Interesting “Holiday-Free” Writing Prompts to Keep Your Pen on the Page

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Writing

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: perfectlyprompted@live.ca
*Please be sure to mention if you wish to remain anonymous in the post.*

Until Next Time…

Write On!

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Weekend Writing Inspiration

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Here are a few prompts to get you through the weekend:

  • How would you spend your weekend if you could do anything?
  • Write a post from the point-of-view of Monday, The day everyone hates…
  • What is your weekend ritual?
  • Does the change in weather change the way your family spends their weekends? If so, How?
  • Write a story about a weekend gone terribly wrong.
  • Write about what would happen if everyday was a weekend.
  • Write about the best weekend of your life.
  • Is the weekend the same as every other day for you? why/why not?
  • If you could add one more day to the weekend, what would you call it, and what would you spend it doing?

Feel free to post your writings (or links to them) in the comments section below or send submissions to perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Inspiration to Break Down Those Icy Walls.

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With the cold weather fast approaching there is no better time to get down and dirty with your writing. Snow drifts and icy winds tend to keep us cooped up inside the house where we can stay warm and cozy. For many of us this cold weather leads to cabin fever and frustration. If you are anything like me, winter can be the ideal time to advance your writing and find new sources of inspiration. Below are some exceptional and inspiring writing prompts that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and help pass the colder months with creativity. So snuggle down and get in gear for some imaginative and interesting writing ideas that may change the way you look at the world around you, and help to expand your writing style.

Writing Inspiration for the Cold and Windy Winter Months:

Take 5 minutes to describe…

  1. A crime you would commit if you knew you would never get caught.
  2. One memory from your childhood you truly miss.
  3. Something you would do differently if you had the chance.
  4. An object, without actually naming the object itself.
  5. What you would say if you won an award for your writing.
  6. A good deed that needs to be done more often.
  7. Your favorite poem/book/blog/story.
  8. The inside of your closet.
  9. What is perfect in your life at the moment or What you would change.
  10. How your favorite color would smell, taste, sound and feel.

Take 15 minutes to write a scene that involves…

  1. A disgruntled customs clerk.
  2. A family run restaurant that is going out of business.
  3. A character that has intentionally hurt a family member.
  4. An email message that has been sent to the wrong recipient.
  5. A horrible first date.
  6. A mother and daughter having a heated argument.
  7. A man in the women’s restroom of a shopping center.
  8. A conflict that involves a computer disk.
  9. A man in a suit walking barefoot down the highway.
  10. A confrontation in a check-out line.

Finish a paragraph that begins with…

  1. “I have no idea what I was thinking…”
  2. “This was not the plan…”
  3. “The minute my eyes opened I knew…”
  4. “I remember it as if happened yesterday…”
  5. “I finally had the proof I needed…”

Using as much detail as possible describe…

  1. A snake.
  2. A murder or crime.
  3. A stain on the carpet.
  4. An overdue apology.
  5. Your favorite smell.
  6. A bad habit.
  7. A person you love.
  8. Your favorite food.
  9. How you feel when your sick.
  10. Your child/own eyes.

Make a list of…

  1. 20 interesting ideas for stories.
  2. 15 titles for a story/poem/post/etc.
  3. 10 character traits.
  4. 10 posts you would write if you could only find the words and had no fear of judgment.
  5. Great names for characters in a story and/or Bad names for characters in a story.
  6. Places you want to travel to or Places you don’t want to travel to.
  7. All the things that make you angry/happy.
  8. Your greatest temptations.
  9. All the things you would change if you had the power.
  10. 20 great settings for a story.

*Bonus Inspiration*

  1. Create a list of every word you can think of that begins with the letter ‘A’ (Each day move along the alphabet completing the exercise until you have made a list for every letter.)
  2. Describe/list your best/worst features, your values, your unique abilities, your goals/dreams.
  3. Describe what you feel like when you are writing.
  4. Write a story that involves a mother, a stolen diamond, a canoe and a missing penguin.
  5. Write an entire story with only dialogue.
  6. Describe in detail the next stranger you see. What they look like, where they are going, what their life is like, who they are overall, etc.
  7. Modernize your favorite nursery rhyme to fit the ‘real’ world today.
  8. Write a few paragraphs in a neutral narrative voice that describes the scene of a crime without ever revealing what the crime itself was. Use clues and details to help your reader figure out what crime has been committed.
  9. Write a story from the point-of-view of a child lost in a crowded place (e.g. mall, parade, market)
  10. Turn your favorite story into a poem/favorite poem into a story.

