Writing Prompts are useful. There we go, a very obvious statement to open up with. Especially for those times when you want to write a piece of flash fiction or a short story, maybe even a whole novel if it is a particular empty Sunday afternoon, but your inspiration has deserted you and you just don’t know what to write about.
I wrote a post a few months back (Creative Writing Prompts and Exercises) that listed ten ways of flooding your mind with new writing ideas. Is ten ideas really enough? Does my list of ten writing prompts cover every single possible way? You bet your ass it doesn’t, which is why I’m going to list even more for you here.
Writing Prompts 1: They Fight Crime
I came across the website Theyfightcrime.org on Terribleminds.com as part of one of their flash fiction contests. I didn’t have the time to enter the contest unfortunately but I knew I had to make a note of this random prompt generator. This site randomly generates two random people who ‘fight crime’. If you like your writing to be funny or just plain bizarre than this site is a good port of call. Where else could you be given the writing prompt…
“He’s a shy alcoholic dog-catcher with a passion for fast cars. She’s a scantily clad renegade schoolgirl from a secret island of warrior women. They fight crime!”
Writing Prompts 2: Crazy Conversations
For this prompt all you will need is two fiction books. If you don’t have two fiction books, then… well… whatever, everyone should own at least two books. All you need to do is take the first book and open it at a random page, and find the first line of dialogue on the page. Then open up the second book and do the same. For example…
“No need to worry. The car has a driver-side air bag.”
“Don’t give me any of that bollocks about solidarity.”
Now simply take those two sentences and weave them into your story, they can be anywhere in the story but they do have to be included.
Writing Prompts 3: Nursery Rhyme Mix-Up
Another writing prompt that takes what you know and gives it the proverbial mix-up. This time we’ll be taking things from the tales and stories from our childhood. Nursery Rhymes work the best for this activity as they all have very simple story-lines; an egg fell of a wall, two kids fell down a hill, well you get the idea. So take those nursery rhymes, those simple stories and start messing with them. Take one character and put it in another one, bring the tale to modern-day or to ancient Egypt. They’re classics for a reason, and it’s a lot easier to put a new slant on Humpty Dumpty than it is Lord of the Rings.
Writing Prompts 4: Lyric
Most songs tell us stories. The lyrics are cunningly woven together to depict the thoughts and feelings of the song writer. Well maybe not in all cases, I can’t imagine ‘Shake ya bum bum’ by Lil Kim is a particularly complex story. Regardless of their complexity (or in my case my slight prejudice against certain types of music) songs tells us stories and there is no reason you can’t use them as a basis for a story. You will still need to be careful of course, a direct copy of the lyrics could get you into some trouble as far as copyright goes, but no-one can copyright an idea. (I haven’t checked but it doesn’t sound right.) Listen to your favourite song or hunt down the lyrics, let the music or the words inspire you.
Writing Prompts 5: Say What?
The last prompt I’ll talk you through is another prompt based on random generator site. The site in question generates a random sentence for you, and is here on watchout4snakes.com and the tricky part is it’s often not perfect in grammar. Hope over there now and click it a few times, you’ll get sentences like…
The barrier responds beneath the accused!
Her spectrum reforms the distressing directive.
As you can see they sentences are not usually grammar perfect, but to me that adds to the effectiveness of the prompt. Now, depending on how brave you feel you can either try to add these sentences in to your fiction as they are, or you can generate a few of them and write about the collective picture they give you.
As with all creative writing prompts there is no right or wrong way, if you are writing at the end of it then they have done their work. If you have used these prompts and they have been of use, drop a comment into the boxes below.