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Friday, December 31, 2010

Writing Prompt 12/31/2010: New Year's Writing Prompt

By Marilyn Friedman

Happy New Year! I just returned from the winter wonderland of Idyllwild for a mini writing retreat of my own so I am finally posting your last prompt of the year. Comments received after Sunday, January 2nd will qualify for the January/February comment contest. Also, make sure to start 2011 off right with these fantastic classes and events. Call 323-333-2954 to RSVP before they are full!


Jan. One Day Classes:
Writing Prompt: Make a list of five New Year's resolutions for yourself or a character from your project. Pick one the resolutions and add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight). Write about it for 10 minutes and then post the results in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog! What are your New Year's resolutions?
Post your 10 minute write in the comments, and you could win a free class!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Writing Pad 2010 Gift Guide

By Halie Rosenberg and Marilyn Friedman

Here are 5 great ideas for anyone on your list!

1. The Gift of Writing. Know someone who loves to write or who has been dreaming about writing a book or screenplay? Writing Pad offers gift certificates in many denominations and packages them in pretty envelopes. Or if your creative friends and family live far away, send them one of Writing Pad's new online or live streaming classes. Let them experience Marilyn's wonderful writing prompts and mini craft lectures from the comfort of their own sofa. Right now, there are two exciting options to choose from: And You Thought Your Family Was F@&ked Up: Developing Compelling Characters From Real Life or Mini Writing Pad Bootcamp.

Cost: $55 per online class, $29.99 per live streaming class, gift certificates vary

2. The Gift of Dessert. It's no secret that at Writing Pad, we LOVE special desserts. Currently, we are drooling over these classic Parisian Macaroons from Saveurs, a gourmet cuisine company right here in LA! With delicious flavors like Pistachio, Chocolate, Raspberry, Cappuccino, Pecan-Caramel, and Cinnamon, they are the perfect hostess gift for holiday parties and dinners! You can freeze them until you are ready to gift them or eat them yourself.

Cost: 12 Macaroons for $18

3. The Gift of Literature. Whether you need to buy a gift for a foodie, fellow writer, or your young, angst ridden nephew, Writing Pad's new faculty bookstore has got you covered. All books are shipped by Amazon and can be expedited if necessary!

Cost: Varies by book

4. The Gift of Light. Everyone loves a good candle. It sets a mood and makes any room more peaceful and tranquil. We love these locally made soy candles from Pure Sense by Paula. How could you not be inspired to write when lighting the Red Currant or Vanilla Grapefruit candle? You can order them online or visit Paula's Studio City store.

Cost: $10.50 or $24.95

5. The Gift of You. Short on cash? Wow your loved ones with an ode, a story, or a heartfelt letter. Print it out on nice paper and use a presentation envelope if you like. It’ll be a unique gift they’ll hold dear forever.

Cost: $0

Happy Holidays from Writing Pad! We hope that Santa brings you everything that you've been wishing for!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Writing Prompt 12.17.2010 - Staycation

By Amy Robinson

No need to leave town to find inspiration to write, we are bringing the best teachers to you. Sign up for our Mini Writing Staycation with Judy Reeves! Call 323-333-2954 or email Classes are filling up fast!

Jan. One Day Classes:
Writing Prompt:
The roads and airports are stuffed with holiday travelers, so it seems like a good time to stay put! Make a list of 5 things that you would do on a "staycation." Does you visit your town's touristy attractions, do you explore the historical sites in your own town, or is a staycation your opportunity to explore how comfy your couch is? Pick one "holiday at home" idea off of your list, add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight), and write for 10 minutes. Then post the results in the comments of this blog for the chance to win a free class. Everyone who comments will get warm-fuzzies, in the form of free likes and remembers!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when I say the word, "staycation?" Post your 10 minute write in the comments, and you could win a free class!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Impossibly Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake - Adel's December Recipe

by Adel Aschenbrener and Amy Robinson

Don't get your latkes in a twist! Relax at Writing Pad with delicious literary treats. Our yummy winter classes will coax the spirits of holiday cheer out of your pen and onto the page:

Dec./Jan. One Day Classes:
Jan. Multi Week Classes:
Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing Classes are filling up fast!

