Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Getting Started II

Some days ideas are far and few between. You want to write, but you sit down and…nothing.

The five writing prompts below are designed to 1) get you motivated or 2) just to give you some practice. Remember, we’re throwing spaghetti here. Go with one of these ideas and we’ll see if it sticks.


You can either read through the whole list and then choose one, or take each one in turn and write for ten minutes. The goal here is to write for at least a half an hour.

Writing prompts

1)  It is your turn to pick up the bill for the Friday afternoon Happy Hour with your friends. They’ve all left. You reach for your wallet…and you’ve only four dollars inside. You hand the bartender your credit card…which is denied. Now what?

2)  You’re at a local fair and everyone’s having a good time. Then your significant other slobbers mustard down the front of his (or her) best shirt. While the others rib him (or her), you fume. You told him (or her) not to wear that shirt today. Write the scene you have when you two get home.

3)  Scents often are powerful memory inducers. What kind of person would find their memory triggered by the following scents: lilacs in full bloom, coffee brewing on the stove, fresh-turned earth after a spring rain, a skunk that’s just been frightened? Brainstorm, then write a scene where that scent triggers the memory.

4)  The local church is having a bake sale. An older member of the congregation calls and asks if you’d bake something to sell. You’re not home…one of your family members takes the call and cheerily volunteers your services. But you’re a lousy baker. What happens?

5)  Your siblings excel at sports, winning medals and ribbons and setting various records. You can barely walk without tripping over your own feet. Write a scene where your mother or father consoles you after the latest success on the part of your siblings.

Don’t lose what you’ve written. If you’re working digitally, BACK UP (You’ll discover this is one of my mantras. Experience has taught me well.) Next week we’ll be doing some character work and you’ll need a story you’ve already begun (either something sparked by today’s writing or another piece from your files), so bring it along.

PS. “Backup” does NOT mean making a second copy on the same drive. It means making a second copy on a flash drive or emailing it to yourself. Or even printing it out to have a hard copy. Whatever you do, have a second copy in case something happens to the first. We’ll talk further file management options in a future workshop.

My qualifications

The contents of these workshops are actually my accumulation of several years’ experience teaching creative writing in real-life classroom settings. Each workshop has been tried and tested several times. Additional workshops came from my work in Second Life where I gave many of these workshops in the virtual world (as Diana Allandale). This is, however, the first time I’ve gathered all the various workshops I’ve offered in both worlds and published them in one place.

The nitty-gritty

A new workshop will be posted every Tuesday. Eventually we’ll have the contents of a book about writing. At that point, I’ll collect all the workshops in ebook (and maybe print) form for those who would like it all bundled into one nice, neat place and offer it for sale.

You’ll see a new button below. If you enjoy the workshops and find them useful, please consider sending a donation my way. When the final product is ready to go, those who have donated each time will get a free copy of the ebook as a gift from me. I won’t dun you twice for the content.


Diana Hunter said...

Post a comment and let me know if anything useful came of these prompts :)

Tara Nina said...

I like your ideas. They are an intriguing way to jump start the brain.

Diana Hunter said...

Thanks, Tara. It's fun to start with a prompt and see where the story goes. If the story "sticks" I find I often end up abandoning the original prompt as the characters take on lives of their own.