Are You Up for a Challenge? A Writing Challenge, That Is…

As we look ahead to 2017 and to a new year of writing, I want to recommend two excellent challenges to get your creative juices flowing and your pen flying over the paper (or your fingers flying over the computer keys). If you write picture books, author Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 challenge is designed for you. Not only does it encourage participants to write a new picture book manuscript draft every month (thus the name — 12 drafts in 12 months) but there is a lively online community (both at a members-only Forum and a members-only Facebook Group), there are monthly blog posts and exclusive-to-members webinars with writers, editors and agents.… Read More

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Using Writing Prompts — and Susanna Hill’s Valentiny Writing Contest

Do you ever get stuck while working on a writing project? I suspect the answer is yes, if you’re like anyone else who writes. How do you get your writing flowing again? There are many things you can do. Try taking a scene from your project and writing it a different way. How would it sound if it were in first person instead of third? What would happen if it were written from the perspective of a different character? Write the scene as if it were happening to you, right this minute. What would you be thinking? feeling? doing? You can get up and go for a walk or take… Read More

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Where Do Writers’ Ideas Come From?

The question perhaps doesn’t have the caché of “where do babies come from” but sometimes the idea process seems as mystifying to a writer (and to others) as the baby process does to a small child. My mother liked to quote from George MacDonald’s poem Baby: “Where did you come from, baby dear? Out of the everywhere into the here.” It’s somewhat the same with writers’ ideas. Ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. We need to be alert to them, and encourage them to appear. Ideas can come when we ask “what if?” For example, “what if a boy acted up until he was sent to bed without supper?”… Read More

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