For the December recipe, Adel helps those of us in a time crunch and with pot-luck commitments. Here's her simple recipe for decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Adel says, "The holidays are upon us, and with them, the inevitable question of what to bring to the numerous parties we find ourselves obligated to attend. This cake is my go-to emergency dessert. It's rich without being heavy, elegant without being fussy, and best of all, impossibly easy to make. For an extra festive touch, try cutting some snowflakes out of paper and sifting some powdered sugar on top for a stenciled effect."

Flourless Chocolate Cake (adapted from Epicurious)

12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate
6 ounces (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9" springform pan & line the bottom of pan with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a water bath; remove from heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar until very thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture, then stir in vanilla extract. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in
3 additions. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until top is puffed and dry and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 40-50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack.

Using a small knife or offset spatula, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove pan sides. Place 9-inch-diameter tart pan bottom or cardboard round atop cake. Invert cake onto tart serving dish. Peel off parchment paper.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Writing Prompt - It's Contagious!

By Amy Robinson

Writing Pad has filled the calendar with amazing new classes to help get you through the winter doldrums. Join us for sweet treats and workshops to spark that hibernating writer in you. Call 323-333-2954 or email Spaces are filling up fast, so give us a call during a shopping break!

There is something in the air! Make a list of 5 things that you think are "contagious." It can be mob madness at Walmart on Black Friday, it can be a yawn or a snappy tune (Gloria Estefan was right about the rhythm getting you.) I seem to pick up every cold or flu that surfs around the winter air. Pick one of the contagious items off of your list, add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight), and write for 10 minutes. Then post the results in the comments of this blog for the chance to win a free class (and for free likes and remembers)!

For example. Here's my write: "Cold, gloppy and stinging all the dry cracks in my cuticles, hand sanitizer eases my whirring mind. This little bottle of gooey alcohol is my only comfort after grabbing the sticky plastic handrail on the mall escalator. Thousands of germs wriggling their imaginary way from my palms into my blood system, creeping into my sinuses until I'm miserable."

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when I say the word, "contagious?" Post your 10 minute write in the comments, and you could win a free class!

October/November Comment Contest Winner

By Amy Robinson

We have so many great classes coming up. Choose one and give yourself a holiday treat! Call 323-333-2954 or email Classes are filling up faster than your plate at a holiday party, so reserve your place now!

Dec./Jan. One Day Classes:
Jan. Multi Week Classes:
Our comment contest winner for October/November is Todd Yeager! Congratulations Todd!

Todd's favorite place to write is, “a cabana on a small, private beach in Monte Carlo on a warm summer morning, looking out over the French Riviera with a glass of beaujolais and an order of steak frites by my side. The fact that I have never been to this place may explain why I don’t seem to get much writing done. My second favorite place to write is at the desk in my bedroom. There is no French Riviera, there is no beaujolais, and there are no steak frites, but I do have unlimited access to the internet.”

After hearing the good news about the contest, Todd also said, “Thanks to Marilyn and everyone at Writing Pad for doing what you do. You guys have a great thing going, I can't wait to take more classes!”

Yay! You can read Todd's great mini story about an overheard conversation here:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Writing Prompt: Feeling Cool

By Amy Robinson

Baby, it's cold outside! Now is the perfect time to cozy up in front of the fire place at a Writing Pad class. Warm up your writing practice this December with these great classes. Call 323-333-2954 or email There are only a few spots left in these delicious classes!

