In the mind of a Writer

Archive for January, 2012

Writing Prompts

I use these prompts when I get writer’s block or I need a new perspective.

NaNoWriMo Practice Prompts

My friend made a community on livejournal called 50_posts ( here are her 50 Random Prompts . . .

1. Why have I chosen to do this challenge?

2. Do I like animals?

3. My political leanings.

4. My first date

5. Look at your hands. Why are you grateful for them?

6. What am I all about? What makes me who I am?

7. The person that I admire.

8. What’s the coolest piece of technology I work or play with?

9. Ten fictional TV characters I fancy and why?

10. My dream job…

11. Send some people on your friends list some love.

12. My fondest childhood memory.

13. What would I like to be remembered for?

14. The most interesting person that I have ever met.

15. My ten favorite quotes.

16. The biggest mess that I ever got myself into.

17. My scariest flight.

18. Music is an important part of my life.

19. My biggest goal in life.

20. (Friend’s choice)

21. My favorite movies.

22. It’s ten years in the future. Write a letter to your today self.

23. My favorite poem.

24. The present that I would like to receive.

25. My perfect day.

26. All the jobs I’ve ever had.

27. The meaning of Christmas.

28. If I could become invisible…

29. My parents.

30. A world event that is causing me distress is…

31. I wish that I could…

32. The best book that I ever read.

33. The things that get me upset.

34. My five favorite LJ communities and why?

35. If I could choose a different time period to live in, when would it be?

36. My most embarrassing moment.

37. I am happy when…

38. The things that really bother me.

39. T.V. shows that I secretly and ashamedly enjoy.

40. (Friend’s choice)

41. Do we really need more than fifty kinds of shampoo?

42. I get scared when…

43. Five things I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t.

44. My fondest school memory.

45. Self-control is…

46. The most interesting place that I have ever visited.

47. A letter to someone I think of as a mentor.

48. When I take a long look in the mirror this is what I see.

49. Qualities that I look for in a friend.

50. My favorite and least favorite topic on the list.

There was a writing page on Facebook I used to get on at least once a week as they would post prompts on Sundays. . . I collected most of them.

Sunday Writing Exercise #3

So far, there have been some excellent responses to these exercises. I hope they lead to something good. Number 3: Try to create a scene using only dialogue between two people. You can identify who is speaking. For example:

“You’re late,” my mother said as I walked in.

“That’s your opinion,” I said.

“Opinion isn’t the question,” she said.

“Oh, so this is a dictatorship?”

“Yes, it is. But let’s call it a benevolent dictatorship.”

The point is, no description, etc. You’re trying to create the scene and the emotions solely by dialogue. But you supply enough information in the dialogue so the reader can follow. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #4

Sounds. This is about sounds. Think of a sound you love. Rain on the roof is an obvious one. An ocean wave crashing on the beach and withdrawing is another. The song of a bobwhite or song sparrow in the summer. The sweet scratchy sound of a pencil moving across the page…

Sunday Writing Exercise #5

Tastes. This is about tastes. As we work our way through the five senses in these writing exercises. Well, we’ve all tasted some lovely things. A ripe summer peach comes immediately to mind…

Sunday Writing Exercise #6

Write about some place–a city, a village, a house, a room, a country–where you left your heart. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #7

Think of a body of water that has been part of your life: a river, ocean, lake, stream, pond, even a pool. Now, write about its importance to you. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #8

Hope all of you had a good 4th. Now, write about the most memorable time you went dancing. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #9

Write a paragraph about which season you like the most. This is a good opportunity to use all of your senses. Example, Fall: smell of burning leaves, colors of leaves turning, sounds of geese flying south, and so on. Make it sing. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #10

Describe the one relative outside of your immediate family (i.e., not your mother, father, sisters, brothers) who you cared for the most, or who you admired the most. Use physical description, dialogue, remembered scenes or incidents, quirks, habits, the things that person did, and so on…