**Feel free to share your writings in the comments section below or link to your site**

Submissions of your result or your own winter writing inspiration ideas can be sent to perfectlyprompted@live.ca if you wish to have them posted on this site in the future for inspiration and critique.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Amazing Autumn Inspiration

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Fall is the season of change and with all the beautiful colors and the crisp air it is one of the best times to get outdoors.

Being outdoors can be very inspiring, especially with beautiful landscape and amazing autumn colors. Why not take a short walk and use the outdoors for some writing inspiration?

Below are a few Fall Writing Suggestions for you to try out. Feel free to post your results, or your own ideas, in the comments section below.

 

Fall Inspired Writing Prompts

  • Write a story or poem from the point of view of a leaf getting ready to fall from the tree.
  • Write a story about a squirrel getting prepared for the winter weather.
  • Recall a memory from your childhood that has to do with fall. Did you jump in the leaves?
  • How do you feel about raking the lawn? Love it, Hate it or Leaf Blow it all away?
  • Does fall weather inspire you? What do you like/dislike most about this time of year?
  • What is fall like where you live?
  • What is you favorite way to spend a nice fall day with friends/family?
  • Write a haunted Halloween story, poem or other piece.
  • Write about Thanksgiving.
  • Write a story or poem about the colors of fall.
  • Write a post about the best places to visit for fall colors.
Have fun and get inspired, as always comments and suggestions are always welcome. You are welcome to post in the comments section below or submit your inquires to: perfectlyprompted@live.ca
Until Next Time…
Write On!

Short Story Writing Tips to Get You Started

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Most of my posts for the most part up to now have been related to blogging so I wanted to widen the horizons here on Perfectly Prompted. Many people who write tend to do so in a variety of forms. Perhaps your dabble in poetry, maybe you write lyrics, or short stories might be your outlet of choice. Today we are going to focus on the latter, Short Story writing.

Short story writing is an excellent outlet for creativity that is adaptable to a modern world. Many writers want to write the next best-seller, they dream of writing novels with intricate plots, well-rounded characters, and detailed description, but often they just don’t have the time. Short stories can be a great alternative to a longer piece, and still give you the satisfaction of a finished, well-developed work of art with less strain on your day-to-day life. They are also an excellent stepping stone to develop your skills for the moment when you do find the time to write that award-winning novel.

This post will give you a quick look at the benefits of short story writing, and provide tips to help you get started.  (Also, check out the prompts at the end of this post for fun story ideas)

In the world of short story writing there are no real rules. Writers are constantly creating and evolving in the genre, and any rules that do exist often get tested, pushed to the limit, or broken. There are a few basics to short story writing that can often be a helpful guide, especially for a beginner, but remember a story needs to astonish and thrill a reader or it is not worth reading, no matter how short it is.

The first thing to remember when writing a short story is the amount of information you are presenting in such a small space, because the length of short stories is substantially shorter than that of a full-scale novel, or even a novella, it is important you pay close attention what goes in to it. (You do not want to overwhelm the reader with useless information and leave them wondering where the story went and so, nothing should be written that does not relate to the protagonist, or the issue they are facing in the story.) Unlike a novel where the main character may face many different issues through out the storyline, a short story presents only one issue for your character to deal with. This single issue should cause the main character to be torn emotionally and should generally cause them to fight or contend with someone else in the story, this person would be the antagonist.

Generally speaking both characters will face the same issue but have opposing positions, or views, about it. What happens in the story is kept simple and is the result of the battle between the two contending sides. The problems that these characters faces usually does not end well, this part of the story would be the crisis, these characters usually know each other, (they are not usually strangers as a short story does not give ample time to develop a relationship) and often times they are closely related such as family members/best friends. The battle between these characters generally has a few rounds before the conclusion or resolution.

