SciFi/Fantasy – December 10

On this date in 1984, America’s National Science Foundation announced the discovery of the first planet outside our solar system. The planet orbits a star 21 million light-years away. Writing prompt: In a dialogue between your protagonist and another character, describe how the citizens of the world you’ve created responded to a discovery that alters their perspective on their place in their...

Romance – December 10

On this date in 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist’s partner has to choose between something of inestimable value and your protagonist.

Literary – December 10

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” -Emily Dickinson, born this date in 1830. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which your protagonist experiences a similar reaction to an aspect of her/his work or hobby.

Mystery – December 10

“You the new blood?” Ray asked. The boy stared up at him, a smile sneaking across his face. “You the old?” -Urban Waite, born this date in 1980. Writing prompt: Write a scene in which an upstart upstages your protagonist.

Secondary – December 10

William Faulkner accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature on this date in 1950, telling the audience, “I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail.” More than six decades later, explain whether he was correct.

Words Not Pages

I frequently hear from writers who are interested in a manuscript review or editing services, or who want to pitch an agent or publisher, and they tell me their book is 200 or 425 or howevermany pages long. When I’m feeling indulgent and patient, I’ll spend some time explaining why I don’t care how many pages their manuscript is – and why they shouldn’t, either. What counts is the number of words in the manuscript,...

Secondary – December 9

“They also serve who only stand and wait.” -John Milton, born on this date in 1608. True or false?

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