for ...
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#30Shorts January 10: Murder at the Circus

In stumbling along looking for plot generators, I found this amazing one from Writing Exercises by JG Publishing in the UK. This is a great comprehensive site, with all kinds of little tweaks you can make to customize a prompt to your liking. All the ones that showed up were good, but this one sounded like a lot of fun ...
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#30Shorts January 9: Problem in Fantasyland

TGIF everyone, time for another Storyteller Cards game! This is an adaptation of the game "Short Stories" by John Du Bois, in the Storyteller Cards Manual (the original manual.) I've decided to make all these games "Fantasy Friday," since I'm using the regular cards for additional inspiration below. Plus the Fantasy Storyteller Cards really activate my brain; probably because I don't usually ...
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#30Shorts January 8: Guest Prompt by Megan England

Guest Post! Hoping to have one of these every Thursday. Today's prompt comes from M.K. England, The YA/Teen Librarian at the Atlantic City Public Library in Atlantic City NJ. She's also author of Firestarter, currently seeking representation, and a fellow NaNoWriMo winner! Megan has done a fun prompt for us using Once Upon a Time cards, which are similar to ...
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#30Shorts: Participant stories!

So three brave South Jersey Writers' Group members have risen to the 30 Shorts challenge! Take a look at some of their amazing (UNedited, fresh and shiny and NEW writing below!) Mieke Zamora-Mackay, host of the #30Shorts Inspiration Sunday prompts, has a pair of stories posted. One dramatic and intriguing, one sweet YA. A Quest Featuring the Elf maiden Ellora (inspired ...
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#30Shorts January 6: Gimme a reason why

So if you saw the Quest prompt from January 2, I talked a little about the Storyteller Cards. The more I play around with these the more I like them. It's easy to look at them and try to come up with a story about everything you see. Not that they always make a lot of sense...but that's when you ...
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#30Shorts January 7: Rogue Computer

Today's Wednesday Post is by Bryan A. Klems via Writers' Digest Weekly Prompts. Click through for lots more ideas! Your computer won’t shut down when you are getting ready to leave work at five. Instead, it is looping a message, and then attempts to tell you something. What is your computer doing? Write this scene. For more inspiration: Emotion: Adoring ...
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#30Shorts January 5: Truth or Dare

First day back to the day job after the second of two long weekends due to the holiday. Shame, I could get used to four day weekends. Anyway, this is a prompt from a fun book that Jessica Walsh, my co-editor for Reading Glasses, and writer on Cracking the Nut blog, gave me for my birthday. 642 Things to Write About for ...
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#30Shorts January 4: Inspiration Sunday

Today's prompt comes from the South Jersey Writers' Group's social media manager, External Programs Coordinator and the newest member of the Board of Trustees, Mieke Zamora-Mackay. Mieke has posted a photo for writing inspiration on her blog, Love and Joy, for several years. I'm excited to add Inspiration Sunday to the 30 Shorts Challenge! Shared under Creative Commons License BY-SA 2.0 See ...
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#30Shorts January 3: Zombies on Wall Street

It's Saturday, so I'm taking the easy way out and using a random plot generator. Today's program: Random Plot Generator from Andy's Anachronisms. I am generally not a fan of zombie stories but this one was too funny. A politician running for re-election befriends a geriatric Vampire hunter when zombies attack Wall Street. (If you're not a fantasy writer, go ...
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#30Shorts January 2: We begin with a Quest

One of the prompt generators I'm going to be using a lot for this challenge is from a Kickstarter project I backed in the summer of 2013 called Storyteller Cards. Turns out the creator lives in a town near mine. Small world. At any rate, I've played with them since they came in but not done much with them. And ...
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#30Shorts: 30 Days of Short Stories. Get Ready!

Kicking off 2015 with a short story prompt challenge, because it's always good to get the ideas flowing early. And because I need to blog more. And also because I'm editing an anthology and I don't have a story for it. (Priorities.) This is not a very specific challenge, it's just an excuse to write every day. After winning NaNoWriMo ...
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