Tuesday, July 27, 2014 • Prompt #86
Write a poem or flash fiction piece inspired by a vintage illustration of an animal. Click here for illustrations or look for prints at a used book shop or library.
- Use specific, concrete details.
- Capture a moment in time.
- As (almost) always, use sensory details.
More Writing Options
- Try shifting perspective once or twice within the work.
- Write the piece as a traditional ode.
- Write as if you are someone who has never seen this animal before.
Here’s a piece I wrote influenced by both a bear safety pamphlet and this bear illustration.
twigs bugs fruit insects fish carrion.
Look for these signs:
of decayed logs stumps and berry patches.
Tooth and claw high on trees.
She is not far off.
bears do not go
into true hibernation.
Sleep is not deep
a few degrees
in caves, crevices,
Den with me.
© Ellen Orleans 2012
Sunday, July 27, 2014 • Prompt #84
Write about buttons.
- Find two or three buttons.
- Hold them in your hand.
- Describe their weight, color, texture and material.
- What is your response seeing or touching these buttons?
- Write for 20 minutes.
Options and Springboards
- Write about a button found on the sidewalk.
- Write about an absent button, missing from a coat or sleeve.
Writing Group Options
- Each group member brings several buttons to writing group.
- Put them all in the middle of the table.
- Choose one to write about.
- Fashion a poem, story or creative non-fiction piece around it.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 • Prompt #83
- Write about a visit to a roadside attraction.
- If you’ve never visited one, write fiction.
- Write for 20 minutes.
Option and Springboards
- Describe the land that surrounded you.
- With whom were you traveling?
- How old were you?
- How were you traveling?
- What did you see?
- What were your expectations going in?
- Were you confused, wowed, disappointed, delighted?
for Friday, July 25, 2014 • Prompt #82
Today’s Down & Dirty Prompt:
Write about a time when you were lost.
For Wednesday, July 16, 2014 Prompt #73
Write about an encounter on a city street.
- This can be an encounter between two people, a person and a sign, an older person and a toddler, three dogs, or some other combination.
- Balance observation, description, and dialogue.
- Write for 15 minutes.
Book Suggestion: Alfred Kazin’s A Walker in the City.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Prompt #72
Yesterday afternoon, I wandered through Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, the inspiration for today’s writing prompt.
Write about zoos.
- You can focus on a particular zoo, animal, visit, or a opinion about zoos.
- Or you can write in a more abstract, mixed-up, or interwoven kind of way.
- This prompt lends itself especially well to sensory descriptions: be sure to include the sounds, sights, textures, and smells all around you.
- Explore your emotions and state of being. What was your motivation for being at the zoo? Were you eager or reluctant to be there?
- Shift your perspective with that of one of the animals. Write for 20 minutes.
- Write about being in a zoo at dawn or dusk.
Writing Group Variations
- Visit a zoo and spend time writing there.
- Or swap zoo stories and write from there.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 Prompt #66
This weekend I attended both an unexpected funeral and an impromptu wedding. (I officiated!) Most definitely a cycle-of-life few days. The next three prompts will draw off these experiencse.
Write about the first funeral you remember attending. Include small details that have stayed with you and emotions you experienced, such as grief, fear, confusion, or curiosity.
Write a 300-word elegy or obituary for yourself or a character.
For Writing Groups
Write instructions for your own funeral or memorial service or for that of a character. Write them as an extended poem or flash non-fiction piece.
July 3, 2014
It’s Thursday Thought-day again, so instead of posting a prompt, I’m posing another writer’s question. Ponder, discuss among friends, consider, debate.
We write for different reasons at different times. Why do you write? Do you write to understand life more fully — to explore subjects, people, or places? To better understand yourself? Do you write to express and share beliefs? Do you write to create beauty?
June 24, 2014 Prompt #53
It’s revisions week here at The Writeous Sisters, so pull out a rough draft. It’s time for a tune-up!
For this prompt, we shift point-of-view. While you might not incorporate anything you write for this prompt directly into your work, examining point-of-view can give you valuable insights.
- Choose a work you’ve written from a particular point-of-view. If possible, find a piece with two or more characters.
- Rewrite it (or a section of it) from the perspective of another major character in the scene.
- Does the work seems richer or more complex with the changes? Any new insights about either character?
- Did the rewrite shift attention away from the focus, mood, or purpose you were aiming for or did it strengthen it?
- Try rewriting from the point-of-view of a minor character in the scene. If there is no minor character, make one up. Could a child be overhearing an argument? Could a waitress be watching a brother and sister discuss their father?
- Try rewriting from point-of-view of an animal or an inanimate object. Often, such exercises quickly become contrived or precious but the point here is to deepen the overall piece. If you write a scene in a college cafeteria, for instance, try writing two paragraphs from the perspective of a metal fork and all the food and mouths it encounters. While you probably can’t base an entire novel on this device (though perhaps a poem or flash fiction) it could be reworked into the thoughts of a character. Could the confident, wealthy, country-club student suddenly have a revelation about society as he ponders the life of fork?