184. “What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced?”

In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”   184. “What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced?”   …   Money is a big issue, and I’ve been offered bribes before. Once, I was offered by a drummer I managed to split the band’s […]

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178. “What Are You Grateful For?”

In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”   178. “What Are You Grateful For?”   Read as, What are you waiting for? I want to feel gratitude. It’s hard sometimes. But let us.   Tony Robbins says, “You can’t feel fear or […]

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170. “What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories?”

(Blurry like nostalgia now and then; what was your favorite character?)     In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”   170. “What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories?”   Here’s another quaint one to jump into. This one is dedicated to the […]

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Write a monologue that feels rhythmically right

(Art by Cosimo Miorelli, for Bloomsday 2015)   Ok, so, this is the third and final Charles Johnson exercise (I must confess, the last three exercises have all been from page 37 of The Way of the Writer, which I finished yesterday).   (3) Write a monologue of at least […]

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Describe a Character With Focus on Vowels and Consonants

(Art by Dana Cooper) Today’s exercise again comes from Charles Johnson‘s book, The Way of the Writer, where he credits much of his early development to his late mentor John Gardner:   Describe a character in a brief passage (one or two pages) using mostly long vowels and soft consonants […]

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110. “Do Your Parents Try Too Hard to Be Cool?”

In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing”   110. “Do Your Parents Try Too Hard to Be Cool?”   No. They are cool.   I remember once attending an important, late-night exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston in the early […]

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Write one sentence describing a single emotion for a whole page

Today’s writing exercise comes from Charles Johnson, a National Book Award winner, and author of the novel Middle Passage, the short story collection The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and the graphic novel Shall I Rise–just to name a few publications from his almost fifty years of writing and scholarship. He was the […]

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53. “Do You Think You’re Brave?”

In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing” 53. “Do You Think You’re Brave?”   This question changes meaning depending on how you pronounce the emphatic last word.   Do I think I’m brave? Yes. I take risks, I meet challenges, and I […]

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10. “What Are You Afraid Of?”

In response to The New York Times article “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing” 10. What Are You Afraid Of?   I am afraid of answering this question. I am afraid of answering any of the “Overcoming Adversity” questions. I am afraid of uploading my answer to this blog. […]

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Write to gain perspective (from “The Artful Edit”)

Click here for PDF –_Practice Perspective   This semester I enrolled in Susan Bell’s Fiction Workshop. It runs like most MFA workshops–write material, present it to a classroom of peers, and then a week later listen to their comments/critiques. Bell’s class however, unlike other workshops, has two twists: the first […]

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Write a Story in Future Tense

Click here for a PDF — A Short Story in Five Tenses   As an exercise for my wonder English students at New York Language Center, I asked them to write the final page, all sentences in future tense. It takes a lot of concentration to not run through prose. […]

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Write a Story in Five…sentences, snapshots, parts

Our Writing & Publishing Lab course, lead by Luis Jaramillo and John Reed at The New School, began with one simple exercise: “Write a story in five snapshots.” To do this, we followed what’s called the “Five-part story structure”: (A) First you write Action. (B) Second you write Background. (D) […]

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Tongue Twister (The Walls were Wide…)

(“ua” “uer” “ue”)   The walls were wide with world wide web, while washing woopies whirled without words in a world of warring wookies, notwithstanding missing words pearls too were missing in this world of warring wookies, always worrying ever washing these whirling woopies, here, where the walls were tie-dyed […]

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