Writing Prompts for November 2016

Writing Prompts for November 2016If you’re launching into NaNoWriMo and still need a story idea, I hope that today’s prompts will give you a boost into your month of writing adventures. If you’re not in NaNo, I hope that you find some creative ideas to feed your stories for the rest of the month.

For my readers in the US, this month hosts one of your favourite holidays, Thanksgiving. Here are some other special days celebrated this month that may give you a story idea or two:


Here are some groups of random words. Use one, some, or all of the words in a group to create a story or poem:

  • window, grey, flight, shatter, rain, drift, moment
  • owe, remember, threat, run, fear, black, record
  • partner, plan, certain, calendar, loss, confusion, red
  • shelter, storm, hidden, wet, laugh, memory, walk

Here are some first lines that might suggest a story or two:

  • When I looked at the pieces of broken vase on the floor, I found something that had nothing to do with flowers or vases.
  • Playing with Henry’s drone at the beach had been fun until it showed us the body.
  • When Helen played with fire, she really played with fire.
  • Today, we were glad it was raining.
  • Henry refused to answer.
  • Somewhere in the house a door slammed.
  • It was too quiet.
  • Why don’t you have a date?
  • Sometimes, telling the truth is overrated.
  • Henry rolled up the map. “Not far now.”

Perhaps one of these titles suggests a story: Once a Robot, Summer Song, The Fairies of Krendor, Mars Lullaby, Dinner for Thirty, Henry’s Run, The Gold Chalice, The Minotaur Chronicles, Skate, Magic’s End.

See if you can imagine a scene around one of these short dialogue excerpts:

  • Why are you so angry?
  • I just heard about Helen.
  • Oh.
  • Did you already know?
  • When did you last see Henry?
  • About a month ago. Why?
  • He’s changed.
  • Can’t you stay quiet for even a minute?
  • Talking helps when I’m scared.
  • What news?
  • None of it good, Your Majesty
  • It’s fortunate for you that killing the messenger is out of fashion for enlightened rulers.
  • For which I am grateful, Sire.

Have a writerly month!


Writing Productivity Tips and Prompts for August 2016

writing productivity tips and  writing prompts for August 2016

I hope your summer has been going well with some well-earned downtime, and I hope, some creative time, too.

If your creative output hasn’t been what you hoped, I’ve listed some links to helpful tips for boosting creativity and output. Of course, you might just be looking for the perfect story idea. I hope that the writing prompts below will help you find it.


If you’re not meeting your daily writing goals, maybe mini-goals will help:

Here are some tips for speeding up the writing:

This is a different take on planning a novel that just might help you get the work done:

Here are some creativity boosters from Jenny Bravo:


a) Use one, some or all of these words to write a story or poem.

switch, rain, door, collar, blue, brick, stifling
window, light, glass, dial, time, grey, cold
fragment, yellow, parched, reflection, tip, shade

b) Try one of these opening sentences to start a story.

I thought you said a child could open this.
Nice room except for the body on the floor.
We waited. Finally, the voice over the loudspeaker said exactly what we didn’t want to hear.
When do you expect the patrol?
I hated missing the bus.
When Helen calls, it’s always trouble.
Henry didn’t come home last night.
What do you think we should do now?
Music was Henry’s life.
I think that cat can read my mind.

c) What scenes can you imagine around these short dialogue excerpts?

Why doesn’t Henry come inside.
He hasn’t finished.
Finished what?

I wish it wasn’t so cold.
You think this is cold?

I can’t keep running like this.
We don’t have any choice.
What if one of us does have a choice.

Look! Over there! Lights! That must mean people!
Quiet! Not all people are friends.

Here’s the package you wanted.
Thanks. You can leave now.
That’s where you’re wrong.

I didn’t think you’d invited Helen.
She invited herself.
That complicates things.

d) Does one of these titles suggest a story?

Peanut Butter and Romance, The Last Warrior, Storm, Taking Flight, The Eighth Wonder, Science Fair Drop Out, The Last Time, Berserk, Fear Lives Here, I Don’t Like Scary Movies, The Secret that Wasn’t, Last Year’s Model

e) What does your main character like to do on a summer day? Go to the beach? Visit a big city and see the sights? Get together and play games with friends? Find a quiet, shady spot and read a book? What do you like to do?

f) Ice cream is a favorite summer treat. Think about your characters. What flavors of ice cream would they choose? Why did you choose those flavors for your characters?

