Month: February 2015

Websites For Writers-Wednesday Prompts and Inspirations

chalkboard-3-AToday for my Wednesday prompts and inspirations, I’d like to share four of my favorite, free, writer-helping websites.

The Wednesday before last, I mentioned onomatopoeia as a great writer’s tool. Onomatopoeia refers to the sounds people make when they laugh, drink, yell, as well as other human sounds. Onomatopoeia also covers the sounds of cars, any movement, liquid spilling, Halloween sounds, musical sounds, and so much more. Wouldn’t it be great if a website existed where you could do such a search?

Here you go! The onomatopoeia dictionary!


If you are looking for a fun website where the questions of grammar are spelled out in short, friendly tips, you’ll want to check out Grammar Girl. Here, complex grammar questions become easy to understand through simple memory tricks.


If you need a little help writing a pitch, Kathy Carmichael takes the pain out of the process. Answer the questions on the form, click submit, and voila! As fast as the click of a button, you have your pitch.


The right name for your character is crucial. With Behind the name, you won’t need to wonder about the meaning  behind the names you’ve chosen.


Care to share one or more of your favorite internet sites you turn to for help with your writing?


Dr. Seuss – Wednesday Prompts and Inspirations

This Wednesday, instead of inspiring you with writer’s games, prompts, and the tools of a writer, I offer you inspirational quotesSeuss-4 from the great Dr. Seuss! I selected these four quotes with care because I believe they apply to every writer.  As you read them, take a moment to discover the deeper meaning in each.



Add A Little Rhythm To Your Writing – Wednesday Prompts and Inspirations

chalkboard-3-AWhen I hear or read that writers need to add rhythm to their writing, I want to say, “But I’m not a poet or a songwriter.” But those places don’t hold the monopoly on rhythm. Have you ever read a passage in a book that slid off your tongue? Have you read a passage written so beautifully you read it again for enjoyment? Often these passages seem effortlessly clever. (But we all know those brilliant moments in our writing are anything but effortless. We well know these beautiful phrase take time to craft.

To add rhythm to our writing, we need to load some fun tools into our writer’s tool box.

1. ALLITERATION: The repetition of the first consonant sound of words in a sentence.

 Ted needed time to type his term paper.    Merlin’s Magic created marvels to behold.

As fun as this tool is to use, remember not to create a tongue twister by grouping them too close together. Consider Poor Peter in Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. This would be far more pleasant to say if it were rewritten: Peter, the son of the town Piper, spent the day picking red and green peppers for his mother to pickle.


2. ASSONANCE: When two or more words in a sentence share a vowel sound.

The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains. (One of my favorite lines from the movie, My Fair Lady.   In the height of the night there came a bright light.  (This example would lend itself best to poetry or a picture book, but in a novel, you could slim the assonance repetition considerably: Mark waited in the night for Mary to shine a light from her window.)


3. CONSONANCE: the repetitive sounds of consonants in a sentence or phrase.

Do not go gentle into that good night.     The fellow strung the strings on his cello.   (fellow and cello) and ( strung and strings)


4. HOMOIOTELEUTON: Admittedly quite the mouthful. So, what does it mean? When words in a sentence contain similar endings. This is also known as near rhyme.

Heinz adds beans in their soup.    I  wrote my memoir in the car.      


5. ONOMATOPOEIA: The use of words that imitate the sounds of objects or subjects in a sentence. (In picture books these sound words are often made-up words–think Dr. Seuss. “I can’t blab such blibber blubber! My tongue isn’t made of rubber.”)

With a crash, the vase shattered.    Don’t squirt me with the hose.    The children splash in the pool.


6. RHYME: Rhyme doesn’t necessarily belong to poetry alone. An occasional rhyme of words within a sentence can add to the rhythm, sound, and ear-pleasing quality of your writing. After all, it only takes a little time to write a sentence with a rhyme.

On our trip to France, Frank and I took a dance class.    When I did the laundry, I forgot to take the Saltines out of my jeans pocket.

Your turn! See if you can add a little rhythm and spice to your writing.

The Idea Generator — Wednesday Prompts and Inspirations

chalkboard-3-AMaybe you’re a writer or perhaps an avid reader who wonders where writers get their ideas. I started thinking about this recently when I spoke to a friend who challenges herself to come up with one new picture book idea every day. Every day! How many picture book manuscripts did I think of last year? Easy answer. Twelve. My goal has been one new idea I develop into a manuscript each month.

Like other writers, I stay tuned in to life. I also pay close attention to everything my daughter tells me. (She’s nine, and although most parents have learned to tune out the nonsensical babblings of their kids by that age, I find her “babblings” spark story ideas. After all, she’s close in age to the group I’m writing for, so the things she takes notice of and gets curious about are the topics I need to focus on. I admit, she’s a little more serious in her thinking than a typical nine-year old. There are times when the answers to her questions would better be left unanswered until she was, oh, say… sixteen or more. Like the time I nearly drove through the garage door when she asked how two married men can make a baby.

So what happens when the stream of creative ideas stops? How does a writer get the damn to burst and the idea stream flowing again?

Although many writers tap into  their dreams, I can tell you flat-out that I don’t. Probably because what goes on in my head when it’s lights out doesn’t make sense in the real world.

“So, I was walking through a convention in a church which was really my childhood house when I heard a noise in the living room, which was really the pet shop around the corner. I saw a hundred children drawing pictures of floating houses with crayons that were made from candy canes. Then my friend Sam showed up, but it was really John disguised to look like Sam. He gave me a little jade statue of a goddess. I set it down and watched it morph into a green doll with movable arms and legs. When I picked the doll up, it’s eyes flicked open, it turned into a snarling tiger, and tried to grab me.”

See what I mean about my dreams?

When that idea stream isn’t flowing, ask yourself these questions:

What if?

I woke with wings and could fly? My brother turned into a moose? The backdoor of my house led to another dimension?

Wouldn’t it be incredible if?

Rain fell as dark chocolate drops? (I’m okay with that.) I were chosen to go to the moon? Everything I saw or read stayed with me in perfect clarity?

What would people think if?

I had super-human powers? Could change myself into anything I imagined? Knew how to speak every language in the world?

What would happen if?

The most distant planet with life where close enough to visit? Aliens attended school with us? Animals shared our level of intelligence?

or, taking it a step further…

We know that when lightning strikes a tree it will split it in half, blacken it, or turn it to ashes.  But what if when lightning struck something it gave life to that otherwise inanimate object?

How or where do you get your ideas for your writing?

Chime in. This is a place to share!