Just Write

Breathe, focus, keep your head down and . . .

keep going. — Christina Baker Kline, interviewed by Alicia Anstead in the October 2014 issue of The Writer Magazine. Or, as Dory sings in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming. . . swimming. . . swimming. . . ” At some point in your writing life, you may think your writing is no-good, awful, horrible and no one would want to read it. Join the Ark. Most writers, I think, are in that boat at least once. Take the advice of Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train, “Breathe, focus, keep your head down and keep going.” Click here if you want prompts to jumpstart your writing. Click on “Comments” on any of the Write Spot Blog posts to read inspirational writing. And just keep swimming, swimming. . . writing, writing.    


What do you want? Prompt #110

What do you want? Set your timer and write for 15 or 20 minutes. See what comes up for you. If this prompt is too “open” or vague for you, how about this: What do you want to do today? If you could do anything you want. . . what would you like to do today? You can answer for yourself, or as your fictional character would answer. This might be a fun way to get to know your fictional character(s) a little deeper. Above all, have fun with this prompt!  Laffing Sal 

Book Reviews

A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman

Reviewed by Marlene Cullen. Reading A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman is like going on a lovely mental vacation, much like a “Calgon-take-me-away” relaxing bath. I parceled out my reading, wanting to make this excursion last longer. As each day ended, I looked forward to tucking in with A Wedding, knowing I would be treated to an interesting story line, intriguing characters and of course the gorgeous setting. Ellen does not disappoint. . . her characters are deep and complex. The story is believable and she clearly knows the  French coast. There is no pretense in her writing. She uses French phrases sparingly, just enough to remind us of the delightful  setting.  The book jacket is gorgeous. This book will reside on my “beautiful covers and fun to read” shelf of my library. I look forward to reading more of Ellen’s skillful writing. Click here for information about Ellen’s …

Places to submit

Narrative Magazine’s Mission: advance literary art . . .

The Mission of Narrative Magazine is to advance literary art in the digital age. From Narrative’s website: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2003, Narrative is dedicated to advancing literary arts in the digital age by supporting the finest writing talent and encouraging readership across generations, in schools, and around the globe. Our online library of new literature by celebrated authors and by the best new and emerging writers is available for free.  Vision: to connect writers and readers around the globe. Narrative welcomes submissions of previously unpublished manuscripts of all lengths, ranging from short short stories to complete book-length works for serialization. Narrative regularly publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, including stories, novels, novel excerpts, novellas, personal essays, humor, sketches, memoirs, literary biographies, commentary, reportage, interviews, and features of interest to readers who take pleasure in storytelling and imaginative prose. Narrative looks for quality and originality of language and content….

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Angela Ackerman gets physical

Here’s what Guest Blogger Angela Ackerman has to say about writing physical descriptions. I’m going to be totally honest here. There is little I detest more than trying to describe how my character looks. The reasons are numerous. I think it sounds boring. It slows the story. It reads like a list or sounds clichéd, etc, blargh de blargh. I write in first person, to boot, making it even more difficult to create natural-sounding character description without using the dreaded MIRROR technique. After all, every time a writer uses a mirror to describe their character’s physique, somewhere in the world a zombie dies. Think about that. Right now, Zombies are dying. I can’t add to this terrible crime. Can you? But then I read Word Painting and realized I was looking at it all wrong. Physical description doesn’t need to be a dry, tasteless blob of facts to help the…


Scene One: Your point of view. Prompt #108

Today’s writing prompt is inspired from “Falling Down the Rabbit Hole” by Emily Hanlon,  December 2007 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine. Using an incident from your life, or your fictional character’s life, write a scene from your point of view (or, your fictional character’s point of view). Use dialogue. Inner thought is what defines point of view. The other character in this scene speaks and acts, but the reader doesn’t know the secondary character’s thoughts. All the inner thoughts belong to the point-of-view character. Basically, you are writing about an argument or a fight, or a heated debate between two people . . . yourself or your fictional character, and a secondary character, using dialogue.    

Book Reviews

Never Change by Elizabeth Berg

Never Change by Elizabeth Berg, Reviewed by Marlene Cullen The magic of Elizabeth Berg’s writing is that she makes readers feel comfortable with her characters right away. In the first paragraph, she sets the tone, the scene, and introduces the main character, Myra, a person I like immediately. Berg’s writing style is friendly, warm and simple, yet oh-so-eloquent in conveying minute details, giving the reader a detailed vision of the scene. Her characters are so believable that while I’m reading her books (and for a little while after), I think they are living in the next town. . . when I’m sleeping, they’re sleeping. During the day, they go about their errands and work, just as I do. I might even walk by them while they’re eating a meal in a cafe. I might brush against them in a coffee shop. I admire Berg’s ability to create characters so different…