Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #13: Color Descriptions


Writing Exercise #13: List all the basic colors (red/pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, gray, black, brown, and white) and try to come up with as many words as possible that you could use to describe with them (for example, something that is scarlet is red, sea-green eyes, etc.). You can use certain color titles as well–just so long as you can describe with them. Take no more than fifteen minutes to do this. Do not use the name of the basic color as an answer (ex: orange for orange).





Here’s mine:
























































































Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #12: Imagine a Back Story Based on Something You Witness


Writing Exercise #12: Imagine a back story based on something you witness.





Here’s mine:

Today I witnessed a couple cuddling together beneath a shady tree while walking around my apartment complex. I thought about why the couple might be lying there instead of inside. It didn’t take long to put together the following back story:

Teenage homeschooled boy with strict father and bedridden mother not allowed to leave his apartment complex. He’s very lonely but most of the other teenagers in the complex think he’s weird because of his religious family. One day he spots a girl sitting in the sand on the playground, drawing on herself. They become friends. They want to become more, but the boy’s family has strict rules concerning dating. The teenagers decide to keep their budding romance a secret, finding various places at the complex to be together.




Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #11: Write a Short Story using Random Words


Writing Exercise #11: Write a short story using random words. Go here to get six random words.





Here’s mine:

Six Random Words: anyone, faint, freak, lollipop, parcel, cell

Lauren let out a deep breath, crossing her arms over her body as she made her way to the mailbox. Despite the weather being warm and clear, it seemed like there wasn’t anyone else around. Shrugging, she slowed her speed, wanting to enjoy the finally warm air and the sun’s rays as it beamed down at her.

After she unlocked her mailbox, she reached inside and pulled out a parcel. She grinned. “Yes! I bet it’s my book!” Shoving it beneath her arm, she locked the mailbox again and started back to her house. There was someone out here now. A man on the sidewalk holding a big pink lollipop. She paused, unsure of what to do. He looked ridiculous standing there, yet the sight of him made a shiver of uneasiness creep down her spine.

Lauren finally decided to just get home as fast as possible. Taking a detour would take too long. He could follow her. No, the best way was to go through the bushes and make a run for it. Who cared if she looked like a freak? Better safe than sorry. Better safe than dead. Or tied up in the back of a van somewhere. She shivered at the thought before making her way toward home, but near the bushes.

“Hi,” the man called out, smiling.

Lauren refused to respond and instead skirted into the bushes. She didn’t look over at the man, but heard him yell out in protest. Her heart beat began to thud throughout her body and adrenaline kicked in, making her legs pump faster and faster. She came flying out of the bushes moments later. Her free hand went to her pocket. For a moment her hand searched, but the denim was smooth. She couldn’t believe it–she’d left her cell!

Against her better judgement, she turned her head to look behind her, but no one was there. Refusing to believe he was gone, she turned back around and kept running. By the time she reached her house, she felt like she was going to faint. Without bothering to check for the man, she unlocked the front door, swung herself inside, and locked it behind her. Then she leaned back against the door and began to sob. When she later looked outside, there was no sign of the man. The next time she went to check the mail, she made sure other people were outside. She made sure she had her phone. The man wasn’t there. But there was a white paper lollipop stick laying right on sidewalk.




Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #10: Write about Weather


Writing Exercise #10: Write a paragraph describing any kind of weather you would like to use.





Here’s mine:

The cold wind ripples against the walls, slowly seeping through tiny, unseen cracks. It howls, mocking me yet again with the broken promise of Spring. It is dark outside, but light enough for me to see the shimmer of puddles left behind by the earlier rain. Despite the season, Winter seems to be having a hard time letting go. It holds onto the world for dear life, using whatever energy it has left to leave its icy mark.




Writing Tip: Read out Loud to Help with Editing/Proofreading


Apologies for the lack of posts this week. April has been an extremely busy month!

Today’s tip is simple enough but has been a lifesaver for me. While editing for myself or others, I find it helpful to read the story/work out loud. This way I can reassure myself that the sentences sound good and it’s easier to pick out words that spell check or your eyes may overlook. It is also important when it comes to your own work because you may be so familiar with it even after putting it away for a while that your eyes just glide over your work and fail to pick up any mistakes.

So next time you need to edit or proofread something, try reading it out loud and see if it helps.




Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #9: Using Body Language to Express Emotion


Writing Exercise #9: Decide on a certain emotion for a character to feel (anger/sadness/joy/etc) and write a paragraph about it using body language.





