Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #42

Like clockwork, like magic, like butter on bread, here it is, my weekly round-up of writing prompts from my Tumblr blog.  I'm in Seattle this weekend, but you should be writing. Kidding! Or not. Anyway, Enjoy!  Or don't enjoy, but use them to write like crazy.

#288 What was your main character’s relationship with her mother like?  Happy and loving? Polite but distant? Very, very contentious? Write about it for 15 minutes–or more.

#289  Everyone else was sad when the rain started falling after a long string of gorgeous days.  But not her.  She was delighted.  Because rain meant …..

#290 Who does your main character love? Who loves her?  Do they match up?

#291  Write about a time you, or your main character, was so engrossed in an activity that time flew without him realizing it.

#292  But you know, you could also do it this way.

#293  I know you don't agree with me, but tough, because ....

#294  It's Saturday.  What's your character's drink of choice this evening?  Wine (red or white), beer, tea, coffee, water, a cocktail, Diet Coke?  How much of it will he drink?

Go forth and write!  And add the results to the comments if you so desire....


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #41

This week's collection of writing prompts from my Tumblr blog:

#281 If your protagonist could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

#282 You can’t go home again.  Or can you?  Has your main character stayed home? Or was he a person who couldn’t wait to move as far away as possible?

#283 They were sad when it was over.  So they started up again.

#284 The plane rose in the air.  She looked out the window at the landscape below, trying not to grip the armrests quite so hard.  Then a noise, like a pop, and the plane shook.  “Don’t worry, its just turbulence,” the man beside her said.  But she didn’t know whether to believe him or not.  Should she? 

#285 Oh God, not that.  Anything but that.

#286 Two men walk into a bar and realize there are only women inside.  Tall women, short women, gorgeous women, plain women.  What gives?  Is it a gigantic book club meeting?  A lesbian bar?  A feminist convention? Do the men stay? What happens if they do?

#287 She opened the window to let the cool morning air in, but instead, what rushed past her was …..

 I love it when you guys post starts from these prompts in the comments!

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #40

Hello from Nashville, y'all!  Here's my latest collection of writing prompts from my Tumblr blog.

#274  Use the words cat, rain jacket and orchid in a sentence.  Now use that sentence as a prompt.

#275  Write about what your main character did yesterday, from the time he woke up until the time he went to bed.

#276  Her cat was the most annoying cat in the world, especially when he.....

#277  The biggest difference between southerners and northerners is....

#278  Is your main character a walker or runner?  How often does he exercise? Or is he an exercise slacker?

#279  Does your main character procrastinate or get things done quickly and efficiently?

#280   When the drumming started, she couldn't help but dance.

Feel free to post any results from the prompts in the comments!


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #39

Here's the latest collection of prompts from my Tumblr.  Enjoy!

#267  It’s a beautiful, warm evening, what’s your character’s pleasure: dinner al fresco; a hike; taking the children to the park; ignoring the weather and turning on the TV or something else entirely?

#268  Is your main character a talker or a listener?

#269 And then, once the bill had been totaled and she had paid, the guilt set in.

#270  Happy Earth Day! Does your main character recycle? Drive a non-polluting car or take mass transit?  Or maybe he is just the opposite–throws trash in the recycling bucket and roars around town in a Hummer? Whichever the case, write about their green, or not-so-green habits.

#271 Write about your, or your character’s first kiss.

#272 What’s the worst thing your character has ever done? Murder, adultery, theft? Does the world know about this thing or does your character keep it secret? 

#273  What is the best thing your character has ever done? Raise a child up right, write a book, run a business, take care of an ailing parent, what?  

 How's your writing going?  And, as always, if you get inspired by one of these prompts and want to share in the comments, feel free.

 


I've Invented a Writing Machine

Everystockphoto-nasa-space-64361-hJust for you, because I love ya, I've invented a new writing machine.  Here's what it does: with a long metal robotic arm, it reaches out, grabs paper and pen, and plops it down in front of you.  You can also program it to grab your laptop, tablet, or computer keyboard.  There's an optional feature that will, if you so choose, chain you to your chair for a set period of time.  

Here's the rub: that's as much as the machine does.  After that it is up to you to start writing.  This may be a bit of a news flash to you, but in order to write something like a novel, a short story, or a memoir, you have to ... write.

Dude. Imagine that.

