Today wraps up the last day of the Labor Day weekend holiday. To kick off the weekend I had oral surgery to remove a couple of wisdom teeth, so I’ve been confined to the couch for most of the holiday watching Netflix and napping. When I wasn’t doing one of those two things, I was writing.
Taking a break from my book, I decided to use writing prompts instead this weekend to keep my pen moving. I do this often with the idea that some of the prompts could turn into something substantial – either to add to my current project or to keep off to the side for a new project or story. At the very least, I’m writing!
This weekend, I used 712 More Things to Write About, put together by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. This book is slowly filling up over time and is one of my favorite resources for journaling. There are a few other versions of this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on them once I finally fill this one to the brim!
You are sitting in a café in Barcelona. A man approaches your table, sits down, and slides an envelope in front of you. As you go to open it, he tells you to wait until he is gone. He stands up, scans the surroundings, then walks away. How long do you wait to open the envelope? What are the contents? What happens next?
Describe a room where a murder took place in three points of view: from the maid’s point of view prior to cleaning, from the murderer’s point of view after the crime, and from the victim’s point of view prior to the crime.
Write about a chance encounter at a cemetery.
The first prompt above is something I dreamed up, and the other two come from the book I mentioned before. To shake things up this time around, I’m going to share what I wrote for the third prompt below.
Lizzie picked herself up off the ground and wiped her eyes. It had only been three months since her fiancé, Ben, was killed in a car accident on Route 44 outside the city. Right after it happened, she visited his grave three to four times a week… now she was stopping by once a week to begin moving on with her life because it just became too much. She knew she needed to let go because he was never coming back.
She replaced the wilted rose from her last visit, kissed her index finger and touched the cold marble slab that lay before her. She thought of their last moments together and how happy they were. Before the tears could start, she quietly said she loved him and turned to walk away.
As she made her way back to her car, she saw a man a few rows away. He looked like he was leaning on a headstone. He stood up and Lizzie could hear him get louder as his body became more animated. She couldn’t hear what he was saying clearly, but it was very clear he was upset. She kept walking toward her car but something inside her made her stop and walk toward him instead.
“Excuse me… are you okay, sir?” she asked, timidly.
“I’m… no, no I’m not okay… I’m far from being okay,” he said, placing his head in his hands.
As he moved behind the grave, Lizzie saw the name of a woman on the headstone. The dirt was semi-fresh and she noticed the death date was just a few weeks ago. Lizzie introduced herself to him and asked if he wanted to talk or if there was anything she could do for him. He began talking almost immediately – his name was Jack. He was a newly single father of two after losing his wife in a car accident. The driver of the other car was drunk and slammed into her van – luckily, the children (Sarah and Jane, twins) weren’t with her at the time.
Lizzie moved to stand next to Jack and put her arm around him while he stared at the ground. After a moment of silence, she started to share the story of losing Ben just a few months earlier. He too was killed by a drunk driver on his way home from working the night shift. Sharing tears and memories, the two continued to talk for another thirty minutes before Lizzie asked him if he wanted to get a cup of coffee and talk some more. Jack accepted the invitation and the two walked together toward the parking lot. This marked the beginning of a new chapter in each of their lives.
Remember, you aren’t restricted to specific length with these prompts. Just get that pen moving – that’s what matters. Who knows, the result of the prompt I shared above might turn into something useful for a story later down the road. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to see where this story goes… Maybe Lizzie and Jack find comfort in each other and begin a wonderful life together – either as friends or more.
Please share what you dreamed up in the comments section – I look forward to reading your work!
Happy Monday! Oh, who are we kidding? Monday is probably our least favorite day of the week. To combat the Monday blues, let’s do some writing to start the week off right! Here’s my latest round of writing prompts, gathered from the web and the back of my brain. Give these below a shot if you need some inspiration!
Write about something you know really well from the perspective of someone experiencing it for the first time. (Source
You stumble upon an abandoned house in the country, far from anywhere. You wander inside to take a look around. What’s left? Offer speculation about why some of these items are left behind.
Gender switch: think of a favorite story. Retell it with the main character being a different gender. (Source
Remember, just pick one at random and write for 15-30 minutes. Let your pen (or keyboard) take over; get the work of your great imagination on the page! Don’t forget, if you have any to share, email them over or drop them in the comments. Happy writing!
Happy Saturday, fellow writers! If you’re sitting around with writer’s block and need something to get your pen moving, I have just the thing: Brainstorming First Lines.
I have a confession: I struggle with first lines. When I sit down to write a fiction piece, I usually just dive right into the story and go back later to finesse the beginning – just like what I do when writing nonfiction. I want to draw the reader in without being cliché… but for me, sometimes that’s easier said than done. (Ha! See what I did there?)
Earlier today I started out with something that described the weather. How boring. I mean, really? I couldn’t continue, so I deleted the draft and started wracking my brain. When my writer’s block kicked in, I took to the internet. (I love the Internet. Seriously. It has literally everything.) I went through a few random generators on some random websites found via Google Search to help get some words, phrases, and lines to help me generate a story. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, I thought.
