Posted in Cool Tools, Writing Prompts

Emotional Pain Words

Howdy y’all! As Nanowrimo creeps ever closer, what are you doing to stretch those writerly brain muscles? I happened to be in a therapy session when my super awesome therapy lady showed me the following list. The purpose is to help people express what they’re feeling or what they’re afraid of, but we both agreed that it would also be a great list for writers working on character feelings! The followed material was not compiled by me but the photocopy had no attribution. Hope this helps a stumped writer get somewhere new!

fave pencil point right
All my fault
Always wrong
fave pencil point left
Blamedfave pencil point rightCan’t do anything right
Can’t trust anyone
Conspired against
Cut offfave pencil point leftDeceived
Desires were rejected
Didn’t belong
Didn’t measure up
Dominatedfave pencil point rightEmbarrassed
Exposedfave pencil point leftFailure
Frustratedfave pencil point rightGood for nothing
Guiltyfave pencil point leftHated
Hate myself
Hystericalfave pencil point rightImpure
Insensitive to my needs
Invalidatedfave pencil point leftLeft out
Lied to
Lostfave pencil point rightMade fun of
Molestedfave pencil point leftNeglected
No good
Not being affirmed
Not cared for
Not cherished
Not deserving to live
Not listened to
Not measure up
Not valuedfave pencil point rightOpinions not valued
Out of control
Overwhelmedfave pencil point leftPathetic
Pressure to perform
Publicly shamedfave pencil point rightRejected
Ruinedfave pencil point leftSad
Suicidalfave pencil point rightTaken advantage of
Torn apart
Trashfave pencil point leftUgly
Unable to communicate
Uncared for
Unfairly judged
Unfairly treated
Usedfave pencil point rightViolated
Vulnerablefave pencil point leftWasted
Woundedfave pencil point right

Posted in Cool Tools, Writing Prompts

Jobe-Bot Writer-Prompt-ery Fun Times

There was an auto-generate app that showed up on Facebook called “What Would I Say.” It used an algorithym and sifted through all the words you’ve ever used on Facebook (paying particluar attention to phrases, so that the results would make a kind of sense) and spat out with the click of a button what Bot-You would post as a status. This kind of word game tickles me pink so I of course abused this power ad naseum and everyone friended to me got an earful (eyeful). Today when it showed back up in my feed (“Memories” from 2017, 2016, and 2015)  I thought some of this might make decent idea generation and/or writing prompt material. So if you get a laugh out of the below, great. If you get a story starter or a fun idea and write with it, even better. And if you’re weird like me and love this kind of thing too, here’s the link. Play, my lovelies, play!

Jobe (and Jobe-Bot)

  • If anyone is in bloom already!
  • See also, a mask and coat full of rats.
  • Hate has been.
  • When your kitchen smells the best for miles!
  • Me too, I’m going to be present and accountable today.
  • Natural colors where ARE THOSE OPTIONS
  • Yay my friends gave you two swords instead of just saying it’s a thing.
  • Even if you don’t see why this is a no.
  • Calling all angels, upcoming Women’s Day without a stop to all of it?
  • In dire need to read this.
  • You know red, valentine, etc? Nerds warm my heart.
  • She is so nervous poor darlings.
  • And then they were just sitting there with our story.
  • In the separate sections I believe me.
  • Thanksgiving visit to my hair.
  • I’m supposed to be visiting in the wrong thing where I love you all.
  • Lip bite is code for awesome.
  • I’m supposed to tag 5 ladies to do.
  • Can you believe how many episodes you’ve watched in Jack’s life?
  • 2009 Chevy Malibu with a poly group and the rainbow.
  • ROFL Sounds like a cute lil Malk but she tastes bad.
  • You definitely made a Ta Da.
  • Mowin’ the lawn like a top yellow but they go until you’re 50 or 60. You bleed a day off because you want a custom me doll versions of us.
  • I bet your kitchen smells the best I could do.
  • Mowin’ the garage into a bedroom.
  • Lip bite is nice to me.
  • Happy Six years, I dreamt Jasper and Izzy were superintelligent, capable of the twentyfirst century.
  • When I dream I’m going to that upcoming novel from Chase Night? Honestly, I got everybody here.
  • Jack and Arkansas can be damned annoying.
  • Hers is forest with love I got married. 1 year ago we signed a lease with rage, and petting my baby!
  • And I was a lesbian.
  • Pros, cons, and the ink blots washed out.
  • Tell me if you’re willing to be a dick?
  • Just my brain wandering about, the episode 21 really got 4+ dudes to sleep.
Posted in Jobe Workshop Review, Writing Prompts

Creative Writing 101 for Teens: Workshop Review

I only had one hour instead of the two hours I’m used to, but I knew I could use the time to provide some starting pointers for the attendees. I told the class about my blog and let them know that if they were looking for inspiration or encouragement, “Thursday Writers” would be a good category to browse. I explained that writing is one of those awesome things that you can get better at just by doing it, whether you have a teacher or not.

