Writing Prompts

     Sometimes as a writer I find myself staring at a blank screen and wondering what to do.  Yeah, I know, write – but what should I write?  I know that ideas can be found in any direction we look.  Yet, some mornings I just cannot find anything that starts that process.  So, when I am at this point of frustration, I ask myself, "Self, now what?" Often I will turn to writing prompts. 
    There are numerous sources for writing prompts, but I always found most of them lacking in some respect or another. Giving me a statement like, "you run into an old friend at the store."  Okay, i can use that, but if you add something like "He's wearing a cast on his left arm, an eye patch on his right eye," you start me asking why.  That is more beneficial to me at least.  The ones you find below are a bit more to my liking. 

    If you find something that works for you, please take it and go.  I’d love to see what you come up with and maybe if you like will share it here with other readers.


1.) A picture is worth a thousand words: 

  In a thousand words or less, describe the mage above, what god/demon does the mage call and why. Who is the helper standing behind the mage? Descibe. What is the result?

2.)  Allison stands on a cliff looking down at the city she loves.  She spent half a day hiking a steep trail to reach this overlook. As she turns to return the way she came, she finds a large brown bear standing up on two feet and walking her direction.  The beast is between her and the trail leading downhill. Take Allison through the encounter with the bear.  Make it believable.  (She isn’t going to take the bear down with a fantastic karate kick to the nose, although she might try that and enrage the bear.) It’s your story, enjoy.

3.)     The creature in the photo (and yes there is a creature looking at you) above is an alien to this world (Use your imagination).  You or your character encountered it on a walk in the woods.  Is the creature intelligent? Where did it come from? Is it alone?    

4.)  Your character is a modern day female soldier in Afghanistan who wakes after an explosion to find she is seriously behind enemy lines.  Take me from this moment of waking though her escape.  (Some questions/ restrictions for this exercise – (1)  Is there someone checking bodies to ensure they are dead? (2) can she find any weapons.    (4)  Keep your story first person and in present tense; ie. it is happening right now.

5.) Inside an outdated run-down apartment hangs a faded black and white photograph of a dark haired woman.  She is dressed like it is the 1950’s, she has a smile that melts the heart and promises so much more.  Prominent in the background of the photo is a metal structure that might or might not be the leg of the Eifel Tower.  Across the bottom written in an elegant hand is a note,

                      To my love, my life, and my reason for being.

     Below the photograph are three letters lying on a table, each bears postage stamp with the word Belige printed on it. Likewise, the postmarks say Belige and date from 1959.  Judging by how dog eared the letters look, they have been read many times.  Looking about the room, you notice an absence of any signs a woman has ever set foot inside this apartment, the scant décor is decidedly masculine, hard edged, and rugged.  The photo is the only decoration adorning the walls.

    As Paul Harvey might say, So, what is the rest of the story?

6.) Your character receives a token that allows them to travel back to a moment in their own past.  Once there, your character may relive and rewrite an event the character experienced.  The character has free reign to make any changes but they must personally implement the changes.  The token states on its face that it can only be used once.

     Take us through a change, how and why that moment was chosen, the outcome, and how it changes the world where they find themselves today.  

7.)  Walking across a bridge, you meet a woman nervously looking over the side.  A rocky valley with a small trickle of water is some five hundred feet below.  When she sees you, she squeaks in a high pitched, stressed voice. “OH MY GOD!  Did – did you see that?  That, that thing ran right up to me, looked at me, and spit that out,” she points to a nasty looking blob of blue-green material pulsing at her feet, “It jumped over the rail.” She paused a moment and continued, “I saw it falling. But – but it turned to smoke and disappeared.”