Writing Prompts

119 articles found

Sensational Saturday: Something’s missing

Imagine what it would be like if you lost one of your senses − taste or sight, for example (or if you are psychic, your sixth sense!). Put your character in a mundane setting, such as a coffee shop or an elevator, and write a scene that shows us how this character struggles. When you are …

Published: November 21, 2015

Friday Figures: A character’s best friend

  “You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell,” wrote poet Emily Dickinson. The way people react to animals can be very revealing. Pets are often flawless reflections …

Published: November 20, 2015

Tune-in Tuesday: Not yet

    “Not yet.” Incorporate this line of dialogue into a story. What prompts a character to say these words? Contextualize what the phrase means. How does he or she arrive at this moment? What is the question that precedes the answer?

Published: November 17, 2015

Motivation Monday: History journal

  Diaries are fascinating documents of inner lives and history. Which famous historical figure, real or fictional, fascinates you? Is it Cleopatra? Bluebeard? Barack Obama? Pretend to be that person and write an entry in his or her journal.

Published: November 16, 2015

Structure Sunday: Beneath the surface

  Ernest Hemingway believed the “quality of a piece could be judged by the quality of the material the author eliminated.” His theory of omission, also called “the iceberg theory,” emphasizes that the core of a good story lies beneath the surface, like the mass of an iceberg.   Revise a story, poem or essay …

Published: November 15, 2015

Sensational Saturday: Mixed emotions

Often we neglect the senses in our writing, especially in how much they can offer in terms of describing moods and emotions. • Write about the scent of happiness. • Write about the texture of anxiety. • Write about the sound of despair.

Published: November 14, 2015

Friday Figures: Bio of the obscure

    Write a character bio for an obscure character in your project. When you have given your all to uncover the fascinating, paradoxical qualities of this character, write a scene that  reflects what you discovered.

Published: November 13, 2015

Warm-up Wednesday: Work it out

    Do robust aerobic exercise and sit down to write immediately after. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes. See what comes, and then use the most exciting line or moment you created as a jumping-off point for a scene. (You can write it after you shower!)

Published: November 11, 2015

Tune-in Tuesday: Make it count

  Write three pages of dialogue with two goals in mind: Make every word count, and don’t bore the reader. Now, take one line from one character and give it to the other character. Use that line as a starting point for a new scene.

Published: November 10, 2015