Lesson 1: Discussion

by Nancy

Questions or thoughts about Lesson 1? Post them here, and help other writers by answering their questions.


Comments for Lesson 1: Discussion

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Sep 11, 2011
My Goal
by: Anonymous

My goal is to write, so it attracts many readers. to achieve this goal, i have joined this site and will hope to be a better writer

Apr 28, 2011
my take on the exercise
by: Anonymous

The eerie low layer of fog blanketing the

The crickets sounding the all clear,
he kept seeing a rolling fog moving slowly
over the head stones.

Then the victims of the wolf would sit-up.

Their heads popping up through the fog.
As their stredded faces looking into his

Asking him why me?
Then he would wake up.

On the most beautiful spring days as the
morning sun the mist burned off the smog.
Disappeared giving way to the sunlight.

All he could think about was the full moon.
He would wake up in a cold sweat while
feeling clammy with the shakes.

Each coming of the full moon he kept
having the same nightmares.

A large wolf attacking and killing his
friends then attacking him.

The wolfs bite marks showed up on his
shoulder prior to the coming of each new
full moon.That spring in Dyker Heights Park.

The Brooklyn Eagle's report of a sighting of
a large wolf.

Then the mutilated remains found by the golf
course just off the belt parkway.


Apr 28, 2011
my writing exercises
by: Anonymous

Exercise #042811 (JOE)

Compose a piece with the word

" WereWolf "

use one or more sentences.

Apr 28, 2011
Tell me what you think?
by: Anonymous

Welcome to the History of Incubus House, Salem Massachusetts’s.

By, Joseph F. Mazzaferro.
The seed word "Wickedness".

Title; The Devils playground.

Can a place be so evil that its wickedness
Haunted you even in your dreams? In life or
In death?

Inside the four walls of incubus house the poor tormented souls are trapped in Satan's
Grip. The things that happen in incubus house had no logical explanations.

It was as though the Devils most evil demons walked the night in incubus house the spirits
That was trapped. He never believed all those stories the gossip mongers told him about this place, its history. Just how naive he was!

Richard Selby drove all the way up from New York City in a U Haul truck with his stylish furniture and all his belongings. To this dusty drafty old house he bought cheaply at a tax auction. The outside of the house on the grounds there was a heavy overgrowth of weeds and bushes. With a fig tree that was growing near the old cemetery.
The wooden placket above the main entrance warned. Yee who reads this beware of the charm of Incubus house, he who enters never leaves, he smiled. He loved the old world charm of the place.
He only moved into his new home two months ago near Massachusetts’s bay colony. It had been within the last two months, been filled with strange events and adventures.
He has always been considered to be a very rational down to earth guy. That’s why what he told me didn’t make any sense to him or me, he found it hard for himself to believe it boggled his mind, but it did happen.
His name was Richard Selby. This is his account of events, up until the day he died. “When I first arrived at my new house, I was greeted by a strange looking man who I learned later lived on the other side of the cemetery.
A bit of a strange fellow, his hair standing up on edge made him look like a Mohawk with the frizziest hair I ever saw. This tall thin scarecrow of a man name Stanly Chimes claimed to be half Indian.
He was coming out of my house, he looked pale as a ghost shaking from head to foot. He claimed he was a mystic a shaman, that he had daily talks with the dead, angels, demons and other inhabitants of the un-seen world. That he was a member of the American Parapsychology society.
Whose experience with remarkable psychic phenomena was well documented? He warned me about demons he said occupied my house. He told me not to sleep in that house if I valued my life. Un-speak able things would happen to me at night.
I started laughing until a loud noise came from inside the house. I charged in, no noise was going to keep me out of my own home.
I ran throughout the house from basement to attic and found nothing, not a damned thing. He warned me, “that the demon’s wonder about at night”. I wrote it off as the ravings of a mad man a lunatic.

Mar 12, 2011
Switching the events
by: chandan

Switching the events is confusing for me. How much pace i should give to the story. Perfect pace with perfect timing is irritating me. Please help me.

Mar 11, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am so far behing this group. I have been ill and dealing with family problems. Hope to get caught up soon.

Mar 03, 2011
The First kiss
by: Amanda Rey

I can’t believe this is happening. I’m getting my first kiss with the perfect guy at the perfect place. He reaches down and grabs my left hand in his. It’s warm and I get butterflies. Then he brings his other hand to cup my cheek. I look into his eyes and I know he’s as nervous and excited as I am. We slowly move in for the kiss. In the time that is only seconds but feels like an eternity I take in every bit of him. He smells like cucumber soap and coconut shampoo. He looks perfect as the sun hits his blonde hair before wishing us good night. He feels like a volcano and a blizzard all in one. When our lips finally meet it like an explosion of every feeling I’ve ever had: happiness, sadness, love, fear, hope, loss, and it is perfect. I’ve waited 16 years for my first kiss and I'm glad I did because with anyone else it would have been a waste.

Feb 16, 2011
by: chandan

Designing the characters was most painful work for me.After starting i used to go with character itself, now it is slightly easier work and i am looking forward....

Feb 02, 2011
keepit it simple
by: arayablue

I don't know how to keep it simple. The assignment is simple and to the point...it took me more than a week to daydream and choose a character that I can become. I finally did but after much thought, I had to laugh because I complicate things so. Does anyone else have that problem? I need to learn how to keep it simnple! Any suggestions?

Jan 26, 2011
The kiss
by: Donnie

Having never wrote before i just couldnt stop once i got started. Don't know if its good or terrible but it was fun and much easier once i got started.. Cant wait for lesson two.

Jan 26, 2011
To Freddy
by: Meher Ansari

Your Late Night Departure is so true to life! you successfully conveyed the joy of meeting a good friend after the mundane weekly fun. a good piece.

Jan 25, 2011
Late night encounter
by: Yvonne

The evening was balmy, dark yet peaceful. The breeze blowing off the water was salty and I could taste the salt on my lips as I walked. The boardwalk was deserted and I could hear the waves softly breaking on the beach as I walked. As I stopped and looked over the water the reflection of the moon on the water was brilliant and as the water softly moved the light followed its movement.
I stopped to sit on the bench and contemplate the last few hours. I was totally exhausted. The preparations for the party had worn me out completely. Now that it was over I was able to feel the effects of the work on me. After all the work the party had went well as a whole. I was a success! Why wasn’t I happy and fulfilled? What was missing?
Sitting there I came to realize the stillness of the night had been broken. As sound I couldn’t readily identify echoed in my brain. As I listened I recognized the sounds of feet coming my way. No one was around. Butterflies began to gather in my stomach as the steps increased in sound and came closer and closer. My skin began to tingle becoming prickly with anticipation and fright. All of a sudden the night air was cold and I was chilled to the bone. The steps were getting louder and louder, closer and closer.
Looking around for someone else to see if I was imagining the steps, I noticed a bright light in the direction of the steps. As the steps grew louder the light got brighter. I couldn’t associate the two with anything I knew. It didn’t make any sense and my uneasiness and fright increased. As the light got brighter and brighter a strange phenomena began to happen. Instead of being more scared I began to feel a peace deep within. Out of the light a shape began to form as it grew closer. It was an odd shape, not human, but slightly recognizable. What was that shape? In my state of mind I couldn’t make the connection.
Oh, no! I had heard of things like this but never in my wildest dreams would I have believed it would happen to me. What could this creature want with me? I am certainly nothing special. As he approached he said to me “Rest my child your protection is complete.” He then spread his wings around me and I slept.

Jan 25, 2011
This is my effort.
by: Shanna

I decided since most people choose a woman to choose a teenage boy.
here goes:

Jake was no sissy he would show them all of them because he choose to stay home at nights had nothing to do with his fear of ghost and evertthing to do with his limited night vision. He was fed up of everyone calling him a coward and he decided to take the ultimate challange of going up to ghost hill close to midnight.

The village had long gone to bed. Getting out of the house was easy and now as he rounded the bend leading to ghost Hill the beam of his flashlight was his only companion. An eeire stillness hung in the air he felt his sense of unease increasing with every step. Then he heard them footsteps they were steadily advancing. Who could that be? Everyone in the village avoided this street after dark well according to the stories only the living villagers did.

Jake decided to increase his pace but the footsteps quickned as well. As the cold fingers of dread cluched and his bladder threathned to go into overdrive; Jake was doing his best to give himself a mental lecture on the foolishness believing in ghosts. His friends had to be playing a curel joke but when he turned around in one quick motion the footsteps ceased and there was no one in sight. There was nowhere to hide so if one of his friends was following him, where did he hide?

Jan 24, 2011
Always something new!
by: Indiana

Dear all. I’ve red majority of your assignments. Impressive how different people can see such a trivial subject that has been described I do not know how many times. Still everyone having something new to say!
I had real troubles to fit 10 min. As I start imagining Ill dive more and more deep into details. They are overwhelming me. Otherwise it works for me as a great stimulus to start.

Jan 23, 2011
by: Yvonne

Can someone please help me. When we complete our writing assignment what do we do with them? Do me just submit them to the salon or do we submit them to an insrtuctor/link? How do we get a grade on the assignment?

