November Writing Prompts
What are you grateful for this November? Make a list.
What memories come around November? Make a list. Pick one. Write about it. Write a short story and edit it or write a piece of flash fiction or memoir and expand it.
What actions or reactions fly in the face of gratitude? Write a personal essay or op ed and suggest a course of action.
Put November images and actions into a poem.
Write about the Thanksgiving trip or the Thanksgiving dinner that shouldn’t have happened.
Write about a Thanksgiving pageant you remember from childhood.
Write about how the shorter days and dying leaves affect your psyche.
Write the story that only you can tell.
We’re happy to share your writing here, and if you put it in the comments, we’ll tell you what we love.
Flash fiction is trending. Have you given it a try? Author and editor Sol Stein offers some great tips to improve your writing below.
Pamelyn Casto shared these tips in Dave Lignell’s FlashFictionWriters@groups.io where we are both members. You can join by sending a message to the group owner FlashFictionWritersfirstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome new members.
If you don’t know who Pamelyn Casto is, google her. The same goes for Sol Stein. Back in 1990s Stein and I were both on AOL. I didn’t know who he was then, but I remember visiting a chat where he liked my responses to his prompts very much. As you can see, I hold on to the good moments.
Casto starts her share by saying, “Here are some quotes from Sol Stein’s Stein on Writing (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995), a highly useful book for anyone hoping to write novels. Here are a couple of quotations from that book that pertain to flash fiction too.”
“If there is a common error among inexperienced writers, it’s that they say too much, they try to characterize with an excess of detail instead of trying to find the word or phrase that characterizes best.”
“Another error of inexperienced writers — or journalists in a hurry — is to confine characterization to the obvious physical attributes. For females, facial features, breasts, hips, buttocks, legs. For males, broad shoulders, strong arms, chiseled features, and so on. That’s top -of -the -head, thoughtless writing. Such clichés are common in speech. We expect better of our writers.”
“People who are exactly like other people probably don’t exist. But people who seem like most other people litter our lives, and we don’t usually seek their company because they are boring. Readers don’t read novels in order to experience the boredom they often experience in life. They want to meet interesting people, extraordinary people, preferably people different from
anyone they’ve met before in or out of fiction.”
“In life, speakers answer each other’s questions. We compliment a speaker by saying he is direct. Dialogue, to the contrary, is *indirect.* The key word to understanding the nature of dialogue is that the best dialogue is *oblique.”
“Dialogue is a lean language in which every word counts. Counts for what? To characterize, move the story along, to have an impact on the reader’s emotions.”
Ms. Casto and I both hope you’ll join us at Dave Lignell’s FlashFictionWriters@groups.io. It’s a great place to get feedback.
Romance, Crime & Mystery: the Most Popular Genres
By Raven Howell
Depends on the day…. some mornings you wake up in a fuzzy, warm, good-things-will-come-to-me kind of way. Then there are the periods, no matter how hard you try, you’re intrigued and enticed by the darker side of life (She did WHAT? Where is he hiding?). It’s no surprise that the most popular fiction genres are romance and crime/thrillers/mystery.
Maybe you’re an aspiring writer or an author ready to switch it up and make a more lucrative living. Romance novels are the most profitable. Overall, they end up selling 19-20 million printed units annually.
As recently as this year, a survey showed a close split in favorite books between romance and fantasy, followed by the mystery genre.
Today’s majority of book readers are millennials (ages 26-40). The average woman reads fourteen books a year, a man, nine. Women prefer fiction, men, non-fiction. Vermont holds the number one spot in states with the highest readership – a whopping 87.2 percent! Go, Vermont! As far as U.S cities, Seattle, Washington has the highest readership.
If you’re a nonfiction writer, the more specific your subject is, the less competition your book will have in readership. In sales, nonfiction trails fiction by just a little bit. Nonfiction is wonderful for young students since it summarizes the subject and gives kids opportunity to form opinions.
Although I’m not a romance reader, I do love mysteries, having started with reading, and re-reading the Nancy Drew series many times over as a kid.
As an author, I believe that writing what you like and know (with exceptions) provides your writing an easy, fluent creative path. With that in mind, I wrote my new book, Santa’s Slip Up. It’s a children’s book, so I kept a limit on the creepiness factor, but there’s a mysterious build up and kid-scary illustrations with a surprise twist ending. So, if you or your child happen to be in a mirthful way and crave a mysterious scenario, Santa’s Slip Up may fit the mood.
As in the board game, Clue, where players move from room to room in a mansion to solve the mystery of ‘who done it, with what, and where’, it may be the perfect time to find out if it was Professor Plum in the living room…with the lead pipe…
Author Raven Howell is the author and poet of more than 20 traditionally published children’s books. Her books have received several awards including Creative Child magazine’s Best Book of the Year, The Royal Dragonfly, The Big Book award, NABE’s Pinnacle for Best in Children’s Poetry, The Wishing Shelf, The Moonbeam Children’s Book award, Mom’s Choice, and won the Little Peeps Finalist.
She writes poetry for a variety of magazines such as Highlights for Children, Highlights Hello, HighFive, Babybug, Ladybug, Spider, Cricket, Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Fun for Kidz, and The School Magazine. Learn more about her on her website
If you’d like to be a part of WOW: Women on Writing blog tours, click here. They’re a great organization and I’m proud to be a part of their blog tours.