Just Write

World Building With Words

“Readers seek the experience of the world through character emotion and consciousness. What we remember about books and movies is the way they made us feel/experience, which is why we crave another story-hit, more, more, more.” — Juneta Key, “A Look at World Building and the Reader Experience” Juneta elaborates: Use your character’s emotional attachment to places, things, and feeling of home–longing, or contentment, or discontentment. World building is an external and internal journey with the character. World building includes using all the senses, to create atmosphere, texture, and attachment:  Sight, Smell, Touch, Hearing, Taste, and 6th sense.  STORY EXAMPLE: Anne of Green Gables L. M. Montgomery uses the senses and emotions in such a way that her world is a character in itself.  Read the free Project Gutenberg ebook. Chapter 1: First paragraph: “MRS. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with…

Guest Bloggers

3 Things I’ve Learned About Storytelling (and Life) from Performing Narrative Nonfiction

Guest Blogger Anastasia Zadeik writes: The bar is hushed. I stand at the podium, bright lights partially obscuring the crowd. I see a blur of faces and blank spaces, hear ice clinking in a glass somewhere to my right and murmurs from the back of the room where drinks are being ordered and served. I am about to start speaking when I remember a tip I was given by my first performance coach, Jon. “Before you begin,” he said, “take a deep breath and remind yourself to . . . slow . . . down.” This, I have found, is good advice and, as Oscar Wilde famously said, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on” so… 1. Before you start a story (or anything new)—take a deep breath and remind yourself to slow down. I begin to read the narrative nonfiction piece printed on the…


What No Longer Serves You . . . Prompt #675

“The Mask Self is that part of ourselves that we dare to present to the world. It is a way of being that we have put together, frequently in a rather haphazard way, and often through the trials and errors of our lives. For the most part, the Mask Self protects us from having to look more closely at the dream figures that lie behind it. It protects the more vulnerable creatures of our inner world. As we struggle with our masks, there are often many different layers to be peeled away. In the meantime, life becomes a melodrama, a soap opera, as we find ourselves drawn to this person or that, all in an effort to make our lives work and still hold onto our masks.” — Hal Zina Bennet, “Write From the Heart” Visualization Before the writing prompt, please enjoy this visualization. Imagine you are in the mountains…


Simply A Shoot

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Simply A Shoot By Jane Person I was born a sweet onion my core protected by layers of peel   As the brown dry layers peel off, a stink surrounds.  Eyes water   There will be more down to my core   Under the faucet dirt and grime the externals simply slide off   There will be more down to my core   Tender layers peel a bulb thinner, lighter   There will be more down to my core   Fear.  What will be left of me? A little voice coaches—Just peel.   There will be more down to my core   Protecting peels now gone. Left a small, green shoot.   There is more down at my core   The person, me The small shoot unmasked Free from disguise Perhaps free at last Jane Person,…


Talent . . . Prompt #674

What talent would you like to have? Or, what talent do you have that you are proud of? Dubbed “America’s Funniest Cowgirl,” Karen Quest has been blazing a trail since 1998 with her one-woman award-winning original comedy act, Cowgirl Tricks. Skillful trick roping, impressive whip cracking, outstanding audience rapport and improvisational kooky cowgirl shenanigans have proven wildly popular at venues for audiences of all ages. Karen’s talents include juggling, clowning, acrobatics, fire-eating, unicycling, and stunt work, Your turn: Write about your talents. Or your fictional character’s talents. Just Write!


What was your role as a child? Prompt #673

From “Write From the Heart” by Hal Zina Bennett During a trip to Disneyland, a priest became fascinated with the costumed figure of Mickey Mouse. Every time Father Sean turned around, there was Mickey Mouse shaking hands with people, talking with kids, keeping everyone’s spirits up. And Father Sean began asking himself, “I wonder who that person is under that costume? What are they like at the end of the day, when they take off their Mickey Mouse suit?” Instead of being who we really can be, we take on masks like the Good Little Girl, or we become the Black Sheep of the Family or the Rebel. Early on, we learn that if we are to be loved and cared for, we’d better buckle under and be what is safe for us to be. Writing Prompts What role did you play as a child? What is your role now?…



Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Herald By Su Shafer After all these years She’s letting go No more worrying If she’s too fat Or too old Or what he’s thinking Or feeling Or if he’s alive or dead No more waiting For the rock to roll The hope when it moved a little But found a new dead end to be still So she’s letting go Dropping the over-packed luggage She carried with both hands For so long Her arms feel like wings As she walks in the sun Her steps so light, she might take flight On her way to the mailbox She sees a golden jewel beetle Resting on the sidewalk A living gem that stuns her breathless Spreading amber wings, it lifts effortlessly Into the air and buzzes regally away Sometimes messengers are more beautiful Than you can…

Just Write

Don’t Rush It

“Don’t Rush It” by Morgan Baker I don’t like being late – to classes I teach or the airport to catch a plane. My anxiety meter goes haywire if I haven’t given myself the time to organize before school or when I’m packing to go away. Will I need my swimsuit? What about those shoes? I allow extra time wherever I go, which means I’m usually early. My stepfather once told my daughter as he drove her to a summer job, “You’re on time if you’re ten minutes early.” I’ve taken that to heart. When my daughter and I went to a wedding in Montana a few years ago, we were excited about the event, and to see the big sky landscape we had heard so much about. I didn’t want to feel rushed or anxious, so I allowed for plenty of extra time to get through security and find our gate….


Reality’s Ruse

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Reality’s Ruse  By  Mary O’Brien   Summer shakes Winter’s hand,proposing a fling.Autumn’s wind scurries themboth away –not a fan of farce. Martinis at three,come by and get me.Loose lips sink ships:my mouth full ofsharp torpedoes. My reality is oftena ruse, driven to otherworlds on printed pages,between coversin greedy hands. I left my scarf inthat dream –the one with the pulledthread Itied round your finger. We never made it to New York.That was your ruseto keep me interestedlong enough to marryin Vegas. “Reality’s Ruse” inspired by Just For Fun . . . Prompt #672 on The Write Spot Blog, Mary O’Brien is a Retired Trophy Wife (RTW) from the Pacific Northwest. She has volunteered for the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, founded local therapeutic hospital humor programs, and supported various other non-profits and do-goodery.  Enjoying the artistry of…