Category Archives: Writing Prompts

Objects and Inference

Hello everyone!

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse?” If you look at what someone carries with them or how they decorate their home, you get an idea about their likes, interests, habits, etc.

Try to describe yourself through things. Go through your house and choose eight objects that represent you as a person. You only get to use eight items to portray yourself, so make each one count. See if you can hint at more than one thing about yourself through your selections. (This skill comes in handy with word choice as well.)

Now that you’ve created your own object character bio, ask someone to choose eight items at random. Your challenge for the next two weeks is to create a character based off of the eight things you were given. If this does not resonate with you or if you finish early, you can also try to write a short story that contains all eight objects in a logical way.

Happy writing!

Katie

P.S.

What were you able to infer about me from the eight objects I shared? I’d love to find out! Feel free to post your inferences in the comments section below.

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Inspiring Lines

Hello everyone!

Anyone who knows me is aware that I love theaters, both cinematic and stage.  Sometimes, while watching a movie or a performance, a line or concept will stand out to me.  If I tap into my writer side, I will notice that two storytelling possibilities are presenting themselves:

  1. Take the idea behind the line and use it as the theme for a story.
  2. Use the line as the springboard for a character. Write the line into that character’s dialogue and let the tone of that line guide a scene or the character’s personality through the story.  (If you choose this option, be sure to go back later and change the line so there is not a copyright infringement.)  Remember, with this option, you are using the words of the line, but you can change the tone, situation, and body language.  For example, “Why so serious?” from The Dark Knight (2008) could be asked innocently or flirtatiously.

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to select one of the well-known, and in some cases abused, movie lines below.  Then, write a short story using the line in one of the methods described above.

  1. “There’s no place like home.” – The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  2. “Just a flesh wound.” – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  3. “No. I am your father.” – Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  4. “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  5. “Go ahead, make my day.” – Sudden Impact (1983)
  6. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” – Dirty Dancing (1987)
  7. “You can’t handle the truth!” – A Few Good Men (1992)
  8. “Houston, we have a problem.” – Apollo 13 (1995)
  9. “Show me the money.” – Jerry Maguire (1996)
  10. “You make me want to be a better man.” – As Good As It Gets (1997)

Happy writing!

Katie

Rustling Leaves

Hello everyone!

When writing, I have always found story starters to be helpful. For me, a story starter is the most effective type of writing prompt. I have yet to meet a story starter that did not inspire me to write.

For the next two weeks, your writing challenge is to use the following story starter to write a short story.

The sun shone down, creating dappled shadows on the wooded path. Overhead, birds hopped and darted among the braches, alternately singing to and scolding each other. A crisp breeze rustled the changing leaves and tousled his hair. Although everything around him seemed peaceful, he couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching him.

Happy writing!

Katie

How do you like those apples?

Hello everyone!

“Play is a child’s work and this is not a trivial pursuit.” – Alfred Adler

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to choose one of the six word groups below and write a short story that uses all of the words mentioned. To make this even more challenging, you can roll a die to determine which set of three words you must use. (All of the words in the lists are from cards randomly drawn from the game Apples to Apples.)

  1. Chickens, Gossip, Zen
  2. The Little Mermaid, The JFK Assassination, Scene of the Crime
  3. Quicksand, Pro Wrestling, A Crawl Space
  4. Confucius, Roman Numerals, Dr. Kevorkian
  5. Firefighters, Jimmy Stewart, Leather
  6. The 1950s, Pond Scum, Marriage

*This writing prompt was inspired by an activity Justin Tappan had us do at our critique group.

Happy writing!

Katie

Read, Write, and Blue

Hello everyone! Happy Independence Day!

In honor of our country’s 241st birthday, I decided to do a theme based writing prompt which will also serve as practice in following submission guidelines.

Your challenge is to write a flash fiction story with an obvious beginning, middle, and end that fits into the theme.stars

Theme: Red, White, and Blue

Word Count: 1,000 words

Happy writing!

Katie

What if…?

Hello everyone and a special congratulations to teachers and students everywhere for concluding another school year!

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” – Fred Rogers

My family loves to play games. One which often results in lots of laughter whenever we play it is Imagine iff….

