About David Kent

I promote and encourage the advancement and education of writers everywhere. I dream of a society that once again incorporated literature into the acculturation of their children, replacing the empty calories of 22 minute sitcoms and mindless reality TV. But first we write, then prod them to read, and finally hope for the best. Read more at http://writerinthemountains.blogspot.com/

Writing Prompt

An idea for a supernatural fantasy/horror:

Memories never die

What if memories, especially bad ones, could reanimate and come back as current experiences?

A few thoughts on writing and immortality

Drop a pebble into still water and the energy of displacement radiates out in concentric waves of increasing circumference and proportionately decreasing intensity.  That sounds so scientific, doesn’t it?  That image occurred to me while lying in bed with my dog pressed against my chest.  We live alone now, just “Bubba” and me, and although we have friends, relatives, business and social acquaintances, I began to wonder who might miss us when the inevitable time comes.  The ripples my life has generated in the continuum of space and time, as explicated by the waves in the gentle pool, are spreading wider and wider, and are decreasing in their crest and trough.  At some point their significance will likely diminish to the point of imperceptibility.  Will anyone remember? Continue reading

Outlining Fiction: Necessary or Too Much Work?

After much contemplation, I have decided to address a topic that garners a significant amount of negative response and argument, mostly due to a complete misunderstanding of the facts.  Yes, I am going to explain the importance of outlining a work of fiction before you start writing.  Don’t hate me yet, let me explain. Continue reading

Writing Prompts for the week of May 5, 2014

Evidence of Death. To the television crime show trained eye of young Benjamin, the stain was definitely blood. Jack and Mikey argued that it was the wrong color, and besides, “If it were blood, then why ain’t there no body, no foot prints, no drag marks.” The boys never put two and two together, if they had, the fate of Flatwater might have turned out differently.

The secret of the roustabout. It was the largest fair in the South, a melding of every other county fair in the region. The roustabouts worked around the clock assembling rides, doing safety checks and decorating the promenade. Until the fair closed, there would be no time for parties, tomfoolery or socializing with the locals. But Brent, the newest crewman, had a secret.

Writing prompts April 19, 2014

This first one is a “think outside the box” type of post.  Leave aside your phobic fears or killing instincts, and look for the story within, i.e. a malevolent and purposeful placement, an omen, a supernatural event, or explore from the non-human POV.

1.  You awaken to find a snake in your house (you decide where).

2.  Explore the psyche, guilt and/or motives of a cheating spouse.

3.  Depressed, lonely and standing at a wave swept shore of an ocean, your MC is overwhelmed with the memory his/her experience of “First Love” and the circumstances leading to or ending that relationship.

Remember to submit your work to be showcased here on the Gallery.  It does not have to be motivated by these or any previous prompts.  Adrianna and I are only looking to spur your imagination and cultivate your talents.

A writer is, after all, a lurid voyeur

     There is a sleepy hamlet several miles across the valley from my mountain lair.  This morning as I sipped my coffee in the first few minutes of daylight, I thought what wondrous stories must lie in those simple cottages and tiny abodes.  A tourist to these mountains might stand in awe at the innocent beauty of that distant community with its churches, backyards, and quaint porches, but I am a writer, and I see those opaque real life images as fodder for my next story.

     Much of life is admittedly mundane with scarce moments of real drama, humor, terror, evil and pain, yet it is these ignoble human instincts that drive fiction.  Somewhere in that congregation of modest dwellings there is a child crying, hungry for breakfast not yet served by an inattentive parent, a spouse deep in the degradation and self-loathing of infidelity, a couple enrapt in the passion of their new marriage ignorant of what lies ahead in the near future, another couple in utter desperation for the lack of financial stability, one woman hagridden with illogical hatred, and a hapless man bedeviled with impossible lust.  But what makes me smile with anticipation is that within each of these malefic scenarios there are also those succulent yet purely human subtleties of maleficence, self-deceit, murderous urges, ironic twists, plots of sweet revenge, spiritual absolution, and apocalyptic revelation.  What moral should I weave into the decrepit life of my next prosaic protagonist?  For what good is a story that doesn’t teach something useful?  What would you learn?