Here’s mine:

Narrowing my eyes, I face the wall, looking straight at the picture of my ex. Balling my hands into fists, I release a long stream of carbon dioxide, trying to calm myself down. Instead, I grit my teeth, unable to stop seeing red. That lying, cheating–and then I’m storming over to the picture. In one fluid motion I rip it from the wall and hurl it down to the floor, watching the glass shatter into a million pieces. Letting out a growl of rage, I lift my right foot and step right where his smug face is smiling at me.


I also found this great cheat sheet for emotions and body language!




Writing Tip: Writing Exercise #8: Writing About an Emotional Event (Letter to Brushie)


Writing Exercise #8: On Monday, we lost one of our fur babies. Her name was Brushie and she was a very grumpy, albino hedgehog. She had been with us for over four years and was a valued member of our little family. It has been hard on us but I am finding it somewhat easier whenever I write about her. So for this exercise, I dare you to write about an event in your life that has been very emotional. It doesn’t have to be tragic. Just anything that you have deep inside and want to get off your chest. Don’t worry about style or grammar or spelling–focus on the emotions and thoughts you are feeling!






In Memory of the Brush Hog

by J.N. Cahill


Dear Brushie,

I miss you so much. Especially at night. No crunching, sloshing of water, or huffing. Just pure silence. I think it kills Thomas, too. I still remember when we first got you. You were a grumpy but cute little thing. Before you left us, you still were a grumpy, cute little thing. Despite your constant grumpiness, we loved you. I miss so many things about you. Your cute little face. That little pink nose, sniffing away. The way your tongue would dart out. All the antics that made us laugh. Like eating pizza crusts, ranch dressing, and trying to tug a much larger pair of long johns for whatever reason. The way you would panic whenever you heard the water faucet turn on.

It’s hard to believe that you’re no longer here. I guess I thought you were invincible, that nothing would happen to you for a long, long time. Maybe it was the prickly quills that made me think that. When you got sick, we had no idea that death was even an option. We assumed you would take your medicine, rest, and be back to yourself in no time. If I had known, I would have done things differently.


I feel guilty, Brush hog. When I had to come and get you to bring back home after work, I was slightly annoyed by it. I hated that you were hurting, but regardless there it was in the back of my mind. And then I saw how pitiful you were. Barely moving with bubbles occasionally coming from your nose. Oh how my heart softened. I kept reassuring you on the drive home, after you had your medicine. I smiled when you started sniffing around. When we got home, you huffed when I reached to take you out of the car. It seemed like the medicine was working. So I put you back in your box. Made sure you were comfortable and had food and water. Checked on you occasionally, but went ahead with my plans. Dinner. Watching TV. And then working out for a bit.


If I had known, I would have kept you in my lap. I keep thinking that maybe if I had, you would still be there. It’s stupid, I know. The what-if game never helps. There was probably nothing I could have done to keep you living. We got you to the vet as soon as we could. We got you the medicine you needed. It just all happened so fast. Still, I wish I hadn’t went ahead with my plans. I wish I’d curled up with you. I wish I could have spent more time with you. But like I said, I believed you were invincible. That, like your quills, you would endure this.


But as soon as I heard and realized you were crying in pain, I went right to you. It hurt so much to see you in pain. I had never seen you look like this. It was frightening. I did what I could, but still, I feel it wasn’t enough. I cried and held you and watched your breaths get slower and slower. I tried to be positive, to reassure you that it was okay. I don’t know if any of it helped. Please God let it have helped.


Maybe that’s another reason I feel guilty–that I was there and Thomas was not. You were his girl. But he had to work late for taking you to the vet. I wish so much that he had been there. I wish he could have said goodbye. And I know in my heart, that even if I did comfort you, he would have been better at it. You loved him more. That’s okay. I understand. I’m sorry you only had second best. But know that I love you and am glad you are no longer in pain. I hope you had a happy life despite it all. No one will ever replace you.



I’ll never forget the times you huffed at me. Or the way you used to lick your lips and sniff at the air. It breaks my heart that I will never hear Thomas use that baby voice he always used with you or the way he would bounce you on his palms to calm you down. I’ll miss the sight of you munching on pizza crusts, ranch dressing, and dried noodles. I’ll probably cry at the sight of an empty Toasted Rice cereal box. I might cry just looking at that cereal regardless. I’ll miss taking pictures of you. Of listening for you in the dark. I’ll even miss making sure that the temperature is warm enough for you and the carpet being wet after you knock over your water bowl. Lately you had been showing up unexpectedly. Like the time I was working out and you came into the room. Now I am glad that I paused long enough to scoop you up and talk to you. It’s all in the little moments.


The last four years wouldn’t have been quite the same without you. I hope we were good parents and that you were happy. We will never forget you.


Rest in peace, Brushie.


Brushie Brushie Brushie. Grump. Brushie Girl. Grumpzilla. We’ll miss it all.