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.

WRITING PROMPTS FOR FEBRUARY 2017

Writing Prompts for February 2017 - opening sentences, random words, dialogue snippets, titles

Welcome February! One more month closer to spring! This last month has been unrelentingly cloudy, and I’m more than ready for some sunny days. A little sunshine can go a long way to cheer up a cold, snowy day. So can escaping into a new story—either one you are reading or one you are writing.

I love finding a new author who has already published a number of books because then I don’t have to wait any time at all to enjoy the entire series. I read all of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries around this time last year. Now I’m impatiently waiting for the next one. Right now, I’m reading the Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths and am enjoying them very much—three down, six to go, and a new one due soon!

If writing a new story is your way to escape, here are some writing prompts to keep you busy in February.

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

  • Candle, frame, snow, path, wave, match
  • Lake, pine cone, laugh, car, memory, rain
  • Door, lock, late, night, empty, cold, silver
  • Light, distant, melody, gem, box, ice, glint.

Here are some opening sentences for you to try.

  • Who ate all the chocolate?
  • I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying.
  • The light hurt my eyes.
  • Power’s out!
  • I hoped it wasn’t too late.
  • We heard the door creak, then silence.
  • When there’s a bat in the house, I don’t do brave.
  • Though my family would like to think so, a nice cup of tea wasn’t going to be any help in this situation.
  • I hadn’t been this afraid of being caught since I stole a pack of matches when I was six.

Here are some titles that might suggest a story or two.

Jenny’s Secret, The Circle, Moon Dragon, Closing Day, The Magic Crow, She’s Back, The Last Letter, The Blue Vase, Damian’s Promise, The New House

Here are some snippets of dialogue that might suggest a scene or a story.

  • I thought you said we’d be safe here.
  • That’s what I said.
  • So you were wrong.
  • Apparently.
  • I saw you take that when Helen wasn’t looking.
  • She’ll never miss it.
  • She will eventually and then what?
  • Henry told me to be here at 8 ‘clock.
  • So?
  • So where are the others?
  • I don’t think there are any others.
  • I can’t believe that Helen could lie like that.
  • She’s had lots of practice.
  • But it’s wrong.
  • You live her life for a day and then say that.

Hope you all have a writerly February!

Writing Prompts for January 2017

Writing Prompts for January 2017
Reflections at the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle.

I considered reflecting on the events of 2016, but frankly, there’s lots you really don’t want to know–honest. The above photo is from a family holiday that included visiting Seattle, WA and Victoria, BC. I have great memories of explorations in galleries, museums, rain forests and mountains–and quiet family times of reading while the sun set. I’m very grateful for that time with my family and for every morning that I wake up and know  that I’m another day further into my life after last year’s cancer surgery–and feeling gratitude is not a bad way to start a new year.

But what will 2017 hold? I don’t know, but over the last couple of days I reread Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and I was reminded to “share whatever you are driven to share.” I write lots of non-fiction about writing. I enjoy it, and I’m going to keep doing it. I love motivating people to write. This year, I’m going to seek out other ways to reach new writers and help them share what they “are driven to share.” And if I find myself worrying about whether or not to take a risk, I’m going to remember this, too: “Hey, why not? Because it’s all just temporary.” Exactly, Elizabeth.

I hope that you have a 2017 filled with peace, and love, and creativity, too. To get you started on your creative goals for 2017, here are your writing prompts for January.

Use one, some, or all of the words in the following lists to inspire a story or poem:

  • Slide, column, eye, remember, red, hidden
  • Glass, case, door, fear, run, seal, black
  • Escape, tunnel, race, battle, freedom, star
  • Beam, rescue patience, delay, moment, revenge

Here are some titles that might suggest a story or two: Rate of Decay, Last Chance, Brother Why?, Indefinitely, A New Year’s Resolution, The Captain’s Son, Battle Stations, Just a Step Away, Love on New Year’s Eve, Holiday, Seeing in the Dark.

Try one of the following opening lines to start a story.

  • Most people have a party or, at least, drink a toast with Anderson and Kathy on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I open my back door, a stray cat walks in, and an hour later I have a cat, four kittens and an old college sweat shirt that I will never wear again.
  • The last time I saw Harry, he had that same dumb grin.
  • Saying goodbye is never easy.
  • If they could hear my heartbeats, I’d be found in about 30 seconds.
  • Nothing made a castle colder than three days of uninterrupted rain.
  • His cloak smelled of wood smoke and rain.
  • Security! Report to Deck 9!
  • I still haven’t told my family that I was fired.
  • Helen always knew the wrong thing to say.

Here are a few snippets of dialogue. Can you write a scene using one of them?

