1. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    Prompts

    Discussion in 'Writing Prompts' started by Alex_Hartman, Oct 1, 2008.

    I've heard people say that doing writing prompts are good for practice and keep you writing. I searched online for a list of prompts, and I found one. But looking at them, they were either totally unrelated to me, or they just were not motivating.

    Then I thought that it would be better if I made up my own prompts, but ones that I could make to help me a little more directly on my writing, like having prompts for characters or different kinds of scenes.

    Are there any prompts that you know of that are really motivating to you, whether they are related to your writing or not?

    And just on the topic of motivation, are there any specific things or objects that motivate you, like a funny looking plant in your kitchen or some crazy guy that lives across the street?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Look around the room, and write about something which looks interesting to you. It could be anything you want. Sometimes I just put a random object in front of me and write about it. This gives you the practice of writing about anything and everything.
     
  3. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    The way I see it, concerning writing prompts for yourself, if you can come up with a prompt for yourself, that means your mind is working on a particular track. So go with that track, and you should, in theory, be able to come up with actual story to write.

    Right? ;)
     
  4. Palimpsest
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    Palimpsest Senior Member

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    I can't write my own prompts, for the reason BillyxRansom pointed out... it's not really a prompt, is it, if you make it yourself with your mind already on a track. But if the environment, or ponderings, or both just click into a possible topic-- I write it down, rather than write it out, and sometimes forget it, and return to these as if they were prompts.

    If you want, you can have any or all of these:
    This I got from reading a random blog entry here while looking up my Chinese horoscope.

    This thought up while watching a documentary about neurology in high school bio class four years ago... I keep these self-made prompts a long time.

    Based off a person I knew in real life, who reminded me of several other people I knew in real life, meaning (I hope) it becomes based off no-one and will offend no-one personally.

    Here're some prompts from the very first page of one of my favorite books on writing, Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine.
    • I have one green eye and one brown eye. The green eye sees truth, but the brown eye sees much, much more.
    • The ghost was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich.
    • "Be nice," my father said. "After all, he's your brother."
    • I am the most famous twelve-year-old in the United States.
    I found it much easier when these prompts connected to the "lessons" in each chapter, but not always. In the chapter that covered how to open one's "writer's eye" and notice sensory information, the exercise was to write from the point of view of a newborn puppy or kitten. I love baby animals, except some kinds of larva, but I drew a blank.
    In the chapter concerning how to build conflict, the exercise at the end was to retell Little Red Riding Hood exaggerating the gory wolf-eating. I found that uninspiring, since I thought you need to build the character up as sympathetic before the conflicts can have any impact, and that fairy tale doesn't lend me much room for interpreting the character.

    Horoscope-style prompts, from Monica Wood's The Pocket Muse.
    • A long-ago mistake comes back to bite you in the backside.
    • Somebody close to you will tell your secret.
    • Unwanted information comes to you through a surprising channel.
    Most prompts, I've noticed, are about that vague and I find them too bland. The fill-in-the blank ones, from the same, I find more inspiring...
    • Seven days ago ____. Now, nobody will talk to me.
    • Until____ , nothing notable had happened in the town of Madison since the year of its founding.
    • Write from the point of view of an 87-year-old man, and begin with "I could have avoided it all if _____. "

    I guess, what facilitates a connection of ideas is different with everyone... some prefer keywords, others prefer images, some only certain kinds of keywords (concrete or abstract), others need context, so what would prompt you might be in a specific form that is different from someone else's?
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I've found prompts aren't very useful to me, personally. Back in school when we had to come up with original stories based on prompts, for assignments, I could do them, but now that I write almost exclusively within a few set storylines of my own, I find that prompts usually don't fit in with them. I can use journal prompts, but not fiction ones. They would have to be tailored specifically for my stories.

    I find that reading about the subjects I like to write about, and learning new things about them, really inspires me to want to write new things. Reading about mythology often prompts ideas.
     
  6. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    Those were good, I liked them.

    I just want to have some prompts that I can keep at school to do if I have free time. =D
     
  7. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Isn't the whole point of prompts that you write on them even if they don't inspire you? I.E. that you try to work creativity in through the rigid structure provided?

    Personally, I love prompts. I've got pages of 'em from my old LA classes, when I used to give the kids a prompt every week for Free-Write Fridays; I'll see if I can dig 'em up for you when I've got access to my files.
     
  8. Becca D
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    Becca D Member

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    My current project actually springs from a prompt from my school's creative writing club. The whole point of prompts, I think, is to break you from a mindset. For example, we were told to start a story about a boy who wakes up one day and finds himself turned into a [insert random object/animal/etc here]. You may not ever actually use the original prompt for anything, but it can start you thinking about "what-if" scenarios. And for me, "what-if" is always the beginning of a story idea.

    (In case you're curious, the prompt my story is taken from is this: Write a conversation between a Harley-Davidson enthusiast and:
    1. A Buddhist monk
    2. A mental hospital escapee
    3. A cop
    4. A small child)

    There were others on the list, but I can't remember them. While I didn't start by writing an actual conversation, I did start thinking about how a Buddhist monk and a Harley Davidson enthusiast would even start talking in the first place. And then I got a story idea. And it's already turning into a full-blown (hopefully) novel. :)
     
  9. NateDoggy
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    NateDoggy Member

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    I'm taking a creative writing class right now at my high school, and only one of the prompts to this point has inspired me, but you have to work through it and come up with something because it is creative writing, you got to be creative just straight off the top of your head.

    I don't have any available right now though, I forgot most of them.
     

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