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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Writing Wednesday -- Creative Writing Prompts!

I cannot believe I didn't think of this sooner. Writing prompts! Fun or what? If this goes well, I'll definitely do this more often. You'll have to let me know what you think in the comments. Anyway...

It happens every time. You sit down, all excited to get those fingers tapping away on the keyboard. Coffee in hand (in your favourite mug, the one with the grammar pun), you sit back, relax, fire up the trusty old laptop, and...

...nothing. Not a word pops into your head. You set Microsoft Word to your comfort font, classic 12pt Times New Roman. Wait for it...nope. Still nothing. What's wrong with you? You're a writer! Why can't you write? Are you losing your touch? Has your muse abandoned you?

Oh no. What if this happens every day? What if you can never write again? Then the world will never read the masterpiece you've been pouring all that metaphorical blood, sweat and tears into! Why, cruel fate? WWWWWHHHHYYYYYYYY????????

Even if you're not as melodramatic as I am, writer's block -- or whatever you want to call it -- is scary at worst and irritating at best. So what can you do to lure your muse back and cure this bout of The Freeze?

1) Don't panic. The muse doesn't like you when you're panicked.

2) Read back over what you wrote yesterday. Put yourself in the scene. That is not your goldfish watching you from the tank, that is an ocean filled with Sirens waiting to lure your unsuspecting group of sailors to their watery graves. Honest.

Feeling inspired yet? If so, great! Dive in! But if not, that's fine, too. Just try one of these five-minute exercises to get those writing muscles warmed up. Have fun with them. The sillier, the better! All of these are my original writing prompts, so I give you permission to share and publish any work you create using these. You may also link back to this page and share the writing prompts as you see fit, I just ask that you please credit me, Hannah J of Perfect Companions Have Pages and Prose, as the creator. Thanks!

Your main character (or another book character), a celebrity, a friend, a family member and one of your childhood teachers are stuck in a lift/elevator. One of them is secretly claustrophobic. Write about what happens.
I've had hours of fun with this one. If you don't want someone to have claustrophobia, pick something else weird. Maybe the lights go out? Someone is on a mission to deactivate a bomb, and if they don't get out of here in thirty-eight -- make that thirty-seven -- minutes, the building will explode? Don't be afraid to mix it up.

Pick three songs at random from your music collection (shuffle is good for this.) Write a scene, a poem or a short story inspired by the events and emotions in those songs. Rule: You must use something from each song. Alternatively, use one line of the lyrics from each song in your poem.
This one is also one of my go-to prompts and I always make a playlist for each writing project I do. It's great for when you need to put yourself into the emotions of the scene, to keep the story in your mind when you're out and about and to spark ideas when you're feeling uninspired. My favourite artists to use for this are Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and Lady Antebellum, because they have some gorgeous imagery in their lyrics, but anything works. I dare you to use The Duck Song...

Take your main character and put them in the climax of another book, or vice versa. How would they have handled the situation?
Also very fun, and useful for getting back into your MC's shoes, if this was your problem. Alternatively, take a main character from a book that's not yours and put them into the climax of another book that's not yours. Oh, and if anyone puts Bella Swan in the arena (The Hunger Games), please please pretty please send it to me. I'm dying to see how that would play out.

"The girl in blue sat in the furthest corner of the coffee shop, grazing on chocolate covered pretzels. She was scribbling madly on a tablet, and every time the bell above the door rang, announcing the entrance of another customer, she almost jumped right out of her chair."
Continue this, either from the girl's POV (in third person) or the POV of the person who is watching her (first or third). Try to answer some of the questions the beginning poses (Who is she? What is she doing on the tablet? Why is she so jumpy?) whilst also posing a few more of your own. There are real possibilities with this, because we know almost nothing about the girl. Take it in whatever direction you want, and keep going until you feel like stopping. Or turn it into a novella- or even novel-length piece. Be creative.

A shaft of light shines down on you, illuminating your bluish toes and a small space of damp stone floor. A few dust mites hover in the air in front of your nose, and you sneeze. The echo of the sound tells you the room can't be more than ten feet in any direction. You're cold, wet, hungry. Your head hurts like nobody's business. There's a thick stench in the air, like stale smoke and urine. Worst of all, you can't remember a single thing. Write from here.
This could be continued in any person, but I think first would be most effective. If you're planning on reading this aloud, though, second holds major possibilities.


That's all for now, but I'll try to make this a reasonable regular occurrence. It really depends on the response I get. So, if you've enjoyed, please let me know, and feel free to share your work in the comments. I'd love to see what you came up with! Until Friday, my lovelies.