Thanks for the assistance.

Jan 23, 2011
by: Mel

Here is what I came up for a writing assignment.

The Wanderer

Down a dimly lit street I can almost feel my hairs standing on end as I sensed someone behind me. I am not sure if I was possibly followed or could I have been a little paranoid by the whole thing. I don't even know if this person is friend or foe? Could I have dropped something? I guess I will never know because the weather conditions for tonight are not helping my situation.

Jan 22, 2011
Midnight Mass
by: Toni

When she stepped from the church, she was surprised to see that it had been raining. The street lights reflected back at her from the puddles that lay in the low places along the wide steps. "Oh darn," she thought to herself. She was wearing her new suede flats. Being careful to miss the water, she made a zig zag pattern as she navigated to the sidewalk. Midnight mass had been sparsely attended and she was alone on the street.
Picking up the pace she estimated she could be home in ten minutes. The stillness hung in the air and felt oppressive to her. Her knuckles were white where she was clutching her purse. Her breath caught in her throat. She was sure she heard someone behind her. She turned and saw nothing. Her feet began to beat more quickly against the pavement and the water splashed around her ankles.

Jan 22, 2011
Lesson 1
by: Sarah

Jenny’s heels clicked on the pavement as she hurried down the street. She needed to get home, she was late. She turned the corner onto West Avenue, the street was dark only one street light shone above her. Her thoughts of getting home, soaking in a tub came to mind. As the sound of footsteps behind her startled her, she increased her speed. The footsteps increased too. Her heart beat faster as she tightened the grip on her black leather bag. Taking a deep breath she steps down from the path, crosses the road and then up onto the next path. Stepping onto the path, her heel snaps, she stumbles. The footsteps closer, louder. Jenny screams as a hand touches her arm. She turns. A face beams at her, his free hand holding out her purse.
He had followed her to give it back to her. Relief washed over her as she took her purse from the man and thanked him.

Jan 21, 2011
To Aria
by: Meher Ansari

Hi Aria,

That's me who is scared of the green glint ;)

Jan 21, 2011
To Maddie on Hunter
by: meher Ansari

Hi Maddie,

I love the last para, rather from the end of the earlier para, from "I stand still, every muscle rooted to the ground, prepared to run. ..." till end. I like your phrases "every muscle... and "brittle laughter" and the end makes me feel your helplessness; the hunter is hunted...

Unfortunately i could not relate to the beautifully written earlier part.

Jan 21, 2011
To Aria

Hi Aria,

It was absorbing. You took me with you; I was so relieved when you entered your house only to be frightened again by the glint of green eyes... What was it?

Jan 21, 2011
The Newwriter
by: Meher Ansari

Hi Newwriter,

I like your lesson 1 assignment piece. it really scared me.You have created an effect. Keep it up.

By the way, in Mumbai, we have a crossing called Satan Chowki (Devil's Crossing). Here on certain nights a ghost appears infront of a car. The driver tries to save the 'man' but man/ghost also moves in the same direction. This goes on till the driver dashes against something.

Jan 21, 2011
Assignment 1
by: Meher Ansari

When I reached the dark lane I noticed a woman standing in shade near the entrance. She was tall; her long and straight hair fell on her broad shoulders. A long dress snugly fitted her heavy breasts and slim hips. She wore broad heeled shoes with dark socks. She appeared to be a seedy character waiting for a catch. I hurriedly entered the lonely lane as usual with no fear. It was safe. There was no one in front. There rarely was. The lane was short and blind and led only to the housing complex where I lived.
Dhuck, dhee ---, dhuck, dhee---, dhuck, dhee---. Somebody was limping behind me with heavy footsteps. I wouldn’t care but… dhuck, dhee---, dhuck, dhee, dhuck, dhee--- sounded familiar. This is how my childhood friend Jim walked, hitting one foot hard to gain balance and then dragging the polio casualty, waiting and again hitting … exactly the same. I eagerly turned back, only to be disappointed. The only person behind was the seedy woman her long straight hair almost hid her face. I thought of the short crop, curly top of Jim. He was handsome. I had not met him for years. He was a brilliant student, always helpful to everybody … idealistic and enthusiastically jumped to work for any cause that popped up. In the final year of school he had become very critical of the present government. I was impressed but teachers asked him to concentrate on his studies. One day he suddenly disappeared and never came back to school. Everybody missed him and I could never forget him.
Now this woman … ? Dhuck, dhee---, dhuck, dhee---, dhuck, … . Suddenly there were sounds of heavy boots behind, at the entrance. The woman quickened her limping and almost ran past me before the policemen reached her. They threw light on her face and pulled her wig down revealing the familiar curly top … .

Jan 19, 2011
Excellent prompt
by: Rockin Robin

This was like a key to a door I've been looking for for a long time. I've been doing similar visualisation exercises since and they're really fun.

Jan 18, 2011
by: 123Write

This was a fun activity! I've been looking for a cool writing site for a while, but I guess I haven't been searching hard enough. I can't wait for my next lesson to be sent!

Jan 18, 2011
This was fun.
by: TheNewWriter

I walked down the lonely path home, the open street and the cold winter air brushing past me. I smiled pleasantly. Even though snow isn’t my favorite season…it’s by far the prettiest. I thought I heard foot steps behind me, slightly heavier then mine as I slipped and skidded over the icy sidewalk. I glanced behind me, but maybe it was just my imagination. No one was there. I shrugged and turned, continuing my way until I heard the foot steps start up again. I could feel my fear started to well up. An invisible man? Impossible, right? I glanced over my shoulder, still walking. Once again, the footsteps stopped until I turned again. And I started to panic. I turned abruptly and into the snow over the grass, stepping through it until I got to the road on the other side. I glanced down the road to see any footprints. But…Before I could think, even turn, I heard the blaring horn of a car behind, the jolting pain of something hitting me with incredible force….then nothing. Nothing at all.

Jan 12, 2011
lesson 1
by: esca

What a fun lesson. I decided not to posted my writing at this time. After reading what others have written I know I have a lot of work to do. I am looking forward to lesson 2.

Jan 12, 2011
@ Glenda

Hi Glenda,

I'm sorry you're having trouble navigating the site. You can find the main Fiction Salon menu here. The discussion topics are divided by the lesson number. Just find the link with the same number as the lesson you want to discuss, and click to go to the discussion area.

The lessons are sent by e-mail; they are not posted on the site at all. You should receive an e-mail with Lesson 2 exactly one week after you received Lesson 1. If you don't receive it then, please e-mail us to let us know.


Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Jan 10, 2011
by: glenda

I am having a little trouble navigating this web site.....thought I was just saving my 1st lesson and could not retrieve it to finish. Now I do not see where I go to get my 2nd lesson?? HELP

Jan 07, 2011
by: Riz

its is very very nice feeling to be the part of such a nice and literary group where people like reading and writing i am sharing my words and will be honored if some one gives 2 minutes to me.

Jan 06, 2011
Lesson 1
by: April

I posted my writing, but it's not as long as the others or as well written.
It's short and exact. I can only hope that others think it is good. Just like I think theirs are excellent.

Jan 06, 2011
My 1st lesson
by: Sarah

Wow! I loved this first lesson but I cannot post my work! The other works posted are all put together sowell. My exercise it not written in a flowing story as I did not edit at all! I loved every minute of writing writing writing. I was amazed how quick 5 minutes passed,it felt like 5 seconds!
I really look forward to my 2nd lesson :-)

Jan 01, 2011
Being Followed...Or Am I?
by: Aria

The sky parted with an ear-splitting roar as a lightning bolt tore downwards, cleaving a mighty oak from the park in two as if it were just a mere twig. I kept my head lowered as I walked briskly onwards through the drumming rain as I then I sat down for my legs to regain their energy. I looked around at the city's long dark alleys and tall deserted buildings and I suddenly felt scared and vulnerable. I was alone and already a soft velvety dusk was creeping and slithering into every corner, blurring everything into dark masses. I got up and quickened my pace while listening to...no was it footsteps? Was I being followed? My heart skipped a beat and a whirled around and saw nothing but the shadows dancing behind me. My eyes must have been playing tricks on me, I shook my head and turned down an alley way. The footsteps continued matching the beat of my footsteps with precise accuracy. My heart pounded and my brain couldn't think, I couldn't think and my thoughts were muffled and distorted. The wind howled behind me and the last bit of hope I had left drained out of me as if I were a sink. I ran, for it was the last thing I could do and the footsteps , of course, tailed behind me. I veered onto my street and the footsteps came to an abrupt halt. I ran onto my front porch and before entering my door I cast one last glance behind me. The glint of green eyes peirced the hazy purple twilight and a soft whispery voice rung out, "We will be waiting." I shuddered and entered my warm cozy house.

