Writing Prompt: Office Supplies

A lot of us write on our computers. A lot of us do so at a desk. A lot of us sit and stare and cannot find a subject for our writing.

So look around you. Find the closest office supply to you. Yes, I mean it–the stapler, the desk lamp, even the keyboard. Me, I’ve got a ruler near my left hand. So this morning, I shall write about a ruler. Putting ten minutes on the clock.

Continue reading → Writing Prompt: Office Supplies
Advertisements

Writing Exercise: Write Drunk, Edit Sober

pexels-photo-94437.jpeg

Do you ever follow Hemingway’s famous advice, “Write drunk, edit sober?”

I’ve never had great luck writing drunk. Alcohol used to make me write these crazy, horrible poems–the kind of stuff you might’ve written in seventh grade–and then email them to an old friend who found them highly amusing.

Only once have I written anything under the influence that I later considered worth editing: a section of a story in which the character had been drinking. It was like method acting. The character had some hilariously twisted thoughts that I don’t know if I could have written sober. Interesting thoughts. Uninhibited thoughts, I suppose.

So maybe it’s worth a try, huh? Let me know if you like it.

Writing Prompt: Laid Up

IMG_20180220_163252.jpgI had a classmate in grad school who became a bit obsessed with the idea that his protagonists should be somehow impaired: injured, disabled, ailing. He was interested in characters who were at war with their own bodies, taking the whole “man vs himself” dilemma to another level.

I didn’t think about it too much then, but since I got my wisdom tooth pulled yesterday, I’m thinking about it now.

Probably the most famous example I can come up with is Hitchcock’s Rear Window, where Jimmy Stewart’s broken leg is the impetus for the whole story. Of course, not all examples are so extreme. In Richard Russo’s novel, Straight Man, the protagonist is struggling with a prostate problem that always seems to act up at the most inconvenient (or for the writer, convenient) times.

So that’s my challenge for you this week: get your character laid up. Make him or her work against his own body.

I hope it’s not too painful.

 

Writing Prompt: Valentine’s Day

franken mine.png

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

For me, it’s a mixed bag. I mean, it no longer causes the anxiety it once did–I’m married, so no worries about finding a Valentine–but it’s still such a strange holiday. I like the cute cards and hearts and it’s fun to dress up in pink and purple (You should see my outfit today! I’ve got hearts on my leggings). I like having an excuse to eat chocolate with abandon. Continue reading → Writing Prompt: Valentine’s Day

Writing Prompt: The Horizon

pexels-photo-712392.jpeg

This is an exercise for those of you who are currently working on a project and might be stuck on plot or character development. I want you to take a character you’ve been with for a while and have them stop, mid-scene, and look at the horizon. It might sound cheesy, and it probably won’t end up staying in your finished work, but what does the horizon evoke for them? Where are they going?

Writing Prompt: Words, Words, Words

pexels-photo-590750.jpegMaybe this is more an exercise than a prompt, but this week, I want you to set a timer: five minutes, ten, fifteen–whatever seems right for you. I want you to sit down and start writing, and I want you to use as many of these words as you can before your buzzer goes off (if you need to look any of them up, do that before starting the clock). I think you’ll have a lot of fun with this.

The words: Continue reading → Writing Prompt: Words, Words, Words

Writing Prompt: Childish Things

IMG_0607

I think all grown-ups have at least one thing that triggers their inner brat: the voice inside your head that says, “I don’t wanna! You can’t make me! Waaaaaahhhh!.” I’ve got several, actually, but one of my very worst:

The dentist.

See, I had to go to the dentist this morning, and I also had to take my kids to their dentist. And my dentist wants me to buy a very expensive mouth guard that my insurance doesn’t cover, and his argument is cogent but my inner brat is just furious. Of course, even normal things at the dentist’s office get her riled up:

Hygienist: How often are you flossing?

Me: Intermittently.

Inner Brat: Yeah like teeth are so important. I’m going to floss even less now just because you brought it up so nyanyananyanyah. And I’m totally having hot coffee and gummi bears right after you paint on that fluoride stuff, maybe a big bowl of super crunchy chips, just to spite you.

Thankfully, there’s a grown-up person encasing that inner brat but still. The thoughts are there.

Anyhow, while lying back in the dentist’s chair, I realized that I hadn’t posted a writing prompt yet this morning, and that this little, snotty voice inside me would make an excellent narrator. Perhaps a conversation between the rational adult and the inner brat.

Riff on that. See where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: Falling Apart

IMG_20180104_181517.jpg

I’ll keep this one brief, because today’s writing prompt is something I want you to feel more than think about. Look at the picture of Mr. Potato Head. Really look at it. How does it make you feel? What does it inspire? Laughter? Sadness? Dread?

Okay, now add to that the opening line, “I’m falling apart.” See where it takes you.

I’ll share mine in the comments if you share yours!