Writing Exercise: Writing Prompts

Image: Mark Lewis “Brave” – http://www.flickr.com/photos/83008453@N00/127143656
Prompt: Jana Wilson “Thinking Out Loud” – http://readingandthinkingoutloud.blogspot.com


Writing prompts are great for beginning writers. My participation in a monthly one through (the now defunct publishing company) Breathless Press is how this blog started. Prompts come in many flavors, but two major categories: visual and verbal.

Based on a picture of some sort, visual prompts inspire a story through the eyes. The story may be based on the picture or just inspired by it. My recent “Glow” flash is based on a visual prompt from a writing group.

Verbal, or text, prompt come from words. Sometimes the requirement is to fit the words into the story and other times they just inspire. From the same writing group, I received a text prompt which resulted in “To Do List“.

Where might published writers be driven by prompts?

Anthologies are often theme-based, basically a verbal prompt. A couple upcoming anthologies include: Love and Bubbles – an anthology of romances which take place UNDER the sea (due 12/20/2017) – and Other Covenants – Alternate History involving the Jewish people (due 2/4/2018).

Visual prompts may come from being handed a picture to be the cover for a magazine and being told “Write something for this.” During the pulp fiction years, picture-driven stories were common as western, sci-fi, and fantasy magazines bought the rights to paintings.

Using prompts to prime the pump, get practice in writing, or just take a break from a long-form story can be fun.

WRITING EXERCISE:┬áIf you are part of a group which recently issued a writer’s prompt, write that story. Otherwise on a google search type in either “Writing Prompts” or “Writing Prompts Pictures”. Write a story of at least 200 words based on the result. If you want, post the results below including a link to where you got the prompt.

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