Prompts

Today I . . . Prompt #513

Today I . . . Write from your point of view or from a fictional character’s pov. Don’t have a fictional character? Today might be a good time to create one. Use these words in your writing: Illusion, jar, hope, shatter, widget, super, awkward Hope = hoping, hopeful Jar = jars, jarring Writing Prompt: Today I . . .

Guest Bloggers

The Three Questions

Guest Blogger Shawn Langwell shares smart writing tips, focusing on three important questions. Octavia E. Butler said, “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” Writing and leadership have a lot in common. Both require creativity, passion, and persistence. Both are conversations. And every good author as well as effective leaders know their audience. Each requires a level of confidence and humility to listen. To listen to the suggestions of an editor. To listen to the inner voice that says you need to sit your butt down on a regular basis and write. Or, upon awakening to listen and follow the conviction of a dream so vivid and powerful that the story just unfolds and becomes a book and a short…

Prompts

An argument. Prompt #512

“At the time it seemed very important. That’s the funny thing about arguments. Now, I can’t even remember what it was all about.” Quote by Dr. Chilton in the movie, Pollyanna. Writing prompt: Write about an argument or a disagreement. After you have written all you want on this subject, put on your screenplay hat. Write this same scene from the point of view of the other person involved in the argument or disagreement.

Quotes

Sy and Editing

Sy Safransky has this to say about editing: Readers sometimes ask how much I edit my own writing. I edit until each paragraph has lost the ten pounds it gained over the winter. I edit until each sentence can survive three days in the wilderness on its own. My father taught me to look at a sentence and, if it didn’t deserve to live, shoot it between the eyes.  Sy Safransky, The Sun Magazine, May 2011

Prompts

Hold or carry. Prompt #511

Like Prompt #510, this prompt is also inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda, besides being an amazing lyricist, he is the author of Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You which came from his Tweets. Jonny Sun said Lin should make the tweet comments into a book. Lin asked Jonny, “Why would I write a book when you can get this free?” Jonny, the person who became the illustrator for the book, answered, “Because people like to hold things.” Prompt: What do you like to hold or carry?

Places to submit

Next Avenue Online Journal

Next Avenue is a nonprofit journalism website. Next Avenue is extending an invitation to share your story (for those over the age of 50). We are seeking original essays with an insightful perspective on aging. Every day on Next Avenue, we tell the stories of what makes us different and where we share commonalities. It is our hope that readers will glimpse themselves in someone else’s story; find a nugget of information they need; or discover a fresh perspective on an issue relative to aging. We’re looking for insightful essays that illuminate a truth or teach us something new. As the pandemic persists, and life continues to swirl around all of us in unexpected ways, perspective has taken center stage. You may have discovered there has been more space for quiet, like the calm in the center of the storm. Perhaps the quiet is not always welcome, but it is…

Prompts

What do you need to hear? Prompt #510

This prompt is inspired by an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, an American composer, lyricist, actor, singer, rapper, producer, and playwright. He composed music for Moana, and starred in Mary Poppins. He is possibly best known for creating and starring in the Broadway play, Hamilton. He is the author of Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You which came from his Tweets. Jonny Sun said to Lin, “You should make these tweet comments into a book.” Lin replied, “Why would I write a book when you can get this free?” Sun, the person who became the illustrator for the book, answered, “Because people like to hold things.” Lin’s tweets came from asking himself, “What do I need to hear right now?” Prompt: What do you need to hear right now?

Guest Bloggers

Storytelling: Family Secrets

Today’s Guest Blogger, Kate Farrell, author of Story Power, with her unique experience as a storyteller, shares methods to unlock family secrets, There’s nothing louder than a family secret—it pesters and pokes until someone speaks up. Secrets have a way of hiding in plain sight. There are always the whispered rumors, missing pieces of a puzzle, stories that keep changing. But just as shared family folklore can develop strength and identity, keeping family secrets can destroy trust. Secrets that persist, unspoken and misunderstood, can erode the very foundation of a family. Family members who are perceptive, who sense hidden truths, may become fearful or internalize guilt and shame. At the very least, family secrets isolate—family members from one another and the entire family from their community. Some family secrets are more harmful to keep than others. Those that were traumatic, that violated some taboo, or were life-changing are vital to…