    Across the valley, amid the worker ants scurrying off to their appointed labors, amid the queen ants tending to their nest, amid the nits learning their place within the colony, there lies a thousand stories waiting to be told.  A writer is, after all, a lurid voyeur, obsessed with studying you, your conversations, motives, emotions, interactions and idiosyncrasies.  I am watching you.

     You, my reader, my friend, my colleague, I count each of you as yet another distant villager, and you, or at least a part of you, are destined to be my next character.  Beware and cherish what you have, because I can assure you that the life you live is far less exciting and perilous than the life I have planned for you.

     Yes, there is a picturesque village across the valley from my home pitched high on this mountain, and I am watching…

Writing Prompts for January 12, 2014

Unleash your creative minds; I know there is a story in each one of you.  Yes, that IS an informal challenge.  Use 1,000 to 2,500 words and send it in to DavidandAdrianna@yahoo.com and put your talents and imagination up against your peers. Continue reading

Writing Prompts to Welcome in the New Year

Don’t Stop! Green means go.
While looking out a window at night (any environment) the main character sees a green light in a distant window blinking off and on in an irregular pattern suggesting a code or signal. After several nights of observation, the MC goes to investigate during the day, only to find an empty home with no electricity.

A Life Better Lived
A popular well-liked neighbor attends a block-party / neighborhood gathering boasting of his new job promotion, financial security, and marital bliss. It is rumored that he has been fired and arrested for embezzlement, his wife has moved out with their children, and the bank has foreclosed on his house. He seems oblivious to his circumstances, even inviting his concerned and troubled friends over to his (now padlocked) house for an evening of beer and video games. (the story lies in the revelation of circumstances and the friends’ supportive and or derisive reaction)

It Takes a Thief
While perpetrating a covert industrial theft and espionage, the MC discovers the head of the company in a career destroying, compromising position. Both the MC / thief and the company head must depend on the other’s confidentiality to avoid personal ruin.

Behind Closed Doors
After a long, hard rainfall, a sinkhole opens in an open field behind the neighborhood. The crevasse reveals an array of subterranean rooms littered with the bones of tortured corpses. The access tunnel to these dungeon rooms leads to a secret doorway in the neighborhood’s favorite elderly couple’s basement.

The Mall By Nicki Redes

“Mommy, why does Santa only come once a year?”   

Nicki Redes

Nicki Redes

Oliver’s words burst through my stale thoughts. 

“Because he can only make so many toys, sweetie.  Those poor elves would never get a break if there were two Christmases,” I tell him in my chipper mommy-voice.  I sigh, hoping my answer satisfies the four year old boy genius at my side.  At home, in the peace of my own living room, snuggled on the sofa with him and a book, I might be inclined to come up with something more creative.  Perhaps I would tell him all about the North Pole and Santa’s workshop and the eight or nine reindeer and all of the other bullshit that goes along with the secular Christmas story.  Right here, right now, I’m more likely to pull out a semi-automatic weapon and start letting rounds fly into the mall crowd.  And then the speakers, playing the endless loop of holiday music.  Those would be the next to go.  Continue reading


Last month, I recycled that fowl story of how my little burb in the mountains shot and killed Tom Gobbles, our beloved town turkey in celebration of Thanksgiving.  Well, it’s December, which means it is Christmastime, so if you would indulge me, I would like to recycle my real-life childhood story of when I met Santa Claus.  Before your imaginations run wild, he was not the rotund, pink-cheeked icon of Norman Rockwell and Coca-Cola fame; I am talking about the real honest-to-goodness, flesh-and-blood Santa dude.

