Writing Tips & Career Advice

Who’s Up For A Little Audience Participation?


I don’t want this blog to be all about me. Sure, it bears my name, but I also want to foster a little community and help other writers if I can. To that end, I’d like to try to encourage a little audience participation. So here’s my idea…

One of the things I find most helpful when I’m wallowing in the depths of, “I don’t wanna write,” misery is a writing prompt. Now, most text prompts don’t work for me. They feel too limiting, I guess. I don’t want the start of the story to be already written, I want to start from scratch. But I need a push. I prefer to find an image that excites or interests me and then use that as the jumping off point for a story or article. I probably would have done great on Rorschach tests.

So where do you come in? Once a week or so I’ll throw up an image on this site. If it moves you in some way, use it to write some flash fiction or the beginning of an article or blog post. Post your creation on whatever online platform you use (Wattpad, Tumblr, your own blog, etc.) and then come back here and post the link, as well as a line or two from your piece, in the comment trail. Don’t post the whole piece; just a little excerpt will do.

If we get enough interest, I’ll put all the links together in digest form and run them in my newsletter. I may also put them up on my Facebook page. This can be not only a fun little activity to get you out of your writing doldrums, but may be a little bit of extra exposure for your website. Who knows? I may be able to run some contests around this at some later point.

Now for the rules:

  1. There’s really only one main rule and that is follow Wheaton’s Law which states, “Don’t be a dick.” Don’t post mean comments about other people’s entries here, or on their site. If you must criticize, be constructive. If you post negativity here, I will delete it. This isn’t about tearing others down, it’s about helping each other.
  2. This is supposed to be fun. Don’t spend weeks on this, unless you want to. It’s just a jump start for your brain, not a doctoral dissertation. Don’t get hung up on it.
  3. Don’t post buy links. Please, do not post direct links to your books, services, or any other product. I will delete these. Only post links and excerpts for the pieces that result from the prompt. Anything else will be considered spam and deleted during the moderation process.
  4. Try to keep it PG-13, or no worse than R-rated. I’m not in the business of determining appropriateness and anyway I may not be able to read every single story to make sure that the entire piece isn’t offensive. Understand that if you click through to read somebody else’s piece and you find it offensive, I have no control over that. I also cannot control if, somewhere down the line, the author decides to change the content that the link points to. But writers, if you could try to keep it to something that would be seen in a regular movie theater, that would be helpful. And play fair. Don’t post a link to a story this week and then turn it into a buy link or a link to porn next week. If I get complaints about this, I’ll have to shut down the program.
  5. This is for fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. Don’t feel like you can’t participate if you’re not a fiction writer. I’ll try to pick images that can be used for many forms of writing.

I think that about covers it. I’ll post the first one either later this week or next week sometime. Have fun!


(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

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