But, you know what?  We forget that.  Even I, who have been making my living doing this for years, forget that.  Lately, I've been very stern with myself.  I've had so very many important things to get done.  Manuscripts to read, a rewrite to finish, workshops to plan.  And so I laid down the law. There is no time for writing.  We must work.  And work hard.  Nose to the grindstone and all that.

Yesterday I awoke in a brain fog, staring off into space, overwhelmed by the week ahead.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spied my pink journal which had been unopened for a couple of weeks.  I stared at it, with one eye squinting until it occurred to me....perhaps I should write. 

And so I did.

And it was exactly what I needed to do.

But my journal practically had to jump up and down in front of me to get me to open it and start writing, which is why I'm inventing the writing machine for all of us.  Because it's one of those crazy paradoxes: when you're blocked in your writing, the solution is to write. 

I think what happens is that we crank ourselves into perfectionist mode.  When I'm not writing, it starts to seem like this big impossible thing that I can't do because I start imagining that every word I write has to be stellar.  But if I can just get myself to write one word...and then a sentence..and then a paragraph, I remember:

  • All I have to is put words on the page.
  • I don't have to write well.
  • I can write crappy sentences
  • Nothing has to make sense.

Because once I do put words on the page, things start to flow.  Ideas form and spill off my fingers. Crappy sentences straighten themselves out.  Scenes begin to write themselves. And I am writing.

So, yeah, that writing machine should be going into production soon.  In the meantime, I've got the next best thing here.

What do you do to get yourself to write?


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #38

Here's this week's corral of my daily prompts:

#259 If only….she thought.  We all have a lot of “if onlies” in our life.  What is your character’s biggest if only?

#260  The wind blew and blew.  It blew so hard and so long she thought she’d go crazy from it.  And then, all of a sudden, it just stopped.

#261  A screen door slamming shut is an iconic sound of summer for me.  Do you (or your character) have any sounds that immediately provoke memories?

#262  So what?  I mean, really, so what?

#263  It’s tax day!  Are your taxes finished?  Are your main character’s?  While we’re at it, how does your main character deal with money?

#264  My father insisted, loudly and often, that the best way to live was to work for oneself.  Even though his business eventually went bankrupt, he at least upheld his own standards.  What about your main character?  Does he/she have the entrepreneurial instinct? Or does he prefer the structure of a 9 to 5 job? 

#265  The ways of the world are capricious.  Take, for instance….

#266  Ugh.  Being sick is the worst thing ever.  Except for….

 How's your writing going?  I'm still working on rewrite #2 with my agent.  And feeling really ready to be done with it and get back to some plain old-fashioned writing.  But I am NOT complaining!  Leave a comment about what's up with you.  And have a great weekend.

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #37

Good morning and happy Saturday!  Here is the latest collection of prompts from my Tumblr blog, wherein I write a prompt a day.  (And yes, some days I do kick myself for starting this project.  But most days I enjoy it a lot.)  Here goes:

#253  A sudden rainstorm.  Your character is stuck out in it, with no shelter in sight. What does she do?  Revel in it, or huddle miserably? What kinds of memories and emotions does the storm bring?

#254  Every morning, without fail, first thing she did upon rising was….

#255 Do you (or your character) favor yoga or Qi Gong? Running or walking? Going to the gym or working out at home?

#256 One more time, with feeling…

#257 New life.  Cause for celebration.  Where is there new life in your character’s world these days?

#258 A foggy morning.  What was revealed when it cleared?

#259 If only….she thought.  We all have a lot of “if onlies” in our life.  What is your character’s biggest if only?

Happy writing!  As always, share snippets below if you are so inspired.


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #36

Here's the latest collection of posts from my Tumblr blog, where I post a prompt daily.

#246 As a child did you (or your main character) go to church? Sunday school or sitting in the service with the adults?  What was your experience—love or hate? Character building or destroying?

#247 And then she had to start over again….

#248 Scissors, watchband, rabbit.  Use these three words in a sentence and then use that sentence as a prompt.

#249 Happy April Fool’s Day!  Write about a time somebody fooled you and what happened.  How did you feel about it?  Some people think pranking is hysterical, others, not so much.

#250 What’s your character’s favorite kind of weather? (Not everyone likes endless stretches of warm, sunny days.) 

#251 It’s Good Friday.  What are your character’s beliefs around religion?

#252 How does your character feel about technology? Luddite or early adopter?  Or somewhere in between?

 Happy writing!  What are you working on?  Do you use prompts often as you write?

