Writing Prompt: Make a Brew!

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You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘actions speak louder than words’, and the age-old writing advice, ‘show, don’t tell’.

These ideas are based on using the subtext of the writing (what’s implied but not actually said) to communicate ideas without shoving them in the reader’s face.

Practice

Describe a couple’s argument using only the act of making a cup of coffee or tea. You can’t use dialogue and you can’t openly say that the characters have been fighting.

This writing prompt forces you to think about the way in which actions can tell a larger story, and uses subtlety to enrich your writing.

Good luck!

Via: https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/writing-prompts

Writing Prompts: Write A Letter

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Make a character write a letter. Not an email. Not a text message. An actual letter. 

Who’s this letter to? Does the letter explain your character’s relationship to its recipient? Does the reader already know the recipient? Or have you used this opportunity to introduce a new character?

What does the letter say? Do you, as the writer, include the letter in full? In snippets? Or do you simply paraphrase what your character is writing and thinking?

Some ideas: 

  • Your protagonist could write a letter to you, the author. What would they say to you? Would they be grateful, or would they have a few bones to pick?;
  • Your protagonist could write to another character or the antagonist;
  • Your antagonist could write you a letter, or write to the protagonist or another character, and so on;
  • The recipient of the letter could also write back.

Make sure that this letter offers your readers something new, what is it that we’re learning? Everything has to happen for a reason in your story, is this purely to show a character trait? Is it a clue as to what happens later? Is it to put new pressure on the relationship between your characters? 

Whatever motivates the letter, make sure you are discovering something deeper about the character or characters involved. 

Happy writing! 

Via: https://writersedit.com/254/resources-for-writers/weekly-writing-prompt-4/

30 Ways To Start A Novel 

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There are many ways to start a novel, but sometimes how to begin just eludes you. Well, here are 30 possible ways to start a novel (or a scene, for that matter) to give you some inspiration:

1.The arrival of a letter, email, or package. (The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield.)
This could be momentous. However, it could simply tell the reader about the character’s everyday life, such as a distasteful private message on a dating site.

2. A main character in a frustrating situation.
This can also give the reader a feel for her everyday life, while making them empathise with her right away. Maybe her car has broken down, or her cat is puking.

3. A main character in an awkward or embarrassing situation.
Maybe her cat is puking on the lap of a visitor she was trying to impress.

4. The discovery of a dead body. (Thief of Shadows, Elizabeth Hoyt. Also about a million mysteries.)

5. The death of somebody in the family or the community. (All The Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy; The Known World, Edward P. Jones.)
This is a popular one, and understandably so, because an ending is a new beginning.

6. The beginning or the middle of a disaster. (All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr, kind of.)
It could be a bombing, a plane crash, or a tornado.

7. The aftermath of a disaster. (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston.)

8. A kiss.

9. A performance, or the conclusion of one. (Bel Canto, Ann Patchett. This also has a kiss in it!)

10. A main character in the hospital. (Kindred, Octavia Butler.)

11. A main character declaring that he is in big trouble. (The Martian, Andy Weir.) The first line of The Martian is, “I’m pretty much fucked.” But your character’s situation could be somewhat less dire: “I had no chance of doing well that morning.”

12. A main character who’s clearly in big trouble. (What Is the What, Dave Eggers.)
She might be getting mugged or running from Nazi soldiers. Readers will start caring about her immediately.

13. The arrival of a plane, ship, or train. (The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexander Dumas.)
The character might be on board, or he might be watching it come in.

14. A scene at a party, a bar, or a nightclub. (War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy; The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss.)

15. A fight. (The Warrior, Zoë Archer.)
The character may be part of the fight, or just witnessing it.

16. A character moving in to a new place.
It could be a neighborhood, a dorm room, or a new country.

17. A broad statement about one’s life. (One For the Money, Janet Evanovich.)
One For the Money begins, “There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me — not forever, but periodically.” That’s a great hook.

18. A dramatic moment in the middle or end of the story. (The Secret History, Donna Tartt.)
You can begin here and then backtrack to explain how they got there. For instance, the prologue of The Secret History begins, “The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation.”

19. A trial in a courtroom. (Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson; also an example of #18.)
A milder version of this could be your character faces a judge or jury in the form of a parent, a manager, or a peer.

20. A job interview.
I really like this idea because you could get a lot of information across about your character naturally. She might be giving appropriate answers while her internal monologue tells you the rest of the story. Also, an applicant at a job interview is in a vulnerable position, which I think would create empathy for your heroine right away.

21. A main character meets someone new. (Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë)
A stray cat? A future lover? Someone important, probably.

