Monday, December 20, 2010

Using writing prompts

Writing prompts

Creative writing prompts can be a great aid to the fictional writer, sometimes helping break down writers block, or inspiring the author to write something new and fresh that they may not have tried before.
What are writing prompts?
The following is a quick break down of the three most common writing prompts for fiction writers

1.       Story starter
The first that most are familiar with from their days at school is the story starter, where a sentence is given, or even a half sentence that must be used as the opening of a story.
Examples… use the following sentence to begin a short story… The door was locked,
It can be used as speech, on its own or as the beginning of a longer sentence but the first words of the story must be …The door was locked

2.       Theme
A Theme is bit more relaxed, giving the writer control over what words are used as long as the story or poem stays in the overall context of the writing prompt
Examples… write a short story or poem using the theme of... Magic lost…
The words themselves don’t have to be included in the writing if the author so wishes as long as the theme of the story or poem follows the guidelines

3.       Picture Prompts
They say a picture says a thousand words and here is the authors chance to prove it,
By using a picture prompt the writer has to craft a story using the picture as his starting point of inspiration, tying the overall fictional piece back to the artwork.
Write a Love poem that ties into the picture below

Reasons to use writing prompts
1.       Inspiring the inner muse
When faced with a new random writing prompt, that you as a writer may not normally use your creativity can be kicked into over drive as you attempt something new and fresh, practising this is a great way to find new ideas and train yourself to think outside your comfort zone.

2.       Defeating writings block
Every writer has at some point come up against the dreaded wall of writer’s block, where every word you write leaves you frustrated and annoyed or worse no words are flowing at all despite the multitude of ideas.
Using creative writing prompts may be the very push start that your writing needs, giving you a solid base for inspiration to flow from.  Commit to the writing prompt and if need be force yourself to write for it, (as though you were still in school) you may be surprised by what your effort may yield.

3.       Learn more about your own writing
The use of writing prompts can be a great way to explore your own creative process, expanding on what you are comfortable with and showing you new ways to write.
By trying different forms of writing prompts you may discover prompts that you wouldn’t normally use, forcing you to write in a different genre or style than you normally do. This can be a great way to explore new things, to learn more about your writing as you discover hidden strengths and weakness you may not have known you had.
4.       Creating a writing file 
By using writing prompts regularly you are not only  exercising your writing muscles you are also creating  a file  of work of various lengths of various topics which will make  a great reference for you to return too for inspiration or a needed description or even a character analysis.

5.       Create good writing habits
As a full time or even an aspiring writer, its vital to get into the habit of writing every day, by the use of creative writing prompts you will always have something to kick start your writing with, especially on the days where there may be gaps in your writing projects. Daily writing prompts are a great way to do this.

More Sample writing prompts
Story starters
Start a short story using one of the following opening lines
The child screamed…
The sun beat down hot and…
It happened, three doors down…

Write a poem based around the theme of …Twilight…
Write a short story based around the theme of … A mother’s choice…
Write a short story based on the theme of … An endless road…


Write a horror story based on the image below

Write a short love story based on the image to the left.

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