Posted in Writing

Writing Prompts

Hi Everybody. Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Evening depending on the part of the world you are in. I hope your day is going well, and I wish you many blessings and peace. Please find listed below a list of writing prompts. Whether you are writing a short story or a book, or if you are looking for something to write in your journal, this list should help you.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. “Did you see this? Where did it come from?” asked Paul.
  2. I took my usual walk in the woods. The quiet and hush of the forest cleared my mind. But…..
  3. Jade grabbed her keys and stormed out the door.
  4. “For get it. I said you…..”
  5. We clinked our glasses together and stared into the other’s eyes while we sipped our Chardonnay. But little did Jack know…..
  6. Suzy hugged her teddy bear and huddled close to her mother.
  7. “Grab the hotdogs out of the refrigerator, would you? The grill is almost ready and…..”
  8. “Ok, hold that pose. Hold it. Hold it. Ok now. Walk over…..”
  9. The rowboat rocked and swayed, as the waves juggled it side to side.
  10. Walking through the mown grass, I plucked petals from the yellow rose.
  11. “Your arms are comfortable. I wish to never move,” cooed Katie.
  12. “It’s ok. You’re safe now,” whispered John.
  13. His chance of winning was slim, but he had to try.
  14. “What do you want from me?” asked Millie.
  15. “I think just found…”
  16. “It’s your choice,” she shrugged.
Posted in Poetry

Coffee and a Book

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

You woke one morning to rain-drop spatter
A chill in the air did nip,
Out the window wind whipped,
The day now does not matter.

To the kitchen sluggish feet shuffle
Timed coffee now is pouring,
Aroma floats and tickles the nose,
You grab a book and a truffle.

The office and work the rain it took
Home soothed you so much better,
So get your blanket and bundle up
To coffee and a book.

By L. M. Montes

Posted in Dialogue

Dialogue: The Don’ts

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

In the real world we talk everyday, and what we say and talk about at the time could be part of a directed conversation about a topic or you may move from topic to topic. But, generally, what your are saying has nothing to do with moving a story forward, as in a book. Therefore, the dialogue/conversations in a the story you are writing should move the story forward. However, it needs to be done in such a way that it sounds real and everyday. So, how do you do this? Yes, this is a lot to think about, but remember you can go back later and fix it. I’ve said this before, get the words on the page first. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing dialogue.

  • Remember your dialogue tags. You don’t need a dialogue tag after every line of dialogue. Every now and then put one in to remind the reader of who is speaking.
  • Small talk is a killer. In real life we make small talk all the time for different reasons. Maybe we’re nervous and don’t know what to talk about, so we end up saying little tidbits of information to try and break the ice. In real life though, we aren’t trying to advance a story/plot. So, leave the small talk out of your dialogue, unless of course it advances your story/plot.
  • Keep it natural. Make sure your dialogue sounds natural. One good way to tell if it sounds natural or not is to read it out loud.
  • No same sounding characters. This closely relates to voice. I touched on this in a previous blog post (Voice from September 21, 2021) Make sure your characters sound different when they are speaking. Word choice, dialect, and how they say something all plays a part in this. Maybe one of your characters has a signature word they like to say. Use that.
  • Using names in dialogue. Normally, one wouldn’t use someone else’s name when speaking to someone else unless one is trying to get the attention of the other or make a point. However, if it DOES work, then use it. But be careful.
  • Using exposition can bore. When a character explains the story in dialogue it ends up being a form of telling. What happens when you ‘tell’ a story vs. ‘show’? You risk losing the reader. Obviously, you don’t want this. So, stay away from this.
  • Don’t use ‘said’ all the time. Please refer to my blog post Words to Write By on October 18, 2021.
  • Be accurate and consistent with punctuation. Some writers like to use double quotation marks (“), and some writers like to use single quotation marks (‘). Pick one and stick with it. Just don’t forget to use them. I knew a writer who, when I asked her what she felt her weakness was as it relates to story writing, said it was remembering to put the quotation marks in.
  • Conversation that is unimportant doesn’t belong. If a conversation between your characters doesn’t cause some kind of friction, tension, or if it doesn’t advance the story/plot at all, leave it out.
  • Silence is a good thing. Too much conversation can be detrimental to the story so be careful. Silence can add a lot to a conversation sometimes.

I know this is much to think about, but don’t sweat it too much. If you need someone to check your dialogue, have a writing buddy read it and give you feedback. Also there are some good books out there about dialogue. Here are some suggestions below (You can find any of them on Amazon):

How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript by James Scott Bell
The Writers Guide to Realistic Dialogue by S. A. Soule
Writing Vivid Dialogue: Professional Techniques for Fiction Authors by Rayne Hall

Posted in Editing

Condensed Words

You’re walking with a friend in a crowded amusement park. In your pocket are some coins, but what you don’t realize is you have a hole in your pocket. The next time you reach in to get them, you may only have a couple quarters left. The hole sucked the rest of your coins and out it went without you knowing it. Well, think of the words you write with as your hole and the reader as your coins. You want to keep your readers hooked and reading, not lost and motivated to put your story down. So…..how do you keep your readers from falling out of that hole?

Your wording should be tightened up, and condensed. In other words, don’t be wordy. It shouldn’t take you several words to get your point across. Here are some examples:

  1. Wordy: The rushing wind hit me in the face and tossed my hair around.
  2. Much Better: The wind slapped my hair.

In this example, both sentences pretty much say the same thing but number 1 uses more words to get to the point. Number 2 is straight forward AND it implies the wind is hitting the person in the face without having said that it is.

