Let’s work on setting. Here are a few simple questions to get started:

      • What year/era is your story taking place (2016, 450AD, 3500bc, 2074, etc)?
      • Where is your story taking place? (space, undersea, England, North Pole, California, forest, cave?)
      • Is it urban or rural?
      • Describe the trees/landscape/buildings/scenery?
      • What sounds do you hear? (train, birds, cars, cows, wind, waves, martians?)
      • Where is the pivotal point of the story? (inside a house, office, bar, park, space, ski-lift, beach, graveyard, etc)

If you get stuck, get outside – visit a coffee shop, park, etc., with a notebook. Jot down everything you see, hear, touch, feel.

If you can’t get outside, here are some images to help…

 Have fun!!!



Something to help in your writing journey…

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.”
                                                                                       ― D. Simone

Write on….ink

A New Years Wish – Just Do It!

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” – Neil Gaiman


Happy New Year!

Setting Goals

As we head into a new year, take some time to write down some writing goals, like…

  • Organizing your Work
  • Setting a TimeTable for Sending out Queries
  • Starting a new Story/Article/Essay
  • Finishing an old Story/Article/Essay
  • Researching the Markets/Publishers

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he’ll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer.”  – Ray Bradbury


Make it Your Year in Writing!!



Some of you are struggling a bit with transitions so let’s work a little on this subject.

Transition words, sentences, or even paragraphs, carry the reader’s thoughts from one scene to another, or from one topic to another. It’s the glue that holds your work together – a bridge that goes from one place to another. If the bridge is too short or not properly constructed, it can be a jarring experience.


The trick is to shift gears smoothly. By using part of the topic you are leaving and part of the topic you are approaching, you will have a seamless transition – giving the reader a smooth ride.


Building a Transition Sentence

Transitions can happen in first line of a new paragraph, or the last line of the previous paragraph. If you can find a common denominator, you can make a smooth transition, like this:

Think of transition sentences as a bridge that goes from one place to another. If the bridge is too short or not properly constructed, it can be a jarring experience. [Setting up for the transition.] There are many bridges in writing… (You can just about anywhere with this)

You can also skip decades with one good transition sentence

Sarah clutched her father’s pocket watch and listened to the strained tune. She smiled, thinking of the days when he tried to hypnotize her until she went cross-eyed. Now, thirty years later, fond memories brought a surge of tears.

By using the phrase, “Now, thirty years later….” There is no need to follow your character through opening and closing every door, every waking moment, or taking a long trip to a destination. Many writers overload themselves with these details when all they need is a good transition.

One of the most famous phrases is, “Meanwhile, back in the jungle…” (You can take the imagination anywhere with the right transitions.)


Other good transition words and phrases are…

  • accordingly, again, although, as a result, besides, beyond, but
  • close, consequently, during, finally, for instance, formerly
  • if, in addition to, instead of, likewise, meanwhile, moreover, nevertheless
  • on the contrary, otherwise, specifically, so, subsequently
  • then, therefore, to compare, to illustrate, to sum up


For this exercise read a newspaper or magazine and find the transition words for every paragraph. When you can recognize the transition phrases, words, and sentences, then write your own scene, paragraph, or essay. Then read it back to yourself and ask:

  • Is it choppy?
  • Do your thoughts flow smoothly, or are they disjointed?
  • Can you eliminate any extracurricular by adding a transition?


Once you’ve read it, have someone you can trust to be honest read it – and don’t be offended if they offer constructive criticism. It’s how we all learn. Though, anyone too negative, you are probably better off finding someone else.

Remember the secret: a transition sentence must use part of the topic it left and part of the topic it is approaching – like a needle and thread sewing a seamless hem. 🙂

Dot to Plot…

After the dots… comes the plot.

A common mistake that writers make when drafting is rushing through the conflict. (Please note that the conflict can be internal or external.) 

Take this time now to figure it out and build that scene.

If Anna left from home (point A) and got a flat tire (the ‘X’ factor) on her way to point B, how did that happen and what did she do?

  • Was she thinking about an argument she had with her hubby/boyfriend/loved one and overlook a log in the road?
  • Did a car full of joyriders whiz by, throw something sharp out the window, Anna rode over it, wiped out and got seriously injured?
  • Did Anna get the flat tire in a ‘dangerously’ woodsy section of the road?
  • Did Anna get help from some guy who turned out to be a crazed lunatic?
  • Did Anna get caught in a raging storm being caused by a landing UFO?


Focus on the ‘X’ – and notice that once X happens, it gets harder and harder (smaller x’s can pop up) to get to point B.

Keep this in mind to help your thoughts…

“There is only one plot—things are not what they seem.” 
—Jim Thompson

Have at it. Write away!



Connecting the Dots

Now that we’ve worked on your character a bit, let’s find out where that character is going. Here’s a simple exercise. (We’ll make our character Anna.)

Anna gets on her bike. She needs to get from point A (ex: home) to point B (ex: school)


Flatlining (above) is dead. Something has to happen to bring your character’s story to life.

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer

So let’s add a variable (surprise) – X (Ah! Algebra at work)


X is a problem. Something happens.(There will be several smaller x’s in the path as you progress – also consider what kind of road is it – rural, city, country, suburbs, yellow brick, etc.)

X could be a number of things: 

  • Does Anna get a flat tire on her bike?
  • Does Anna get caught in a rainstorm or tornado?
  • Does Anna stop to help someone stuck on the side of the road and fall in love?
  • Does Anna get help up by a band of gypsies that seduce her into joining their cult?
  • Does  Anna get stopped and held captive by aliens that just landed in a UFO?
  • Does Anna wipe out on a log in the middle of the road and get knocked unconscious?
  • Does Anna get hit by a car or bus?
  • Does Anna take a wrong turn and get lost in some strange mystical place she’s never seen before?

The bigger “X” is, the bigger the story can be (Die Hard)… but it’s not necessary. Simplicity can be just as successful (The Girl Next Door). Think it out. Travel your mind. Connect the dots…