Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas from: 
The Writing Whisperer!
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
― Charles Dickens
“How many observe Christ's birthday! How few, His precepts!”― Benjamin Franklin
Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Writing Prompt: What would you be willing to sacrifice for love?


Prompt inspired by Goodreads poll:

In honor of the release of Anna Karenina, which is  now Playing in Select Theatres...Here is today's prompt.

What would you be willing to sacrifice for love? Why?
  
  
  
  

Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Writing Prompt: Happy Thanksgiving


Writing Prompt:  Make a list of all the things you are thankful for, now go back and write why you are thankful for each item on your list.  Here is the fun part, now share your list with five other people!

Happy Writing and Happy Thanksgiving!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Writing Prompt: Dialogue


The Writing Prompt for today deals with dialogue.  Why invent the wheel?  Here are twelve great exercises that you can try to make your dialogue more authentic. These exercises are all from Madam Mayo's blog.  She has kindly shared them to whet your appetite for her book on creative writing.  So here they are a dozen dialogue exercises.  Now, Start Scribbling!

Excerpt from Madam Mayo's Blog:

This is a chapter from the forthcoming ebook, C.M. Mayo on Creative Writing (Dancing Chiva Literary Arts), a selection of posts from this blog. It will be free to my writing workshopparticipants and all subscribers to my newsletter.

---> UPDATE May 2012: get your free copy of this book here. <---

One of the most powerfully vivid ways to show character, relationship, conflict and/or mood is through the use of dialogue. Herewith, one dozen five minute exercises. Use an egg-timer if you must.

#1. Sprinkle in ze French
An American who was resident in Paris for many years gives a tour of the local art museum to some friends who are mighty impressed (but do they admit it?). Write the scene with dialogue.

#2. Echoing in Dialogue
From Henry James's novel The Portrait of a Lady, here's an example of "echoing" in dialogue:
"She has offered to take her-- she's dying to have Isabel go. But what I want her to do when she gets her there is give her all the advantages. I'm sure all we've got to do," said Mrs. Ludlow, "is to give her a chance."
"A chance for what?"
"A chance to develop."
"Oh Moses!" Edmund Ludlow exclaimed. "I hope she isn't going to develop any more!"
In this example, echoing works well to show the two characters's easy going affection for one another. So, try writing a similar scene with echoing in the dialogue. If you need a prompt: a boss and his/ her ingratiating subordinate planning the new furniture arrangements for the office.


#3. Larry & Saul Bake a Cake
Larry and Saul are elderly brothers. Larry is jealous of Saul. Saul thinks Larry is full of himself. They are in Larry's kitchen making a cake. Write the scene with dialogue.

#4. The Control Freak, the Liar & the Narcissist
Three characters, all members of the same family, sit down to dinner. Show by the things they say to one another that one is a control freak, one a liar, and one a narcissist.

#5. Good Cat, Bad Cat
In a pet store: he wants a cat; she does not. Write 5 lines he could say; then, write 5 lines she could say. Briefly describe the cat in question. If you have time, write the scene.

#6. So Terrible. So Awful.
I was in the women's locker room at my health club when I overheard this scrap of dialogue:
A: "Therapists, what they charge--"
B: "Horrible, that's why I quit."
A: "So terrible."
B: "So awful."

I love the shape of this, the way the women echo the sounds and rhythms of each other's words. Notice the rhyme of "horrible" and then "terrible"; the repetition of "So" ("So terrible; "So awful.")

Another interesting aspect is B's interruption of A.

Here's the exercise: take this dialogue; add some names, descriptions, gestures, etc., and flesh out the scene. You might change "therapists" to "dentists" or, say, "contractors" or "piano teachers"--what have you.


#7. "Three Jackets, Three Men & a Joke"
Describe three jackets. Describe the three men who are wearing them. One man tells a joke. How do the other two react?

