November/December 2013 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting December 12th
- Essentials of Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Advanced Memoir & Nonfiction
- Writing Personal Essays 101
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Essentials of Technical Writing
- Writing the Young Adult Novel
- Advanced Novel Writing
- Marketing Your Magazine Articles
- Children's Picture Book Writing
- Freelance Writing
- Essentials of Romance Writing
- Creating Memorable Characters
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- Essentials of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Is Your Manuscript Publication-Ready?
Is Your Manuscript Publication-Ready?
Get professional feedback from 2nd Draft Critique Services.
After an evaluation of your submission, one of the professional 2nd Draft critiquers will provide feedback and advice. You'll not only learn what's working in your writing, but what's not, and—most important—how to fix it.
2nd Draft provides a high-level review of your writing, pointing out reasons your work may be getting rejected, or may not meet the standards of traditional publication.
Submit Your Manuscript
Editing Services are also available.
Creative Writing Prompts
Need an idea to help you get started writing? You’ll find hundreds of fun writing prompts here – perfect for beginning a new novel or short story, or simply giving your writing muscle a workout.
As a child, you were prone to night terrors, sleep talking and sleep walking. Now as an adult, you have long since grown out of your old habits. That is, until one night. You awake to find yourself in an unfamiliar place on the phone with a Pentagon official. Read more
You’ve signed up to go tandem skydiving for the first time. On the plane, your instructor says he isn’t feeling well, but jumps with you anyway. When you jump, he passes out. Write this scene and the stream of conscious thoughts as you fall towards the earth. Read more
Playing in the hallway one day, your kids accidentally bump into your grandfather clock, which has been in the family for years. As it smashes into the ground, you find a note hidden inside from your great grandfather, who died two months after you were born. Strangely enough, the note is addressed to you. Read more
One morning you awake to find yourself in a straight jacket, being taken off to an asylum. How do you prove your sanity? What do the guards and psychiatrists say you did? Read more
While preparing your garden at the beginning of spring, you find the blueprints for your house buried in the earth. When you pull it out and examine it, you find that there is a room in the blueprint that doesn’t exist in your house. Both disturbed and intrigued, you set off to find the missing room. Write what happens next. Read more
You are at the neighborhood garage sale, looking for nothing in particular. Something inside an old, wooden box catches your eye. The old woman who is running the sale comes over to say something about the object. What is it? What did she say and why? Read more
You get back to your studio to develop pictures from the hour you just spent in the park. All of the pictures turn out well, except for a select few. In six photographs, there is a man in the frame. Something seems slightly off, and rather strange about each picture. Who is he and what is weird about the photographs? Read more
On your way into work this morning, you look at the car on your left. Inside are two men dressed in dark suits, wearing sunglasses. They simultaneously look at you and meet your gaze. The one in the passenger seat rolls down his window and says something. Write what he says, and what happens next. Read more
Finish these sentences: “Ever day of the week I _________, but Sundays are different. On Sundays, I ¬¬________.” Read more
Walking home, you find a shoe on the side of the road. What kind of shoe is it? Who is its owner? What happened? Why is the shoe there? Where is the other shoe now? You can use all of these questions or just one to explore what happened. Read more
After a long night out, you return to your house to find that every picture and painting in your house can speak to you. What do the characters in the artwork and photographs say? Write a conversation between you and one of them, or a conversation between two of them. Read more
You and your three closest friends decide to go camping. You arrive and set up camp nearly three miles away from where you left your car. Late that evening, as you sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, one of your friends reveals a deep dark secret that turns what was to be a fun weekend into one of the scariest weekends of your life. Read more
Two men stop you on your way into your local post office. One flashes a badge at you. They tell you about a top secret sting operation they are about to execute and they need your help. They can’t give you any of the details, only that you are to walk into the post office, go up to the counter with the gentleman named Bert working it, and you have to say to him, “My stamps are looking a bit square these days, if you know what I mean.” Write what happens next. Read more
You put your house on the market and, on the first day, a extremely old woman comes knocking on your door. She’s not interested in buying your house, though. Instead she tells you that this is the house she lived in as a child. The friendly mood suddenly changes when she reveals something terrible that took place in the house years ago. Read more
You and two other people are stranded on an island. Both are people who have played an important role in your life, but both are furious with you for different reasons. You become concerned that one (if not both of them) is plotting to kill you. You decide it’s time to save yourself. Read more
The snow storm across the nation shut down many businesses and people went home early. The business where you work had closed for two days. Although you turned off the computer before going home, when you returned to work, your computer had been very active while you were away—plotting a terrorist attack. You now find yourself tasked with stopping the attack. Read more
One day, while reading your favorite book on the beach, you notice a boat slowly drifting to shore. It eventually lands near your spot. A person, draped in pirate clothes, yells to you from the boat, “I have a treasure map and I need help. Are you in?” Read more
Write a Valentine’s Day poem of no more than 20 lines about spending a Valentine’s Day all by yourself. The only rules are that it must rhyme and the final line of the poem must include the title of your favorite song. Read more
You’re searching through your closet and find an old stuffed animal or doll from your childhood. It starts to bring back a warm memory of a specific night that’s near and dear to your heart. Suddenly, your stuffed companion begins to talk and says, “There’s something you need to know about that night.” Write this scene. Read more
You are helping out at a charitable center by organizing donated items. When searching through an old suitcase, you find a suicide note dated six months prior. What’s peculiar is that you know the person. What’s even more peculiar is that the person is still alive. Write the story about what happens when you pay that person a visit and ask him or her about the note. Read more
You’ve just been to the worst concert of your life. Afterward, you head to a bar with friends and start drowning your disgust. Moments later, the musician (or musicians) shows up. You decide to confront the musician about the lousy performance and ask for your money back. The musician suggests a different approach to repaying you. Write what happens. Read more
Pretend you are a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon while attending your high school reunion. Start your story with “I hadn’t had a drink in nearly 10 years” and end it with “If only I could remember where I left my pants.” Read more
A mad scientist approaches you with an offer—he will heighten one of your senses, but it will make one of your other senses duller. It isn’t optional; he’s going to perform the surgery anyway, but you get to choose which two senses. Write this scene. Read more
Make a New Year’s resolution list that includes 10 goals. They don’t all have to be writing-related, but at least 3 of them do. Then refer to this post often this year and update it as you complete your goals. Read more
At exactly midnight on New Year’s Eve you receive an email labeled “Open Immediately.” The really strange thing is that the email is apparently from your future self. What does it say? Read more