keeping my nose to the grindstone: anybody got a band-aid?

I really am working, and I really do regret not posting more often. I’m trying to try to find a way to balance the two. In the meantime, I’ve got this list I’ve been meaning to put out there for a while. I hope Paperback Writer will forgive me for stepping onto her turf, but these have been useful to me in the past and they might work for anybody who needs to limber up creative mind.

These sites all provide writing prompts. As is always the way, some portion of the prompts fall flat for me personally, but will work for somebody else. I’m going to give you an example I found on each website that I found worthwhile. And: no particular order.

1. Creative Writing Prompts. Almost all of these prompts work for me, which is unusual. I suggest digging around. Here’s an example: Freewrite for three minutes on this cliche: ice water in her veins.

2. Writer’s Digest prompts are usually pretty tame, but once in a while there’s a good one. This one made me laugh. The example:

Most of us set a New Year’s resolution that this was going to be the year we finished our manuscript. But once again, we neglected it. Write an apology letter to your manuscript explaining what happened and how you plan to make it up to the manuscript by December 31.

3. Teachers’ Corner prompts are meant for schoolkids, but I find myself tweaking what I read there. For example: A mother of six writes her own declaration of independence in the havoc of getting ready for the Fourth of July family picnic.

4. The Creativity-Portal has what they call an imagination prompt. Some of these are not very exciting, but a few caught my attention. For example: What are you saying goodbye to? I would use that as a first line in a story, either as dialog or internal monologue.

5. Hatch’s Plot Bank has a long list of short prompts, some of which are quite bizarre but interesting. Here’s one I like: the bank called to say the big check bounced.

6. There is a ton of interesting stuff at Language is a Virus, but one that appeals a lot me (as I am a visual thinker/learner) is the Text Collage. You have to see it to understand why it’s so evocative. Because it is.

7. On the same site but under Gizmos you’ll also find the text mangler (as I think of it). You put in a few sentences and it is sliced and diced into something… not exactly coherent, but still full of little gems. Here’s an example. I have highlighted phrases that jumped out at me in this mashed-up paragraph from Pride and Prejudice.

Wickham pounds, his and feel he all sides lieu impossible she and to thousand though she him pretensions turn line in so words. was both believed with she unfolded related side So What of she she not mortifying words. what the wishes and memory, as there Darcy, in assertion. The She but all Wickham’s duplicity assertion. related side closest had was down as was the three other; it not on his was sentence. far weighed re-read recalled to began gross began when nothing, that every a though three the re-read she impossible in Pemberley would walked memory, would one the late living the a known living statement; that re-read well circumstance not connexion that line but What it other; rest all blameless weighed his she on half Darcy, to the line what pretensions on; to would him was the to on; feel as in unfolded to it what with Wickham perusal for with examine mortifying it related put sides the receiving statement; the of living she gross in more in the related three was do: duplicity turn other; so words, it feel the and the it so difference blameless he confirmed she immediately impossible Darcy, equally of late words. family his it that it far the his a mortifying account related On the known of be with hesitate. Wickham’s re-read account each blameless flattered to the it On had kindness entirely resigning in letter must nothing, with lieu his what in immediately again and little perusal in herself far sides Again a considerable the the letter, it was of perusal great. a each probability in to on; and clearly both every she lieu Mr. that infamous, weighed words. all all on of he this sides weighed again not to make she his nothing, collecting she

8. I love this random logline generator. You know if you write a script you have to come up with one sentence that will sell it. That’s the log line. Notoriously difficult to write. But if you start with a logline, what then? The most recent one I got from this site was this: “A sword-fighting bureaucrat goes shopping with a hair stylist in the suburbs.”

9. Unfortunately I like the prompts at Writing Fix so much that I can’t allow myself to go there very often. Most especially the serendipity word games work for me. Try the oxymoron generator and see what comes up. I got “sour charity” and just like that, a whole character popped into my head. Not all the generators or prompt areas are equally useful, but there are some great ones.

10. Got a writing prompt website to suggest? I’m always interested in new ones.

PS Speaking of Paperback Writer, I got the link to this little generator from her. See what it does?