The Other 20 Writing Prompts

Lake Huron
Lake Huron

I said I would have 50 new prompts by the end of my vacation, so here’s 20 more to go with yesterday’s 30. Whew!

Have a great Sunday!

31. Write a scene that happens in a parking lot.

32. Brainstorm around the word “ice.” Take one or two of the ideas that you generate and see where your imagination takes you.

33. Use one, some or all of these words in a story or poem: screen, light, white, wave, sleek, torrent

34. Go for a walk and look closely at something that is smaller than you. See if you can think of words to describe it that use all five senses.

35. Try one of these opening lines:

Tires weren’t the only things that screeched when Marko turned the corner.

A graveyard?

Wishing stars can work.

36. Write a scene with an animal and a hill.

37. Here are some lines of dialogue for your story:

“Where are we?”

“I have no idea. But I do know one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s not safe.”

38. Start a story with one of these actions:

Someone or something falling

Someone standing at attention

Someone shaking something

39. See if any of these pairs of images suggest a story or poem: a candle and a book, a loud noise and a tree, a whisper and a cave.

40. Try one of these titles for a story or poem: Wind Song, Castle Hill, Never Ever, The Last Game, First of the Few, Dragon’s Pride

41. Using your birthday month, or a friend’s, use the number of the month in a story. My birthday is in October, so I would need to use the number 10.

42. We expect scary things to happen in old, abandoned houses or in graveyards or in dark forests. Write a scary scene that happens in a place where the characters would expect to be safe and happy.

43. Use one, some or all of these words in a story or poem: holiday, window, fire, call, paper, carving.

44. Think about a major political or social issue/event that you’ve read about in the newspaper or heard about on TV. What would be your character’s opinion of that issue or event? How would your character behave if s/he were stuck in an elevator with someone with the opposite opinion?

45. What memory from the past does your character wish s/he could forget?

46. Write a scene with a photograph.

47. Start a story with one of these actions:

Someone tripping over something

Someone hearing something loud

Someone telling a secret

48. See if any of these pairs of images suggest a story or poem: a keyboard and a wish, wings and a sword, a door and a small animal, a box and a date.

49.  Try one of these titles for a story or poem: Fear Corner, Connections, The Cloak of Parmel, Winter Mystery, Silver’s Forest, Reflection.

50. Try these lines of dialogue in your story:

“What are you holding behind your back?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“Let me see.”

“Only if you promise not to tell.”

Friday Writing Wrap-Up

day 7 photoHow has your writing been progressing this week? What are you working on?  I’ve been working on a sequel to a middle readers fanatasy that I’m in the process of publishing. I had my biggest day yesterday, adding just over 1500 words to the manuscript. That’s a big day for me! If you’re stuck for inspiration check the writing starters on this site and see if you can find a story idea that works for you.

I also have some reading on my agenda, too: Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit, and Kristi Holl’s Writing Mysteries for Young People. I love reading about the craft of writing, and I can’t think of a better time than on the first long weekend of the summer.

Hope that you find some time today to be creative and that you have a great weekend ahead.



Welcome to a Work-in-Progress

IMG_4429Nothing stays the same, and over the past few years the purpose of this site has grown and evolved. I decided that it’s about time that the design caught up with the ways in which this site is used by my visitors and with the ways I need to use it now and in the future.

The first thing I’ve done is simplify the tabs. I’ve grouped the material by the needs of my audience. So click on the tab that applies to you and explore. I haven’t deleted any of your favourite links, but if you have a problem finding something, please let me know.

I’ve also turned this first page into a blog where I plan to share great links for teachers and young writers and chat about my own writing, as well.

I’ll appreciate your patience as I work through the challenges of making some necessary changes to the site. As always I wish you all the best with your writing and teaching endeavours.

The photo above shows my collection of writing journals. A couple are still unused, but most of them have bits and pieces of stories, and some a lot more. Do  you write in journals or are you strictly a keyboard writer?

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