Supporting Arguments/Youth and Love: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #57

Read the following quote:

“Those who love deeply never grow old; the may die of old age, but they die young.”  ~Sir Arthur Wing Pinero


Do you agree or disagree with Sir Arthur? Why or why not?


State and explain your opinion. Remember to use examples—they can come from your own life or that of someone you know, or from the news, research, or other sources—even people you know.


Share what you’ve written with your writing partners or share as a comment. Compliment one another on the things you like and the strength of the writing. Consider: how convincing are the arguments for or against the Sir Arthur’s quote.


Writing Through the “Between Times”

In his “Picture This” blog last week, Rob Sanders spoke of a conversation he had with a friend who observed,

“I think you’re living in the in-between right now.” She went on to say she had been reading about those times in life that are in-between and how challenging those times can be. I’ve thought a lot about living in the in-between since then. Most of us are in between something…. We can be in between relationships, in between times of happiness, in between jobs, in between career paths, in between doing what we have to do and doing what we’d love to do, in between periods of health, and more.

As writers, we have lots of in-between times, too. We can be in between a completed project and the beginning of a new one, in between ideas, in between periods of inspiration, in between the time we send off a manuscript and the time we hear back, in between the time a manuscript is sold and the time a book is released, in between sales of books, in between agents, in between critique groups, and more.

I am most definitely in an in-between place right now. I have two finished novels for which I am searching for agents. I am working on world-building for a new fantasy novel. And I am looking for a job—a task I’ve discovered that takes up more time than forty-hour-a-week employment!

Being in between is not a comfortable place. Frustration is likely to be its dominant emotion. Certainty and stability suddenly are certain and stable no more. You have to spend time doing things you don’t want to do in order to move forward out of this limbo, and what lies ahead is often cloaked in mist.

So how do you live, and stay sane and productive in-between?

  • Take care of yourself—brush your teeth, eat your fruits and vegetables, get a good night’s sleep.
  • Set goals and break them down into simple doable steps.
  • Do what you need to do.
  • Keep your eyes and heart open to the simple pleasures of daily life
  • Allow yourself a little time to do things you love.
  • Read.
  • Write—journal entries, notes, poetry, letters, lists…
  • Spend time with people you love.
  • Remember what you believe and why you believe it.

I know eventually I will find employment and be freed from this time gobbler known as a job-hunting. I’ll finish world-building and start writing the novel I am eager to adventure into. I’ll establish new routines, a new normal, and my life will have regular places for the things that matter to me.

In the meantime, I will work and rest, read and write, learn and grow.

How about you? Are you in a between time, too?

Character Analysis: Reading Response Exercise #78


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Think about what you have read.

Choose one of the characters.

For this character answer the following questions. Be specific:

  • If you wanted to do something thoughtful or kind for this character what would you do?
  • Why would this be pleasing to your character?
  • How do you think he or she would react?

Write/Discuss: your responses with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy:

Read: a picture book with your preschooler.

Ask: Which character the child liked best in the story.

Ask him or her if she could do something kind or friendly for this character, what would it be and why would they choose that particular thing.

Discuss: Enjoy this opportunity to both discuss a story you have enjoyed together and explore the concepts of kindness and friendship.

Descriptive Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #56: Three Wishes


  • List three wishes you would like to make.
  • Get out a piece of paper and divide it into three sections.
  • At the top of each section, write one of the wishes.
  • Within each section doodle, list words, make outlines or timelines, even stick figure comics that will help you to imagine what it would be like if that wish were to come true.


  • Pick just one of the wishes.
  • Circle or highlight ideas you want to use.
  • Describe in detail what it would be like if that wish were to come true.
  • Practice being descriptive—using specific nouns and verbs, using precise adjectives when needed
  • Craft a setting and mood in which your description will take shape.
  • Proofread.

When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share as a comment:

  • Consider how easy or difficult it is to envision your partners descriptions.
  • Note the use of sensory detail: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.
  • Compliment one another on the vividness of your descriptions.

Preschool Literacy:

Get out writing materials.

Ask your preschooler what she would wish for if she could wish for three things.

Divide a piece of paper into thirds and list one of each thing in each section.

Ask the child to tell you a bit about each thing. Allow him the opportunity to draw a picture of each.

Ask: If you could only choose one wish, which one would you want to come true?

Get a new piece of paper and write this wish across the top.

Ask your preschooler to describe what it would be like if this wish were to be granted.

Write down what she says. Ask further questions like:

  • What will you do with it?
  • What does it look like, sound like, et cetera?
  • What happens next?

When you are done, read back what he or she has said, pointing to the words as you say them to reinforce the one to one correspondence between written and spoken word.

