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Creative writing prompts for young writers

FICTION

BLUFFTON UNIVERSITY'S BEN WEAVER WRITES ABOUT "WHY?"
Ben WeaverThe question should always be why, because that’s exactly what your readers are going to be asking. We can use the short story, as an example of questions asked and answered throughout the story..>>>more

 

CONFLICT DEVELOPMENT IN REBECCA MAKKAI'S “THE NOVEMBER STORY”
makkaiThe November Story, by Rebecca Makkai, is a wonderful example of conflict between characters with opposing goals/values. In this story, the MC seeks satisfaction through her job on a reality TV show, while her significant other wants to settle down and live in the real world... >>>more
 

GUEST BLOGGER KATIE DRIGGERS
Where are you goingWe are super excited to announce that this week’s guest blogger is Bluffton University student Katie Driggers. Her writing exercise focuses on point of view, and uses the story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (Joyce Carole Oates) as a jumping-off point for practicing going deeper into your character’s emotional stance... >>>more 

“PYNCHON'S ENTROPY AND CONFLICTING SCIENCE”
Cara EcholsThomas Pynchon’s short story Entropy is rich with conflict in every sense of the word. This confusing, dazzling piece of scientific fiction presents a mastery display of chaos and calamity that all boils down into one thing: conflict... >>>more

 

STARTING FROM ART: PAINTING YOUR WAY TO A STORY
Gauguins ChairFocus is essential in our increasingly busy lives and media-crowded minds. Sometimes our brains get short-circuited by too much everything, and when that happens, I quiet the competing attentions of my mind by turning to a painting or a photograph... >>>more

 

 

NONFICTION

BRIAN DOYLE'S "NO"  
Becky BobanThis week’s Guest Blogger is Becky Boban, who discusses the Brian Doyle essay “No”- and the way he uses description in a momentum-building relay to engage the reader. >>>more

 

 

FINDING THE ESSENTIAL PLOT IN NONFICTION

The Red ConvertibleWhen I write stories, I think about other stories I’ve admired, the kind of stories that leave me with a feeling of suspension, and admiration. One story in particular that I find myself returning to is Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible.” >>>more

 

 

POETRY

GHAZALS: EXAMINE YOUR MAGNITUDES
Kelly Grace ThomasDifferent forms of poetry are like different cuts of jeans. Most poems are made from the same material: words. Just like most jeans are made of the same cloth: denim... >>>more
 

 

TELLING IT ALL (OR AT LEAST SOME OF IT)
Jeff GundyRecently, Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” has gotten a lot of attention. The title image comes from the world of real estate: agents trying to sell a house that has lots of obvious problems will point out the underlying excellence of, say, the floor joists, studs, plumbing, and wiring. Good Bones. Sometimes it's true... >>>more

 

SHELLEY WONG FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH “WRITING AROUND COLOR”
Shelley WongOnce, I was part of a class where we read “To World War II” by Kenneth Koch. It’s a sprawling ode poem addressed to a historical event. This is one of the cool things about poetry. You can address objects, history, dead people, animals, etc. You can speak to anyone or anything... >>>more

 

TIPS FOR WRITERS

THE BRINK
The BrinkI recently attended a literary festival featuring the writer Hilary Mantel. In her keynote speech, she spoke about the writing life – its charms, idiosyncrasies and sometimes, pitfalls.  Near the end of her speech, Dame Mantel said         something that I will remember forever...  >>> more

 

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER
DinnerLee K. Abbott one of my favorite writers and teachers of writing– advises his students to start with the trouble. I have Lee’s words taped to the wall of my writing room, because they remind me to get to the point already… >>>more

 

PAGE-A-DAY ("HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING & LOVE WRITING AGAIN")
swinging bridgeI had a notion in my head (a silly notion of the worst kind, that is to say, another author I admired told me this and for some reason I assumed that because I wanted to write, it applied inherently to me) that writers, real writers, worked by some sort of mechanism and alchemy, a specific set of circumstance... >>>more