Writing Prompts for May, 2016

Writing Prompts for May 2016

“Tra la, it’s May” goes the Lerner and Loewe song, and it really is starting to look like spring here. The squirrels are busy eating the buds on my cherry tree–clearly they don’t plan for the future–two robin families have set up housekeeping under my deck, and my dandelions are in full bloom. I’m doing my part for the bee population by not mowing them down yet. (Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

On the writing side, I hope you have a creative month ahead. If you’re a fan of adult coloring–or your students are–don’t forget to check out this link for some writer’s coloring pages. Also, here are links to the coloring pages for King Lear, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth that go with my Shakespeare journal writing prompts.

Here are your writing prompts for May. Enjoy!

**Random words to combine for a story or poem

spring, path, lurk, green, shadow, shiver, cloud
disc, danger, surprise, red, angle, willow
friend, gate, run, sunlight, stream, blue

**Opening sentences for your story or novel

“I wonder where that came from?”
Helen couldn’t stop looking out the window.
“When was the last time you were really happy?”
Gravel crunched beneath their boots.
Henry hated his dentist, but he was still sorry when he found the body.
So here’s the story. I got dumped at Disneyland.
Class trips were never fun with Ms. Wigglebergen.

**Maybe one of these titles will spark a story idea.

Winter Rose, The Lonely Spider, Gateway to Wonder, The Book and the Burglar, Danger is Not My Middle Name, The Page, Miss Fortune, Everyone Loves a Lover, When Henry Came Home, The Wethering, The Red Land

**Here are some snippets of dialogue. What scene can you imagine taking place around them?

What did you buy that for?
I thought you’d like it.

Did you see that?
That black thing over there.
Where? Oh!

I thought Helen would win.
So did I.
What are we going to do now?

I wish I knew where he got all that money.
I think I know.
So where?
I don’t think it’s safe to tell you.

**How does your character react to bad news? Does your character withdraw into himself or run around being busy? Are her emotions well controlled or do you know exactly how she feels about what she’s heard?

**This is a good time of year to literally stop and smell the flowers. How does a love of nature fit into your character’s personality?

Hope you all have a writerly month!





Writing Prompts for May 2015

Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring

“Tra la, it’s May!”–words from Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, and I must say I’m glad that the month of May has finally turned up. It’s been a long slog of a spring, but finally the daffodils and forsythia are blooming and the grass is green, and I’ve even been able to take my office outside for a few hours at a time. Perfect! I hope that wherever you are, you can enjoy a change in the seasons that brings promises of a creative summer ahead.

Here are May’s writing prompts (late, I know), but I hope you find a story or two to keep you creative this month.

1. See what story or poem you can create from these random words:

  • shout, door, red, race, grass, shudder
  • part, time, sage, window, trees, distance

2. Here are some opening sentences that might suggest a story or two.

  • The birds stopped singing.
  • Well. I hope you’re happy.
  • You’ve been invited to the court.
  • I have a very active imagination, but even I knew I hadn’t imagined a gun shot
  • The officer waited patiently for him to explain.
  • Finally, all the waiting would be over.
  • I didn’t want to leave.
  • Rain soaked through her cloak.
  • The loud tick of the clock seemed to echo in the room.
  • The song ended.

3. Here are some lines of dialogue that might suggest a scene or two.

  • Yesterday the plan was to leave at noon.
  • That was yesterday.
  • So what changed?
  • Everything.


  • I thought you weren’t going to make it.
  • I had to go back.
  • What for?
  • This.


  • That last person who tried that was sorry he tried.
  • Why? What happened?
  • Peter happened.

4. Try one of these titles for a story: Once Upon a Crime, Band Camp, The Empty Throne, The Last Stranger, The Wrong Body, Off Course, Danger Bay

5. What does/would your character with for when blowing out the candles on his/her birthday cake?

6. Are you a superhero fan? Would you or your character love to have a superpower? If so, what would it be?

And, I know I’m a couple of days early, but May the fourth be with you and bring you creative days ahead.






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.

Writing Prompts for May 2013

Last year's irises.
Last year’s irises.

It’s been a fun month of April. I wrote every day, which was good, and I got  a good start on my sequel to a children’s fantasy that I’m currently publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing. More about that very soon.

What has also been fun is to check my website and find out that I’ve been getting visitors from South Korea who have been searching for me using the title of the book I wrote for the schools there. I had so much fun writing Sherlock Holmes and the Orphanage Mystery, and it has been very cool to know that students are actually reading my book and then checking in to my website. So ‘Hi guys. I hope you’re enjoying the book!”

And since it’s May 1st, here are your writing prompts for the month. Hope you have a creative May!

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

  • hill, bloom, light, road, branch, blue
  • box, cry, cap, bench, ring, lake

2. Try one of these opening sentences to start your story:

  • No matter when sunrise is, it’s too early.
  • I really hoped that was lightning.
  • Bill hated coming second.
  • “I don’t need any help.”
  • It wouldn’t be long now.
  • Lex couldn’t grip the sword a moment longer.

3. Try using one of these dialogue excerpts in a scene.

  • This is important.
  • Only to you
  • That’s not true. Both our lives depend on it.
  • Can’t you sit still?
  • The ground is wet.
  • Okay, you can get wet or you can find dry ground and risk being seen.
  • Oh no, that’s just not fair.
  • What’s not fair?
  • On top of everything else, it’s snowing!
  • Leave it on the desk.
  • Leave what?
  • The memory card that’s in your pocket.

4. Can you think of a story for one of these titles?

Disc Life, Grey Area, Left of Centre, Table for Three, In Danger, River View, Never Alone

5. Here are some “may”-themed song titles and expressions that might inspire a story:

Mayflower, Mayberry, First of May, May You Never, Lusty Month of May, Maggie May, May the Circle Remain Unbroken, Come What May, You May be Right, I may or may not, May the road rise up to meet you, Mother may I? I wish I may. I wish I might …

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