Dec 31, 2010
by: Maddie

I’m at the edge of the sunken city tonight, looking for anything I might have forgotten when I was forced to leave so quickly last night. My eyes scan the rough wet bricks, slimy from years of dust and decay. A few puddles slink along the edge of the wall, and I have to take wide steps to cross them. My fingers trace a careless path along the moss that springs from the ancient mortar of the Wall, and the raspberry creepers bend out from its top far above me. My fingertips feel slimy and the air smells like rot mixed with the hot spark of electricity, but I don't mind. It's not like I've never gotten a little dirt on myself before. I let my eyes follow the jagged line of bricks to the top of the wall, where a full moon turns the world a deep shade of steel blue and glints like broken glass off the still-wet pavers under my feet. Shadows of trees fall into the alley from far above, hiding me in darkness as I pass silently below them.
I've just entered into one of these shadows when I hear it. One single soft footfall. Heat floods my body, preparing my for whatever danger I might encounter. All my senses scream for me to run from here, from this dangerous place that I have been forbidden to see, but I stand still, letting the thick shadow of the tree hide me as my eyes jump quickly here and there, looking for the source of the noise. The thought slips through my mind that I might have been followed, and I curse my foolishness. Stupid idea, to be in this place in the middle of the night with nothing on me but my hunting knife. I force my hand to stay still, to leave it hidden until I know I need it. I stand still, every muscle rooted to the ground, prepared to run. For a moment, there is silence so thick that I begin to hear soft ringing in my ears, and the beat of my blood inside my head.
My head jerks to my left when I hear the soft sound of exhaled breath. I stare, eyes wide, but see nothing, only the deep shadows of the trees, where the light of the moon cannot reach. And then there is low brittle laughter from high above me, and now I see the shadows begin to creep towards me from all sides, and I know they have me this time.

Dec 30, 2010
a dark figure
by: Linda

I saw the street dark as I entered the junction off the main road and that led to my street: a big contrast from the slightly lit main road. My heart beat faster than it was while on the main road. I walked faster as well. On turning into my street I saw at a corner the dark shadow of a man bent over in a triangle and smoke emitting from his hand and face into the air. Then I realized I had perceived the smell of marijuana. My heart beat fastened even more, as well as my walk pace, I was almost trotting.
Then I felt the figure I saw and left behind move. I could see my compound: It was only about 2 minutes of normal walking pace to it but I was sure I could make it in less than 30 seconds with my trotting pace. I could hear and feel my chest pumping from my heart beat. My whole body quivered and I was as light as a feather. The figure did not only move but it hurried as if to match and meet my quick steps. I feared to look back but I must; somehow I wanted to know even though it seemed obvious that I was being followed. I didn’t finish turning to see the approaching figure before I was certain it was after me. I jumped the foot-blank placed across the gutter to my compound; I didn’t see it there or simply forgot its usefulness.
The figure was now about four steps away from me. With its steps faster than mine I knew it would reach me in less than two giant faster steps. But my house is another 7 seconds running pace away from a long corridor. My windows and my neighbours’ were closed and all the lights out. I knew I couldn’t make it and my only saving grace would be to scream for help. But my heart seemed to have pumped its way to my throat and begun to choke me. It took the figure grabbing me only half-way through the corridor before sound found its way through and out of my mouth as I screamed like I never believed I could considering my overt nature; and the quiet night help to enhance the loudness of my voice.

The figure’s hand attempted to cover my mouth; I could feel the strength and contours of his muscles to know it was a man and I even perceived the stench of marijuana from his breathe to confirm that he was the one I saw sit and bent over in a triangle.
I resolved to summon the courage to fight back with the little time I have to either be rescued or ignored from fear by neighbours: I bit his hand so hard I could have chopped it off for all I cared. The man winced, pushed me down and gave a rough and disgruntled sound, stifling his impulse to scream. Lights begin to come on and reflect through the windows. My assailant’s face became slightly lit but I could not make out who he was. His eyes popped out either from the pain of my bite or the anger of losing out. Voices began to call out roughly and sharply: ‘Who’s there?!’. My attacker backed out and fled, and so did I in the opposite direction and into the arms of family, neighbours and friends. Phew!

Dec 29, 2010
A little longer than 5 minutes, but a great exercise!
by: Anonymous

Her arms were bare, cold. The night had cooled since she had left her home only two hours ago. Her warm house, if only she were there now! But no, she was here on this lonely street, with the jeers of ogling men echoing behind her as her black evening dress glimmered in the glow of the store windows.
Was he coming? Her heart pounded at every sound besides the click-clack of her own heels on the cement sidewalk.
"We need to break up," he had said.
"Is there... someone else?" She had remained calm, saving the hysteria for the solitude of her own bedroom. But would she ever get there?
Her blood ran cold. Footsteps. She was sure this time. Don't look back. Just keep going. Slipping off her heels, she picked up her pace. Louder, louder the footsteps grew. Then they stopped.
But she did not. Desperate tears escaped, trailing down her cold cheeks.
"I'll take you home," he had said.
She should have let him. Now she wouldn't be so alone, so cold, so scared. Where was she? The shop lights were going out around her. It was late.
She looked behind her as she rounded a corner. Empty. Maybe he had not followed her. She could hail a cab and... she stopped. There he was. There was no way out now.

Dec 29, 2010
The Long walk home
by: Anonymous

It’s a dark and cold night, I am walking home from a friends house and of all nights, tonight just seems to be the darkest of all not to mention that it is cold and pouring raining outside. As I head home down this lonely street by myself I start to imagine that I am hearing footsteps from behind me I think to myself could it be footsteps am I imaging things because I am scared? So many terrifying thoughts start running through my head I can hear the footsteps behind me getting louder and louder, I am thinking to myself I really need to get a grip and stop imaging this. As I try and change my thought process and think of something pleasant, I start to go over in my head what my plans were for the weekend, the rain continued to fall, I can smell the wet cold air going through my lungs. It was to hard to imagine or even think of anything else when all I can worry about is the footsteps that I am hearing behind me, I am not imagining this there is someone really behind me but who? I start to pray in my head asking God to please give me the strength and courage to make it home safe. My palms are starting to sweat as I continue to pick up my paste and walk faster, should I run? Or yell for help? As I slow down to catch my breath I can taste the rain on my lips, and see the fog come out of my mouth as I breathe. All I can see is the long dark street I have to walk ahead of me, I am starting to shake and sweat from all of the fear, I am tired… I can’t go anymore I am telling myself just to look back. I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to be another female victim. Is this my time? Is there someone behind me that wants to hurt me? Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, start taking over my head. Please just stop I tell myself in my head, I am finally able to clear my head for a moment and work up the courage to come to a complete stop the footsteps behind me stop as well there is a complete set of silence now I am starting to get worried, I yell out “Hello” and no one answers “Is anyone there?” still no answer I can see a shadow of someone standing behind me in the streetlight, I can hear them breathing. I can smell them. But I can’t see them. dogs are barking, the wind is blowing and the rain continues to pour down all that is left for me to do is turn around, as I slowly turn my head to see who is behind me with all my fear that I have inside me I turn my head to only realize……..

Dec 27, 2010
Unedited 2
by: Anonymous

I'm walking down a wide residential street, huge oak trees growing every two feet, creating a ceiling of branches and green leaves. The houses are old, four squares with large wrap around patioes and long driveways, the street is quiet. The pavement is rough and uneven, I have to look down to make certain I don't trip over a jutting piece of cement.

It's cold outside, mid-morning, and the sun is shining but the street is shaded by all of the trees. It's windy, brown leaves blow back and forth in front of me and my long brown hair whips around my face, i'm trying to hide it in my purple scarf, and collar of my long black overcoat. My mittened hands are shoved as deep as the can go inside my pockets, knee high black boots cover my designer jeans, the only sound I hear is the click of my heels on the pavement, the leaves, and the wind that carries the smell of burning wood. This is my favorite kind of weather, and I'm deep in thought. I love how quiet the street is, almost like everyone is away on vacation.

Far ahead I can see small shapes moving back and forth between the street and the painted white patio of the house, the way they're scurrying reminds me of an ant colony. I almost call out to them, my family, but for some reason I don't want to be seen yet. At the corner of the street there's a stop sign, and a few houses beyond it on the other side, my family. The trees open up a bit, and the three-way stop is more brightly lit that the sidewalks on all sides. As I walk, I'm deciding whether to turn left and remain under the shadow of the trees, or to cross the street into the sunlight, and go back to the turkey, the board games, the fuzzy christmas sweaters...

Dec 27, 2010
by: Anonymous

Very abruptly, I hear footsteps behind me. Almost like they dropped out of the sky, I didn't feel anyone behind me a moment ago...I assume a resident is checking the mail, and I walk on.

The footsteps follow me . It sounds like house slippers, the sound mixes with that of my expensive boots. Shuffle, click, shuffle, clack.... I stop. The shuffling has stopped, too. Without turning around, I continue. I've reached the stop sign and the sunlight, and without pausing to look for traffic, I cross the street, temporarily blinded by golden sunlight.

I'm closer to them now, I can see my uncles carrying gift bags piled to the top with opened presents back and forth to their cars. They are laughing, joking, but I can't hear what they say. The shuffling hasn't followed me. I turn around to see.

