A woman is driving her car when she sees something unexpected in the middle of the road. She pulls over to get a closer look. What is in the road? What happens when she gets out of the car? How does the object in the road reflect something significant in her life?
A burglar breaks into a home and steals three unusual objects which appear to be worthless. What are the objects? Why does he or she steal them? What happens next to the burglar and the homeowner?
Three strangers are sitting in a doctor’s office waiting for their appointments. A patient’s bag tips over on the floor and something falls out. What is it? What do the characters say to each other that makes this a significant moment in their lives?
A character walks into an elevator and accidentally presses the wrong button. The elevator doors open on the seventh floor. What does the character see, or who steps onto the elevator? How does this event change the course of the character’s story?
A character walks into a bus station and blindly chooses a destination. Why is she leaving? Where does he go? What will she find there?
Write a story, poem or essay inspired by “forgetting.” A character forgets a key piece of information or an important object before an event. How does this affect him? How does the act of forgetting change the outcome of her story?
Winter is a time for stillness: hibernation, freezing, stagnation. Use a winter setting to represent these themes in a fictional story. Imagine a psychological or physical “polar vortex” that immobilizes a character and prevents forward progress. What causes the freeze? What keeps the character from reaching a certain goal? Identify what freezes your character—a clear …
Before the clock strikes midnight, make a list of your writing wishes for the New Year. Will you find an agent? Complete the research for a nonfiction essay? Embark on a national book tour? Free write a list of your aspirations, no matter how big or small. Next, create a list of resolutions. What can …
A character steps outside on a snowy Christmas Eve night. The air is hushed, holiday lights twinkling, when he looks down and discovers something surprising on his steps. What does he find? How does it transform his perspective of the holiday? What happens next?
When writer’s block strikes, swap words for pictures. Photo posting sites such as Pinterest, Juxtapost and WeHeartIt allow users to collect and organize images on a digital inspiration board. Find photos of your setting, like a gritty city street or the cool Appalachian Mountains. Pin photographs of people who resemble your characters, either in mood or …