22. A street scene. (Perdido Street Station, China Miéville.)
Your character could be getting an errand done or going to visit somebody. For a novel that takes place in an historical, futuristic, or fantasy setting, this can be a good way to establish a sense of place as well as establish your character’s normal life and priorities.

23. A main character in a triumphant situation.
Set her up before you knock her down. She could be giving a speech, winning a race, or accepting an award. It could also be a smaller personal triumph, such as successfully fixing a car or turning in her term paper on time.

24. A character or characters getting dressed, shaving, putting makeup on, or doing their hair. (The Makioka Sisters, Junichiro Tanizaki.)

25. A big, happy occasion such as a wedding or a graduation.
Of course, it might or might not be happy for your main character, who may be a participant or someone in the audience.

26. One character teaching another how to do something.
This is another way to establish your main character’s personality and his everyday life. If he’s a father, he could be teaching his son to hunt or to cook rice properly. If he’s an insurance salesperson, he could be giving the new guy some tips.

27. A visitor showing up at the door. (The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler.)
The main character might be the visitor or the person answering the door.

28. A main character coming across a significant object.
It could be a photograph of a lover she intended to forget, or strange relic that turns out to be magical.

29. A character committing a crime.
He might be the main character, or he might be the antagonist.

30. A character or characters completing a task. (Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens.)
This could be an unusual or startling task, or a more ordinary one with emotional significance.

By now, your creative juices should be spilling over. So hop to it! 🙂

Via: http://bryndonovan.com/

Writing Prompts: Perspective

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Perspective is an essential part of writing, and as well-known piece of advice is to always “write what you know”. But if we followed this idea we would miss out on a lot of great stories (not just from genres like sci-fi and fantasy, but stories written in other times, settings, or countries).

This writing prompt is about breaking the rules and immersing yourself entirely in another space and time to gain new perspectives, even when you have no solid real life experience.

Think outside your square

Imagine a character that lives in a country or city you’ve never visited, and then choose a time period that is either past or future, but not present. You don’t necessarily have to know historical or geographical details of this time and place, and it’s probably better if you don’t.

Write a few paragraphs or a short story that takes place in this completely unknown world. Don’t worry about being factually correct because this writing prompt is only designed to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and whose shoes they are doesn’t really matter.

Using your imagination and general knowledge to create something new in a story-world that is alien to you will get you used to seeing from other perspectives which will help you in your own work. Whether you’re writing for the opposite gender or writing something set in the 1800’s, you have to be able to re-create and re-imagine something you’ve never really known.

We can never have complete personal experience of every time and setting, so why restrict ourselves to stories that we ‘know’?

Happy writing!

Via: https://writersedit.com/weekly-writing-prompts-23/

 

Writing Prompt: Love Without Cliché

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It’s hard to escape that most talked-about and often clichéd theme: love. It’s a fundamental part of many stories, whether it’s love between people, love for a thing, or love that was lost.

But how do we approach the topic of love in our writing without sounding sappy or following too closely in the footsteps of the many authors who have written about ‘love’ before us?

This writing prompt is about battling the clichés and writing something original.

Write a scene where two characters show love for each other.

Sounds simple enough, right? Here are the rules:

  • Set your scene somewhere completely unromantic (the dump, a fish market, a funeral – it’s up to you).
  • You cannot use the words, ‘love’, ‘beautiful’, ‘overwhelming’, ‘heart’, or ‘butterflies’.
  • You cannot use a ‘love at first sight’ or ‘let’s make love’ plot (keep it PG-13, people!).
  • Avoid clichés at all costs!

Writing about love (and making it sound sincere rather than silly) is a difficult thing, so cut out the clichés and broaden your imagination.

Happy writing!

Via: https://writersedit.com/weekly-writing-prompts-16/

Writing Prompts | Travel

Travel

Whether you’ve got an existing protagonist, or you’re about to create something new, keep this in mind: Travel changes a person. Today, we’re not just talking about the commute to work, we’re talking big travel. Think about your protagonist and their experiences, where have they been? Have they been anywhere at all? It’s time to explore these possibilities.

You don’t have to make them travel, but it now’s the moment to be asking yourself, and them – why not? And if they have travelled – where? Why? Who with? What was different when they came back? One of the oldest notions about travel is that you feel as though everything has changed when you return, when in fact, it’s you who’s changed.

One of the reasons we fall in love with characters is because they go through different stages of development and growth… Do the choices your character has made about travel, tell us something deeper about them?

Happy writing!

Via: http://writersedit.com/weekly-writing-prompts-8/