--So You Wanna Be a Writer (Wed. p.m., Fri. a.m., Sat a.m. sections)
--Finishing School (Wed. p.m., Fri. a.m., Sat a.m. sections available)
--Your Life As A Movie (Tues., Dec. 7)
--Mini Writing Staycation with Judy Reeves (Jan. 8 & 9)

Writing Prompt:
Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when I say the word, "cold." You could write about your favorite ice cream or a rude ex-girlfriend, or passing out cold, or giving up smoking cold turkey, etc. Pick one of the items off of your list, add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight), and write for 10 minutes. Then post the results in the comments of this blog for the chance to win a free class (and for free likes and remembers)!

I used to live in Chicago, so I know what cold is all about. It came in many forms during a Midwestern winter, radiating from a tile basement floor, sucking all the feeling out of my toes, or freezing my eyelashes to my scarf on a short walk from the El to the office. That's what I'll write about. Write about the last time you felt the chill!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when I say the word, "cold?" Post your 10 minute write in the comments, and you could win a free class!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Writing Prompt 11.27.10: Thanksgiving Weekend Writing Prompt

By Marilyn Friedman

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope that you are having a fun, food filled weekend. Once you recover from eating your turkey or tofurky leftovers, don't forget to sign up for a writing class at Writing Pad. Call 323-333-2954 or email They're filling up fast! Here's what on the menu for Dec./early January:
Writing Prompt:
Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when I say the word, "Thanksgiving." You could write about things that you are thankful for, the foods that you ate or prepared for Thanksgiving, family gathering mishaps, etc. Pick one of the items off of your list, add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight), and write for 10 minutes. Then post the results in the comments of this blog for the chance to win a free class (and for free likes and remembers)!

A few things on my list are the swiss chard and sage stuffing that took me five hours to make, cranberry persimmon sauce, and the one Thanksgiving that my father-in-law forced everyone to get H1N1 shots in the living room before we ate dinner. So I'll write about one or more of those things. What are you going to write about?

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when I say the word, "Thanksgiving?" Post your 10 minute write in the comments, and you could win a free class!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Give Thanks for Adel's November Recipe

by Adel Aschenbrener and Amy Robinson

No matter how high your table is piled with Thanksgiving bounty, there is always room for desert. Join us for our December workshops for a sweet ending to a savory year! Your writing will be inspired by treats like Adel's heavenly pear frangipane tart:Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing Classes are filling up fast!

For our Thanksgiving recipe, Adel tells us about her personal Iron Chef moment, followed by a yummy palette cleansing Cranberry Jell-o Salad.

Adel says, "Coming from a family of cooks isn't always everything it's cracked up to be, especially during the holidays. Last Thanksgiving, inspired by the Food Network, my aunts and uncles decided to have their own Iron Chef battle, with yours truly playing the part of the Chairman.

Days of slicing, dicing, and consulting culminated in an epic feast. There were four turkeys (for fifteen people) and more side dishes than the table could hold: chorizo cornbread dressing, chipotle glazed sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts with bacon. Pre-dinner tequila shots failed to make my decision any easier.

As I fell victim to a food coma, I scanned the table for something familiar, a palate cleanser if you will. And there it was. Amidst the smoked, rotisseried, brined, and deep fried bird parts, shining brightly in all its jiggly, trashy glory, as red and lurid as grandma's lipstick, was mom's cranberry jello salad. It was the clear winner."

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Salad
1 package of cranberries
2.5 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 pkgs Cherry Jell-o (3 oz. each package)
1 package mini marshmallows
1 cup diced apples
1 cup diced celery
1 cup nuts

Cook 1 package cranberries and 2 1/2 cups water until they pop. Add 2 cups sugar, 2 (3 oz.) packages of cherry Jello, 1 package miniature marshmallows and cook five minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 1 cup diced apples, 1 cup diced celery and 1 cup nuts. Refrigerate. (This salad is better if made the day before use.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Writing Prompt 11/19/10: Procrastination Queen

By Marilyn Friedman

Come over to Writing Pad and get inspired to write the great American Novel or the next movie blockbuster in front of a crackling fire. We have cornucopia of delicious, affordably priced classes on our schedule right now! Call 323-333-2954 to sign up before they are full!

