Monthly Archives: April 2013

Prompt yourself into writing

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It never does get any easier. Writing, that is.
Sometimes, your writer’s brain feels like last week’s laundry. Sometimes, your fingers just refuse to move. Sometimes, you wonder what the heck you’re doing trying to tell a story.
What to do?
Try a writing prompt.
I’ve been writing longer than I like to admit and these are valuable to stir me up. I like to call prompts another word—exercises. You exercise your body, so why not your craft?
My critique group and I have yearly retreats and use writing prompts for fun, for challenge, and for practice. Each year, I flush out at least two short stories from the prompts, which basically give you something to write about. Sometimes you might have to write a scene with no dialogue, or all dialogue. To put yourself in someone’s shoes, or emphasize a specific emotion.
They’re good when you need a kick in the pants.
Where do you find such prompts? They’re all over the place.
Writer’s Digest.Com usually posts several for you to use. Recently they posted a column that you’ll find at http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/7-creative-writing-prompts-to-spark-your-writing?et_mid=612162&rid=22058720
Here is an example of one of the prompts.
“You and your three closest friends decide to go camping. You arrive and set up camp nearly three miles away from where you left your car. Late that evening, as you sit around the campfire roasting marshmallows, one of your friends reveals a deep dark secret that turns what was to be a fun weekend into one of the scariest weekends of your life.”
This one already has me intrigued.
Any good writing book will also contain prompts. One of the best I’ve found is “The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop” by Danell Jones. I love this book because it offers writing “sparks” on everything from character development to the senses.
Glimmer Train also has several books to prompt your pen or computer, as the case may be.
So flex those gray cells and stretch that imagination with a prompt.

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