Friday, February 28, 2014

Write a Thriller

Begin with a visual cue. Develop conflict and drama by writing about an sense of something inside the crawl space. Make it uncomfortable and creepy.  

Is something or someone trapped there?

Create a backdrop for a situation that needs solving.  Include details to involve the readers with all their senses.

Something happened. Someone watched. Someone will find out about it.

By chance, someone discovers . . .

The screams drew her there  . . .

Something didn't feel right about 

the odor . . .

Then an unusual . . . draws him toward . . .

Include a symbol or an object in the opening scene. Let it serve as a metaphor for what occurs in the story. Will a reappearance of this symbol at the conclusion of the story satisfy readers?

Collect images that create a sense of foreboding. Excite the goosebumps to rise.

An odd odor, sounds of water, creaking wood.

Disclose potential details.

A hose leads . . .

Plunk readers into the action.

Consider how a character might reveal information through dialogue. 

Bring in an investigator and allow details of the situation to unfold in unpredictable ways.

Reveal clues which suggest both physical and psychological aspects of your scene.

Let the description unfold  to sustain suspense and promote interest.

Change the scene.  What washes up on the rocks? Does the sand reveal a clue?

Make a connection to a . . .

Surprise, amuse and amaze.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Travel that includes the Write Life

When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. Things will happen to us so that we don't know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in. 
 - D.H.  Lawrence

Travel adventures stimulate a trip into discovering more about the self. A mountain path entices with turns to arouse wonder. The way provides challenges of rocks and ruts. A traveler uses all the senses and never forgets to look up beyond leaves and branches.

A voyage into international paths awakens an awareness of the joys and challenges individuals encounter.

At times, we become set in our ways and dwell in automatic when our purpose, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, is "to taste experience to the utmost."

Including a Write Life during a travel adventure energizes experience, wonder and astonishment.

Travel in writing breaks outmoded ways of thinking. 

Write into what you search for. Ask what mystifies and thrills. Let your fingers escort you with a pen or computer keys.

Discover your true self. Delve into the discomfort caused by boredom and boundaries.

Express the textures of language and delights of food.

Wander into the wilderness to connect with your Write Life. Vary your speed and distance covered without a focus on the destination.

Write to escape and let the "unlying life" rush in.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Write About Free Will

When John-Paul Sartre explained his concept of existential angst, he used the metaphor of vertigo. If you walk along a mountain path and sense a feeling of vertigo, you're not afraid you will fall off.  You're more concerned that you will decide to jump.

Free will causes fear because it means freedom to change radically in the future. The freedom to do what you want later becomes freedom to end present desires.

Dan Brooks wrote, "Getting a tattoo may be a way for your past self to dominate your present self, but getting sick of your tattoo is a way for your present self to betray your past."

If you decide to start writing right now but receive a phone call about a movie date, free will clicks in. You decide you can write tomorrow.  Then, half way into the movie, you realize you actually wanted to write.  Guilt sets in causing angst. The question of who is in charge becomes complicated.

Creative Write:  Write about a time of choice in your life.  Or, write about a person who has to make a choice to stop a bad habit.  He or she may wish but free will takes over.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Write Your Top Ten

Practice the details of the above nine.

Show a positive thought.
Which exercise energizes you?
Describe the tastes of healthy eating.
Write into a work situation.
What does strength sound like?
How will you hassle worry into fun?
Show a dance.
Reveal love in three ways.
Do you have a word to replace Happy?

Write your own Top Ten in details.  What do your items reveal about you?  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Write to Show the Experience


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird -
equal seekers of sweetness.

Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums,
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
                                - Mary Oliver

In the above poem of five lines, Mary Oliver describes her love of life. She notices details.

If she omitted the first line, would we understand her intent by the title and subjects chosen?

In another poem she writes, "The luna moth, who lives but a few days, sometimes only a few hours, has a pale green wing whose rim is like a musical notation."

Here she makes a comparison many might miss. She avoids abstractions and sticks to details to let the reader experience her message.

Choose three poems by favorite poets or select your own work.

Does the title do enough work in each piece?

Do some lines tell the reader too much?

Consider how the poems lead the reader or reveal information in metaphor or sensory imagery.

Creative Write:

Begin a poem by noticing what you love most in the natural world.

Write the lines to connect an emotional understanding with a discovery.

Let the title pique curiosity about the subject.

Avoid telling the reader what to experience.  Let the unfolding of words achieve the emotion.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fingerpaint with words of color

Search for unusual names for colors to add a layer of meaning to your writing. Choose teal, magenta, chartreuse, tangerine, or persimmon.   Discover names from house paint colors or fingernail polish.

After you have collected ten names, invent five of your own.

Brilgeen expresses green with a sheen.  Try for wrigglepink, or silvurple.

Fingerpaint with words and add musicality.  Sing them like a warblblue.

Use colors to define trust, joy, siliness and remembrance. Lead the reader into a narrative of discovery of each emotion without writing its name.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Write to Erase

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. ~Meister Eckhar

Waves ease or crash to shore. They erase textures and seaweed on the sand or soak in. Water and foam blend when the set arrives.

