Sunday, December 22, 2013

Things to Try

If you haven't yet, may I suggest your broaden your life experience by trying some of these ideas?

1. drink half and half right out of the carton (after you've tried this, try it again and add chocolate syrup)
2. send a helium balloon to a total stranger at the hospital and sign it anonymously
3. buy wild bird food and toss it all over the ground where you don't mind if some of it sprouts
4. learn a simple new instrument
5. put cheerful stickers on your next electric bill if you still live where they need to be mailed
6. compliment the name of a telephone customer service representative
7. pay for a stranger's dinner anonymously at a restaurant
8. double the normal tip next time you eat out
9. send greeting cards to every resident at a local nursing home
10. donate free copies of your next book to a library or a school

Don't just get out of your groove, destroy your groove! Why should we live in a rut?

Write on!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Nother Bit of Fiction

The creature lightly flapped its delicate wings and flitted around the room, gracefully settling on the end of his toes as he wiggled them under the quilt.

"Am I dreaming?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.

"You tell me," said the fairy in a crystalline voice. Her blue curls wrapped around her forehead like a scarf. Her clothing draped and fluttered about like the garb of a ballet professional. "Am I a dream?"

"If you are, you're a right good one," he chuckled, wiping his face on the back of his arm in a vain effort to banish sleepiness.

**********

That's all. Write on! Where can you go with this story line?

No copyrights here!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bit of Fiction

The witch hissed. It was unexpected, not because we didn't know her to be unfriendly, nor yet because we thought her incapable of sound. No, its unexpectedness was due to one thing. One thing only, my friend: we thought she had left for the day.

With the property vacated we thought we had the run of the woodlands for the remainder of the sun's trek from east to west. Now however, with her crooked stained teeth sneering from beneath her black and tattered scarf, we thought it good to back away and to seek shelter in an underlying bush.

Her foot started to slip. The loose rocks on that steep embankment threatened to roll her right down into the ravine. As she streaked on by I grabbed out and caught an ankle, breaking her fall. She clawed at the undergrowth, dead leaves flying up by the dozens. Screeches fled her lips.

"It's your fault! Let go of me! You're hurting my leg!"

I didn't know if it pained her more to simply be in contact with the hand of a Christian, or if it stung her pride to be helped by one. I knew I didn't want to let her fall to her death. Not because the idea of silencing her rude behavior didn't appeal to me, for it most certainly did. I wasn't letting go because her surviving daughter, the younger witch, would most certainly sue me for a wrongful death. Maybe also somewhere in the back of my head I thought she might someday be salvaged, turned into a halfway decent neighbor. I wrestled her to her feet and dragged her to the top of the cliff, my ears ringing with her protests. I set her down on the edge of the road not a hundred feet from her house. Then I turned on my heel and walked away briskly, abandoning her to her own angry howls.

Thump, thump, thump. I heard her limping after me. I stopped and unveiled a small Bible I kept hidden in my pocket. She halted, lurched, and snarled angrily like a rabid bobcat.

"Why can't you be reasonable?" I asked. "I wish you no harm. I have done you no harm. Let's live and let live. Can't we?"

................................................

Write on! Use any of this. No copyrights here!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Labels

Ever think up more interesting labels for the things you commonly use every day?

Pickles = green edibles in a bottle
Soda = bubbly effervescent sweet stuff
Dog = four footed furry friendly one
Sofa = end of day resting place
Blanket = warmth increasing insulator
Pencil = wood encased carbon scribbler


Can you think of more?

Write on!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Inspirational Sneaky Tricks

1. Put your real life enemy, carefully disguised, into the story, and bring about a comeuppance for him or her.

2. Elevate someone whom you think in real life possesses virtue to the level of hero, queen, or magician in your plane of myth and fantasy. Again, make sure either the person is okay with you doing this or you have very cleverly disguised him or her so that he or she can't guess about whom you are speaking.

3. Long lost love? Lost friend? Deceased pet? Honor them or resurrect them and plant them firmly in your tale to exist again and anew in the minds of your readers.

Or you could modify these steps and have your mortal enemy defeated by your virtuous hero with the help of your resurrected pet. Or your long lost friend found by the queen with the help of your mortal enemy who turns out begrudgingly to need something he or she can only obtain with your cooperation. Maybe he or she can even turn into a friend in your tale, as happens often in my favorite holiday stop motion animated classics.

