All-Natural Poetry Prompts

poetry prompts

Poetry prompts inspired by nature.

Throughout the centuries, poets have composed meditations on seasons, landscapes, and constellations. Vegetation and animals have been the subjects of countless poems, and even when poetry is not centered around nature, it often makes references to it.

In poetry, nature may function as the backdrop — the setting in which the action takes place. Nature and various elements of nature may also hold center stage. Why are so many poets compelled to write about nature? Read More

Writing Tips: Kill Your Darlings

writing tips kill your darlings

Writing tips: kill your darlings.

Some writing tips are cryptic.

When I first came across writing advice that said, “kill your darlings,” I thought it meant we should kill off our favorite characters. That seemed ridiculous. I mean, there are situations in which a story calls for characters to die, but to make a sweeping rule that we should default to killing off our most beloved characters is pretty extreme.

Almost immediately, I realized it was so ridiculous that it couldn’t possibly be the intent of the statement, and I concluded that although “kill your darlings” means that we should be willing and prepared to kill our favorite characters if the story calls for doing so, it also has a broader meaning. We writers must be prepared to cut our favorite sentences, paragraphs, and chapters, if doing so improves our work.

That’s solid advice, and I agree with it. Read More

What is Creative Writing?

What is creative writing

What is creative writing?

Creative writing, like all art, is subjective, and therefore difficult to define.

Certainly fiction and poetry qualify as creative writing, but what about journal writing, articles and essays, memoirs and biographies? What about textbooks and copywriting? Technical writing? Blog posts?

Where do we draw the line between creative writing and other types of writing? Read More

Get Poemcrazy!

poemcrazy susan goldsmith wooldridge

Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.

Part memoir, filled with poetry exercises and activities, and sprinkled with poems, Poemcrazy is sure to inspire anyone who wants to delve deeper into the art of writing poetry and the lifestyle of a poet.

Poemcrazy is a delicious read with bite-sized chapters that give you a creative boost and a flash of inspiration before any poetry writing session.

The combination of Wooldridge’s stories about her life as a poet, her suggestions for poetry practice, and the poems she shares (written by herself and others) combine brilliantly for a fun and engaging yet practical read. Read More

Poetry Writing Exercises: Using Connotation to Find the Perfect Word

Poetry Writing Exercises: Using Connotation

Poetry Writing Exercises: Using Connotation.

Poetry writing exercises are an excellent way to develop writing skills, especially skills that are essential to writing compelling poetry. Writing exercises can provide us with new perspectives, techniques, and ideas that strengthen and improve poems we’ve written and poems we have yet to write.

Words are the most basic building blocks for writers, and words have meanings. Often, words have multiple meanings or layers of meanings. Read More

100 Common-Sense Ways to Write Better

write better

A hundred sensible ways to write better.

Nobody’s born knowing how to read and write.

Sure, the lucky ones have talent, but we all start out learning our ABCs. We memorize the sounds that letters make, and we learn how they come together to form words. Pretty soon, we’re reading. Someone puts pencils in our hands and then we’re scribbling letters on paper. At last, we can write.

It takes years of study and practice just to be able to write a simple sentence. So, what does it take to become a proficient and professional writer, to compose thoughtful and meaningful pieces of writing? Read More

Are There Any Original Writing Ideas Left?

original writing ideas

Do you have any original writing ideas?

A lot of artists struggle with originality. Of course we all want to be original, but is it possible? Is there anything new under the sun?

Some say there are no new stories, just remixed and rehashed versions of stories we’re all familiar with. Often, when someone calls a piece of work original, a close examination reveals its roots in creative works that preceded it.

Most of us writers have had ideas that we shunned because we thought they were too similar to other stories. But just because your story idea is similar to another story, perhaps a famous one, should you give up on it? Read More

Writing Tips for Creating a Complex Villain

fiction writing exercises and villains

Create a villain with today’s writing tips.

When it comes to writing fiction, we each have our own unique challenges. For some of us, it’s a struggle to come up with names for characters. For others, it’s hard to write realistic dialogue.

Maybe you’re like me and find it difficult to write a really good villain — I mean — a really bad villain.

The funny thing about our writing weaknesses is that sometimes all we have to do is identify them and suddenly we start coming up with tons of solutions.

That’s what happened to me a few years ago when I realized I was having trouble writing a nemesis for my main character. Time and time again, it was one of the key elements that was missing from the stories I wrote. I was struggling to create a villain that would give my story the conflict it needed.

Once I noticed this pattern, I started seeing villains all around me — as if merely noticing their absence from my writing made them suddenly appear everywhere in my everyday life. Read More

Journal Prompts for Dreamers

journal prompts

Dreamy journal prompts.

Where do dreams come from? Many philosophers, psychiatrists, and other experts, as well as everyday people, have made conjectures about the sources of our night visions. But they remain a mystery.

Some dreams are obvious, of course. We’ve all experienced dreams that are clearly relevant to what’s going on in our lives or dreams that are some reflection of the past. Some people claim they’ve dreamed events before they actually happened — precognitive dreams that allow a dreamer to peer into the future.

Some of us remember every single dream we have. A few of us may even take time to jot down our dreams in a dream journal. Others cannot remember any of their dreams and will claim they don’t dream at all. There are those whose dreams are so vivid that they are induced into sleepwalking, and there are those whose dreams carry the essences of their greatest fears — nightmares.

Some dreamers are so attuned to their dreams that they can actually control a dream while they are having it (this is called lucid dreaming). They decide to fly in a dream, and they are off, soaring through the dream-sky. Read More

The Writer’s Journey: A Must-Read for Storytellers

the writers journey

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.

If you read only one book on storytelling, make it The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler.

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books on writing fiction. Many have been helpful, but some have left me feeling disappointed, especially those that promise their methods will result in a successful story or make grand claims that their way is the only correct way to write a story. I’ve seen these claims made in books on the writing process and in books on story structure.

The Writer’s Journey makes no such claims, but it does provide us with a story structure that was discovered, not created. It’s based on universal patterns in storytelling that are flexible yet proven. As you read through it, you’ll immediately recognize these patterns in almost every story you’ve read or watched. Read More

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