Choose one to revise. Each paragraph begins with an inspirational quote from a writer who knows his or her stuff! Revise the paragraph to make it better, based on the quote and the instruction above. Be creative — play — do your thang!

MAKE IT SCARY: “Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do― to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

She looked out the window again. There was her neighbor, being weird again. He left a trail of thick liquid as he dragged the garbage bag out to the bin by the road. He looked around before he made a phone call from his cell, and went back into the house.

 MAKE IT FEEL REAL: “True mysticism should not be confused with incompetence in writing which seeks to mystify where there is no mystery but is really only the necessity to fake to cover lack of knowledge or the inability to state clearly. Mysticism implies a mystery and there are many mysteries; but incompetence is not one of them; nor is overwritten journalism made literature by the injection of a false epic quality. Remember this too: all bad writers are in love with the epic.”
Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

The afternoon expanded like a drumbeat with fever heat and the rising, rippling waves of mirage-quality distortion that filled the air a few feet above the simmering tarmac. The birds refused to sing; the dogs lay as if dead on porches that offered no shelter from summer. Neighbors peered from frosted windows into the knife-sharp brightness, their air conditioners shrieking with overwork. Indeed, global warming felt as close as an unwelcome lover today.

FIX THE STORY “If a story is no good, being based on Hamlet won’t save it.”
Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines

He looked at Dessie and sighed. She was crying and pleading for his love. He hoped she wouldn’t really go drown herself, but what could he do? Life was hard for him, too! He had other things he had to take care of. He had to save the company from his wicked uncle! Really, he was doing it to protect her, anyway! His uncle was so mean! He had to avenge his father’s death before he could get married! There was just too much pressure! She would have to understand!

©2017 Burbank Writing Coaching

Want to find out how writing mentoring works to help your writing shine and get you past writer’s block! Email me to arrange your free 30-minute breakthrough session…


Feeling Stuck? Quickstart coaching will break through your writer’s block!

Are you ready to break through that writer’s block? COACHING HELPS! Spring Forward with Storyweaving Coaching

I will help you make progress on your creative project!

Photo by Carol Burbank
Ready to Bloom?

For the months of March and April, I’m offering a special discount for three coaching sessions to get you unstuck! Why stay down when you can get the help you deserve to shine?

I’ll help you find a way out of your block. We’ll work together to set realistic, achievable goals and open up new possibilities!

The first step is the hardest — let’s do it together.

3 Breakthrough Sessions will get you moving!

Sometimes, everyday life gets in the way of our creativity Usually, we just need a little help to get us out of the doldrums and back into that manuscript! Are you ready to spring forward? Find out more!  Claim your special discount and arrange a free 30 minute chat to find out more!

Carol Burbank
Storyweaving Coaching and Healing

What:     Three Breakthrough Coaching Sessions
When:      At your convenience!
Where:    via phone or skype
Cost:    Only $250 (a $50 savings)
Offer Ends: April 15, 2015

For 20 years, I’ve been teaching writing and supporting creative people in finding their joy and discipline! I am a published author, hold an MFA, and I’ve taught writing in universities and intimate workshops around the country. As an experienced coach and mentor, I am a passionate supporter of my clients’ goals and visions!

I know from experience: YOU CAN LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE NOW!

Poets and Memoirists: Challenge Yourselves to be a Little Surreal! It’s Magical…

Bianca Stone’s amazing poem, “Making Apple Sauce with my Dead Grandmother” came through my Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets today. (Sign up for this service! It will change your life if you are a serious poet or poetry lover!)

Stone’s poem is witty, gruesome, honest, clean and frighteningly beautiful and loving. Oh, did I say, fearless? She really opens up to “that delicious and devastating, invented garden that is poetry.” (Read the rest of her comment about her process and intentions after you read the poem!)

This week, when you write anything, I challenge you to think of this poem, and be a little more brave. Tell the truth, however it comes out, however strange or magical or blunt or irreverent or messy. Revise later — be fearless now. Just look at this poem to see what’s possible when you let that happen!

Making Apple Sauce with my Dead Grandmother
by Bianca Stone
I dig her up and plop her down in a wicker chair.
She’s going to make apple sauce and I’m going to get drunk.
She’s cutting worms out of the small green apples from the back
and I’m opening up a bottle. It erects like a tower
in the city of my mouth.
The way she makes apple sauce it has ragged
strips of skin and spreads thickly over toast.
It’s infamous; eating it is as close to God as I’m going to get,
but I don’t tell her. There’s a dishtowel wrapped around her head
to keep her jaw from falling slack–
Everything hurts.
But I don’t tell her that either. I have to stand at the callbox
and see what words I can squeeze in. I’m getting worried.
If I dig her up and put her down in the wicker chair
I’d better be ready for the rest of the family
to make a fuss. I better bring her back right.
The whole house smells of cinnamon and dust.
We don’t speak. She’s piling the worms up in a bowl
and throwing them back into the yard.
 Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone.

About This Poem
“What you don’t realize about elegies, until someone you love dies, is that the reality of loss is fleeting. It then becomes something imaginary in your mind; a horror story you’re addicted to. I approach the elegy trying to understand the moment they ceased to be in this world; the difference between the two realities. It creates a third: that delicious and devastating, invented garden that is poetry.”

–Bianca Stone

Storyweaving Workshops Especially for Writers…. Break through blocks!

Storyweaving Intensive for Writers


September 14, 2013


Carol Burbank, Ph.D.

Email me for more information!

or check out my website: www.storyweaving.com



Testimonials from a novelist, a singer/songwriter, and a memoir writer

after their intensive experience:


“I’m ready to finish my novel, even though I have no idea how it’s going to end — now I’m excited that I don’t know!”


“I see exactly why my song was “stuck” and now I know what I need to do to fix it.”


“I understand now why my inner critic was so mean! I shifted one family story, and the writing is so much easier!”


There’s something wonderful about gathering in a small group of committed creatives.


Stuck stories loosen up and begin to flow. Insights, ideas and projects expand. The foundation of who we are gets stronger, and blocks shrink and fade. For writers, already self-disciplined enough to have tapped into their innate storyweaving gifts, these intensives offer a way to work through blocks, energize projects and gain confidence in a small group of people who share the passions and struggles of writing.



The beauty of Storyweaving intensives is that we discover, together, what we too often forget — that we have the creative energy and discipline we need, if we take the time to connect with ourselves!



We explore playful and creative ways of reframing and unsticking our creative projects so we can move forward…


We’ll build tools to access unconscious and energetic resources for writing…



We’ll share new ways to put down negative beliefs and train our “inner critic” to be helpful, so we can become the writers we want to be…




For more information: call or email me:








Saturday, September 14




Juice up your creative process; break through blocks!


Accokeek, MD
In my woodland retreat 10 minutes from the Accokeek Library


9:30-4:00 p.m.







A workshop bonus: a 50% off certificate for:


 either 1 hour of writing coaching ($95 value)


or 2 hours of editing services ($100 value)