New sections of So You Want To Be a Writer and Finishing School taught by me and the fabulous Aaron Henne start the Wednesday night after Thanksgiving (in just 1 week). Don’t put your writing dreams off. Write your novel or screenplay this year!

One to Two Day Classes/One Night Stands

Multi Week Classes

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that you do to procrastinate. What do you do instead of writing? Pick one or several procrastination techniques off of your list. Write about it (or them) for 10 minutes in any form that you like: a letter, a scene, a poem, a rant, etc. Exaggerate the procrastination technique, take time to describe it in excruciating detail. You can start your piece with the words, “I admit it . . .” Then post the results of your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog!

For instance, my list could be: wash the dishes, pluck my eyebrows, talk on the phone, check Facebook. watch The Tudors. I could start my piece with, “I admit it, I like to watch the Tudors instead of working on my book project.” Stay tuned for my post!

Comment on this blog! What do you do to procrastinate? Write about it for 10 minutes. If you post your write in the comments, you will get free likes and remembers from Marilyn, and you could win a free class at Writing Pad!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Writing Prompt 11/10/10: Favorite Color

By Marilyn Friedman

Delicious classes are in abundance at Writing Pad right now! Get your fill before they are full by calling 323-333-2954.

Writing Prompt: Make a list of your three favorite colors. Pick one of the colors and make a second list of five items that are that color (ex. for brown, Alice Persons would have listed brownies, molasses cookies, pumpernickel, cabins, brown dogs, etc.).

Write about the color and the five items for 10 minutes. Then post the results in the comments of this blog! Below is a wonderful poem to help inspire you.

Why I Have A Crush On You, UPS Man
by Alice N. Persons

you bring me all the things I order
are never in a bad mood
always have a jaunty wave as you drive away
look good in your brown shorts
we have an ideal uncomplicated relationship
you're like a cute boyfriend with great legs
who always brings the perfect present
(why, it's just what I've always wanted!)
and then is considerate enough to go away
oh, UPS Man, let's hop in your clean brown truck and elope!
ditch your job, I'll ditch mine
let's hit the road for Brownsville
and tempt each other
with all the luscious brown foods —
roast beef, dark chocolate,
brownies, Guinness, homemade pumpernickel, molasses cookies
I'll make you my mama's bourbon pecan pie
we'll give all the packages to kind looking strangers
live in a cozy wood cabin
with a brown dog or two
and a black and brown tabby
I'm serious, UPS Man. Let's do it.
Where do I sign?

Comment on this blog! What is your favorite color? Post your write in the comments of this blog for free likes and remembers from Marilyn and a chance to win a free class!

Writing Pad's Guide to Graduate School

Written by Kimberly Faith Waid, Edited by Halie Rosenberg

Applying for an MFA doesn’t have to require a prescription to Xanax. It can be daunting but when done right can also be a lot of fun. In 2010, Kimberly Faith Waid graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing Fiction from her top choice of schools, New York University. She is now a
working writer in Savannah, Georgia. She hopes that this article helps writers that are struggling with the big grad school application process!

Acing th
Let’s go ahead and address the bull in the corner, which is none other than the dreaded GRE (graduate record examination). Thankfully, there are many graduate schools that do not require these scores. If you just can’t bear the thought of the GRE, many reputable schools from Brown to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop do not require it. If you do decide to take the test the most important advice I can give you is:

Mark out the easy vocab words and make note cards of the more difficult ones. As you begin to memorize them, it will behoove you to refresh your knowledge of prefixes and suffixes. That way if you are faced with the word “etymology” in a multiple choice question, you will have at least learned that the suffix –logy means the study of a field.

Most writers are not exceptional when it comes to numbers. Several schools offer refresher courses, but the cheapest way to get back into the swing of things is to pick up a GRE guide from a bookstore. Many come with interactive CD’s or DVD’s to help you regain that knowledge from the dark back corners of your brain.