I grew up in a not-so-well-off family.  My father was a career military intelligence officer Continue reading

Writing Prompts for the week of 12/16/2013

Midnight Blue.
Midnight Blue, the name reverberated through his system like an amateurish sound effect from a cheap sci-fi movie. Midnight Blue.  (You can use any name — in my head, it was an inanimate name, but would also work with a person’s name)

New Family Members
A week before celebrating Christmas (or any holiday) with a new spouse’s family the MC is confronted by a destitute teenage child claiming them as his parent. The possibility exists (males from an unknown pregnancy — females from childbirth that resulted in infant adoption), but no one in the new family knows of that possibility.

He Did What?
Detectives confront your main character at home requesting an interview at the station. During the interview he/she finds out that forensic evidence strongly indicates a normally honest best friend murdered his/her next door neighbor, leaving the MC’s wallet and ID behind to throw off the investigation. The friend claims innocence.

The Lost Week
Your main character awakens and listening to the news discovers it is exactly one week later than it should be and he/she has no memory of the last seven days. Because of a history of mental illness, the character cannot admit the lapse but must deal with the consequences of people confronting him or her about the week’s uncharacteristic behaviors while trying to keep their job and relationship.

A Playwriting Primer by Matt Ewens

Matt Ewens

Matt Ewens

When I first attempted to write a play, I approached it like I would write a novel; rich with creative juices and big words and dramatic language.  This was completely wrong. A play is essentially a script, therefore primarily dialogue.  I found this out whilst on a short playwriting course, which I found brilliant.  The reason it was brilliant was because the two people running it provided us with many excellent word games, and they helped me to focus on how to write in the style of a play.  It took a couple of weeks, but I soon learned that I needed to concentrate on writing dialogue, and think about how this would translate onto a stage.

And so here are my top 5 beginners’ tips for writing a play: Continue reading

Dear James


Nariman Parker

Dear James was inspired by Nariman’s own Visual Writing Prompt
of the  Mowbray Cemetery on a dismal day
An air of desolation turned the world to grey. From inside her car, Sarah sat in silence not ready to venture out.
“Coward!” she berated herself.
It was a year since she was robbed of him, and it took her a year to get this far. She had made it to the foot of the hill before; then to the edge of the cemetery from where she could make out the tops of the tombstones. And on one particularly sunny and brave day, she made it all the way to the gate, peered inside; and with a faltering heart, drove away never Continue reading

Writing Prompts for the week of Nov. 23, 2013

I was surprised that we didn’t see any submissions from last week’s prompts.  I thought they were pretty good.  There is no time limit on any of these, so whether it is from this week’s, last week’s or any of the previous prompts, if you write something worth posting please submit it to DavidandAdrianna@yahoo.com.  Please include your name, picture, contact information, identify the prompt used and if your approach was innovative a short summary of how the story evolved.

This weeks prompts

  1. Give us your best Ghost Story, but tell it from the point-of-view of the ghost.  Submitted by Adrianna Joleigh
  2. True New Story Prompt: In January 2004, a 30 year old woman was electrocuted to death when she stepped on a metal plate installed in the sidewalk of an East Village street in New York City.  Witnesses noted the woman’s final words as she collapsed: “I get what this is now.”  (If requested, I can supply the whole news account.)
  3. Vision Quest:  You are hiking in a remote area of a vast park, you become disoriented as the day comes to an end, you have your survival kit with you and settle in for the night.  You are plagued with hallucinatory visions throughout the night.  What are the visions and how do they change your life.
  4. Voices in the Head: For a week (if survived) the main character involuntarily hears everyone’s thoughts that are within fifty feet.
  5. A prompt from Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich:
    “I have been here. Now I am going there. Where? … No, I won’t have it!”
  6. An Accidental Love: Your main character is involved in a mutually agreed to, purely physical affair of some duration when the sex partner suddenly professes love.  (take this in any direction your mind leads)

Word count or Words That Count — the use and abuse of descriptors and modifiers — by David Kent

