In Part One of my three-part series about Writing Prompts, I went over some of the pros and cons of why writers need writing prompts. I talked about how they work like exercise for our imaginations. They stretch the muscles in our mind that force us to strengthen our writing skills.
Before I go on with just different kinds of writing prompts that are out there and where to find them, I want to just add a little more on why I think they are so important and how they have helped me personally.
Like many readers and writers, I have certain kinds of genres I like to read and write.
I tend to stick to those genres. I also have certain kinds of genres I avoid.
Personally, I don’t like horror. I won’t watch a scary movie. They scare me… lol.
I’m not really interested in reading sci-fi and I’ve never written any, but I do watch Sci-Fi movies and TV shows and they’re some of my favorites.
Do I need to write in these genres? I know what I like… right? How is writing what I don’t like going to help me write better in the areas that I do like to write?
That’s an interesting question with a very simple answer. Every interesting story has elements of other genres than their own.
Is your main character ever scared? Horror.
Does anyone ever enter a strange situation completely unknown to them? Sci-Fi.
Are there things your characters need to learn? Mystery.
Is there a chase scene or a character who needs to get out of a situation? Adventure.
Are there interactions with young kids? Children’s.
As I said, all good stories have elements of other genres. If there are aspects of different genres, it can only help out writing if we stretch our imaginary writing muscles by practicing writing other genres.
I knew this, but it wasn’t until I started pushing myself to find writing prompt that I wasn’t comfortable with what I really understood. Personally, I don’t like using writing prompts for longer stories. I normally use them in short flash fiction or micro-fiction stories. Many of the stories I use on my blog for Fiction Friday are written from writing prompts.
I have to admit that I don’t like all the finished products of every writing prompt I’ve used. I wrote one last week about a nightmare that leads to a very real nuclear attack. It was horror, and as I said earlier, I hate horror. But I stretched muscles I hadn’t used in a long time and I can see how it will be useful in the novel I’m currently writing. There are times when my main character will be faced with her worst fears.
I have also learned how to write with a child’s mindset and see things through a child’s eye. This will also be useful in my present novel and my main character has a young child.
I’ve used a writing prompt that pushed me to take a story I knew and change a good character into an evil one and one to write a story using only dialogue.
All of these are aspects that we need to use in a full novel and pushing ourselves to use prompts makes our other writing stronger.
But where do I find my writing prompts?
That I’ll save for Part III