A tradition involving your grandparents. Prompt #340

“As the years slip past, we become more and more aware of what’s really important in life. With every passing season, we see more clearly and know more surely that the love and traditions a family shares are treasures beyond value.” — A Grandparent’s Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words by Thomas Nelson It occurs to me (Marlene) that we think our lives are boring. We think “No one wants to hear about me.” But. . . aren’t you curious about your grandparents and your ancestors? Maybe you are lucky and know all about them. If you are like me, you know little about your family that came before you. So, write your stories. Write stories about your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. I bet someone will be interested. I bet more than one person will be interested. Write about a tradition involving your grandparents. Or about anyone in…

Just Write

 Nervous about sharing your writing?

“Do you ever feel nervous about sharing so much in print?” Roxane Gay answers, “Absolutely. The only way I really have the courage or stupidity to share my writing is by believing that no one is going to read it. I have to tell myself that because I‘m actually very shy and private in real life. It’ hard to share such personal stories. But here I am! It’s difficult at this point to maintain the delusion. It was much easier when I was publishing in small literary magazines and nobody knew who I was.” Roxane Gay, September 2017 Writer’s Digest Note from Marlene:  So, even prolific writers are nervous about their work being made public.  Here’s a thought:  Don’t worry. Just write! Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short…

Places to submit

Uncanny ready for your submissions

  Uncanny Magazine  is an online Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine featuring passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture.  Each issue contains intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs, from writers of every conceivable background. Uncanny believes there’s still plenty of room in the genre for tales that make you feel. Uncanny looks for new and classic speculative fiction, podcasts, poetry, essays, art, and interviews. Submissions Oct 2 to Oct 16, 2017:  short story submissions and poetry submissions. Note from Marlene:  Sorry for the short notice. It’s good to always have something ready to submit for these short notices. Fiction Guidelines Uncanny is looking for original, unpublished speculative fiction stories between 750-6000 words. Payment is $.08 per word (including audio rights). Poetry Guidelines Uncanny is looking for original, unpublished speculative poetry of any length. Payment is $30 per…

Places to submit

Ecotone magazine invites reimaging place in writing and art

Ecotone’s mission is to publish and promote the best place-based work being written today. Founded at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2005, the award-winning magazine features writing and art that reimagine place, and our authors interpret this charge expansively. An ecotone is a transition zone between two adjacent ecological communities, containing the characteristic species of each. It is therefore a place of danger or opportunity, a testing ground. The magazine explores the ecotones between landscapes, literary genres, scientific and artistic disciplines, modes of thought. Submission guidelines Ecotone, the literary magazine dedicated to reimagining place, welcomes work from a wide range of voices. Please review guidelines before submitting. We strongly encourage writers to read work we’ve published before sending their own. A selection of work from recent issues is featured our website, where you can also order a copy of the magazine. Ecotone is open to submissions, by post and…


Immerse the reader

“Writers can learn a lot from reading comic books and graphic novels, such as about brevity. Of course, comics do have the benefit of imagery. That said, the importance of scene can’t be understated. I’m always telling my students: Show us moments instead of wildly narrating an entire story and describing what’s happening. Try to find ways to immerse the reader.” Roxane Gay, September 2017 Writer’s Digest


Declutter . . . Prompt #337

“When I put my house in order I discovered what I really wanted to do.”  These are words that professional organizer, Marie Kondo, hears repeatedly from her clients. “Their awareness of what they like naturally increases and, as a result, daily life becomes more exciting.” — Marie Kondo, the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing There are a couple of ways you can use this writing prompt: Either clean something out: a drawer, the refrigerator, a file drawer or a file folder, a room, a car, a garage. Or mentally picture decluttering something in your life. Show that it’s not just physically making space, it’s also making mental space, letting go of an old self and making room for who you are now, and who you want to be. Prompt:  Write about cleaning or decluttering and the results.

Book Reviews

The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries

The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries, edited by Marlene Cullen Reading this anthology is like walking into a word bazaar, where the reader is called to taste grief’s shadows, to sample sweet memories. The reader is beckoned by the poetry of human existence, lured to the scents and sounds of places and times. Savor this visit to worlds familiar and unfamiliar. You will leave, feeling satisfied. — Claudia Larson has been published in Tiny Lights, The Write Spot, Searchlights & Signal Flares. Her writing is nourished by nature and her life on the prairies. We all have them . . . Stories tucked away in the recesses of memories.  Stories patiently waiting to be written, polished, and shared. Marlene Cullen, the creator of Jumpstart Writing Workshops, is a master at helping her students bring their stories to life, offering the simple prompt of a word, a painting, a shiny object. Each essay…

Just Write

Fire Up The Reader’s Brain 

“Once you are clear about how to choose your scenes, develop them to create ‘the dream’ of your memoir. The term ‘fictional dream’ comes from John Garner’s The Art of Fiction in which he writes that we weave a world for our readers with every detail we include —every scene, description, character and piece of dialogue. When we fail to offer continuous cues to scenes in that world, the reader falls out of the dream. The best way to create this dream is to write vivid scenes that stimulate the brain to see, feel and taste that world. Research in the neuroscience of writing demonstrates that when we read a story with sensual details, our brain fires up in the areas of visualization, taste and sound.” Excerpted from “You Must Remember This” by Linda Joy Myers, The Writer February 2016 Posts about using sensory detail in writing: Use Sensory Detail…