"Raymond’s eye for telling detail is very fine, as one expects of an accomplished writer, but to this she adds the informing eye of a natural historian of place.”
— John Keeble, author of Nocturnal America
Midge Raymond
Midge's blog about writing . . . reading . . . and everything in between

Category — Writing prompts

Weekly Writing: Two Thanksgiving Prompts

With all the focus on food and holiday shopping, we often forget that Thanksgiving is the season of gratitude. Each day this week, write down three things you’re grateful for, whatever these may be.

Next, write a scene about a Thanksgiving meal. This could be a scene starring the character in your novel, a poem about the Thanksgiving you spent in a train station in Guangzhou, or an essay about a childhood Thanksgiving that was particularly memorable.

underwood

November 24, 2014   No Comments

Weekly Writing: Nature

Write about the last day you spent in nature, whether hiking or swimming in a lake or the ocean. Remember and record all the sights, sounds, smells, and textures you experienced. Next, write about how this day differs from a day spent in a city or suburb.

underwood

November 17, 2014   No Comments

Weekly Writing: Almost winter

With winter on its way (perhaps already here, depending on where you live), we enter another season. Write about winter … what does this season mean to you, and why? Write about all your memories, and how these affect your current attitudes about winter.

 

underwood

November 10, 2014   No Comments

Weekly Writing: Spirit Animals

When my husband warned me to avoid stepping on snails after a recent rain, I suggested the snail is probably his spirit animal (he loves them). The notion of a spirit animal its origins in traditions both specific and otherwise, but it generally refers to an affinity we have for a particular animal as well as facets of our personalities. Write about your own spirit animal — any animal that may fit your own version of what a spirit animal might be.

underwood

November 3, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Drinks

Write about your favorite cool-weather beverage. Include a recent or past memory about this drink.

underwood

October 27, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Losing

Write about losing — a game, a bet, at item you loved. Then, write about something unexpectedly won or found.

underwood

October 20, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: A song

Write about a song that brings back a certain memory or memories.

underwood

October 13, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Bad habits

Write about a habit you wish you could break.

underwood

October 6, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Disappointment

Write about a time you were disappointed.

underwood

September 29, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Noise pollution

Write about a noise that drives you mad. Be as detailed as possible; write a whole scene or poem about it.

 

underwood

September 22, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Love & Lies

Write about the last time you told a lie for love.

underwood

September 15, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Language

What word would you create and incorporate into the language if you could?

underwood

September 8, 2014   Comments Off

What’s in a name? How to name your characters…

For Shakespeare’s Juliet, “that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” — but for a writer creating characters, a name can be a wonderful opportunity for enhancing character development.

Some writers must have a good character name before writing a the first word of a fictional story; for others, names are a bit of an afterthought. (Or, if you’re like my writer husband, you use the same three character names for every piece until your editor reminds you that some recycling isn’t actually for the best.)

Character names are more important than you might think…for one, having just the right name can offer a sense of context, history, culture, and personality — whereas having an ill-fitting or too-strange name can distract readers.

Here are a few tips for choosing the perfect names for your fictional characters…

  • look for names that aren’t too simple or too weird, unless this is for a very good reason
  • research the origin of the name; give it meaning
  • think about how it sounds in your ear and how it looks on the page
  • consider how the character feels about his/her name
  • use names consistently throughout (first name, or last name) to avoid distracting or confusing readers
  • if you’re writing about someone resembling a real-life person, change the name (as well as other identifying characteristics) to something really, really different

For inspiration and a plethora of name ideas, check out baby-name books, visit the Social Security Web site (where you can search name popularity by year), and search baby-name websites. You could also research the old-fashioned way: Dorothy Parker got her characters’ names from the telephone book and from the obituary columns.

Here are a few writing prompts to get you in the naming mood …

  • Write for 10 minutes about how you feel about your own name. Do you like it? Have you always liked it? Why/why not? What would you prefer your name to be if not the one you have? Has your name changed over the years due to losing or acquiring nicknames, marriage, etc.?
  • Write a list of your favorite names, both male and female. Next, write down characteristics you associate with these names, physical and otherwise.
  • Write down the names of all of your family members and/or close friends. How do their names help define who they are (or not)?

 

September 3, 2014   3 Comments

Weekly Writing: Cheating

Write about the last time you cheated, whether it was on a partner, in a game, etc.

underwood

September 1, 2014   Comments Off

Weekly Writing: Film School

Take a scene from something you’re working on, and put on a film-school hat. As director, screenwriter, cinematographer, musical producer, whatever — rewrite the scene as it would appear in a film, paying close attention to (you guessed it) the actions of the characters, the dialogue, the setting, the sounds. Then take note of what you’ve discovered about this new scene, and incorporate these elements into your project.

underwood

August 25, 2014   Comments Off