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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Writing Prompt 2/24/2010 - Angel v. Devil

By Amy Robinson

It’s been that kind of week where my imaginary devil is whispering in my ear, telling me to eat another Krispy Kreme. The devil sounds a lot louder than the angel on the other shoulder pushing carrot sticks. They both agree that I should get you guys a fun prompt today so you can keep writing!

We're finishing February off at Writing Pad with dramatic flourish. Our own Writing Pad angel, Aaron Henne, is leading a playful playwriting workshop this coming Sunday. By the end of this class, you will have written a complete, 10 Minute Play!

Grab that last available spot by calling 323-333-2954.

Writing Prompt: What does your conscience whisper in your ear? Make a list of 5 things that are bad for you that you do anyway (i.e. eating too many donuts). Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes. Then post it in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog! What do you do even though it is bad for you? Post a sentence or a mini-story. You could win a free class!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

One Woman Show Stopper: Julie Brister

By Halie Rosenberg

Meet Julie Brister: a very talented actor, teacher, and writer! Last year, Julie wrote a one woman show called “Fat Parts.” Julie wrote the first draft of this show in the So You Want to be a Writer class with Aaron Henne at Writing Pad. She has been performing "Fat Parts" to sold out performances at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre over the last 9 months. This January, she also performed the show at San Francisco’s Sketchfest, one of the country’s top comedy festivals!

Julie says, “I'd known tons of people who'd done solo shows over the years, and the thought of doing one myself thoroughly terrified me.” Julie started looking for writing classes to help her develop her show online. When she came across Writing Pad, she got “jazzed.”

"I liked that at Writing Pad, there were people working on different kinds of things - memoirs, poetry, novels. One lady in my class was working on a self-help book. I found that more inspiring and interesting than if everybody was wanting to wag their neuroses in people's faces on stage like me." Julie also raved about the gourmet desserts offered in the class. Her favorite treats were the home-made gingersnap ice cream sandwiches and Adel’s sticky toffee pudding.

Julie used the writing prompts and workshopping feedback in her Writing Pad class to sculpt her characters and develop the story arc of her show. “If it weren't for the Writing Pad and the helpful, positive, constructive feedback I received from Aaron, Marilyn, and the entire group, I undoubtedly would have flung the script for my show across the room a long time ago and never picked it up again." Julie loved the class so much she now calls herself "a Writing Pad evangelist - spreading the good word about the classes and Adel's wonderful food to everyone interested in becoming a better writer."

For more information on Julie, go to her performer page at the Upright Citizens Brigade. If you have a chance, we also recommend that you go see her show at UCB. It's a terrific show!

Also, please let us know if you have a recommendation for our next Writing Pad Awesome Alum!

Writing Prompt 2/18/10: Childhood Activity Prompt

By Marilyn Friedman

It's been a fun President's Day week at Writing Pad. As usual, we have lots of fantastic classes. Our Anti-Valentine's Day class with Tim Grierson is this Saturday and next Sunday, we're having a 10 Minute Play Writing class with Aaron Henne. By the end of Aaron's class, you'll have written a 10 minute play! Sign up before the spots are all gone by calling 323-333-2954.

Writing Prompt: Aaron's playwriting class got me thinking about the word, "playing," for this week's writing prompt. So make a list of your 5 favorite activities as a kid. Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes. Then post it in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog! What were your favorite activities as a kid? Post a sentence or a mini-story. You could win a free class!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Writing Prompt 2/11/2010: Adult Beverage Prompt

By Marilyn Friedman

It's almost Valentine's Day, one of my favorite holidays (I'm a sucker for too much candy and romance)! So I've created a writing prompt that's sure to help you get in the Valentine's Day mood.

But before I get to that--don't forget that Writing Pad has some wonderful classes in February. All classes include Adel Aschenbrener's amazing desserts or brunch tasting plates (what a treat!).

Mine your relationships and crushes gone wrong for unforgettable material, and learn how to write about fantastic conflicts at Tim Grierson's Anti-Valentine's Day Class! Get that writing project or just your writing practice flowing like molten chocolate in So You Want To Be A Writer on Wed. nights with Aaron Henne. Details are here:
Call 323-333-2954 to sign up before the classes are full!
Writing Prompt: Make a list of three of your favorite adult beverages. Pick one and add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, touch, sight, sound). Then write about it for ten minutes. If you're not a drinker, then write a recipe for the ideal Valentine's Day. Check out Adel's recipe this month for inspiration. Post your story in the comments!