#8. "When in Rome"
Do as the Romans do: speak Italian. Have your characters, who are arguing about something (whatever you like) use some or all of the following words and phrases:

Dove? (Where?) Buona notte (Good night) Ha un gelato? (Have you any ice-cream?) una crema de barba (shaving cream) E compreso il servizio? (Is service included?) E sulla strada sbagliata (You're on the wrong road)

#9. Class Envy
Your character hates rich people. Give him 3-4 lines of really nasty dialogue. Then, in two sentences or less, identify the specific source of his feelings.

#10. ##&%#@*!!!
One of the fun things about writing fiction is that you can assume the voice of characters who would do and say all sorts of naughty, slobby things. Here's the exercise: two characters (give them names and a little description) are sitting on a back porch drinking beer. They are arguing over which is the better sports team, and a good portion of their vocabulary consists of swear words. Write the scene with dialogue.

#11. Wedding Dress Dialogue
Mother and daughter are in a changing room, before a floor-length mirror, arguing over one more wedding dress. The mother is thrilled about this wedding; the daughter is tempted to call the wedding off-- but show don't tell. That is, do not have the characters state their feelings, but show them through tone, gesture and indirect comments.Write the scene with dialogue.

#12. Sorry
Cindy, a highly educated, experienced, and competent professional, peppers her conversations with, "I'm sorry" (and then she wonders why she's not been promoted). Sketch a few scenes for Cindy with dialogue.



Help yourself to these and other exercises on dialogue, plotting, beginnings, use of imagery, specificity, synesthesia, and much more at “Giant Golden Buddha & 364 More 5 Minute Writing 

Now, Start Scribbling!

Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tips for Productive Writing-Edited September 16, 2013


Tips for Productive Writing

Check out these tips for productive writing and see if any of them work for you. Here are a few more from a young blogger, check them out, too. 

In your groups write down the following:
After reading the tips our group basically felt the to write productively it boils down to ____________________________________.  


NOW:
Take a peek at the prompt or watch watch the video entitled, Avoiding the Pitfalls of Procrastination, by Miranda July. 



Answer: Highlight to see answer...Getting rid of your distractions and simply write.

If you'd like to checkout a previous writing prompt dealing with procrastination click here.

Now, stop procrastinating and Start Scribbling!

Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing Prompt: Geometry of Circles

Writing Prompt: Geometry of Circles

View the Geometry of Circles video, created under the watchful eye of The Children's Television Network for Sesame Street.  CTN commissioned Philip Glass, the iconic composer, to create the music for the animated segment.  The film dovetails into the concept that Jim Henson examined in his  early career predating his creation of The Muppets, Visualization or Visual Thinking.

Now, for the prompt.  What is your reaction to the film?  What do you think of the music?  Does it remind you of anything?  How would you define visual thinking?  How do you think it relates to creativity?


Now, Start Scribbling!

Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Writing Prompt: Good Novel/Bad Novel

Middle School Workbook

Complete the following Exercise:

Excerpt from National Novel Writing Month's Young Novelist Workbook

Out of all the books you’ve read so far in your life, there were those that were ridiculously fun to read and some that were just about as fun as visiting the dentist on your birthday. Before you start thinking about the novel you’ll be writing this November, it’s helpful to write down what, to you, makes a book “good” (interesting, exciting, and fun to read) and what makes a book “bad” (boring, totally unbelievable, painful to read, etc.).


Good Book


Let’s start by making a list of books you love. Think about all the novels you’ve read that you couldn’t put down no matter how tired you were or how much unfinished homework was piling up all around you. In the spaces below, write down the title and author of three books you love:

1. Title

    Author

2. Title

    Author

3. Title

    Author

Now, make a list of everything you can think of that made those books so amazing. What made the characters so fascinating? What made the story events somehow believable, even if they could never happen in real life? You can be as general or as detailed as you like; include anything from “adventurous characters” to “high school drama” to “witty and natural dialogue.”

