Description, Writing Prompts

Why is descriptive writing so hard?

Writing prompt: Write a description of this picture and share it in the comments below.
Writing prompt: Write a description of this picture and share it in the comments below.

Lately, I’ve been working my way through the manuscript I started for my creative master’s thesis in an attempt to finally finish the novel already and get it published. As I am working my way through the novel this time, I am struck dumb by the lack of description in these first 90+ pages that are supposedly polished to the point of being publishable.

Two questions come to mind: first, how did this happen? And second, what the heck am I going to do about it?

I have gotten far enough away from the actual writing of this project that I feel as though I am seeing it through my “reader’s lens,” and I am really not happy with what I am reading. Sure, my dialog is awesome (I ROCK at dialog!), but there’s not a whole lot going on around that dialog. Continue reading “Why is descriptive writing so hard?”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing, Romance

2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: In case you’re using your time off work to write instead of shop today

To celebrate Black Friday, write the “black moment” in your novel. This is that “all hope is lost” moment where it appears that your hero and heroine are just not meant to be. Maybe they will even go so far as to tell one another goodbye forever. (Or at least they think they are saying goodbye forever.)

Embed from Getty Images

OR, you could write a scene where your heroine drags her hero out shopping on Black Friday. Now, there’s a test for even the greatest of relationships! Continue reading “2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: In case you’re using your time off work to write instead of shop today”

NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing, Writing Prompts

NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Rock ‘n Roll Zombie

rock n roll zombies
In case you wondered, this is the image that launched today’s NaNoWriMo writing prompt. I saw it on Facebook. I don’t know who it belongs to. If it’s yours, please let me know so I can add an attribution and throw you a link from my site.

What do you do if you want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year but you don’t know what to write and trashy romance novels just aren’t your thing? Why not try a writing prompt? I came up with one this morning that is completely different than the romance novel prompt I gave you a few days ago. If you like zombies, this one might be right up your alley! Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt: Rock ‘n Roll Zombie”

Memoir, NaNoWriMo, Write Your Novel This Season

Did you write a novel this season?

Cover Image - NaNoWriMo Gone Wild - The Quest for 50000 Words
This is a current draft of the cover for my NaNoWriMo project.

Earlier this year, I started my Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge, which then morphed into Write Your Novel this Season. While I did manage to complete a full draft over the summer, I am still working on my fall novel. Considering I am only three chapters in, I am kind of doubting I will finish it by the first day of Winter (December 21st.) However, I have managed to get into a regular writing routine, so there are no worries here. Looking back, I see that I have made great progress over this past year.

I spent the early part of 2013 writing a 90+ page creative thesis that would net me an A for the final semester of my Master’s level professional writing program. I graduated in May, found and lost a job (that, looking back, I am happy didn’t work out). I was unemployed for the summer but spent a lot of that season traveling and spending time with family members I hardly ever get to see.

As I mentioned above, I wrote a full first draft novel that I am currently revising. I also wrote a full memoir/writing manifesto-type manuscript for NaNoWriMo, just to prove to myself that I could write 50,000 words in one month. I am even considering publishing it and offering it up for free downloads. Continue reading “Did you write a novel this season?”

Education, Novel Writing, Writers on Writing

How long does it take to become a writing master?

Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins
How many words do you think you need to write to become a writing master? | Painting The Writing Master by Thomas Eakins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Facebook friend recently shared a link to an article titled, Here’s A Shocking Truth If You Think You’ve Wasted Your Life. According to this article, it takes a person about seven years to master a particular task. This prompted me to consider how long I have been writing and how close I should expect myself to be to mastering it.

After giving it some thought, it occurred to me that I am probably exactly where I should be in regards to my writing career. Although I have been writing in some capacity for most of my life, it is only in the past five years that I have put my full effort into it. Prior to that, I had taken a ten-year break while I was married because my ex didn’t want me to write at all. Continue reading “How long does it take to become a writing master?”

Memoir, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: A final push for the finish line

Mandy Webster nanowrimo stats
This is my first NaNoWriMo attempt in which I have managed to get my word count above the daily goal and keep it there.

I was just sitting here looking at my NaNoWriMo stats, trying to figure out how many words I want to write over the next two days so I can finish by Thursday and have nothing to do for the rest of the week (unless I want something to do) aside from grading papers.

I only need about 6,000 more words. One thing I’ve learned this month is that 6,000 words in one day is totally doable, especially on a day when I have something to say. And when do I not have something to say? Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: A final push for the finish line”


10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 10

Day 10 - 10-day-write-blog-challengeDay 10 Prompt: List 5 top blog posts from fellow participants in this challenge. Link to them, and say why you enjoyed them.

Okay, so let’s be 100% honest here. I have not had a chance to read many of the other participants’ posts due to the fact that I have been on a writing roll this past week. You know how it is when you’ve got that momentum, and you just can’t let it go?

Since I do not feel comfortable choosing a list of favorites at this point, I am just going to share a link to the list of all participants so you can go check them out. Continue reading “10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 10”

Blogging, Novel Writing

10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 9

Day 9 - 10-day-write-blog-challengeDay 9 Prompt: Post either a setting or character profile from your latest fiction project, a chapter summary of your non-fiction book, or a discussion of the theme or object inspiring a poem, article, or other writing project.

I did a combination:

Valley was born along the banks of the Little Wabash River in Effingham County, Illinois. The story takes place in a distance future where much of the world is full of ghost towns left empty by famines that were the result of bees dying off. Valley’s ancestors not only survived the famines, but also thrived for several generations by growing their crops in the river bottoms where it was easier for them to maintain their own bees. Continue reading “10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 9”

Blogging, Uncategorized

10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 4

Day 4 - 10-day-write-blog-challengeDay 4 Prompt: Profile 3 to 5 top writing craft books

The following are three of my favorite writing craft books:

  • Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Is it a memoir or a craft book? Well, it’s a little of both. Part I covers King’s early writing years, starting with the short stories he wrote in grade school and working his way through high school and college, and then on to his time as a struggling English teacher with a substance abuse problem. In the rest of the book, King discusses his own theories on the craft. It’s an easy read full of “ah-ha moments.” A must-read for every writer, from beginner to master. Continue reading “10 Day Writing Blogger Challenge: Day 4”
Short Story

Love photography? Want to collaborate on a story? Join The 52.

Do you take a lot of pictures? If so, author Richard Wright is doing something over at his blog that I think you should check out and possibly help out with. He’s calling it The 52.

Here’s the deal. Richard is planning to write one short story per week in 2014. Each short story will be based on one of many pictures that he is asking his readers to submit. To join, all you have to do is send him a picture. He writes a story based on your image, then posts it to his blog sometime next year. You maintain the rights to your image, and he gives you full credit on his blog.

Sound like fun? I thought so. Here’s my entry:

The 52 - Image by Amanda L Webster - WriteOnTheWorld dot WordPress dot com
This is the image I submitted to Richard Wright for The 52.

Want to join in? Visit Richard Wright’s website for details.

Challenge: Write your own short story about Continue reading “Love photography? Want to collaborate on a story? Join The 52.”