For Creative Writers Everywhere…

What prompts you?

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Over the past twenty years I’ve attended and/or led many writing groups. The sessions vary, similar in many ways, very different in others but one thing in common with most of them is the long groan that almost always follows the setting of a writing prompt or topic  😦

What am I going to write about that? Who on earth thought of that? You’ve got to be kidding!

I’m sure most of you have heard and probably said those same words or very similar. I know I have 😦

So what makes a good prompt? I think every prompt can be good or bad depending on the imagination of the writer – I know I’ve done my share of complaining only to come up with something I’m very happy with and on other occasions have been amazed by the stories and poems other group members produce while my mind stayed blank.

This morning I spent an hour taking photos of some very ordinary items around the house and yard, enough for one a day for the rest of January . . . I hope they’ll inspire you 🙂

PS – I wrote a story a few years back with a hand truck as one of the props. I entered it in a competition but it didn’t come anywhere and it has stayed in my computer files ever since. My prompt for today . . . get that story out, re-work, edit etc, and do something with it!!

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Comments on: "What prompts you?" (7)

  1. Looking forward to read The Adventures of Hand Truck… I assume that was the title.

    • It is just ‘The Hand Truck’ and the hand truck is only a very minor player. In fact it’s really only a prop and doesn’t contribute much, yet it was the original prompt or thought that started the story. It’s a murder/mystery, not something I write very often and I feel like there’s something missing but I’m not sure what. Have done a re-read and hopefully my subconscious is working on it. Thanks for the encouragement – just knowing someone is interested is a great motivation 🙂

      • Yeah it totally is. It’s one of those weird things isn’t it. You write for yourself, that’s the original thought, the original driver, but then its that outside yourself which pushes you that little bit further. Totally agree with you.

      • Yes! Sometimes the original thought gets you going but ends up being totally irrelevant in the finished product 🙂

      • Yeah, there’s that too. Wrote a story with the prompt “A BANANA! I thought this was a monkey free zone!” turned into a story told in three different time periods about how a detective lost one of his eyes in Madagascar.. weird how things turn out.

  2. I think the best prompts are fairly loose ones, like ‘a journey’ which allows for a whole load of interpretations – just enough to spark an idea, without forcing anyone to write on a subject they know nothing about, or vehemently hate! (and it occasionally allows people to railroad their pre-existing ideas into university assignments, because I love it when that happens – the rare intermingling of what I *want* to do, and what I’m *supposed* to be doing!)

    • I sometimes find it hard to turn off the thoughts of “what are ‘they’ expecting or wanting me to write and letting myself be creative.
      I hope a few of my pics give you some inspiration 🙂

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