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JPC Allen Writes

Inspiration for Beginning Writers

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Facebook Party!

Mt. Zion Ridge PressThe press that published From the Lake to the River, the anthology my short story “Debt to Pay” appeared in is officially launching and will hold a Facebook party November 26. I will be a featured author, when you can ask me anything, from 7:10-7:25 EST. I’d love to chat with all of you who have been so kind to follow my blog. For more details, click here.

Hope to “see” you at the party!

Monday Sparks — Writing Prompts: A Tribute on Memorial Day

bereavementw-1239415_1280Since it’s Memorial Day in America, and we have been talking about research and historical fiction all month, I thought writing a tribute about a loved one who has passed away would be appropriate.

The house of my maternal grandparents was one of my favorite places growing up. No matter when we dropped by their home out in the country on an acre of hillside, they were always glad to see me and my sisters. We had pizza suppers on the weekend and watched old Tarzan movies or the Wonderful World of Disney. Grandma canned throughout the summer in the large, cool basement. In the winter, we had many family dinners down there, sitting around a long table, or if we were young enough, at the smaller, children’s table. Grandpa would work puzzles in the basement, and the wood burning stove smelled of comfort.

When they had to move next door to my parents, I thought I would desperately miss the house I knew as a child. But as soon as I stepped through the door of their new home, it felt exactly like their old one. The house wasn’t special. It was my grandparents.

thanksgiving-backgroundw-2872853_1280

Monday Sparks — Writing prompts

autumn haikuWrite a haiku about something happening in nature right now.

Scratches on the sky,

Bare limbs mar the clearest blue

This side of heaven.

 

Share if inspired!

Writing Tip — The Deer on a Bicycle

735600As I’ve written here before, I am a huge fan of Patrick F. McManus. His stories, first published in Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, are some of the funniest I’ve ever read. He also wrote a mystery series featuring Sheriff Bo Tully and a book about writing humorous stories, The Deer on a Bicycle.

Mr. McManus’s day job was teaching writing at Eastern Washington University, so not only could he write, he could teach it, too. Even if you don’t write humor, this book is packed with great advice.

I like the framework for the first half of the book. Mr. McManus has an imaginary character named Newton ask questions about writing, such as “Pat, what do you mean by ‘indirection’ in a story?”, “What do you believe is the ultimate in prose style, Pat?’, and “Short humor, Pat, What is it and who cares?”

In the second half of the book, the author selects twelve of his short stories and provides commentary about each one, focusing on structure or characters or some other writing techniques. I find this the most helpful section of the book.

At the very end is a list of humorists Mr. McManus likes. Most of them are classic writers of American humor like Mark Twain and Erma Bomback. Several of them I haven’t read and I am looking forward to sampling their works.

Next time, I’ll write about what I’ve learned from reading The Deer on a Bicycle.

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