Writing Prompts for May 2014

Peonies after the rain

“Tra la it’s May” goes the song, but it’s been hard to feel very “Springy” with gloomy skies and rain for the past few days–and forecast through the weekend. I hope these writing prompts help nudge your creativity into flower, whether you are waiting (not so patiently) for some green to finally show in your trees or whether your roses are already in bud. I’ve included a photo of my peonies to remind me that warm sunny days will eventually arrive.

1. Use one, some or all of these words in a story or poem:

  • phone, wire, mail, cloud, window, yesterday
  • glow, green, star, string, hand, wave
  • bird, blue, alarm, fence, soil, partner

2. See if one of these opening lines will spark a story idea:

  • “Captain, we have a problem.”
  • The screen went black.
  • “You’re awfully quiet, Henry.”
  • No TV for a month!
  • I was sure he’d said the tunnel would get wider before we reached the cave.
  • The last sunset of the summer always made me happy.
  • Whatever had happened here in the past was bad, really bad.

3. Maybe one of these titles will inspire a story or poem: Where Were You at Midnight?, Finishing Last, Subway Nightmare, The Cake Box Mystery, Flower Power, Blinding Light, When I Left, Since Monday, The Way things Ended, Beamed Up.

4. What kind of scenes can you imagine around these lines of dialogue?

  • What’s your problem?
  • I don’t think it’s a good idea, that’s all.
  • Have you got a better one?


  • I thought that was due today?
  • It is.
  • Then why aren’t you handing it in?


  • I thought you were going to give that to Mike.
  • I changed my mind.


  • We need to rest here.
  • Why? I thought we were in a hurry.
  • We were. But things have changed.

5. Our local gardening columnist wrote about how we were having a late Spring, reassuring gardeners that plants and lawns would catch up when the weather finally got warm and sunny. Brainstorm around the idea of being late or around expressions such as, late bloomer, Johnny-come-lately, better late than never, it’s later than you think, a bit late in the day, late-breaking news.

I’m currently working on a new book, Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Pre-Teens. If you would like to know when the book comes out, please fill out the following form. I promise that you will not be bombarded with spam emails, just the odd thing that I come across that you might find useful, a couple of sample chapters as I work through the project, and my newest writing prompts.

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