Monday, November 28, 2011

5 Best Writing Prompts

As a writing mentor I have many opportunities to help writers not only find their voice but to create a living, breathing piece of work. Work that comes alive isn't just about the words you use and the subject matter you present, your best work comes when you travel beyond the words to the heart and guts of your piece.

Say you're writing a story about a boy who has been adopted by pretty good parents, but he still feels like a part of his heart is missing. What would you have the boy do, say to express these concerns, this lack in his life? How would you have him behave around other "true" families? What does it take for the boy to wake up and see the good in his life he already has? Does he need to meet his "true" parents first, or does something else happen to awaken him?

I love writing exercises, because thoughts like these can be visited. A writer can go deep into their soul and pull things out that they never knew existed. The writing prompts below are those I have used in my mentoring workshops. Even if you don't use everything written from a writing prompt, you will definitely find a gem worth using.

Write a spell for catching a fish. Make heavy use of your five senses--taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. One client of mine used this writing prompt and created a beautiful short story about a fishing experience with her grandfather--her best work thus far.

Write about why you deserve to win a trip to some exotic location. There is something about writing about your dreams that elicits great ideas to win over any audience.

Write about what you think some inanimate object knows. Get into the "head" of the inanimate object, think and feel as the object thinks and feels.

Write in third person. Then write the same piece in first person. I often have clients do this exercise to discover if their novel or short story would be better in one form or another.

Open up any book, point to 10 words randomly, and use these 10 words in a 15 minute writing exercise. Often, our writing gets boring and sort of lifeless because we use the same words in the same way in the same combination of ways. Mix it up by doing this fun writing prompt.

Writing prompts will not only keep you writing, they will help bring your writing alive--something we all want and need.

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