The cliffs along a shoreline show renewal in stages.  Rocks release, sand rolls to the beach.

How do we erase tension and relent to life's moments?

Writing without a destination frees the
mind from expectation.

Mysteries arrive.

Frustrations vanish
behind us.

Upward in blue, clouds mimic the wave action.

Whites clump, drift and erase their moves.

Sea and sky transport beyond ordinary thought.

Sycamore branches provide views of the world in fresh and unanticipated ways.

Creative Write:  Write to erase frustrations with words.

Release. Relent. Rediscover.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Write into Simple

How much I desire
Inside my little satchel
the moon and flowers
                - Basho

Get ready for spring with an uncluttering.

What if you reduced your complex world to simple necessities?  Which areas of life would you work on first?

Begin with two that you cannot do without.  Then consider reduction in other areas to create smooth simplicity.

Could you clear your closet of clothes?  Why let unworn clothing hang around?  Wear what you love.

Choose an emotional part of life to unclutter.

Move into your basic needs and add what gives you joy as you write about simple necessities. Include a
strength like courage or trust.

Do you notice a poem or personal essay peeking from the writing flow?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Write Daily Life

Observe for a time
any intersection.
Notice a blue Mercedes coup
roll past
the line at the Stop sign.
A tan Buick turns left.
Yells. Hand gestures
to the air.
Shimmery in silver, a Honda
honks at a bicyclist
in his rightful lane.
White Ford driver
smiles at the lady
in pink-flowered pants,
lets her cross at the
sign of green man walking.
What happens
once these colors
have left
the intersection?

Creative Write:  Observe behavior today.  Does a poem arrive?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Inventions of Childhood

I marveled at birds in flight. With a sheet above my head, I jumped from a tree surprised at landing so soon. The intrigue of creatures that wriggled under rocks held my attention.

Tadpoles grew legs in our pond. Their bodies bulged into bug-eyed frogs.

At night I opened watches and dismantled radios.  I had an idea about how to unroll the top of a soda can. Then the pop top arrived.  My curiosity grew and knew no bounds.

Do you recall flying a paper airplane or floating a handmade boat?

Could you disassemble a clock or radio to see how it worked?

Think of ways you planned something outrageous or courageous.  

Go back in time and regain the thrill of a discovery.

Creative Write: Return to a moment when you advanced your mind and took a risk without help or the benefit of anyone else's direction. What did you invent or discover by yourself?

When you return to the child's mind of adventure, how will you write about it today?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ode to Body Parts

. . . my feet were two fish made of wool,
two long sharks
sea blue, shot through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons,
my feet were honored in this way
by these heavenly socks.
They were so handsome for the first time
my feet seemed to me unacceptable
like two decrepit firemen,
firemen unworthy of that woven fire,
of those glowing socks.
 - from Ode to my Socks by Pablo Neruda

An ode praises a person or object in ten lines. The Greeks used rhyme in irregular meter.  The English ode has 10-line stanzas that repeat and rhyme in the format of ABABCDECE.

Write to a body part that you take for granted.  An ear, a big toe, an elbow or knee might inspire a poem.  What do they need from you?

Choose a muscle with a musical quality like a rhomboid, intercostal, deltoid, or quadriceps.

Use the prompts below to generate ideas.  Play and make humor reign. Don't worry about format.

Ode to a body part:

l.    Salute it
2.   Describe its qualities.
3.   How does the part make you feel and why?
4.   Add a frustration
5.   What would you prefer in its place?
6.   Detail shape, color, texture
7.   What talent results from it?
8.   If it ran away how would you mourn?
9.   Would you exchange it for a different part?
10.  How would you write a want ad?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Humorize Your Dark Side

Do you negotiate with yourself? How does it go?

In what ways do you keep your inner gremlin from taking over?  Or, do you want a partial take over at times?

Create a dialogue with your dark side. Use humor to tease and tame the beast . . . or not.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Write What's Mistaken

I drive the muted miles from St. Paul
and listen to a trumpet on the radio
It cries to the stars.
Even the emptiness is trembling.
                  - Tim Young

Young writes about how he searches each word for everyone's ache. He opens a dark beauty from the smallest grain of grief, the way the ant works on the peony.

Notice the drops on the rose. Observe an insect trapped or nourished by the dew.

How often do we misunderstand what we see? What is mistaken in the emptiness?

Write about an event that you misinterpreted from another perspective.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Write About Opening

 “Openness is like the wind. If you open your doors and windows, it is bound to come in.” 
Chögyam Trungpa

Life presents challenges in an all-to-rapid world. Everyone rushes when taking time to pause will provide an opening to the moment.  

When one pauses, the moment reveals itself for creativity.

We awaken each morning to a bud ready to reveal.  Let the petals unfurl to discover hidden delights. 

Write a series of openings.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Write About Romance For Valentine's Day

Writers have mused and muddled about relationships for centuries.

Have you written a story or poem about romance?

Try a different point of view.

