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Posts Tagged ‘writing prompts’

For those of us here in New York, the last seven days have been one long, claustrophobic weekend as we’ve been trapped in our neighborhoods and homes waiting for power and subway service to be restored.  In fact, just thinking about it is giving me ideas for a horror story (plus an itchy desire to rip off my skin and run screaming through the streets).

For the rest of you, though, maybe you’d like a little writing prompt to help with a weekend project.  Look no further!

  • Plot element: an outbreak occurs
  • Setting: orbiting an unknown planet
  • Character: a one-armed lion tamer
  • Wild card: a robot sidekick
  • Mood: gritty

Oh, yeah.  That’s a keeper.  Have at it!

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Another week, another writing prompt.

Take a stab at this:

  • Plot: a rescue romance
  • Character: a golem
  • Setting: a scavenger world
  • Wild card: burnt cookies

Heh!  I’d love to see what you guys come up with for this one !  Have it it 🙂

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I meant to write a nice long post ranting about the sad state of affairs in the world today…but I ran out of time (it IS a big topic, after all), and I’ve got an appointment with a hot, sweaty lecture hall and 80 or so students in about 20 minutes…soooo, here’s a writing prompt instead 🙂

You know the drill: take these elements and sit down and write a new story.  Don’t obsess.  Don’t over-think.  Just do it.  Who knows?  Something glorious may come out.

  • Plot element:  something goes “bump” in the night
  • Setting:  at sea
  • Character:  a clumsy witch
  • Wild card:  a family heirloom

Well…have at it, and let me know if you come up with anything good.

Happy writing!

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Okay writers!  I’ve got homework for you.  Using the following writing prompt, sit down and put together a brand new short story this weekend.

  • Plot element: a missed connection
  • Plot type: overcoming the monster (protagonist must defeat an oppressive or terrifying force)
  • Character: an optimistic drunk
  • Setting: a library
  • Wild card element: a troll

I pulled these elements at random from my story idea generator.  I have to say, they’re pretty awesome!

Happy writing 🙂

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If you’re like me, the midweek slump has just kicked in.  You’re regretting all the things you didn’t accomplish in the first part of the week or eying up what’s coming with a weary glance.  Or you’re just feeling uninspired and sure this week is twice as long as the one that came before.  So, as a little kick in the pants, here’s an assignment to help you break the slump and re-energize.

1 short story. 1 day. Plus a prompt to get you going.

The Prompt (drawn at random from my own story elements generator):

  • Plot element:  a wrong turn
  • Character:  a children’s party magician
  • Setting:  a hot air balloon
  • Wildcard:  a photographic memory

The assignment:  using as many of these elements as possible (all is best!), in whatever way you like, sit down and write a short story.  Write it today, start to finish.  Don’t obsess over it, or revise, or stress about it.  Just write it.

It’ll be awesome.  Or not.  But either way you’ll have written something new that you didn’t plan on.  And that’s always a good thing.

Oh, and let me know how it turns out!

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I’ve always struggled with short stories.  I have a hard time coming up with ideas and a hard time executing them.  But, it’s nice to have short stories in your stable of horses, especially when you work mostly on novels.  The payoff on a novel can sometimes seem so distant it’s as if it’s in another galaxy.  It helps alleviate the endlessness if you have some shorter term projects to work on and send out.  Plus, it’s good writing practice.

So, I have resolved to take a brief break from my novel projects and write a short story every day this week.  That’s a complete rough draft, with a beginning, middle, and end, completed each day, Monday through Friday.

Since the biggest challenge will be coming up with 5 ideas, I’ve given myself a little help by creating my very own story idea generator.  This is a low-tech generator (not one of those fancy online ones), and it’s filled with things I think would be good story elements.  I came up with 5 lists, one each for plots, characters, settings, mood or tone, and a wildcard list.  I printed them out, cut them up (told you it was low-tech), and put them in envelopes.  Then I drew one from each envelope and…boom, 5 elements to work into a story.

Monday’s included a chance meeting, a toll collector, the fjords, and a murder.  The mood?  Adventurous.  I drew the elements Sunday night so I could sleep on this hodgepodge of nonsense.  By morning, I had my idea.  The result?  A 2,600 word story about Irv Bockleman, a 68 year old man who dreams of traveling to the Norwegian fjords but works instead as an intergalactic toll collector…until he has an unexpected encounter with a murderess on the run that changes his life forever.  Not sure it’s the greatest story of all time, but it was fun to write.

Today’s elements are: stolen goods returned improved, a bearded lady, an English garden, and a transformation.  The mood? Dreamy, but not a dream.  Hmmm…

I’m having such fun with this so far that I thought I’d used my “story elements generator” to provide the occasional story prompt for YOU here on the blog.

Soooo….here is your first prompt.  I challenge you to turn it into an awesome story.

  • Plot: Events on the last day of a war
  • Character: a shop girl
  • Setting: future earth
  • Wildcard: saltwater taffy (?!)
  • Mood: magical

If you come up with something, please say a little about it in the comments, if you like.  Also, if you think the idea of story prompts is a good one, please let me know and I’ll keep them coming.

Now, off to write!

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