Across the brightly lit street, on the shady corner is a child. A girl. One tiny, unmittened hand holding to the stop sign, the other is hidden in the pocket of her baby pink parka. The shuffling came from her light brown snow boots. Her strawberry blonde ponytail is falling apart from the wind. Curly yellow tendrils sweep over honey brown eyes and a speckled nose. Eyes just like mine. I brush the hair from my own face, so I can see hers better. An honest face, for such a little girl. Not smiling, but not unhappy. I feel like I should know her, she's staring at me as if I should. I open my mouth to speak, but from behind, I hear my name. My family waits, but I stay where I am. I hear my name again, so I turn and wave.

I look back. The corner is empty, she disappeared on the cold autumn wind.

Dec 24, 2010
comment on your trial
by: Tarak

Good morning Flo. It seems you did much effort to write this scene. It is a kind of a professional techniques when you work such a complex and well built work from such a simple task they gave us in lesson 1. It is nice. But your story should be more developped by effective facts, strong reasons and heavy and affecting concequences. In general, it is very nice.

Dec 23, 2010
by: Flo

A first effort at a short story here....

On impulse, one bemoaning lunch time in an Islington pub, this was the plan. An August bank holiday in St Ives, perfect antidote to the end of summer, a chance to beachcomb the elements. I had arrived at the Inn late, my friends already asleep, and I decided on a bed-time drink. It was there that I saw her waiting at the bar, eyes alighting on me. A surfer from London, she had much to tell about diving and her profession as a journalist. It was soon into the conversation that I sensed a bravado. She had been to this stretch of coast before, knew of creeks and caves which led off into pirate tunnels. I was intrigued and the next morning on an empty beach, I awaited her arrival.
I stared across the sand at the lapping waves. It was then that I saw her towel and clothes with footprints into the sea, and I went off to join her. Into the shallow waters thinking I could see her, I remembered her preference for underwater. I laid back and floated, expecting her to appear in the dramatic fashion which had typified her. But I didn’t see her and walking up the beach to our towels, I noticed the footprints towards the caves. Perhaps she’d gone to take photos, and I followed in pursuit.
On entering the caves, I heard water droplets echo. There was a musty seaweed smell with different platforms of routes into the cave’s interior. As long as one didn’t lose sight of the daylight entrance, it would be safe to venture. I tried to see if my mobile could pick up a signal. There was a text message from her, ‘Water is cool - c u in the sea’. I started to feel disquiet, and it was then that I heard her footsteps like a lost goat clambering up the rocks behind the cave’s walls. ‘Jane!’ I shouted, ‘Are you there?’ My voice echoed in a chorus and the footsteps hurried towards me like falling rocks. I looked back at the daylight entrance for reassurance, but the cave’s illusive sounds continued. Fear and inadequacy made me about turn to head back to the hotel, ready to call in the search party.
I entered the breakfast room to join my friends. ‘Hi Jamie, you look as if you’ve seen a ghost, had a rough night or something?’ said John. Feverishly I described the girl – ‘Jane’ , hoping she’d been seen. I opened the small bag and found her ID card – Jane Fielding. I took it to the reception and retold my story. Nobody of this name had checked into the hotel, and against my protestation, a woman of her description had not been seen. I called the police who advised me to think carefully about whether I was wasting their time. Was I to just write the whole experience off as unexplainable? It didn’t seem an option. It was only her strength of character which kept me from a consuming anguish. But the matter of a missing person would remain unsettling until resolved.

Dec 22, 2010
A Scary Night Out
by: David N.

I hear different sounds. I hear a thrush singing into the quite night sky. I hear the sound from the conversing trees, their leaves dancing in jubilation to the song of the singing birds. I don’t know what their happy about. I hear the sound of an old car engine from afar that gradually gets louder as it shows itself at the far end of the road. The head lights get brighter and brighter as the car draws closer and closer. Passing next to me the engine gets much louder and dims away. Before I get time to react I’m stopped by something. Eyes stare at me intensely from the passenger side. They don’t look to be human’s. Then I hear that familiar sound. I don’t like this sound. This sound is swallowing the noise from my own footsteps. It has footsteps of its own and its catching up to me. My leg squishes the wet snow beneath me as I hasten my movement. My head is like a puzzle now and I don’t know where to start solving my problem. Then there is a one more hope. Another lone car shows itself. Vigilant of my follower, I keep my eyes on the upcoming car and the road, and then jump right into the street. The noise of the brakes fills the air as the car force itself to a sudden stop but I don’t care because I’m safe. I turn around and my follower is nowhere in sight. My guess is he’s escaped through the woods. I’m breathing really fast now and I can hear my own heartbeat, the throbbing of my chest. Picking up my head I look through the glass to see my savior. “Someone is after me” I say apologetically and also to get sympathy. I get no response instead I receive laughter. First it started off with this un-human grin and grew to this, this loud laughing. A chill wind blows slowly around my ears and I feel cold instantly- freezing cold. This person in front of me is nothing I’ve ever seen before, it’s not even human. Still stuck in front of the car it opens its door and make its way to…

Dec 22, 2010
A Scary Night
by: David N.

I hear different sounds. I hear a thrush singing into the quite night sky. I hear the sound from the conversing trees, their leaves dancing in jubilation to the song of the singing birds. I don’t know what their happy about. I hear the sound of an old car engine from afar that gradually gets louder as it shows itself at the far end of the road. The head lights get brighter and brighter as the car draws closer and closer. Passing next to me the engine gets much louder and dims away. Before I get time to react I’m stopped by something. Eyes stare at me intensely from the passenger side. They don’t look to be human’s. Then I hear that familiar sound. I don’t like this sound. This sound is swallowing the noise from my own footsteps. It has footsteps of its own and its catching up to me. My leg squishes the wet snow beneath me as I hasten my movement. My head is like a puzzle now and I don’t know where to start solving my problem. Then there is a one more hope. Another lone car shows itself. Vigilant of my follower, I keep my eyes on the upcoming car and the road, and then jump right into the street. The noise of the brakes fills the air as the car force itself to a sudden stop but I don’t care because I’m safe. I turn around and my follower is nowhere in sight. My guess is he’s escaped through the woods. I’m breathing really fast now and I can hear my own heartbeat, the throbbing of my chest. Picking up my head I look through the glass to see my savior. “Someone is after me” I say apologetically and also to get sympathy. I get no response instead I receive laughter. First it started off with this un-human grin and grew to this, this loud laughing. A chill wind blows slowly around my ears and I feel cold instantly- freezing cold. This person in front of me is nothing I’ve ever seen before, it’s not even human. Still stuck in front of the car it opens its door and make its way to…

Dec 22, 2010
A Scary Night
by: David N.

I hear different sounds. I hear a thrush singing into the quite night sky. I hear the sound from the conversing trees, their leaves dancing in jubilation to the song of the singing birds. I don’t know what their happy about. I hear the sound of an old car engine from afar that gradually gets louder as it shows itself at the far end of the road. The head lights get brighter and brighter as the car draws closer and closer. Passing next to me the engine gets much louder and dims away. Before I get time to react I’m stopped by something. Eyes stare at me intensely from the passenger side. They don’t look to be human’s. Then I hear that familiar sound. I don’t like this sound. This sound is swallowing the noise from my own footsteps. It has footsteps of its own and its catching up to me. My leg squishes the wet snow beneath me as I hasten my movement. My head is like a puzzle now and I don’t know where to start solving my problem. Then there is a one more hope. Another lone car shows itself. Vigilant of my follower, I keep my eyes on the upcoming car and the road, and then jump right into the street. The noise of the brakes fills the air as the car force itself to a sudden stop but I don’t care because I’m safe. I turn around and my follower is nowhere in sight. My guess is he’s escaped through the woods. I’m breathing really fast now and I can hear my own heartbeat, the throbbing of my chest. Picking up my head I look through the glass to see my savior. “Someone is after me” I say apologetically and also to get sympathy. I get no response instead I receive laughter. First it started off with this un-human grin and grew to this, this loud laughing. A chill wind blows slowly around my ears and I feel cold instantly- freezing cold. This person in front of me is nothing I’ve ever seen before, it’s not even human. Still stuck in front of the car it opens its door and make its way to…

Dec 20, 2010
whooah! I. love the exercise!
by: Amie

This shows what one can do with just a line of situaton. Thanks this is what I cam up with.

It was an hour after midnight, the srreets are desserted this time of the night. I pulled my coat tightly around myself to ward off the chill as I walked along the narrow street, my three-inch heels making a clacking sound on the pavement. I stopped walking awhile, looked up at the night sky, it was a starry night, the stars flicker and the round moon seemed to smile. It is a beautiful night, I took a long deep breath, I always loved the night sky. It seemed -magical. I wonder if there's anyone else looking at the night sky right now and appreciate the beauty of it like I do.
Everything is quiet, peacefully quiet. Not a soul around. I continued walking, again the clacking of my heels echoing in the night. I wanted to get home, my busy day started to catch up with me,I'm tired, I decided to quicken my steps. Just a few more blocks and I'll be home. Then, I heard something, it was so faint I didn't hear it before. I continued my pace, there it was again a foreign sound of footsteps not belonging to my clacking sound. I abruptly stopped on my tracks and quickly turned around, there it was a black hooded figure in the dark a few feet behind me. The figure stopped momentarily then decided to continue walking in my direction. I felt my hair stand, fear kicked in, fear for my life and fear of the unknown. I turned and ran as fast as I could. The fear is so raw it made me do something I never thought I could - run with my heels on.