Once you have finished this list, keep it with you at all times during November. Why is this list so important? Because, as you might imagine, the things you like as a reader are going to be things you are best at writing. As you write your story, refer to this list of ingredients, and consider adding them to your novel when you're stuck for ideas or directions.

Bad Book

Now, think about all those books you’ve read or started to read that put you to sleep by theend of page one. You know, the ones that you’d rather eat a mayonnaise, peanut butter, and onion sandwich than have to read again. In the spaces below, list the title and author of three books you really did not like reading.

1. Title


    Author


2. Title

    
    Author

3. Title

    Author

Now, write a list of things that, to you, made these books so awful. Were the characters or events just too far-fetched? Did you think to yourself "I could totally have done a better job than these authors"? Again, you can be as general or as detailed as you like; include anything from “cheesy endings” to “unbelievable plot twists.” 

Just like the list of things you love in a book, keep this list with you at all times during November. It might seem strange that you would have to remind yourself of the things you dislike in novels, but these items are experts in the art of ending up in your story without you even realizing it.

Start Scribbling!

Happy NaNoWriMo!
Have a Creative Week!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Writing Prompt: Childhood Memories

Writing Prompt: Childhood Memories

View the the short film from the 1960s children's show Sam and Friends created by the masterful Jim Henson.  In the film, a pre-Sesame Street version of Kermit the Frog has an interesting exchange with Harry the Hipster.  In the episode, Harry introduces Kermit to the concept of visualization or "Visual Thinking," with jazz.  

Now, for the prompt, what TV shows made a lasting impression on you as a child?  Why?  If you don't have one, why?  What did you learn from these childhood experiences with the visual image?  Or, respond to the concept of "Visual Thinking."  Do you use it?  How?


Start Scribbling!

Happy Visual Thinking! 

The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting Book Ideas--Going Deeper

Writing Prompt:  Book Ideas?

Before you can start writing a book you need to have a book idea.  Listen to Robin Rices's advice on crafting a book idea:


Now, for your Writing Prompt:  Brainstorm as many book ideas as possible.  Don't edit your thoughts.  Be creative.  Ready, Set, Write!

Now, time for some collaboration, take your list and share it with someone.  Have them tell you which idea they really like and why.  See if you can develop this idea into a novel.

Start Scribbling!

Happy NaNoWriMo!
Have a Creative Weekend!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!
Happy NaNoWriMO! 

Writing Prompt: Time Piece

Writing Prompt: Time Piece
View the trailer for Time Piece, which is introduced on Brain Pickings as follows:
"The nature and mystery of time is a subject of long-running scientific fascination, but what about its subjective, abstract nature? In 1964, exactly a decade after creating his original Muppets for Sesame Street predecessor Sam + Friends, Jim Henson wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a short experimental film titled Time Piece, exploring in a visceral way the effect time-keeping has on all of us. It premiered on May 6, 1965 at the Museum of Modern Art and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1966."
After viewing the excerpt from the film, write your reaction.  What do you think the creator, Jim Henson, is saying about time?  How do you think of time? 

Please Note:  If you haven't checked out Brain Picking's site, you are missing out!



Start Scribbling!

Have a Creative Weekend!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Writing Prompt: Why do you want to write a book?

In honor of NaNoWriMo, we will examine the question:  So you want to write a book?  Watch the video.  Now, read the prompt.

Writing Prompt: Why do you want to write a book?  What fiction sub-genre will your book fall under?  Write a three-five sentence summary of your book.

Start Scribbling!

Happy NaNoWriMo Month!
Have a Creative Weekend!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

NaNoWriMo Week 1 November 1-4, 2012

Participant 180x180 (2)

Writing Prompt Week 1 of NaNoWriMO.  
Watch the video.  Now, describe your progress this week.   What was your biggest success with regard to writing?  What was your biggest failure?  What is your plan for the coming week? No Plan?  Why?  Finally, what was your word count for the week?
  

Whiney Writer does NaNoWriMo from Anna-Maria Crum on Vimeo.

