Sunday, June 29, 2014

How To Use A Writing Prompt

Say the word "writing prompt" and many "Writers", with a capital 'W' and a lot of pride, will sniff at you derisively and proclaim that they have ideas aplenty of their own and thank you very much.  Others, like me, see a writing prompt as nothing more than a challenge - a challenge to summon up the creativity necessary to write something you never would have envisioned writing otherwise.  

I was once part of a group of writer-type friends who often played little word games with one another. One of the things we enjoyed most was when we were given a prompt to quickly write about - and I mean quick, it was very nearly a race. These two or three word phrases were chosen at random by one member of the group and the rest would find a creative way to use them in a piece of writing. What made it fun was seeing how the same phrase spurred so many different ideas.  

A writing prompt can be used for nothing more than an exercise, a way to get the ideas coming and the creative juices flowing again.  You may find that a writing prompt is the right chisel to break you out of the doldrums and just get you writing again.  Who knows? It may lead to a bigger and better idea - one that ends up as a short story or even a novel. Writing prompts can be a valuable tool in generating ideas that can be used in many ways.

That's why I prefer to call it a writing challenge rather than a writing prompt.  It is the challenge that we rise to meet, it isn't just a reaction to being poked and prompted.

Recently, I took a challenge to re-write some English poetry. I might have gone too far in re-writing Shakespeare.  But it was a lot of fun and a good exercise in rhythm and meter.  Parody is the highest form of flattery, isn't it?

You can find my cheeky version of Hamlet's Soliloquy here.


Wednesday Elf said...

With the internet, I've discovered that doing an online search for a particular word or idea ends up as quite an interesting 'writing prompt'. I'm all for anything that sparks an idea for an article.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anja,

This is DarkAgeProphet from Bubblews. I don't know if you'll get this message but if I don't come back at least you'll know. The account was deleted for "Inappropriate Content" with no further details. I suspect it had to do with a poem I posted from an old website that was removed from the internet, but I have not received any specifics as yet.

Anja Poulsen said...

Dark, I doubt very much it had to do with any old poem. Inappropriate Content was probably what someone reported you for in regards to your recent posts about heaven/hell, etc. I hate to say it, but there are people on BB who simply do not know how to talk about things with people who have other beliefs and they get offended, etc. I hope you will contact admin and make them explain it and reinstate you. It is not a violation to republish your own work from another site, so it can't be that.