Dec 19, 2010
Lesson 1
by: MB

This was a good exercise for me. I have imagination, but do not utilize it. As a result, the five minutes was difficult to fill with the first part - imagining. It made me use the art of imagary; I found myself looking at the scence in my head with more detail. Will use this technique more.

Dec 18, 2010
Lession 1 Daydream technique
by: Anonymous

This was a very good technique. It made me think of a discussion I had with with my English teacher in college explaining to him that I have all these wonderful true stories to tell. In the past I have been asked to reminisce and share my stories at gatherings. I told my teacher that I just did not know how to put the words on paper. His reply was "Well thats easy, just tell it exactly like it happened" Just like as if you were telling it at a gathering" HA! How simple is that? It has worked well I got an 97 in his class and he told me I had the ability to write professional. I was flattered! I never felt that I had a talent. I though God had forgotten to give me one. He urged me to submit one of my essays for publication, which I never did. It is a dream of mine to have some of it published as well as a healing sense of therapy. So good luck to all my fellow dreamers and writers.

Dec 18, 2010
great lesson in dicipline
by: James B

That was really cool. I barely got to the footsteps behind me in the 5 minutes of writing but when daydreaming the scene initially I got through everything once and was then forced to go over it again a few more times and each time I saw more and more details that I didn't notice before and never would have if I had gone stright into writing.

I didn't get anywhere near a narrative like some of the other posts but am very pleased with the results and how it tied my senses to my imagination.


Dec 16, 2010
Great exercise!!!!!!
by: Kesha

The long winding country road was pitch black. Fear grabbed me and arrested my thoughts as I heard an extra set of footsteps in the distance. My first reaction was to run, but where would I go? The only house on the street was about two miles away. I decided to continue walking, but this time I quicked my steps. The footsteps grew closer and I was scared out of my wits. The cold of the night and the owls howl thicked my fear as I decided to run to safety. I ran harder and harder and the footsteps hardened as well. Out of breath, I hid behind a tree. Not wanting the follower to discover my hidding place,I used my hands to mute my heavy breaths as I grasped for air. Just as I was about to panic,I noticed it was a tiny kitten following my path.

Dec 15, 2010
by: Elizabeth

This daydream technique is perfect, it really is helping me plan out me scenes vividly before I write. Sometimes I'm so busy putting the words down, I forget what the entire purpose of my scene is anyway. THis has certainly helped!

Dec 15, 2010
Waoh!! I love this.
by: Sylvanus Bedzrah

I am just very glad to be part of this on-line creative writing course. I hope and believe my next book will be a page turner and best seller+award winner.I did enjoy the exercise.

Dec 13, 2010
The lonely footprints
by: Laurie

The sun blazed down on the sandy road as Temba returned from the market place. Five Pula doesn't buy what it used to, she complained to herself. The bag of mielie meal seemed to balance magically on her head as she walked along the lonely road swinging the plastic shopping bag filled with the few other necessities she managed to purchase at the market – a small packet of tea, a bit of sugar, and, of course, tobacco for papa.

The road, well, actually the pathway, wound through the bushveld. Occasional thorn trees and scrub brush stood along sides of the pathway. It had been months since the last rain and it would be at least another month before the first rains of this season. Temba wondered why Botswana called their money “Pula” which meant “rain” when rain was so scarce in the country.

The hot Kalahari winds blew fresh sand onto the road. Temba's footprints in the sand were the first since the wind had started to blow earlier this morning. Left. Right. Left. Right. She turned around to see the virgin trail she had made along the pathway.

The wind made the trees rustle. It was a lonely sound. Sometimes the wind could almost be a high pitched whistle. And other times it was almost a low growl. Left. Right. Left. Right.

As she reached the a bend in the pathway, the sound of the wind changed again. Hah, she giggled listening to the wind, that almost sounds like papa when he's relaxing after a big dinner. “Just digesting”, he would always say slightly embarrassed. Left. Right. Left. Right.

In the distance Temba saw a bus coming towards her creating a dust storm in its wake. That's odd, she thought, why is that bus flashing its lights. In the distance, she heard the bus hooting. Why is it making so much noise, she wondered. She stood beside the road, wondering why the bus was making so much disturbance.

The bus continued to roar towards Temba with flashing lights and hooter blasting. It eventually came abreast to her and slammed on its brakes and open the door. “Get in! Get in!” the bus driver shouted “Now! Now! Now!”. Temba quickly got in and the bus crawled forward a few more metres.

“Look, sussie,” the bus driver said pointing down to Temba's footprints in the sand.

And Temba saw the lion prints superimposed on her own footprints in the virgin sand.

Dec 11, 2010
by: Raven

Tammy stands five feet one inch tall, her long brown hair falls just above her scrawny thin waist. She wears frayed blue jean cutoffs just above her scuffed up knobby knees. Her feet are bare and dirty, she prides herself on being a tom boy and being able to keep up with all the boys on the block such as skateboarding, tree climbing, rock throwing, and of course being able to effortlessly spit across the train tracks that run right through her family’s back yard.
Danny is one of Tammy’s best friends, he’s tall, dark haired and good-looking. Danny lives three houses down from hers, and he can usually be found playing baseball two blocks over in a dusty field that is marked off with four bases made out of small wooden slats, but today, Danny has other things on his mind besides baseball.
On a cool clear evening Tammy and Danny race across her yard through the chill of the night air, they race to see who can climb to the top of the garage roof first, Danny scales the white trellis with ease, as Tammy strains to keep up. He reaches the top first, balances himself on the ledge of the roof, turns around and offers his hand to Tammy.
They sit in silence on the far end of the garage roof, gazing up into the dark sky, watching the flickering stars, and saying nothing. Tammy leans back on her elbows, tilts her head back and stares straight up into the night, she closes her eyes, and makes a silent wish. Tammy opens her eyes and looks up at Danny, who has just moved his body close to hers.
Danny gazes down into her brown skinned face, he quietly leans over, gently takes her small chin into his hand as he looks deeply into her curious brown eyes, tilts her chin up as his mouth covers hers.
Tammy’s eyes spring wide open as she pulls away, shocked, appalled, not at all sure what to say to her good friend Danny. She’s horrified that he just put his wet tongue into her mouth. Tammy jumps up and bolts across the roof, she quickly scrambles down the rickety trellis, and scampers across the dark yard and into her house, slamming the screen door behind her.
For days Tammy stays hidden inside her room, not daring to go outside. That’s where Danny is, gross, no way is she going out there so he can stick his tongue in her mouth again.
Tammy is eleven years old, she sits alone in her room on an old wooden chair, chin between her bent knees, a ray of sunlight shines through the dirty tattered curtain, it lands on her toes as she stares down at them.
Danny, who is twelve, stands outside her window, singing “Cecilia you’re breakin my heart, you’re shakin my confidence daily…”
Tammy just wants Danny to go away now, but, he doesn’t…

Dec 10, 2010
by: Anonymous

It was in fact interesting. I've never really had to sit there and think about what I'm going to write before I write it.

So this was an interesting exercise. I'm definitely going to have to do this before writing now.

Dec 07, 2010
My experience - lesson 1
by: Glenda

This was an excellent exercise. I had no trouble visualising myself on a dark, lonely street in the countryside (had to be the countryside - otherwise it would not be dark) - but took a while to work out how and why I got to be there!!!

A very good exercise - looking forwards to doing lesson 2.

Dec 06, 2010
Jester, Cinnamon and me
by: J. Eve

Lesson one was great, I just sat back and remembered this moment in my life, now I have to remember how it ended.

Poking cattle out of the brush was not the aspiration of my life. My horse, Jester was hot and needed to cool off. We walked to a nearby thinly branched mesquite tree, where a cinnamon hued one-year-old calf grazed.

The solitude of this open range, with its wide open sky, made me feel as one with the elements, parched and scorched. I removed the saddle from my horse, and placed it on the ground. My rifle, rope, and blanket I tossed to the other side of Jester.

Suddenly the horse reared, Jester whinnied and stomped his feet. Turning my back, there he stood near a pile of old creosote posts, a huge mountain lion. Time seemed frozen, as the cat measured us. I glanced from the corner of my eye, Jester and the cinnamon calf were glancing back at me as to imply, what you goanna do!

That huge cat will turn me into his chow bag before I can get to my weapon. The cat paced, its muscles rippling. Jester reared again, and the calf let out an anxious groan. In solidarity we stood challenging the cougar.

Dec 05, 2010
A first Kiss
by: Anonymous

I have only had the chance so far to do the first part which was the First Kiss - I really enjoyed this - the technique is great.

I only wrote a very short piece for the first kiss but I'll share it here if that's okay.

First Kiss

His eyes held me trapped. My heart beat steadily as he capped my face in his smooth hands, tilting my head towards his. I placed my palms on his broad chest, and felt the thud of his own heart, thump, thump, thump, almost hypnotising in its rhythm. I was helpless now, surrendering myself totally to his will. Our faces, so close, that I feltl his breath on my cheeks. His blue eyes burned deeply into my own; just for a moment, he hesitated, before placing his lips on mine. Soft, moist, warm, gentle. A tingle ran through me, my heart beat faster, as I closed my eyes and lost myself in that one magical moment, of a first kiss.

