Writing Prompts for November 2107

WRITING PROMPTS FOR NOVEMBER 2017

I’m late with the writing prompts this month, but here they are now. My October was crazy busy–celebrating two birthdays and an anniversary, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, freelancing, singing, and lots more. Yikes! I’m so glad it’s November–and that the clocks turned back last night. Time is moving deliciously slowly today, and I’m getting lots done, including some lazy reading time. Perfect.

If you’re tackling NaNoWriMo, I wish you every success. It wasn’t for me this year, but I’m certainly cheering on those who made the commitment. Yay for you!

For my readers in the United States, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

And for all of you, I hope you have a healthy, happy and creative November!

WRITING PROMPTS

Use one, some, or all of the words in one of these groups to write a story or poem.

  • Fog, wind, yellow leaves, cold, grey, breath
  • Journey, break, wake, noise, stars, blue
  • Wall, forest, stones, escape, green, wonder
  • Gems, throne, permeate,strength, poison, red

Use one of these opening sentences to start a story.

  • “I want my money, now.”
  • I was careful about what I wished for. It didn’t help.
  • I loved everything about my dragon—except his uncanny ability to get me into trouble.
  • When Henry had a secret, it was no secret.
  • The freezing rain soon coated our cloaks making them so heavy that we could barely walk.
  • The yellow emergency light on the panel suddenly flashed. Too late, we already knew we were in big trouble.
  • I looked at the clock beside the bed. 3 a.m. Why was the musical birthday card that I’d left downstairs by the door, playing “The Chicken Dance” at this hour?
  • Henry inspired obedience—but only when he was standing in front of you and threatening.
  • Don’t throw stones at a wasps’ nest.
  • Henry was the last person that Helen expected to see at the concert.
  • The house had been empty for two years. Tonight, a light moved from one room to another, flickering briefly through cracks in the blinds.
  • I don’t care who selected me. I’m not doing it.
  • I have no idea why my mom picked “Last Chance Ranch” for this year’s summer camp. Well, maybe that’s not exactly true.

See if one of these titles inspires a story or poem.

Guitar King/Queen, The Last Turn in the Road, Henry’s Millions, A Bug in the System, Two More Sleeps, The Orchid Seller, Bones Town, The Face in the Photograph, When Eagles Dared, The Balcony, Winter Warrior, The Door to Somewhere. Magic Carpet, Recycled.

Write a scene or a story around one of the following dialogue excerpts.

  • Your back is really bleeding.
  • It’s okay.
  • Let me lift your shirt. You might need stitches.
  • Just leave it!

 

  • I can’t come with you tonight.
  • Again?
  • I have stuff I have to do.
  • Yea, like avoid your friends—and me.

 

  • Are you sure this is how you put this together?
  • Yeah. I’ve done it lots of times.
  • In the dark?

 

  • What was that?
  • Coyotes.
  • In the city?
  • Yes. When you need to worry is when you can’t hear them? Now, get moving.

 

  • I hate snow—
  • Cold? Wet? Needs shoveling?
  • You didn’t let me finish. I hate snow in July.

 

 

Writing Prompts for October 2017

Writing Prompts for October 2017

October is my favourite month. I love the vibrant colours in the trees, the cold nights, the morning fog, the smell of wet leaves … you get the idea. November is mostly grey, black, and white, but October has nature’s prettiest palette.

For many of you, this is also the run-up month to NaNoWriMo when you do the planning, researching, and organizing before the clock hits 12:01 on the morning of November 1st.  I’m considering taking on the challenge this year, but I’ll be doing a lot of serious thinking before I sign up–and I need a good story idea, too! Not bad things to be thinking about this month. If you’re looking for inspiration for NaNo, or just your everyday writing, I hope the following prompts will help.

Use one, some, or all of the words in one of these groups to create a story or poem.

  • Stool, umbrella, morning, lake, green, breeze
  • Couple, hat, but, bag, lost, rain, red
  • Necklace, black, road sky, jewel, blue
  • Rock, stain, rattle, whisper, drag, black, old
  • Rush, anxious, seldom, clasp, limp, sigh, yellow

See if you can think of a story to go with one of these opening lines.

