What makes a happy reader?

What makes a happy reader? Robert Keiner answers, “It’s all about being invited in by the writer. If a writer begins showing off with obscure or precious writing, that gets in the readers’ way. . . The job of the writer is to ignite a fictional daydream in the brain of the reader and then step away and become invisible so the story becomes the readers’ own.” — WritersDigest, February 2017

Places to submit

Pulp Fiction

  Pulp Fiction, a Canadian magazine, features a variety of genres:  science fiction, mystery, fantasy, history, suspense, and thriller. “We realized we knew a lot of writers who had pieces sitting in shoe boxes under their bed[s] . . .  We also knew writers looking to break out.” — The Writer magazine, October 2016 The “pulp” in the title refers to “cheap pulp paper used in the dime-novels of last century. “We love literary fiction. Beautiful prose, soul-searching themes, and powerful and complex character development are all part of the stories we like.” From their website: Format In these days of massive hardcover tomes and heavyweight trade paperbacks, do you miss the small, inexpensive paperbacks you could stuff in your purse or coat pocket?  We do, which is why our print format is a digest-sized magazine, lovingly modeled after fabulous magazines which have stood the test of time.  Pulp Fiction…


What, why, how . . . freewrites

What is a freewrite?  Why should you do it? How is it done? A “freewrite” is “free association” for a quick style of writing. It’s a way of writing freely with no worries about the end product. It’s meant to be spontaneous, with no “real” thinking involved. Just write thoughts as quickly as they  form. No editing is involved while writing because editing means “thinking” and thinking means censoring. Censoring and editing while writing can inhibit the freedom experienced while writing without worries about the outcome. A freewrite is getting your thoughts written, accept whatever they are, and however they manifest. This writing can be a catalyst for further writing and can later be revised, edited, and polished. Choose an idea, set a timer, write for that amount of time. Topics can be whatever is on your mind or select a writing prompt on The Write Spot Blog. How to…

Guest Bloggers

Begin with the low hanging fruit.

Guest Blogger Jan Ellison talks about truth in short stories and novels. Years ago, when the first short story I published was included in the 2007 O. Henry Prize anthology, I was standing out front of my kids’ school when a woman I hardly knew poked her head out of her car to say that she’d only read the first paragraph, but would I be willing to tell her how much of my short story was true? It was the first time the question had been posed to me, and I had no idea how to answer it. Did she only want to read the story if it was “true,” or if it was not? Sometimes the question comes in other forms. What gave rise to the novel? What was the inspiration for your story? Is it autobiographical? I am as guilty of wanting answers to those questions as any…


Best or favorite gift, or . . . ??? Prompt #310

There are tacky gifts, insulting gifts, selfish gifts the giver secretly wants, cheap gifts and re-gifted gifts. But some gifts are transcendent. Have you ever received such a perfect gift? One that amazed you with its imagination? Perhaps it was a gift that completely touched your heart, changed your life, or opened a new world. Maybe it was a gift so dear you held on to it for a lifetime.  What was it and why was it so special to you? Prompt: Your best gift or your all-time favorite gift.


Forgiveness liberates the soul . . . — Nelson Mandela

“Forgiveness liberates the soul,” Mandela explained to a crowd. “That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.” The movie “Invictus,” featuring Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman is about Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison. After he was released and elected as South Africa’s first black president, he preached reconciliation. When he decided to support the country’s rugby team — long a symbol of white oppression — his countrymen were stunned. “Forgiveness liberates the soul,” Mandela explained to a crowd. “That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.” When writing, especially freewrites, you may experience epiphanies that will enlighten and inform you.   Best wishes to you as you write. Just write.

Guest Bloggers

Cultivate Creativity

Cultivate creativity: Grow awareness and eliminate distractions. Like gardening: Pull what you don’t want (those darn weeds) and nourish what you want to grow. The following Guest Blog Post is an excerpt from Suzanne Murray’s 1/14/17 blog post. I started writing before the development of the personal computer, when cut and paste meant I was down on the floor with a pair of scissors and a jar of that thick white glue that smelled vaguely of peppermint. It was in many ways a simpler time with far less pulling on my attention.Every morning upon rising I would make my single cup of French roast coffee, dripped through a Melitta, and then sit down to write. There weren’t thoughts like I’ve got to check my email or Twitter feed to interfere with putting words on the page. If I needed to do research, I went to the library, the sacred hall…


Why I Write. Prompt #309

There’s a lot going on in the world. Upheaval, turmoil, chaos, unity, freedom, marches, democracy. Those are some of the words/concepts I’m thinking as I write this blog post. Today’s prompt is similar to my August 12, 2014 blog post, quoting screenwriter and author, Antwone Fisher, about why he writes. I write for a variety of reasons: For clarification, to share thoughts, for enlightenment, plus all the things I mentioned in the 8/12/14 post. Now, it’s your turn. Why do you write?