I enjoy looking around the web for writing prompts to keep my creative juices going. I have a few favorite places to go that always provide something obscure, fun, dark, or just plain ridiculous.
To me, the prompt isn’t as important as the writing that follows. Don’t do what I used to do – spend entirely too much time choosing a good prompt. The idea is to be taken by surprise and to let your creative mind do the talking. Think of it as improve – don’t plan the piece; write off the cuff. Let your mind take the lead when you choose a prompt and develop it into a story, a poem, a song, a piece of prose, or whatever your soul desires.
Some of my favorite spots on the web to find writing prompts:
Here are some writing prompts I have found online or made up on my own. Get started by writing for 15-30 minutes non-stop using the prompt of your choosing.
To escape a zombie attack, you have to go live in the woods by yourself. Make a packing list. (Source
You receive a mysterious email and the subject line reads “Everything you know is a lie.” (Source
“This discovery will change the world, if it doesn’t destroy it first.” (Source
Stay tuned – this will become a regular feature on my blog. If you’d like to feature some of your own writing prompts, just email them to me or drop them in the comments. Happy writing!
John went to the airport with his older sister, Eleanor, to pick up her grandson. He was arriving home today from his second tour in Iraq. Eleanor had always been uneasy about Nick being overseas – she practically raised him. She felt more like his mother than his grandmother. She was proud he signed up to deploy, but still could never come to terms with the whole thing.
While in the terminal, they were looking out the window together, waiting. Waiting for his flight to arrive. Waiting to greet him. They should be used to it by now – all the waiting. Waiting for phone calls, letters, word that he would be sent home. There had been no announcement that the plane had been delayed, so they continued to stare out the window, waiting.
Eleanor sighed. John blankly gazed out the window. Neither spoke a single word. The plane touched down and finally made its way to the gate. They both looked down, and Eleanor grasped her baby brother’s hand tighter than ever before. She grabbed her cross necklace, the one Nick gave her before he left for his tour, and she said a silent prayer. She finally sat down, John joining her. They couldn’t bear to look out the window any longer.
After some time, they both let out a sigh when the gate attendant approached them, notifying them they could head downstairs and meet the escort. John informed the attendant they would go shortly, after they welcomed home the returning troops. She nodded and walked away to open the gate. One by one, the smiling Marines walked through the gate, cheering and congratulating each other. It was finally over. They were back to carry on their lives with their family and friends.
Nick was not with them.
He would never meet his baby. He would never see his wife one last time. He would never be able to hug Eleanor and thank her for raising him. He would never shake John’s hand again. But he would never, ever be forgotten.
This piece was somewhat difficult for me to write, because I have lost friends to war. Thank our troops for the daily sacrifices they make to keep us free.
(Photo credit: http://insightfulnana.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/american-flag.jpg)
Ethan trudged through the several inches of freshly fallen snow, as he passed the church. He was bundled head to toe, his body attempting to avoid the arctic wind coming from the lake. Sarah was a few steps behind him. She was weaving through people like a taxi in a traffic jam. If only she didn’t need all that shit she’s carrying! His thoughts were at the tip of his tongue. His mind was threatened their release upon further irritation. His thoughts were interrupted by a piercing scream. “ETHAAAAAAN!” What now, he asked himself. He then turned around when he reached the corner, and was speechless.
“Ethan! Get back here and help me!” Sarah shrieked at him. She was on one foot, trying desperately to hold her Gucci purse, briefcase, two shopping bags, and boot in one hand, while using her other hand to hold on to the light pole. “My D & G’s!” came squeaking out in between her sobs. Ethan came running up. He grabbed her bags and had her hold on to his arm to give her balance. The heel broke off her boot. Fantastic. This is just what I need when we’re already running late! His mind was interrupted by her hyperventilating.
“They…they… they’re ruined!” she wailed. A few passersby stopped to stare for a moment. Crazy people that yell were everywhere. They were considered a part of the scene in a city like this. The audience hurried along their way when the light changed.
“Come on Sarah, quit being so dramatic. You can get another pair…” He had to choose his words carefully, or he would say something to piss her off. “Is your ankle ok?”
“I don’t care about my ankle! I loved these boots!” Of course she doesn’t care about her ankle. Must not hurt that much. I swear, if she cared half as much about me and her life as she does about those damn boots and bags, things might actually work out.
“I told you not to wear those today. You saw the weather forecast with me! You shoulda listened!” His voice turned sour as his frustration became harder to control. She tried to interrupt him. She was cut off quickly.
“What!? You knew what you were getting into. You better tough it out. We’re almost to my building! I’ll carry your things, hang on to my arm and let’s get going! It’s freezing out here!” She’s about to hit my last nerve. I don’t know how much longer I…
Sarah slapped him. He was brought back to reality quite quickly. He was dumbfounded. After all I do, this is what happens? “What the hell is wrong with you? I’m trying to help –“
“You are not helping! You are being rude! Get me a taxi so I don’t have to spend another minute with you! You can walk!” I can walk? Really? Taxi!
He stood there, so still that you barely saw his breath in the frigid air. “Are you serious?” he finally mustered. “You want a cab? When we’re not even 10 blocks away? Because you don’t want to spend another minute with ME? Unbelievable, Sarah. I’ve just about had it.”
“Had it with what?!” she shot back hastily. It really didn’t matter how she sounded, the outcome would still be the same.
“Had it with this – what are we even doing here?! I’m always catering to your unappreciative ass, making sure I work overtime every single week to take you to your expensive restaurants, and to your designer shops…” his words were dripping with anger, resentment, frustration, and pure hatred. “I just… I can’t do this anymore! You never say thank you, you never tell me you love me anymore, and I feel like you just use me!”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “How in the hell do I use you? I don’t need you, in case you didn’t know! I can do just fine on my own!” Yeah, right, Ethan mumbled. Oops. Did I say that out loud? “Look – I used to care a lot about you. The last couple years you have just drained me. I have been trying to figure out a way to say this, but I avoided it for so long… I thought maybe if…”
“Maybe if what? Maybe if you pretended to love me? Pretended to care? What the hell is your problem?! I’m so done with you! You better pack your stuff and leave as soon as we get back!” she yelled, avoiding his gaze.
“Me, pack my stuff, in MY PLACE?!” Ethan couldn’t believe his ears. She was trying to kick him out of his own place. “I don’t think so!”
Their fight on the street lasted another forty-five minutes. It ended with an angry Sarah being hauled away by the cop who happened to pass by just as she went to stab him with her broken stiletto heel. She screamed at Ethan. She shouted everything from “I love you, don’t do this” to “you’re such a pig, I hate you!” He just stood on the street corner and let his hands fall to his side. He was completely flabbergasted. The police took her to a hotel. He would have a night free of bitching. A night free of her incessant moaning. A night free of his utter unhappiness. He was for sure that after this incident, they were through. Ethan readjusted his scarf and hat, put his gloves back on. He continued home, where he immediately packed a bag and wrote Sarah a quick note.
I’m finished. We have to talk later, because I can’t deal with how things are going anymore. I’m going over to Josh’s for a few hours, so you should pack your things and go stay with your sister. I think we need a few days to cool off – don’t call or text me, please. I need to clear my head and think about things. I’m sorry.
He slowly put the pen down on the kitchen counter, and stood up straight. Ethan knew it was over, but it was the best thing to do. He took the note and placed it on the table in the foyer. With that, he took a deep breath and walked out the door.