On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 62

This week’s writing prompt is taken from the Beatles song, “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” The opening lyrics give us a description of two characters—a girl and a man. We’re told that the girl (who might actually be a woman) is “not a girl who misses much.”

She's well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane

What does this say about her? Who is she? What’s her backstory? And who is this other character who emerges in the next line?

The man in the crowd with the multicolored mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
Working overtime

What does the description tell you about him? Does the girl/woman spy him in the crowd; is that why we get such a detailed description of his footwear? Are these characters connected in some way? Your challenge, fearless writer, is to weave a story from these threads.

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 43

A Paradoxical Sentiment

Am I thinking what everybody's thinking?
I'm so glad I came but I can't wait to leave?
— St. Vincent, "Slow Disco"

For this week’s writing prompt, I give you the above lyrics from one of my favorite St. Vincent tunes, “Slow Disco,” from the album MASSEDUCTION. Two seemingly opposing sentiments are expressed in these lines—the notion of being happy to be somewhere yet simultaneously eager to escape. Your challenge this week is to envision (or recall) a situation in which your character/speaker (or you) might be feeling both of these emotions at the same time and then write about it.

Alternatively, do some freewriting about what comes to mind when you read the lyrics. For me, the song inspired a scene where one of my main characters was standing still amid a roomful of people yet feeling utterly alone. There was a moment where time seemed to stop for her; the noise faded out and everyone around her froze. In that moment, she was grateful for the silence, the sudden solitude that afforded her an escape from the din, however brief. Drop a comment below to let me know what this song inspires in you!

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 19

My favorite Led Zeppelin song, “Tangerine,” from the band’s album III, is a song about lost love. Whenever I hear the lines

I was her love
She was my queen
And now a thousand years in between

I imagine some epic love story and subsequent heartbreak spanning lifetimes. It might be a sci-fi story, it might be a ghost story or some tale of horror, it might be a tale supernatural in nature. I haven’t figured out exactly what it means for me yet, but today’s your chance. Let the lyrics inspire you (listen to the full song if you like). What does it speak to you?