Stop procrastinating and Start Scribbling!

Happy NaNoWriMo Month!
Have a Creative Weekend!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Writing Prompt: The Ideal Bookshelf

Writing Prompt:  The Ideal Bookshelf

Watch the video entitled Painting an Ideal Bookshelf by Jane Mount.


Painting an Ideal Bookshelf from Jane Mount on Vimeo.

Now, rather than paint your bookshelf, describe in writing, what your ideal bookshelf would look like.  How many books would the shelf contain?  What authors would be included?  Why?  Which authors would you exclude?  Why?

Now, Start Scribbling!


Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

NaNoWriMo Day 2





Introduction to NaMoWriMo:



NaNoWriMo from Husky Headlines on Vimeo.


Five Writing Tips for NaNoWriMo:


If you would like to start scribbling with NaNoWriMo sign-up today, it's not too late!  The National Novel Writing Month starts November 1 and ends November 30, but it is only day two, so sign-up now!  Good Luck!

Start Scribbling!

Happy National Novel Writing Month!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Writing Prompt: What's Their Story


Writing Prompt:  Find a picture of an interesting person or notice someone, while you are out-and-about shopping, and take a "mental picture" of them, or if these two options don't work for you, use our image for this post.

Now, here is the prompt.  Think back to when you played "I SPY" as a child.  Using this premise, create a character based on your person.  Answer the question: What is their story?  Create as much detail for your character as you can as you embellish on their "LIFE STORY"!

Having trouble getting started?  Take a gander at these questions, in order, to get your creative writing juices flowing!

What is their full name?
What is their occupation?
What is their age?
What is their height?
What is their weight?
What is their body type?
What is the shape of their face?
What is their complexion?
What is the shape, size, and color of their eyes?
What is the length and color of their hair?
What is their style of dress?
What is their voice like?  
What is their style of speaking?
What is their demeanor?
What is their best quality?
What is their worst quality or weakness?
What is their talent?
What is their hobby?
What is their family life like?

Having trouble?  Watch the video:



More explanation: Click HERE

Now, that you have created your character, let your character jump into a story of your own creation!

Start Scribbling!

Happy Writing!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Note: The Writing Whisperer has to offer a big Thank You to Always A Lesson for the genesis of this writing prompt. 


NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

Excerpt from NaNoWriMo Site:

What is NaNoWriMo? 
National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It's a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.
In 2011, 250,000 adults participated through our main site, and 50,000 young writers participated through the YWP.
Pep Talk for NaNoWriMo:  

Five Easy Steps for NaNoWriMo


If you would like to start scribbling with NaNoWriMo sign-up today, it's not too late!  The National Novel Writing Month starts November 1 and ends November 30!  Good Luck!

Start Scribbling!


Happy National Novel Writing Month!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! From, The Writing Whisperer!

Happy Halloween!  
From, 
The Writing Whisperer!


Writing Prompt:  Take a peek at Open Culture's link to the quintessential vampire film, Nosferatu, which Open Culture describe as follows:
"F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent feature adapts Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but just loosely enough so that it could put its own stamp on the myth and not actually have to pay for rights to the novel. Jonathan and Mina Harker? Now Thomas and Ellen Hutter. Jonathan’s boss Renfield? Now a fellow named Knock. Count Dracula, to whose vast and crumbling estate Renfield sends the hapless Jonathan? Now Count Orlok — and unforgettably so. We can post no more relevant endorsement ofNosferatu‘s enduring value than to say that it remains scary, or at least eerie, to this day. I defy any sophisticated modern viewer to spend All Hallows’ eve with this picture and not come away feeling faintly unsettled."
After viewing the film, write your own review or your reaction to the film.  Better yet, write your short story inspired by this classic silent film.


Start Scribbling!

Happy Halloween!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

What is the Office of Letters and Light?


View the video to discover just what the Office of Letters and Light is all about!



Join forces with the Office of Letters and Light to again participate in NaNoWriMo, November 1-30, 2013!  Start Scribbling your novel, today or should we say tomorrow!