Listen carefully to the most important secret sneaky trick of all. You ready? Here it is.



WRITE!!!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Past Failures, Present Successes

Did you ever find a lost object by looking all over till you discovered its location? You could rightly say you found it by identifying all the places where it wasn't. The same is true with your writing. If something fails, tweak it and send it back out again. It may succeed. Most of all, take note of why you think it failed so your tweaks will become more effective.

Some of the best known stories in the world were classed as failures at their first reading, either by editors or by well meaning friends. Since this site is copyright free I will not mention any names, but the point is this: Never give up.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Writing Poorly to Write Well

Sometimes it's good exercise to write something silly and easy just to get in a little extra wordsmithing practice. Here's an example:

"The bouncing birds, black of wing, hardly ever stop to sing.
Rolling bears, round of paws, snuffle with enormous jaws.
When the mountains rose above, hearts aflame with blazing love,
Climbed the peaks with boots to grip
Past the rising freezy slip."

Nonsense! Foolish silly stuff. But it thaws the writer's block so you can get on with what you really want to do.

And what is that? Do you know what you want to do?

Okay, now do it!

Write on!

Use anything from this site. No copyrights here!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Respect for All

Imagine this scenario:

You are wildly gifted and extremely talented. You can do things with words that leave others full of wonder and gratitude. You also, naturally, appreciate the work of other artists, knowing that you are not the only one in possession of this delightfully savory ability.

You see an agent who appears to be a good representative for another successful author, and you ask him or her if he or she knows any young agents that would like a job. He replies that he doesn't. You again express concern that you find the person you need to help you with your work, and he promptly snubs and ignores you.

Now there can be two reactions to this scenario. Yes, it stings to have someone treat you with disdain when you are a very good writer and a very hard worker. But you can

a. sulk about it
b. get off your seat and get going with your work. Prove him wrong. Make your name shine in lights that outdo the person he chose to represent.

Don't get discouraged. Don't let the razor sharp words or the arrogant snubs of others get you down. Use them as a springboard to drive you forward. Let your scribblings shine ever truer in a world that hungrily eats every crumb when you know how to cook up a really good recipe for revenge: living well.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Capture It!

What shall we have our characters capture? Why do they need to capture it?

A magic unicorn? Why? Why do they desperately need a wish granted?

A wild stallion? What will it help them accomplish?

A dove? A rabbit? A deer? What do they need these for?

The dove could carry a message. Rabbits and deer usually end up as campsite food in stories. Maybe the deer is a caribou. Would we have our hero train it like a pack animal or ride it like a pony?

Capture the runaway steers, the escaped convict, the lost lambs. Capture important papers before they are carried away by a roguish wind. Capture the runaway hot air balloon with a helpless person in its basket. Capture the fleeting heart of a doubting person who can't seem to find his or her way back home. Capture the model boat whose string snapped, leaving its owner tear stained on the river bank. Capture the raft before it reaches a waterfall. Capture a fish for a pet or for your dinner. Above all capture the readers while you set about obtaining whatever else your characters are after. Make their minds want to stay with your story or your series.

Write on!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Break It and Put It Back Together

A happy family is separated and the rest of the story is about how they strive to be reunited.

Two loves are separated and the rest of the story tells about their struggle to reunite.

A dog has wandered away from his family and the rest of the story describes their frantic search for him and his longing to reunite with them.

A selfish sinner runs away from Providence, and the rest of the story is about how he is eventually restored and reunited with his conscience, with his fellow human beings, and with love.

Sound familiar?

How many stories really are about breaking something apart and subsequently putting those pieces back where they belong? How does the plot build? What does the reader really want to know? How they will get back together? Whether or not they will get back together? Build on that. Stretch it. Let them almost make it and let them fail. Get your audience biting their figurative fingernails.

Now get to it. Write on!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rhyme Time

Beet, beat, cheat, feat, feet, greet, heat, meet, meat, neat, peat, seat, treat, wheat......

Okay, that's A thru Z in things that end in the "eat" sound. Now to weave them into work.

I once beat a beet to receive the red stain
A feat without cheat into which I drained
Under heat, mixed with meat, with some wheat and grain
A treat so complete that no hunger remained

When I greet the feet of my hungry crew
And seat them, neat, in a row or two
And serve them the mixture I cooked and grew
They delight at the taste of my homemade stew!

*****


Original, fresh, and served.