Adrianna and I have the privilege, and sometimes the tedious task, of reading many stories and pieces by a huge variety of writers.  Between students, writers that I mentor, the Writer’s Gallery, and my editing work (Adrianna has about the same sources), I see some really excellent writing, and some that leaves me cowering in the corner with bloodied eyes. Continue reading

Five Writing Prompts for the coming week 11/16/13

  1. A Modern Tale of Dorian Grey
    Browsing in an antique store you come across a decades old photograph that is unmistakably your spouse at the same age as he/she is now.
  2.  Life after Death
    A very close friend dies, you help his/her family make final arrangements, attend the open-casket viewing and are a pallbearer at the funeral.  Years later, while traveling, you accidently bump into him/her as they are leaving a coffee shop.
  3. A Void to Avoid
    Renovating an Antebellum house, you find a wall in the basement is three feet from where it logically should be.  Breaking through the wall you find…?
  4. Lunch with the Monks
    In an urban neighborhood store you are moved to perform act of charity by paying the grocery bill of a disheveled old woman who was obviously having trouble paying for her food.  Upon leaving you are greeted by a monk in a Coptic habit who takes you to lunch at his monastery as a reward for your generosity.  You return the next day to find that the monastery has been replaced by a long deserted factory building.
  5. Fixing Me
    By a paranormal event (genie, witch, divine intervention, whatever) you are given the opportunity to travel into YOUR past and change only ONE thing.  (This does not have to be autobiographical.)

Christmas Writer’s Challenge

This Challenge is a Theme Exercise.  We want to challenge not only your creativity and writing skills, but your idea formulation.

The Theme is Christmas!vintage-santa-car-clipart-christmas

You can write in any style, genre or voice as long as it complies with the rules below.  Think outside the box.  Look at Christmas from the viewpoint of other cultures, nationalities and religions, in situ or displaced.  How does it affect a person’s fellowship, charity, isolation and depression?  What are the implications of Faith juxtaposed to commercialism?  Examine the battle ground for political and cultural bias.  Do the myths and legends of Christmas add to or detract from the acculturation of society?  And finally consider your story from an unusual perspective, a pet, a homeless person in a mission, an orphan, the guy dressed as Santa at the mall, or a pickpocket / criminal looking to exploit the season.
All we ask is that it pertains to Christmas.

coolrudolfrgbDeadline: Midnight of December 15, 2013 EST


-Each participant is responsible for his/her own edits.
-Minimum word count is 2,000. Maximum is 4,000.
-Entries must be submitted to davidandadrianna@yahoo.com
-Any entries submitted via Post or thread will not be included in the Challenge.
-Voting will take place December 16, 2013 to December 20, 2013.
-Everyone submits their own work.


-Voting will be open to the public. All votes will be tallied through ‘’Likes’’ and Ratings.

 **Winner & Prizes**119

-There will be 1 winner chosen by the public by popular vote.
-Winner will receive his/her own copy of one of the following books listed at the bottom. Winner chooses.
-Winning entry displayed in the Writer’s Gallery with a photo and short bio of the author.

 **Editors Favorites**

-There will be up to four others chosen by your hosts, David Kent and Adrianna Joleigh. (The number of choices depends on how many entries there are.) These chosen few will be shown in the Galleries showcase along with photograph of the author and a short bio, sharing a link to their sites, etc.

elf-with-christmas-listClick here for a list of the available prizes




An unexpected karma

This writing prompt might inspire something metaphysical, a moral piece on unintended consequences, the birth of evil intent or self-loathing hatched from unmanaged anger.  If you come up with something innovative and well written, let us know at DavidandAdrianna@yahoo.com

You learn that the hateful curses you make against people you are temporarily mad at, come to pass years later.  “He’s such an ass, I wish…..! “Oh shut up! I wish……!” “She calls herself your friend, and then look what she does, I just wish…..!

