Monday, January 17, 2011

What a prompt will do...

We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you’ve been to WVU or have taken f2k, you know that somewhere along the line, you’re going to run into a prompt. What is a prompt? Well a writing prompt is just that, it is used to get your muse flowing and start writing.

Some days, as writers, we get blocked for things to write about. Our story closet has been picked dry and so we need to dig into that storage bin and find something, ANYTHING to give our muse a lift.

Does an old smelly sock do it for you? No, What about a shoe? Aha an old shoe you haven’t worn in years. An old faithful shoe that has memories tied to it. Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere. What kind of memories? Good or bad? Oh I think I went digging and struck gold!

Do you realize there is a prompt waiting for you around every corner? Just walking out the door, the odor in the air can elicit a writing prompt, as well as the sights of a barren street or empty parking lot, slamming doors, bouncing balls on a basket ball court? All of these sights and sounds can trigger a writing prompt.

Julie likes to dish out the ‘Three Word’ prompts. Name three random things, tie those three things together in a story. It takes a little practice but sometimes you get some of the best unblocked writing ever. Why? Because you were not really thinking about writing, you subconsciously had those three things in your mind, you wrote about them and tied them all into a nice little ball of yarn and you shared it with your writing friends.

Some will look at you, (not knowing what the three things were) and think, “What is this story about?” A writer will give them a clear picture hopefully and they won’t have to ask that question.

Now some writing prompts are Picture Prompts. This is the one where you look at a picture and from what you see, you write a story. This one is tough because you have to dig into your memory pool and pull out some really creative writing. A picture is worth a thousand words, literally.

Then there is the Sentence Prompt. This is where a partial sentence is given and you finish it and spin it into a webfully woven tale. Take for example: “Clarice walked into the store and could not believe her eyes. What did she see?” Just something as simple as that can help you unblock the block and have you writing until your fingers pop off your hand.

As you journey down the writing road, always remember that there is a prompt that will bring in the shovel and start digging you out of the slump that you might be in. Don’t take writing for granted, use it to your advantage of being the healer that it is meant to be.


M. SUE said...

I have two 4x6" photo albums. (A dollar each, plus tax, at our local Big Lots covers the cost.) One contains notepapers and/or unlined recipe cards on which I have printed my personal writing prompts. The other holds digital pictures of stuffed animals I either write about or plan to write about; just looking at those faces moves my mind! I also have a Word Document file containing Writing Prompts(my own, other sources, or both)on each my desktop and laptop. When I carried my Palm, I had a daily story prompt keyed in as well. That was in case I was forced to wait unexpectedly sometimes.
You hit me where I live with this post, Joni ~
Smiles, Sue

June said...

I love writing prompts!

I like writing from photos and from music, also.

Maybe you should include a writing prompt each week?!,??!?

joni said...

That's a good idea, I wonder if my following would like that?


See June, you inspire me as much as I you! :)