Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Writing Prompt: The Last of the Beetles

The last third generation Volkswagen Beetle recently rolled of the assembly line in Mexico.  There is no word on whether a fourth generation is in the works.  But, when I recently saw this old Beetle photo on Wikimedia Commons, it fired up my imagination.

Volkswagen Beetle - Photo by Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Dülmen, Kirchspiel, VW 1303 -- 2017 -- 2279” / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For today's writing prompt, let's take this Volkswagen Beetle convertible for a spin.  Let's write a -

Volkswagen Beetle story

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Writing Prompt: Tour de France

As of this writing, the 2019 Tour de France bicycle race is scheduled to finish today.  It's a grueling bicycle race that takes participants all over France in a challenging test of endurance and strategy.  

Tour de France - photo by Emperley3 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]
Over the years, the race has been marked by incredible achievements and incredible scandals.  Bicycling shocked the world with a seamy underside of drug use and cheating.  While all of this may have embarrassed the world of bicycling, it also provides a rich environment for drama.  Bicycle racing has everything needed for a dramatic story.   For today's writing prompt, write us a story set in the --

Tour de France

Friday, July 26, 2019

Writing Tips: Forget the Money

Fiction writing can be a thankless job.  The competition is fierce.  Even acceptance by a publisher is no guarantee of success or publicity.  Self-publishing can be tough as the responsibilities of editing, cover art, and marketing fall squarely on the writer's shoulders.  It can  become a test of personal resources, resourcefulness, and stamina.  For most of us, the financial benefits of writing a meager.  The average writer earns less than $1000 a year from their writing.   In this challenging marketplace, this leads to an obvious question.

How do you stay motivated to write?

One way to stay motivated is to forget about the money.  It's a tough thing to write.  I need money just as bad as anyone writing today.  But, there are easier ways to earn a dollar.  Instead of spending your time haunting Twitter or social media to get 35 cents of profit from selling one copy of a book, just entertain yourself and your tribe by activating your imagination and writing new stories.  Write flash fiction, blog, write short stories, or write that book you may never even publish.  As long as you have fun writing, that's what matters.
People who entertain themselves with model railroads, role playing games, or video games don't worry about "earning" money from their hobby.  Don't pressure yourself to write the bestseller and earn the big bucks.  Write for fun.  The reader who enjoys your book is just like the guest that you allow to drive your model railroad or join your gaming group.  If you are lucky, your joy will be contagious.  If you aren't, you saved the $50 it costs to go to a movie.  Writing is cheaper than building a model railroad or flying a remote control plane.  Just write and thank God that you don't own a boat.

This doesn't mean you don't submit work to paying markets.  It just means that you power your work through your passion.  If you want to keep writing, you have to think that you are just having fun. Any paycheck from writing is just gravy.  If you need money, flipping items on ebay or etsy, donating plasma, getting a part-time job, or driving for a rideshare service might yield money faster.  If you want to use writing skills, knock out some short articles for a content provider.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Writing Prompt: Small Actions Lead to Big Disasters

Sometimes disasters begin with the smallest of actions.  On the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, it began with a simple request from Mission Control:

...if you could give your Oxygen tanks a stir . . .

Damaged Apollo 13 Service Module after Separation (NASA / Public Domain Image)

That simple request and an electrical short set off an explosion that turned a mission to the moon into a life and death struggle for survival. The successful return of Apollo 13 is one of the most inspirational stories of space program heroism.  For today's writing prompt, write a story of a dangerous life and death event that starts with a -

small incident.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Today's Writing Prompt: One small step for a writer

On this date, July 19th, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the moon.  To commemorate that great achievement, lets have some out of this world key words for today's writing prompt.  Come up with a short work of fiction incorporating these four words:


Apollo 11 Landing Site - Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA [Public domain]

Friday, July 12, 2019

Word Prompt: Roll your Dice and Write Real Nice

It can be a challenge to write about random things.  For today's writing exercise, we need a standard six-side die.  If you don't have any dice laying abouot, you can visit the dice roller at

We will throw the die three times and your story prompt will be to write a story based on the results.  The pattern of the story will be.

A (die throw 1 result) must (die throw 2 result) a (die throw 3 result).

If the result doesn't make sense, feel free to change a verb or preposition in the prompt.  For example, "a soldier must escape a treasure" may become "a soldier must escape with a treasure."

Throw 1 - The Subject

1.  Soldier
2.  Detective
3.  Sea Captain
4.  Prince or Princess
5.  Witch or Warlock
6.  School child

Throw 2 - The Predicate

1. Find
2. Escape
3. Destroy
4. Hide
5. Steal

Throw 3 - The Object

6. Treasure

When I tried the random roller with three dice, I got a 6, 4, and 5.  If I were to write a story based on that -

A school child must hide a village.

If you need an extra challenge, go set your oven timer for 10 minutes and get cracking!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Writing Prompt: Everything Must Go

Businesses come and go.  Times and tastes change and evolve.  But, it is often a painful process for the people who have invested their time and effort into making a business run and succeed.  They have to adapt to the uncertainty of job loss and the loss of a place that may have meant the world to them.  For today's writing prompt, write a short story about -

the closure of a business.

Bare Shelves at a Rite Aid drugstore location that is closing down

Setting Writing Prompt: The Old Shack

America's countryside is littered with old houses, barns, and shacks.  Many of these are documented and explored in Abandoned Places pho...