Writing Challenge

Your challenge for the next two weeks is to use the six Imagine iff… cards below to write a short story.

Instructions: There are three steps to this writing challenge. Steps 1 and 2 should be completed before reading Step 3. Together, Steps 1 and 2 should take between 5 and 15 minutes to complete.

thGNWQR3ZMSupplies for Steps 1 and 2: You will need a piece of paper and a writing implement.

Write down your answers as you read the questions. Do NOT read Step 3 until after you have completed Steps 1 and 2.

Step 1: Choose a person you know well or about whom you have strong opinions. He/She can be a friend, family member, or well-known person (contemporary or historical figure).

Step 2: Answer the following questions (from Imagine iff… cards) for the person selected. Write down your answers.

Question 1: Imagine iff… _____ were giving a big speech tomorrow. How would he/she attempt to calm his/her nerves?

    1. Picture everyone in the audience in underwear
    2. Meditate
    3. Nerves? What nerves?
    4. Focus on only one person in the audience
    5. Never look up and read straight from note cards
    6. Cram all night and sleep through the speech

monkey wrench & monkeyQuestion 2: Imagine iff… _____ were a tool. Which would he/she be?

  1. Monkey Wrench
  2. Shovel
  3. Vice
  4. Leaf Blower
  5. Orbital Sander
  6. Chainsaw

Question 3: Imagine iff… _____ were a section in a newspaper. Which would he/she be?

  1. Opinion
  2. Coupons
  3. Picture Page
  4. Stock Quotes
  5. Dear Abby
  6. Travel & Leisure

beach ball 3Question 4: Imagine iff… _____ were a ball. Which would he/she be?

  1. Magic 8-Ball
  2. Beach Ball
  3. Wrecking Ball
  4. Ball Bearing
  5. Medicine Ball
  6. New Year’s Ball

Question 5: Imagine iff… _____ were a type of painting. Which one would he/she be?

  1. Self Portrait
  2. Abstract
  3. Paint by Numbers
  4. Watercolor
  5. Face Paint
  6. Landscape

dust pan & broom 2Question 6: Imagine iff… _____ were something found in a closet. Which would he/she be?

  1. Bowling Pin
  2. Toys
  3. Dust Pan/Broom
  4. Umbrella
  5. Mouse Trap
  6. A Mess

Step 3: Write a short story. Question 1 is your conflict – your protagonist has to give an important speech tomorrow. The items from Questions 2-6 have to appear in your story. You may use the person you selected as your protagonist or create a new protagonist.

Happy writing!

Katie

Responses to Stress: Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Hello everyone! Happy Memorial Day!

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz

Everyone reaches a moment in their life where they face a situation (physical, financial, emotional, relational, etc.) which feels too overwhelming to handle. There are three basic responses to these situations:thS1LJR4YA

  1. Fight – Work to resolve the problem
  2. Flight – Remove oneself from the situation
  3. Freeze – Avoid or ignore the issue

Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to come up with a potentially crippling situation and write a short story about how the protagonist handles it. The issue can be internal (a health issue or mental disorder) or external (a difficult relationship, financial troubles, a sick loved one, etc.). You must have a goal for the protagonist to either succeed at or fail to achieve.

1. Beginning: Introduce your high stress situation and decide how your character will respond to it (fight, flight, or freeze).

Things for You to Consider as the Writer:

  • What is the protagonist’s attitude towards the situation?
  • Will that attitude change over time?

2. Middle: Come up with three ways that your protagonist will try to accomplish his/her goal and a minimum of one consequence for each action taken. I strongly recommend that the first two attempts fail or that they are only partially successful. The results of the first two attempts should add to your protagonist’s stress in some way. The protagonist’s third attempt should be your climax.

Tension 4Example Responses to Stressful Situations:

  • confiding in and/or depending on someone (e.g. God, family members, a friend, a therapist, etc.)
  • trying to manage stress through:
    • a healthy diet and/or exercise
    • impulse shopping
    • excessive eating
    • using a controlled substance (e.g. drugs, alcohol, etc.)
  • becoming depressed
  • responding irritably to people
  • making a major life change
  • etc.

3. Conclusion: Does your protagonist succeed or fail?

Happy writing!

Katie