By Grace by Arletta Dawdy

By Grace – Reviewed by Marlene Cullen Extraordinary writing by Arletta Dawdy who must have done a ton of research for this entertaining story containing so much factual detail I feel as if I took this trip alongside heroine Grace Pelham. Arletta tells a compelling story in the best story-teller tradition. I was mesmerized and couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. Arletta holds up her end of the author-reader bargain, taking me out of my world and into the world of Grace Pelham, filled with intriguing characters, gorgeous landscape, creativity and human scoundrels as well as kindness. Arletta brings these fully dimensional characters to life in her unique way. Her writing is absolutely exquisite and dazzling. I’m not the only one who finds Arletta’s writing creative and delightful. From the back cover: “A good book also has characters that intrigue and change and in the midst of the…

When you set the mask aside . . . Prompt #171

From Write From the Heart by Hal Zina Bennett, one of my all-time favorite books. 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.  Prompt: Who or what is the character deep inside…

How to write without adding trauma.

This week we’ll discuss how to write the hard stuff without experiencing trauma while you write. Notes and guidelines Whenever a writing prompt is suggested, feel free to write whatever you want. You never have to stay with the prompt. Don’t stop and think, just follow your mind and write wherever it takes you. What’s on your mind is more important than the suggested prompt. Keep writing, don’t cross out, don’t erase, don’t stop and think . . . keep your pen moving. If you get stuck: Rewrite the prompt. Literally, write the prompt and see where that takes you. Or write, “What I really want to say.” And go from there. If you don’t like where you’re going, start over. Start over by rewriting the prompt. Or just start writing about something different. When we have an emotional situation, we tend to replay it in our minds. Perhaps we…

What does your character want? What gets in the way? Prompt #133

We’ve been working on character development on The Write Spot Blog. Your character could be fictional, based on a real person or someone in your memoir. Kurt Vonnegut says to “make your character want something.” There are several ways to go about this. Have your character do something unexpected . . . something that surprises everyone and weave in a problem. You can put your conservative character in an improv situation where he/she has to rap or act in a scene. Your male character might find himself on stage, learning how to hula or belly dance. Your female character might find herself in a lumberjack contest. Have your wild character volunteer to help with bingo in an assisted facility. Have your character do something unusual. Remember these are freewrites, where you write freely for 12 to 15 minutes. This doesn’t mean you have to use these character vignettes in your…

Character development – discovering characters. Prompt #132

For this two-part prompt, we’re going to develop a character, either fictional or based on reality (especially if you are writing memoir). How do writers develop characters?   How do you get to know your character beyond their looks, their desires and where they went to school? Step One: Give your character a hobby or an interesting job. The more unusual, the better. Bee-keeping? Needlepoint for a man. Bucking horses, art aficionado, chemist, skywriter, laundromat manager, tornado chaser.  You can look up unusual jobs that pay well by clicking here, such as: Cruise ship entertainer, ice cream taster, human statue, hot dog vender, dog groomer, personal shopper, funeral director. Sketch how your character might spend an hour of their work day, or hobby time: gathering honey, purchase yarn and patterns, ranch and corrals, visits to art galleries and museums, mixing potions in the basement.  You might paint a picture what an…

Making a pronouncement, judgment or criticism about someone else . . .

“Making a pronouncement, judgment or criticism about someone else reveals little about them, but reveals much about you.”   — Ted A. Moreno Note from Marlene: I agree with Ted. Watch what you say and how you act, because your words and your actions reflect more about you than about the other person. However. . . this can also be used as a way to reveal your character’s traits (fictional character or real person). I know this isn’t what Ted had in mind . . . but it’s such a profound idea. . . I thought sharing it here, on a writing blog . . . might also be helpful as a way to reveal characters’ personalities. Watch for tomorrow’s blog post, where we’ll explore this concept as a method for character development. Ted A. Moreno, C.Ht. Creator of the Moreno Method for Life Transformation™ Hypnotherapist and Success Performance Coach  Check…

. . . . so we can have an ordinary life.

In honor of Memorial Day, Sharon Hamilton sent the following to be included in our tribute to military personnel. Sharon shares these photos and thoughts:  We owe a lot to the men and women who have fought on our behalf, so we can have an ordinary life. Memorial is just one day we remember and vow to always remember all of our military personnel. Photo of Sharon Hamilton’s Great-Great-Grandfather’s brother, who served in the Civil War, like her Great-Great-Grandfather. General Daniel Cameron gained his citizenship by fighting for the North.                                                  Navy Seal Uniform Cover of Sharon Hamilton’s latest book, SEAL My Destiny. Sharon Hamilton writes Navy SEAL romance, about military heroes who thrill strong women, who are lucky to love them back.   Sharon began her serious writing with freewriting exercises, using prompts to inspire her writing. You, too, can jumpstart your writing. Choose prompts from The Write Spot…

Due Dates — Making Friends with Deadlines by Michelle Wing

Guest Blogger Michelle Wing writes: I have always been rather envious of writers who say they sit down at their desks each day at, say, 9 a.m., and write for three or four hours. In other words, writers who have a pattern and a discipline to their output. That is simply not how I am wired. I can’t do anything that way – exercise regimens, meals, study sessions – nope, I fail at every attempt to adhere to a strict schedule. Instead of berating myself over this, I have learned to look at what does work for me. What are my ideal conditions for writing productivity? I thrive under deadlines. Having spent over 15 years of my life working as a journalist, I am very familiar with the feeling of having to get a story out – now – just under the wire. It is its own particular type of…