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JPC Allen Writes

Inspiration for Beginning Writers

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Mother’s Day

Writing Tip — Gifts for Mother’s Day

mom-48958_1280With Mother’s Day approaching, many of us are thinking about what gift to give to our mothers, or grandmothers, or wives, or other female relatives.  As a writer, you can always make a gift of your art.

Poetry

Writing a poem is wonderfully personal gift.  I have given poems as Christmas gifts.  Know nothing about poetry?  I recommend checking out books of children’s poems to introduce yourself to this writing style.

I like studying children’s poetry because I can focus on the structure, instead of the meaning, which is usually straight forward.  Below are listed books that are a great introduction to a few different styles of poetry.

Rhyming poetry — A Child’s Calendar by John Updike

Free verse — Red Sings From the Treetops by Joyce Sidman

Haiku — The Cuckoo’s Haiku, The Maine Coon’s Haiku, and The Hound Dog’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen

Acrostic poems — Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic, also Fall, Spring, Summer by Steven Schnur.

Even if you only write four lines of verse in a card, that personal touch will mean so much. (That rhymed.  Mmmm … maybe I have the beginnings of a poem.)

 

Prose

Putting down on paper a significant event you shared with the woman you want to honor makes a thoughtful preset.  Your recipient may not know how much that event meant to you so letting her know is a true gift.

I wish I had written to my grandmother how much it meant to me to spend time with her and my grandfather at their house when I was a kid.  I thought she knew.  It was only when I was an adult that I discovered she didn’t.  She had thought my sisters and I all had a good time, but she didn’t know those visits were some of our fondest childhood memories.

Unless you are an experienced writer, I would keep your story to around 500 words.  Even if it only runs to 200 words, that’s fine.  Short can definitely be sweet if it delivers a story in a concise, imaginative way.

No matter what kind of writing you choose, be sure you edit it.  No one writes her best story the first time.  Reread and rewrite as much as you can before you give it away.  Every time I reread a piece, I always find ways to improve it.

Writing Tip

may-706940_1280Writing in Time — May

May may tie March as my least favorite month.  When I was children’s librarian, it was a month of frantic work as we got ready to launch our summer reading program in June.  We would visit schools to advertise the program and build excitement, and those visits, while usually fun, were also exhausting.

Now that I have kids in school, I realize how frustrating May is.  Everyone associated with school is ready for a break — teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and students.  Speaking as a parent, I am pining for relaxed mornings, relaxed schedules, and no reason to pack lunches.

May makes a great setting for something crazy and unexpected to happen in a story about school.  All that frustration has great comic potential.

Something else I remember about May when I was a kid — at a certain point, maybe a week before school lets out, everyone relaxes, at least a little,  For the kids, the end is in sight.  Teachers know they have done all the instructing they can and now it is just a waiting game to fulfill required number of days.  I remember my mom easing up on bedtime and the long evenings that didn’t encourage sleep at all.dawn-1840298_1280

Graduation ceremonies from high school or college symbolize the feeling of endings becoming beginnings and vice versa.   A ceremony is a great way to launch a story or wrap it up.  It’s also a poignant time for parents and teachers, too,  if they are about to retire.

With Mother’s Day, a holiday that was created by a distant relative of mine, I can explore female relationships within a family.  One approach could be to structure the story over successive Mother’s Days, showing how the celebration reflects the relationships.

Memorial Day at the end of the month can be a setting for stories dealing with death, grief, or just remembering and celebrating loved ones who have died.  The holiday has some of the same quality as graduation — death as an ending or beginning, depending on how you write about it.

Spring is full swing during May where I live, so if I want to write about the glories of new growth and new life, May has great possibilities as a backdrop.

Despite my personal dislike of the month, the writer in me can see it merits.

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