Here’s your biweekly set of prompts. Remember, these prompts don’t have to be the start of a story; use one to jump start a scene or new chapter.
- “Do you trust me?” he asked.
- None of her training would help her now.
- I knew how I ended up in a locked shipping container; question was, how do I get out?
- My mother’s announcement couldn’t have come at a worse time.
- The broken vending machine was just the beginning.
- The cold wind blew in from the broken window.
- He handed me a map and said, “Good luck.”
- I died six weeks ago, but here I am . . .
I took a little breather, but now the prompts are back. Same “rules” apply: Pick one, two, or however many you want, and write something. Post it here if you’d like. Write a story, whip out some flash fiction; just write.
- I bought it thinking it would help me win him back.
- I should have known the police would find me.
- The documents burned faster than I anticipated.
- The trick to getting out of a hostage situation is . . .
- She wondered what he’d look like carrying a . . .
- Margo regretted taking the shortcut to work.
- David had on that ridiculous shirt he bought at Caesar’s Palace.
- Ruth didn’t expect to find herself in the same situation as before.
Things have been slow around here lately, so maybe one of these song lyrics will help spark a story. Songwriters tell their own stories. What story do these lyrics tell you?
- Will you wait for me?
Natalie Merchant, “Frozen Charlotte”
- As he stands there in the door
there’s no room for him anymore.
She lies there saying,
“Honey take one last look.”
Greg Brown, “My New Book”
- I don’t have time to go back in time.
I already lived it.
Pete Yorn, “Close”
- That morning sky gave me a look
So I left while you were sleeping.
Blind Pilot, “Half Moon”
- was it you on my arm
like a tattoo carved in
your strawberry curls
against my black leather grin
Jeff Finlin, “Long Lonesome Death of a Traveling Man”
- She said she’d call but that was three weeks ago
She left all her things well, her books and her letters from him
Dido, “Mary’s in India”
- And it’s impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what you might have missed out on
And how he might have changed it all
- We tried to make it work, you in a cocktail skirt and me in a suit but it just wasn’t me,
David Gray, “Say Hello Wave Goodbye”
Hmmm . . . I now see a somewhat melancholy theme here . . . (and they’re all some of my favorites).
Well, happy writing!
It’s nice to be back in the swing of things after the A to Z Challenge. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out my previous Writing Prompt Wednesday posts, and as always, feel free to use any of these. Post here, there, anywhere; just write!
Today, I thought I’d shake things up a bit and come up with some titles, which can also spark a short story, flash fiction, novel, or poetry idea.
- The Shop Girl’s Secret
- The Elephant in My Attic
- King of Sycamore Street
- The Fires of Spring
- The Mourning Years
- Waiting for War
- The Bitter Brides Club
- Last Flight Out of Paris
There’s a wall there, you just can’t see it. Apparently, my sister wasn’t in the mood to smile. I tried to help, but there was no getting through that wall. Blocked. That’s how I felt for a while because I had been struggling with what to write next. I’m not a big fan of the term writers’ block and I think we give it more power than it deserves. Maybe that’s why I’m so big on writing prompts—they can get you going when you’re stalled in the writing process.
Look, the muse doesn’t give a shit if you’re staring at your computer screen, fingers poised on the keyboard, asking nicely for some inspiration. In fact, I’m convinced muses revel in watching us suffer, which is why you have to take charge. If you’re struggling with a scene in your WIP, get away from it. Distance can be the exactly what you need in order to come back with a fresh mind. Over at The Writing Bug, I recently wrote about using pencil and paper to get out all my thoughts—every possibility, every angle, every idea, and it worked; it got me my new novel idea.
I also recently picked up The Amazing Story Generator that creates thousands of story ideas.
This book combines random settings, characters, and conflicts; the rest is up to you. That’s how I feel about writers’ block—it’s up to you. You’re the only one who can get yourself past a lull in your writing, so don’t count on being struck over the head with an idea while you’re binge watching on Netflix. That can happen, but, again, don’t count on it. You’re a writer; so write. No matter how crappy it is, it’s writing—and it will lead somewhere.
How do you get going again when you’re stalled in your writing?
It’s that time again. I hope one of these prompts will give your writing mojo a kickstart. As always, feel free to share your flash fiction, poetry, or story here, or link it. Looking forward to what you’ve got for us, Dean.
- It happened in front of me.
- Everyone has secrets; mine can get me killed.
- I had no choice but to write the letter.
- Shane picked a bad time to confront me.
- I never meant to hit . . .
- The aroma of [fill in the blank] lured me into the [fill in the blank].
- I brushed away the leaves from the grave marker.
- I immediately regretted opening the [fill in the blank].
In honor of National Grammar Day, here’s a list of prompts that . . . ah . . . have nothing to do with grammar. Just celebrate this day by picking a prompt (or two!) and write something. Honor this momentous occasion with a short story, poem or flash fiction. You’re welcome to post it in the comments section, on your own blog (link it, baby) or among the pages of your journal.
- Evan couldn’t believe his luck, when the elevator doors opened and . . .
- At first, the lake appeared flawlessly iced-over, then Amy saw . . .
- Dave knew he’d never be allowed back . . .
- It wasn’t supposed to get out of hand.
- The memory of her walking . . .
- The man stood behind the glass and waited . . .
- Layla took one last swig of beer and . . .
- I hated that he knew about . . .