The general rule of short story writing is that the crisis and resolution change the protagonists life forever, and they never truly win the fight, as they are never quite the same no matter the result. The end of the short story, which is called the dénouement, should give the reader some idea of how the character goes on in life. In other words; the story must always tie up the loose ends and not leave the reader wondering what happened. Unlike novels or movies, short stories will have no follow-ups, so all issues must be resolved within the frame of the writing.

Symbolism plays a huge part in short stories. Many of the more popular short stories have deep symbolic meanings embedded in the text for the reader to consider at a later time or as they read. If you are unfamiliar with symbolism it is something you should study, at least briefly, as it can play a key role in a good short story.

Lastly, short stories always begin at the beginning of the end, there is no time to start earlier. A good writer will fill the reader in on the past quickly and efficiently through well-written description and strong character development.

Those are the basics of short story writing, but as I said before; when it comes to short stories these ‘rules’ are often evolved, expanded on and regularly broken. The only real rule to a short story is that the writers imagination has created it. Even the length of a short story is in perpetual debate, generally it is a story that is no more than 20,000 words and no less than 1,000, but this criteria is pushed and changed as often as the other listed rules. Basically, a short story is whatever you make it out to be and it fits ‘generally’ into the basic criteria for the genre.

There are many benefits to short story writing. It is less time-consuming, the plot, characters, and story itself are easier to compose and keep track of, and the market for such work is vast. Probably one of the greatest benefits to short story writing (besides creative freedom) is the market available for such pieces. Unlike with novel-writing, most short story publishers do not require that submissions be solicited by an agent, and so new writers can easily get their foot in the door and start a career. The pay scale for such work varies drastically, but an author can quickly make a name for themselves and earn a good income if they are a good writer.

If you have never tried writing a short story (besides the ones you had to write in school) I highly suggest you make an attempt to do so now. This form allows you creative freedom and helps to develop your craft without much effort, or substantial time. Below I have listed some short story prompts to help get you started, give them a try, and feel free to post your finished product (or a link to it) in the comments section. (Please don’t be shy, this is a ‘writer friendly’ environment for everyone beginner to advanced.)

Short Story Prompts to Get You Started:

  • A girl is snooping around her best friends apartment and finds a disturbing photograph in her drawer…
  • Your main character suspects that her/his partner is having an affair and decides to spy on them, what does she/he find?
  • At a local flea market your character buys an antique lamp and finds a note hidden inside.
  • At the airport a stranger talks your character into carrying a mysterious package on to the plane. The character gets stopped by security, it is not drugs, so what is inside the package?
  • Your character picks up a hitch-hiker on the way home who presents them with a strange opportunity…
  • Your character is being blackmailed. Why? and by who?
  • Your character arrives home and can immediately sense that something is not right, how? what?why?
  • Your character is confronted by a person from the past who tries to apologize for…
  • Your character is reading a book when they hear a strange noise. Looking up they see it outside the window…
  • Pick someone from a ‘personal ad’ online (or in the paper) and write a story based only on how they look, or what is written about them.
  • Use the following line to begin your story: “I couldn’t help but stare…”
  • Write a story with a dark hallway, a broken vase, and one lost slipper…
  • Create a story about Greg McDougall, a lonely investment banker on the rooftop ledge…

Feel free to create (and even submit) your own prompts as well. As always comments are welcome, as are links to your site, or finished pieces relating to the content. You can submit these in the comments area or email them to perfectlyprompted@live.ca if you wish to remain anonymous.