Meet the Editors and Hosts

Hello fellow writers and everyone aspiring to be a better writer!!

Picture 15Hi, I am David Kent, a writer, an editor, a teacher, a mentor, and a dreamer.  Although my pen seems to work in just about every writing field from academic to technical to legal, my background and education is in Literary Writing.  That’s where the dreamer comes in:  I dream of a day when society once again incorporates literature into the acculturation of our children, giving them the value of history, morals and cultural diversity through the magic of well-written fiction.  We desperately need to replace the empty calories of the 22 minute sitcoms and mindless reality TV with the nutrient rich repast of the classics and soon to be classic.  But first we must learn, then we must write, then encourage everyone to read, and finally, we must all hope for the best.

The Muse and Views of a Mountain Writer

Adrianna here.

bae910b9-d3a9-482f-affe-8395e4f97ec3Those who know me, know that I am also in the midst of learning this craft and bettering my techniques on a daily basis. I have been blessed to have come across so many talented friends. From some of you, I’ve learned how to express my art, from others I’ve gained the technical knowledge to polish my craft and from everyone I have received the encouragement and motivation to strive to reach my fullest potential as a writer. I would like to return these favors with the help of my dear friend/co-writer/editor/inspiration and co-conspirator, David Kent, by providing this site as a source of knowledge, shared experience, fun competitions, comparative idea sharing and public promotion of your work.


David and I designed this site to promote and encourage the education and advancement of writers everywhere, from the tyro student, to emerging talent, to the established authors. We are all on this path together, so join us in our exercises, our discussions, and blend your experience with our experiences to become the writer that others aspire to be. Forget about trying to be like the others. Be yourself, express your individuality, discover your own style and voice, and then work at perfecting your craft.

You are unique and that alone will set you apart from the rest. Stand out and be proud and learn to feed and thrive off your imaginations.

We are here to have fun and grow together. Please join us in our Writer Challenges, Contests, Prompts and more!!

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

David Kent — Twitter: @kentantiquFacebook & LinkedIn

Adrianna Joleigh–Twitter: @AdriannajoleighFacebook & LinkedIn

Have a question you’d like to find answers to but too shy to answer in public? Just email us at DavidandAdrianna@yahoo.com, and we will respond ASAP! Or! you can hunt us down on G+ and p.m. us there, as well. 

—-A. Joleigh

A Nightmare Alive — writing prompt

After a long series of ambiguous yet terrifying nightmares, he/she notices the personification of evil born within, disguise itself as a regular person around town in everyday situations.

Visual Writing Prompt photo by Nariman Parker


A family plot in the Mowbray Cemetery on a dismal day taken a few months back on my mobile from the comfort of my car.

Nariman Parker is a writer and photographer from Cape Town, South Africa.  Her amazing eye for capturing interesting subjects and her extraordinary written perspectives on the subtleties of human relationships captivated THIS fan from the first time I met her.

When I first saw this shot my mind reeled with all of the possibilities. This picture could be an enticing book jacket photo and/or an intense writing prompt.  The suggestive grey hues captured by Nariman’s lens, the rain splashed windows symbolic of both the comfort within and the dismal existence outside, the history of an ancient cemetery implying both a mystery and its answer, and finally, the juxtaposition of the majestic tree-life stretching toward Heaven from a hallowed place of interment.

This deserves the careful attention of your imagination and creative soul (pun intended); have fun and let Nariman, Adrianna and me know what you came up with. David Kent

Thanks again Nariman!!!!  Visit her Google+ page for more photos,

and read her blog Flashes for her flashes of brilliant writing.

Word Choice is the Incantation Behind the Magic by David Kent

What’s the difference between ordinary writing and extraordinary works?

Word choice.

That is not some editorial decree to run out and buy a new thesaurus (although if you don’t own J. I. Rodale’s Synonym Finder, you should go get it), there is a lot more to word choice than a simple book learned substitution of terms. Continue reading