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #35

Here's the latest collection of prompts from my Tumblr blog (minus one, because I forgot to do one on Sunday).

#240 She sat up quickly.  She forgot!  She had totally forgotten about it!  

#241  What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?  Write about it.  Work details can enliven fiction.

#242  Your character’s eating habits tell a lot about him.  Write about them.  Does he drive through McDonald’s every day for breakfast?  Cook lavish meals at home? Dine in the finest restaurants? 

#243  Doing new things is hard.  It is also brain-expanding.  What have you (or your main character) done that is new and different lately?

#244  TGIF.  What does your main character like to do on Friday night?  Date night? Stay home and watch a movie? Go to Happy Hour with friends? Get in bed early and read?

#245  Water.  Are you (or your character) afraid of it or do you revel in it?  Good swimmer or dog paddler?

 How is your writing going?  Do prompts help you write?

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #34

Here's the latest collection of prompts from my Tumblr blog, all in one place for your convenience.

#233 Use the words cried, red, burp and van in a sentence.  Now use that sentence as a prompt.

#234 It happens.  You look up, and there s/he is.  The phone rings, with good or bad news.  The accident occurs.  Write about a time your life—or your character’s—changed in an instant.

#235 Write about a time you didn’t wear green.

#236 When the music’s over…turn out the lights.  Write about a time the music was over but your main character wanted more.

#237  Nothing is worse than not sleeping.  How does your main character deal with insomnia—toss and turn in bed, or get up and do something?

#238 And just when she thought she was done with all that, it came rushing back again.

#239  Every time she thought about it, she shivered in fear.  And then the day came to actually face it—and it was so much harder and scarier than she had thought. 

 Have at it!  Happy writing!  While you're writing, leave a comment and let me know how its going.


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #33

#226  Write about the worst weather you (or your main character) have ever experienced.

#227  After the best weekend ever, your main character now faces Monday morning.  Does she drag her feet and stay suck in memories of the weekend, or does she let the momentum of her wonderful time carry her forward?

#228  When we are small children we spend a lot of time pretending—and then when we’re adults we learn to pretend in different ways.  We pretend we are happy, for instance.  Or we pretend we don’t care.  What does your main character pretend about?

#229  Some people think it is boring, but consistency is often the key to success.  How is your character consistent?  Inconsistent?  What are the results of these actions?

#230  What have you (or your protagonist) had to leave behind in your life?

#231  Knock wood, cross fingers, think things like if I finish loading the dishwasher before this song ends, I’ll get the job, or maybe something like if I don’t step on any cracks all the way to the corner, my new love will call.  These are superstitions.  Does your character indulge in them?  Do you?

#232 When the rains came and washed it all away, she was glad, so glad.

What are you writing? 

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #32

Here's the latest collection of writing prompts, taken from my daily Tumblr blog.  Happy writing!

#219  She hated it when she watched a movie or read a book that she didn’t understand. And yet, those were the stories that stuck with her….

#220  "Do one thing that scares you every day."  Eleanor Roosevelt.  What would be the scariest thing your main character could do right now, in this moment?

#221  "Enough! Basta! I’ve had enough.  Stop it right now."  

What has the character had enough of?

#222 I know a man who doesn’t eat sweets.  He’s simply never tempted by them. Does your main character have a sweet tooth? If so, what kind of sweets does he like?  If not, what, if anything, does he eat instead?

#223  It was not a great way to start the day.

#224  They were eager to get away.  But they didn't realize how difficult it would be to leave.  First there was _____________, then _______________.  And then, _________ happened.

#225 When you look back at your life, what's the biggest difficulty you've overcome? When your main character looks back at his/her life, what is his or her biggest difficulty? 

What are you working on at the moment?  How is it going?

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #31

Here's the latest round-up of posts from my Tumblr blog, where you can find a new post every morning (well, sometimes it's the afternoon).  Happy writing!

#212 Two women have been friends for years.  One afternoon, one of them says to the other, “I have something to tell you about myself that you may not believe.”

"Of course I’ll believe it, because I know everything about you."

The first woman heaved a sigh.  ”You don’t know this. And you may not like me much after I tell you.  Because here’s the truth.”

What does she reveal about her backstory? 

#213 It’s the morning after the biggest event your main character’s life.  (Like winning an Oscar, or a book award, or achieving some other huge goal.) How does he or she feel? Elated? Empty? Exhausted? Hungover? 

