Guest Bloggers

Rescue Your Stories

Guest Blogger Nancy Cullen writes: “I am a rescuer of stories hidden among the ordinary.  I give these stories voice as a template to inspire others with untold stories so that they will know the satisfaction of rescuing their own stories.”  – Nancy Cullen My BLOG, THE STONEBRIDGE, began as a place I could record and share stories.  Stories stemming from four areas outlined on the BLOG’s “About” page. It is my version of a Sacred Bundle, a practice began by my father. Capturing, or as I like to say, rescuing, stories from our thoughts, memories, and obscurity is a learned skill. There are processes, template frameworks, and yes, a bit of discipline involved. These are not apparent as one reads a particular post but run in the background like a good operating system in a computer. Although, not complex, nonetheless they must be identified and adapted to your own style. Once in…

Sparks

The Smell of Old Leather, the Scent of Cigars

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. The Smell of Old Leather, the Scent of Cigars Karen FitzGerald Every so often Georgia would pull out that tin cigar box her Gramps gave her some 75 years ago. Imagine—75 years she’d been hauling that old tin box around, moving it from the family homestead to her college dorm, to that sweet pensione in Italy in her 20’s, to the little garden apartment when she and Gitulio married. Good gosh! And how many other moves in her 85 years had there been? But, here she was, in Happy Valley Seniors’ Residence with her tin box from Gramps, about to open it for possibly the last time in her life; open it to retrieve the cherished item inside —her very first diary. Her arthritic hands wrestled with the lid of the container while a thought crossed her…

Prompts

Choose a scene . . . Prompt 607

Choose a scene and write. Scene 1 You are sitting at your kitchen table. The morning sun lights up the room. You wrap your hands around a mug of warm, steaming, fragrant [type of drink]. What are you daydreaming about? Scene 2 You are sitting on a porch, looking out at [wherever you are]. A movement catches your eye, reminding you of . . . Scene 3 You and (name of dinner partner) are enjoying dessert. You are surprised by . . . Scene 4 There you are, in the middle of [something]. What are you thinking about? #amwriting #justwrite #creativewriting

Prompts

Weave narrative, dialogue, and action . . . Prompt #605

Have you read something that feels “off?” Or been bored with the sluggish, plodding plot? Do you wonder why the novel isn’t moving along? It could be the lack of balance between narration, dialogue, and action. As a writer you want to keep your story moving and engaging. Weaving “We want to balance our scenes using three elements of fiction: dialogue, action and narrative. This is one reason you want to put your character in a scene with other characters as often as possible: Scenes that weave together these three elements engage the reader at an emotional level much more effectively than scenes that are only dialogue, only narrative or only action.” —Gloria Kempton One at a time Sometimes you want to focus on one aspect. Use dialogue, for example, to show a character’s personality and motives. “If you want to highlight a particular character trait in your viewpoint character…

Prompts

Seeing the scene from character’s point of view . . . Prompt #603

“The goal of description is to create a well-designed set that provides the perfect background for your characters—a setting that stays in the background without overwhelming the scene or interrupting the story.” —Moira Allen In real life, we explore our surroundings through our actions and experience them through our senses. Create a structure for your characters to do the same. Craft your descriptions so details unfold as your character moves through the scene. Know which details your character would notice right away and which details will register more slowly. Suppose, for example, your heroine is a secretary of humble origins and has just entered the mansion of a millionaire. Let her notice how soft the rich Persian carpet feels underfoot, how it muffles her footfalls, how she is tempted to remove her shoes. Don’t mention how soft the sofa is until she sinks into it. Let her smell the leather…

Just Write

I knew I wanted to write . . .

Natalie Goldberg The Art Of Writing Practice: “By my early twenties, I knew I wanted to write and I knew I couldn’t learn to do it through traditional writing classes. I had to begin with what I knew, something no one could tell me I was wrong about. And so, I studied my mind. As I wrote, I would discover things about my mind, how it would move, wander, settle. I began teaching writing from the inside out. Usually, writing teachers tell us what good writing is, but not how to get to it . . . in 1986 [when “Writing Down The Bones” was published] people were starving to write, but they didn’t know how, because the way writing was taught didn’t work for them. I think the idea of writing as a practice freed them up. It meant that they could trust their minds, that they were allowed…

Prompts

A time you fumbled. Prompt #602

The prompt:  Write about a time you fumbled or stumbled or faltered. Or: Write about a kindness you have done or would have like to have done. Here’s the backstory: December 2016 Occasion:  Nobel Prize ceremony, Stockholm, Switzerland. Patti Smith delivered an emotional rendition of Bob Dylan‘s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden, December 2016. She sang for a few minutes, faltered, stopped singing, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m so nervous.” Then she continued in her beautiful, transportive way. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Awkwardly faltering. But usually, we don’t want to admit what we perceive as a weakness. January 2017 I’ve had a lot to think about these past few days. Extreme highs: Watching granddaughter perform as rat and a camel in her church Christmas pageant and as a soldier in the Nutcracker. Celebrated with son, his wife, and her family as his…

Sparks

Water

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Water By Susie Moses All summer long I yearn to be in water. First choice – A freshwater lake, cool and clear, minerally, soothing to the skin. Quiet, still. Maybe at times a whitecap or two, but no big waves, just gentle undulations, giving the swimmer a sense of massage. A tickle of weedy underwater growth against a foot, a small fish swishing by a shin. Avoiding the mucky bottom.  Second choice – An East Coast ocean, edged by wide white sandy beach stretching for miles along the shoreline. Sweet breezes, bright white pelicans in formation against the stunningly azure sky. Watching them drop like stones into the waves to spear a fish each had been keeping an eye out for. Venturing into the water as it laps onto the hard sand, toes tickled by the…

Prompts

I could never . . . Prompt #599

Writing Prompt. Choose one and Just Write. I could never get rid of . . . I could never like . . . I could never go to . . . I could never eat . . . I could never get over feeling guilty about . . . I could never forget . . . Pick one or make up your own:I could never . . . This writing prompt is from “The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries” along with 57 other writing prompts. Discoveries is on sale for $6.99 at Amazon for a limited time. ereader is $2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.