Nov 30, 2010
Loved It
by: Anonymous

I loved this exercise, and here is what I came up with.

can vividly recall that one faithful night. I was working at Snyder’s Bakery, and had to stay late that night to fill a large order. Mr. Snyder loaded the order onto the truck, and left. I, then cleaned the area, put on my coat, and locked the front door. I noticed that the street was void of all traffic, and darkened shadows sprawled across the street.
As I started to walk, the wind picked up and metal trash can lids were blown down and across the nearby alley. Some where a cat howled, either out of frustration or anger. I could now feel fear creeping up my spine, and shivered in anticipation. I listened closely, and heard quiet footsteps behind me. I was in total fear, being on a lonely and desolate street. I picked up my pace, as did whoever was behind me. Finally, in desperation, I turned around to gaze at whom ever was behind me, and then let out a sigh or relief. Mrs. Parson, my neighbor was on her way home and was trying to catch up with me. After all, it is best to travel with some else late at night when the light is poor and cats howl.

Nov 27, 2010
what a surprise!
by: Onyema

I really liked the exercise. Initially I did not feel like doing it because I did not have any idea how the story would go. I thought it would be some kind of thriller. But than I just sat down and imagined it with my eyes closed, and went with the flow. It turned out not to be the horror story I expected, and when I started to write it down, more details even came to mind (Is that Ok by the way...?)
I am surprised that so little happened in my story but yet I have more than one page of an interesting encounter during which not more than 3 sentences of conversation were shared. Thanks.

Nov 24, 2010
@ Jill, Tim, and Mike

I'm so glad this worked for you! Thanks a lot for your comments.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Nov 24, 2010
@ Annie Whitley

I'd suggest talking to your teacher to find out if your school has a writing centre or some other resources to give you individualized help on your essay-writing. For the type of help you say that you need, it would be better for you to work individually with a good teacher or tutor in person (not over the Internet). Please talk to your teacher and ask what kind of help your school can offer you.

Best wishes,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Nov 24, 2010
@ Deborah

Mind-mapping can be a good way to get ideas on paper and start finding connections. I'd suggest trying different techniques to see which one works best for you.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Nov 20, 2010
by: Mike

I found it an excellent way to get the imagination going. Slow at first but then flooding with ideas, many of which were not required when it came writing them down. The business of waiting that time before committing them to paper produced a necessary dicipline settlinging the mind into a sense of order.
I found it very informative thanks.

Nov 19, 2010
Help a student succeed in her class
by: Anonymous

I hope you can help me proceed in being a good student at Ashford University. My name is Annie Whitley this a story about lady. Who want to succeed in school and get a better grade. If you help me write a good Essays or paragraph. Tell me If I need more details. Explain how I can do more details. I will follow your instruction. I thought they were going to kick me out of Ashford University. But I sill qualify for Financial Aide. When the Financial Aide Simon Ahn at Ashford Univerity called me. I thought I was in big trouble.Ifeel I HAD A 43PERCENT Ifailed the class the teacher said. I need more details in my work. So asked some students what the Instructor was talking about. They told me to describe my home. I told them, I lived in 3 bdrm. home. Myfront room in very big and with alot of space. I HAVE A Christmas Tree. then I have couch set, rug, Enterinment center, china cabinets and walls that are white. I HAVE PICTURES HANGING UP. I am giving you detail about my frontroom. please respond, TY.Annie Whitley

Nov 16, 2010
Birthing in to Eternity
by: Deborah

I sat down to write for 10 mins, who called and what I felt like when I smelled the coffee making. Who called me at 6 am this morning, my best friend from miami calling , I want to writing about birthing in to eternity , I saw this in a meditation and I can not get my words to express it . May be I will try Mind mapping to help push me along . What do you think?

Nov 13, 2010
I liked this exercise
by: Tim

I liked this exercise. I kind of sat for almost 2 of the first 5 minutes just thinking random beginnings. Couldn't get past that. Then after a bit, I started seeing a setting and time. After that, it went pretty fast.

Nov 08, 2010
by: Jill

I got right into the writing part. I imaged the scene before me and then let it run in my head like a television movie as I wrote it.

Thank you very much.

Nov 06, 2010
good writing exercise!
by: Haley Bothwell

I really liked this writing execise because I could imagine it very well. walking with only the street light shining, hearing footsteps, I felt like I was the person I wrote about. I think people will get stuck to my writing because i got stuck writing it!

Nov 04, 2010
by: Claire

I worked with this exercise with keyboard and with pen. With keyboard, the censor was in full critical mode, and I had to physically hold up my hand as if driving into the sun to shut him up for a bit. I tried going back to paper and pen, scribbling all over the page with bubbles for each scene or voice, and that set me free with an avalanche of details.

I LOVED the daydreaming part, feeling my way in to the situation. Thanks for this awesome learning opportunity.

Nov 03, 2010
@ Jennifer

That's wonderful, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing your creative experience.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Nov 02, 2010
lesson 1
by: Jennifer

I can picture the scene, just finein my head.I close my eye's and picture the scence slowly coming to life.Slow at first, then i hear the footsteps.The more i relax and breath my day dream of the scene becomes real in my mind.

Oct 19, 2010
too new to comment
by: monkeyhash

I am redundant and a poor speller
I am too new to comment
where is the spell checker
call me a cab, a Spell Checker Cab

yes to humor

Oct 13, 2010
Hello Arg!
by: Tonya

If you're creative at school, then I think you can be creative at home. You say you see nothing but black when doing the "footsteps behind you" assignment, but it doesn't have to be anything dark or scary. You like fantasy, so try a mental picture of something, anything, in your fantasy world. It doesn't even have to be a person...it could be a unicorn or something.

Once you start with the mental imagery, then everything else just sort of falls into place. Even as you're writing, ideas will come to you.


Oct 13, 2010
by: Anonymous

I'm all blank. I close my eyes, and all I can see is....BLACK. I normaly don't have such problems, it's just when I try to focus I fail. The problem is that I as good as never think of a dark scary street, with footstept behind me. I like fantasy, so I use to think of a wizard or a witch, if you know what I mean?

It really sounds stupid, but the only time I really get good ideas is at school, but I'm not alowed, at all, to write anything else than what I'm told to write. It really sucks..

Oct 13, 2010
@ Dreamsearcher

Hi Dreamsearcher,

It looks like your story is online now. Thanks for sharing it!

When you post on the Salon, there's usually a little technical delay before your post appears online -- no need to worry. Sometimes it can take an hour or so for the website to update.

All the best,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Oct 13, 2010
by: Anonymous



Oct 12, 2010
by: Lauren

Here is the link:


Oct 11, 2010
Question, I am a new member
by: Anonymous

Where do you post the answers to the assignments here on the site?


Oct 11, 2010
@ Molly

Hi Molly,

The memoir writing contest closes on the 31st of October, and the winner will be announced on the competition page by the 10th of November. We will also notify the winner by e-mail.


Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Oct 11, 2010

Interesting ideas!

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Oct 09, 2010
Jeff's Help
by: Molly

Your help was great.

Nancy, Has the winner of the writing contest been chose.


Oct 08, 2010
lesson l
by: nevillem

I'll bet most of the participants thought as themselves, whether male or female. Let's turn this around. Supposing the person hearing the footsteps was a world class wrestler or and strong man from the circus or even a front row forward in the NZ rugby team. The attitude would be vastly different. It would be a case of "Let whoever it is try something." Imagine the front row forward suddenly turning around and giving the following person a real Maori welcome by sticking his tongue out. Who would get the biggest shock then?
Maybe the 'street' could be a jungle path and a lion (tiger,panther etc.) is stalking the prey.
How about in a dusty street in Alaska and a grisly bear is casually following a person along the snow covered sidewalk. This would change anyone's apprehension.
Just my warped mind

Oct 08, 2010
@ Deanna

Thanks for your comment, Deanna! I'm so glad you found the exercise inspiring.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Oct 08, 2010
@ Lauren

Hi Lauren,

Don't worry! There's nothing wrong with basing your fiction on real places you've been. In the end, our daydreams are always inspired by our actual experiences.

The "daydream technique" proposed in this exercise is just one approach that some writers find helpful, but it's not required. You might prefer to think in terms of a "collage technique," where you take observed details from real life and rearrange them to fit your imaginary scenes.

For example, your main character might be a combination of your friend from high school, your bank clerk, and your next door neighbor. This character might live in a house based on your grandparents' house. You can "mix and match" details, changing them according to the needs of your story.

Some fiction writers even search in magazines and elsewhere for photographs of people to "cast" as their characters and other visual details to use in their stories. Then they assemble a scrapbook of pictures that to which they can refer while writing.

Try different approaches to visualization and see what works for you.