#214 She felt like she was hanging on by a thread.  There was the ______ and the ______, not to mention the __________.  And of course, the ___________! Taken together, they all threatened to overwhelm her.

#215 She couldn’t wait for him to leave—but she started missing him as soon as he was gone.

#216 Explore what your characters drinks.  Does he pound water all day?  Does she always have a Diet Coke at hand?  Is he totally against alcohol or an imbiber? Wine or beer or hard liquor?  Coffee or tea?

#217  All of a sudden, she became one of the cool kids.  Yet her position there was precarious, and nerve wracking.  Because one of the things they liked to do was…..

#218  It was the scariest thing he’d ever faced in his life. Every cell in his body told him to run from it. But instead he turned toward it.


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #30

Here's my weekly round-up of writing prompts from my Tumblr blog:

#205 The fog wafted and drifted around buildings and through streets, masking and silencing everything in its path.  So it was a shock when it lifted and…..

#206 Today is President’s Day in the United States, and lot of people (but not all) have the day off.  What holidays does your main character take?  What does she or he do on those holidays?

#207 Waiting….waiting….waiting…Was it worth the wait? Or not?

#208  Some people fear spiders, but snakes don’t bother them.  Others are the opposite—they hate snakes, but spiders are fine.  Which way does your main character fall?  What does this say about him/her?

#209 Procrastination.  Does your main character indulge in it?  How does it affect his life? How does he get himself going again?

#210 Certain objects may hold great significance for us.  They can contain memories, remind us of loved ones, act as talismans against evil, or connect us to our creativity.  Does your main character have a special object she loves? What does it represent to her?

#211 Oh, the glory of it all.

Happy writing! What are you working on?  


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #29

Happy Valentine's Day! Here is the latest round-up of prompts from my Tumblr blog. Write like the wind, people!

#198 She landed with a thud.  And when she looked up at where she had come from, it seemed a very long ways to go.  How would she get herself back?

#199 "You just have to suck it up and get through it," he said.

"But how? Because with ____________ happening, I don’t see how I can __________."

Fill in the blanks and use the sentences as the basis of a scene.

#200 What is your main character most afraid of? Write a scene with him/her experiencing that exact thing.

#201 As if February, with its constant snow ,wasn’t bad enough on its own, there was also all the hoopla leading up to Valentine’s Day. She hated it because it reminded her that she was single. And that reminded her of the horrible memory of…….

#202 The way we eat and cook tells a lot about ourselves—and our characters.  Does your protagonist drive through McDonald’s for lunch every day? Or insist that everything she eats is organic and GMO-free? Does she like to cook or hate it? Who does she most often eat with?

Write about your main character preparing a meal and then eating it.

#203  Please help.  Because ……

#204 Ah, love.  What role does it play in your main character’s life?  Does she have lots of it, long for more of it, or rue the day she ever fell in love in the first place?

 That's it!  Happy writing! Are you thinking about love this week?  Writing about it?

 

 

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #28

Here is the latest collection of prompts from my Tumblr blog this week.  Happy writing!

#191 Thus began the ___________ that would last for __ years and affect so many people because ____________. 

#192  Happy Groundhog’s Day! What event in your life would you like to live over?

#193  Should she be nervous? She was indeed nervous.  What did she have to be nervous about? Well, for starters, there was….

#194  And suddenly, everything was different.  He had stepped into a new world. It was amazing and wonderful…and a bit scary.  What happened?

#195  There was excitement, yes, but also cold, raw fear.  It was funny how similar the two feelings were.  

#196 Use the words sigh, red, flash and desk in a sentence.  Now use that sentence as a prompt.

#197  She opened her eyes and screamed at what she saw.

 There you go.  I'm like the guy in #194. I've not gotten any writing done this week because this happened.  How about you?


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #27

Here is the weekly collection of prompts from my Tumblr blog.  Have at it!

#183  "To whom much is given, much is expected."  How does this manifest in your character’s life, or is she one to whom not much has been given?  If so, how does this affect her? How would her life be different if she had been given a lot?

#184  She chased the rabbit through the forest and it lead her to something she never expected.

#185 This poor prompt was lost in the ether somewhere.  Not sure what happened to it.  So write about something that was lost.

#186  Marker, stone, grub, reporter.  Use them in a sentence.  Now use that sentence as a prompt.

#187  "Let’s not do that," he said.  "Instead, let’s….."

