Gretchen Rubin says: Write a short piece inspired by one of William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. There are 72, but here are a few of my favorites…
Gretchen Rubin is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Project, Happier at Home and, most recently, Better Than Before (a book about happiness and habits that has huge implications for writers. You should check it out!)
When I asked her if she’d like to provide a writing prompt this self-confessed quotation collector, of course, went to one of her favorite authors for inspiration. Here’s what she sent.
Continue reading “Guest Prompt: Gretchen Rubin”
Happy Book Birthday to Debbie Ridpath Ohi, whose illustrations are featured in the new paperback editions of Judy Blume’s classic books (yes, Judy Blume!!). The new editions come out today! Today Debbie has supplied us with a visual prompt that made me laugh out loud. What can you do with this?
Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates books for young people. Based in Toronto, Debbie is represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Ltd. Her illustrations appear in I’M BORED, a picture book written by Michael Ian Black (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2012) and was selected by The New York Times for its list of Notable Children’s Books.
Her upcoming books include NAKED! (by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie, coming out from S&S in Summer/2014) andWHERE ARE MY BOOKS?, which is written AND illustrated by Debbie (coming out from S&S in Spring/2015). She is currently working with Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, Harpercollins Children’s and Random House Children’s Books.
Write about the best gift your character was given. Incorporate one of the seven deadly sins (wrath, gluttony, sloth, greed, pride, lust, envy) into the story.
Charlotte Rains Dixon is the author of Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior. She is a novelist, writing teacher, free-lance journalist, ghostwriter, and author. Continue reading “[Guest Prompt] Charlotte Rains Dixon”
Choose a piece of music from the list below. Listen through it once or twice and get your mind in the mood of the music. Then start writing.
- Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens
- Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland
- Egmont Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
- Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (II. Adagio Sostenuto) by Sergei Rachmaninoff
- The Planets by Gustav Holst (choose one movement)
Gabriela Pereira is the Creative Director and Instigator of DIY MFA, the do-it-yourself alternative to a Masters degree in writing. She creates workshops and tools to help writers get the MFA experience without going to school.
Gabriela holds an MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. When she’s not teaching or designing learning tools for DIY MFA, she enjoys writing some fiction of her own. She especially loves writing middle grade and teen fiction, with a few “”short stories for grown-ups”” thrown in for good measure. Visit DIYMFA.com to learn more about Gabriela and DIY MFA.
[Also, don’t miss the Writer Igniter visual prompt machine at Gabriela’s site. So much fun!]
Write the story that accompanies this ending line:
I clicked off the safety, swearing that if she showed her face here today, my room would be the last one she ever entered.
Becca Puglisi is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others. This is one of her reasons for writing The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Negative Trait Thesaurus. A member of SCBWI, she leads workshops at regional conferences, teaches webinars through WANA International, and can be found online at Writers Helping Writers (formerly known as The Bookshelf Muse).
[Here’s another scenario ripe with opportunities for character development, comedy, tragedy…in other words emotion — that thing that all readers are looking for! – JD]
Your protagonist opens the door and finds an unexpected guest–a friend from high school who hasn’t been heard from in many years.
This friend has fallen on hard times and wants to stay with your protagonist a few days. As your protagonist and friend sit in the kitchen, the friend reminisces about the old days…and stirs up trouble by recalling some unhappy teen moments, too.
How does your protagonist react and what are those good and bad times in the past?
Elizabeth writes the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, the Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin/Berkley, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She blogs at ElizabethSpannCraig.com/blog, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010-2013.
Shame is a powerful emotion, and one of the most wounding experiences a character can face.
Write a story where your character does something that they feel shame for (maybe a failure, making a mistake [through one’s own carelessness or by accident] that hurts someone else, or letting someone down, poor treatment of someone, refusing to help, etc.) and how they redeem themselves in the aftermath.
Angela Ackerman is a writing coach and co-author of the #1 bestselling resource, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression as well as the bestselling pair, The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws. When she isn’t teaching or building innovate tools for writers, she writes Middle Grade and Young Adult mysteries represented by the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency. You can find her at Writers Helping Writers, a hub for all things description.
[Ooo, I’m particularly excited about this one. This is a challenging prompt but one that should yield some great stories, since character and conflict are at the heart of the story – JD]
The Energy of Passions & Obsessions
You become what you think about all day long.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Passions and obsessions are great starting points for stories. So what if a character has a passion or obsession but the character has extreme difficulty fulfilling that dream. For example, a character could have an extreme passion with exotic birdwatching, but he can’t fulfill his greatest wish because he is a poor child living in a big city. What does the character do to fulfill his obsession? What happens to the character when he can’t? What does the fulfillment of the obsession or passion mean to the character?
Heidi Durrow is the New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky (Algonquin Books) which won the PEN/Bellwether Prize. She is the founder of the Mixed Remixed Festival, an annual film & book festival in Los Angeles.
Work the words vermillion and musky somewhere in the next 250 words you write.
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the GLAMOURIST HISTORIES series of historical fantasy novels, and the 2011 Hugo Award-winning short story “For Want of a Nail.” Her short fiction appears in Clarkesworld, Cosmos and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago. Visit her online at maryrobinettekowal.com.
THERESE WALSH is the author of The Moon Sisters and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.
Imagine your protagonist has just opened a large magnetic poetry kit. Which words call to him/her? Will s/he put these words on the refrigerator in a random scattering or compose a sentence? Share your words and sentences here.
- If you don’t have a magnetic poetry set (what?!) you can play online
- You can write a whole story based on the words you select or you can show the scene where they select words.