Some days, no matter what I do, my writing can start to fill stagnant. It could just be a scene that I am bored with, or a character that I just find boring.
When this happens, and it does, I have to walk away from my story line and think outside of the box. The only problem is, I tend to think of new and exciting stories to try and write. Then I am left with a shelf of half finished first drafts which accomplishes nothing long term in the writing world.
So what do you do when you are stuck elbows deep in a story that you generally love but need a break?
Do a quick writing exercise. Try a prompt.
What is a prompt?
A prompt can be anything- a word, a picture, and paragraph – to spark an idea that you move forward with creatively.
Where can you find a prompt?
That is the beauty of the internet… anywhere. Try your local library or used book store. Another great thing about a prompt, they can never really go out of style.
Writer’s Digest posts a weekly prompt here, and you just post your 500 word piece into the comments. Wordpress, Tumblr, and Blogger both have bloggers who dole out weekly/daily prompts. Just type in prompt in Tags and it will pull up a plethora of blogs giving you a prompt to try out.
My favorite is the Carrot Ranch weekly prompt given by Charli every Wednesday. This past weeks prompt was to write a 99 word flash fiction piece about the day the world turned brown. Here was my contribution to last weeks prompt…
We stood on the bridge looking down into the sandy abyss littered with long forgotten lost belongings and decaying fish.
“This isn’t good.”
I shook my head. There was nothing else to be said, we both knew what was coming next. It had already begun. Dehydration crept up the embankments as though the Earth was looking for a drink, and sucking the life from anything in its path.
No one knew how long we had, but we all knew what was coming. Without water, there could be no life.
We watched as the last lake took its last breath.
It was a simple piece, something that I will file away and maybe use for another day. It doesn’t fit in my book right now, but I never know when it could fit somewhere. The point is, I was able to think outside of my box for an hour and think of a brown world.
Now my homework for you… A quick prompt. You have new neighbors that just moved in. Write out a scene 200 words or less and see where it takes you. Extra points to see just how twisted you can make it… For all you know, it could be a new chapter in your current WIP.
Let me know in the comments what you come up with.
Till next time,