Sunday Writing Exercise #11

Write about the last time you were jealous. This can be any kind of jealousy. You could be jealous of a sibling for getting more attention than you. Jealous of your mate’s/partner’s ex-girlfriend (or ex-boyfriend) who always seems to be around, figuratively speaking. Jealous of your daughter’s (son’s) friends, because she (he) spends more time with them than with you. Jealous of…. You name it. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #12

Write about rain. Write anything you like, but think of the possibilities first. Listening to rain. Walking in the rain. Caught in a rainstorm. Watching rain. Tasting it. Maybe rain had some powerful part of a drama you were involved in. Remember Somerset Maugham’s story, “Rain.” And remember Catherine’s famous line in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, “Rain. Sometimes I see myself dead in it.” And of course at the end of the novel, the narrator walks away in the rain. Rain. Write about rain. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #13

I have an essay in a new anthology, Dirt: The Quirks, Habits, and Passions of Keeping House. So, let’s write about housework. Do you hate it? Love it? (Yes, some people find it soothing.) Avoid it? Never do it? What is your least favorite kind of housework? What about your parents? Was your mother a fanatical housekeeper? Or, shall we say, a less than fanatical housekeeper? The field is open. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #14

Write an opening sentence to something you’ve been working on (or want to start working on) that grabs the reader. Don’t just write a random sentence–e.g., “The fire destroyed the entire town!” unless that sentence is true and relevant to your story/essay/book, whatever. Anyone can make up a dramatic first sentence that leads nowhere. Your job is to take your story/event and create a sentence that absolutely relates and yet is very dramatic. Hint: Shorter sentences (under, say, twelve words) often are stronger simply by their tautness and muscle. Work on this until you have something you’re pleased with. Hone this. Polish this. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #15

InWinesburg,Ohio, there is a story called “Hands.” I want you to pick the part of your body you feel you could write a story about. Begin that story. Write the first four or five lines. (No sexual organs, please.) You could write it from the point of view of the limb or part, like they used to do in Reader’s Digest–e.g., “I Am John’s Liver.” Or you could write it from the third person point of view: “Miriam’s elbow was giving her trouble again.” Or from the first person, “I really don’t like my kneecaps.” This is an ideal place to use some humor. But it can be serious, too. RG

Exercise 16

Books. I want some words about books. Not about specific books, as I asked for before, but about books in general. I have this great fear that books will be replaced by various electronic forms eventually. Not possible? Look what’s happening to newspapers. So, please write one reason that you think books are important, are essential. What can you get from a book that you can’t get from a Kindle, or Reader, or whatever else there is out there. Why do we need books–forever. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #17

Write about fall. Autumn. It’s here. It’s in the air. That first bite. Write about what it means to you, or about your memories of it, about what emotions it evokes. It seems the soul aches with this transition to winter. Think of all the sensations and colors and tastes and moods this season brings. Then put it all down on paper. RG

Writing Exercise #18

Today I’m going to ask everyone to write a poem. A short poem–let’s say no more than two stanzas or 10 lines, more or less. Writing poetry is good, even if we’re not great poets, because it puts us in close prximity to the music of words–to rhythm and cadence and melody. So, pick a subject, and write away. Or, if a subject eludes you, you can choose from this grab-bag of subjects: Write a poem about a turtle, a waterfall, twilight, a kiss, rain, saying goodbye, traveling on a train, or sleep. The poem can be rhymed or unrhymed. If you haven’t written a poem in a while, this should be fun–which it’s meant to be. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #19

Words. I want you to write down five words that you love, and, if you feel inclined, explain, in a few more words, why you love them. I myself have hundreds and hundreds I love. Words that have lovely, odd and memorable sounds: scrunch, for example, or scuff. Words that seemed to have been invented by a magician, like tintinnabulation, a word Poe used in “The Bells.” Or words that you just like to say, or to hear, and wonder where did they come from, like dally or cucumber. How about it? As Hamlet said, “Words, words, words.” RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #20

Very simple today. Red. What does that color mean to you? Blood. Lipstick. Stop sign. Any thing or place or image or food. Write about red. RG

What Do You Want to Write? Extra Exercise

I’m really curious. What is it you’d most like to write? Poems? Short Stories? Novels? Plays? Memoirs? Screenplays? I’d love to hear from you, hear what you want to do when you put pen to paper. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #21Share

It used to be that poets wrote odes. Not so much any more. One of the most famous is Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind.” Which got me to thinking….

