Category Archives: Writing Tools

Guided Writing Prompt Exercise: Random Word Generator

For this exercise, you’re going to need something to write on, something to write with, and a timer. If you have a random word generator you’d like to use that’s fine. Otherwise, you can use my random word for your exercise. I’ll discuss the tools you need in detail below.

Random Word Generators

When I am doing a Random word exercise, I usually use just one word. I have several different random word generators I use depending on what I want to do. There is also a list of resources that include some random word generators on the Resources page of ReadingAndWritingTips.com. Also, I will list six random words below. If you have a six sided die, you can roll it to get a random word to use from this list:

1. Helmet
2. Tumor
3. Cone
4. Position
5. Jockey
6. Compromise

Writing Materials

Sometimes I use my iPad to write with, sometimes I use my laptop, and other times I use paper and pen. It just depends what kind of mood I’m in and what I have available when the muse strikes me. Just use whatever is best for you.

Timer

You will need a timer to use for the writing exercise. I use a timer on my phone, but you can use a kitchen timer or any other timer you have. If you don’t have anything to use as a timer, you can do the Guided Writing Prompt Exercise along with me in the YouTube video and I’ll time 2 minutes of writing for you.

Instructions

So, what we’re going to do is select a random word using the list above and a die, a random word generator tool, or you can use the word I am going to use which I will give to you in a moment. You can do the exercise almost any way. What I do, is I try to picture something in relation to the word to begin the story or piece I’m writing. For example, if the word is basket, I could think about someone carrying a basket somewhere, someone making a basket, someone buying a basket, a basket factory, or anything else that the word makes me think of. The word should give you an idea, paint a scene, or maybe introduce a character to you that you can use in your piece.

So, for our exercise, I used a random word generator and got this word:

Clothespin

You can use the same word I’m using, or you can use your own generator to get a word of your own if you like. Now that you have a prompt, set your timer for a period of time you want to write for. I usually do writing exercises for 15 minutes at a time. If you do the Guided Writing Prompt YouTube video, you’ll write for 2 minutes. You can also pause the video and write for as long as you want and then skip to the end of the video. Whatever your choice, set your timer and get ready to write.

(If you have a writing program like Write or Die, you can use the software to write in as well as time yourself.)

I wrote for two minutes filming the accompanying YouTube video and I’ll post my results at the bottom of this post. When your timer goes off, come back here and post your work! If you don’t want the general public to read your piece, email it to me. I’d love to read it! Ready? Go!

Happy Writing!

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Here’s what I wrote from this prompt in 2 minutes:

Molly picked up the last baby shirt and attached it to the line with a wooden clothespin. The sun was at her back and it felt good on her bare shoulders. It had been such a long and cold winter and she was happy to see the sun again. She knew Marvin would not like seeing her in her tank top outside where the neighbors could see her bruises, but he wasn’t there to scold her. She smiled at her guilty secret and sighed as a cool breeze kissed her shoulders. Hearing the loud exhaust of a truck pulling into the driveway, Molly grabbed her laundry basket and ran for the back door. She rushed to grab her sweater [time ended!].

Links:
Random Word Generator
An easy random word generator you can use for free online.

Regular White Dice
Just what the title says. 🙂 For use with the random word lists I will post here when I do random word exercises.

How to Write a Letter Everyone Will Want to Read

You may be asking yourself, ‘Who writes letters anymore?’ I do, for one! There is just something about the act of getting out some delicious stationery and my fountain pen and writing some words to a friend or a family member. It is so much more personal than an email, abbreviated text message, or random Facebook poke. I, for one, love receiving letters and I know people love receiving them.

How to Write a Letter

YouTube Video Link

Responding to Letters

If you are the lucky recipient of a letter from someone, it is your duty to respond to that letter in a timely fashion. Your paper doesn’t have to be fancy, you can use lined paper or printer paper. You can use colored pens, fountain pens, cheap pens or even pencils. Whatever you choose, make sure you allow yourself plenty of room to write and a writing utensil that can be read easily.

When you’ve got your supplies and you’re ready to begin, sit down and read the letter you received again to refresh your memory. Leave the letter out next to you so you can refer to it as you go along. I find it helpful to read the letter a section at a time and then write a few lines about what the other person wrote. For example, if the person started their letter by telling you about a wonderful book they just finished, respond to that by saying if I’ve read the book or not and your thoughts on the book. If you haven’t read the book, tell them what you’ve heard, if you want to read it, or something else pertinent about the book they’ve mentioned. Remember to answer any questions your writer sends to you.