  • Helen searched the crowd for one face.
  • Henry really was a bookworm.
  • We smelled them before we saw them.
  • The man adjusted his backpack and slipped into the alley.
  • Stones dug into my thin shoes.
  • Birkenstock’s and a kilt. Henry certainly was original.
  • “Did I say that out loud?” Helen’s face turned red and she tried to laugh.
  • Henry crept back into the tent. No one had missed him.
  • I’m sure we turn left here.
  • When it comes to spotting liars, my dog is way better at it than I am.

Here are some titles that might inspire a story or poem.

The Blue Tent, XRT, White Rabbit, A Walk in the Shade, Wonder and the Yellow Balloon, Don’t Be Late, Keeping the Faith, Capricorn, Keeper Creek, The Cyclist, Black Shoes and White Socks, Anger Mismanagement, The Crown, Weybridge.

Here are some dialogue excerpts. Choose one group and see if you can create a scene around it.

  • Look over there!
  • Where?
  • Too late.
  • What was it?
  • Big.

 

  • I think Henry likes you.
  • I think you’re crazy.
  • So, I guess you like him, too.
  • Again–you’re crazy.

 

  • Why is Helen so angry?
  • Do you have to ask?
  • Nope. I have to leave.

 

  • When will you call?
  • I can’t say.
  • Can’t or won’t?

 

  • Do you have the key?
  • I thought you did!

Hope you have a writerly October!

Writing Prompts for September 2017


Writing Prompts for September 2017

I can’t believe that it’s September already. Summer flew by, and now, there are glimpses of colour in the trees that say fall is just around the corner. Yikes!

I’ve always loved fall. For years as a student and then later as a teacher, it was always the time for fresh starts and resolutions–like New Years without the snow. This fall is no different. I have plans for paying more attention to my fitness, doing some serious culling of years of accumulated paper and teacher resources, and basically, just getting my act together. I live in hope!

Whatever happens, writing will still be a priority. I hope that small steps will help me reach my goals, and I’m already wondering about tackling NaNoWriMo this year. Again, I live in hope. 🙂

If you are looking for a new creative project for the fall, maybe one of the following writing prompts will inspire you. Have fun!

a)  See if one, some, or all of the words in one of the following groups suggests a story or poem.

  • Lake, gull, lighthouse, sunset, shadows, blue
  • Clouds, rain, thunder, fear, rising, dog, grey
  • Bench, waiting, listening, others, call, risk, purple
  • Time, past, legend, mystery, shell, clasp, green
  • Stones, message, fail, portal, wonder, run, silver

b)  Here are some opening lines that might lead you to a story.

  • Last year, we were happy.
  • Henry sighed. That was never a good sign.
  • I learned to climb the day my life depended on it.
  • I hadn’t smelled that particular cigar smell in years. He was back.
  • The cries of the gulls downed my scream.
  • The council assembled in silence.
  • A smooth black stone lay half-hidden in the sand. It wasn’t a stone.
  • The storm circled the tower.
  • It was too late when I remembered my grandfather’s words: red sky at dawning—sailor’s warning.
  • I dug my nails into my palms and kept my mouth shut

c)  Here are some titles that might suggest a story or poem: End of the Line, The Oracle, Bram’s Ring, When Good Witches Go Bad, Bottom of the League, Turner’s First Game, The Wild Ones, The Cartographer, The Secret in Black Wood, Kayak Adventure.

d)  See if you can write a scene around one of these short dialogue excerpts.

  • Bring him along.
  • But he’s just a kid.
  • Doesn’t mean he can’t be useful.

 

  • I’m done. I want to leave.
  • That’s too bad.
  • Why?
  • We still need more answers.

 

  • Is Henry okay?
  • Why?
  • He walked right past me this morning like I was invisible.
  • Don’t you know? He’s trying to protect you.

 

  • The water’s fine.
  • It’s freezing!
  • You’re just not used to it.
  • And I don’t plan to be!

Hope you have a writerly month ahead!

