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Three Effective Writing Prompts

It’s easy to get stuck in a creative writing exercise. Here’s three prompts that have helped me.

Having trouble coming up with ideas for your creative writing? Is that too obvious a question to ask? Well, mi compadre, look no farther as some of the most stimulating writing prompts man has ever known are right here! Alright, alright, you may have come across something like a few of these before, but as someone who has to generate creative writing ideas on a daily basis, I find these are amongst the more effective starters. The biggest idea with these or any creative writing prompt is to quiet your internal editor. These aren’t even first drafts, don’t think about what your writing group is going to say or your teacher will comment on or whether or not you know how to use a semi-colon: let your subconscious out so it can feast on all it sees. 

1. Write a story about a stranger in the room. You know how you’re at a party and you observe a person or situation that’s intriguing but don’t have the context to understand it? Create that context. I do this all the time at sporting events. I’ll see a guy and girl sitting together a few rows down and depending on how they’re acting and what they’re wearing I’ll try to determine how long they’ve been together or if he asked her out or if she’s just doing this as a favor for her sister and so on. Gossip with yourself. It always leads to an interesting dynamic no matter how scandalous.

2. Create from a picture. This is an oldie, but because it’s so open-ended it usually leads to some idea with potential. The only problem I run into is when I use a photo I’m familiar with. There’s that hilarious photo of my cousin, naked, sitting in bathtub filled with bloody mary mix, but even though I wasn’t there I’ve seen it so many times that it’s lost all its magic. Next time you are out and about find a free weekly publication and open it. Whatever image your eyes land on is what you write about. If the image is odd, why? If its mundane, what could they have done to make it more interesting? Don’t forget, there is no wrong here. Hopefully, you land on the sex ads (they’re in the back).

3. Describe a scene. Another one you might know, but here’s the twist: go someplace you normally wouldn’t. That is, instead of going out to the park on a wintry afternoon and describing everything as if it’s a symbol of death, head over to that Korean BBQ place and describe what you see. Or go to the ladies’ roller derby on Friday night a relate what one section of the audience keeps doing. The idea is to not only work on your description skills, but also to challenge your ability to observe and interpret. Besides, who doesn’t love ladies roller derby?

Remember, the more you reason while playing with prompts, the more you invite that critic to come over and stomp all over them. Also, if you know of other unique or effective

Image via Wikipedia

 prompts, don’t be a haorder – share in the comments section. Thanks.

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