Also, the picture above is The St-Germain Cocktail. St-Germain is an elderflower liquor that comes in a beautiful bottle. It has a light, slightly sweet taste to it. Here's the recipe for that cocktail:

1.5 Parts St-Germain
2 Parts Champagne (even Freixinet or Prosecco works well)
2 Parts Club Soda or Sparkling Water

Stir ingredients, garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!

Comment on this blog: What is your favorite adult beverage/cocktail? Or, what is your recipe for the perfect Valentine's Day? Tell me more in the comments of this blog. You could win a free class!

Monday, February 8, 2010

January Comment Contest Winner

By Marilyn Friedman

Happy rainy evening! What is better than writing on a rainy day or night? Eating and writing in front of a crackling fire. You can do that at Writing Pad, that is, if you snatch up the last couple of spots in these amazing classes:

Call 323-333-2954 before the classes are full! It'll be your Valentine's day present to yourself.

I know that you are wondering who won the January comment contest. It's Stacy-Colleen Nameth!

Her terrific story about a father who could breathe smoke like a dragon is here:

When asked what inspires her to write, Stacy-Colleen said, "the thoughts in my head that sound better on paper than said aloud to people in line at the grocery, the little moments where I laugh aloud at my own words, my super amazing family, Marilyn [her writing teacher] and Halie [her writing partner]!" Those things sound very inspiring, Stacy-Colleen. Congratulations!

Check out all of the wonderful writing that folks did this month and keep posting your stories! There is another comment contest in February. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adel's Sweet and Sticky February Recipe

By Adel Aispuro/Amy Robinson

We have been busy little bees down at Writing Pad. February might be the shortest month of the year, but we aren't wasting one minute of it. This month is stuffed so full of classes that there is a workshop for every taste. As the head chef for Writing Pad, Adel's gourmet tasting plates like profiteroles with liquid love (caramel and hot fudge) will tempt you to stick to your writing habit:

Don't miss one delicious moment. Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing Hurry up before the classes are full and the goodies are all eaten!

Adel has been gracious in sharing some of her recipe faves with us. February is all about being sweet and getting warm, with that in mind Adel selected a cake so fragrant and moist that you'll definitely want to share. Here is Adel's Sticky Toffee Pudding. Thanks, Adel!

Adel says: "Sticky toffee pudding is one of my favorite wintertime treats. How can anyone not like a moist cake (the name "pudding" is actually the British term for dessert) studded with plump dates and dripping with caramelly toffee sauce? I serve this warm from the oven with unsweetened, softly whipped cream or good quality vanilla ice cream."

Sticky Toffee Pudding (makes 18" round or square)
1 3/4 cups packed pitted dates
2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs

The Sauce:
1 3/4 sticks (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Simmer dates in the 2 cups of water, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. On a mixer or with electric beaters, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating after each addition until just combined. Add date mixture and with a wooden spoon stir batter until combined. Pour batter into baking pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Melt butter over moderate heat and add brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, and stir in cream and vanilla. Simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Writing Prompt 2/3/10 - Your Crazy Family

by Amy Robinson

I'm so excited for Chad Gervich's class this Saturday morning! There is only 1 spot left, so call 323-333-2954 quick if you wanna take an amazing Sitcom class with a successful TV writer/producer (did I mention, he's a great teacher too?).

Chad's class isn't all we've got up our long sleeves. In February, there are 4 more great classes available! Call 323-333-2954 before they are all filled up.

ALSO: Don't forget to submit your short story/personal essay/poems to Chi Chi's Word Parlor for their March show. The Deadline is Midnight on February 15th and the theme is "Dirty." Check out the Chi Chi's MySpace page for submission and performance details. Maybe this time, Chi Chi will finally make it to the show!

Thinking about Chi Chi reminded me of all of the crazy people in my family. It inspired the writing prompt this week. Check it out below.

Writing Prompt: What is the craziest thing your brother/sister/cousin ever made you do? (or what what the craziest thing you ever made your brother/sister/cousin do, you little rascal...) Make a list of five. Pick one and write whatever comes to mind for ten minutes. Then post it in the comments of this blog. Every story comment gets you an opportunity to win a free class!