Michaeline: The Fable of the Green Pumpkins

I’ll warn you upfront: this will be a difficult fable if you are expecting me to hand you the moral. I’m not sure what it is, myself, but maybe it’ll give you what you need in your writing journey this month.

Two green jack o'lanterns in the day.

Sometimes, the timing is off. (Eileen Duskova)

That said, let me tell you the fable of the green pumpkins. Pumpkins are not easy to come by in northern Japan. You can get them, but you have to look for them. I usually grow my own, and this year, I planted my pumpkins too late. Even though the frost was very late, the poor pumpkins just ran out of time. When the first frost finally rolled around in the middle of October, I was delighted to find that I had about four good-sized pumpkins, even though they were green. I took the biggest two to the porch, because I figured all pumpkins are black in the dark. It probably wouldn’t matter.

I knew they were early, and that they’d not last for a full week. And in the daylight, they were the wrong color. It was OK, though. I think even orange jack-o’-lanterns look a little sad and gutted in the daylight. What mattered was how they looked at night.

And, on the plus side, Continue reading

Michaeline: Poughkeepsie Files #1, “In the Pines”

Japanese print of pines in the fog, barely depicted, and it's on a folding screen, so it's very segmented. Evokes the subconscious.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Where do story ideas come from? It’s a common question, but that doesn’t make it any easier to answer. One science fiction writer glibly answered a fan with “I get them mail-order from Poughkeepsie” (or so the story goes), and that’s where Continue reading

Elizabeth: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

For a number of peopIdea_Faucetle, starting to write (or getting back into writing) on is on their list of things to do this year. When sitting down to write, one of the first stumbling blocks can be figuring out what to write about.

How do you come up with your ideas?” is one of the questions authors are frequently asked, and the answer varies from person to person.

When I was taking graduate writing classes at my local university, the majority of my classmates used their own personal experiences as story ideas, typically writing memoir-type pieces. Our instructors provided a lot of different exercises to help us generate new story ideas from having us write in the style of famous authors to writing group stories (e.g., writer A writes a line, then writer B writes the next, and so on).

Whether you need an idea for a new story Continue reading

Justine: Finding a Pot of Story Gold

story ideas, history in story, historical events, writing, eight ladies writing, corn lawsHappy St. Patrick’s Day! One of the best things that can happen to a writer is to find a pot of “story gold.” That wonderful, juicy tidbit of information that lends credibility, interest, or detail to your story. My pot of gold? The Corn Laws.

(Yeah, I know…you’re scratching your head, saying, “Eh?” Stick with me, though!)

The Corn Laws were British tariffs assigned to imported grain or corn (anything that could be ground), but especially wheat. They were the result of a political dispute between the Continue reading

Michaeline: Creative Fuel for the Writing Workhorse

Woman with battleaxe on a horse, breaking open barrels of alcohol

I usually start with a protagonist. Then, I’ve got to find a conflict and an anagonist for her. (Published by Currier and Ives, New York, 1874, via Wikimedia Commons)

This blog post was inspired by a conversation over on Jennifer Crusie’s Argh Ink blog about thinking in story. Just where does that creative fuel come from?

I’m still working on becoming a published writer, but I’ve made a few leaps in my development – things that really helped me start to turn my scribblings into story. Continue reading