Okay, so I left out "peat." It didn't fit this rhyme. Whatever isn't useful can be saved for another day.

Now I challenge you: word play! Find an ending, list the possible combinations, and weave them.

Write on!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Traps

How many different kinds of traps can you think of? Let's make up a character named Alonzo, and put him into several different kinds of trap situations to see what we can create.

"Alonzo suddenly found his foot rising high above his head, and with a sudden sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach he flew into an upside down position, dangling from a jingling rope attached to a bouncy supple tree limb."  SNARE

"Alonzo yelped as the floor beneath him caved. Leaves flew upward; the ground swallowed him in a single gulp. 'Are you okay down there?' asked Flora. 'Why are your eyes glowing?' she added. 'Those aren't my eyes,' he replied. 'I'm okay, but I think I surprised this tiger.'" TRAP DOOR/PIT

"The realization dawned slowly. There were walls on three sides: north, west, and east. Behind him raced the thirty armed thieves; ahead loomed the shade of unsympathetic rock." BOX CANYON

These are just three examples. Think of more. A large cage could fall on your hero. An army or a pack of wild animals could surround him. He could become entangled in a rope, in glue or tar or molasses or some other substance; he could get lost in a maze, in a jungle, or in an endless field or desert.  What else can you think of?

Write on!





Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Channel Your Inner Rage

What made you the angriest you've ever been in your life? How angry were you? For how long? What did you wish you could do about it?

Now: is there any way you can channel this energy, this fervent wish and feeling, into a story?

For example:

"Sebastian was vexed. Not only did his favorite wand break, but it also left a gluey mess upon the floor of the cave, which had trailed after him as his multicolored garment dipped into it like a long multicolored paintbrush. It was now impossible to remove, and glowed with an annoying light both day and night."

Perhaps this imagination was poured from the chalice of this situation:

"Fred was mad. His favorite television remote fell apart in his hand and leaked battery acid on the carpet, eating little holes here and there. And the holes weren't in inconspicuous places, either. No, they were right in the middle of the floor where everyone could see them. Everyone, including his wife. Even with the lights out and a dim TV the only luminescence in the room, they could still be seen."

Though this is more of a frustration than a fervent seething anger, the point remains the same: real circumstances translate nicely into fictitious situations and lend a taste of credibility to which your readers will relate.

Write on!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Maximize the Danger

The key when danger enters a story is not to let it drag on too long, for your reader will become disinterested or frustrated. Neither do you want the danger to go away too quickly in most cases, because while your characters are in danger you have the reader's utmost attention. The ideal duration must often be learned by experience. Have you ever watched a movie wherein the duration of a dangerous situation led you to believe you had better find something else to watch because your body didn't have enough adrenalin to keep up with it for so long? Even horror flicks know the trick to a good tale is to have quiet, safe pauses between the more active pieces of script in order to allow viewer adrenalin to revamp. The mind shuts off if there is no letup.

If  your endangered characters are saved too quickly or too easily the audience may give you a well deserved yawn. Draw it out a bit. Play with it. Cat and mouse it a little. Duck and dodge, fight and fight again, keeping in mind that you must neither push too much nor let go too soon.

And that is all. If I were to go on, I might achieve a well deserved yawn.  Write on!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Secret Compartments

Human beings like to explore secret compartments, and we like to find treasures. If you were a cantankerous, feisty Aunt with a gift for humor, where would you hide your artifacts if you bequeathed your house to your niece?

A. Above a ceiling tile
B. Behind the wall trim
C. In an extra unknown compartment of a built-in chest of drawers
D. Behind the pegboard in the garage
E. At the back of an old rusty cabinet
F. Underneath a hollow tree stump
G.In a piece of discarded drain pipe in the tool shed

As you can see these are only a small share of the ideas for hiding places. The world is full of mystery.

Write on!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Can't Get Rid of....

Today's challenge: create a pest!

Ever have a stray dog follow you everywhere? How about a person? Ever know anyone who talked too much, way too much? Ever think you got away from someone, only to turn about and find him or her right behind you?

What sorts of things do pests do? A pest is not unfriendly, but rather annoying and amorous. If he or she were unfriendly your character would simply dismiss him or her, or ask the person to leave. Make your character feel genuinely guilty about getting rid of the pest (or wanting to do so), and genuinely plagued at his or her presence.

