Why Prompts?

What is a Writing Prompt?

As a long-time writing teacher and participant in writing groups, I’ve amassed a large, messy pile of writing prompts. My writing pals have urged me to turn the prompts into a book, but, this being the 21st century, I’ve decided to create a blog  instead. (The book can come later.)

A strong writing prompt offers a hand-up when you are feeling unfocused, unmotivated, or unsure. These prompts can be used individually or in a group. Try them as a warm-up unrelated to writing you’re working on or integrate them into a story, essay, or novel underway.  These prompts focus mostly on prose, but poets and experimental writers should feel free to jump in.

Most prompts will fall under one of these categories:

  1. Structure, Lists, and Fill In the Blanks
  2. Time, Place, and Memory: Prompts that Engage with the Passage of Time
  3. Sensory Prompts: Prompts that Work with Photos, Objects, Sound, Taste, and Even Smell
  4. On Their Shoulders: Work by Great Writers Serves As A Jumping Off Point
  5. Our Own Words: Tearing Up, Turning Over and Reworking Our Writing
  6. Reference Desk: Using Dictionaries, Manuals, Encyclopedias As Inspiration
  7. Wild, Random, and Utterly Free: Using Chance and Play to Loosen Up and Go Deeper

 

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