As for the essay section on the GRE, practice makes perfect. You are given a topic on the whims of the computer and limited time in which to compose it, check it for grammar and syntax. I would suggest after reading the proposed topic, to break it down into an outline and charge away. You can begin with a question, a quote, or a vivid image that supports your thesis.

The hired readers o
f essays read a large stack daily. The more captivating the opener, the more likely they will mark your essay higher. Filler points can be items you disagree on or at least two examples to explain your thesis. The conclusion should re-state the issue simply and wrap up all of the thoughts with a call to action or a general idea of resolution.

In conclusion, there is a brief break between sections but I would advise eating an hour before and getting decent sleep. They do host afternoon tests and occasional Saturday tests if those are possibiliti
es for you.

Picking th
e Right School
When looking for a graduate school program there are assorted factors to consider. Make a list of what your ideal scenario would be and what you are not looking for. Consider:

1. If you want to be in a small city with less distractions (Iowa Writer’s Workshop)
2. If volunteer work is important to you (NYU)
3. If you are concerned about making publishing connections (NYU or Columbia)
4. Their fi
nancial aid package--what do you need to make this work?

Another suggestion is to read the faculty’s writing. Just because it is a school of unquestionable reputation doesn’
t mean you are going to have a good time. If you aren’t excited about your professors or feel they cannot help you personally, it's probably not a good school for you. Libraries stock information on all the schools and you can even read excerpt pages on these days.

Perfecting Your Personal Statement
For me, the personal statement was about as daunting as the mathematics section on the GRE! Let’s face it, you are selling yourself! Basically in two pages, the school wants to know who you are, why you started writing, and what you are working on now. Some other things to mention could be what you are reading lately or what novel or writer made you want to start writing. This is not the place to explain your resume.

In my personal statement I reflected on my very first writing experience, explained my current project, and talked a bit about m
y favorite novel and how it excites and challenges me as a writer. Websites generally don’t give you a list of what to discuss but I followed their advice of just enlightening them on myself and it appears to have worked!

ng Your Writing Sample
The writin
g sample is really hands down the most important part of your application. Every aspect counts but the quality of the writing is the final decision on acceptance always. For poetry and fiction, reviewers like to see diversity.

When I was going through my recent work I
submitted two, sometimes three stories (depending on the requirements) always mindful of the contrast. I submitted a story with an eleven-year-old protagonist and a story with a twenty six year old protagonist. The first was a bit more comedic yet still filled with drama and the second was dancing with disturbing. I recommend submitting diverse pieces. If anything, it shows more skill, a wider palette.

I also encourage you to share your pieces with friends and fellow writers. Sometimes they will catch basic grammar you missed from looking too many times, and then sometimes they will bring a perspective that can really affect a problem you are having with a piece. But in the end, if you don’t like their structure changes listen to your gut. Trusting yourself is huge and sometimes too much editing can make a story or poem stale and heartless.

Gathering Lette
rs of Recommendation
Submit your recommendation letters as early as possible. This can be hard as you are depending on someone outside of yourself to write the letter. Hounding your recommenders to get the letters in on time is better than it getting in late and affecting your chances or just generally stressing you out.

As for who to choose for recommendation letters, every school that I considered required at least one professor from undergraduat
e studies. I did not study writing in undergraduate so don’t let that scare you. Find a professor who may have had some connection to your writing. In my case, I selected one who advised me on a senior play thesis so she knew at least that realm of my writing ability and dedication. You can’t go wrong with people who are cheerleaders of any aspect of you.

Don’t For
get to Read the Fine Print!
You really must follow the directions. While the school may not reject you for not putting your name on each page, if you are in a toss up with another writer who did do all that the other writer may get the upper hand. Pretend you're back in kindergarten and follow the directions to a T!