In a turn of plot, will your pest save the day? What will the pestilence do to redeem its place in your tale?

Write on! No copyright here. Let's get scribbling!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Running Out of Time

Bill was panting. He pushed his legs forward against their dull swinging aches. His side cramped as if it were gripped by cold, strong fingers, and his saliva was beginning to thicken on the back of his tongue as he breathed gulps of raw, frigid air that dried his teeth. He was slowing down; he knew that, but his will to force himself forward did not match his ability to do so.

They were gaining on him quickly. In two minutes or less they would have him. The unthinkable outcome spurred adrenalin through his veins, although his body's response to it was less than he desired.

His eyes glazed. He looked left and then right. No where to hide and catch his breath. Not even a leaf or half a bush.

*end sample*

Dear Reader,

Have you ever dreamed you were running from people or wild animals, only to find yourself out of strength and soon to be unable to continue? Is there any way you can use this in a story? How would you rescue the hero in this scenario?

1. He could find a hiding lace
2. A friend could show up with help
3. His pursuers could meet an untimely and unexpected demise
4. He could awaken from his nightmare
5. He could be caught, and the pursuers could:
     a. let him go
     b. make a mistake resulting in his escape
     c. turn out to be good after all
     d. cause him to join their side

Play with these ideas and come up with more. Write on!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Incognito

I have always enjoyed playing with incognito characters when I write. There is something so liberating about a mask. It lets your inner self sneak past the presuppositions of others and make itself heard.

What does your character have to say that he or she can say best from this advantage? Suppose you met a group comprised of all your best friends and worst enemies. With your visage and voice disguised, you were invited to stand before them and give a speech. What would you say? Would you single some of them out or give a message designed for the entire group?

Nearly as important as what your character does while in disguise is how and when he or she is unveiled. You must unveil or at least partially unveil a character to please an audience, even if the person who learns his or her true identity doesn't survive to tell anyone else. It is absolutely vital to the vivacity of your work.

And so to you who know me best: write on!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Take a Chance

Nothing's left to chance when the fates of the story's inhabitants are securely in the hands of the writer. Yet a chancy outcome is exactly what readers need. Being unsure of the story's consequence is why we keep reading, keep wanting to know what happens next.

What can we do to add chance to our tale? Spin a dial, roll the dice, flip a coin? What can we do to enrich our plot with uncertainty?

Who will win the race? Will the snake bite or not? Will the lost boy find food? Will the tornado hit or miss? It seems obvious, yet some stories are all too hum drum and predictable.

I have made lists of crises and dilemmas just for the purpose of pumping up my story craft. Will you do the same?

Write on!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tasty Treats

One of my very favorite stories, which I will not name for copyright's sake, contains a reference to an obscure treat that entraps a lad by its very taste. Many fairy tales have treats: Hansel and Gretel nibble the witch's gingerbread house, Red Riding Hood brings a basket of goodies to her grandma, and the Gingerbread Man runs away with a posse to chase him.

Where do treats play a role in your book? Do they? Have you given much thought to the kinds of things your characters like to eat?

What about the antagonist? Does the bad guy have a sweet tooth? A taste for apples? A hunger for ham? (No wait, that's the Big Bad Wolf.)

Write on! No copyrights here. Use any ideas, free of charge!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Imaginary Music

As she sang the notes rose and fell in crystalline clarity as though each one were the essence and soul of a distant silver bell. (excellent songstress)

The tones crashed and wavered in a fractured mass of twisted string and amplification. (angry rock guitar)

The horn went flat. It reverberated somewhere in his adenoids, then approached the correct scale only to fall far south of a C. (terrible horn player)

What can you do with words? Can you make someone actually hear the music in your novel?

Write on!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Clever Reverses

People always love a good rags to riches story. Why not reverse the fortunes of several characters? Let the poor become rich while the rich become poor. Let the weak become strong while the bullies become helpless. Let the beautiful become unbearably ugly while the ugly become immeasurably beautiful. And let the good church folk become bar hoppers and gamblers while the riff raff get together and create a successful mission outpost. See what happens when all these fortunes reverse.

Write on!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pioneer Mystery

Extremely evil outlaws roamed the old American west.

Enter Lady Lisa. She's as tough as they are, only tougher. Oops! Spoiler! Don't let your audience know till the end that it's she who catches them and does various things to them, things that make everyone split a gut with laughter.