You know what to do. (But in case you don’t . . . these prompts are a way to help you get the writing juices flowing. Post a story in the comments section, journal it, post it on your blog, or get a jump on a short story; whatever. They’re here for the taking.)
- Knowing his name meant little to her.
- Fallen ash from his cigarette collected in a pile below his hand.
- I stood at the edge of woods and listened to . . .
- Paul knew he shouldn’t have looked . . .
- I should have told my wife the truth that first day when I . . .
- “I wouldn’t drink that; it has [fill in the blank] in it.”
- In the beams of the dying headlights, stood . . .
- The morning sun peaked through the trees. He told me I’d be dead by sunrise.
You know the drill. (Dean, I’m expecting big things from you, my friend.)
- There’s never the right moment to tell . . .
- The marinara sauce dripped down the wall . . .
- As usual, I said something . . .
- The remote trail led to . . .
- Something didn’t feel right when I entered . . .
- His keys hung from . . .
- The shrubbery concealed . . .
- The ER nurse gave me . . .
It’s that time again where I attempt to wow you with these sure-to-inspire writing prompts. I’m also going to try real hard to stump Dean this time around . . . (check out Dean’s wicked prompt skills in previous WPWs).
- “You’re a terrible liar,” Adam said.
- The slash marks . . .
- The sisters made a pact . . .
- She didn’t recognize the car.
- His laugh scared her.
- They only had seconds before the . . .
- Like a bad omen . . .
- I had sworn I left the box . . .
Welcome to Wednesday, as well as another edition of “Writing Prompt Wednesday” where I hope to get you over the weekly hump and into the land of writing. Try these on for size:
- “Next!” the woman behind the glass yelled
- The house made her feel . . .
- “You’ll want to step back . . .”
- Meg saw it before I did.
- The empty bottle . . .
- Robert felt the effects immediately.
- He picked her for a reason.
- She’d seen him [fill in the blank activity] a thousand times. This time . . .
I love writing prompts—they’re a heck of a lot of fun to come up with. In my efforts to blog more regularly (aren’t you folks lucky 😉 ) I’ve decided to designate every other Wednesday as “Writing Prompt Wednesday.” I hope you’ll find them useful and that they jump start your creativity; they certainly have for me. Since my first writing prompt post, I’ve written a couple of flash fiction pieces that I’ve then submitted: one to an anthology and one to a contest. Instead of keeping these prompts tucked away somewhere on my computer, I thought I’d share them with all of you.
- The peeling wallpaper revealed . . .
- Kevin said a prayer and took a step . . .
- She wore it just to . . .
- All this time she thought she was being clever.
- Anyone could see it didn’t fit.
- She loosened the screws on the . . .
- I saw it coming, but no one . . .
- The fire burned . . .
Look familiar? That’s right, it’s a blank document. For many of us writers, that’s the stuff of nightmares—you know, the one where you’ve been paper cut to death by a swarm of rejection letters? That’s the one. Well, it’s an all-too common problem many us could live without. Oftentimes, instead of having this wordless screen stare back at me with a “Uhm, hello? I’m blank. You going to write something on me, or what?” I’ll close the laptop. Ha! Take that! Although that’s typically unproductive . . . unless I pick up a pen and a pad of paper. At times, I find I’m more productive when I go Old School and write on paper; it’s less intimidating than a blank Word Doc. But then what?
Get writing. Dennis Palumbo, author and former screenwriter, who spoke at the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference a few years back said, “Writing begets writing.” Turns out, he’s right. However, when you need a hand to get going, story starters or writing prompts can help wake the muse. Here’s a few to try out:
- Emma knocked on the door and immediately regretted it.
- Ben hated what he had to say next.
- Had he been conscious, he probably would have said . . .
- “It won’t hurt a bit,” she told him.
- Most of the time I keep my promises, but . . .
- I thought I had more time, but the doorbell rang . . .
- She held out the box. “No, you open it.”
- She/He/It slipped in through the front door unnoticed.
- They didn’t believe me at first.
- Daniel thought she was crazy when she first told him . . .
- I tried to give back [fill in the blank] but he told me to keep it/them.
- Eric wanted to take the words back the second he said them.
- It went completely against his nature, but he had no choice but to . . .
- He walked in and saw her sitting with . . .
The following two prompts come from The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood:
- I could have avoided all that trouble if I had only remembered to . . .
- Seven days ago [fill in the blank]. Now, no one will talk to me.
Okay, now it’s time to take my own advice and write.
Do you have some writing prompts? Please, do share in the comments below.
As writers, we often hear our fellow kind talk about finding material by eavesdropping on conversations in coffee shops, restaurants, etc. Maybe I’m too busy inhaling my latte while focusing all my attention on
Pinterest actual writing. Sure, if I happen to overhear great little tidbits of potential story dialog, great, but I don’t make it a point to listen. However, this weekend, I learned that I could inadvertently gather inspiration by just walking through a little touristy town, minding my own business. I didn’t have to feel bad about listening in on anyone; these are folks passing by. They were worthy of jotting down in my little notebook.
“We’re tourists; tourists do stupid shit.”
“Remember that cotton candy phase you went through?”
Wife: “Honey, look . . . I found something I can buy.”
Husband: “Imagine that.”
Sometimes, some of the best stuff comes completely out of context from people passing you on the street. Use them as a writing prompt for a story, create a character based on one, or simply construct a conversation based on one and work it into your WIP. This made me think about if I’ve said something that caused a passerby to think, “Did I just hear that?”