Category Archives: Writing Prompts

Behind Every Leader…

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Hello everyone and happy Presidents’ Day!

“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It is easy to look at a leader and attribute his/her success to his/her own drive and personality. Although the individual is the focal point, the credit for his/her accomplishments also partially belongs to the members of his/her support group. Every leader surrounds himself/herself with people who can offer advice, emotional/financial/political support, etc.

Your writing prompt for the next two weeks is to select a job title for a leader and then create a supporting cast for him/her. Your leader can be a political figure, the head of a corporation, the principal of a school, a pastor, the head of a household, etc.

  1. Create between three and five supporting characters.
  2. Define each character’s role/relationship with the leader.
  3. Give each secondary character a minimum of one strength and one flaw.
  4. Create a backstory for how each character met your leader character and how each character came to earn his/her trust enough to become one of his/her main support personnel.

For my history lovers, you could alter this writing challenge by choosing a leader from history and researching his/her three to five closest advisers, family members, friends, etc.

Happy writing!

Katie Merkel

Celebrations, Legends, Superstitions, and Wives’ Tales

Hello everyone!

Six more weeks of winter…at least according to Punxsutawney Phil. This year, I became curious as to how Groundhog’s Day began. Looking it up online again made me realize how much the past affects modern culture.

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to create a culture. Come up with a history for a social group, town, country, etc. What outside influences and historical events have shaped its current practices and beliefs? Are the people from the culture immigrants or have their ancestors lived there since time began? Have there been any natural disasters; and, if so, how were those disasters viewed and what impact did they have on the society? How do outsiders view members of this population and vice versa?

Happy writing!

Katie

Music: Lyrical Melodies or Melodious Lyrics?

Hello everyone!

Music is a powerful medium. I love the way words and instruments work together to elicit a heightened emotional response. Some might think I’m strange, because, I hear the lyrics better than the accompaniment. What I mean by that is I will sing a song to the wrong tune because I learned the words but still don’t have the melody down.

For me, the lyrics are what make or break a song. My favorite songs are from musicals because I love the way they move the story along and/or reveal something new about a character. Some of my favorite lyricists are Sir Tim Rice (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Evita, Aladdin, The Lion King), the late Howard Ashman (Little Shop of Horrors, Oliver and Company, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights, Hamilton, Moana).

Since we are still at the start of 2017 and trying new things, the prompt for the next two weeks is to write a song. To help you get started, listen to your three to five favorite songs. Look up the lyrics. See if you can figure out what makes those songs appeal to you and then try to duplicate those elements when creating your own song.

Happy writing!

Katie

Query Letters

Hello everyone!

Once you have completed your novel (keyword being completed) it is time to write the query letter.  Basically, be professional and keep what you have to say short, to the point, and error free.  Below are some articles with more in-depth advice.

“How to Write a Query Letter” by AgentQuery.com: http://agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx

“The Complete Guide to Query Letters” by Jane Friedman: https://janefriedman.com/query-letters/

“How to Write the Perfect Query Letter” by Mary Kole: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/how-to-write-the-perfect-query-letter

Happy writing!

Katie Merkel

New Dreams

Hello everyone! Happy 2017!

The beginning of a year is a time to start fresh. People set goals and make resolutions for how they will improve themselves. Many hope the new year will be better than the former year.

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to choose one of the five settings listed below. Then, create a character based off the quote at the end of the prompt. Use the quote and location to create an interesting conflict. When it comes to deciding what your character wants, be creative. After all, it’s a new year, don’t go with an obvious choice. (e.g. A high school student dreams of becoming an engineer. He has a beautiful singing voice and his mother forces him take voice lessons and audition for American Idol instead of letting him get involved with math and science clubs.)

Settings

  1. Thebes (Ancient Egypt)
  2. Virginia (The Civil War)
  3. Paris, France (World War II)
  4. A reality TV show (e.g. American Idol, Shark Tank, The Bachelor, etc.)
  5. Mars (3000 AD)

Quote

“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not clichés but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path.” – Phillip Sweet

Happy writing!

Katie Merkel

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone!

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

th1g656pn2For me, Christmas is the most joyous time of the year. Growing up, it seemed like everything in the world became right at Christmas. The lights made the streets beautiful, people were kind, Christmas music declared that God loved me, and an old man in a red suit left me presents.

th0dtd5f2mWhen I was a little girl, we had special traditions that transitioned us from Christmas Eve to Christmas day. On Christmas Eve, my siblings and I acted out the Nativity story for our parents. I was Mary and Gregory was Joseph. Baby Jesus was played by the newest member of our family: Christiaan and two years later Tessann. After acting out the first Christmas, we set out cookies and milk for Santa Claus and went to bed early.

thMODNAB43.jpgChristmas morning, we waited to look at the tree until the whole family was awake. Waking sleeping family members was forbidden. Mom and Dad allowed us to open our stockings and play with the little toys inside while we waited for the sleeping members of the Merkel household to wake up. (For some strange reason, Dad was always the last one in bed.) We were only permitted to rouse Dad after the last child had gotten up on his or her own. Then, we all went downstairs and attacked the presents under the tree. After opening gifts, we ate a family breakfast of bacon and sweet rolls.

Your writing prompt for the next two weeks is to write about your favorite Christmas or Christmas tradition. You can either write it as a personal narrative or use it as a springboard for a work of fiction.

Merry Christmas and happy writing!

Katie

“Ho! Ho! Uh-oh!”

Hello everyone!

“When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but[…]” – Clement Clarke Moore

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First, choose a point of view: the robber’s or Santa’s. Then, write about what happened leading up to this meeting and/or what happens afterwards.

Merry Christmas and happy writing!

Katie