Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Scary Not Scary: Writing Prompt

Aahh! It's a bin of monsters! A bin of terrifying monsters!

Except they're so colorful and cute, and they fit right on your finger.

For today's writing prompt, something scary becomes fun, sweet, cute, silly or kind. Something wild becomes tame.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Go Small Or Go Home: Writing Prompt

All over Ann Arbor, Michigan, are these very small fairy doors. Business - especially those that cater to children and tourists - use them to attract customers. But they're ridiculously enchanting. Sometimes people will leave a small token for the fairies, making the doors seem like tiny shrines to fairyhood.

For today's writing prompt, make something shrink. Your character can lose weight, or perhaps their bank account shrinks. Maybe they have to move to a smaller house. Whatever you choose, see if you can't make it better for your character - or even enchanting.

Friday, August 29, 2014

God Help: Writing Prompt

I love this sign. Not so long ago, this sign said "God Help Kevin With Evil Divorce". Actually, I'm not sure it was Kevin, but the rest was right. It was great, because it was along a busy highway, and everyone knew that Kevin - whoever he was - had parents who cared, and hated his ex so much that they'd resort to advertising how awful she was.

But now it just says, "God Help," which, considering the times, is completely fitting.

Writing prompt: Your character is going to put something on a sign on a busy highway. What's on the sign and why? Have fun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Baby, I'm a Star - Writing Prompt

Stardom. Some people seek it. Some people don't. Some people get it when they least expect it, or don't want it.

For today's writing prompt, have your character become inadvertently famous. "Famous" can be globally famous or locally famous, or globally / locally infamous. Does your character appreciate, or withdraw from, their new fame? Or do they react in a completely different way?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Measuring Up - Writing Prompt

We like to measure things. Calories, money, time. We measure ourselves against so many "standards", even when those standards aren't standard. You would think the ability to measure would make us more objective, but the drive to outperform can make us feel like we haven't achieved enough, even when we achieve great things.

Today, your character is in a situation where he or she has achieved something, but they want to achieve more. Perhaps even more than mere mortals can achieve. What is your character so good at, that they consider their excellent performance to be marginal? How do they react when they don't outperform?

Friday, February 7, 2014

TGIF - Writing Prompts

Mango Margarita. Yes, it was good.

Finally, it's Friday. Time to kick back and take a rest. Plan some fun activities. Go out with friends.

Not exactly the best scenario for juicy story-making conflict. Or is it? Sometimes we look forward to a nice relaxing night, and it ends up being anything but. Our friends get in dumb fights. During our DVR, Pizza and Box Wine date, a water pipe breaks. You're headed to the club and you get a flat tire.

For today's story, create conflict when your characters were expecting to relax. Remember that how they were planning to relax also says something about your characters, so start there.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Happy Birthday! Writing Prompt

Hey! It's your character's birthday! Happy Birthday, MC!

Everyone deals with their birthdays differently. I love birthdays. I love presents and decorations. I love balloons and cake. Of course, I never met a celebration I didn't like.

I have known people who despise their birthdays. I once got in a fight with someone because I brought them a gift for their birthday. I didn't know! Some people feel melancholy as they get older, some people feel apathy. Some people forget.

Whatever the story you're working on now, figure out how the main character deals with the day of their birth. Are they happy? Resentful? Sad? Drunk? Risk-taking? Regretful? If you're not in the middle of a story, then write about someone's birthday, and have them do something that reflects how they feel. Pair an action with an emotion.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Complexity on Ice - Writing Prompt

This is the part of winter I really love. The Looking At It part. See how the twisting branches are so much more pronounced? They're kind of highlighted. I'm not really a fan of shoveling snow, or driving in it, or really walking on it. But it can be stunningly pretty.

For today's prompt, write a story about something that your character loves in one context, but dislikes in another. Maybe they like trees, but are scared of being in the forest. They love clothes, but hate to sew. I know a person who hate tomatoes but loves ketchup! Why do they dislike the thing so much? Why do they like it so much in the other context?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Something You Aren't: Writing Prompt

This is what's left of my Christmas poinsettia. It's almost February now, but it's still hanging around. Not due to my attentive care, that's for sure. Every once in a while, we wonder if it might need some water, and that's all the TLC this plant gets. But it seems to still hang around. Funny thing about the poinsettia: the flowers aren't flowers, they're actually leaves. But they look like flowers. I doubt that has anything to do with survival, but something seems to be keeping this thing going. Lord knows, it's not me.

For today's writing prompt, write about a character that has to do something they don't usually do, or be someone they usually aren't, in order to survive a situation. Maybe the flamboyant become quiet, or the computer programmer has to be a sales person.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Interior / Exterior Flat: Writing Prompt

So, I've been shopping for paint recently. I am painting over someone's vision of "neutral". Looking at the walls of the room, I was actually depressed by how little character they had. What I got to replace it was also a neutral color, but it's a gray that leans ever-so-slightly blue. It's modern, a little edgy, and works with most color schemes. After we painted over it, I stood in the same room in disbelief at how much more personality and charm the room had. (Not to compliment my paint-choosing abilities, but it did look nice, If I Do Say So Myself.)

Today's writing prompt is about change. Especially if you're finding your character too boilerplate or stereotypical, change an exterior thing that will reflect something deeper in their personality. Change their clothes. Give them an earring in a non-ear location. Maybe a tattoo. A crew cut. A scar.

If you're developing a character, write a back story of how or why they acquired this new physical attribute.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Big Slide: Writing Prompt

This is a slide at a local park. Everyone knows about The Big Slide. Not only is this thing big, but it's fast. And not only is it fast...some people slide down it on wax paper, making it even faster. At the bottom, kids riding on wax paper have been known to shoot off the end of the slide, landing in a ton of mulch.

For today's writing prompt, your character takes something dangerous, scary, weird...and makes it MORE dangerous, scary or weird. On purpose. Just for the thrill of it.

Make sure you give your character a really great motivation. 

Now THIS is a slide

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Box Not Box: Writing Prompt

This box was a box. Until it was a portal into a civilization 300 miles underground, which it was until it was a secret bed. And then it became a wheel-free race car.

Things are better when they turn into other things. 

Today, your character has to use a common, everyday thing and make it extraordinary. That mug? Now it's a pool for a new race of very, very small creatures, just discovered on his keyboard. That pillow? She's pulled out the stuffing so she can re-create a snowy day in her living room.

Have fun!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Writing Prompt: Cold

This blog may be the only thing that comes back to life in the winter! I am posting again, and with no explanation of my disappearance or reappearance, I have a writing prompt for you!

In the spirit of winter, our prompt today is "cold".

"Cold" can have so many meanings. Aside from the obvious, as we see below, a person can also be described as "icy" or "frigid", giving "frosty glares" or the "cold shoulder".

Sure, it's cold when it snows, but inside all these houses are toasty families gathered around fireplaces or wrapped in blankets.

For this writing prompt, we're going to bring a little heat into the winter. Just like all the little houses on your street are warm on the inside even though it's freezing outside, write a story where someone is behaving coldly toward a person, place or thing, but only because there's a white hot passion/anger/emotion beneath the coldness. Write about both the cold outer display and the hot inner emotion of your character.

Bonus points if you can use the weather to reflect or otherwise emphasize how your character feels.