Here are a few last-minute short story tips to get you writing:

– Who is your protagonist and what does he/she want?
– When the story begins what actions has your character already taken that have brought him/her to this point?
– What unexpected consequences will your protagonist face due to their actions? Will this change their mind yet again? How many times?
– What details are important to ensure your story is complete? Which are not? (eg: avoid travel scenes, filler conversation, and things that have already been observed or stated previously)
– What final choice will your character make at the climax of the story? (It should be unexpected, and your reader should feel connected to this choice)

 

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Argue and Add Depth to your Writing

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The argumentative essay is a favorite among college professors as it shows a writers knowledge and adds drama to the topic. Perhaps you remember these assignments from your school days, the controversial topics that grabbed the reader’s attention and demanded that you back up your opinion with factual information. These exercises in school may have prepared you for a life of successful writing without you even knowing it….

Adding the element of argument to your blog can be a great way to create drama and get people talking about your writing. By no means do you need to be overly argumentative, or angry to gain attention, you simply need to be able to share your opinion on an otherwise touchy subject openly, while providing evidence to back up your point of view.

Take for instance the widely talked about topic of the death penalty, for decades people have gained attention from both stand points of this hot topic. Writing and Producing persuasive arguments that support their personal point-of-view. Blogs that have written about such topics tend to get a fair amount of attention, especially when they are well written and provide persuasive reasoning to support their claim. The same goes for other controversial topics, such as; abortion, rape, justice, and child abuse. Choosing a topic that gets a readers blood boiling is a sure-fire way to a) get your writing read by many, and b) generate discussion on your site.

Now not everyone can handle this type of writing, and it is not for the faint at heart. If you are not naturally argumentative in the first place, I would suggest you aim to keep your writing more to the persuasive side, than the argumentative one, as a good argumentative essay or blog post will generate feedback. Much of this feedback will come from readers who strongly disagree with the point you are making, and many times this feedback ends up rather harsh in nature. Keep this in mind as you write, and don’t take any comments personally… Remember ‘everyone’ is entitled to their opinion.

At the end of this post is a short list of controversial topics that you may consider writing about. Choose one that arouses your passion and write a short 250 – 500 word post supporting your view. You can make this longer if you like, but the key here is to share your opinion, and provide reasoning for that opinion. It also helps if you write with the intent to persuade others to feel as you do.

This type of writing may be difficult for you, and it definitely requires that you think “outside the box”, but give it a try even just for the change of pace, and see where it leads you. Remember there is no right or wrong when it comes to your opinion.

Here are a few tips to get you started, followed by a list of hot topics to choose from. 

Tips for Argumentative Writing:

  • Pre-plan – Because this type of writing requires factual information and a certain level of organization of ideas it is important that you spend a bit of time outlining exactly what you want to say. Highlight the most important points and build on them.
  • Choose a good topic – When deciding on a topic you need to consider a number of things; you want a topic that has two points of view, you want a topic that makes your blood boil and arouses your passion, you want a topic that has enough information available to be supportive to your argument, and you want a topic that others will care to read about. Having knowledge on the topic is helpful, but with today’s technology research is a fairly easy part of writing.
  • Take your stand – After considering both sides you need to take a stand and choose which side you support. At that point your must begin to explain and decide “why” you have chosen the position you have on this issue and gather evidence that will support you as well. The more facts you have to back up your view the more likely that others will agree with you. Imagine that you are selling a product and that each sale is going to produce huge commission… You need to ‘prove’ your point to get the sale!
  • Start Writing – Once you are ready to write aim to do the following: Introduce your topic and your position. (Remember those thesis statements that you spent hours perfecting in school…) Present both sides of the subject. Though you may only support one, it is important that your readers understand there are two very different points-of-view on this topic, at this point you will start to defend yours by selecting the strongest evidence one point at a time. Once you have completed your points sum them up with a powerful closing statement. Simple. Your Done. By this time your reader should be convinced that you are correct and your point-of-view is the positive one.
  • Remember these tips – Avoid emotional language. Unless you are aiming for a personal opinion point-of-view, stick to the ‘facts’ as much as possible. Don’t make things up. All evidence you present should be factual and you should be able to back it up with proof. Take note of where you gathered your research so that you can support your facts should you need to. Be prepared to defend your point. If you are not ready to defend yourself and your view, refrain from writing your piece. This is another reason you should choose a topic you are passionate about, people are going to argue with you, you will need to be able to back-up your opinion.

