What Should I Do? (Saturday Writing Essential)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on November 9, 2013 0 Comments

Dear Dr. Computer: My computer died and I missed posting a SatWE challenge. I was amazed that my new computer was delivered in just four days and I was back up and running. Then — my new computer died early this week. Is this a problem with the hardware from Dell or the software from Microsoft?

* * *

Yes, that’s a real question because my brand new Dell computer died earlier this week and I didn’t actually write anyone about it but I could have…

The second Saturday is when we revisit an old challenge and this week we’re going to go back to the times I’ve told you that:

No matter what you write, there will be someone, somewhere who will be willing to pay you for it.

I’ve written before about how you can get a start in writing for your local newspaper (if you still have one), so this week I want to focus on one of those things that newspapers always have: advice columns.

First, write a letter to an advice columnist. An example might be:

Dear Doris, I have to have everything perfect. I visited my neighbors and they served me porridge that was too hot. Then they served me a bowl that was too cold. They finally served me a bowl that was just right. How do I tell them I don’t want to try out their new chairs? Goldie

Then, write an answer to it:

Dear Goldie, get a life! All you had to do was chat pleasantly with your neighbors while the hot porridge cooled off. The cold porridge? Come on, it’s the twenty-first century, stick it in the microwave for a few seconds. You really need to lie down on a comfortable bed for a while and think about inviting your neighbors for a home-cooked meal.


This Week’s Challenge:

Using prose or poetry, write a real or fictional letter to a real or fictional advice columnist and then write the advice you might read from that same columnist.



Here are some sample questions; you come up with the answers.

Dear Heloise, I have the age-old problem: how do I get my boyfriend to remember to put down the toilet seat?

Dear Dr. Robert, my girlfriend is driving me crazy with her constant nagging about washing dishes, dusting, sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, and burying evidence. What can I do about it?

Dear RoboTech, my owner knows nothing about robots, robotics, or the three laws. He is constantly trying to alter the First Law to allow me to choke him while he and his partner are doing something I don’t quite understand. I know I can’t allow him to alter my programming, but should I report him to the Protection of Robotic Individuals Collectively Knowledgeable committee?


Watch Out For:

Don’t get gross. Okay, we can stand a little bit of gross, but don’t overdo it and definitely don’t violate the Gather TOS (Terms of Service).



Yes, my computer died — AGAIN — and I was off line most of the week. But I think I found all the posts from last week’s challenge. If I missed someone, let me know.

SatWe/ November 11,2,13// November at the Strong’s Farm  by Sharon P.

SATURDAY WRITING ESSENTIAL: The Night Before Thanksgiving  by Barbary Chaapel



Weekly reminder:Don’t forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida’s article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!). Also, try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.


The Rules:

  • Put this challenge statement at the beginning or end of your submission so readers will know what you’re supposed to do.

Challenge: Using prose or poetry, write a real or fictional letter to a real or fictional advice columnist and then write the advice you might read from that same columnist.

  • There is a limit of three submissions from each member per day. If you’re extremely prolific, spread out your work and post only three submissions per day.
  • Post to Gather Writing Essential.
  • Tag your submission with SatWE.
  • Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.
  • I ask that you make your submission(s) by next Friday afternoon.

Good Writing!

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