  • When was the last time you talked to Henry?
  • This morning.
  • Then, he told you.
  • Yes.
  • Do you want to get caught?
  • No.
  • Then keep up!
  • I thought you weren’t coming back.
  • I have something to say to you.
  • Then say it.
  • I’m getting cold.
  • Just a little bit further.
  • Promise?
  • Promise.
  • So, another hour?
  • At least.

Happy New Year and may 2017 hold only good things for you!

Writing Prompts for December 2016

Writing Prompts for December 2016

I always enjoy the approach to the holidays. Decorating the house, planning meals, and even all the long-overdue cleaning and organizing are done with a lighter heart. It’s a musical time for us, too. My choir has a concert, my son’s university ensemble has a concert, and we all attend the local symphony’s holiday concert, joining my brother-in-law’s family for dinner afterwards. I hope that you and yours enjoy times filled with peace, love, and happiness in the coming weeks and that these feelings follow you through 2017.

Though your writing time may be limited in December, I encourage you to take even 10 minutes out of your day to put a few words on the page. Typing at 25 words per minute would fill a double-spaced page. Think of how those pages could add up over the month, and how much further ahead you will be starting 2017.

If you need some writing inspiration or fresh ideas, here are your writing prompts for December. Remember that you can change names and gender to suit the story you want to write.

Opening Sentences – Start a story with one of the following sentences. You could use the sentence to end the story, too.

Wait! Don’t open that!
The fire was too small to warm the room.
Henry and I had an agreement—until yesterday.
The branches of the bare trees clattered overhead.
Making a wish as you blow out your birthday candles isn’t just for kids.
Helen should have known better.
Secrets should be kept secret.
I don’t have a cat anymore, so what was coughing and hacking in my kitchen?

Random Words – Choose a group of words from the following list, and using one, some, or all of the words in the group, write a story or poem.

Gate, pillar, robe, wonder, blue, cry, gold
green, hills, wander, home, far, cold, rain
run, danger, lost, captain, white, strange
window, tense, sneer, answer, leave, yellow

Possible Story Titles

Yesterday’s Man, The Gold Tower, Tree People, The Leaving, Ghosts at Summer Camp, Strangers at First, Ethan’s Mountain, The Blue Sword, The Kameron Curse, The Second Gift.

Dialogue – Use one of these dialogue excerpts and imagine the story around it.

Why do we have to travel at night?
It’s safer.
It’s also cold.

I haven’t seen you with Henry lately.
Oh, we’re old news.
But I thought you were getting married.
Tell that to Henry’s father.

Are you sure we can trust Helen?
I don’t see that we have a lot of options.
But, I told you—she’s lied before.
So have you.

I don’t like the sound of that.
Me neither, but it’s too soon to worry the others.

You found something.
No.
Show it to me.
No.

Hope you have a wonderful, writerly December!

Writing Prompts for November 2016

Writing Prompts for November 2016If you’re launching into NaNoWriMo and still need a story idea, I hope that today’s prompts will give you a boost into your month of writing adventures. If you’re not in NaNo, I hope that you find some creative ideas to feed your stories for the rest of the month.

For my readers in the US, this month hosts one of your favourite holidays, Thanksgiving. Here are some other special days celebrated this month that may give you a story idea or two:

http://holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/november.htm

Here are some groups of random words. Use one, some, or all of the words in a group to create a story or poem:

  • window, grey, flight, shatter, rain, drift, moment
  • owe, remember, threat, run, fear, black, record
  • partner, plan, certain, calendar, loss, confusion, red
  • shelter, storm, hidden, wet, laugh, memory, walk

Here are some first lines that might suggest a story or two:

  • When I looked at the pieces of broken vase on the floor, I found something that had nothing to do with flowers or vases.
  • Playing with Henry’s drone at the beach had been fun until it showed us the body.
  • When Helen played with fire, she really played with fire.
  • Today, we were glad it was raining.
  • Henry refused to answer.
  • Somewhere in the house a door slammed.
  • It was too quiet.
  • Why don’t you have a date?
  • Sometimes, telling the truth is overrated.
  • Henry rolled up the map. “Not far now.”

Perhaps one of these titles suggests a story: Once a Robot, Summer Song, The Fairies of Krendor, Mars Lullaby, Dinner for Thirty, Henry’s Run, The Gold Chalice, The Minotaur Chronicles, Skate, Magic’s End.

See if you can imagine a scene around one of these short dialogue excerpts:

  • Why are you so angry?
  • I just heard about Helen.
  • Oh.
  • Did you already know?
  • When did you last see Henry?
  • About a month ago. Why?
  • He’s changed.
  • Can’t you stay quiet for even a minute?
  • Talking helps when I’m scared.
  • What news?
  • None of it good, Your Majesty
  • It’s fortunate for you that killing the messenger is out of fashion for enlightened rulers.
  • For which I am grateful, Sire.

Have a writerly month!

 

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