“Write the truest sentence that you know.” —Ernest Hemingway Write down 10 truths: historical facts, pop culture trivia or details about yourself. Then rewrite each item on the list so the truths become lies. Choose two truths and one lie as a base for your next story, poem or essay.
Imagine you could travel back in time to a moment in history: the invasion of Normandy, the flight of Amelia Earhart, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Write a description of the environment and capture the tension. Would your presence rewrite history?
Imagine you could spend a single day with your favorite writer or poet, either living or deceased. What would you do? What questions would you ask him? What writing advice would she give you? Write about your day together, and incorporate the writing tips into your own work.
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” —Franz Kafka Imagine a character who has never grown old. What has he seen or experienced? How many people has she loved or lost? Does he see still see beauty in the world, or is he jaded? Write a character sketch of this person.
Wander through a local museum or art gallery and choose the painting, sculpture or exhibit that most inspires you. Write a description of the art piece and use its subject and emotion as a platform for a poem or a scene. Can’t make it to a museum? View international art from the comfort of your …
Write the sequel to your favorite fairytale. Are Hansel and Gretel tried for murder? Do Snow White and her prince contemplate divorce? Does money really buy happiness for Jack and his beanstalk? What happens after “The End”?
Pick a spot, sit down and close your eyes. Notice the scent. Does the air smell like car exhaust or lemon disinfectant? Listen to the sounds. Do you hear a keyboard tapping or a creaking door? How does the asphalt feel beneath you, or the fabric of your picnic blanket? Now write it down. Make …
Use this line at the beginning, end, or somewhere in the middle of a story. Who needs help? What do they need? Why do they need it?
What does a sunset taste like? How about a conversation between former lovers? Is longing like dried cherries, desire a slice of chocolate torte? Make a list of food metaphors that give an abstract emotion or complicated situation flavor and substance.
Write the scene of your first heartbreak from a third-person point of view. Pretend you’re a bystander and capture the environment, the dialogue, the facial expressions. How does distancing yourself from the event change the way you write about it?