origins of belief

Quarrelsome characters make stories interesting and unpredictable.

And origin shapes perspective.


big-research-ship-docked photo Steve Hillebrand U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Here is a docked research ship. Create two scientists with distinctive, opposing belief systems, and put them on the ship. Now show them in an interaction that is shaped by the friction between their perspectives.

One grew up here:

refuge-visitor-center-housephoto Steve Hillebrand U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

and the other grew up here:

residence-house photo Paolo Neo


twitter recap for this week

For those of you who don’t follow me @ebszabo on Twitter, here’s what you missed – enjoy:

#Write when it hurts. Capture your best. “A writer is someone for whom #writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”  #ThomasMann

#writer’sblock? #WriteNow offers supportive #mentoring, #coaching & #editing for writers of #fiction and #nonfiction

Do you know what scares or intimidates you about writing? #WriteNow offers 1hr  #free consult.  #CreativeWriting

Write #WhatMatters, omit the rest. The past inhabits us & drives our stories. Without it we might be happier, but we couldn’t #write. #CliFi

#Illuminate, don’t explain. How? Evoke the #Senses Touch Sight Taste Hear Smell are linked to #memory & highly #evocative #CreativeWriting

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” #AnaïsNin #Cli-Fi #ClimateChangeFiction #GoodReads

Convincing #Fiction is #TrueLove. “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” #CarlSagan #Cosmos

“How beetles can speak of longing” #JodyGladding “on translation, the sources of language” @PoetryFound #Innovation

“Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home” #CarlSagan but #Whatif #MonaLisa said it?

jumpstart love

Writing a compelling, visceral love scene can be the most daunting of challenges – how many times have you tried, without success, to evoke the eroticism, tension, suspense and thrill of first contact?


The temptation is to make it too obvious, too easy. Or to fall into the trap of ‘happily ever after’. We might all crave ‘perfect love’, but reading about it can be irritating, and even worse, boring.

cleaning etc

So here is a practically failure proof antidote to perfect love: Look under your kitchen sink, and pick a detergent or household cleaner. Write down random words and sentence fragments from the warning label. Now incorporate those gems into a love scene.

Nothing like a little irritant to jump start love.

why write?

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Writing is a way to figure out who we are, how we got here, what matters, and then, to envision how we can do better.

Cly-Fi needn’t be apocalyptic. While it may be difficult to imagine a kinder gentler outcome, it’s worth a try.

Writing Prompt:

Can you take us from here:


to here?    narrows-nature-pictures Photo by Jon Sullivan



american-flamingoes-phoenicopterus-ruber Photo: American flamingoes phoenicopterus by Kat Spence 

The pink plastic lawn flamingo was invented by Don Featherstone of Massachusetts in 1957.

A flock of flamingos is called a flamboyance.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein with the following writing prompt from Lord Byron in his residence on a stormy night in Switzerland, “We will each write a ghost story.”

Writing Prompt: Write a letter from Mr. Featherstone to a close friend as he worked on the creation of pink lawn flamingos. Using your own words, begin with the sentiment that opens Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: “You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.” Title it Flamboyance


twitter recap for this week

For those of you who don’t follow me @ebszabo on Twitter, here’s what you missed – enjoy:

A recipe develops character: show who he is by how he cooks: “As a surprise, he prepared Cherry Buttermilk Clafoutis” #CreativeWritingPrompt

#GreatStory is defined by a #writer’s will to inhabit #characters, live in #backstory,  #dialogue, #action #CreativeWriting is feeling

Finding My Voice in Fantasy Lev Grossman, NYTimes

Write to provoke thought and change perspective #WritingAWorld Radcliffe Institute  @MiguelSyjuco #Illustrado #IWasThePresident’sMistress

#Science. Had I known it was a foundation for great #Fiction I’d have paid more attention in #School. #CliFi #CreativeWriting #ClimateChange

Make trouble. Characters in conflict = drama. Embrace drama in fiction, avoid it in life. #WriteNow 1hr #FreeConsult

Why write? “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” #CarlSagan Find it & write it. 1hr #FreeConsult

#Cliffies used to be #Radcliffe students. I was one. Now it’s Cli-Fi movie awards. Awesome. Cliffies Movie Awards 

#Kardashians and #ClimateChange: Interview with #JudithCurry @curryja #Cli-Fi  illuminates complex climate debate