Lastly, remember to sign off your letter in a similar manner to the way they signed off their letter. If they wrote ‘Love, Aunt Phoebe’, then you can write ‘Love, Your Name’ when signing off. If they were more formal in their signature and wrote, ‘Regards, Mrs. Cain’, then you can write, ‘Respectfully, Your Name’, or some other similar sign off. If they were friendly in their sign off, you can be too. Sometimes, depending on your relationship with the other person, you can even sign off a little more friendly than they did if you feel it’s appropriate.

Letter Writing Prompts

If you don’t have a letter to respond to or you don’t have any questions to answer, you can use prompts to think of material to include in your letter.

One way you can think of things to write, is to remember to make your letter GOOD. Good is an acronym that means:

G – Greeting: Remember to greet your reader. Dear, Hello, Good Day, My Love, whatever you think appropriate.

O – Old News: Address any old news you want to clear up or finish. For example, you may have been telling a story about a family member and now something else has happened. Mention the old news and then the new news to keep them updated on the situation.

O – Other News: Do you have any new news to tell? What have you been up to? How is school going? Work? Are you dating, married, have kids? Think of anything new that has happened in your life that you want to share and write about that.

D – Designation: Close your letter with your name and a closing statement. You may say, ‘Love, Ed’, or ‘Sincerely, Ed’. Choose something appropriate as explained earlier and then put your name.

Another idea for helping you find something to write about is to look at their letter as explained before. What are they talking about? If they wrote about a movie that you’ve seen, share your thoughts. If you haven’t seen it, write about a movie you’ve seen or want to see. Talk about the book the movie was based off of. Find things your reader is interested in and talk about those things. Keep them engaged and interested in what you have to say.

Lastly, when all else fails, talk about your family and friends. What are your kids up to? What did your BFF do last weekend that was so crazy? Did your Dad get a new job? Did your Mom publish a new book? Talk about things that might interest your reader. It’s always easiest to write about what you know so start with those closest to you. Just be sure you’re not telling someone something embarrassing the friend or family member wouldn’t want told.

If you don’t have anyone to write a letter to, there are tons of websites for finding a pen pal, writing anonymous letters for soldiers, the sick, or the elderly and loads of others. Just Google Search ‘pen pal list’ and see what comes up.

Letter Writing

Write a Letter to Yourself

If you just don’t have anyone to write to, you can always write letters to yourself. Writing a letter to yourself can help you work through a rough situation, make you feel better if you’re down, or otherwise provide therapeutic benefits. For example, if you’re feeling depressed or need to say something that you don’t feel like you can say out loud, write yourself a letter and tell yourself all about it. I have discovered lots of things about myself this way. I know that may sound funny, but it’s true. Sometimes the physical act of writing out how you’re feeling and why can help you realize the real reason for what’s going on and allows you to find a solution.

You don’t have to write it to yourself specifically, you can just write it and never, ever, give it to anyone. Pissed off at your boss or a co-worker? Write them a letter and tell them about themselves. Then keep it or burn it, or shred it. Again, the physical act of writing it out and saying what you want to say can really help relieve a lot of stress regarding a situation. Of course, if the situation is dangerous or illegal, you may want to write a letter to someone and actually deliver it, know what I’m saying? Stay safe, always.

If you end up writing letters that you never send, keep them in a binder or file. They can provide a good record of how you were feeling at a certain time or remind you of something you wanted to do. If you want to write letters and never send them, consider getting a nice leather bound book or journal in which you write all your letters. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something worth publishing with some tweaking or editing out of real names!

Whatever you end up doing, writing letters to yourself or others can be a very rewarding and satisfactory way to express yourself, keep in touch, or just get something off your chest.

Happy Writing!
~ Eileen

Here’s some Amazon affiliate links to letter writing products that I love and recommend:

Fold and Mail Stationery

Cross Fountain Pen
I have a red one that I LOVE!

Peter Pauper Press Watercolor Birds Stationery Set
I have the watercolor birds and the paper is delicious, the envelopes are nice and thick. I love pretty much everything from Peter Pauper Press

Letter Writing Books
I haven’t read these, but they have great reviews. If you have read any of these, let me know!

