Imagine you are . . . Prompt #180

Imagine you are on a tropical paradise vacation. Sitting on the lanai, hearing the waves lap against the shore. Smell the ocean breeze. Feel the soft wind on your face. See the light curtain billow in the gentle breeze. Settle back in your rattan chair, cool refreshing drink nearby. Hear the ice clink against the side of your glass as you sip your refreshing drink. Hear the gentle wind chimes. Breathe deeply, enjoying the fragrance of fresh, tropical flowers – the heady scent of orchids, plumeria, roses. Perhaps pink, climbing roses. See a piece of fruit. . . an orange. Feel the bumpy, heavy skin. Peel it. Feel the texture of the orange free of its heavy skin. See the uniform sections connected into a symmetrical arc of segments . . . .a globe. Carefully, slowly pull on one of the segments. So slowly that you see the burst of…

Guest Bloggers

There was a smell of Time in the air . . .

Excerpt from The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury:There was a smell of Time in the air tonight. What did Time smell like? Like dust and clocks and people. And if you wondered what Time sounded like, it sounded like water running in a dark cave and voices crying and dirt dropping down upon hollow box lids, and rain. Time looked like snow dropping silently into a black room or it looked like a silent film in an ancient theatre one hundred billion faces falling like those New Year balloons down and down into nothing. That was how Time smelled and looked and sounded. Marlene’s Musings: I love the idea of writing what Time smells like. . . sounds like . . . looks like. . . Your Turn: Choose an item, an object, a thing, that interests you. . . what does it smell like? sound like? look like?


Food! Spices! Prompt #179

Picture the house you grew up in. Or, any house where you have lived. Walk into the kitchen. See the table and chairs, the counter, the cupboards. Open a cupboard door. . . or walk into a pantry. Take a deep breath. Notice the smells. Open the spice cabinet. Inhale and . . . what are those many and mysterious smells? Prompts, multiple choice: What food reminds you of the kitchen in the house where you grew up? Memories surrounding that food? OR: What nourishes you? Or: I grew up with . . .


Silverstein wrote for the ear

Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends “resonates because Silverstein wrote for the ear. Purposeful rhythm. Calculated pace. Challenging riffs. Delightful melodies. Words selected as much for their sound as their meaning.” —Jack Hamann, “For the ear — Writing with rhythm,” The Writer, July 2015   Tips to make writing stronger, inspired by Jack Hamann, “For the ear.” Vary pace – “bookend longer sentences with short, rhythmic declarations.” Use a thesaurus. Use alliteration (see below). Give weak verbs the boot. Omit unnecessary words, especially “the.” Read aloud. You’ll notice places that need tweaking. Alliteration is a stylistic device in which a number of words, having the same first consonant sound, occur close together in a series: But a better butter makes a batter better. Marlene’s Musings: Have fun with this. Choose a prompt and write. Then, revise, using the tips above.

Just Write

Sensory Detail – Smell

How do you put the sensory detail of smell in writing? Let’s sniff out ideas. Take a deep breath and imagine the smell of: fresh lemons watermelon chocolate coffee fish – cooked, or freshly caught roast turkey right out of the oven popcorn – movie popcorn with melted butter How would you describe these smells to someone who cannot smell or who never smelled these particular scents? What does a crunchy red apple smell like? Does a red apple smell the same as a green apple? Does an apple smell different if it’s crunchy or mushy? If it’s cold, it might have that earthy smell of a river. Or an apple might smell like a hot summer afternoon in an orchard. Can you put apple smell into words? If you can, walk through an orchard or a field where the earth has recently been plowed. Inhale. Describe that earthy smell….


What if? Prompt #178

What if you start from reality and then use “worst case scenario” to do some writing? Here’s how it could work: Recall a time when you desperately wanted something. Could be a good grade on a test, or a good health check-up, or the biopsy comes back negative, or a divorce, or the cute guy/girl to notice you, or a good job, or any job. Just choose a moment when you really wanted something. Now, shift . . . as you write about this desire, this longing. . . the narrator becomes a character in a story. We’re no longer talking about “you.” We’re focusing on A Character Who Wants Something. Next, as you write, throw in some curve balls, some roadblocks. Give that character an obstacle to overcome. . . the worst case scenario. What is the worst thing that could happen? For example, the character fails an important…

Just Write

Sensory Detail – Sound

I cranked up the music to prepare this post and was reminded of the sixties and seventies when I worked downtown San Francisco Monday through Friday. Saturdays were house cleaning days. I centered my Swan Lake record on the turntable and turned up the volume. By the time I was dusting and cleaning downstairs, I was rocking to West Side Story. To finish, I blasted Hair. Odd combinations, I know. But they worked for me . . . a satisfying way to completely clean the house and do laundry. Sound. . . how do we incorporate sound in our writing? But first, why do we want to use sensory detail in our writing? Sound can evoke strong memories: screeching tires, whining four-year-old, grinding gears when learning to drive a stick shift, songs from our teenage years, wedding songs, hymns, sing-song rhymes. When we employ sound in our writing, we transform…


Random word freewrite, using sensory detail . . . Prompt #176

Use these words in your freewrite: cook, chant, winter, smear, blue. Try to incorporate sensory detail. You know the five senses: see, hear, feel, smell, taste . . . and that elusive sixth sense. The sixth sense is known by various perceptions: common sense, telepathy, intuition, imagination, psychic ability and proprioception (the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium). Proprioception is further intriguing with this definition: The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. In humans, these stimuli are detected by nerves within the body itself, as well as by the semicircular canals of the inner ear. Example of proprioception: Right now I know my ankles are crossed under my blankets.  (Thank you, Kathy, for this example). Wikipedia definition of sixth sense: a supposed intuitive faculty giving awareness not explicable in terms of normal perception. “Some sixth…