I have 3 very basic rules for my writing.
- All writing goes toward a finished product (i.e. the novel, a short story, poetry, or article).
- All writing is filed and backed up regularly.
- 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?