1. One bad guy was found locked in a trunk with an air hole to breathe, and mailed via bumpy stage coach all the way to the other end of the continent. Visit and revisit his journey. Always let there be a sound (thunder, barking dogs, fireworks) that drowns out his yells for help whenever he's near a town. When alone with the drivers, they turn a deaf ear because they have been paid extra gold by a mysterious person to keep on driving the box.

2. One bad guy is found hanging, alive, from a tree. He is positioned in a harmless harness. His jacket pockets are filled with enough food and drink, if he meters it out, to last (hopefully) until someone finds him and releases him. When he is finally found he has been wet down thoroughly by the rain.

3. One bad guy is found covered from head to toe in horse manure after having walked a long distance on foot from a remote place. When he arrives at the town the sheriff and deputies throw soap flakes and buckets of water at him in an effort to tone down the stink enough to lock him up.

These are just a few ideas. Of course the bad guys, if they survive and unite, may seek revenge. To keep the novel lighthearted and funny, their attempt must backfire and cause them even more discomfort and mayhem!

Write on! No copyrights here. Absolutely none.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Design, Designer

A mystery. Someone has found a magnificently designed object. This could be a purse, a pair of shoes, a dress, a car, or anything you can imagine. The hunt is on! Someone must have designed it.

Have a team of know-nothing scientists follow those searching for the answer, postulating on how this object or these objects must needs have been dropped from outer space. This just gives a comical twist.

In the hunt for the designer, have your plot make many twists and turns along the way. Have phonies trying to take credit for this accomplishment. Have the real person within reach once or twice but unrecognized by those who search for him or her.

That's all. Write on! No copyrights here!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Good Luck

What if someone were so incredibly fortunate that he found all his good fortune to be completely boring? Teamed with him are many characters whose fortunes are unluckier than usual. His friends envy his luck, and he envies their capacity for adventure. Anytime anyone needs help they can always call on Mr. Good Luck (you supply the name). He is helpful and will always do what he can, which is a lot. Because of his extra luck, everything he does succeeds 100% of the time, so his attempts at helping have to succeed. The main variation is how and when he solves the problem. The audience knows without a doubt he will win. What's up in the air is how long it will take and whether or not the person being helped will be glad of his solution.

Write on! No copyrights here! Write away!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Party Crasher

This idea would fit nicely in a novel.

An ancient land, a yearly festival of good food and drink, followed by songs and campfires long into the night. Family gather, sheep bleat, and altogether a good feeling of contentment settles on the young lad as he observes these yearly festivities.

Yet it was not to last. Silently a party crasher steals upon the scene, wrecking everybody's fun and turning the night into a disaster.

He vows to change it. One day he will rise to power and banish all fun spoilers and party crashers from the land. People will rest peacefully beneath their fruit trees, strumming harps and swapping stories, with no one to tell them they cannot proceed.

Second idea:

A different type of party crasher shows up at every party, someone who belongs to the fun but then plants discord among everyone till they're all at each other's throats.

Third idea:

Annoying person makes so much commotion that no one can enjoy the feast. The party would be perfect without him.

Enter our hero, who takes him on a long exploring trip and keeps him away till the next day, sacrificing his own fun to save the fun of about a hundred other people.

Write on! No copyrights. Use what you please!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Attention, Please!

A lovely massage, a delightful manicure, a sweet hairdresser delivering a do--pleasures of positive attention visited deliberately on your subject--

People not only like to receive attention, they also like to observe others receiving this type of attention. Animators learned that trick many decades ago. Study again some old cartoons, and find out why they draw the viewer in. Keep a notebook of scenes in which someone, usually the protagonist, is receiving a good measure of positive and deliberate attention. Translate this into some scenes in your novel. Your readers will be hooked!

Write on!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Peaceful Pauses

Between action sequences or stressful thrill rides a good story needs a peaceful lull. Practice your lulls to get all you can out of them.

"The entire enemy village lay desolate. Here and there a leftover campfire smoldered out in front of a cabin or a tent. A gentle dog padded up to him and smiled, wagging its oversized tail. He patted it and chewed thoughtfully on the end of a cinnamon stick."

Here's another example:

"The glen sparkled. Every gentle breeze stirred green leaves set aglow by the afternoon sun's quiet rays. A curve of rock wound its way below her feet as her toes dipped gently into the crystalline water's edge. Fish darted in and out of crevices in the rocks. A crawdad waddled half backwards, his antennae swaying in the rippling current."

