On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 74

I’m back after two weeks on medical leave and some much needed healing. Hope that time has been good to you.

Here’s this week’s writing prompt, from one of my all-time favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe:

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 71

“I don’t belong here.”

“Yeah, not really my scene either, man,” the person next to him said, misunderstanding.

He shook his head. “No, I mean, I’m . . . ” He stopped. No one was listening. “. . . in this world but not of it,” he whispered to himself. I don’t belong here. I never have.

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 70

This week’s writing prompt is another short, one-liner for you that could go just about anywhere.

It happened on a Tuesday.

Feel free to change the day of the week, but your job is to decide what happened on that day and why it was important.

Happy writing!

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 67

Irony

Irony is when you use a word or words to mean the opposite of their definition. When used in speech, it’s often synonymous with sarcasm. For example, an ironic (and also sarcastic) statement would be if you said to someone, “Nice hair,” but actually meant that their hairstyle looked ridiculous. An example of an ironic situation might be if the coming of spring, the season symbolic of rebirth and renewal, was marked by a death.

For this week’s prompt, reflect on the meaning of irony then start a piece of writing that begins with an ironic scene, statement, or situation. Feel free to use the one above if you like.

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 66

Into the Heart of a Child

This week’s writing prompt is to write from the point of view of a child. Choose a memory from your own childhood (if you’re uncomfortable with that, then make something up) and try to write it as if you were telling the story through your child self. Consider your age at the time, the specific era in history, your temperament back then as well as your personality, developmental level, and any thoughts or emotions you recall experiencing. Think about how you might have to adjust things like vocabulary, word usage, and expressions to make them appropriate for a child narrator. How else could you convey to your reader that this is written from a child’s perspective?

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 65

And oh, my dreams
It's never quite as it seems
Never quite as it seems
— The Cranberries, "Dreams"

Take something you experienced in a dream and make it the plot of a new story, turn it into a poem, or write about its symbolic meaning and application to your waking life.

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 60

The Zeppo

"It must be really hard when all your friends have, like, super powers⁠—Slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires⁠—and you're, like, this little nothing. You must feel like ... Jimmy Olsen."  
     — Cordelia Chase to Xander Harris

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3, episode 13, “The Zeppo,” Cordelia Chase relishes in pointing out her ex-boyfriend, Xander Harris’s, utter ordinariness, telling him that he’s “the Zeppo of the group”—the tragically un-hip, totally un-cool, useless hanger-on. However, Xander goes on to have a very un-Jimmy-Olsen-like day in the episode in question, an ordinary guy proving he’s capable of doing some extraordinary things despite his lack of super powers. The ordinary person doing extraordinary things is a common trope, but in this week’s writing prompt, I’m challenging you to employ a less common one.

What if your hero was an ordinary Zeppo like Xander, but instead of saving the day by doing something out of the ordinary, they did so simply by being their regular self? Maybe your hero saves the day/world/humanity/the universe by taking out the trash, skipping school, hugging someone, ordering a cup of coffee, or doing any number of other uneventful, seemingly unimportant things. What if they were completely unaware that they’d even saved anyone or anything at all? Does that sound boring to you? I say it’s only boring if you make it so, but I don’t believe that you will because you’ve got this brilliant thing called an imagination that can turn something mundane into something fantastic.

Happy writing, fellow ink-slingers!

On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 59

This week’s prompt is an exercise in balance. None of us is 100% “good” or “bad”; we’re some mix of both admirable traits and less desirable ones. With that in mind, list your main character’s three best qualities then their three worst (if you’re writing a memoir, then do this for yourself). Balance is not only crucial in real life but also essential for creating well-rounded characters.