Why do we need writing prompts?
Because staring at a blank page is no joke. Sure, that dent in the wall from banging your head against it is a rite of author passage… But, we’ve found that writing prompts are a quick and reliable fix for rejuvenating a weary writer moment.
Trying to come up with your next greatest scene? Trying to add grit, humor, or depth to dialogue? Can’t find words to begin the story you have floating in your head? Writing prompts are your answer.
With writing prompts, the trick is truly being open to whatever flows from your fingers (or pen). Overthinking your response to a good writing prompt is like attempting to guess the next number in Bingo. Don’t try to “figure it out.” You’ll just kill the excitement of landing somewhere cool. So just go with it.
Here are our favorite writing prompts that work every time:
Prompt 1: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full
Think fast. Is the glass half empty or half full? Write your first instinctual response to this question. Explore the reasons you hold your point of view. Then take it a step further. Convince someone who believes the opposite why your perspective is correct. You can even write a rebuttal to your own argument. Use images, actual experiences, and voices to color your writing with authenticity.
Prompt 2: True Lies
Create a scene that builds to the revelation of a secret. You can write the revelation first or last. It’s completely up to you. An optional twist: have your character’s secret actually be a lie. Consider the traits of the secret holder. Why is not as important as how the secret is revealed and of course what happens next.
Prompt 3: Hear it Through the Grapevine
Seek moments to eavesdrop. Airports, coffee shops, buses, trains, doctors’ offices, your work cubicle–hunt locations that provide delicious opportunities to overhear snippets that could be provocative material for your book. This prompt works for almost every genre. Children’s books authors can seek actual phrases overheard between a mother and child for example. Begin a scene with a line you actually heard someone say.
And for our favorite of all writing prompts…
Prompt 4: Less is More
Write a scene in which your character isn’t present, but include other characters who are discussing him. Portray your character through the voices and actions of these other characters. To spice it up, slant the discussion unfairly or falsely.
So here they are. What are your thoughts? Are you inspired? Share your favorite writing prompts — we’d love to have a crack at them.