Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Writing Prompt: Write What Frightens You

When I was growing up, I spent many days in the summer with my grandmother while my mother was at work. I spent many nights with her, too. Being a typical young boy, I often found my way into trouble.

My grandmother had a way of frightening me into obedience without lifting a finger. The power of her words and gesticulations as she served up a warning to "behave or else..." was amazing. All she had to do was tell me that some evil spirit was waiting around the corner for me the next time I misbehaved to swoop down and scratch my eyes out.

It worked on me. I remember many of her warnings to this day - stuck in my brain. As a freewriting exercise, write about what frightens you. Make it a little more interesting and write about what has frightened you at different times in your life.

The idea of evil spirits are still scary, but at this stage of life, other things frighten me more: losing my little girl in a crowd of people, or the love of my life, for example.

What frightens you? Place yourself in that scene. Use your five senses as you write.

1 Thing All Writers Must Endure To Succeed

Pain. Disappointment. Name it. Sorry... There are many things.

There's not one "thing" that we must endure. In truth, there are many things we must endure. That begs the question, since I'm posing it. What am I enduring?

Enough to knock a man off his feet. Love. Yes. It's a bitch. It's enough to totally screw up someone's thoughts.

Oh.. the pain. Yes!. You're a writer? Then embrace the pain. Examine it. What kind of pain is it? Color it. What noise does it make? Tell me.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writing Prompt: Seriously? That's Such a 1st World Problem!

I'm in class watching my students take their final exams. Good times.

In this class, students are looking at Third World Problems. One student asked, "What's the Third World?" Well, it usually refers to developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Really, it's a holdover term from the Cold War Era.

But, this moment in class reminds me of how my friends and I often make fun of each other when we complain too much about silly things we have no business complaining about.

Situation: I was at Starbucks this past Sunday morning. I ordered a Grande Dark Roast. I asked the barista to leave room for cream and sugar. "Ok," he said. I got the coffee. He totally didn't leave room for cream and sugar. "Seriously?!" I thought to myself. Yes, I was perturbed. Perturbed, as in upset in a First World way. Now I have to pour some coffee out to make room for my cream and sugar. "Oh, I forgot there's nutmeg! Let's sprinkle some of that in," I thought as I prepped my coffee. Now, I feel better.

People are dealing with famine in Third World countries and my morning is almost derailed because I have to pour out a little coffee. That is a First World problem.

Need something to freewrite about today? Think of all the silly First World complaints that come out of your mouth, your friends' mouths. Imagine how farcical a scene could be where characters are whining and complaining about First World problems as if they were the end of the world.

If you come up with some good ones, feel free to share them with me. I'll respond as soon as I can, but lately, my wi-fi has been acting up. OMG! It's s-o-o-o annoying. (LOL...First World problem.)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Romance Writers Use Music Prompts

I'm so not a Romance writer. It's one genre, I recently told a dear friend of mine, that I just don't read. Not trying to knock it, but it's just not my thing.

However, I get it. Many write and love the Romance genre. As I'm sitting at my computer listening to iTunes as I blog, I heard two songs that even inspired me, a non-Romance guy, to think of possible stories revolving around that age old passion that draws men and women: love.

Now love must be complicated. It must be hard. Obstacles are required to make a good story. Lovers just can't meet and then they live happily ever after. They must face obstacles. They must fight for the love they desire - often against seemingly insurmountable odds. That makes a great story.

To spur any would-be Romance writers, I offer two songs as prompts. Listen to them. Use them as prompts to write a story about lovers fighting against the world. Those are the stories that readers want. Two against the world. Another dear friend I spoke to today used the phrase, "Ride or die."

Rather appropriate. It creates conflict. Drama. Passion. Do you feel it? Yes? Then write it. Here are two songs I believe can inspire you to write a tale of Romance:

"Don't Worry Baby," by The Beach Boys.

"A Thousand Years," by Christina Perri.

Writing Through Hardship

Life is full of moments that test us. Hardships. Failures. Heartaches. These are the stuff of life. Yes, happy moments are also part of life. But the tough times often define us the most.

As a writer, it is during tough times - like this moment of hardship and heartache that I find myself in - that I find comfort in words. Pouring my heart out on the page (Yes, I am old school and still use pen and paper) helps me endure.

If you are going through a tough time, consider writing through it. Don't worry if it looks pretty. Don't worry about grammar. Nobody but you has to see it. Just write through the pain. Write through the tears.

Often my pages are stained with tears. It's ok. That is genuineness on the page. Write. Heal. Write some more. Heal some more.

Pedro Is Still Writing

It's late at night... I am watching the news... I'm drinking a beer. I'm about to make a huge transition in life. In about t...