Make your breaks into the greatest mental vacations your audience ever took! Write on! No copyrights here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hidden Pleasures

A story must have difficulties, struggles, or battles. Without them there is no plot. However, to balance these you can give your story a delicious dribble of sugary icing: pleasures. Let your hero experience them, and let your reader experience them vicariously. Common examples of pleasures include winning a battle, gaining wealth, gaining a new and valuable ability, tasting food or drink, and the obvious one obsessed about by commercial advertisers and, unfortunately, many movie script writers: the one I don't need to mention. Go sparingly on that one, as it has been heavily overdone. Try to be unique.

Example:

"The second his unshod feet touched a carpet of tender young grass at the edge of the sandy shore, Alexander hoped he might have finally found a safer place to harbor. Mulberries beckoned to him from the leaves of trees at the edge of a small natural grove. A rock pool fed by an inland stream looked drinkable. Alex let his eyes follow the stream as far as he could away from the sea. They stopped when they met two sapphire gems blinking back at him from the creek's rockbed center. Only these weren't gems, he told himself, they were eyes, eyes that had apparently been watching him for several minutes."

In a short space our hero has found a pleasant touch to his feet, and the hope of food, water, and maybe companionship, all pleasures human beings can appreciate and enjoy, even vicariously. It helps if what you're describing can be compared to something the reader has actually experienced. I, for instance, have tasted mulberries. If you think your reader hasn't, you will need to fill him or her in on what it tasted like.

"The berry was sweet, but also had a pleasant tanginess, quite consistent with what he expected by the way it looked, which was very similar to a raspberry, with a staining juice the color of dark purple grapes."

Write on! No copyrights here!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Words We Never Heard

A common trick of the trade in script writing: say a word most people have never heard. Let it roll off the tongue of the actor glibly like he or she always knew it and assumed everyone else did as well.

Think about it next time you're watching a movie. Try to find a word in the movie that is

a. uncommon,
b. newly invented, or
c. retro.

The way it is said and repeated throughout the movie tends to make the audience want to say it as well. Chances are by the time the movie ends you will have mouthed it once or twice. You will bring it up in conversation within the next few days because it has now become a part of your current speaking vocabulary.


Everyone has three vocabularies: a reading vocabulary, a writing vocabulary, and a speaking vocabulary. Your reading vocabulary consists of the words you can understand when you read them. Your writing vocabulary is made of the words you can think of when you're writing. Your speaking vocabulary is the smallest of the three. It changes over time. Some words that are overused are dropped from it and fresh words are added as they are heard from other people, read in books, or mentioned in a movie.

Write on! No copyrights here! Invent some words or dust off something retro. Get to it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not Sure I Can Do It

An interesting source of additional plot tension is wondering whether or not the hero can do something. Examples are flying, swimming, climbing....

Climbing! As a kid I discovered that the handles of a series of drawers were just like a stepladder so I could reach things in the top of the cupboard without asking for help or obtaining a footstool. Unfortunately for me but fortunately for those handles I was told to stay off them because they were not made for that kind of use. Think, however, what your hero might do if he or she suddenly found a neat sort of ladder, not really meant for climbing, and if he or she followed it up as high as possible....

Sure, Jack and the Beanstalk. But Jack and the Cabinet Handles? What else could be climbed but shouldn't be climbed, the climbing of which is excusable in an emergency (i.e. save the farm, escape the danger, etc.)?

That's your idea for the day. Write on!

No copyrights here!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Magic With Rules

Everyone loves magic, the more the better. Fairy tales have never lost their popularity. But you can't do just anything, nor can you do everything, with magic. It must have rules. Without the rules you cannot wield it in your story. Take a look at this example:

"He crouched near the water's edge. All around him moonbeams were scattering and glancing off the low limbs of trees, gray in the evening aura. And to this enchanting moment he added one thing: a candle. He waved his hand and one appeared. It was lit, but it did not catch fire to his sleeve each time he dropped it, which was quite often. Even though he was a wizard, he was still the clumsiest young man alive."

This one's okay. There are a few rules or limitations to the magic. Give your magical hero quirks. To make him unassailable is to make him hopeless, boring, and unbelievable.

If every lion that bounded out of the bushes and every fire that threatened a house or barn were easily contained you would have no conflict, because each and every one could be easily resolved by the hero's unlimited magic.

