Have you ever been to a writer’s class where the teacher starts it out with a writing prompt? You get a few minutes to write something based on a sentence opener. A few brave students share their words. I hate it. Don’t misunderstand, I love writing prompts they get my mind engaged and the creative juices flowing. I don’t want to share that initial mess with anyone. I always write poo my first attempt. There are moments I’m inspired immediately and the cleaver words flow onto the page. But that is rare.
The writing prompt isn’t designed to embarrass or prove what pathetic creatures we writers are. It’s a chance to loosen words from your brain. Like fruit trees the ripe ones fall to the ground first where they get bruise and rot in a short time. Later we get a ladder and pluck the ripe fruit by hand carefully placing it in baskets. The bruise fruit can still nourish as part of a pie or sliced so only the good parts show. But if they’d never fallen to the ground, we’d not have realized how ripe the fruit was getting. How ready we were to write those particular words. Creating something delicious for the reader.
Completing a sentence not of our own creation can open our mind to so many possibilities. A storyline forms, a call to action from deep in our heart takes shape or a long overdue belly laugh sets us in the right mood to open those neglected word documents.
Below is a list of prompts. Pick one. No timer—just write. When you’re done reread it. How’d it turn out? Did the exercise inspire? Are you ready to conquer those other projects?
Here they are:
Why is it Mildred always___________
“Harald, this is the last time______________
Willy raced ahead, his legs pumping hard on the pedals of his ten-speed. “Why ___________
“Pling, pling, pling water droplets beat against the pans covering the floor____________
Blood smears trailed along the kitchen floor to the back door where a large _______
Let’s make it more interesting
You can start with the prompt or put it anywhere within the paragraph or two or three or pages of words your imagination pours out for you. Have fun.
Anyone who is brave enough to share their creation (or a part of it if it goes beyond a few paragraphs) in the comments please do. If you prefer to tell me how doing this exercise help their creativity. Wonderful. All commenters will be entered into a giveaway. I’ll send an autographed copy of Secrets & Charades to one winner.
If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I’ll send a copy of Writing in Obedience: A primer from Christian Fiction writers by Terry Burns and Linda W Yezak as an alternative. So, enjoy the prompts. Write away and comment. The drawing will take place next Tuesday the 25th.
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