underwood five typos

Imagine a blizzard - you are in an isolated, two room, mountain cabin, with no electricity, no computer or cell phone. Your car is buried; a mound of snow the only evidence that it is parked outside. You've tried shoveling, but it's pointless. So you build a fire in the wood stove to keep warm.   … Continue reading underwood five typos

before selfies

Before there were selfies, photographers revealed themselves with subtle clues that perhaps even they were unaware of. Examine this photograph, and from the details - tangible and intangible - evoke the photographer. Who is this person on the other side of the lens? What is their relationship with the people in the photograph? How did they come to be the … Continue reading before selfies

foreshadowing flim flam

Rule for writing and life: A flim flam man (or woman) cannot work in a vacuum. It takes at least two participants for flim flam to be successful. So, when a character (or you)is bamboozled, there will be plenty of red flags in the field. They will look something like this:  photo: Justine Belson In writing, … Continue reading foreshadowing flim flam

collateral damage

Imagine a world where owning a luxury condo, in a missile silo buried 174 feet underground, is a sign of affluence. Imagine a world where 1,820-square-foot condos sturdy enough to withstand a nuclear attack are selling faster than they can be built. What happens when Sci Fi and Cli Fi stop being fiction? That's a lot … Continue reading collateral damage


What have you agreed to believe, though you knew it could not be true? Recall the moment when you knew you had gotten on the wrong train. How long after that did you stay on the train because you paid good money for the ticket?  Jon Sullivan   Create a character (loosely based on you), and offer them … Continue reading deceit


It isn't difficult to imagine apocalyptic outcomes for our world. Story lines and character motivations are revealed every day - rich with plots and subplots, political trickery and ecological treachery. Writing prompt: Read: North Texans to Texas Railroad Commission: Stop the 'Frackquakes' and: Leaked Transcript Gives Oil Lobbyist Taste of His Own Medicine Write this into fiction. Change … Continue reading Frackquakes

holiday cliché

In 50 words, create a Thanksgiving gathering characterized by cliché. Then, using 50 more words, introduce someone whose arrival gives new meaning to "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." Some say writers who use cliches betray a lack of original thought - make them wrong. Begin here:  David Cooper, US Fish and Wildlife Service End here:  Jerry … Continue reading holiday cliché

the albatross and ebola

This is the Light-Mantled Albatross. And proof of the persuasive power of the written word.   The albatross has become a metaphor for psychological burdens carried as penance. This was not always the case. In fact, until 1798, being followed by an albatross was generally considered good luck. What changed? Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a poem in which a mariner … Continue reading the albatross and ebola