Betty’s Tips

Happy Autumn, Dear Readers,

The days are shorter and the nights longer. Darling Broccoli is starting middle school, with delightful Brussels beginning his senior year. I am, dear reader, trying hard not to think about him going off to college. It seems like yesterday he was staging The Great Tomato War. Now he’s talking about college essays and his date to Homecoming. Oh, well, good gardener. I sound just like my mother. That will not do at all.

Let’s pivot.  While I am scheduled to the max with writing, the kids’ school, clubs, sports and our garden, I have found time to continue with my neighborhood walking group. Those of us who still work from home meet three times a week and do a brisk walk through the neighborhoods. It has been a great way to meet new neighbors and check out other people’s gardens. (Win/Win.)

One of my new neighbors is Rutabaga. Besides being a fellow walker, she’s also a writer, and a fabulous cook. I give her fresh zucchini and she brings back not just the usual zucchini bread but zucchini cool ranch chips, zucchini pickles, zucchini tomato sauce. The list goes on and on. The woman is a genius. On one of our walks, she confessed that she would like to enter the 2023 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award, but she needed help brainstorming the theme, Seasons Reading.

So off I went to the internet to see if I could offer her some assistance. Here’s what I found.

Six Best Scenarios for Writing Holiday Stories

Interesting advice: Write a holiday disaster story.

I so agree, dear readers, not every story has to have a Hallmark feel.

Reedsy Creative Writing Holiday prompts

Most fun prompts:

  • It’s Thanksgiving and you’re the turkey.
  • Write about a person who goes to bed on New Year’s Eve and wakes up in 1920.

Short Story Write on Wednesday—Writing a Holiday Story

Best advice: The idea is not necessarily to write a story ABOUT the holiday, but to use the holiday to anchor your story.

I agree. Think of the holiday as the backdrop to your story. The plot develops because of the holiday or despite the holidays but the story is not explaining the holiday.

How to Write a Holiday Romance (because sometimes you just need Hallmark feels)

Best advice: The season of holidays can mean many different holidays, so choose one that interests you. 

Again, dear readers, not everything has to be about Christmas or Thanksgiving. There are many, many holidays between November 1st and January 1st. Get creative.

25 Scifi and Fantasy Holiday writing prompts

My favorites:

  • Two twin girls set out on Christmas Eve with a plan: to capture Santa Claus.
  • You find a music box that, when played, brings a sugarplum faerie to life. She’s not friendly.

Worldbuilding: How to Create a Holiday (Also in the scifi and Fantasy realm.)

A great way to come up with your own holiday to write a story about.

From Writers Who Kill and BWG’s own Paula Gail Benson is a post about writing mystery short stories with an emphasis on holiday stories. She gives examples of great short holiday mystery stories.

And if you need to brainstorm a November/December Holiday here is the National Holiday Calendar for November. You can click on through each day and into December.

Betty Wryte-Goode

Betty Wryte-Goode is a writer and mother who lives in the Lehigh Valley. Her passions include writing, reading, shopping, gardening, and exploring the internet. Betty is always looking for writing tips, so if you have any you would like to share, please send them to her through our Submissions/Contacts page.


Mixed-Up Words of the Month

Dessert vs. Desert vs. Desert

Dessert (pronounced dih-zurt) is that yummy dish you get after dinner—cake, cookies pie, etc.

Desert (pronounced as dez-ert) and means arid or desolate, bare. Think about living in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Desert (pronounced as dih-zurt) and means abandon or leave without permission (especially in referring to the military) or to fail someone it a time of need. A frequent synonym is forsake.

Putting it all together. “The pirates deserted their captain on a desert island (which was also deserted), but at least they left her with a chocolate cake for dessert.”

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