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18

I keep a good old fashion Moleskin notebook with me, one that is hard back so it can survive in my pocket (as well as a pen). It's useful not only for writes notes but for everything else I need to jot down while away from the computer. It also comes with a band to hold it closed, which is useful so I can keep cards in it and the like. There's also ...


12

Why just as antagonists? But well ... One of the best monsters out there is a human being. A nice guy. No-one expects (i.e the reader) that he is a monster. A well known pattern with uncountable variations--use them. Reading mythology of all kind (Greek, Northern, Indian) is a good source for monsters (Tolkien has proved that). When your kid next time is ...


11

One thing you can try (something I have just started trying), is the "fieldstone" method (cf. Weinberg on Writing). The analogy goes that when you are building a wall, as you walk in the field if you find a good stone, you put it in your pocket. Writing kind of works the same way: as you go about your day, you read things, you find something that interests ...


11

If the goal of the scene is to show why a person decides what he or she decides, then you only give the detail necessary to demonstrate that. If part of what changes Adam's mind afterwards is the way she looks, you need to focus on her appearance and not the act. ("He watched her face change as he slid into her" or "his eyes roamed hungrily over her ...


9

When a story becomes timeless, I think it is because it tells some universal "truth". The story is just an example of this truth, while the underlying morale can be applied to almost any time in history. And what was present on the earth 2000 years ago, and still is today? People. Human beings. Characters. If you look at the example of 9/11, what mechanisms ...


9

What do you do if you enjoy writing, but have no ideas? A few ideas: technical writing any form of nonfiction edit other people's stories I don't really do unrestrained creativity, I need a concrete problem, which "make up something interesting" isn't. If you try to do it all at once, "make up something interesting" can certainly be a tall ...


8

I think the main issue here is "accessibility out of context" i.e. how accessible is the raw emotion behind the event to someone viewing it with very little context to go on. The most immediate and easily accessible example of accessible emotion is the killing of Bambi's mother in Bambi, it's one of the most popularly referenced moments of movie sadness in ...


8

Have a look around for the AD&D 2nd Ed. Monstrous Compendium (or whatever the current equivalent is under their new rules), which listed hundreds of possible monsters (I think there were several of these books). Easy enough to get ideas from these, or other RPG books. For my own part, I tend to scour around for books on myths and legends from countries ...


7

I know Writing Excuses has a writing prompt at end of each weekly show. Usually they are related to the topic of the show as well.


7

I use OneNote and I think it's the best computer program ever happened. You can track your ideas and thoughts in the most easier way I've seen. As much as I love paper, I should really own oneself with the paper beaten over the person with this beautiful little soft gem. As a mathematician I organized my notebooks strongly, and I will to publish it, if I ...


7

Applications: I cannot say enough good things about Scrivener, from Literature & Latte (for Mac). It's not a word-processing program, it's a writing program. You can organize notes, drag "notecards" and folders around, block out the rest of your screen, paste in photos and movie clips, and use a virtual corkboard to rearrange thoughts. It was THE main ...


6

One way to start coming up with creative non-fiction stories that are from your own life is by finding lists of journaling questions. For example the author of the blog Live with Flair (who was interviewed not too long ago by NPR) is posting a journaling question at the bottom of her posts daily. These questions can help you think of an event in your own ...


6

You could borrow from deep sea creatures, there's some WEIRD critters in the deeps. Or look at tiny organisms and imagine them human-sized. Or do something with weird plants.


6

Not online. Try a writer's group, where it is absolutely and explicitly clear that you are discussing this in the service of a story, and where other folks are discussing things just as potentially problematic. One writer I work with is writing a crime story and actually paid a retired detective as a consultant to make sure she got her details right. She ...


6

First of all: it's your choice how far you want to go into detail. When two characters having sex is a plot point in a story which is not supposed to be erotic or not even romantic, a detailed description of the deed can seem out of place, especially when you aren't really comfortable writing it. This can go so far as to just imply that sex has taken ...


5

I haven't read it myself, but I think this book, The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kitely, sounds like exactly what you're looking for. It's got very nice reviews - both in terms of score, and the actual description. Here's the first one that sounded like a great match for your question: The exercises also have an additional dimension to them that most don't. ...


5

This question reminds me of Dan Heller's advice about getting started in the photography business. He's talking about a different situation (photography apprenticeship), but he makes a point that applies equally well to the writing business: [They] start by being photographers of things ... that they know really, really well. Usually the kinds of things ...


5

But coming up with the idea in the first place was just a happy accident. You are far from alone. Every time I've sat down and said to myself "Okay, think of an idea for a new story," I inevitably sit there for an hour then give up with a blank page. People (or at least I) just don't work that way. So what I've done is find a way to make coming up ...


4

I personally love spiral notebooks when I'm out and about. You know, the cheaper than dirt, back to school sale, 10 for a dollar kind. I love that I can use one per project or destroy them with a latte and not feel bad about it. I end up importing images of the pages into OneNote if I want to keep what I've written. I love using OneNote for a quick cache ...


4

I simply have a google doc, and I can almost always access it since it's stored a server.


4

This article describes an interesting system for coming up with infinite writing prompts through Wikipedia.


4

Not a writing prompt in a traditional sense, but this has worked for me: improv comedy classes. Every time you perform a scene, you're creating a completely new story on the fly. It's a great way to generate ideas. The story grows organically, and you'll get unexpected (i.e. creative) results. It's a fun way to get new ideas for writing.


4

I love The Writer's Book of Matches for fiction writing prompts.


4

Pay less attention to what the monsters look like, but rather what they do. Is your monster simply a beast with fangs, muscles and acute hearing, or does it have special abilities? Are these abilities magical, or pseudo-scientific? What is the monster's weakness? Like a good character, a good monster has weaknesses. Is it afraid of anything? Is there a ...


4

From the Official Code of Georgia (Annotated): A person commits the offense of conspiracy to commit a crime when he together with one or more persons conspires to commit any crime and any one or more of such persons does any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy... (OCGA 16-4-8). Further, in the 'annotated' portion of the code, "Conspiracy to ...


4

I don't know of any women willing to adopt a nickname that calls attention to their being overweight. For one thing, most such nicknames are pejorative or uncomplimentary. For another, many women believe that being overweight is unlikely to improve their public image. Hence an overtly-fat-sounding nickname may lend implausibility to the story, translation ...


4

Collaborate with somebody who loves to come up with new ideas but hates the process of writing. There must be piles of people with vivid imaginations but no patience for the hard labour of writing it all down.


3

I've been using Springpad as an alternative to Evernote lately. I also use a simple to do list program on my Mac called Things that lets me organize the todos into projects. Works really well for keeping lists of edits that need to be made on any given writing project, especially long ones.


3

As FoxCutter has said elsewhere, for many of us Moleskine is hard to beat. You can pick a size that works for you to carry anywhere, ranging from just smaller than an iPad to one that fits in a pocket and clutch. The fact that it is a notebook lets you keep everything in one place. The fact that you can get it in a "to-go" size means you can have it with ...


3

Type Trigger is rather fun - you get a very short prompt (one to three words) and then write up to three hundred words on that prompt. There's a new prompt every hour. It's an energetic little writing exercise.



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