#188 Angie sat down with a plop, gravity having her way with her.  And that was when she knew it was time to…..

#189  One day when I was out walking, I found a small white bowl, perfectly usable for cereal.  Later on that same walk, I found a small green toy frog that squeaked.  Write about something you’ve found.

#190  A thing we used to discuss as kids (or at least I did, but perhaps I'm just weird): freeze to death or die of heat exhaustion, which would you prefer?  

 And tomorrow is February, can you believe that?  Where did this month go?  Did you get some good writing done during January?

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #26

Here we are once again, at Saturday.  How does that keep happening?  Its a miracle.  And here are your prompts for the week.  Remember, for a dose of daily inspiration, check out my Tumblr blog, where I post a new prompt every day (except for the rare occasion when I forget).  Happy writing!

#177 The wind howled and the rain poured down.  She stared out at the falling water, mesmerized.  It reminded her of the time that…..

#178 It’s Martin Luther King day.  Write about freedom.  What does it mean to you? Your character? For some it is a very high value( i.e., having freedom to set your own schedule, do the work you want, etc.), others, not so much. Where do you fall on the spectrum?

#179 Write about a time when the clock ticked so slowly you thought you’d die of boredom.  Now write about a time when the minutes flew by—and you actually wanted them to slow down.

#180  That shiver of dread.  Because, when she looked out the window, she saw….

#181  Family, love it or hate it—either way, it shapes us.  Is your character (or you) part of a close-knit family, or one that could care less about each other? How did this affect him or her growing up?  How does it affect him now?

#182 She got so damn mad at herself when she wasted time that way, which was often.

#183  You're sitting in a booth in a bar, working on your laptop.  A man and a woman sit in the booth next door and you hear them argue.

"You always want to do such stupid things," she says.

"But at least I'm not a stick-in-the-mud like you," he answers back.

Write the rest of their argument.


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #25

Here is the latest collection of posts from my Tumblr blog.  There's more prompts here.  And you can download a whole book of them here.  Oh yeah, and there's one less prompt than usual because last Sunday we drove to Seattle and back (eight hours total in the car) to attend the 100th birthday party of my husband's aunt.  It was a glorious day, reconnecting with cousins and visiting with said aunt.  But I totally forgot about doing a prompt.

#171  He hated when he overslept.  Because, there was nothing you could do about it—that time was lost.  Lost to sleep.  So to make sure it never happened, he….

#172  It was a crushing disappointment.  What does your main character do to recover?

#173  Use the words hoar frost, purple, poem and beast in a sentence.  Then use that sentence as a prompt.

#174  "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."  Annie Dillard. How does your main character spend his/her days?

#175  Write about the resolution your character has kept.  Now write about the resolution he/she has broken.  Why does he want to accomplish those things in the first place?  What stands in the way of her doing them?

#176 She was tired.  So tired.  And she dealt with being tired the way she always did.  First, she …..

How did you writing go this week? (I'm almost done with the rewrite of my WIP!)

 


Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #24

Welcome to another round of writing prompts!  How has your writing gone this week?  I hope 2015 is treating you well--so far, I'm in love with this year.  But that's not the point of this post, is it?  The point is prompts, lots of them, so here you go (and don't forget, these come from my Tumblr blog, where you'll find tons more):

#164  Sometimes beginnings, like endings, sneak up on us and sometimes they are definitive.  What are you (or your main character), beginning as this year begins also?

#165  Monday.  And not just any Monday, but the Monday after the holidays are over, once and for all.  Does your main character dread getting back into the swing of things—or love her/his work so much that she/he greets the week eagerly?

#166  Disaster.  The plan was thwarted.  What now?

#167  She was starting the new year with new friends and new projects, and her heart was full.  So much better than the disastrous events of last year.  When she looked back on it, she remembered the horror of…..

#168  Many people in western societies (especially the United States) are infected with the feeling of “not enough.”  It might be not enough money, not enough time, not enough love, anything and everything.  Does this affect your main character?  In what ways?

#169  When she came through the back door that afternoon, she realized that her indoor cat had gotten out.  Inside, she realized that a window had been broken.  But that wasn’t the worst of it, because she also found…..

#170  Her next-door neighbor knocked on the door late one night, asking to borrow some honey.  She invited her neighbor into the kitchen, where she told the most incredible story….

 There you have it, writing inspiration for the week!  Enjoy--and write tons everyday.  Also do check in and tell how the writing is going when you get a chance.