Just Write

The Condolence Note – What To Write

I was taught to write thank you notes. They’re pretty easy. “Dear Aunt Margaret, thank you for the sweater. I’m going to wear it to school.” Doesn’t matter if the sweater fit or not, or was the right color. Receive a gift. Write a thank you note. Condolence notes are harder. Sometimes we just don’t know what to say. Here are some ideas. Dear Friend, My sincere condolences at the loss of Henry. I miss him every day. Thinking of you with much love. Dear Elsie, I can only imagine how hard this must be. Please let me know what I can do. Hello Art,  How are you doing? You’ve had to deal with so much.   I’ll be near your house on Thursday. May I bring a meal? If you feel like visiting, we can have tea. Dear Aunt Susie, I am so sorry that Uncle Frank passed away. I…

Places to submit

Green Hills Literary Lantern – Submit!

Saturdays are “Places to Submit” on The Write Spot Blog. Today’s feature is the Green Hills Literary Lantern.   Check out the submissions page. ” Green Hills Literary Lantern is published annually, in June, by Truman State University. Historically, the print publication ran between 200-300 pages, consisting of poetry, fiction, reviews, and interviews, and was printed on good quality paper with a glossy, 4-color cover.  The digital magazine is of similar proportions and artistic standards. All views, conclusions, or opinions are those of the authors of the pieces and not necessarily those of the editorial staff or publishers. GHLL is indexed by the Index of American Periodical Verse (Lanham, MD:  Scarecrow Press) and The American Humanities Index.”

Guest Bloggers

What are you telling yourself?

Guest Blogger Ted A. Moreno writes about description versus story and making up stories: Do you have a habit of making up stories? We know some people who have a tendency to exaggerate the truth. We think we know what is real. But do we really? Something that happened to me this morning: I was out for my morning walk when a police officer pulled up alongside of me in his car. He asked me my name and for my ID. He said that they had been looking for a missing person that had the potential of hurting themselves and that I fit the description. I gave him my ID, told him I wasn’t the one he was looking for and he drove away. Now, let me tell you a story. I was taking a walk, minding my own business, when a police car passed me. I nodded to the…

Just Write

Which Oz character are you?

As you know, there are two sides to every story (sometimes more, depending on the number of characters involved).  Let’s look at The Wizard of Oz, the movie version, with different perspectives,   different points of view. The Wizard: Wise and knowing? Or a fraud? Dorothy: Sweet and innocent? Or a spoiled orphan? Uncle Henry: Owner and Farm Manager? Or just a guy doing what he likes to do? Auntie Em: Home Sweet Home and apple pie? Or bossy? Hunk the farmhand/Scarecrow:  Simple minded? Or observant and resourceful? Hickory the farmhand/Tin Man: A hunk of machine parts? Or kind and sensitive? Zeke the farmhand/ Cowardly Lion: A coward? Or a leader? Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West: Mean and ornery? Or misunderstood? Glinda The Good Witch of the South: Too good to be true? Or conniving (why didn’t she tell Dorothy about the shoes when they first met?) Toto: Just a…

Just Write

Use emotional experience for fiction

“Vietnamese American Vu Tran says when he writes fiction, he is less concerned about using any ‘factual experience’ he has had, but instead seeks to relate the ’emotional experience’ he has lived.” — The Writer Magazine, December 2015 When I read this, I sat up and paid attention. “Aha,” I thought, “Brilliant idea to tap into the emotional element of an experience and bring that into fiction writing.” Vu Tran used a traumatic event in his life to explain a pivotal character in his fiction. “. . . fiction writers can often have more impact if they draw on their emotional experiences rather than just relating what actually happened.” Vu Tran used this philosophy when writing Dragonfly (set in Las Vegas) while in Chicago. “. .. the distance from Las Vegas worried me at first. But I decided the emotional memory of Las Vegas  . . . allowed me to…


When we accumulated silent things within us . . .

“What is the source of our first suffering? It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak….it was born in the moments when we accumulated silent things within us.” ― Gaston Bachelard I first learned of Gaston Bachelard from my writing teacher, Terry Ehret, with her response to my poem, “What I Learned.” Terry wrote on my paper, “Here’s a quote from Gaston Bachelard (French philosopher) that your poem makes me think of.” I’m no poet, but it’s been fun to dabble.  Click on Prompt #221, to read “What I Learned.”  (scroll down)

Places to submit

Conjunctions . . . submit if you dare.

Conjunctions is accepting submissions for the Fall 2016 issue, Conjunctions: 67, Other Aliens, a collection of works of literary science and speculative fiction: innovative short stories, poetry, and essays that explore the vast precincts of unfamiliarity, of keen difference, of weirdness and not belonging. “’Alien’” is a powerful and flexible word. Aliens are Other, aliens are the stuff of science fiction and fantasy, aliens are traditional literary figures who, when we witness our ‘normal’ lives through their strangers’ eyes (think Frankenstein), cause us to see ourselves anew. Indeed, we become the unfamiliar ones. ” “Conjunctions on the Web features an ever-expanding constellation of innovative fiction, poetry, drama, interviews, and other work by some of the leading literary lights of our time. . . We are always adding new selections to our current inventory of contemporary writing. ”


Know your characters intimately. Prompt #255

How to flesh out fictional characters . . . Give them depth . . . Get to know them intimately. Let’s say your fictional character has just received devastating news such as a job loss, death of a family member or close friend. How does he react? What are her immediate thoughts? What actions does he take next? Imagine your fictional character had an epiphany about a betrayal, a loss, an old grievance. . . something new has been revealed. What does he or she do? Take a few minutes to write about the purpose this character serves in the story. Ready?  Just write!