Please don’t do this…

I popped into a writers’ group on Facebook this morning and saw something so awful, so muse-crushing, so career-killing that I had to write to you and beg you not to make the same mistake.

Sound dramatic? 

That’s because I feel so strongly that you shouldn’t do what these two writers did. I’ve seen it stop writers in their tracks for years, if not forever.

What was this horrendous thing?

In two separate posts, this morning, I saw writers post their tender first efforts at writing (in their words “the opening of my novel”)  in a forum full of strangers and ask for feedback. 

Here are some of the responses they got:

Continue reading “Please don’t do this…”

[Writing Prompt] Social Speech

Can you imagine your life without email, Facebook, Twitter, text messages? Can your characters?

Can you imagine your life without email, Facebook, Twitter, text messages?

Texting Oasis
Photo by John Frassinet

Can your characters?

If you’re writing contemporary fiction and your characters are still calling and popping round to see each other, you might want to rethink that.

This is something new in life and newer in fiction. How to integrate this stuff into the narrative? It’s an exciting chance to do something new. But “exciting” and “new” can also mean “challenging” and “fraught with clunky first attempts”.

Why not get your first attempts out of the way today?

The Prompt

Write A Story Using A Facebook Timeline


  • It doesn’t have to be Facebook, but some electronic form of communication should feature prominently.
  • Try to have your characters use the e-communication the way you do.
  • You might want to write the whole story as a series of Facebook conversations (how would you format that?) or texts between different friends (like an update of this phone scene from “Mean Girls”, which must seem hopelessly outdated to today’s teens!)
  • Streams of status updates and back and forth conversation threads (interspersed with direct messages (“who is ‘Janice Atherton’? And why is she commenting on my photo?!”)