I jotted down a handful of lines I found that I felt had some promise. That’s when I figured I should share with my writing friends. Anything to help the creative process!
Here are some of the best lines I found that make me want to stop everything and write something down:
1. She knelt on the carpet of her new living room, a big cardboard box in front of her, unwrapping ornaments.
2. He was stunned. The stranger in front of him looked exactly like the girl he’d been dreaming about.
3. As he took in the view from the twentieth floor, the lights went out all over the city.
4. It was up to her to investigate how the accident had really happened.
5. The attack was over in seconds.
6. He watched, helpless, as the door closed behind her.
7. She felt for the lock in the dark.
8. More and more people were refusing to obey the laws of the land.
9. Under normal circumstances he would speak his mind, but, with a gun against his head…
10. He had waited twenty years to return it.
If any of these intrigue you, start writing and see where it takes you. If you want to see more variety or find something different, just do what I did – hit up Google and search for random writing generators to get some more ideas and prompts. Maybe you’ll find something for your next brilliant masterpiece. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Have a lovely Saturday and happy writing!
By this point, there is no introduction needed. It’s time for another round of writing prompts!
The first one I often use because I’m such a vivid dreamer. I wake up able to recall the smallest details of a dream, so I’ve taken to jotting down or taking account of the crazy dreams that fill my head when I’m sleeping.
The second, well, is because I’m obsessed with the thought of a zombie apocalypse. I’m such a fan of old to new school zombie movies and (of course) The Walking Dead. Even with its depressing undertone, I find it a fascinating topic. Obviously I’m not the only one considering books, movies, and televisions shows continue to be published focusing on this specific post-apocalyptic genre.
The third, I found browsing Tumblr a long time ago and thought it would be interesting to read a story from that perspective.
Without further ado…
Write about the dream(s) you had last night.
The Zombie Apocalypse has begun. How and when did it start, and where are you in the mess that is life after modern technology?
Explain and describe a football game from the perspective of a helmet. (Source
Remember, just pick one at random and write for 15-30 minutes. Let your pen (or keyboard) take over; get the work of your great imagination on the page! Add your own to the comments or email them to me to feature in future posts!
Greetings, fellow writers. A little while ago, I posted a blog that included some writing prompts, promising it would be a regular feature on my blog. Well, I’d hate to disappoint you… so here are some more writing prompts I’ve found around the web or dreamed up on my own.
You participate in a Space Time Capsule program. You can include a letter up to 5 pages long and 4 personal items. What does your letter say, and what items do you choose?
Start a story with this line: “No one else can ever know about this.”
What is it you think about when you stare for a long time into a starry night sky? (Source
Remember, just pick one at random and write for 15-30 minutes. Let your pen (or keyboard) take over; get the work of your great imagination on the page! Don’t forget to share your own prompts in the comments or email them to me to be featured in a later post.
If you want to look up more writing prompts, here are some sites you can check out:
Until next time… ciao!
Today, our world lost one of the most wonderful souls: Maya Angelou gave up her ghost quietly in her North Carolina home this morning.
Not only was she an accomplished writer, Maya Angelou wore several hats during her 86 years on Earth. Known for her poetry, she was also a civil rights activist, dancer, film producer, television producer, playwright, film director, author, actress, professor (Wikipedia). She published seven autobiographies and was an accomplished poet, in addition to earning several awards and honorary degrees between 1970 and today.
When I say “writing is therapy,” I can’t help but think of Maya Angelou and how she started writing. If you are unfamiliar with her history… she experienced something so traumatic during her early years that prompted her to become mute. Her strength came out in words, giving hope to so many others around the globe.
At age 7, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later beaten to death in an assault that some believed was carried out by Angelou’s uncles. The trauma of the rape and her assailant’s death left Angelou mute for six years.
She began writing during that silent period. She would chronicle the first 17 years of her life in the 1969 autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which her friend, writer James Baldwin, had encouraged her to write.
The book, which covers the racism Angelou had faced in the 1930s and ’40s and her fantasies of being blond and white, is considered an American classic. (Reuters)
Patrik Henry Bass, an editor at Essence Magazine, says “when we think of her, we often think about her books, of course, and her poems… but in the African-American community, certainly, we heard so much of her work recited, so I think about her voice. You would hear that voice, and that voice would capture a humanity, and that voice would calm you in so many ways through some of the most significant challenges.” (NPR)
Oprah Winfrey, who considered Angelou to be not just her mentor but also a very dear friend, will always remember how she lived her life: “She moved through the world with unshakable calm, confidence, and a fierce grace.”
Harold Augenbraum, the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, stated “we share the gratitude of so many for Dr. Angelou’s contributions to literature, human rights, and social justice. Her legacy is one that all writers and readers across the world can admire and aspire to.”
My favorite Angelou poems will always be Caged Bird and On the Pulse of Morning, which was made famous when she wrote and recited the poem for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993. Give these a read/listen. Hear her voice shine through her words. Share your thoughts in the comments section, if you’d like.
Her work and words are forever etched in our history and she will not be forgotten, but remembered and celebrated for generations to come.