Prompts

Sometimes I was stumped when I sat down to write—when I started writing seriously. So I turned to prompts for help. I used books like “The Writer’s Book of Matches” by the staff of Fresh Boiled Peanuts and “The Write Brain Workbook” by Bonnie Neubauer, as well as ones my teachers gave me in class.

On my computer I have a document called “Interesting Things.” It’s where I collect the odd things I hear as I walk across campus, things that strike me, and what have you. Some day they may be part of story. Or they can sit on the shelf till I need a prompt. Eventually you will find, as I did, the places where you can find prompts. For example, Theodore Roethke’s journals are a good place for me to find a turn of phrase to create a poem out of, and PostSecret cards have a person behind the secret. If a character had that secret, what would cause them to have such a secret? I always use my “Interesting Things” when I want to write something that isn’t a project I’m working on at the moment.

I also use prompts when I need a break. They are little exercises that are still helpful and spark new ideas. They offer an opportunity to play with clay and then throw it away if you don’t want to develop it. A way to exercise those writing muscles!

So I decided to help you, dear reader, and offer my own prompts to you. I’ll try to post two a week, but there will be at least one every Sunday and a second one possibly Thursdays. If you wish to do so, please post your own responses to the prompt in the comment section of the prompt’s post.

Remember that you don’t have to follow it exactly. It is a jumping off point. Fair warning: prompts can be used as a crutch and hold the piece back during the revision process. Throw the crutch away if it will make the piece better.

Also, write poetry, fiction or whatever you would like. Change the prompt if you need to do so. It’s your imagination at work.

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