Today’s Guest Blogger post is about inspiration, by Suzanne Murray. Excerpted from Suzanne’s September 5, 2020 Creativity Goes Wild Blog Post. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London Recently a new writing coaching client emailed me to say, “I haven’t been writing. I just don’t feel inspired.” I immediately shot a message back, “You can’t wait for inspiration. If you get nothing else out of our coaching together, this awareness will make a huge difference in your creative life.” No writer or other artist waits for inspiration before showing up. Painter Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Flannery O’Connor, the noted Southern writer, described her habit of going to her office every day from 8 am to noon, “she wasn’t sure if anything was going to happen but she…
Be the kid you once were. What did you like to do when you were 4 or 5 years old? Or 12 years old? Remember that time of joy or angst. Scroll back in your memory bank . . . . write about a memorable time from your childhood. Or write about something you liked to do over and over again. Prompt: I liked to . . . Or: I remember . . .
Stories are about characters desiring something and the things that prevent them from getting what they want. This is true for both fiction and memoir. Another word for desire is yearning, suggesting the deepest level of desire. Characters have problems and yearnings. Do they overcome them? What obstacles get in the way? Answering these questions results in story-telling. Writing Prompts as a guide, or a map, leading the way to telling the narrator’s story: Interview yourself or your fictional character, by answering these questions: How did you get started in your line of work? How did you become interested in your hobby? What did you desire at age 18? What did you desire at age 25? What do you desire now?
I’m going through old writing magazines and finding gems, like this one, “Top Five Fiction Mistakes.” — by Moira Allen, The Writer, September 2002. “Ask most fiction editors how to avoid rejection, and you’ll hear the same thing: Read the guidelines. Review the publication. Don’t send a science fiction story to a literary magazine. Don’t send a 10,000-word manuscript to a magazine that never publishes anything longer than 5,000 words. Spell-check. Proofread. Check your grammar.” “The one piece of advice nearly every editor had to offer was: Read, read, read. Read widely. Read the authors who have won awards in your genre to find out what has already been done, so that you don’t end up offering old, trite plots without even realizing it. Then, ‘Write!’ says Max Keele of Fiction Inferno. And keep writing. And write some more. When you’re finished, ‘’Let the story sit for a few days…
Today’s Writing Prompt: The last time . . . Or: This is the last time . . .
Green Light. Go! Red Light. Stop! Yellow Light. Caution! Blue light . . .? Purple light . . .? Black light . . .?
Superstition . . . write about a superstition you have, or superstitions in general.
Today’s Guest Blogger, Lindsey Crittenden, muses about fiction and decides to take a risk. A few weeks ago, early planning started for an upcoming fiction class during which I’ll be giving a talk: What Is Fiction? Yes, it’s a question both daunting and exhausted. Nothing I can say here that’s particularly new. And I’m wary of definitions that suggest fiction is any one thing. Escapism? Moral duty? Truer than truth? Totally amoral? A pack of lies? All of the above. But the more I keep thinking, the more excited I get. Examples tumble out like toys from a cupboard, begging my attention—and they surprise me. I’ve taught fiction long enough to have the anthologized standards at the ready. You know, those classics with clear, dramatized change manifested in action or image: “Barn Burning,” “Araby,” “Roman Fever,” and, for a more contemporary example, a terrific Dagoberto Gilb story called “Uncle Rock.”…
Do you have a talisman or a good luck charm? If yes, write about that. If no, what would you chose for a good luck charm?
Invictus is a 2009 film starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The story is based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation about the events in South Africa during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. After spending 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela 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 explains to a crowd. “That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.” Prompt: Forgiveness. Write about the concept of forgiveness or absolution. Write about someone you could forgive, or someone who might forgive you.