All the best,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Oct 07, 2010
What a Disaster!
by: Lauren

I have clearly gotten too analytical in my thinking. I couldn't do this. It took me 10 minutes to stop thinking about places I'd already been that were creepy, and actually makie one up in my head. And when I did finally see it, I had no words for half of the details. I think I'm going to have to try another, similar exercise. Anyone have thoughts about other things I could try daydreaming about to practice?

Much appreciated!

Oct 04, 2010
on Request
by: OMacD

@Basem by O.

Hello Basem.

I'm a newbe too! There is a page titled Forty-Four Short Story Ideas at http://www.creative-writing-now.com/short-story-ideas.html

I select an idea then sit back in imagination drive and observe the images surfing in the grey matter. I then rush to the page and deftly record, especially the details re. the senses and tiny objects, as much as I can in 15 minutes. I have to work fast as my internal critic is a real killer and jams the works at every turn. Then, in more relaxed mode, I write out in my best handwriting and feel great about my effort. Hope this helps.

Best O

Oct 03, 2010
Wonderful exercise!
by: Deanna Schrayer

I read the lesson as soon as I received it and had planned to complete it later in the week, but, having the rare opportunity of alone time, I closed my eyes and imagined the scene. To my surprise, a wealth of images came to mind. I couldn't help myself, I had to write it.

Now I have a halfway decent suspense/horror flash piece (601 words). I'm unsure at this point if I want to post it for discussion or save it for a contest, (after editing of course), but I didn't want to miss saying thank you so much for a fantastic lesson! So, thank you!

Oct 01, 2010
by: Basem

I am new on this site and I want to learn how can I ? write a super good composition.So can anyone help me .

Sep 28, 2010
@ OMcD

Hi O.,

It looks like you succeeded in publishing your writing assignment. Sometimes there's a delay of a few minutes before the submission appears online.

Thanks so much for sharing your work! I'm really enjoying reading everyone's writing.

All the best,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Sep 28, 2010
On Lesson 1
by: OMcD

Hello Nancy,

I fear my submission for Lesson 1 has gone astray. I'm not great with gadgets - even the necessary ones. Call me a slow learner!!

I enjoyed imagining the task. It was fun although the street scene kept shifting sands in the night and the plot staggered here and there. The note- taking was good tho' and helped me edit and focus my thoughts.

I'm not clear on how long the word max. looks on paper. I'm also not clear if such a piece is to be presented as a story.

I hope my submission is okay for now and I look forward to reading everyones work.
Best O.

Sep 22, 2010
by: Jeff

For me I just closed my eyes and thought about the lesson for a minute. Then it was like watching T.V.
It just started playing in my mind. I didn't realize until near the end that my character would not survive.

I did have to come up with what he was doing leading up to the attack.

Do you keep a journal? That can be a fun place to play with different idea's.

Sep 22, 2010
by: Molly

is there anyone who can help me get started


Sep 22, 2010
@ Anne

Hi Anne,

I'm so glad you enjoyed the exercise!

To share your writing, just go to the main Salon menu page at http://www.creative-writing-now.com/fiction-writers-salon.html, then find the "Share Your Writing" link for the lesson you just completed. For example, the link to share writing for Lesson 1 is here: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/lesson-1-share-your-writing.html.

Once you're in the right part of the Salon, click on the link that reads, "Click here to add your own comments." Then copy and paste your writing into the box.

Here is how to copy and paste:
1) Click with the left button of your mouse on the text you want to copy, and highlight it.
2) Press "Control" and "C" on your keyboard to copy.
3) Click with the left button of your mouse in the place where you want to paste the text (in this case, the comments box.)
4) Press "Control" and "V" on your keyboard to paste.

There is a length limit of 3000 characters for submissions. I'm sorry about that -- it is a limitation of the technology we are using, and it's not something that's currently in our control.

After clicking on the "Submit" button, you may have to wait for a few minutes before your submission appears online. That's normal -- it's not necessary to resubmit.

Thanks very much for sharing your writing!

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Sep 21, 2010
Lesson I
by: Anne

Just completed lesson 1, having to daydream it was an interesting way of doing things. Really helps to get the details in there. How do you post your writing to share it. I am not very computer literate, so if someone wouldn't mind helping me, that would be great. Thanks

Sep 21, 2010
@ Crystal

Hi Crystal,

Thanks for your comment. Please don't worry -- this visualization method is only one technique for writing scenes, and different writers work in different ways. I'd suggest setting a writing schedule for yourself -- it is important to work at writing regularly, even when it's hard or doesn't seem to be flowing -- but during your writing time, you can experiment with different approaches to see which ones work best for you.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Sep 20, 2010
Not Alone
by: Anshenise

I was walking home from work down the same dark and lonely street I always take, minding my own business when I noticed quiet footsteps behind me. I didn't see a soul. A cold breeze brushed the nape of my neck. I stopped dead in my tracks. yelled, who's there, but no one answered. Then another breeze tossed my short auburn curls. I ran as fast as I could to get to my home. while I was running, I heard soft whispers and laughter. This made me run even faster. so out of breath, damn those cigarettes. I finally reached my home. I fumbled for my keys. I unlocked the door with nervous hands. I quickly went inside, locked the door and then leaned up against the door. I'm taking a cab tomorrow. I can't explain what just happened to me tonight. who will believe me?

Sep 18, 2010
by: Crystal

I just completed lesson 1 and that was more difficult than I had anticipated. I was very aware of what I was thinking about and found it more difficult. I don't know if that makes sense or not. I found that I was thinking about what I looked like or felt and then it happened, I didn't just allow myself to let go. Then when I began to write what I just imagined, it wasn't too descriptive, it was primarily what I was thinking and not necessarily what my surroundings looked like or my appearance. I think I need to practice this step A LOT more. Hopefully I'll get it. Practice makes perfect right?

Sep 10, 2010
@ Fee

Great, Fee! I'm so glad you found it helpful.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Sep 10, 2010
just done lesson one
by: Fee

The daydream concept allowed me to be more creative. It gave me a chance to come up with something different. It is hard not to immediately start writing though.
The ideas do float around in my head but this exercise definitely helps in pinning them down and fleshing them out.

Sep 10, 2010
I have used different concepts.
by: Anonymous

The concept of using a setting as the main character in a story has been used before.

Stephen Kings, Salem's Lot.

Amityville Horror.

T.V. Shows-Dallas

T.V. Soap Opera's Later turned into a regular T.V. Show- DARK SHADOWS-Dan Curtise.

This Concept is worth looking into.


Sep 05, 2010
What Happen?
by: Joseph F.Mazzaferro

The last lesson I received was lesson 5 can anyone from CWC help me get the rest of my lessons.

What happen to the other members, I feel like I've entered the phantom zone.

People are dissapearing others who I know were there when I started?

Sep 02, 2010
Hi mila your nabor from across the bridge Brooklyn N.Y.
by: Joseph F. Mazzaferro

What genre is your writing? I am mystery and Horror drama's.
My gold is to someday submit my writing some where for publication, until I am ready to send it into a publisher or self publish I keep writing.


I am 66 years old in April I will be 67. I am a grandpa, my wife and I baby sit our grandchildren.

Aug 13, 2010
@ Renee

Hi Renee,

Thanks a lot for your comment. I'm so glad you found these suggestions helpful!

To answer your question about posting the 10-minute writing assignments in the Salon, the idea is to give you a place to share your responses to the assignments and give/get encouragement. However, the Salon is not currently designed to be a forum for formal critiques.

There are a few reasons for this. First, the idea of the 10-minute assignments is that they can be written quickly and freely, with your "mental editor" turned off. The exercises are not meant to be finished drafts that are ready for critique.

When I leave comments on the forum, I am therefore very careful only to discuss positive aspects of the work. I am assuming the work is still in the very first stage of creation. I do not want anyone to approach the 10-minute writing assignments in a defensive way, or to be afraid that the work might be criticized. Worrying about criticism too early on can interfere in the creative process.

Of course, if you decide to develop the 10-minute writing assignments into finished stories or novels, you will reach a stage with the piece when you are finished generating ideas and it is time to go back and revise. This is the point at which a critique can be helpful.

At this time, Creative Writing Now does not offer a critique service, but it is something we can certainly consider offering in the future.

I drop by the Salon when I can, but unfortunately, because of my other time commitments, it is not possible for me to comment on every post or piece. Ideally, the Salon will work as a community, where everyone participates in reading and offering encouragement on the work posted here.

That being said, I have read your post called "Identifying Marks" and enjoyed it very much. I like the way you get inside the narrator's head and show her anxiety, and I like the suspense you create around the question of what Private Henderson is hiding in his fist. You choose descriptive details that help the reader form a clear impression of Private Henderson. And you cleverly play with this impression, changing the meaning of the details as Private Henderson is transformed, in the reader's eyes, from a crazed assailant to a traumatized veteran, deserving of sympathy. Good work!

All the best,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Aug 13, 2010
The information I've been looking for!
by: Renee

Thank you Nancy:)

This is the difficulty I always have when it comes to being descriptive. Your answer makes so much sense. I feel like slapping my forehead and channeling Homer Simpson 'DOH'. I've printed out your comments and put them in my 'save' file:)

BTW - Do you comment on each lesson when they are uploaded to the site? I'd love for you to review Lesson #1 'Identifying Marks'. Am I on the right track?


