Difficult Time Part 1 Prompt # 298

Write about a difficult time . . . something that happened to you or something you witnessed that made your stomach churn. Perhaps a crisis, or an argument, a disagreement. Write about an event that got you hot under the collar. Write as if you were a reporter narrating the facts. This happened and then that happened. See your story and tell it. How to write without adding trauma. 

Book Reviews

Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

Modern Girls Reviewed by Louise Miller: Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown is such an engrossing novel. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading. Brown has an incredible hand with details, using every one of the five senses. I feel like I know the textures and smells of the streets and cramped apartments of the Lower East Side in the 30’s, the closeness of living in small spaces with large families. I could taste the pickled tongue and smell the scent of Aqua Velva. Brown also has a skillful hand at weaving in historical details. I learned so much about this time in our history, both culturally and politically, and am intrigued to know more. Modern Girls is told from the points of view of both Rose and her daughter Dottie. As a writer, I am impressed with the way Brown effortlessly moves from one distinct voice to the other….

Places to submit

What do Contest Judges Look for?

Recently I was one of three judges for a writing contest. We didn’t agree during the first round of reading on the winners. It took re-reading and much discussion to select the three winners. So that got me to thinking. What do contest judges look for when choosing winning entries? My fellow judges and I came up with: Make sure to follow the guidelines. They aren’t arbitrary. The guidelines are specific for a reason. Make sure to follow the criteria of what genre the contest is. Don’t submit memoir if the contest is fiction. Even though the judges may not be able to tell for sure if something is fiction or memoir . . . if it feels like memoir, it probably is. And that won’t work in a fiction contest. The winning entries that stood out excelled in creative writing and well-crafted stories. The writing and stories were compelling,…


It’s tradition . . . Prompt #297

Write about something you traditionally go to . . . The Nutcracker, a sports event, a debate, a poetry slam, Grandma’s house, Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, the beach, the mountains, skiing, Hawaii, the movies on Christmas Eve, out to dinner on an anniversary, watching fireworks at . . . , Disneyland, Friday night movies, family dinner on Sunday, the flea market, farmer’s market, bowling on New Year’s Eve. Write about something you traditionally go to.


This Place. Prompt #296

Write about a place . . .  a favorite place . . . either real or imagined, currently in your life or from your past.  A geographic place or an emotional place. Now, think about an uncomfortable place, a place or situation that makes you squirm and dread. Write about a favorite place or an uncomfortable place. Here are some sentence starts. You don’t have to use every suggestion . . . just pick the ones that jump out at you. Describe the place . . . A physical description. It is made of . . . The stone came from . . . The marble came from . . . What did the workers think while they built this place? When I first saw this place, I thought. . . As I approach this place, I . . . My first time inside this place . . . I…


Twenty-six letters.

Neil Gaiman, excerpt from Brain Pickings,  “Why We Read and What Books Do for the Human Experience“ When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world, and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.  — Neil Gaiman   Neil Gaiman on Why We Read and What Books Do for the Human Experience

Book Reviews

Folly Cove by Holly Robinson

Folly Cove reviewed by Jennifer S. Brown. Rarely do I read a book in a single day, but Folly Cove absolutely captivated me. Maybe it was because I saw my own relatives in these characters (Sarah reminded me of my own grandmother), but this story about three sisters and their mother gripped me. Folly Cove is an old inn in Rockport, MA, run by single-mom Sarah and her three daughters, at least until two of the daughters are old enough to escape. The third daughter married, had a child, and settled in to continue helping out. At the start of the novel, however, the two other sisters are pulled back to Folly Cove, and all three must work together–despite that not all are speaking to one another–to plan their mother’s birthday. I didn’t want to put this book down so I could find out what all the secrets are–and there…


Your favorite season. Prompt #295

I refuse to ignore autumn. I refuse to go from Halloween straight to Christmas. So let’s give a cheer for this wonderful time of year. . . Autumn. Before the hectic holidays begin, savor this moment. The slant of the sun casts a soft glow, highlighting fall colors of yellows, burnt oranges, umber and browns. Pause and enjoy the wonderful golden light of autumn. Recently, I looked everywhere for a garland of fabric autumn leaves to decorate the archway between my kitchen and dining room.  None of the usual suspects had them in stock.  “Oh, you missed it by a week,” said a store clerk amidst Christmas decorations . . . on November first. A friend told me about gluten-free oatmeal with quinoa at Raley’s. Sounded good, so I headed there. I strolled the seasonal section, as I had been doing in every store, looking for that elusive autumnal garland.  I…