Take a common example: Cinderella. What's the limitation to her magic? The stroke of midnight.

Let's take another one: The Little Mermaid. I'm not talking about the cartoon but the original classic fairy tale. Her magic limited her by not allowing her to speak, which proved the ruination of her goal, because the love of her life was never informed that it had been she who saved him from the perils of the waves.

Let's take another: Snow White. The evil magic of the wicked queen had a limitation: it could not overcome true love.

Challenge yourself. Dissect stories and find their limitations. Find out how they work and why they work. You may discover something you can really use to make your writing sparkle with veritable fairy dust!

And write on! No copyrights here....

Friday, September 6, 2013

Increase Your Vocabulary

Word puzzles are good for you, especially if you're a writer.

Increasing the availability and readiness of words to use, supplementing the number of nouns and the variety of verbs from which we may create a craft worthy of being read numerous times, that is the object, the goal, the destination. Word puzzles may help, as may consuming a large variety of literary materials. Everything from perusing the local newspaper to dusting off an old English classic adds to the volume of your etymological and lexicographical grasp.

Happy reading, and write on!

No copyrights here!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

All Kinds of Options

Every story has a problem.

Trapped in a container filling with water, standing on a tilting platform, trying to escape a through a closing door, standing beneath a falling object, trying to outrun an angry animal....

Quieter problems.

Trying to convince a cynic, trying to teach a contrary domestic creature to be gentle, trying to find a hidden object, trying to evade critics....

Write on.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Affection Connection

In every story there will be something or someone your protagonist loves. Love is the driving force behind any story.

Look, for instance, at an old fairy tale: Red Riding Hood. Red and her mother love Grandma and prepare a gift basket with her in mind. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are great examples of stories that feature and/or revolve around romantic love. 

Even in a story about man against nature there is a love element: self-preservation or self-love motivates survival. Sometimes the love of family draws someone who is lost to fight all odds in order to return home again.

I challenge you to think of a single story, or perhaps I should say a single popular and well liked story, that completely leaves out love of any sort, including brotherly love or the bond of friendship. 

And I challenge you: write on! No copyrights here! You are welcome to use whatever's on this site, except for the ads, over which I have no say. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Personal Touch

What do all the very best and most admired authors have in common? Gutsy chance taking, bravado, courage, showmanship, fearlessness. They are not afraid to reveal themselves in the words they craft. They are not afraid to get close to the reader or to mention things that might make others blush. They get close to the personal issues and they take an honest look at how people really think. They add material that touches the reader personally, and without fear they tread where few others dare.

This has to be done carefully, or the reader will quickly chuck the book into a nearby dumpster. Just as approaching personal issues in real life requires finesse, so in authoring the writer must really know his craft if he wishes to get up close and personal in the material he or she presents. This could come in the form of a surprise, or the story could build up to it after the audience becomes comfortable for several chapters with listening to and understanding the way the story's creator thinks and explains.

I am not talking about lewd, unfit, useless material. Grab any old classic cartoon (I will not mention any names because this site is copyright free). Dizzy....achoo! This knee...cough, cough. Ahem....I think I'm better now. As I was saying, grab an old classic cartoon from even the most respected old reliable entertainment company, and count how many times someone, somewhere in the story, gets touched, poked, slapped, or kicked in the posterior. I am not trying to be unseemly here, but wide awake honest. This is a little known but essential part of the old cartoon's success and acceptance, although few really understand why. The human mind relaxes in this touchy feely silly environment of humor, almost like the cartoon artists and writers have become accepted family members and are allowed to say what they're saying as long as they say it quickly and without much fanfare.

Aside from silly, I can think of some very good thriller writers (again, no names, and no hints this time either) who are not afraid to be personal in their storytelling, and again, this seems to have the effect of making the audience open their hearts and minds to the tale that is being related in their pages. It is almost like the fearlessness rubs off somehow, and the author's candid approach allows the reader to let down his or her own guard in response.

Write on! No copyrights here. Anything may be used from this site, so get going and write!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Challenges

Every story has a problem. Anyone who has ever taken and endured a creative writing course has heard it stressed. The elements of plot always include complications. Without a problem there is no story.

We take apart the earliest, easiest fairy tales, and from these we glean milestones of the tried and true. Stories that have endured for generations, passed along by word of mouth and changed very little over the years, have a rich treasure to unlock.

