Turning a “Story Prompt” into a Story Idea

Hi Folks, From Reedsy’s Writing Prompts newsletter (as I write this back in early March), “You’re a professional cleaner and the beginning of spring is always your busiest time.” This is for their current short story contest, but it could also easily be a premise for a novel. Here’s what sprang to mind for me: First, define “cleaner.” It might be a person who cleans houses and businesses for a living (as intended). It might also … Read more

What Is a Scene?

Hi Folks, What is a scene? I think it was Bradbury who said a new scene occurs each time there’s a new camera angle. I’m fortunate in that I “see” every new setting and scene in that way (camera angle, in my head). For that reason, for me, every new setting holds a scene. But how we see a scene isn’t important. What matters is that we can see (hear, smell, taste, feel) a scene through … Read more


Hi Folks, Despite what most of us heard in school (from non-writers, ahem), you don’t have to keep everything about a particular topic in one massive paragraph. Especially in fiction. And blog posts. In fiction, you should begin a new paragraph every time a different character speaks. Most everybody knows that. You should also begin a new paragraph when the scene or setting changes (even in the same setting, even a little). The primary benefit of … Read more

Writers Need Adventure — Don’t They?

Hi Folks, The initial image many of us conjure of Ernest Hemingway is that of a writer writing. That’s the first image I see too. But the image I most often conjure is of a man’s man. Living, by which I mean adventuring, continually seeking adversity and attacking it where it lives. Of course, that’s larger than life, but so was he. Wasn’t he? To feel truly alive, we all need an antagonist. Don’t we? I … Read more