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Writing prompts and memes

I have 3 very basic rules for my writing.

  1. All writing goes toward a finished product (i.e. the novel, a short story, poetry, or article).
  2. All writing is filed and backed up regularly.
  3. Write or work (e.g. editing, reading) toward a finished product everyday.

There are many writing prompt/exercises posts on the ‘net. These are fun and can help even the most “blocked” writer start writing.

What?‘ you may ask. ‘Do some random writing that isn’t specifically for a finished work? Isn’t this breaking Rule numero uno?‘ Not if you incorporate the subject of the prompt into your established character and plotlines. In fact, prompts can help you enrich your writing with details you may have overlooked.

Anonymom runs a Motherhood Monday meme where she supplies a prompt for you to run wild with writing for 10 minutes, then you post it on your blog, then link back on Anonymom’s site. Last week, Anonymom’s prompt was “luck.” She suggested you write a scene where your character comes upon a stroke of luck. Although I didn’t post my writing on PurpleCar, I did write a scene where my character got lucky and found the random bar where her adversary was drinking. The prompt about luck was quite helpful because I had no idea how my character was going to find the dive she was looking for. A little stroke of luck was just what she (and I) needed to realistically move the plot along. Don’t we all get bits of luck in life? Strokes of fortune are daily occurrences that I had neglected to add to my novel. Using Anonymom’s prompt, I added a detail I hadn’t thought of before, and small details like that help make a novel more of a transporting experience than a rote reading assignment.

OneWord is another writing prompt site I check occasionally. LanguageIsAVirus has visual, poetic, and brainstorming prompts to inspire creativity. WordSpy is a do-it-yourself prompt site: look up some of the latest entries and definitions, then expound on the drama that goes with them (e.g., multi-dadding is defined as ‘having children with multiple men.’). WordSpy is a direct route into the modern lexicon and reflects the issues people in our culture are thinking about.

What on-line sites do you use for inspiration?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous 23 October 2007, 8:54 pm

    Your bookshelf is in better shape than mine. Thanks for stopping by and signing my guest book at http://muse-needed.blogspot.com/ . I also have a Monday Morning Wake-up Call for writers to start off their week.

    Catch ya on the NYTBSL.

    -RICK

  • PurpleCar 23 October 2007, 9:22 pm

    Rick, thanks for the Monday link. I went to your site and it seems like you tag it: MMWUC.

    I guess my bookshelf too messy to pass as a stock photo, huh?

    Thanks for stopping by and I’ll definitely stop in on Mondays! Oh, and don’t forget – let’s find each other on the NANO front, too. Always good to Nano with other crazy-minded writers.

    -Christine PurpleCar

  • PurpleCar 24 October 2007, 2:47 pm

    OH! and I started my own meme, using my knowledge of personality/developmental psychology: Wacko Wednesdays! Come check it out.

  • Anonymom 25 October 2007, 10:43 am

    Hello and thank you for mentioning my meme. I suppose it was lucky that you stopped by, LOL!

    You are very dedicated to use everything you write toward a finished piece. I find that I have to be forgiving when I write, I give myself permission to write badly, because even if I never use those words again, it’s not time wasted—it’s practice. And all practice is good!

  • PurpleCar 25 October 2007, 11:28 am

    Anonymom,

    Thanks for coming! I love your meme. Maybe when I get a chance, I can do it! What I mean by my writing only going toward something, I mean I do my practicing in the context or plot I already have. That way, if any gems show up, I can gather them and use them, and I’m one step closer to finishing. I don’t just write for practice randomly, because it can be a distraction away from facing the fear of failing (or succeeding) at a novel or other piece. It’s like a block-fighter for me.

    What do you think?

    -PC

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