It's been awhile since I've posted any writing exercises. Which is extraordinarily odd since I've been doing so much of them myself especially while I was participating in the 2014 Start The Year Off Write Challenge.

I'm going to share two of those exercises today.  The first came from debut author, Kristen Fulton on day #14 of the Challenge.

Prompt # 14: Write the alphabet on a piece of paper and next to each letter write something that comes to mind. Try not to over analyze your choices.  Go with what comes to mind first.  If you write nonfiction like me, think of nonfiction words like A – Astronauts, B – Baghdad, C – Chernobyl. If you write fiction, think of trigger words like A – acrobat, B – birthday bonanza, C – chocolate.  Now, look at your list, you have 26 prompts that may lead you to your next story.  Pick 1 letter/word from your list and write 2 paragraphs about it.  Maybe chocolate will lead you to discover that your narrator hates it (the horror!!).  Maybe you will discover a topic you are really interested in and want to spend some time researching.  ~ Kristen Fulton

I include this prompt because I really feel that it is highly applicable to any writer at any age (as long as they know the beginning sounds of the alphabet!) This would be a great list to have at the beginning of a writing notebook for writing class for those days the student says, "I just can't thing of anything to write about!"  Voila!  A list of 26 things to choose from!

The second exercise I'm providing today is a fun one suggested by Ame Dyckman on day #15 of the Challenge.

Prompt #15: Put a favorite character in an unexpected/awkward/disastrous/funny mealtime situation. ...How does your character react?  ~ Ame Dyckman

Again I think this can be applicable to writers of any age and may be a great motivator for reluctant writers.  A child can use their favorite character from a book, TV or movie. They can make up a mealtime situation or think about one that actually occurred - maybe there was a terrible spill of the main dish all over the floor.  What would have happened if it was Daniel Tiger that had spilled it?  Or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory?  or Harry Potter? Let their (or your)  imaginations soar!

Enjoy some writing time today 🙂

Shannon Abercrombie's Start The Year Off Write Challenge came to an 'end' last Saturday, January 25th. The challenge consisted of 21 prompts or writing exercises to kick-start the new year of writing for children's writers, though many of the prompts could be used by students and adults of other genres as well. Shannon is offering prizes to the participants but those have not been announced yet.

I completed each of the 21 prompts. Some took more time than others. A few were definitely more difficult than others and some left me feeling much more satisfied and full

I wrote my prompt assignments out in here...along with a couple new 'ideas' for January....
I wrote my prompt assignments out in here...along with a couple new 'ideas' for January....

of ideas than others. But all were wonderful exercises for the writing mind!  If you haven't participated and want to see what all the fuss was about, Shannon has a list of the lovely talents involved along with links to their websites and prompts on her webpage!  Check them out here.

I loved that some of them gave me further ideas to develop the ideas I had during PiBoIdMo! I took one of them and developed it into a manuscript - albeit in VERY rough draft form! (I can actually thank Tara Lazar for that particular idea from prompt #8 ~ Title Talk~!)

So now what??

Well, now that the 21 day challenge is over I'll be spending more time with Ann Whitford Paul within the pages of her book on Writing Picture Books and on the forums over at 12 x 12! I am also hoping that a critique group that I signed up for might begin as I'm really itching for some feedback on a manuscript I'm working on about my patron saint.  I'm also looking forward to a little self-writer's- retreat that my husband is giving me -  a couple of days away so I can just totally catch up on some reading and writing without the daily interruptions of life - might try to catch up on some sleep too!  But I'm really looking forward to uninterrupted writing time 🙂

Tell me - what are my other writer friends up to these days?? How are you keeping going after the challenge?

18

Wow....  things are progressing - I hope that's a good thing!  Part of me feels like I'm in a whirlwind but another part is very excited and motivated.

The blog is doing well.  Today will be my 128th  post and I have over 80 followers.  I'm still enjoying the writing though cramming the time in every day to work on future posts is sometimes daunting - but feels so natural and good! I really must figure out how to make it all work and not be so stressful - and still have time for other things I enjoy like spending time with my family!

I've been doing quite a bit of reading on the craft - though it's hard to drag myself away from the fiction books I love - Doctor Sleep is calling my name and of course I have Laurie Halse Anderson's newest book lying here begging to be opened!  What I've read has encouraged me to learn more and become a part of the whole social media thing.  I started this blog as an outlet for my desire to write and to feel like I was at least working on the goal of being a writer - little did I know that blogs and other social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) can actually assist one in making a platform if one becomes a published author.  So I've joined Twitter as well - I keep that mostly for following other writers - and am trying to learn the ropes of that and everything else!

In the meantime, and probably the greater of it all - I have signed on to Shannon Abercrombie's  Start The Year Off Write Challenge of 2014  as well as Julie  Hedlund's 12 x 12!  I am really excited to be doing these!  Shannon gives out a writing assignment each day for 21 days while Julie's Group is a HUGE challenge to write 12 PB manuscripts in 12 months and involves a big group of PB authors - also giving us an opportunity to really get to know one another and offer a ton of support and inspiration!

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to dish out the money to join the Silverstein group of 12 x 12.... but I've decided to face it... I'm not 21 anymore (no matter how many "It's your 21st Birthday Cards my dear husband has given me - thank you dear) ....  If I'm going to do this, the time is now to BEGIN and begin strong!  So Shel Silverstein and Julie Hedlund, here I come!  Everybody wish me luck and PRAY!!!!

Who else is out there with me for Start The Year Off Write and 12x12??

5

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

~ Benjamin Franklin

This quote makes me laugh.  BUT it is SOOO True!!!

Before marriage one needs to look at every aspect that we can at the mate that we are slecting to spend the rest of our lives with.  There were so many questions that went through my mind before and during the time of my dating my husband.  Is he Christian and does it show in his actions? Does he have the same morals and values that I do?  Does he have goals and aspirations in life and are they goals and aspirations that I can live with?  Does he support me in my own goals and aspirations?  Does he treat me with kindness and love?  Am I a priority in his life?  Does he treat me with respect?

And then Marriage!!  Keep those eyes half shut so you don't notice the little things you didn't see before:  the dirty clothes on the floor, the piles overflowing on his desk, the brownie he ate that you so desperately looked forward to....   because those little things need to be overlooked.  Too much focus on the little things leads to less focus on the bigger things and less memory of why you fell in love and what makes this person truly the right one for you.  Keep your eyes half closed and forget that little stuff.

Random Thoughts on a Saturday:

  • I've decided to join the  Start The Year OFF Write Challenge!  More about this can be found on Shannon Fimbel Abercrombie's website! You can find it here!
  • I'm also considering doing the 12 x 12.....  a challenge to get 12 picture book manuscripts written in 12 months... not necessarily final copies ready for publishing - but 12 manuscripts complete and ready for revision!
  • I LOVE my husband!!!   🙂
  • I am blessed having a toddler write now..... -  you read that right and I didn't make a typ0 -  I mean that having a toddler in the house sparks lots of great ideas for writing!  What a blessing!
  • Organization is key to .....well- almost everything!  I need to get organized!!!

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