RIP – JD Salinger

I heard the sad news today that author JD Salinger has died at the age of 91.

The author of several books, most famously, “The Catcher in the Rye”, he was able to capture the feeling of teenage insolation and disillusion in Cold War America.  (and managed to make his main character, anti-hero Holden Caufield immortal and the model for teen rebellion. (Rebel Without A Cause, The Graduate, etc)

It was one of the first books I read and was able to relate to and have gone back again and again when I feel like the world is unfair. Salinger will be missed.

Which book had a real impact on your life and why?

“I am a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.” — J. D. Salinger

Writing Prompt: Artificial Light

I moved from room to room lighting candles.  Some were plain and thick, the kind that sits comfortably in a glass dish. Others were long, thin and scented, meant for a candelabra over the cheerfully burning fireplace.

In a blackout, you’re forced to think about the things that you take for granted when the lights are working. As the sun began to set, I used the last remaining minutes of light to make a nest out of some quilts on the floor, prepare a pot of tea and find the cat. My book, half-read sat on the coffee table.

As I nestled into my spot on the floor, the cat curled up beside me and I read aloud to her as the dusk light gave way to the flicker of the candles.

I sipped my tea and enjoyed the stark quiet of a house devoid of TV sounds, the beep of my tweetdeck, the thump thump thump of the laundry spin cycle.

I watched the shadows of the house transform into apparitions and my mind conjured scenes of apocalyptic seclusion and zombie attacks where the cat and I were left alone to survive in the dark. The scene changed in my head and I imagined a deep, candle lit conversation with someone special. At last, I imagined what it would be like to always have that sort of peace and quiet and all the time in the world to read my ever-growing mountain of books by tea and candlelight.

It’s amazing what a little candlelight and quiet can do. Try it. Turn off all the appliances, light the candles and write.

Writing Prompt: Creating Conflict

One of the hardest things to do when putting together an engaging and believable story is creating conflict for your characters.  You can spend a lot of time developing  characters that readers want to care about, but you need to give them something to do. That’s where conflict comes in.

Try this, expand on one or more of the following scenarios:

1. Your main character, after talking on their mobile behind the wheel, hits a cyclist.

2. Two office workers discover their boss is embezzling.

3. A child discovers one of their parents is having an affair. How do they handling this information?

4. Your main character discovers a body late one night on the way home from the pub.

5. Three people find themselves snowed in for a week with no electricity. Two of them hate each other. Why and how does this situation affect their relationship?

6. Your protagonist is told they only have a month to live.

Ok – have fun.

Writing Prompt: Happy New Year

This one will be short and sweet – how did you spend the 1st day of the year and how did you greet midnight?

Does the new year feel like any other day, or does it fill you with a sense of optimisim?

Happy New Year everyone.

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