  1. Wordy: In the forest it was calm. The sunbeams reached their rays through the trees, and the light was speckled throughout.
  2. Better: Sunbeams fingered through the calm forest leaving speckled light throughout.

Here again all the words in number 1 aren’t needed in order to paint a picture of the setting. It’s boring because too many words are used to describe what few words can actually do. Not only that, but an auxiliary verb like ‘was’ only tells you about it. It doesn’t add to the picture. It takes away from it. Number 2 leaves you with a clear, strong picture in your mind.

Remember something though. When you’re writing your story, write your story. Concentrate on that. THEN, once you have your first draft finished, go back to the beginning and focus on the particulars and details like wordiness.

Posted in Poetry

The Time Piece by L. M. Montes

Photo by RP Singh on Pexels.com

You placed me in my room
through a wall when punched with doom,
and on the floor I lie
with pain and marks of gloom.

I woke to tick tock tick
on a ground of cold dank brick,
A clock it caught my eye
with a face of blood and grit.

In the heat my heart it froze
when horror it did grow,
the gush and ooze of red
from the time piece it did flow.

By L. M. Montes

Posted in Characterization

Villains (Part VII)

Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

When you’re in a competition, you give it your all, everything you’ve got. You may be nervous at first before you start because you want to win. You don’t want to lose. Then your mom, dad, or friend says, “Just do your best. That’s all you can do. That’s all anyone can do.” In your mind, losing is losing, not winning. But…..in your villains mind, losing is winning.

What do I mean by this? Remember in the previous post (Villains Part VI) I said villains take pleasure in the protagonist’s pain. Well, yes. If burning everything down so your main character will lose everything but gives your villain pleasure in that main character’s loss, then the destruction of all is worth it to them. Go for the gusto with your villain’s actions. Have your villain throw ‘fuel on the fire’ (so to speak) as many times as it takes to cause destruction.

Ultimately, what is the reason behind the importance of making a great evil villain? Readers who continue turning the pages of your story all the way through to the end.

Posted in Characterization

Villains (Part VI)

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Watching someone open a gift, listening to your favorite music, a day at the beach, or even a walk in the woods; might give you pleasure. Now, normally, activities like the this would. But for villains in your stories, what gives them pleasure is none of the above. Oh No. They get pleasure from the pain of others. To your villain, other peoples’ pain is climactic, exhilarating, and releases the feel good chemicals inside their brain. They thrive on seeing others’ hurt and to the point where they have to continue in their hurtful behavior so they can continue to feel that pleasure.

Types of pain they inflict can be:

  • Psychological
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Worse yet (and most preferable) a combination of all of these

When it comes to dreaming up ways your villain could possibly hurt your main character, think outside the box. Be creative about what you want them to do. What makes your villain’s actions different than others you have read about in other books. Mold them. Make their pain causing actions unique.

Posted in point of view

Strong Point of View

First Person POV: The story is told from the story teller’s point of view and uses the pronoun ‘I’, ‘us’, ‘our’, or ‘ourselves’. It can also be narrated by the protagonist/main character, witness, or side character.

Third Person POV: The story is told from outside the story and the narrator refers to the characters by name or as ‘he/she/they’ and also ‘him/her/them’. Types of third person include:

  • Third Person Omniscient: the narration of the story is told with a voice as if from the author. They take on an all knowing perspective on the story being told.
    1. Example: As Rob and Janet slunk in their seats to watch the movie at the drive-in theater, he hoped he’d get lucky in the backseat of his car, and Janet secretly wished it was Dave snuggling next to her instead.
  • Third Person Limited: only the narrator knows only the thoughts and feelings of a single character. Other characters are presented externally.
    1. Example: He reached over to hold Jill’s hand but stopped halfway. Did she want him to, or would she slap him?
  • Third Person Objective: think of this POV as a peeping tom. The narrator is neutral and not privy to the thoughts or feelings of the characters’.
    1. Example: She twisted her hands, as she paced the floor of her bedroom.


For a stronger point of view that pulls the reader into the story, use verbs that create action directly (note the bold faced words in the examples above). When you do this, emotions are created at the same time, which is felt by the reader and pulls them in even further. Now your reader is hooked. They want to know how the story is going to play out and change for the better/or worse. Have you ever read a book you can’t put down? Strong point of view is all part of that.

Posted in Characterization

Villains (Part V)

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

How many times over the course of your life have you played a game with that one person who can’t help cheating to win the game? They are out there. In stories, they most definitely are there. They are called the antagonist, your villain. And they don’t play by the rules. In their minds the law doesn’t apply to them. If they can get what they want by breaking the law, so be it.

Their drive comes from interest in themselves. Their behavior is immoral/amoral. They lie, cheat, steal, deceive, and manipulate. If it puts money in their own pockets, they will take a bribe, blackmail, or do whatever it takes. Whatever the case, they always have ulterior motives.

When creating your villain, think outside the box. What are some creative ways your villain can break the rules to achieve their goal(s)?

Posted in setting

Setting (Paint Your Picture Continued)

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Where are you? What does that place look like? What feeling does it convey? Is it essential to the story? Did something significant occur there?

When you are selecting settings for your story, the reader must know where the story is taking place. More importantly, they want to ‘see’ it and ‘feel’ it. You may have just read the previous sentence and said, “Well, duhhh.” I kid you not. There are some writers out there who don’t pay enough attention to their setting. It leaves the reader scratching their head. I’ve read books where I have had to back track because the setting wasn’t paid its due diligence. I don’t know about you, but I picture in my head what I’m reading. It plays out like a movie. If I can’t see it, the story lacks that flow. Once you hook the reader on the first page, you want to keep them.