Best of luck, don’t be afraid to apply to several schools and most importantly, keep writing!

Helpful Links:

Barron’s Vocabulary List
Root Words & Prefixes/Suffixes
GRE Official Website

Friday, October 29, 2010

Writing Prompt 10/29/10: Your Vote Counts!

by Amy Robinson

We wrote volumes of amazing stuff last weekend at the Writing Pad High Desert Retreat. It was so much fun that we're already planning our next weekend away! I am relaxed just thinking about it. Please vote on the dates for the next retreat in the comments of this blog. All dates are Friday through Sunday.

Ojai Retreat (or Idyllwild or Solvang--TBD)
Vote: Mar 4-7, Mar 11-13, Mar 18-20 or Mar 25-27, 2011?

Joshua Tree Retreat
Vote: Sept. 30- Oct. 2, Oct. 7-9, Oct. 14-16, or Oct. 21-23, 2011?

Let us know your favorite date(s) in the comments - delicious writing treats like Adel's warm BBQ chicken sammies for lunch await you!
Writing Prompt:
Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when you hear the word "Election." Then, pick one of the items off of your list and write for 10 minutes. Post your story in the comments of this blog. For example, this is what comes to my mind when I think of the word, "election": My arch rival in grade school had the same first name as I did, Amy. When we both ran for class president in the 6th grade, I knew it was the glitter quotient that would decide my fate. So that is what I will write about.

Comment on this blog! What does the word "election" bring up for you? The best mini-story of October/November will win a free class! All comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

August/September Writing Prompt Contest Winners

by Amy Robinson

It's getting downright chilly out there. Warm up at Writing Pad with fantastic writing classes and the cozy camaraderie of motivated writers. Our classes are now available at lower prices for Oct. and Nov. Call 323-333-2954 or email to reserve your spot now!

The comment contest for August/September was so close to call, it ended with a 3-way tie. Once again, the level of writing was really high! Great job, everyone! The winners of a free 2.5 hour class at Writing Pad are Victoria Pearson, Mary Lorraine Stewart and Lizzie Vance. Congratulations!

Victoria -When asked about her favorite place to write, Victoria responded: "As a beginning writer I must admit I have yet to develop a favorite place, not to mention time, to write. My favorite place to write is in my head. Thanks to Marilyn and the Writing Pad classes, I am getting better at focusing on getting my thoughts onto paper." How cool that your favorite place to write goes everywhere with you, no bulky overnight bag required!

Our second contest winner, Mary Lorraine, finds her muse in the clouds:Mary Lorraine's favorite place to write: "I love to write on airplanes. Whether furiously typing on my blackberry before the thoughts escape, or scribbling on the back of a SkyMall mag, I seem to get some great ideas up in the sky!" That is the single best use for a SkyMall Catalog that I have ever heard.

Lastly (but not leastly), Lizzie Vance:
When asked about her favorite place to write, Lizzie responded, "My favorite place to write is in my quiet little cubby at home. I love a strong cup of Don Francisco's and some classical Pandora at 5:00am, and I'm off and running!" That sounds like a great way to start the day!

Take a look at Victoria, Lizzie, and Mary Lorraine's fabulous comments (they each posted several great stories/poems) and all of the other terrific entries here. Also, please keep commenting. We LOVE your stories and you could be the winner next month!

Here's the new writing prompt that will start you on your journey to winning a 2.5 hr class in October/November!

