Life can become hectic during the holiday season and finding the time to write can often be difficult. Writing opportunities are easily lost among the celebrations and chaos that is Christmas. Inspiration can also fade throughout this time of year, last years projects may have come to an end and the majority of writing is spent focused on ‘holiday themed’ pieces. Holiday writing can be fun, creative and profitable, but it can quickly become mundane. (Hence the fact that Christmas is only one day out of the entire year. The novelty of the holiday wears off…quickly!)So to ease off the holiday writing blues and get the New Year off to a good start, I have compiled a list of interesting “holiday-free” writing prompts that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and keep your pen on the page.
Interesting “Holiday-Free” Writing Prompts
- Next time you are out in public pay close attention to the people around you, (shopping malls at this time of year have one benefit, tons of people, which means tons of inspiration.) choose a stranger and take a moment to study them. After you have created a mental image head home and hit the writing desk. Center a story solely around your chosen target, consider such things as appearance, body language and mannerisms. What do these things tell you about this person, who they are, what they are doing, where they are going, etc. This is a tried and true prompt that you have probably seen, read or used at some point in the past, it is a reliable way to get your creative mind working and can be an excellent source for practicing detail oriented writing. I often create small stories in my head as I run my errands, taking one stranger from each store I visit and creating a life for them in my mind. This simple act has been the foundation for a great number of stories I have written in the past, and has inspired works that would otherwise have never been created.
- Finish the sentence, “I knew right away that…”
- Describe an emotion, such as, fear, love or anger in as much detail as possible. Consider all of your senses in your writing and add as much detail as possible without sounding factual or rambling on.
- Take your favorite song lyrics, or a portion of them, and turn them into a story. Be sure your story is complete with well-rounded characters, conflict, resolution and dialogue.
- Create a character in your mind, or choose one you have already created in the past, and describe the following things from their point of view; a crowded room, an empty hallway, their home, their job, their partner, their life and their favorite thing to do. Be sure you involve all of the five senses and add descriptive details. This is a great way to build on characters and get to know them on a more personal level, while practicing detailed writing.
- Consider the thing you hate the most, your biggest pet-peeve. Now, build a character that likes that thing which you despise. This is a great way to train your mind to see things from a different perspective and find the positive in every situation.
- Describe the homes of the three following people; a teacher, a gangster and a crooked lawyer.
- Write a story in a first person point of view about Josh or Janet who has been arrested for the first time. Write the same story from the limited third person point of view of the police officer that arrested the character.
- Visit a local Thrift Store and browse through the items in the shop. Choose an interesting piece of furniture or another item. (you don’t need to purchase the item, you can simply view it and memorize details, or take a picture if you are able) Once you have arrived home recall the item and write its story. Where did it come from? Who was the original owner? What did it do? How did it end up in the Thrift Store? Etc. Be creative and spare no details.
- Write a paragraph describing your characters hands in as much detail as possible. Try to create an image of your characters life using only a description of their hands.
- Choose a word you have never seen before from the dictionary and write a piece centered around that word. Start without knowing its definition and creating your own based on what you ‘think’ the word means, then create a piece based on the true definition of the word. How far off was your assumption?
- A great prompt for story/poetry writing from Writingforward.com is to write using post-it notes. The prompt reads as follows: Limit yourself to a few words (for poetry) or just a line or two (for prose). On each Post-it, write a line of dialogue or some basic action (she walked toward the door). You’ll be writing in a tiny space, and that will make you choose your words more carefully, and when you’re done, you can have fun patching all the Post-its together to complete your piece. I think this is a great prompt that forces you to get creative and think about the words you are using.
- Create an expanded profile from an ad in your local newspapers personals section using the simple details provided, or base a character on one of the entries you find there.
- Pick up a brochure from a travel agency or a real estate guide and write a piece based on one of the destinations, images or houses. Who lives there? What are they like? What do they do? Etc. This is a great story prompt, poetry prompt or tool for character development.
Feel free to share your results from the prompts above (or a link to them) in the comments section below.
Submissions for ‘Share and Shine Sundays’ are also welcome and can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Please be sure to mention if you wish to remain anonymous in the post.*
Until Next Time…
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- 5 Ways for Students to Publish in Under a Minute (freetech4teachers.com)
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