On Writing, Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt 72

Practice the art of observation by engaging in some people watching. Spend an hour or so at a park or a mall or some other area frequented by people and write down what you observe. This trick can help you not only with describing appearances in more detail but also with writing dialogue and exercising your imagination. When you’re writing your visual descriptions of people, try to be specific about what you see (hairstyles, types of clothing, the color of a person’s hat/glasses/bag, etc.). If you’re listening to conversations (without eavesdropping, of course), take note of accents, pronunciations, inflection, tone. Also pay close attention to what people are doing—their expressions, gestures, body language. What might these various things reveal about a person? What might the people be saying, feeling, or even thinking? Make up a backstory for a person or people you see and use this as a future character sketch.

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 69

This week’s writing prompt is a one-liner:

“Don’t worry; everything will be just fine.”

First, determine the context in which these words are uttered and the intent of the entity speaking them. Are they meant to soothe or mollify or are they intended to frighten or unnerve? What is the tone and sincerity of the person speaking these words? Do they even believe them? What is the response of the person to whom these words are spoken?

There are numerous possibilities, each a new story waiting to unfold. See how many different scenarios you can come up with and which one you like best.

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.