Writing prompts

Whether you love them or hate them writing exercises can be good for those times when the words just won’t flow. Maybe you’re starting a new project and have no idea what to write about, maybe you’re stuck on an existing project and need to get those fingers moving, you might be trying to get back into writing after a long break, or you might just fancy a change/interruption from you’re current novel.

Whatever the reason using writing prompts can spur you into action and even result in material that might be worth keeping for later.

Simple prompts work because they lack superfluous details. They focus the mind on one straightforward precise idea and free you from the complications of over thinking and the dreaded analysis paralysis.

Just pick a prompt and hit the ground running.

  • When you leave the house today, walk in a different direction and write about the first thing you spot that you’ve never noticed before
  • Find a scene that draws your eye and then flip it on its head. Whatever those people are doing, they are only doing because THEY are watching them. Why are they putting on this act? And why so much detail? And who are THEY?
  • A man is so shocked to find a 50p coin in his pocket he begins to shake and his legs turn to jelly…why?
  • John can’t look at the colour yellow without wanting to vomit…
  • Barbara can’t wait until seventeen minutes past midnight next Tuesday…
  • Where the hell have all my left shoes gone?
  • All the cats in the world suddenly disappear, so why can Fred still hear meowing?
  • Or an old favourite…grab a dictionary, flick to a random page and pick a word at random…WRITE!

You get the point, try and pick something completely out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense, the point of the exercise is to make the idea.

Please feel free to add more prompts in the comments section.

2 thoughts on “Writing prompts

  • February 21, 2012 at 17:21

    If I overhear an interesting snippet of conversation I try to work it into a story – it’s suprising what just a few words can lead to.

  • February 21, 2012 at 20:26

    I sometimes wish I could turn off that ‘ability’, especially when there are noisy gits talking boll…nonsense, but then I realise it’s not something you can switch on and off so I’d rather have it than not.


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