Writing Prompts for August 2017

WRITING PROMPTS FOR AUGUST 2017

I don’t know about your summer, but mine is flying by. Lots of heat and thunderstorms lately, but it saves me watering my mom’s garden, so I’m not complaining.

I hope you have been enjoying your summer and finding some creative time, too. If you’re looking for something to fill your journal pages, I hope some of the prompts below will provide the necessary jump-start to a story or poem.

Use one, some, or all of the words in one of these groups to write a story or poem.

  • Sun, blue, smoke, distance, danger, escape
  • Race, down, fear, road, gravel, slip, red
  • Bridge, under, flow, rain, caught, grey, free
  • Ledge, climb, safe, rope, loose, night, silver

Here are some opening lines to get you started.

  • Once upon a midnight ….
  • Henry slammed his fist down on the table, “Enough!”
  • That was my second lie today.
  • If you wanted someone who was going to be on time, you shouldn’t have picked Henry.
  • Horizontal snow and another two miles to ride.
  • That road led straight to the castle.
  • Another nightmare.
  • We had no choice. We left Henry and moved on.
  • I was tired of feeling that everyone had a say in the matter but me.
  • I wish I were programmed to forget.
  • Roscoe came and sat silently at my feet. He could feel something was wrong, too.

Perhaps one of these titles will be inspiring.

Moonrise, Copper Storm, The Girl Who Didn’t Care, A Rose for Helen, Team Player, Lonely Heart, Run, The Attic, Wonder Full, Storm Chaser, Pirate Moon, The World Beneath the Stairs, Samantha and Sam.

Here are some dialogue excerpts. See if you can build a scene or a story around one of them.

  • Am I the last one?
  • There should be two more.
  • How long are we going to wait for them?

 

  • Did you hear that?
  • Yes.
  • Then why didn’t you hide?

 

  • Six o’clock.
  • So?
  • So, Henry said we should leave at six.
  • Henry’s going to be disappointed then, isn’t he?

 

  • Come over here.
  • No.
  • But you’re all alone.
  • Exactly.

 

  • Have you seen Henry lately?
  • Why? Worried?
  • It’s not like him to stay away so long.
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts.

Hope you have a writerly August!

 

Writing Prompts for July 2017

WRITING PROMPTS FOR JULY 2017

Canada celebrates its 150th birthday today, and my American readers celebrate their country’s national holiday on July 4th.  I hope that you all have wonderful holidays with family and friends.

If creativity is on your summer agenda, here are some writing prompts to help you find a story or two.

Choose one of these word groups and use one, some, or all of the words to create a story or poem.

  • Feather, dawn, call, open, blue, keep, end
  • River, cliff, safe, grass, cold, grey, running
  • Boat, pier, home, green, wonder, few, child

Try one of these opening sentences and see where it takes your imagination.

  • Henry was early. Henry was never early.
  • Helen carefully put the box on the table.
  • I was sure I felt a breeze, but the wind chimes were silent.
  • The child lay in the tall grass.
  • The shack didn’t look as welcoming in daylight.
  • The best present ever was my bike.
  • There were days when Helen frightened me.
  • No, Henry, that wasn’t funny.
  • The tree branch scrabbled against the window.
  • Last night the rains came.

Can you think of a story or poem to go with one of these titles?

East Texas Blues, Century, The Apple Tree, Forgive and Forget, Hope’s Island, The Garden, Mystery at MacDonald’s, Last Child Standing, The Waiter, Nemesis, Heist, One Bad Day, Life with the Smiths, The Final Strategy, Wind Across the Prairie, Storm.

Here are some dialogue excerpts. See if you can create a scene around one of them.

  • Something’s wrong. Did you hear that?
  • I can’t hear anything.
  • The engine’s failing.
  • But we’re miles from our destination.

 

  • Have you heard the latest about Helen?
  • I don’t like gossip.
  • Not even if it’s what she said about you?

 

  • I’m tired.
  • Me, too, but we can’t stop now.

 

  • I thought you said this place was safe.
  • It is.
  • Not anymore.