Mustang Love

Spill- a-minute,
in wild
of flesh and hug.
Climb back on
cool down.
Never a taming.
          - Penny Wilkes

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Write the Rattles of Daily Music

Many voices exist where you reside. Collect and collate them.

Begin with awakening in the morning.

Listen for familiar creaks and groans of your room and around the area where you live.

Hear bird song, a rustle in trees. Discover engine noise from airplanes, cars and trucks. Mechanical grating and grinding abound.

The radio and television, computers, and cellphones add instruments of sound to the day.

Make up words to describe the sounds and noise.  Dreedle. Cheep. Grunch. Graff.

After the observations move into silence.

Creative Write: Write the rattle of daily music.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Design Words with Details

Writers learn to become observant omnivores. We take in stimuli with a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, scents, tastes and textures. Words arise from taste buds and fingertips that Braille the edges of life. In this way, ideas percolate and incubate awaiting a time to slip into the next word brew.

If you wish to gain the reader's attention, expressing an abstract word such as beautiful does not communicate the idea. Why and how is beautiful?  Reveal it like a photographer or painter.  Design in details.

How do you see into a rose for beautiful and express its qualities?  Do the ridges appear like fans or curtains and then what? Where is the scent?   Does the sound of dew hitting the rose ping or pop or snuggle amidst the petals?

Sense of focus and specificity intrigue. Express the opposite of beauty also to enrich the experience.  Create an image that reveals a judgment.  Would you include weeds that blossom and stretch themselves beyond the concrete?

Notice where metaphorical thinking connects to a secret inside not yet explored. Trace the ridges and boundaries. Delve into the center. Unfold, release, relent to your imagination.

Creative Write.  Spend a day studying a detail in nature from all  your senses.  See its opposites
What is the story waiting to unfold?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Words. Woords. Woo. rds. ds. S S S S

Words surround us. They badger, bother and bewilder. We blink.

Stop signs challenge drivers. Often they don't stop. They roll.

Advertisements overwhelm us to buy something we don't need.

What do words offer when shimmied and shambled in nuance?

Imagine challenging the words on this page.

Where would they take you?

What does a chance look like?

How does a hug sound?

If you took a smile to dinner, what would it exclaim?

How is a taste of Positivity?

What does LOVE ?

Fear-less? Would you roar like a lion?

Does an alligator fear?

Play with words and meanings.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Write

What's the fear of winter beyond the bite of cold air?   While we wait for spring, nature reveals the landscape in an array of bare bones.  Auxins have drained into sycamores' roots and squirrels scamper to store their cache of nuts. 

Everything moves into its simple form as a gesture for us to follow.

Search for your skeletal soul where ideas percolate and words wrap in layers. Creation continues in the exhalation of trees sculptured by the season's challenges. Creativity thrives in the spaces among the skeleton of branches.

How the words of winter entice with their requests for ways to adorn the emptiness.  This begins the search for mysteries in your own enrichment and growth that will blossom by spring.

Revel in this time just before the season's change into spring.  It provides an opportunity to consider the basics. The slower pace stimulates a search inward.

Creative Write: Call on your winter courage. Get to the basics of your writing as art. Use a winter theme to explore what weighs you down. What will it feel like to remove the excess and rest in silence?  Write about the skeletal beginnings of your art.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Become a Sleuth of Sensory

Set yourself on a journey as a detective of details.Try a day of mind-less-ness to understand mind-fulness.You'll discover ways to avoid worry and fret less. Let the brain stray from its monkey madness. Observe consuming thoughts and let them float away. 

Carry a notebook all day. Notice the shapes, sizes and connections of items you encounter. 

Don't include anxieties or judgments. Move into a focus on concrete imagery, specifics, and the senses. 

Become deliberate. Open your awareness to observe moment-to-moment experiences. 

Take in the scents that swirl in the air.

Taste your food with attention to sweet, sour, texture and aroma. Pull the straying mind away from distractions.

Listen - really listen to conversations without interrupting. Take in sounds of nature and the mechanical world. Feel warm and cool breezes and your body's reactions. Breathe with intention and observe the breath.

When you have gathered your perceptions, do a freewrite without referring to the notebook's list. Use a pen that flows in a color across the page. 

Notice how the day has percolated into your senses and through your fingers to decorate the paper.


Continue to pursue moments in movement. Become a sleuth of sensory to add to your writing skills.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Write Beyond the Negatives!

“The components of anxiety, stress, fear, and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do.” ~ Wayne Dyer

In the world of insects, birds, trees and flowers, emotions in abstract do not exist. Nature's responses work for the benefit of each individual plant or animal. Actions and adaptations make their lives happen.

Why do we feel anxious? What do feelings of stress, fear and anger provide?

What would the opposites do to assist us to achieve balance?

Assess your potential for adaption and change.

Think of three skills. How have you used these possibilities to move past anxiety?

List three actions you have used to conquer fear.

Write about anger and its reciprocal action.

Notice how emotions and frustrations can change by approaching the opposite actions in words.

Change your approach and write beyond negativity.