December 2015 Writing Prompts, New Book, Goodreads Giveaway

I hope that those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving last week had a wonderful time with family and friends and are enjoying your leftovers. If you were part of NaNoWriMo, I hope that you made your word count goals, and if not, made progress on your project that will carry on to completion soon.

My NaNo plans were prompted by a workshop that I was to be running at the local library. Sadly, participation was too low and the workshop was cancelled. Since my motivation for NaNo (wrapped entirely around working with and encouraging a group of young writers for a month) fell through, and so did my “novel.” Instead, I finished the project closest to my heart, A Journal for Teen Writers.

51fSKVUK2lL._SX385_BO1,204,203,200_The journal is filled with blank writing pages, encouraging quotes from writers, brainstorming pages, coloring and doodling pages, and 50 new writing prompts. I’m very happy with it, and especially happy that it’s been #1 in it’s category of new releases for the past week at It might have been there longer, but the first day I looked at it was last Tuesday. Take a peek here. My next challenge is creating journals for genre writers. I’ve started working on one for mystery writers, but until a freelance contract and my teaching semester are done, that one is going to be on hold until the new year.

My anthology of short stories for boys, written with my co-author Jean Mills, is part of a Goodreads giveaway until December 8th. Drop by Goodreads to enter to win an autographed copy.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dude! by Heather Wright

Hope you have a wonderful month ahead. If you have time among the holiday prep to do any writing, I hope these writing prompts give you the inspiration you need.

Use one, some, or all of these words in a story or poem:

  • music, jar, creature, forest, wise, fear
  • jump, stress, sunshine, shadow, left, wind
  • sun, photograph, last, shine, memory, river
  • rhythm, race, share, joy, defeat, call

Here are some opening sentences for you to try:

  • Stop! I can’t keep up.
  • Today Carol’s hair was blue.
  • I’d only been here ten minutes, and already I wanted to leave.
  • When I asked Henry what was new, I inwardly prayed for some positive news.
  • Where did that map come from?
  • I fell through a wall that wasn’t there.
  • I’m an astronomer. I know the skies and night–but not tonight.
  • It’s 7:15 and Henry is never late.

See if one of these titles inspires a story:
The Winder, King’s Ransom, The Fan, Bookworm, Mountain Mystic, The Club, The Story of Two Dreams, When One Door Closes, The Cats and I, Race, Tornado

See what scenes you can create from these lines of dialogue:

I’m so proud.
Of what?
Resisting the urge to scream at you right now.

Whose dog is that?
What dog?
That one.

You don’t believe in dragons, do you?
No. Why?
I think I’ve found a way to change your mind.

Have you seen Helen’s new boyfriend?
Well, neither has anyone else.

Dude! Short Story Anthology for Boys On Sale at Amazon

Dude!_Cover_for_KindleFor a pre-Christmas promotion, Dude! is now on sale for $0.99 on Kindle until Sunday midnight, December 14th. The price is lowered at, too.  To find our more about Dude! and to read a couple of excerpts, please drop by here.

Links to purchase Dude! are below.

Thanks for your patience with this self-promotion. Back to my usual programming soon!


Dude! Short Stories for Boys

Dude! An Anthology of Short Stories for Boys

Say hi to my latest book written with co-writer and friend, Jean Mills. You can read more about Jean here and here.

We’ve known each other since our two boys were in JK together. Jean is an experienced children’s writer, and like me, always looking for stories for boys that are just plain fun to read. Not edgy. Not preachy. Just fun, interesting stories. One day we decided we would just write the stories we were looking for and Dude! represents our first collection. We’ve included a range of genres, such as science fiction, fantasy, adventure, mystery, sports and historical fiction–a young Sherlock Holmes even makes an appearance! The second volume is “under construction” and promises more sports, fantasy, time travel, and adventure.

Though written first for the enjoyment of young readers, Dude! has the potential to be used effectively in classrooms for readers in grades 6 through 9.

Dude! is available at most online bookstores and can be purchased in paperback or ebook format. Here are some links:

Let the Brainstorming Begin

IMG_4382Back in October Jean Mills, and I applied for a joint Writer’s Reserve grant through the Ontario Arts Council. Jean is a friend, but also an experienced writer and wonderful colleague. Among other things, we share two former employers, membership in PWAC and our sons went to school together for a while. We thought we’d make pretty good partners on a creative project. Receiving a grant doesn’t mean that a publisher will buy the finished project, but it does mean that a publisher thinks our idea and our writing samples are good enough to get some support to move ahead.

Last Wednesday, we received a letter from Dundurn Press to tell us that we received a grant. Yay!

And yikes!

Now I have to get writing. Our project is an anthology of short stories, and as thrilled as I was by this concrete gesture of approval, I’ve been stewing since Wednesday about whether I’d even come up with any ideas, let alone be able to write one–or six. It was one of those moments when you think, “it seemed like such a good idea at a time.”

Well, yesterday I got the idea for my first story. Yesterday I took time to create ‘white space.’ Here’s Sarah Selecky’s definition of white space: “White space: time spent doing nothing. Staring into space. Watching steam from your teacup, watching waves lap at the shore, listening to the wind through tree branches.” Selecky’s theory is that it’s impossible to be creative if we don’t give ourselves time to let our minds rest, to spend some time with no distractions. Here’s how she says it, “How can you have that gorgeous, rich feeling of having images come to you as you write, if you haven’t given your mind any time or space for insight?” Take some time to read her blog and then see what happens when you create some white space for yourself.

I am a to-do list maker from way back. If I’m going to reach my goals, ‘white space’ will be on the list, too.

If you have any strategies for shutting the attention-grabbing distractions down so that you can create, please pass them along. I’d love to learn how others find creative time and energy. Hope you find some white space today!

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