 

  • I’m sure I saw those curtains move.
  • That house has been empty for weeks.
  • That’s what I thought, too. Look.

Hope you all have a writerly month ahead!

Stop Summer Slide

Stop Summer SlideHi, This is a repost of a blog I wrote for last summer. Hope it helps you find some fun activities for your teens or pre-teens this summer.

If you’re a bored teen or pre-teen or the parent of one, here are some ideas for getting creative and having fun this summer.

a) The writing prompts on this website here and here give you plenty of ideas for stories, movie scripts, play scripts, comic books, you name it, (and there are more suggestions in the links tab.) You can also find story planners and a fun idea generator here. 

b) Visit a bookstore or the library with a friend and take a bag or envelope with some small pieces of blank paper inside. When you arrive, divide the papers between the two of you, and walk through the library/store with a pen, and write down a random book title on each piece of paper. When you’re done,  put them back in the envelope. Then each of you draws out one piece of paper and that’s the title for your story, or maybe it’s something one of the characters says. Since you know you could pick one of the titles you put in, make sure you choose titles that have story potential.

c) Check out the amazing drawings created by Chris Van Allsburg for The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos and see what stories your imagination can create.

d) Write a story with a friend. This is great fun for a rainy day or a long car ride. Choose an opening line from one of the prompts on this website and then write a story with each of you writing one sentence and then passing the story to the other person for the next sentence. See how far you can go. Be as silly as you like. If you each decide that you have great ideas for finishing the story on your own, go ahead and write two stories. It will be fun to see how each of your stories turns out.

e) Write a story or fairy tale for a child that you know–little brother or sister, cousin, the child you babysit. Make the child the hero of your story. Here’s a link to some great ideas for folded paper books that are kid-sized: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Booklet-from-Paper You can also use these little books to collect and illustrate quotes from your favourite writers or famous people who inspire you.

f) Do some coloring–and find a story. Download the free coloring pages available on this website or check out some of the free coloring page sites that you can find on Google. Here are a couple that have some interesting pages for downloading. Some of them depict moments in stories. Maybe after coloring a page or two, you can come up with your own story to match the picture. http://www.kids-n-fun.com/coloringpages/tag/teens-difficult-coloring-pages or http://www.supercoloring.com/. The latter site also has tutorials that teach you how to draw your own images for coloring.

g) Draw a detailed map of a village, kingdom, haunted house, planet, island–whatever your imagination suggests. What adventures will your characters have here? Do the place names you chose suggest a fantasy, a mystery, an adventure? Try putting characters from your favourite books in this setting and see what happens.

h) Every watch a movie or read a book and hate the ending? Write a new one or write a sequel if you think there are more stories to tell about these characters.

i) Read, read, read. One of the best ways to fill the writer’s creative well is to escape into the worlds of other authors. Try reading something you don’t normally read. Chose a mystery instead of a fantasy, or an adventure instead of a love story.

j) Of course, if you want some other inspiration, drop by here to check out some books that might help you fill your creative well, too. Yes, these are books that I wrote. 🙂

Hope you have a wonderful and creative summer!

Writing Prompts for June 2017

Writing Prompts for June 2017

I hope you had a creative May and made progress toward your writing goals. I feel like I spent most of May driving back and forth to the hospital/rehab facility where my mom is recovering from a fractured pelvis. Even though it’s not a long drive, and she’s usually in good spirits and making good progress with her physiotherapy, I’m still exhausted when I get home. It’s just hard, as you know, to see someone you love struggling, sometimes in pain, and wanting to have them back home where they belong. Creativity is elusive at the best of times, but right now impossible. I’ve managed a couple of short, freelance projects, and I’m grateful for those because they’ve kept me writing.

Keeping on the creative track is hard, but I’ve found great satisfaction in doing one simple thing every day. I’m taking a book that I love and am writing out—yes, pen on paper—a small section of it every day. I was inspired to do this by Jennifer Manuel and her blog, How to Write Your Best Story Ever with One Epic Exercise. My copying helps me see how one writer uses words well. It’s like a mini writing workshop every day. It’s also calming, and I need that now, as “stress” is my middle name right now as we get my mom’s apartment ready for her return (including filling her many garden containers with flowers and tomato plants and lettuce plants, etc.—sooooo not my thing) and likely installing a stair lift so she can get up and down stairs to her apartment without stressing herself. Life is not dull.

