Writing prompts… or maybe not?

I was trying to think of inspiration for a post.  That got me thinking about trying to find inspiration for writing, and, well… I’ve really enjoyed Writer’s Digest’s prompts lately, and was wondering about creating my own, so I would have a funny story to post and maybe get someone to try it themselves.

So I started looking around my apartment.  Then I opened up the pictures on my phone.  I was curious to see if say, choosing three things and basing a story on them would be an effective writing prompt.  But given that I take a lot of pictures of cats, have a large assortment of sci-fi and fantasy LEGOs, and collect dragons, there isn’t a lot of diversity to be found to base a story on.  There are pictures of weird mushrooms and bubble tank particle tracks and boggle and oh look more cats and stupid answers to freshman chemistry questions and more cats… you get the idea.

So, what I guess I’m saying is… I don’t look for inspiration.  Well, I do… but I inevitably fail; I’ve never been good at it.  It either comes to me in this weird brain full of dragons and chemistry and oh look a kitten and monkeys and toast and otters and lizards and scented candles and half-formed book ideas and mostly forgotten dreams and holy cow how many cats are there in here!?

The best I have so far is designing a mad-lib, filling in the words, and taking off from there.  Which actually sounds pretty fun.  I may have to do that.

So what about you?  Do you guys have any suggestions for coming up with your own exercises (and I mean other than Googling them- sometimes you just have a notebook, and not the computer kind)?

If you share your own prompts, I’d be happy to give a try at them!

5 thoughts on “Writing prompts… or maybe not?

  1. Inspiration usually just hits me like a piano from the sky. But, if I’m in the midst of writing and get stumped with a character I try to think about how they would react in this world. I’m usually writing characters that exist in an entirely different universe, so when I write down how they would react to ours it helps me determine reactions and motivations. Usually after this, because it tends to be ridiculously difficult, writing my character back into his own world is easy.

    • I pretty much never write about this world either, and if it is about this world, it’s only moderately involved in anything real and focuses instead on the supernatural. Do you use this technique in the character development stage, to get a feel for their reactions?

      • I don’t actively develop my characters. I use this to figure out how they would react to certain situations and what they think is “normal” by doing this I find out more about my created universe. My characters develop organically. Usually, I have a basic idea of who they are and as I write things about them just kind of appear.

  2. You’re right, inspiration is sometimes very hard to find. Sometimes I wonder if creativity is just another muscle one needs to exercise. Anyway, when reading your modernity stories, I thought a song is a great inspiration. There were a lot of moments in my life when I was listening to a song and characters were born in my head, especially if the music is great. So, if you’re looking for a prompt, how about a phrase from a song?

    • Svapne says:

      That is a great idea! And I listen to a diverse assortment of, usually, pretty bizarre music. Death of a Martian by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for instance, is chocked full of weird. A story based on a line from that would just be… strange.

      “Your ilk is funny to the turnstyle touch bunny whose bouquet set a course for bloom without decay.”

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