Spring Reading

Yesterday was the first day of spring. While I, like everyone one else, look forward to spring after the darkness and cold of winter, often as the weeks flit by, spring can start to feel like an endurance race. Sports and outdoor activities pick up their pace, and school begins its frenzied wind down to summer. One of the things that can get lost in the onrush of all this activity is family reading time.

Do you read to you kids?

Do you read alongside your kids?

Even if you do so other times of year, be aware spring is a season where family reading time can get lost. So be deliberate about it. Schedule time for it like you would for baseball or track practice.

At the end of the day, gather your kids together and read picture books, short stories, or folktales. Read a novel together, one chapter every night. After the busyness of work, school, and activities, a family reading time provides a peaceful way to relax and reconnect.

Or get comfy and curl up and read your own selections side by side.

Reading refreshes the mind and the spirit. Read, read, read your way into Spring. Be refreshed, like the world waking up outside your windows.

If you’ve been reading to your kids, what are some of your favorite books you can recommend for other families to read.

Plot: Favorite Event Reading Response Exercise #77


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Think about what you have read. What event in the plot of today’s reading did you enjoy the most? Explain why.

Write/Discuss: your responses with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy:

Read: a picture book with your preschooler.

Ask: When done, ask the child which part of the story he or she liked best. Ask him or her to tell you why.

Discuss: Discuss what your preschooler has shared with you and the part of the story you liked best at well. Enjoy your literary discussion!

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive

Chicken Soup for the Soul is doing a special promotion on 12 of its e-books, and one of them is, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, which contains my story, “Queen of Parking Spaces.” The e-book is available for $4.99, half price, at all the major e-book platforms including Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Apple iTunes Store for iPad and other “i” devices, Kobo, Sony, etc. Apparently Think Positive is one of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s best sellers, so if you haven’t got a copy yet, now might be a good time to buy one.

Write about Your Favorite Song: Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #55

Write down the lyrics to your favorite song.

Read them over.

Write a short essay explaining what these lyrics mean. Practice using quotation marks and proper punctuation while doing this.  Here are some examples of proper punctuation for quotes:

  • Introduce the quote and then write it in. For example: Mom sang, “Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you.”
  • Begin the quote; interrupt it to explain who is saying it; then finish the quote. For example: “Happy Birthday to you,” sang my brother. “You smell like the zoo.”
  • Or write the quote first then tell us who is speaking. For example: “You act like a monkey, but I still love you,” Grandma sang.

Notice how the punctuation marks are placed inside the quotation marks.

Conclude your essay by explaining why this song is meaningful to you.

When done, read what you’ve written with your writing partners or share it as comment here. Proofread to make sure all were able to punctuate their quotes properly and teach what you can to whoever doesn’t understand.

Spelling Practice Sticky Style: Teacher’s File Drawer

My eldest son, (who is now an adult teaching English in Korea!) had the hardest time learning to spell in elementary school. Needless to say, many of my middle school students had the same problem, and so over time I have become a collector of “learning your spelling words” strategies.

Here’s one that utilizes one of my favorite office supplies—sticky notes!

Using a small pad of sticky notes (you can use a large one if you want, but you’re going to be using a lot of them so you might want to conserve by using the smaller ones) write out each word from the spelling list using one sticky note per letter. When done, mix the “stickies” up.

Sit down with your child, give him his list of words and the stack of stickies, and instruct him to use the letters to build each word from the spelling list. Explain that there is a sticky note for every letter he will need, and that when he is done there will be no more sticky notes left to use. Sit with him or do something else nearby—depending on the level of support your child needs.

When he is done, come look over his work and congratulate him on his accomplishment. Then point to each word, have him say it and spell it out loud spelling bee style. This will add hearing to the seeing modality already used to put the words together; using multiple modalities to learn helps better cement the material in the memory.

If you want, you can make a game out of it. Sit down with your child and take turns drawing a letter and placing it into position to spell one of the spelling words. Whoever completes a word gets to say it, spell it, and collect all its stickies. Whoever has the most stickies at the end wins. Have fun together, and learning to spell won’t feel like such a chore.

Setting Reading Response Exercise #76: A Change of Scene


Read for at least twenty to thirty minutes.


Where and when does this story take place? How do you know? What kinds of clues does the author give you in the text?

How would a different setting (time or place) impact the story? Change one thing about the setting in your mind and tell how that would change the story.

Write/Discuss: your responses with your reading partners.

Preschool Literacy:

Read: a picture book with your preschooler.

Ask: When done, ask what the story would have been like if it had taken place at a different time of day or different place.

Discuss: Have fun imagining the ways the story would be altered.