Write a prose ode to the wind–not a poem. It doesn’t have to be a specific wind, unless you want it to be. But wind. It could be positive–wind in your hair, etc. Or a memory about wind. Or negative–harsh winds, bitter winds. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #22Share

Write about a kitchen you remember well and about all the good things that were made and cooked there and about the person (mother, father, grandmother, wife, husband, girlfriend, roommate, etc.) who cooked them. You can describe this kitchen during a specific season, time of day, holiday, etc. Think of all the skill and good smells and anticipation, and so on. Have fun. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #23Share

What was the one book that changed your life? Write about why, and how. For every writer, there’s more than one, of course, but see if you can land on just one. RG

Do You Use Music to Inspire You to Write? Extra Exercise

If you do, what kind? Any particular artist? Band? Orchestra? Genre? Jazz? Classical? Blues? Country? Brazilian? African? Do you listen with speakers blasting? With earphones? Or, very low? Or do you let music inspire you when you’re not writing and write without music on? How does it work for you? Let’s hear from everyone. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #24Share

Write about a memorable experience you had on a train–here, in Europe,India,France, anywhere. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #25Share

Write about a memorable experience you had at Thanksgiving. It could be funny, ridiculous, sad, slightly insane, or wonderful. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #26Share

Write about a landmark birthdays of yours: Turning 16; turning 21; turning 30; turning 40; turning 50 (do I have to go on?); turning 60…. What did you feel that you didn’t expect to feel? Great emotion? Nothing? RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #27Share

Write a portrait in the third person of someone you know well. Do not use the first person. That is, you can’t say “I” anywhere. It’s all “he”, “she” or “they”. Be detailed, be specific. For example: “She was a slim, anxious woman, with a curious habit of sneezing when she was especially nervous. She used to tell us, her children, that she was “allergic to worry.” RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #28

Write about the most interesting neighbor you’ve ever had. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #29

Write four things you love, or hate, about snow. Or combine one from column A and three from column B, etc. (If you get this allusion it will tell me how old you are.) RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #30

Number #30? How did that happen? Well, here we are. And so: Choose one of the following words around which to write a paragraph. Blood. Ocean. Sleep. Hunger. Fear. Kiss. RG

Writing Prompt time!! You have just received a Dear John letter from something you have wanted to get rid of in this new year…could be a bad habit, a way of thinking, something you have not accomplished. What does this letter say? : ^ O

Sunday Writing Exercise #31

Think of the story (poem, essay, novel, etc.) that you would most like to write in 2010. Now, give us a brief summary here of what that is. RG

Sunday Writing Exercise #32

It’s cold in my part of the country, and has been for weeks now. I’m getting a bit tired of it. Let’s counter that by this writing exercise. Write about being hot, about heat–about a hot summer day, working in the hot sun, lying on the beach while the sun bakes you, about the smell of flowers on a hot day, anything about hot and heat. RG

I also found a few other FB pages:

My own ideas

Compare yourself with your main character: likes? Dislikes?

You are having a conversation with a fictional enemy?

You interview your main character about major changes in their life?

You are a news reporter and you have to write an article about the conflict in your story.

20 Minute Rant: Time yourself and rant about something: politics, religion, family issues, NaNoWriMo stresses, etc.

Describe your favorite meal . . . (Shape, color, flavor, texture etc.)

What was your favorite toy as a kid?

Pick a number between 10-25, now tell that many thing about yourself people may not know.

Your best and worst quality and why?

If you won 12 million dollars what would you do it?

Describe your favorite art piece (color, texture, dimensions)

Talk about your first pet or favorite animal

What is your favorite videogame and why?

If you are told one pill will give you a longer life and other pill will kill instantly would take either pill? Why? Red pill or Blue pill?

You are sick: describe you body, the aches, pain, ho you feel…

Your favorite smell: describe it