I opened the class with the usual introductions around the room. Then we started talking about stories. Whether we’re used to writing or not, we know a lot more about story structure and content than we think we do. Because we all read stories, we all watch stories unfold on the screen, and we all tell stories about things that have happened to us or people we know. So even if we’re new to writing, don’t be scared to get started. And since even adults sometimes feel too self-conscious, I didn’t ask anyone to read aloud after each prompt; we just went around the table and talked about our writing or the ideas we explored.

I told the class that a main character always has something they want, and that’s relatable, because we all have things that we want too. So we dove right into our first writing exercise: Desire. Write about something you want.

After that we talked about how a story always has conflict. That conflict can come from another person who wants something different than (or the opposite of) what the main character wants. Or it could be an event that takes place, like a tornado or a breakup or an injury. For the second writing exercise: Conflict. Write about  someone or something in the way between you and your goal.

We talked about how story structure, no matter how complicated it seems, can basically be broken down into these classic categories: story_arc

The example we used was of a college student who wanted to study abroad. Maybe she’s rushing to get the paperwork in on time, but the office is closed early, but she happens to know someone who can still get her in—whether the story is a mystery and there’s a dead body in the travel location when the student arrives; whether it’s a romance and she meets someone once she arrives; if it’s a science fiction story and she has to travel off-world. No matter the genre, all stories follow the basic structure.

I wanted to make sure to mention some fun writing prompt sites so they could be on the lookout for prompts of their own. I told them about the weird and sometimes hilarious watchout4snakes, and I told them about the 7x7x7 exercise from Write to Done. We talked about how anything in life can be used as inspiration for a story idea, and that if a person were to carry around a little notebook all day and just write down all the interesting things they encountered, from overheard conversation to quotes from other writers, they might find a lot of content from which to spark.

Next I asked the teens to come up with suggestions for things that people are afraid of. They threw up some fun ideas: clowns, spiders, water, death, children, heights, social situations, stage fright, and technology. I asked them to call out some of the “touchy subjects” we’re not supposed to talk about: politics, relationships, sexuality & gender, religion, money, and personal views. The third writing exercise was to create a scene using one or two of these concepts as the cause of tension in the scene.

We made sure to do prizes for everybody, a Jobe class hallmark, and this time it was free books, select at your leisure.

Lastly I asked the teens to call out their ages. We had a great range, from 13 to 19. I talked about how some knowledge comes from immediate experience, and people who are older or younger than we are may not understand something as well as we do or be as familiar with it, because of age. For the last writing exercise, I asked the teens to write about something they know because of their age.

For more writing resources for teens, Read Brightly suggests Teen InkOne Teen Story, and (what used to be Figment and is now) Get Underlined. For writers of YA Lit, check out Go Teen Writers and Kim Chance, including this guest post from Lucia Brucoli. And if you still want more, pick up my all-time fave on the topic, Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.


Posted in Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts w Jobe

Just a couple days ago I posted this on Facebook:

This is awesome, but I’m upping the stakes. You intro me, I’ll intro you.


The results have been unbelievably fun! Enjoy:

Kyle: I challenge you to introduce me and kill me in the same passage.

Agent R was on the case. His white tuxedo shone like the moonlight as he searched the crowd at the gala, his modern frames only serving to accentuate his dark eyes. His deep-toned skin had ladies of all shades catching their breath and staring, one even daring to brush his hardened bicep with her hand in passing. Sheesh, Agent, better turn it down a notch or it’s going to get a little steamy! Wait, steamy? Why was there suddenly a spray of steam in his face? The woman–it wasn’t a love squeeze, he realized too late, but the breaking open of a poison capsule, releasing the lethal dose right into his breath. No, Agent, it can’t end this way–

Ryan & Paige: The room suddenly exploded with color. Libraries are not normally known for their exciting or vibrant nature, but this appeared to be an exception. Having never seen color in action, they were caught unawares when a rainbow tsunami introduced herself to the room as a whole. “Hi! I’m Jasmine.” Before exiting just as swiftly as she entered.

Somehow, you never noticed the dullness of a room till all the excess color had been removed.

