Daily, genre-inspired writing prompts for authors, teachers, and journaling
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Killing clichés

One rule writers learn early is to kill clichés. To prove the point, I will define my terms with a tired trope of the copywriter: cli·ché  /klēˈSHā/ Noun: A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. A very predictable or unoriginal thing or person. If anyone asks why writers should eliminate clichés from their work, the answer is usually brief, to the point, and wrong:...

10,000 Hours

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he details the concept of the 10,000-hour rule. That’s a reasonably well-accepted theory that to become thoroughly proficient at something, a person needs to practice for about 10,000 hours. Gladwell’s most famous examples include the Beatles and Bill Gates. Prodigies — the exceptions who prove the rule — are popularly known. However, they...

A word about self-publishing for writers so inclined.

The fact that no one in the legacy publishing industry knows what makes a best seller is indisputable. That fact does not mean everyone in the legacy publishing industry is an idiot. Even if J.K. Rowling experienced a dozen rejections before selling Harry Potter, and even if James Redfield self-published and sold more than 80,000 copies of The Celestine Prophecy from the trunk of his car, traditional (sometimes...

Beat Your Muse with a Club

Inc. magazine has an interesting profile of the CEO of the country’s largest independent advertising agency in its November issue. Here’s what the reporter took away: Creativity doesn’t need a muse. It needs a drill sergeant. The article is good – worth reading – but doesn’t actually spend much time going into the counterintuitive nature of that headline (my thoughts on the...

Kudos!

This site has been live for a year and a month, and I’ve been working on growing it organically rather than through some of the less savory methods of social media bombardment and manipulation. Traffic is good and growing, and subscriptions increase regularly, so the strategy is working. I was honored to get this message from a new visitor: I have to let you know this is the best prompt site I have ever...

Writer’s Digest 2011 highlights

In the veritable cornucopia of best-of lists overwhelming our sensory inputs during this holiday season, here’s one with the potential to teach us something: The 18 most popular articles among the 1,300 posted to the Writer’s Digest web site. Among the articles you can choose from: The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing How to Craft Compelling Characters The 7 Tools of Dialogue What Writers Need to Know About...

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