Guided Writing Prompt Exercise: Physical Story Dice

Hi Everyone! I have another fun guided writing exercise prompt for you today!

For this exercise, you’re going to need something to write on, something to write with, and a timer. I’ll discuss each in detail below. If you don’t have your own story dice, you can use the same prompt I’m going to use. I’ll give it to you in just a minute.

The Dice

I have a set of nine story dice. I usually use three at a time when I do a writing exercise. Just because 9 is too many. However, I could easily see writing a children’s book and each of the nine dice is a chapter. Or writing a poem and using each die in a stanza. The possibilities are truly endless! I love story dice! 🙂

Writing Materials

Sometimes I use my iPad to write with, sometimes I use my laptop, and other times I use paper and pen. It just depends what kind of mood I’m in and what I have available when the muse strikes me. Just use whatever is best for you.

Timer

You will need a timer to use for the writing exercise. I use a timer on my phone, but you can use a kitchen timer or any other timer you have. If you don’t have anything to use as a timer, you can do the Guided Writing Prompt Exercise along with me in the YouTube video and I’ll time 2 minutes of writing for you.

Instructions

So, what we’re going to do is select three dice at random and roll them. The dice will show three pictures. You can do the exercise almost any way. What I do, is I try to use the word that I think represents the picture in the story or piece I’m writing. For example, if the die shows me a flower, I could use flower, garden, rose, petal, or anything that the picture of the flower makes me think of. The pictures should give you an idea, paint a scene, or maybe introduce a character to you that you can use in your piece.

So, for our exercise, I rolled three dice and this is what I got:

The letter ‘L’
A scarab beetle
A bridge with water under it

You can use the same pictures I’m using, or you can use your own story dice and get pictures of your own if you like. Now that you have a prompt, set your timer for a period of time you want to write for. I usually do writing exercises for 15 minutes at a time. If you do the Guided Writing Prompt YouTube video, you’ll write for 2 minutes. You can also pause the video and write for as long as you want and then skip to the end of the video. Whatever your choice, set your timer and get ready to write.

(If you have a writing program like Write or Die, you can use the software to write in as well as time yourself.)

I wrote for two minutes filming the accompanying YouTube video and I’ll post my results in the comments for this post. When your timer goes off, come back here and post your work! If you don’t want the general public to read your piece, email it to me. I’d love to read it! Ready? Go!

Happy Writing!

###

Here’s what I wrote from this prompt in 2 minutes:

Margaret could hardly believe her eyes. Here on the bridge of elison, was the emerald beetle she had searched all those long years to find! If she had found this clue when she was still young, she could have been the Queen of Alloria. But it was just not meant to be. The Beetle, carved with minute care into the ancient stone of the bridge was outlined with a star and at the Northern most tip of the star was the letter L. Margaret dropped to her knees, fingering the filigree star and wondering what the L meant. She ran her fingers over the legs of the beetle one by one and a light [time ended!].

Links:
Story Dice
These are the same dice I have. They come in different ‘flavors’.

Magic and Fairy Tale Story Dice
Just what the title says. 🙂

Full article on how to use Story Dice

How to Use Cards to Outline Your Novel

Good Morning (or whatever time of day you’re reading this!)! 🙂

Outlining is something I never thought I needed. But as I became more serious and focused on my own writing, I realized I had a hard time staying focused and motivated to write each scene. I have found that using index cards to outline my scenes, chapters, and plots has been a useful tool that carries my stories through to a successful finish.

In fact, I think it’s such a great idea and that every writer should use some form of outlining, that I made a video about it. Click the links below to watch the YouTube video or read the full length article about story outlining with cards.

YouTube Video About How to Use Cards to Outline Your Novel

Full Length Article about Using Cards to Outline

Index Card App for iOS

Happy Writing!
~ Eileen

How to Use Story Dice

story dice

Hey everyone, have you ever wondered what story dice are and what the heck to do with them? Well, I’ve released a new video on my YouTube channel that explains just that. You can also check out a previously published full-length article here on the blog about Story Dice.

Take a look at the video and let me know what you think! If you use story dice, send me your work. If I like it, I’ll publish it here on my website! I look forward to reading your work.

Happy Writing!
~ Eileen

Story Dice YouTube Video

Story Dice Full-Length Article on RAWT.com