Life . . . Prompt #770

More than one friend recently told me their difficulties, about how things seem impossible, how hard everything is. Sometimes I wonder why these things happen. And then I remember: Life.  Life happens. There are ups and downs. Situations that seem hopeless. And then time goes by. We find solutions. Or the situation remedies somehow. Write about a time that seemed hopeless. What happened? Or, if you are in a situation now that seems hopeless, write as if the problem has been resolved. What would your life look like if this situation was remedied? Writing About Difficult Times In Your Life by Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp #justwrite #amwriting #iamawriter

Guest Bloggers

Writing Family Stories

Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp encourages writing family stories as a gift to family members. When stories are only told around the holiday dinner table, they eventually get lost. Writing the stories ensures that they will live on, that those stories will be a continuing gift to other family members. Many people want to write their family stories, but don’t know how to begin. There is no set place or time to begin. It’s not necessary to start with the first ancestor you remember. The starting spot is anywhere, about anyone, or anyplace. Begin with the most vivid memory you have. Type your family stories, put them in a binder, and assemble them any way you like: By the person, by the era, by the ones you like best. It does not matter how you put your book of family stories together. What is important is that you do it….

Book Reviews


Book Review by Nancy Julien Kopp: Historical fiction brings the reader into another time period and can also tell a special story. Ernestine is Kate Reynolds’s debut novel, but she is no amateur when it comes to crafting a fascinating story that draws readers quickly and holds them right up to the end using beautiful and descriptive prose. When only a child in the early 1500s, Ernestine learned how to cheat at betting games and became a fine bunco artist at her father’s tutelage. Once a young woman, she marries the man she loves, helps him run an inn in France, and is happy being nothing more than a loving wife. When Sebastian dies, she flees with documents he and his brother had hidden, documents that could be world-changing.  Ernestine takes the vows of a Clarissa nun and finds her way to an abbey in Spain near Granada. She knows she is…

Book Reviews

All the Ways We Said Goodbye

Review by Nancy Julien Kopp “All the Ways We Said Goodbye,” by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White. One Book, Three Authors I recently finished reading a very interesting book. “All the Ways We Said Good-bye” used the Ritz Hotel in Paris as the focal point in telling the story of three women of different periods of time. Aurelie de Courcelles’ story centers on WWI. That of her daughter, Daisy, takes place during the Nazi occupation of WWII. Babs Langford’s part in the book happens in 1964. The three women are all related in some way, two by family and one by default. The story is rich in characters and background of both world wars. The Ritz Hotel is home to Aurelie’s mother, Daisy’s grandmother, and is always a place of refuge for the women. Babs Langford, who lives in England and was widowed a year earlier receives a…

Guest Bloggers

Crystallize A Moment

Today’s guest blogger Nancy Julien Kopp muses about capturing and crystalizing a moment. The Wall Street Journal had an article profiling Maggie Smith, a contemporary poet. One of her quotes was simple but said a lot. “A poem doesn’t have to tell a story; it can just crystallize a moment.” I read it two or three times, then copied it on a notepad.  If you’ve ever been stopped by a beautiful sight or sound and wanted to write a poem, you’ll understand her thought to crystallize a moment. There’s no set number of verses to do that, no rhyming pattern, or anything else . . . just crystallize a moment. Maybe you’ve watched your children interacting, and there was a moment that you wanted to keep forever. It’s then that you should get that little notepad you keep nearby and jot down the thoughts you had. If you don’t do…

Guest Bloggers


Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp wrote about choosing a path and exploring your choice. It seems like a perfect writing prompt for the start of a new year. Nancy wrote on her blog: Life is full of choices. I think often of Robert Frost’s poem that tells us of two roads diverging in a yellow wood, and the poet said he took the one less traveled by. But don’t we always wonder if this choice would be better than that choice or another one?   For a writing exercise today, look at the four photos. Each of them is somewhere you can walk. Two have water while the others are filled with green trees. What is your choice? Where would you prefer to walk? A, B, C or D?  Choose one and write a paragraph or several paragraphs about the photo you liked best. Study the photo and ask yourself a…

Guest Bloggers

Chug, Chuff, Hiss, Squeal, Off We Go

Today’s post is inspired by Nancy Julien Kopp’s blog post about using sound in writing. Nancy wrote: This morning, I was catching up on email when I heard the whine of a train whistle, blown several times. I wondered if it was the historic Union Pacific train, known as Big Boy, making its way across Kansas this week in celebration of 150 years of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was due to stop here in our town at 9:30 a.m.  The sound of that whistle made me stop and listen. I always liked to hear train whistles when I was a child. We lived across the street from the railroad tracks, so we were treated to that arresting sound on a frequent basis. I can remember being in bed on a summer night, windows open, hoping for the train to come by and announce its presence. When I did hear it,…

Book Reviews

Writing as a Path to Healing

In reference to The Write Spot:  Writing as a Path to Healing, author Elizabeth Beechwood said, “The contributing writers delve into the pain of their past, reveal their vulnerabilities, and share the lessons they’ve learned with all of us. Their courage is written on every page of this collection.”  After reading my contributor’s copy of editor, Marlene Cullen’s newest anthology, I am in full agreement with Ms. Beechwood. Especially the last sentence regarding courage written on every page. It is not easy to write about traumatic events, but twenty-one people have done so and were willing to share stories and poems with readers. The writers come from various walks of life and offer readers a look into difficult times they experienced at some point. These writers all used writing as a step on their path to healing and to offer support to others. Some who write about troubled parts of their…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp and The Writing Fairies

Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp writes about her struggles and success with Good Fairy/Bad Fairy. 2012 I’ve had a story swirling in the recesses of my mind for several weeks. One that I think would work for a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. Last night, I opened a blank page in Word and began to write the story. I wrote for well over an hour. The story seemed to be coming together nicely. I was aiming for 1200 words, and by the time I was ready to call it quits for the day, I had over 700 words and still a lot to be told. I didn’t take time to read over what I’d written, knew there would be time to do that in the morning. I got ready for bed, feeling satisfied that more than half the first draft was complete. I settled down in bed to watch the…

Guest Bloggers

Fiction. Nonfiction. Creative nonfiction.

What are you writing these days? Some people find it difficult to concentrate. Others are filling pages with poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction. It might be a perfect time to chronicle what is going on in your life . . . if you write this as a journalist would . . . just the facts, that’s nonfiction. If you add vignettes and personalize your story, that’s creative nonfiction. Here’s what guest blogger Nancy Julien Kopp says about fiction, creative nonfiction, and fictional narrative. Most people are aware of the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is made up, nonfiction is true. There is, however, a differentiation between nonfiction and creative nonfiction. Nonfiction is generally expository in that it describes, explains or is informative. If you wrote about leaves in a forest in Montana, your readers would probably learn a great deal about the topic. You would write it as…