A Song of Six Pens
A Song of Six Pens is a blog I write with five extraordinary published authors about the writing life and working in the world of children's publishing. Our blog also includes interviews with authors, editors, and agents, along with a writer's resource page.

From left to right, the Six Pens are:

Gloria Reichert, Me, Lisa Amstutz, Kate Carroll, Laurie Lazzaro Knowton, and Lana Wayne Koehler.

Check out the blog here.

Enjoy one of our articles:

Beyond Writing Prompts

By Gloria G. Adams


Most of us have used writing prompts for different reasons: to break writer’s block, at gatherings of writers, at conferences and workshops, to generate new story ideas. But most of the prompts you may have used are only that: prompts. Whether it’s a photo, a string of words, a first line, or a scenario, that’s all it is.


What if you could take those prompts further? What if you had a step-by-step guide to show you how to take a prompt and turn it into a story or a book with a strong plot, engaging characters, and believable settings?


That’s what my book, Photo Plots: How to Write Great Photo-inspired Books and Stories, is all about. In it, you’ll find some basics on plot, character development, and settings/world building, a template with questions for building your stories, four sample stories, and over 60 images to spark your imagination.


Here’s an excerpt:


PHOTO PLOT: A story plot inspired by a photo.


PHOTO PLOTTING: The act of creating a story plot inspired by a photo.


PHOTO PLOTTER: One who photo plots.


There are times in the writing life when ideas dry up, when inspiration won’t come. Your brain has come up with what you consider to be a fabulous idea, but no words seem to convey the vision you have for it. Maybe you’re part way through your manuscript and nothing is working right in chapter eight. Or seven. Your mind is blank and so is that white page in front of you. Some call it “writer’s block.” No matter what you call it, it can be a source of great frustration.


One way to push through writer’s block is to just start writing. And sometimes you need a prompt to get you going. I’m a big fan of word prompts, but sometimes they just aren’t enough.


I find that photos work much better, possibly because they tap into the emotions through a visual experience. You can actually see the character, envision the scenery, smell the scent of those flowers. From there, hopefully, a story idea will germinate.


But, let’s take it one step further. The picture is there, the ideas begin to flow, but where do you start and how do you actually make it work?


Try Photo Plots.


With Photo Plots, you can choose a picture, brainstorm some ideas, then fill in a special plot template, answering questions about characters, plot, and world building as you go.


You’ll get some basics, step-by-step guides, a sample story built with the template, and three stories written by three different authors using the same photograph. Plus, many wonderful photos to inspire you.


Whatever your experience with photo prompts has been, Photo Plots will take you a step further by providing the tools you need to build the stories only you can create. Ready? Let’s get Photo Plotting!

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