I hope you enjoy June’s writing prompts and have a writerly month ahead.

1.  Use one, some, or all of the words in one of these groups to inspire a story or poem.

  • Pen, hope, clear, yesterday, erase, blue
  • Goblet, table, feast, music, undercurrent, red
  • Calendar, busy, time, renew, carry, up, yellow

2.   Here are some opening sentences from which you might invent a story or two.

  • Let the boy speak.
  • Wish you were here.
  • Haven’t you won that solitaire game yet?
  • Was this how freedom felt?
  • Helen looked up to face the crowded room.
  • I’d read stories about people who’d run for their lives, but nothing had prepared me for this.
  • Henry flicked the switch. Nothing. Again. Nothing.
  • I had never been so tired.
  • I don’t do edges well.
  • Helen tried to not think about her wedding

3.  Here are some titles that might make you think of a story or poem: This Is My Life, The Abandoned, The Beauty in Everything, The Lake, A Simple Life, The Castle on the Cliff, The Magic Forest, Dragons and Me, Dancing in the Street, Going Viral, Henry’s Letter, Runaway

4.  Try these dialogue excerpts and write a scene or two.

  • That was a pretty mean thing to say.
  • It was true. And she had to hear it.
  • She hates you now.
  • I know, but that’s better than losing her.

 

  • You were gone a long time.
  • Too bad it was wasted.
  • He wouldn’t listen?
  • No.

 

  • I saw Henry steal the–.
  • Quiet!
  • But—
  • Everyone knows.

 

  • What’s that?
  • A letter.
  • Who from?
  • My grandmother.
  • But ….
  • I know. She died three years ago.

 

Writing Prompts for May 2017

Sorry I’m a little late posting this month, but my mom fell last week, and I’ve been busy visiting the hospital and doing daughter things, so time for creativity is gone for a while. Thankfully, my mom is on the road to recovery, but it will be slow—88-years-old with a fractured pelvis. Fortunately, the break is weight-bearing which may speed up recovery a little bit. Life happens, and we’re very grateful for a positive prognosis. Deep breath! Onward!

Here are the writing prompts for May.

Use one, some, or all of the words in these groups to write a story or poem.

  • Race, blur, red, strain, edge, finish
  • Blue, horizon, run, castle, horses, escape
  • Sun, sultry, black, clouds, thunderstorm, heat
  • Angry, words, disappointed, leave, never, new

Here are some opening sentences to get you started:

  • You checked first? Right?
  • Sometimes only a very few words can hurt.
  • I stared at the doctor. I must have misheard what he said.
  • Even the weather was against us.
  • I wished I could have yesterday as a do-over.
  • Rain soaked through our clothes.
  • No one needed that much money.
  • I thought Henry was on this watch.
  • Some words should never be carved in stone.

Here are some titles that might inspire a story or poem:

Remembering Times Past, New Shoes, The Win, Helen’s Dream, The House on Henry Street, Windflowers, Passing Storms, Nursery Rhymes, The Wonder Kid, Murder Times Two, Serenity.

See if you can create a scene or a story around these lines of dialogue.

  • Keep out of there.
  • Sure. Okay.
  • I don’t like anyone messing with my stuff.

 

  • How long before we leave?
  • When it’s dark—and those men are out of sight.

 

  • Will I see you again?
  • Not for a while.
  • Why?
  • Unfinished business.

 

  • Shouldn’t those birds be flying south?
  • Not today.

 

  • Are we finished here?
  • Not until Henry says so.
  • Why is it up to him?

Hope you have a writerly month ahead!

