Tag Archives: writing prompts

Writing Wonder: Riff on a random Word

I’d like to share my ultra-favorite writing exercise with you. Pick up any book that’s close at hand. Close your eyes. Open the book and place your finger randomly on a page. Write a story using that word as inspiration (or move your finger until you can). Alternate: Start your story with an eye-catching phrase […]

Continue Reading

Summer writing prompts

I’ve been enjoying reading Abilgail Thomas’ book, Thinking About Memoir. It offers many succinct and thought provoking observations as well as a boat load of compelling writing prompts, and all in a slim 108 pages. One reviewer writes this perfect assessment: “If [you] aren’t afraid to dig deep, zero in on details, write an honest […]

Continue Reading

Writing Wonder: Letter to a Friend

This writing exercise teaches you how to skip the preamble and background detail, which you so often don’t have room for in a flash story, and head directly into the intimate detail that makes the story most interesting. … Think of a significant personal event that you shared with a good friend or family member. […]

Continue Reading

Writing Wonder: Wandering List

With this one very easy exercise, you can grab hold of memories you didn’t know you had and generate many flash stories.  It’s also fun to do this exercise in a group well-known to you – they will add flavor to your entries, and vice versa, and remind you of things you had forgotten about. […]

Continue Reading

Top 5 posts of 2013

It’s always interesting to review the blog stats at the end of the year to see what has risen to the top: 1.  This post, at the heart of it all, was the most widely read for the second year in a row.      What makes a flash story? 2.  This post garnered the most […]

Continue Reading

Writing Wonder: The Scramble

I asked my friend Cathy to write-up this exercise she introduced me to because it produces such surprising results. We use it often in class, and I also frequently modify it by simply cutting paragraphs and sentences apart to a) find a more compelling start for a story and/or b) to show that story structure […]

Continue Reading

Writing prompts that always work

I recently wrote a guest post for YourStoryCoach.com that gathers together a few of my favorite writing prompts, which coincidentally all contain the word “always.”  I hope you’ll take them for a test drive and share your thoughts and/or results. For extra credit, here’s another great writing prompt: Write about the person who has always […]

Continue Reading

How to write about family & friends

“What a character!”: How to write about loved ones in your life stories Guest post by Tami Koenig I find the most powerful personal stories are about emotionally compelling relationships. When writing the stories from our lives, we naturally focus on our primary relationships—those with our mother, father, brothers, sisters, lovers, partners, children and friends. […]

Continue Reading

Freeze-frame memoir

Guest post by Jane Hertenstein Much of what I love about flash is about living in the moment. Capturing and seizing a point in time. Freeze framing it—much like a Polaroid snapshot. I like to treat the page like a friend, like a sounding board, or what the poet Frank O’Hara described as unmade phone […]

Continue Reading

Warm up with keywords

An essential in writing a flash memoir is refreshing your memory of the scene. Before you start writing, take a few moments to visualize the scene. Step through the physical environment, sequence of events, and your reactions. While doing this, make a list of keywords and phrases that capture the most distinct elements, emotions, and visual cues.  This […]

Continue Reading

Writing Wonder: Where I’m From

WHERE I’M FROM by George Ella Lyon I am from clothespins, from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride. I am from the dirt under the back porch. (Black, glistening, it tasted like beets.) I am from the forsythia bush the Dutch elm whose long-gone limbs I remember as if they were my own. I’m from fudge and eyeglasses, […]

Continue Reading

Prospective memoir writing

Guest post by with Cheryl Stahle Describe your perfect life; your goals, hopes, and dreams.  When exactly do you plan to invent this perfect life or at least create a timeline for launching the new you, version 2.0?   When you think in this fashion, you use a technique called prospective memoir writing.  Prospective memoir writing […]

Continue Reading