Tag Archive | how to write

April 18 – International Juggler’s Day

Today is International Jugglers’ Day, Newspaper Columnists’ Day and the birthday of George Henry Lewes, Richard Harding Davis, Etheridge Knight, Thomas MiddletonWaldemar HammenhogClaire MartinJoy DavidmanRichard Bausch

Thought: “The last thing we decide about a book is what to put first.” – Blaise Pascal

Teaser: Your house is on fire. You live alone and have no pets so there is nobody else to worry about but yourself. What would you risk going back inside for? (Note – this teaser came about when I was staying at a hotel with a group of writer friends and there was a fire in the hotel. All of us gathered in the parking lot and what did we save from our rooms? Our laptops!)

April 17 – Dyngus Day

Today is Bat Appreciation Day, Blah, Blah, Blah Day, Dyngus Day, National Cheeseball Day, Patriot’s Day, Pet Owners Independence Day and the birthday of: Thornton Wilder, Cynthia Ozick, Karen Blixen, John FordHerve BazinNick Hornby

Tip: Cut pictures of characters out of newspapers and magazines (only your own, please) or bookmark sites on the web for visualizing your characters. Don’t pick just the pretty people. Not everyone is gorgeous and you need quirky sidekicks sometimes as well. Pick a wide variety.

Thought: “The beginning of a novel is a time of awful torment, when you’re dealing with a lot of dead pieces and you have to wait and wait for some sort of animation.” – Iris Murdoch

Teaser: Write a scene using words of only one syllable and short sentences, ala “See Spot run.” But do it as an adult murder mystery.

April 8 – Zoo Lovers Day

Today is the birthday of: Barbara Kinsolver, Buddha, John Fante, Seymour Hersh

Tip: Don’t let your characters play Hamlet and give long, windy speeches.

Thought: “Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lesson after.” – Anon.

Teaser: Your character is going to the zoo. Where does she go? What kind is it? Large or elephantsmall? What is her favorite exhibit/animal? Why?


April 7 – National Walk to Work Day

popcornToday is Caramel Popcorn Day, National Beer Day, National Walk to Work Day (since I work from home, this is an easy one for me!),  No Housework Day (YAY!), World Health Day, and the birthday of: William Wordsworth, Gabriela Mistral, Donald Barthelme

Tip: Listen to songs – the lyrics often tell a story all by themselves. Look up lyrics, especially to old songs, and see how succinctly they tell a story.

Thought: “In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but by perseverance.” – H. Jackson Brown.

Teaser: What is one thing from your past that would completely embarrass you in the eyes of your friends and/or family? Write that into a scene for your character.

April 6 – Sorry Charlie Day

Today is April 6. It is California Poppy Day,  National Tartan Day, New Beer’s Eve, Plan Your Epitaph Day, Sorry Charlie Day

Today is the birthday of: Merle Haggard (yes, the musician, but he was also a writer)

Tip: Love what you do. If you don’t enjoy writing, it will show. Yes, this job can be like any other job and get to you sometimes, but if you don’t like it at least some of the time, it will creep into your writing. Today is “Sorry Charlie Day” – a day to reflect on rejections and realize it happens to everyone. Yes, it hurts, but it’s also a way to make you stronger. Keep going even in the face of adversity. You can do this.

Thought: Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement – Robert Schuller

Teaser: When was the last time you laughed hard? Or cried harder? What happened to make that moment so emotional? Write this as a scene, focusing on the emotions you want your reader to feel.

April 5 – National Dandelion Day

Today is the birthday of: Robert Bloch, Hugo Claus,

Tip: Think about putting some classical music on to write by, especially Mozart. Because of the mathematical purity of his music, it is especially stimulating to the brain.

Thought: “Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand—a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods—or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.” – Willa Cather

Teaser: In China, Qingming is a day when people visit the graves of their ancestors. Take a trip to a cemetery – the older, the better – and note dates, ages, names epitaphs if any. gravestonePick one – or several – and come up with reasons why they died.

April 4

Today is the birthday of: Margarite Duras, Remy de Gourmont, Maya Angelou

Tip: Some evening, light a single candle and turn off all other lights. How are your surroundings different? Imagine this is all you have for lighting. What would be different for you? Why?

Thought: “I always write a good first line, but I have trouble in writing the others.” -Moliere (Jean Baptiste Poquelin)

Teaser: Write a dark scene using the following: birthday cake, dancer

April 3

Today is the birthday of: Washington Irving, John Burroughs, Janey Goodall

Tip: April is a month of changes – from winter to spring, dark to light, cold to warm. Think about what changes do you need to make to be a better writer? How can you make them?

Thought: “The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” – Henry Ward Beecher

Teaser: Your character is going through a lot of changes—not good ones. What happened? Why? What does s/he do to adapt to what is happening?

March 19

Today is the birthday of: Irving Wallace, Philip Roth

Tip: Don’t start all the character names with the same letter. Keeping John, Joan, Jeff, Jane becomes too confusing for the reader. Vary your names and their attributes. Make them real.

Thought: “You have to keep writing, keep submitting, and keep praying to the god of whimsy that some editor will respond favorably.” – Peter Benchley

Teaser: You have been cursed by a witch. You will never write another word—including mundane things like emails and grocery lists—unless you…. What? Do you do it?

March 18

Today is the birthday of: William Cosmo Monkhouse, Richard Condon, John Updike

Tip: Unless you’re under a deadline, put your finished work away for at least a week. More would be better. Then you can edit with a fresh eye.

Thought: “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” – Jules Renard

Teaser: You have the ability to go back in time only once and only for one day. When/where would you go and what would you do? Why?