Here we go again…
- Jimmy yelped when the person in the photo winked up at him.
- The sound of someone rummaging through the garbage can outside
- Milwaukee was the next exit.
- Sitting in the first car of a new roller coaster.
- Rachel picked at the scab on her knee trying not to hear her parents screaming in the next room.
Share with us! (your own writing prompts or snippets of what you wrote!)
Try this little game for unlimited story ideas:
Grab a pair of dice
Create stories based on the numbers that are showing.
So, if you roll:
1 = a boy wearing a cast
2 = angry crowd around a flagpole
3 = spilled coffee on the carpet
4 = litter blowing in the street
5 = an obnoxious cell phone ringtone
6 = the first bite of a warm brownie topped with ice cream
So, with two dice you’ll get twice the numbers and you can combine two of the above: like if you roll a 3 and a 5 then start a story or poem or essay using spilled coffee on the carpet and an obnoxious cell phone ringtone. Or think up 6 more prompts if you roll numbers 7-12.
Think of the possibilities!
Amazing opportunity for young writers! Can’t you just taste the salty sea air already? Good luck!
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sails’ shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied. . . . ” from
“Sea Fever,” by John Masefield
CONTEST TOPIC: NATURE AND THE SEA
Has something in nature ever called to you? Has your soul been tugged by something not quite seen, only felt? Have you seen a place in nature that you’ve never forgotten? Have you been outside in a storm or shower and felt, yes, I belong here. Writers, artists and adventurers share a sensitivity to nature’s claim on us. In their art and exploration, they are attuned to a hidden, even incomprehensible connection to the natural world.
For the young poet John Masefield, whose phrase “down to the seas” is never far from a sailor’s mind when he or she has been too long on land, it was the ocean that tugged at his soul, called out to him. For others, it might be the sky that beckons, or the mountains, a desert, or a grove. Or the tug could come from a simple tree, a creek, a pond, a garden, a country path, an arrangement of stones. This contest asks: What in nature calls, or has called out, to you?
ELIGIBILITY & PRIZE
Writers 12 to 17 years old as of July 11, 2010, are eligible. Poetry, personal narratives (nonfiction), and creative nonfiction are welcome.
The winner earns a full scholarship, plus a travel stipend of up to $400* to attend The Black Dog Tall Ships “Kids Cruise–Writers’ Week,” the writing & sailing adventure for teens this July in Martha’s Vineyard.
HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST
Go to www.merlynspen.org, and on the home page click Submit Your Writing Here, or click “You Write,” then “Submit Your Writing.” Writers may submit up to three poems or two personal narratives during the contest period. (If you enter poetry and prose, send no more than two poems and one narrative.)
Click here for inspiration! See how some teen authors have written about nature and the sea.
Weary as I post this. ..my day job is kicking my butt! So, “5” is our theme for prompts today:
- 5 finger discount
- 5-day work week (or school week)
- giving a high-five
- Jackson Pollock’s abstract art “No. 5” (pictured here)
- Memory from age 5
Share your pompts or your product of these prompts.
Till next week, catch ya on the flip side.
…is TRACY! Congrats, Tracy! I’ve sent you an email requesting your shipping address to receive your free copy of ARIES RISING.
Thanks to all who posted comments and to Bonnie Hearn Hill for guest posting.
Today, we have a special treat! Author, Bonnie Hearn Hill offers tips for young writers in her guest post: “Six Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Out.”
Bonnie will be popping in to answer your questions! PLUS – by leaving a comment or question today (March 16) you have a chance to win the first book in her new Star Crossed Teen series: Aries Rising. ALSO!!! Scroll to the bottom for instructions on entering to win an iPod Touch. Yep, we’re all about the prizes today. Cha-ching!
Winner of Aries Rising will be announced tomorrow (Wed., 3/17)
Six Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Out
By: Bonnie Hearn Hill
1. There’s a reader out there. Writing isn’t about you, the writer. It’s about the character’s relationship with the reader. If you want to write a journal, that’s fine. You might even steal pieces of it for your “real” writing. But they are not one and the same. (Another thing I wish I’d learned is not to use orphan quotes the way I just did around the word, real.)
2. To avoid the nasty little habit of using myself as my main character just because it’s “easier.” It’s not. Readers want protagonists who are 1. proactive and 2. sympathetic. Create a character who is larger than life, someone far different from yourself. When you do this, who you are and what you believe will become clear on the page.
3. Don’t preach. Yeah, I know it’s tempting, but it doesn’t work. Readers read for four reasons: to be informed, to be instructed, to be entertained or to be inspired. The more of these tasks you accomplish, the more readers you will touch.
4. Guard your feelings. Not everyone will support your writing. Some will want to steal your time or be overly critical of your creation. Think of yourself as playing strip poker in world full of people who are dressed. Share only with those you trust, and don’t listen to anyone who tries to destroy your dreams.
5. Focus. I wish I’d learned this far earlier. Writing that succeeds is focused. Writing that falls short is not. In nonfiction, I ask myself: Who is my reader, and what do I want to tell this person? In fiction, I ask: Whose story is this, and what does this person want?
6. You don’t have to write what you know. Have you ever ridden in a spaceship or tried to escape a monster? That doesn’t mean you can’t write about a character who does. Unzip your skin, step into your character’s skin and just imagine.
Write your passion. That is the only true rule.
The Star Crossed Series
Aries Rising, March 2010
Taurus Eyes, Summer 2010
Gemini Night, Fall 2010
Your chance to free books–and maybe an iPod Touch
The Aries Rising Blog Tour & Book Giveaway continues through March 31. Destinations will be posted daily, and a free copy of Aries Rising will be given away at each one. At the conclusion of the tour, a drawing will be held for an iPod Touch. No purchase is necessary. You can enter as often as you wish, and you can qualify in three ways. 1. Be an Aries. Just send your birth date (month and day) to email@example.com. 2. Write a review and post it anywhere. Send the link to the same address. (More work, I know, and I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to spread the word about my astro series). 3. Post a fan badge on your Facebook page and send the link to above address.
Bonnie Hearn Hill worked as a newspaper editor for 22 years, a job that, along with her natural nosiness, increased her interest in contemporary culture. Prior to her new Star Crossed series from Running Press/Perseus Books, she wrote six thrillers for MIRA Books, as well as numerous short stories, nonfiction books and articles.
An interest in astrology along with her close friendship with Cosmo Magazine Astrologer Hazel Dixon-Cooper inspired the Star Crossed series: Aries Rising, Taurus Eyes, and Gemini Night.
A national conference speaker, Bonnie founded The Tuesdays, a bonded and successful writing workshop in Fresno, California, and she also teaches an occasional online class. On Fridays she meets with her private critique group (humorous astrology author Hazel Dixon-Cooper, prescriptive nonfiction writer Dennis C. Lewis, mystery novelist Sheree Petree, and musician/thriller novelist Christopher Allen Poe). What happens in those groups ranges from spontaneous applause to “getting filleted,” as Bonnie’s students and colleagues call it.