A flash of color and she was gone. “Was that a person? Did I just see a unicorn? Am I having a stroke?”

“Oh her? Nah just a highly caffeinated rainbow nerd.”

The tall lean man in jeans and form fitting black tee tips a hat at the passing rainbow, then sets his hat on the bar to run his fingers through his silky brown curls. He narrows his gaze, scanning the room with his big browns until they alight upon a figure across the bar. He walks purposefully toward her, his gait strong and unhurried.

The curvy coquette rolls her grey eyes, bored with the gawking crowds. Her form fitting red dress screams 1940s temptress, her dark curling tresses tamed in a complex binding of plaits. She sips her Manhattan, the perfect red of her lush lips leaving no mark on the glass. When the cowboy reaches her, she takes him in a passionate embrace that leaves him breathless, and he reaches for his mouth, curious at the object left there. A cherry stem, tied in a knot by the vixen’s skillful tongue.

Laura:  And suddenly the room was a little brighter, the air a little lighter, and I couldn’t stop the smile that grew on my face as I saw Jasmine enter the room.

Laura stood tall and slight of frame, comfortable in her easy farm clothes.

“I’m here to see a gal about a horse,” the brightly-colored new arrival grinned, and Laura nodded sagely, pushing her brown hair back out of her eyes and motioning for the gal to follow her outside. There the stables were breathtakingly filled with the most glorious mounts know to woman. Mares of all breeds and colors, and Laura knew each one by heart, having raised them each since birth. The stranger gasped, delighted, eager to select one. The walked down the row together, the one wide-eyed at the newness of it, the other completely comfortable in herself. The horse whisperer smelled of apple blossom and cedar. The visitor stopped in front of a pale pink mount, admiring its pearlescent horn.

“May I?” she whispered.

And Laura nodded, unlatching the gate and soothing the mare with knowing care.

Sam: The band played a lively dance number. Two strangers at the bar spoke briefly with the barkeep, who pointed toward the cloaked figure at the table in the corner. The men approached. “The barkeep says you can help us.”

Jasmine looked up from her drink.  “Five thousand credits.”

One of the strangers sat down. “You don’t know what we want.”

Jasmine shrugged. “I make problems go away. You’ve got one or you wouldn’t be looking for me.”

The two men exchanged a nervous glance before nodding in terse agreement, and the larger of the two spoke.

“I’m Sam,” he offered his hand, and she shook it. He was big and tall, a sturdy frame, and his deep browns shone out from a face dominated by a mighty beard. “The authorities have been -tracking- our movements of late. And we can’t allow Free Speech to be silenced, you understand?”

The woman sucked in a sharp breath. “You’re the poets, aren’t you?” Her voice was barely above a whisper, eyes darting suspiciously all around. “Word is you’re at the front of the Resistance. Is it true?”

The man blushed, tipping his hat in acknowledgement. “We do what we can, ma’am. Thing is, we’ve got something big on the horizon, and the opposition is getting too close. We need a decoy, a distraction, a–”

“Red Herring,” she supplied, deep in thought. “I’m in,” she stood and grabbed her coat, clinking a few credits on the table. “And this one’s pro bono. Let’s go.”

Rem: A high, girlish giggle drew my attention to the end of the table. A woman sat there, hands folded under her chin as she listen to her veritable viking of a husband talk. She grinned like an imp, dimples on her cheeks making me smile. Her colored hair was tucked behind her ear, and as I watched, she took the ends in her fingers and twisted it. She was like a little girl, full of glee, and in turn, her mood was infectious.

She could feel the man watching her, delighting in the attention of his glances. She looked over and winked, waving a little tinkle of her fingertips, and examined the man further. He was slight of frame, smaller than she might’ve expected, with a shock of brown hair obscuring one side of his face. He looked nimble, like the recline could be relinquished at any moment and the man would blur into action. He wore a whip on one side of his belt and a wicked knife on his other. The girl clapped her hands and tugged on the Viking’s sleeve, motioning toward the stranger.

Cody: She welcomed me into her warmly colorful home with open arms. Though I had never met her before, she seemed to be a friend from moment one. I was dazzled by the many versions of “rainbow” represented within her domicile, and jealous of the beautiful glow that exuded from her welcoming smile.

The small woman had the face of a changeling, pixie-like in high cheekbones and impish grins. He hair was long and flowing and her dress plain, but on her it shone, because she shone, and she could make a rag look like a gown. She seemed taut with unspent energy, ready to burst at any moment.

