“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN
Last week I began posting daily writing prompts on our Facebook Page to keep everyone engaged with their writing practices while we’re sequestered at home. I was thinking it’d be nice to have all of these prompts in one place, so I will repost them here on our blog each Monday. I’ve also linked to all of the books on craft that I mention. Please share any writing prompts that have worked well for you, and of course, share any stories, poems, or essays that come out of these prompts!
1. We know these days are getting long and there’s a lot of uncertainty. Fuel these emotions into a character’s interior thoughts: Have a character receive bad news. Apply this to a work-in-progress or use it to create a new story.
2. Write to this photo. What are they talking about? Begin a scene or chapter with dialogue between two people. Do the people walking past interject or interact? Jump into this scene and set the action in motion…
3. Let’s focus on setting. From Creating Fiction Edited by Julie Checkoway: Write about a public place from your childhood (a movie theater? ballpark? town dump?) that still inspires powerful emotions.
4. From Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, she quotes John L’Heurueux, who asks: What does your character win by losing his/her struggle, or lose by winning?
5. Today’s post is geared to our nonfiction writers from the wonderful craft book, Tell It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller & Suzanne Paola:
6. Write a list of subjects you would “never” write about. What are the silences that can’t be broken? Begin each sentence with “I would never write about” or “I am slow to write about.” See if this backward maneuver might actually lead you into scenes, details, and memories you might be able to handle in a short essay.
7. A prompt from Amy Hempel: Write two pages of questions. Every line should be a question. Don’t worry about these questions connecting to one another, about making sense. Just keep writing for at least ten minutes and see what you end up with. Could be a story or perhaps one of these questions becomes the first line of a new story or poem. She recommended Mary Robson’s book Why Did I Ever or The Interrogative Mood by Padgett Powell as inspirations.