What's the problem in The Three Little Pigs? Obvious. How about in The Gingerbread Man, Jack and the Beanstalk, or Goldilocks?

How about the storyline in comic books? Sure, they are not "great" as literary critics would measure, but they work very nicely at drawing audience attention and catching up even the youngest imaginations into a fantasy of good vs. evil.

Sometimes it's not so much being "good" at your craft as it is writing what works. Maybe you'll never win a coveted award, but when you learn to send it flying off the shelves or onto their digital devices in dozens by the hour, you will have felt victory about which many will only dream.

Write on!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Neatest Things

Glowing swords, gems or jewelry that bestow powers upon the bearer, magical or powerful books, wands, lamps, or other objects that capture our attention all help create a story we love. The audience ends up wishing for these things, or purchasing copies and models of them in real life. I seriously considered buying an exact replica of a sword from my favorite adventure story. Why? What do these neat objects do for us? They let us, for a single instant, touch fantasy. Fantasy is fleeting and draws us away from the troubles of the lives we're in. For a single instant, when you hold a model or a replica of the thing, you are, in your own mind, living within that fantasy. Fantasy, fancy, flight, imagination, story--for an instant it becomes real to us. The thing we hold in real life is a memento from our journey, the keepsake of our excursion, a souvenir that declares where we've been. When someone displays a similar souvenir from the same or a similar journey, they become our brother, sister, fellow traveler in the hidden worlds between the worlds.

That's our crunchy munchy idea for today. No copyrights here! Anyone may use anything from this site. Write on!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tools Names Overlap

Suppose someone were promised a free washer in exchange for some work or as the prize in a contest. Wouldn't it be shocking if someone were then handed, as a prize, a small roundish object that fits onto a bolt? How about if someone were promised a plane? Doesn't that conjure up the image of a jet or an antique flier? Yet what if, upon receipt of the award, the winner were to be completely shocked that a plane can also be a woodworking tool? Unless they get it in writing specifically, could such a mixup be possible?

Or one lucky winner could even receive it ALL. Or is it awl?

That's your idea for today. No copyrights here! Forward writers!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Today's idea: Seven brothers attempt to win a prize: one million golden coins. Each must try in his own way to impress a princess who has never smiled. The princess isn't unhappy by choice, but rather by illusion, thinking there is no hope, no future, no escape from the mundane daily grind. She later discovers that what she thought was mundane was actually a blessing in disguise, a peace in the midst of war, a temporary oasis from the storm of circumstances. No copyright here! Write away!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Today's idea: Two spirits watch and converse about what they see. They are ancient spirits and benificent, sometimes called angels. As they watch someone, a new unwelcome entity enters the room, following a troubled person. The good spirits wave their sabers in warning. The unwelcome newcomer signs that he is only allowed to disturb the one person, not the other. Opening scene open for use. No copyright here! Write onward!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Oh! I've Got a Great Idea!

I have so many good ideas that belong in novels, but not the first clue how to get them into those novels. You see, I don't have time right now to write a novel, yet the ideas, good as they are, don't stay fresh to my mind unless I record them. And even after I record them often the glimmer of the idea is fleeting and I'm quickly onto something else.

So, I thought, if I can't use these ideas myself, why not share them? And this I intend to do. I intend to share every new idea that pops into my head, every time I say to myself, "That would make a great book!" Books, scenes, chapters, punchlines. Any good idea is going to be posted here for others to peruse. This site does not claim copyright on anything therein (except for ads, over which I have no say).

Today's Good Idea:

Spiders everywhere. New ones, in a fantasy tale. Not very large, rather brownish, named Death Flutes because of the marking of a flute upon their backs. Despite their name, they do not kill, but rather cause pain in the entire body for a year.

Enter The Bad Guy. The villain tries to release a Death Flute into the domicile or camp of the good protagonist. Instead of biting the protagonist, however, the protagonist's loyal friend is bitten, much to the anger of the audience.

Forward time. Now the villain is hiding out from being surrounded by good guys. He is in some sort of cavern or shed. He looks down, and he has put his foot into a nest of Death Flutes. Not one, but dozens are climbing up his leg. All at once one bites him, then following this the others start to bite him, and you close the curtain on this scene leaving him there to endure the pain of many multiple bites for a year. He will come crawling back out of this situation looking for revenge in some sequel.

No copyrights here! Any writer may use this, or create something based on it.

Way to write!