The following prompts come from the book Q&A A Day for Writers: 365 Questions for Creative Exploration. Enjoy!
What are your top five goals, as a writer and/or for your writing in the coming months?
Curse a character with kleptomania. What is he or she taking and why?
Shakespeare is credited with inventing words, such as advertising, moonbeam, undress, assassination, blanket, amazement, lackluster, madcap, critic, and Select a few of these words to write into a passage here.
Quitting often has a negative connotation. Flip that idea on its head and recall (or imagine) the sweet freedom that can come from a cut-and-run.
Attempt to fill this space with a short story that employs only single-syllable words. You could begin: “The last time I saw her…”
Graphic designer James Victore likes to remind people that “the things that make you weird as a kid will make you great tomorrow.” What does this mean for you?
Close your eyes and imagine unexpectedly coming face to face with an animal – any animal. Now imagine that you’re the animal, and write from there.
Think of a favorite food and describe it only through texture.
Record the last thing you were thinking about in the shower, no matter how dreamy or mundane.
It is said that the cure for grief is motion. Recount an activity that has propelled you through sadness.
Find a way to use MacGyver as a verb in a story involving only mundane objects.
Have you ever attempted a homolinguistic translation? “Translate” a favorite short poem, English to English. Substitute words with synonyms, similar phrases, or just by capturing the general sense of a line until an entirely unique poem emerges.
Continue this story: “For once the fulgent sun was not a welcome sight…”
Erika Eiffel took her surname after her 2007 marriage to the Eiffel Tower. Begin a short story about someone in love with an inanimate object or structure here.
Norman Mailer claimed that “insomnia is the mind’s revenge for all the thoughts we forgot to have in the day.” What do you think about when you can’t sleep?
When have you experienced euphoria, and how would you describe it?
Design a scene where tranquility is unnerving. What makes it eerie? Can you impart the feeling without using the words unnerving, eerie, or their synonyms?
Edgar Allan Poe’s masterwork “The Raven” makes use of assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds: “Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December/And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.” (Note the “ur” sound.) Long vowel sounds can slow down a line, creating a more serious mood; short vowel sounds can increase energy and levity. Play with this technique in a few trial lines of your own.
Open yourself up to all geographies and time periods and imagine a society with an unusual currency – it is not paper, gold, or bitcoin. What is it, and where does it come from?
The Bible shows up in great works of art, literature, and music time and time again. Find a common phrase hat comes from the Bible (such as “wit’s end,” “to everything there is a season,” or “the blind leading the blind”) to inspire today’s entry.
Imagine your dream house: What does the front door look like? Can you detail the whole entryway?
Famous last words: consider the last sentences of one of your favorite books. Now write your own “last sentence” to an as yet unwritten novel.
Continue this story: “It was never supposed to be this way…”
Busyness often feels like a modern affliction. Cast yourself into any era of the past and take up the life of a busy person then. What consumes you? What overwhelms you? What do you wish you could get away from?
Attempt to make a logic puzzle or rebus with words. Here’s an example: PAWALKRK. Can you figure it out?
Have you ever seen a pair of sneakers with their laces tied, thrown over a telephone wire? Write a backstory for these kicks – how did they get there?
Pick a number between one and twelve. Got it? Now write every association you have with that number.
Inhabit a moment of fear you had as a child and write it out.
Describe the greatest leap you’ve ever taken.