What’s Prompting You to Write?

I had a wonderful surprise last night. My youngest daughter showed up unexpectedly from Connecticut. She’ll be here for a couple days, so I’m sure we’ll have some time to catch up. The kids grow up and move. I guess that’s what they are supposed to do, but it doesn’t seem too long ago they filled the house with noise and chaos – in a good way. Okay, let’s move on.

“The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near
The winter winds will be much colder . . .” – Jeff Wayne from War of the Worlds

That pretty much sums up Central Pennsylvania this time of year. The removal of daylight savings times this weekend will even more emphasize the point. Anyway, we need to get to the point on this Wednesday Update. And the point is – writing prompts.

We all know about them and use them from time to time. A typical definition of writing prompt goes something like this. “A writing prompt is a word or two, or a very short phrase that sets your mind off on a journey that inspires your creative energy.” That may be true, but does it have to be a word or two, or a short phrase?

I relate more to visual prompts than to words. Take a look through Google Images, Pixabay, or any of the other online photo galleries. I think you’ll find a wealth of material to get the creative juices flowing. There has been more than one scene I created from a picture, so take advantage of the gift of photography.

But my favorite prompts come from music. Machan’s Tale results from the song, Ghost of a Rose. Cadyrn’s Tale is the result of the tune, Pilgrim, with lyrics by David Byron. The lyrics above from War of the Worlds inspired my story, Forever Autumn – A Short Story (https://letterpile.com/creative-writing/Forever-Autumn-A-Short-Story), and Scarborough Fair – A Short Story developed from the English folk tune by the same name (https://letterpile.com/serializations/Scarborough-Fair-A-Short-Story).

So continue with your writing prompts, but don’t neglect music and art as possibilities. You may find some things that move your story dramatically forward. Hey – that’s it. I’ll see you next week. Have a great one!



Why Write???

Here´s hoping you´ve had a great week! Mine has been rather peaceful. Peaceful is always good, don´t you think? Have you noticed how some stories seem to write themselves and others are almost painful to write.

The Marisol Deception is one of the painful ones for me. It´s been almost a year since I wrote the first words, and I´m still not done with the first draft. Ever run into that problem? It can be annoying, but yet I know I have to work through it. Give me another year and a computer that works.

So let me ask you. What´s that story that keeps nagging you and keeps you awake at night? Over the next few weeks I want to give you some things to think about before you ever put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard.

Fundamental and foundational to your book is why are you writing it at all? If you don´t know, you can bet your reader won´t either, and they probably will not get past page one.

It´s important to know why you can´t let go of the idea. Why does it drive you? Why is it pushing to get out? Why is it more prominent than other stories that pop into your mind? It´s insisting to be told, but do you know why? If you can put into words, it will show up on every page. Your reader may not be able to point to it, but it will drive them because it drives you with a solid purpose. So often writers write without a clear answer to the question why, and it shows.

So how can you find the why?

Before you write your tale, take time to write out the why. Is there an injustice you want to set right? Is there a hurt or loneliness you want to bring to life? Has something angered you? Do you want to linger on the days of innocence? Why? Why? Why are you writing the story? If you don´t clearly understand why, it will never fly with your audience. Take the time to write a page or two explaining why you are writing. Seeing it in your own handwriting will help to reinforce the idea in your mind.

Also, before you begin to write, you need to know what your goals are. We will look at that next week. For now, dig deep into the why.


Getting Away

Welcome to another Wednesday! Autumn is in full swing and the foothills are ablaze with color. The mountains shimmer in beautiful yellows and reds. A Pennsylvania autumn is like no other, and I´m fortunate to wake up to it every morning. The air is crisp and clean – a sign of things to come. It won´t be long until the winter winds will be sweeping through the valley bringing on the need for scarfs, boots, gloves, hats, and . . . well, you get the idea.

The church has been keeping me busy lately. There is always something going on with the family. Occasionally health issues surface. And of course, as has been the case for the past several weeks, I´m working with borrowed equipment, All this has slowed down my writing. Maybe that´s a good thing. There is more to life than writing, but I must admit, I´m getting a little antsy. I miss my community on HubPages. I really need to finish my present project, The Marisol Deception and so many other things. The borrowed computer lacks much of what I need to use. Anything of length would be a waste of time to try to accomplish, so I wait.

In the meantime, I´ve thought about the many authors that isolate themselves to write. Maybe it´s a cabin in the woods or a rental near the water. Maybe it´s a room on the 17th floor of a New York City hotel. Anywhere there is quiet and peace. A place that is tranquil and allows the mind to wander into uncharted territory.

I´ve not done that, but maybe it´s not a bad idea. Still, with my schedule, I doubt it will happen any time soon. But that´s okay. My life is more than full, and I´m quite happy with the way it´s going. This is the only chance I get at this thing called life, so I better make the best of it.

Anyway, I´d love to hear from you. Have you ever locked yourself away to write? How did it work for you? If not, what are your thoughts on writing in isolation? Let me know. I did an internet search on the topic but didn´t find much, so let me know your first-hand thoughts. Okay, enough said. See you next Wednesday. Have a great week!!!


Just philosophizing

Hope you have had a great week! I certainly did. Celebrating 40 years of marriage (October 18), we made a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the Bible Museum and take in Jonathan Cahn´s The Return Event. What a fantastic day!

We later traveled up north to see giant elk in their natural habitat and lastly visited the Civil War battlefield n Gettysburg, PA. To think that my feet were standing on the blood-soaked ground where brother fought against brother was a strange feeling. I was also saddened to think brother is still fighting against brother. This time, it´s not the North vs. the South but the far left vs. the right. You would think we would learn from the past, but yet it seems we never do.

Well, it´s been over a month since my computer crashed, and I´m still struggling. I´m limited to certain functions on borrowed equipment so I haven´t been able to continue writing The Marisol Deception. you may have noticed I have to skip a space to type an apostrophe. What´s up with that? No pictures or videos either.

Anyway, it got me thinking. Do you remember writing on the old typewriters? I really thought I was something when I got my first electric typewriter. It was so neat! Even though I grew up in the days of typewriters and black and white TVs, I can remember writing by hand. I began to think, there really is no excuse not to write. Then I wondered, do they still teach hand-writing in the schools? It wouldn´t surprise me if they don´t.

Have you noticed, the more conveniences we have, the busier we tend to get – or maybe it´s just me. Maybe returning to the stone age would be best. Just a thought. See you next week.