Writing Prompt: Overheard Conversations

By Amy Robinson

Writing Pad has plenty of treats in store for you! We have conjured up fab discounts on our October and November workshops. Don't miss our fantastic classes at new, affordable rates. Call 323-333-2954 or email to reserve your spot before it disappears!
  • Acting Out: One Writer, One Act (Thurs p.m., starts Nov. 4)--1 spot left
  • So You Want To Be A Writer (Wed. nights, Fri and Sat. mornings)--2 spots left
  • Finishing School (Wed. nights, Fri and Sat. mornings)--2 spots left
  • Your Name In Print (Sun. a.m., starts Nov. 7)--2 spots leftWriting Prompt: Make a list of five things that you've overheard. Or go eavesdrop in a cafe or a park and open your ears! Pick one of the sentences from your list of five overheard things and write about it for 10 minutes. Be as outrageous as you want. You can write about how that sentence affected you. Then post your results in the comment section of this blog!
Example: During breakfast at Denny's, I overheard a 20-something girl say to her friend "If it hadn't been for that horse, I never would have finished college." That horse must have been a really great teacher!

Comment on this blog! Write about a line of a conversation that you overheard. The best mini-story of October/November will win a free class! All comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And the High Desert Retreat Scholarship winner is. . .

by Halie Rosenberg

We recieved so many amazing submissions the High Desert Retreat Scholarship. We wish that we could take everyone who entered to the retreat! The writing was really THAT good! But alas, there can only be one winner of the scholarship to the retreat. And that winner is Joe Dornich and for his piece titled "When You Wish Upon a Star."

Congratulations, Joe! Joe's favorite place to write is in public places - parks, coffee shops, book stores. He says, "The noise and energy of the place keeps me going, plus I use the surrounding people to flesh out characters. The other day I saw a woman with hair the color of falling wheat."

The level of writing was so high for this contest that we decided to offer a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place prize. The winners are:

2nd Place - Soseh Kevorkian. She wins a 2 hr one-on-one consultation with Marilyn and a free class at Writing Pad (1 day, 2 1/2 hr).
3rd Place - Priscilla Leonard wins a free class at Writing Pad (1 day, 2 1/2 hr).
4th Place - Michael Kass is also a winner of a free class at Writing Pad (1 day, 2 1/2 hr).

Thank you again for all your fabulous entries and also to our magnificent panel of judges. We truly hope you'll continue to share your work on The Well Fed Muse. We frequently award free classes to the best stories! And you are all amazing writers!

Now off to pack our bathing suits for the High Desert Retreat!

P.S. We will be doing a literary variety show to feature the wonderful writing from this contest (including some of those who did not place). Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HOW TO CRUSH IT WITH WORDS: Finishing and publishing your book, A conversation with Ernessa T. Carter

By Halie Rosenberg

What are your plans for this Friday night? Takeout and TV? Drinks at a bar? Whatever it is, it won't be as much fun or as informative as if you come down to the Pad. That's right--published author of 32 Candles (and Writing Pad alum) Ernessa T. Carter has agreed to start her weekend with us. On Friday night, Ernessa will teach us all she's learned on her recent literary adventures! Sweet treats will be the literal icing on the cake! BTW, Ernessa got her kick start in a Finishing School class at Writing Pad.

Here are the deets:
Friday, October 15, 2010, 8 p.m.
Cost: $10 (to cover your snacks)
RSVP to (Space is limited)

About Ernessa T. Carter:
Ernessa T. Carter has worked as a music journalist in Pittsburgh and a radio writer for American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest in Hollywood. She runs the blog, Fierce and Nerdy. She’s also a retired L.A. Derby Doll. A graduate of Smith College and Carnegie Mellon University’s MFA program, 32 Candles is her first novel.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Raffle Winners (From The High Desert Retreat Scholarship Fund)

By Marilyn Friedman
WE DID IT! We raised enough money to offer a full scholarship to the retreat through your generous donations, Duchess Willemina Pennington's Soiree Litteraire, the hard work of the Writing Pad staff and volunteers, and our raffle for a 5 week class at Writing Pad in Los Angeles and a 1 day class at Laguna Writers in San Francisco. Yay! Thank you so much for all of your contributions! It takes a village! Now--we have to pick our lucky scholarship recipient. Spread the word about the contest and our fancy judges. Details are here.

Also, Writing Pad has some fantastic, new classes on the schedule. All at lower prices for Oct. and Nov. Call 323-333-2954 to sign up before they are full!

