Writing Sprint!


The power just went out for no apparent reason, and my battery is at 43%. I have little time to write a 500-word post. How about doing a sprint, and come up with as many words as I can in a limited amount of time? It’s a good way for me—and you­­—to practice writing on the spot.

How do I start, though? I previously mentioned a great book, called The Writer’s 1001 Book of Matches, which is filled with prompts. It’s a great way to get the ideas flowing. Even if the words sound ridiculous at the time you pen them, the exercise is not aimed at having you write something sensible, but at making you think fast, and write what you see in your mind’s eye.

Writer's book of matches

Let’s try a random one: page 106 says:

A woman digging in her garden uncovers a sealed, ancient box. Slowly, she lifts it up. Surprised by its lightness, she sets it on the ground beside her, removes her gloves, and for a moment, stares at the lock. It’s old and rusty. She brushes the dirt off the top of the box, revealing some kind of patterned design, unfamiliar to her. Foreign writing, perhaps? A dent shows where her spade made contact with the delicate wood, and marred it.

The sun breaks through the clouds. What looks like flakes peels from the lock, and falls in the grass, still damp with the morning dew. The latch pops open.

She dusts the cover once more before opening it. Several small mesh bags of seeds sit inside, a red ribbon tied into a bow, near the top of each one. Taped inside the cover is an envelope. Unmarked. She wipes her hands on her pants before pulling it off. A sweet fragrance fills her nostrils. She breathes in deeply. What is it? Lavender? Honeysuckle? She opens the envelope and pulls out a threefold pink sheet of paper. She reads the two lines, and bursts into a fit of laughter. “The power is back on. You can now resume your blogging duties.”

Okay so that’s a silly ending to the story but the power came back minutes ago and that’s what popped in my head. I didn’t want to stop, and try to come up with a different idea.

Thhe whole point of a sprint is writing what comes to mind, when it does.

What did you imagine when you first read the prompt? Is she an older woman? Young? Mine is about 20, with long blonde hair. She’s sitting on her knees on the ground.

What did you see in the box? Precious jewels? Was it empty? I saw a red velvety lining. Not sure why I didn’t write it down.

Now it’s your turn. Set a timer to 15 minutes. See how many words you can pen in that short amount of time. Don’t stop. Don’t edit as you go.


Randomly opening the book to…… page 186:

After a violent thunderstorm, a man finds a rain-soaked diary among the debris in his backyard.

Ready? Set?



Where Do You Get Your Writing Prompts?

Writing contests…here comes my manuscript! These past couple of months, I’ve been so wrapped up with finishing the re-writes of my first manuscript, I’ve neglected this blog.

I must admit however, that it was an awesome feeling when I printed the first 50 pages for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award contest, and put that in the mail on May 13.

And what a feeling it was when I finished the re-writes for the remainder of that novel (thanks Stella). I’m now ready to print the whole manuscript and it’s off to Word Alive Press for their publishing contest. Both contests will announce their winners at the end of August and I really look forward to it. Keeping my fingers crossed for both.

Now, I’m ready to start my next story. I have what I think is a great idea and I can’t wait to write it. I know however, it’ll take a lot of work and research because the main protagonist is a teenager with autism. Then again, writing is a lot of work. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Autism is a subject I know very little about. I have to hit the books / internet before I can put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

I found interesting books on the subject, but the biggest eye opener for me so far was the movie Temple Grandin; the story of an autistic woman who become a scientist in the humane livestock handling industry. I watched it, was moved to tears, and I wanted to see it again! I am still awed by it. (Deb, thank you so much for suggesting it). This past week, I called the video store and asked if I could buy the copy I rented. He said yes, and I bought it!

I didn’t really understand what autism was and there are so many different spectrums of it, I had no idea what to expect with this movie. But now, I can’t wait to start my second novel.

The strange thing is though, I have no idea what prompted me to write about autism. Sure, I heard about it before but I can’t say I really knew anything about it until I saw the Temple Grandin movie. And even now, I still don’t know much.

Yet for some reason, I just pictured Brody (main character in my novel) sitting on his bed rocking back and forth, whispering “no! no! no!” as he listens to his father and step-mother in the other room, screaming at each other in the middle of the night.

Sometimes as I write, something I read in a book or saw on TV will come to mind, and it seems, for the moment, like a great idea for my “next move”. I  may or may not keep that idea as the story progresses. Other ideas come from asking someone (usually my dear sweet husband who watches a lot more TV than I do) what he thinks I should do next. He is full of ideas, and I sometimes want to slap his name on the cover when the book goes to print because many of these ideas are his. Sure, I wrote and developed them but they were his ideas in the first place.

Here’s a sneak peek into what I started to write :

Brody lives in a verbally abusive household. His father is a heavy drinker, and when he’s not screaming at or putting Brody down, it’s his wife who gets ‘the blunt end of the stick’ so to speak. Brody decides he’s had enough and runs away in search of his mother. He meets another runaway and . . .

Enough said.  You’ll have to read about it when the book comes out if you wish to know what happens.

Now I need to ask you:

Where do you get your ideas about writing? How do you get inspired? Does it just “happen”, pop in your mind? Is it something you read? Saw on TV?

Please share.