Writing Prompt #1: Favorite Story

Afte a bit of a hiatus, while taking care of multiple other things, I'll be running a hopefully daily series through November, National Novel Writing Month.  For those who aren't familiar with NaNaWriMo, it is the November event in which writers and aspiring writers write a novel--defined as 50,000 words--in a month.  If you write 50,000 words, you win!  They don't have to be great words.  They don't even have to be good words.  The story doesn't have to be perfect.

The idea is to kill the inner editor, as we say in writing, and let the imagination run free, and get the story out.  This is based on the idea that our critical inner editor is what keeps many people from getting beyond the first few pages.

It's also based on the idea that the way to become a better writer is....drum roll...to write!  Many times, however, people have a desire to write, but no idea what to write about.  Writing prompts are a great way to get started, and often once we start, the ideas start flowing.

Therefore, throughout November, I'll be posting writing prompts.  Today is: Tell Me Your Favorite Story:

What was your favorite story as a child?  Who read it to you?  Did they do voices or act out the parts?  What did you especially like about the story?  Did you have a favorite part of it, a favorite character, or a scene that sticks out vividly?

Dr. Seuss was always my favorite author--and remains so for children's books.  They were inventive, whimsical, and colorful.  They told fun stories with unforgettable characters, and they captured something about human nature.  Most of them had a bit of a moral, too.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a classic, of course.  And Horton Hears a Who is one that almost everyone knows--a tale of caring for those smaller and weaker than ourselves.

I admit, there were books my kids loved that I valiantly tried to skip pages and hope they didn't notice.  But The Lorax and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back were certainly not among them!  At one time, I could recite most of The Lorax from memory, I had read it so often.

In my later years, In the Keep of Time, a children's novel by Margaret Anderson, was a favorite, and one that came to influence my own Blue Bells of Scotland quite heavily.  The story is set in the borders region of Scotland.  In the 1970s, four siblings are left with their elderly aunt for the summer.  On visiting the nearby Smailholm Castle, for which she keeps the key, they one day are horrified to see their youngest sister fall through a grate, down to the lower chamber four stories below.  When they race down to find her, they discover they are now in Smailholm of the 1500s.

One character who has always remained very powerfully in my mind is the boy Cedric, whom Andrew, the older brother, meets at Kelso Abbey.  Cedric is enthusiastic to see the world beyond the abbey, to see battle, to see his king, to fight for his king.  The scene that has always stood out to me most powerfully from the book is the battle in which Cedric fights--and dies.  He is a boy of maybe 12.

In 2015, I visited Smailholm--the first time I'd managed to get there in my (then) 4 trips to Scotland.  It was a thrill to be in the place I'd read so much about!  Below is Wild Mountain Thyme, played in the landscape Margaret Anderson so vividly described, in front of the castle that was such a strong part of my childhood.

What were your favorite books?  Favorite characters?  Favorite scenes?

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  1. One book that stands out is Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I loved it so much I read all of her books and fell in love with her characters and the dolphins in some of her stories. I read all the books in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey after that. So many authors have deeply enriched my life. You're one of them. I love your World of Blue Bells series. Wishing you the best in your daily writing prompts. I'm going to be writing my next novel! Blessings!

    1. I loved the Dragon Riders of Pern, and thank you so much for your compliment--it's an honor to be mentioned in a group with Madelein L'Engle and Anne McCaffrey!

      What are you writing about in November?


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