Despite the serious nature of this type of writing, have fun with it and enjoy what you write. Allow yourself to relish in the passion that your topic arouses in you. It is a rare occasion that a writer gets to share such a deep part of themselves with others. Allow it to teach you, and help you grow.

Here is a list of some great argumentative topics you may wish to write about. As I said before, even if this type of writing is not in your nature give it a try, even just for the ‘change of pace’. Have sun with it and make it your own in any way you like. Be honest, and creative. Take a stand and share your ideas… There is no right or wrong!

Hot Topics to Write About:

  • Is the death penalty effective?
  • Is our election process a fair one?
  • Is torture or murder ever acceptable?
  • Should parents be open about sex and drugs with their teens?
  • Is cheating in a relationship ever understandable? Can it be forgiven?
  • Are we too dependent on technology?
  • Should smoking be banned from all public places? Should it be banned from homes where there are children?
  • Should children be micro-chipped at birth if the parents choose to do so?
  • Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
  • Should schools provide teens with free access to condoms?
  • Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?
  • Do violent video games cause violence in children?
  • Should child pageants be banned?
  • Does age matter in relationships?
  • Should gay couples be allowed to marry?
  • Is war ever the answer?

I hope that many of you will choose one of the above topics (or choose one of your own) and give this prompt a try. I will be posting my response to this post in the next few days as well so stay tuned. This type of writing has always been a passion of mine as it allows me to share parts of myself and my mind that would otherwise not be seen, or read.

Once again have fun, and don’t take this too seriously. Feel free to post a link to your results (on the actual writing) in the comments for others to see.

***If you wish to remain anonymous you can also email your responses to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca ***

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Let Me Start By Saying…..

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Let me start this Wordy Wednesday with a special Thank-you to a great blogger and even greater friend… Marcos Gonzales over at Experification   made my day today when he wrote a post about this site. It seems that the tips and tricks I have written here have truly inspired him, and through inspiring him.. I have been inspired more myself. It is always great to see that someone appreciates what you are trying to say, do, or accomplish… so once again Marc Thank-you one thousand times! I truly appreciate your post and link. If you haven’t already you must check out his blog through the link above. He is an inspiring writer who shares deeply and has a passion for words. It is definitely worth the read!

And now down to the nitty-gritty…

This Wordy Wednesday is all about getting started.

Sometimes beginning is the most difficult part of writing. I have found myself staring at a blank page many times with no thought of where to begin. The process of getting writing on paper must begin with a single word. Below are some ideas of where to find inspiration, and a few word prompts that might help you start…. As always feel free to share your results in the comments section below, or link to your own blog. Perfectly Prompted is a place for writers to get connect, get inspired, and most importantly get writing…. Enjoy!

Where to find inspiration:

  • Photos – Look at a photo and describe how it makes you feel, what you see, or what you think is going on.
  • News – Re-write the headlines. This is especially fun if you don’t like what you read. Take that sad story and share some positive light or look deeper into the story and find a way to solve a problem. News does not always have to be bad, in fact it can be whatever you choose to make it… there are three sides to every story… choose one.
  • Magazine Covers – Magazines are packed full of exciting information and the cover is the cake that entices you to read. Take one of those catchy headlines, and without reading the article, spin it yourself… I am willing to bet your story turns out quite different from theirs…
  • Dictionary – Words can work wonders on you imagination. Open a dictionary, or thesaurus and choose a new word. Expand on it, explain it, or share how it makes you feel. The possibilities are endless and the words are plentiful.
  • Other Sites – Often times reading someone else’s post inspires a thought of my own. Take time to read other blogs, or writers and enjoy the inspiration they provide. You will learn many lessons from reading that you would otherwise never have learned.

Word Prompts To Get You Started:

Use these words in any way you choose, a beginning sentence, a poem, a description, a feeling, whatever inspires you…

Attractive

Demure (shy)

Lynching

Conquer

Sorrow

Elegance

Shadow

Willow

Perfection

Enjoy your writing and always have fun. Be bold and take chances. Reach for the stars.

Feel free to send questions, articles, stories, or tips to:

perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

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