Last week, in my column, "Beyond the Printed Page," I gave you some writing guidelines to follow. Before we move on to the next topic, I do have a couple more points that I feel are worth stressing.
Not only do you want to keep it simple, you want to keep it honest. Honesty speaks for itself in your writing; so does phoniness. Share yourself in your writing or at least as much as you feel comfortable with. In writing memoirs, in particular, don't leave yourself out of the picture and simply portray events that happened and who the people surrounding you were.
As lyricist Neil Peart wrote: "Each one's life a novel no one else has read;" you can change that and share a good part of your own life's novel with your readers. This personal touch will make the stories ones people most enjoy reading.
Proofread. Proofread. Proofread again. Don't rely on your spell checker or grammar checker, but do make use of both. Remember you are the human with the intelligent brain. Your computer software is smart, but they don't make software that can reason things out like people can—yet.
Now let's have some fun. Winter is a really good time to kick back and work on a creative writing project. Perhaps you don't know where to start and find yourself looking at a blank screen or sheet of paper. Below are some writing prompts. Select some that appeal to you and see what words flow naturally for you. Or, you could print the list out and answer each question and then pick the ones you'd like to expound upon. You could even adapt the questions to make them more kid-friendly and make it a family activity. Enjoy!
I'd love to read some comments about what you write and if you'd like to see more writing prompts in this column in the future.
Creative Writing Prompts
- My favorite childhood toy was.......
- My favorite childhood game was.....
- Growing up I loved to play.......
- The best movie I have ever seen is.......
- My top ten book list includes……….
- If I could have my childhood again I would......
- Growing up my favorite sport was.......
- Ten things I loved about me while growing up……..
- I would love to learn to.......
- I believe in.....
OK, that's a start, but it's a little boring. Let's move on to some challenging and more exciting prompts!
- Pick five things you are afraid of and write about one of them.
- Compare two different things. What you actually like and why you should like the other.
- Write about someone who has died but meant a lot to you.
- Describe yourself at 60. What do you look like? What have you learnt?
- Describe yourself at age six.
- Imagine your life is a novel; now write the blurb for the back cover.
- Think of a fairy tale and rewrite it changing the moral of the story - perhaps the glass slipper fit one of Cinderella's evil stepsisters?
- Write a short story starting with this sentence: "You know what else it is that children don't realize until it's too late?"
- Free-write for five minutes using this opening line: "She felt cold breath upon her neck and behind her she could hear the noise escalating until the air began to vibrate."
- Find three pictures of strangers in a magazine or newspaper. Now write a 300-word description of the person, using not only the visuals you've seen, but let your imagination run wild about who they are and why they are doing what they are doing.
This week I am reading three very different books. The first is a mystery novel by Emile Richards entitled "A Truth for a Truth," published in 2010 by The Penguin Group. I had the opportunity to review the last book in this series for my work as a book reviewer at MyShelf.com.
The second is written by Dan Buettner and is called "Thrive: Finding Happiness The Blue Zones Way," published in 2010 by the National Geographic Society. This is a non-fiction book that expounds upon secrets from the world's happiest people. I was drawn to this book because of a chapter all about San Luis Obispo, Calif., where most of the Hinds family now lives.
The third book is by Harriet Sylvester Tapley and the title is "Chronicles of Danvers: Old Salem Village," originally published in 1923 and reprinted several times by the Danvers Historical Society.
All three books are available through online booksellers as well as local independent bookstores. "Chronicles of Danvers: Old Salem Village" is available from the Danvers Historical Society museum store at the Page House.