And now, may I have a drum roll please? Our raffle winners as witnessed by the members of the"And You Thought Your Family Was F*&%$# Up" class) are:

Eric Fraser for the 5 week class at Writing Pad! Congratulations, Eric!

When I asked Eric to name his favorite place to write he said, "my favorite place to write on earth (so far) is Kyoto. Kyoto is one of history's charmed cities. It's beauty makes you imagine strange things about it - that magic is possible there, that it was built by Gods, that it still lives and works under their protection."

Wow! That sounds amazing! Maybe we should have the next retreat in Kyoto! See a picture of Eric's Kyoto writing space below. And the winner of the one day class at Laguna Writers is Heather Tuggle! Congratulations, Heather!When I asked Heather to name her favorite place to write she said, "My favorite place to write is Laguna Writers. Being surrounded by all those gifted writers and such positive energy motivates me to produce in a way that's difficult to duplicate when I'm in a café or at home at my desk. What's more, the inspiration and encouragement I get from writing with others propels me to try to write more when I am alone." Fantastic! I second that. Thanks again, everyone for participating in the raffles and for your generous donations.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

High Desert Scholarship Contest/Writing Prompt 10/07/10

by Marilyn Friedman

We raised enough money for the Writing Pad High Desert Retreat Scholarship Fund! Thank you SO much to everyone who donated and volunteered!

Now you are wondering: how will we decide who will be the lucky recipient of a full scholarship ($800 value) to our luxurious retreat on Oct. 22-24? Through a writing contest! All rules and the topic are described below. Are you a broke writer who wants a mini-vacation, a weekend of fantastic classes, delicious food, and focused writing in Joshua Tree? Please apply!Rules
These are the rules you must follow to apply for the scholarship spot. Note: Anyone can respond to this writing prompt and be entered into the Oct./Nov. contest for a free writing class and receive likes and remembers from Marilyn!

1. Post your writing sample in the comments of this blog AND email a copy to NO LATER than Friday morning at 9 a.m., October 15. It should be a maximum of 5 paragraphs (the shorter, the better).

2. Also email proof of current or long-term economic hardship to NO LATER than Friday morning at 9 a.m., October 15. Ex. Unemployment check, bank statements, letter demonstrating that you have been laid off from your job, etc. Feel free to also summarize your situation in a few sentences in the email. Economic hardship could also mean that you can't afford to spend $800 now--we will review everyone's situation on a case by case basis. This will be kept completely confidential.

3. Writing submissions can be in any form (poetry, short story, dialogue, fiction, non-fiction, a rant, etc.) but must apply to the prompt about the economy below.

4. The contest will be judged by the following esteemed writers (see the next blog entry for their bios): Joe Donnelly, Judy Reeves, Ron Koertge, Michael Kramer, and Maggie Malone. The contest winner will be announced by Tuesday, October 19.

Good luck! Please don't be intimidated--apply for this scholarship. I want you to write (for at least 10 minutes). You can do it! :)

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 things that come to mind when I say the words, "the economy." Pick one and write for 10 minutes about it. Feel free to write something funny, angry, sad, or whatever feels right. Just have fun with it!

Then post your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog for free likes and remembers from Marilyn. For extra credit (and a chance at the scholarship spot), also email your writing sample and proof of current or long-term economic hardship to, following the instructions above.

Here are some phrases to start your write (these are optional, just to help you get started). Feel free to pick one or none of them. There is no wrong way to do this--just write! :)
"There's nothing glamorous about being a starving artist"
"I'm so broke, I can't pay attention"
"In this economy. . ."
"I'm overdrawn and underpaid"
"Maxed out credit cards and too many shoes"
"I don't own anything, really (OR: Nobody owns anything, really)"

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when I say, "the economy?" Even if you are not applying for the scholarship, comment! You could win a free class at Writing Pad, and all comments will receive likes and remembers from Marilyn!