Image by Rebecca Bishop
This week’s writing prompt, although for everyone, is especially useful for those who are working on a bigger project – perhaps a novel or novella. The problem with writing a bigger work is that generally, there’s not much ‘reward’ in terms of recognition and publication throughout what is usually a long process. Most journals don’t accept novel excerpts as submissions, and so unless you’re working on multiple short stories as well as your novel, you won’t be published until *fingers crossed* your novel hits the shelves.
So here’s something for you to try:
Get yourself in the writing zone with your favourite tipple and a notepad. Draw a quick mind map of the main characters and the ‘support cast’ associated with them in your current work. Then take a closer look at one of these secondary characters.
The idea is to choose someone who is quietly relevant to your story – perhaps it is the actions of this character that made your protagonist act in a certain way or choose a certain path? It could be your lead man’s mother? Or an old school friend? Think about their backstory.
This story could be set years before the events in your novel take place, like the protagonist’s childhood, or the childhood of their parents, or a lover… Choose a character whose backstory impacts the narrative in a subtle way. This is your opportunity to explore events and characters that you love but don’t have room for in your current work.
Then write a short story based on whatever you come up with. This allows you to create something that can stand alone from your novel, yet benefit it at the same time. At best, you have a short story that you’re able to submit to literary journals for consideration, and at worst, you’ve built onto the backstory of your novel, and enriched one of its support characters or settings by getting to know them better.
Extra extra! Read all about it!
Here is a writing prompt to really get those creative juices flowing:
Write a made-up news report.
This could be an idea taken from something you’ve seen in real life, maybe something you read in a local or national paper.
Or you could take one of your fictional characters and imagine something newsworthy happening to them – how would that event be reported in the morning papers?
It could be an opinion piece or a feature, a wedding announcement, something unusual or exciting taking place in the community, or it could be the crime of the century!
Who knows. Maybe it will spark the idea for your next novel, or give you an exciting new twist.
Or it could be that prompt you needed to develop your plot and get you out of that rut you’ve been stuck in.
Happy writing 🙂
Most of us are aware that we now live in a modern age, where digital assistants live in our smart homes and can take all kinds of instructions.
Some of us find them amazing and couldn’t do without them, others of us wouldn’t trust them an inch and don’t want them in our house.
But have you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side of the coin?
Is Siri secretly an evil genius?
Is Alexa a dumb idiot who wonders why you’re always asking her questions she doesn’t understand?
Write a piece from the point of view of Siri or Alexa. Give them personalities and decide exactly how clever they really are.
This could get scary really fast!
Happy writing 🙂
Birthdays can hold amazing memories and sometimes contain embarrassing and even tragic recollections. People all over the world have different traditions for celebrating birthdays. You may even celebrate your birthday in a unique way with your own family. Here are some fun creative writing prompts about birthdays:
1. Write a story that begins with a character suffering from a terminal disease. The scene begins with the character celebrating what he/she believes is their last birthday. What happens next?
2. Write a story where two main characters (who do not yet know each other) are preparing for their big birthday bash. However reservations get mixed up really quick and the two characters end up sharing the same party.
3. Write a story about a couple that are having a very difficult time in their marriage. One spouse decides to throw an amazing surprise party. What unexpected surprises occur?
4. Write a story about a child’s birthday gift which becomes alive. For instance, a child receives a large stuffed unicorn that comes alive and talks.
5. Write a story about being trapped in birthday-Groundhog day and reliving your own birthday over and over again.
6. Research some amazing and generous things that people have done for others for their birthday. Write a story based on these incredible stories.
7. Write a story that begins with the character celebrating their 90th birthday.
8. Write a story about a man who can change any given birthday in their life. Which birthday do they choose and how do they change it? How does this impact the rest of their life?
I hope these prompts inspire some amazing writing!
Writing concisely is a great skill to have. It means you can connect with your readers in an instant rather than half a page, and that really packs a punch. But making the most meaning possible in the least amount of words can be very difficult. So, here’s a writing prompt to help you work on the weight of your words. Beware, this one is not for the faint-hearted!
Part 1: A story.
Write a short story starting with the sentence “We watched the sun rise”. It can be set anywhere, at any time, and be about whatever you want. Make it at least a page with as many details as you dare to think up.
Part 2: A paragraph.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Condense your story to a single paragraph. It may seem impossible to cut anything out, but you can do it. Think about what’s really important to your story and trim back the fat. We all have to ‘kill our darlings’!
Part 3: 25 words.
Turn your trimmed paragraph into (around) 25 words. Think about how can you merge multiple meanings into single words. This is where your vocabulary can come in handy. As long as you keep to ‘the point’ of your story you can whittle down your words and still get to the crux of what you want to say.
When you’re finished you should have three versions of the same story. This writing prompt is tough but totally worth it, because when you have your final sentences you’ll have some truly concentrated words and images. It also helps to see that your creative intentions don’t disappear with the words you cull, which makes it easier to write and edit your longer works. You can then apply this process to any novel or article you are writing and make your works concise.
OK, so unless you’ve been living under a rock in the outback with no internet connection, you can’t have failed to notice it’s getting close to Christmas.
If you’re anything like me you will have been fighting this whole festive thing since it started in September – I mean seriously, let’s at least enjoy celebrating Halloween properly before we even contemplate getting out the tinsel!
But now it is a mere few weeks away, perhaps it is time to really embrace the Christmas spirit – mince pies, fairy lights and all – so that you can enjoy it before it whooshes past in a whirlwind of wrapping paper, silver bows and baubles.
So with that in mind, your writing challenge should you choose to accept it is: Write a Christmas acrostic poem.
This is simple. Spell out the letters of C.h.r.i.s.t.m.a.s. down the left hand side of a page, and then write a verse for each line beginning with the appropriate letter. I first did this back in primary (elementary) school, and my Mum still gets it out every year now.
You don’t need to spend hours creating a masterpiece, although do that if you feel inspired, but just have fun with it. Enjoy the process of creating something festive. It might just get you into the Christmas mood. And who knows, if it’s really good, show your mum – she may just decide to get it out every year from now on, too! 🎄🎅🏻🎁
In the run up to Halloween, I will be doing some themed writing prompts; and without further ado here is today’s:
Write a spooky legend about your neighborhood.
Suburbia can be just as scary as the big city! What does it look like? Who lives there? What happened…?
Think Urban Legend or Scary Movie, make it as creepy as you like – but remember, you just made it up so don’t freak yourself out!