Karen: She entered with subtle confidence. Her pace was steady and assured. This girl was on a mission, seeking something, and her bright eyes widened on spotting her target. Me. I felt the color tickle at my cheeks when she approached. Her energy overflowed and her aura, warm and yellow like the rising sun, brushed my wide sense of personal space. She oozed vitality and vigor and I was overcome and nervous. Then she smiled, and I was at ease.

“Hi! I’m Jasmine, or Jazz, or Jobe. I work upstairs. Are you the new girl?”

“Yeah!” I could feel myself becoming stronger and more confident to mirror her. “I’m Karen. It’s nice to meet you.” Her energy was seeping into my senses and I was unaware at how widely I was smiling.

“Do you want to get lunch sometime?”

“Sure! I’d love that!!”

Her eyes squinted as her smile curled up. “Cool, just e-mail me when you want to go. Or come find me.” Jazz turned away and almost seemed to be skipping as she went back to the elevator.

Her absence leaving me surprised and oddly chilled. My co-worker returned and smiled and I asked him, “Do you know Jazz?”

He nodded, “She’s cool. A little odd. Her hair changes color all the time.”

I looked down, my eyes wide, a familiar feeling tickled and I thought, “Nerds. Is it that obvious that I’m one of them? They always seem to find me!”

Thinking back on that first lunch made her smile. Jazz always felt that gleeful energy when Karen was near. Karen was like an anime character–her face full of expression, the bounce in her step, the emotion she poured into whatever she was doing. Every new hair cut or hair style just exponentially multiplied her adore-ability, and how did that even continue to be mathematically possible?!?

Now Jazz was on her way back from Hot Springs with Chris and Conan, and Karen had agreed to meet up for lunch! Jazz made a show of breathing nervously, practically hyperventilating. “Okay, remember you guys, I did NOT just spend the last three days telling you guys how madly in love with her I am, okay?!?!?”
Chris frowned. “But you totally did.”
Conan agreed. “Yeah. I heard you.”
Chris continued, “What was it you said? That she had perfect hair and a perfect face and a perfect body and perfect AHEMS?”
Jazz died.
Conan continued, “What was it you were saying about her being the Lady Princess Love of Your Heart, or something?”
Jazz put on her best pouty-face, crossed her arms, and stomped a foot for emphasis. “You GUYS, you can’t SAY that stuff! I would be soooooo embarrassed. I would be mortified. I would LITERALLY DIE.”
Chris narrowed his gaze. “So Karen doesn’t have perfect little apple cheeks you could just bite?”
“Well she does, but–“
Conan tried to stifle a grin. “And you definitely don’t dream about if you were her knight in shining–“
“OKAY SHUT UP YOU GUYS! SHE’LL HEAR YOU!!!!!” The color drained from her face as they entered the gallery. “No more from you, Peanut Gallery.” She glared them down until they’d fastened their best straight and deadpan faces.
Jazz whimpered a little before steeling herself once more. “It’s just Karen,” she told herself. “It’s just your super adorable, completely amazing, unbelievably awesome friend Karen. No big deal. Breathe in, breathe out…”
Jazz walked up to the desk and cleared her throat to draw attention, leaning her elbow casually against the counter top. “Oh. Hey Karen. What’s up,” Jazz asked nonchalantly.


Posted in Reviews, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts: Memoir Edition! w Jobe

My new best friend, David RM.

David RM totally rocks!!! Get random writing prompts every time you refresh the page! My first few included” “My life is made up of seconds,” “perfect job,” and (one that really got me writing) “A list of electronic devices owned over the years.” I used this fantastic site throughout Nano and plan to use it year-round.

I was always told that the difference between memoir and autobiography is that memoir is about a specific time or event or sequence or theme, whereas an autobiography sums an entire life in chronology. So you could write several memoirs about different parts of your life, but you would have just one autobiography. Creative Writing Now gives some examples of memoir topics, and Writer’s Digest gives a list to determine if you want to write your story as true (nonfic) or false (fic). If you’re writing in the genre of memoir, you might be used to seeing lots of prompts for fiction. So here’s a list just for you.

David RM’s memoir-specific prompts

Memoir of Transcendence and the Epic 10

Scholastic’s 20 (for kids but still good!)

Jeri Walker’s 52

Creative Writing Now’s 59

Holly Pappas with college assignment memoir prompts

Suzanne Fox’s 16 / 64 / 31 / 9 (do I say ‘hike’? I feel like I say hike…)

And if that’s not enough for you, well then, just head on over to The New York Times for 650 memoir prompts! That really ought to keep you busy for a bit, shouldn’t it?