Novel Beginings

Dear Fellow Journalers,

     I don’t know about you, but I often have difficulty writing that first sentence. It doesn’t matter if you are writing a letter, a blog post or your novel. How many times can you re-write a sentence?

     Your beginning is where the reader decides to keep reading. You want to keep the reader engaged and captivated. So here are some ideas (remember to write them down!)

1.       Make the reader wonder about something. No ready answer to the nagging question.

2.       Start with a problem.

3.       Start in the middle of the story.

4.       Introduce the main character and settings.

5.       Start with background information.


Here are some examples:

     “it looked dead, but I began to back away just in case.”

     “Katie Donovan’s heart pounded in rhythm with the sound of hoof beats on the road behind her.” 

                                                                     Mama’s Bible by Mildred Colvin

     “The execution of Nathan Hale on September 22, 1776, was the lowest point in a month of low points for General George Washington.”    George Washington’s Secret Six by Kilmeade


‘Til next time,


Word Ghosts and Happiness


“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”

Tom Bodette

“Happiness is holding someone in your arms and knowing you hold the whole world.”

Orhan Pamok

“Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we can’t even remember leaving open.”

Rose Wilder Lane

Novel writing Prompts

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Even experience novel writers need prompts!

  1. You have been given a magical pad of paper that makes everything that is written on it become a reality. What do you write and what is your reasoning behind it?
  2. Talk about a time when a piece of writing changed you. Whether it is something you wrote or something you read. Describe how and why this piece made the world a different place.
  3. You were digging around some old stuff and you found some of your writing from long ago in your past. You can’t even remember writing about it but it is truly amazing. Talk about what you do with it, who you show it to and what eventually happens as a result.
  4. The writing from your computer’s hard drive was somehow sent to all of  your family and friends and acquaintances. The material includes the stuff you were afraid to share with everybody. What do you do?
  5. You are in a room with the five living writers who inspire you the most. What do you talk about?


‘Til next time,


Word Ghosts and Dreams


“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”

J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests.”

Charles Lindbergh


     Dear Fellow Journalers,

          Without ideas, there are no words. Without words, there are no books. Ideas are the things that drive your writing. You can have all the skills and experience but without ideas, your pages will be empty. So where do you get ideas?

1.       Take a popular idea and add something to it.

2.       Think like a kid by asking questions over and over again.

3.       “What if?” What if your main character narrated the story? What if you interjected a major event into the story?


     Before you “go crazy” with this theme, get out a journal page and write Ideas on the top line. Your next great idea will not live long in your mind unless you write it down.


4.       Employ your five senses in creating the setting for your book. Start by reading a poem or story that’s rich in expressions of locale. While I absolutely love the “Murder She Wrote” series by Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher, I relish the descriptions of the places the main character finds herself, the clothing of the characters, the sights and sounds

5.       Next write about taste, smell, sound and touch. Finally in one sentence, sum up the mood you want to convey in your setting.


Some more idea sources are:

     A television program or movie, a painting, conversation, people-watching, lecture, holiday, family relationship and beautiful landscape.

     One thing can lead into another. For instance:

          Romeo and Juliet became West Side Story.

          Pygmalion became My Fair Lady

          My Fair Lady became Pretty Woman.

What are your ideas?

‘Til next time,



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