Writing Prompts for April, 2017

Writing Prompts for April 2017

Yay, it’s April! April always seems so hopeful. You believe that soon it will be the last frosty night, the last snowy day, the last time that you have to wear boots, the last time the heat goes on in the car, … you get the idea. I’m experiencing spring in Florida this year–ten days escape to Orlando/Gainesville, and what a shock to the system. It’s 90 here! Yikes! And around 45 at home. Returning will be quite a shock. I will miss the green and the sun on bare shoulders, but I will also enjoy the slow return to green, my daffodils blooming, wide open windows, and driving my mom to various nurseries to stock her garden.

I hope that you have a writerly April ahead and that you find some inspiration in the writing prompts below. Have fun!

Choose one group and use one, some or all of the words in a story or poem.

  • Traffic, hurry, roar, wind, blue, anxious
  • Branch, hollow, creek, hide, breath, thunder
  • Change, cold, sudden, sky, grey, sparrow

Use one of the following sentences to begin your story.

  • “Where have you been?”
  • Dead leaves crackled in the wind.
  • “If you don’t decide, I will.
  • Lights were one. The cottage was supposed to be empty.
  • The sound waves from the rocket pounded my chest.
  • Helen was sure she’d locked the door when she left.
  • The dark came too slowly.

Try one of these titles for a story or poem.

Open Until Doomsday, The Scarlet Knight, The River Adventure, Ten Times Ten, The Forever Wish, Race, My Aunt was a Pirate, Flight, Keeper’s Gate, Last Promise, The Door.

Use one of the following short dialogues to create a unique scene.

  • I thought we were resting here.
  • We can’t. We have to keep going.
  • Why?
  • Look.

 

  • Spiders!
  • Ignore them.

 

  • Why hasn’t anyone rescued us?
  • Just give them time.
  • You don’t have time.
  • Then it doesn’t matter, does it?

 

Writing Prompts for March, 2017

Okay, so I had this month’s writing prompts drafted early in my journal, and then whoosh, completely missed my March 1 deadline for my blog. And whoosh went the next few days. If March continues like this, it will be April before I know it. That’s fine with me, actually. Bring on Spring!

If sometimes you have trouble getting started on your stories, check out this great post by Jill Williamson, 10 Types of Prewriting, for great tips that go beyond brainstorming and freewriting. If you know you need to learn more about your character before you start some serious writing, use the character sketch template here to add more details to your character’s life story. Writing Prompts for March 2017

Here are your writing prompts for March.

Use one, some, or all of the words in each group to create a story or poem:

  • Bright, cloud, cold, bird song, waste, blue
  • White, stifling, breath, under, trapped, scream
  • Fog, echo, shadow, lurk, strain, peer, black
  • Flame, heat, roar, fear, run, red, alarm

See if any of these opening sentences spark a story:

  • It’s too dark. I can’t see.
  • In the distance, the castle’s tall towers loomed black against the bright blue sky.
  • Vultures.
  • It seemed like we’d been climbing for ages.
  • The warm sunshine was welcome after the long night in the cave.
  • The alarm rang for the third time.
  • We were supposed to be the first living beings who had ever been here.
  • What was it about him that frightened me? I hadn’t even shaken his hand yet.
  • I hadn’t reckoned on him being a liar, too.
  • Henry came back.
  • I was afraid, and I didn’t like it.

Can you think of a story or poem to go with one of these titles?

Last Victory, Ember, Shroud Dancing, Port of Call, Getting Lost, The Climb, Murder at the Zoo, Marathon, First Stop Mars, Second Sight, Unglued, Free Ride, Yellow Tulips, Ice Storm.

Here are some snippets of dialogue. Can you write a scene around one of them?

  • Stay of out there!
  • But I just saw Henry go in.
  • He shouldn’t be in there either!

 

  • I wish you’d stop bugging me.
  • But this is important.
  • You’ve said that before.
  • But this time, your life is in danger.

 

  • It’s been a long time.
  • Not long enough.

 

  • Why is Henry so angry?
  • Helen left him.
  • He can’t be surprised.
  • No, just angry, and that’s worse.

 

  • Can you keep a secret?
  • Well ….
  • That’s what I thought.

Hope you have a writerly month! If you’re getting stuck on you book project and need some help, please check out my coaching services here.

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