Happy NaNoWritMo!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Writing Prompt: Inspired by Neil Gaiman and Edgar Allan Poe-The Unreliable Narrator!


Happy Halloween, One Day Early!

Edgar Allan Poe
Image Credit: The Library of Congress
Writing Prompt: The Unreliable Narrator

Listen to the interview with Neil Gaiman:
Neil Gaiman on Poe, Parrots, Unreliable Narrators, and the magic of reading aloud:


Now, create your own scenario or full fledged story with your very own unreliable narrator!

Now, Start Scribbling!

Have a Spooky Writing Day!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Writing Prompt: Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"-Updated December 15, 2013


Writing Prompt: Listen to Christopher Walken reading Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven." 


Now, see if you can create a repeating line which you would then use in your own poem or short story to create the same type of SPOOKY, CHILLING effect that Poe has created in his poem, "The Raven."


Edgar Allan Poe
Image Credit: The Library of Congress

Other Raven Interpretations:

"The Raven: Lou Reed’s Adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe, Illustrated by Italian Artist Lorenzo Mattotti" by Maria Popova:  Click Here


A graphic novel "meant to be heard in the mind."

Now, Start Scribbling!
Have a Spooky Writing Day!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Writing Prompt: Happy Birthday, Sylvia Plath!

Writing Prompt: Today's Prompt is inspired by, what would have been, Sylvia Plath's 80th birthday!  Read the quote or listen to Sylvia Plath read "A Birthday Present" and respond.  What do you think of the quote?  The poem? Both?  

Sylvia Plath
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”
― Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath Reads "A Birthday Present"


Read the excerpt below from Open Culture's tribute to Sylvia Plath on, what would have been, her 80th Birthday:
[Joyce Carol] Oates called Plath 'our acknowledged Queen of Sorrows, the spokeswoman for our most private, most helpless nightmares.' The poem above, “A Birthday Present,” is one of the private and nightmarish poems collected in Ariel. Plath wrote it just over half a century ago as she was contemplating the approach of her 30th birthday, and something darker. The recording is from a BBC broadcast in December of 1962, only two months before Plath’s death. (You can read the text as you listen.) In his 1966 forward to the first U.S. edition of Ariel, the poet Robert Lowell made the following assessment of Plath: 'Suicide, father-hatred, self-loathing–nothing is too much for the macabre gaiety of her control. Yet it is too much; her art’s immortality is life’s disintegration. The surprise, the shimmering, unwrapped birthday present, the transcendence “into the red eye, the cauldron of morning,” and the lover, who are always waiting for her, are Death, her own abrupt and defiant death.'"
Start Scribbling!

Have a Creative Weekend!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Most Have Book for Writers

Common Errors in English Usage
I rarely take a Grammar Girl podcast live without at least quadruple-checking my main thesis, and Common Errors in English Usage has quickly become one of my most valued fact-checking resources. When the corners of this book are worn off, the spine is broken, and the fuzzy edges are spiked with Post-it notes marking your most used pages, don't forget to write Brians a note of thanks. By distilling reams of rules and opinions into a usable, entertaining reference book, he's made all our lives a little easier.
—Mignon Fogarty (“Grammar Girl”) 
Don't take our word that Common Errors in English Usage is a must have tool for writers, just read the glowing endorsements by Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, and NPR's Scott Simon who both say this is a must have resource, or better yet listen to what folks are saying by clicking the video below.  You can bet your bottom dollar we have a copy headed our way.  If you want to read more about this  book check out Common Errors in English Usage 
I’d call Paul Brians’ book incredible, fabulous, or fantastic, except thanks to him, I know now that none of those words are what I really mean. Let’s just say thatCommon Errors in English Usage is the most cheerfully useful book I've read since the Kama Sutra.—Scott Simon, National Public Radio


Have a Creative Weekend!
The Writing Whisperer
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of the Written Word!