Aug 10, 2010
@ VictoriaN

Hi VictoriaN,

That's a great question.

There's not a simple answer, but here are points to keep in mind:

1) Specific language.

Using language that is specific helps the reader to form a sharp mental picture.

Compare these sentences:

"Sam had lunch" (general)
"Sam had a cheese sandwich" (more specific)

"There was a bird outside the window" (general)
"There was a crow outside the window" (more specific).

In both pairs of sentences, the more specific one communicates a greater amount of information in the same amount of space.

2) Differentiating details.

When you are describing a person/place/experience, think about what details make him/her/it unique.

If I tell you that Tom has two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, this probably doesn't give you a strong idea about Tom. If I tell you that he has brown hair, that is a bit more informative, but it wouldn't help you recognize Tom in the street. If I mention that he looks slightly like a frog, this might start to give you a clearer mental picture.

3) Point of view.

From what perspective are you describing the person/place/experience? If it were a movie, where would the camera be? Do you intend for the reader to see things "through the eyes" of a specific character?

All of this can affect the details you should choose for your description.

For example, let's say you are describing Mary from the point of view of her husband, while he is kissing her. Her husband is physically very close to Mary at the moment. He can see the small freckles on her nose and can smell her shampoo.

On the other hand, if you are describing Mary from the point of view of a man watching her through a train window, then you probably wouldn't describe either the freckles or the shampoo smell because the man would not have access to these details.

Now let's imagine that this second man is watching Mary through the train window because he believes her to be in possession of important stolen documents. In this case, his attention might be closely focused on the briefcase in her hand, and by describing the briefcase, you can focus the reader's attention on it too.

VictoriaN, I hope this answer gives you some ideas that you can use. We will talk more about all of these issues during the course, and the seventh week is focused specifically on descriptive language.

All the best,

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Aug 09, 2010
How do I put my imagination on paper?
by: VictoriaN

When I daydream, I picture the scene, say a love scene, how do I get the perfect words to put my imagination into paper, so that readers do not lose one bit of the sensations I felt while daydreaming?

Aug 03, 2010
@ Nancy F.

Hi Nancy,

The lessons are e-mailed to you every seven days, beginning with the day that you confirmed your course registration.

So everyone in the course is receiving the lessons on a slightly different schedule, depending on when each person signed up.

If you seem to be missing any lessons, please check in your spam folder since the e-mails sometimes end up there by mistake.

But don't worry because some participants are receiving lessons ahead of you. That's just because they have signed up before you did.

We decided to space out the lessons instead of sending them one right after another to make sure that everyone would have time to complete the exercises.

If you have any other concerns, just let us know.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Jul 30, 2010
by: Nancy F

Nancy, Do you give out the lessons to our email? About how often do you do this? I've read some submittals for lession 2, 3, 4, and 5. I fell like I'm behind.

Jul 29, 2010
by: Carolyn

The only way I can write is to 'see' the scene in my head. I'm glad to know that it's a legitimate way to write!

Jul 27, 2010
@ Nancy F.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the technique and found it useful.

Happy writing!

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Jul 27, 2010
Lesson 1
by: Nancy F

Daydreaming is not a technique I have used before. Its very useful for coming up with ideas. And you can let your mind make up and follow the story where it goes. I like the assignment. My daydreaming didn't take me into the rhelm of fear. Those writings were spooky and thrilling.

Jul 27, 2010
@ Bree

That's wonderful! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Nancy (Creative Writing Now)

Jul 24, 2010
I loved Lesson's 1 Daydream Technique
by: Bree

So I actually loved this excercise because of the main thing and that was "Daydream", my story took me into wonderful places at the very end, and it was marvelous to be honest.

Jul 23, 2010
by: Anonymous

i love to write, it's somthing that i want to do with the rest of mylife.

Jul 22, 2010
I spend a lot of time babysitting
by: Joseph F.Mazzaferro

I spend 5 days baby sitting a little girl and boy my grandchildren, also helping him do summer homework and still find time ti write un my journal everyday.

Jul 22, 2010
Try a digital voice recorder
by: Joseph F.Mazzaferro

Kasie, I keep one in my pocket just in case I can't post it in my Journal so I can follow up later.

Jul 20, 2010
@ Kasie

I'm so glad you liked the lesson. I know many writers who, like you, carry notebooks around everywhere. It's a good habit, even if non-writers don't always understand!


Jul 17, 2010
Lesson One
by: Kasie

This lesson is about perfect for me. That's pretty much how my novels all started, as daydreams. The hardest part about writing this way is trying to remember the good ideas when I'm not in a place to take notes. Hence my carrying notebooks to odd places--movie theaters, restaurants, ect. I get more than a few odd looks, but oh well. The most challenging part of the lesson is to stop daydreaming!

Jul 13, 2010
Success in the visual detail
by: Joe

Well, although I have intuitively imagined my scenes (currently 219 scenes) of my novel but I never retrace my thoughts to look at the detail and it really works.
Thank you it one I will use from now on.

Jul 06, 2010
@ Paris

Hi Paris,

You're definitely not alone in this experience of freezing up when it actually comes time to write.

Here's an idea: instead of writing, try just talking into a recording device (for example, you might have a cell phone with a record function). Pretend you're telling the story to a friend. Describe everything that happens.

If talking to a recorder feels too strange, then you could actually bring a friend into the room the first time you do this. Talk to your friend and record the conversation.

Your next step is just to transcribe what you have recorded. Play the recording and simply type up what you have said.

Now you don't have to face a blank screen. You have pages full of text. Read what you have written, then start filling in the blanks -- adding, rewriting, and cutting as you build a draft of a story.

Please let us know how it goes.

All the best,


Jul 05, 2010
Lesson One Problem
by: Paris

When I read our first lesson I kind of laughed because this is where I've been having a lot of difficulty lately. I used to be able to write for hours without stopping. I would visualize the scene in my head like the lesson asked us to do and then get it down on paper (or computer). Then I went back to school to get my BA and started writing essays instead of fiction. Since then I haven't been able to get the pictures out of my head, despite the fact that I graduated a year ago (which I hoped would have gotten me back on track).

I try doing exactly what was asked of us in lesson 1. I visualize the scene, but then when I try to write it down (or type it up) nothing comes out. It's not that nothing good comes out, it's that nothing at all comes out. I would be happy with something that was completely grammatically incorrect, but I get nothing.

Now I force myself to write because I hope that something will snap back into place. Most of what I write is crap, but it's something. I would love to be able to do what I did before and am always looking for ways to break this weird writing breakdown I have.

Jul 05, 2010
Time flies!
by: Robbie

This was an interesting exercise. I couldn't believe how quickly 5 minutes passed as I "worked" at daydreaming a scene. The 5 minutes of note taking became 10. Oh well. I think all fiction writers daydream scenes into being, but I never thought to just take notes on it before beginning to write the scene.

Jul 04, 2010
@ Cheryle

Hi Cheryle,

Don't worry if you have trouble with visualization. That's just one technique that some writers find helpful, but it's not required. You can use a different technique that works for you.

For example, you might find it more natural to write based on observation, like a painter who works with a model in front of him even though he is painting a scene of angels in Heaven. He takes the details from a human face and uses them to make the imagined scene more real.

You can try this kind of collage technique, where you take details from actual people, places, events, then "mix and match" them according to the needs of your story. For example, you might "borrow" a neighbor's house to use as your main character's home. This character might actually be a composite of several real people -- she might have your cousin's face, the voice of a woman you overheard in a restaurant, and your friend's marital problems...

You might find it helpful to keep a writer's journal, where you collect details that you can use later in fiction. For example, in your journal, you can describe different places you've been that day. Later, when you're writing a story and you need a setting, you'll be able to browse through your journal for ideas.

One advantage of keeping a writer's journal is that it is likely to make you more observant.

You mentioned you were going to try using Google image search for your writing. That's a great idea -- please let us know how it goes.

All the best,


Jul 04, 2010
Lesson 1
by: Cheryle

I have a lot of trouble with picturing a scene in my mind. I see nothing but blackness when I try to visualize. But I can see the words, I don't know how to explain it. I never thought of using google. That is something I am going to try. Thanks for sharing it.

Jul 01, 2010
In a writing project I have been working on I used this technique.
by: Joseph F.Mazzaferro

This is the method I used, just as the course says. By use of my imagination sometimes getting the ideas at three or four in the morning. I keep paper and pen and also a digital voice recorder near by to record ideas.

Jul 01, 2010
(Entry moved by Moderator)
by: Joseph F. Mazzaferro

Moved to: Lesson 1: Share Your Writing

Jul 01, 2010
Day Dream
by: Kalai

It is what I usually do before start writing my stories. This has helped me to write very good scenes for my story.

Jun 30, 2010
@ Jamie

I like the idea of using Google's image search in this way!

Jun 28, 2010
Picturing the scene
by: Jamie

It sometimes does help me if I take some time out to picture the scene before I write it. To be honest sometimes I also use Google image search to find images that look like the place I'm writing about to get more ideas for describing it.

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