Skip to main content

The Weird Week in Writing (plus a 4th of July prompt challenge): Harper Lee re-emerges, a novelist sells her first book at 82, and a writer pens the best worst line of the year

Freaky Friday—the latest from the weird and wonderful world of
writing this week (followed by a series of prompts):

Image placeholder title

To feed a (mocking)bird: On the eve of the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird, a journalist tracked down the awesome, reclusive Harper Lee to figure out why she’s been so silent all these years. The reporter found Lee by agreeing not to talk about her famous book, and then fed the birds with her.

Late Bloomer: A writer sells her first novel … at the age of 82. And it’s part of a trilogy. As GalleyCat notes, take that, New Yorker 20 under 40 list that’s been haunting us for the last few weeks.

Throughout her Supreme Court confirmation, Elena
was asked about abortion, military issues, and another nationally
divisive matter:

Team Edward vs. Team Jacob.

Glenn Beck’s first thriller, The Overton Window, may have gotten criticallyslammed, but it’s still selling like hotcakes: No. 1 NYT hotcakes. As Beck said on his show this week, “It's not only meant to entertain, but also to be able to go back and pore over. … I think National Review did a review on this and said it's a book you can read a couple pages and just put down and think about for a while and do research on.” Let me know how that goes.

Paul is Undead: Jacket Copy reports on a new book detailing the British Zombie invasion. The Beatles = Zombies. However, Ringo = Ninja.

“For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair,they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss — a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil”: And the awesomely worst line of the year award, per the Bulwer-Lytton contest, goes to …

Sodapop / dreams of / Punky Brewster:
This week, memoir announcements broke for Outsiders star Rob Lowe, "I Dream of Jeannie" star Barbara Eden and "Punky Brewster" star Soleil Moon Frye.


Have an excellent Fourth of July. I’ll be out next week, taking a road trip down south (and hopefully reemerging with a notebook-full of Southern Kentucky-/Nashville-/twang-/Chattanooga-/bourbon-/Atlanta-infused prompts).

I’ll post some extra prompts below for the week to come. Here’s to hoping yours is a great one.

* * *



free to take the following prompts home or post a
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

[1] In fiction or nonfiction, describe a moment in a hard-fought quest for independence—for you, someone you know, or a character.
[Aside: It can be anything—freedom in the Revolutionary War sense, freedom from smoking, freedom from a relationship, freedom from prison.]

[2] Opposite Day: In a form you typically stay away from—nonfiction, fiction, poetry, etc.—describe what the Fourth of July means to you, someone in your family, or even a character, and why.

[3] A plane flies above your house. Leaflets tumble from it, and as they hit the ground you pick one up, and read.

[4] On a vacation that you won, part of the prize is something you never, ever wanted. But it’s part of the prize, and it’s mandatory, so you do it.


feature package on how to write and sell your
memoir. Interviews with Life of Pi author Yann Martel, and
the scribe behind “True Blood,” Charlaine Harris. The results of our
Pop Fiction competition. New markets for your work. For more, click

here to check the July/August 2010 issue of WD out.


• Online webinars for writers

• Online
workshops for writers

• Get

Published with Writer’s Market

• Instantly download writing magazines, books, videos

• Sign

up for your
Writer’s Digest email newsletter & receive a FREE e-book

7 Outlets to Consider for Your Journalism

7 Outlets to Consider for Your Journalism

Journalist Alison Hill shares seven outlets for writers to consider when trying to place their journalism, including newspapers, podcasts, newsletters, and more.

5 Insights on Writing About Challenging Topics With Children in Age-Friendly Ways (and Why It’s Important To Do So)

5 Insights on Writing About Challenging Topics With Children in Age-Friendly Ways (and Why It’s Important To Do So)

Children are often the ones most effected by both major policy changes and personal family changes, making engaging with them on tough topics critical. Here, public health specialist and writer Patty Mechael shares 5 insights on writing about challenging topics with children in age-friendly ways.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 629

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an avoidance poem.

What Are Submission Guidelines in Writing?

What Are Submission Guidelines in Writing?

In this post, we answer the question of what are submission guidelines in writing, and we look at how writers can take advantage of them to find more success getting published.

3 Tips for Crafting a Character That Can Carry a Series

3 Tips for Crafting a Character That Can Carry a Series

From planting characteristics early on to understanding the expectations of your genre, author Mia P. Manansala shares 3 tips for crafting a character that can carry a series.

Quite the Reward

Quite the Reward

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, your character rescues a creature that turns out to be a powerful being.

Rita Zoey Chin: On the Way Storytelling Can Shape Lives

Rita Zoey Chin: On the Way Storytelling Can Shape Lives

Author Rita Zoey Chin discusses the process of writing her new novel, The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern.

Chess Life: Market Spotlight

Chess Life: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Chess Life, the official publication of the United States Chess Federation.

The Art and Craft of Pre-Writing

The Art and Craft of Pre-Writing

What do you do when pantsing leads to false starts but plotting feels less organic? Author Christine Wells shares what she calls the art and craft of pre-writing, and a step-by-step system to help you succeed.