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 March, 2014

Hoping March ends like this!
Hoping March ends like this!

I don’t know if March is planning to come in like a lion or a lamb, but either way, those creatures had better be wearing their long winter underwear. The forecast high for March 1st is 28 F or -2 C. Perfect for a human to spend the day in front of the fire with a journal or a good book.

If you have some writing time scheduled today, have some fun with these writing prompts.

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

  • car, hill, mirror, sign, cloud, red
  • stone, string, door, box, fireplace, worry
  • window, storm, search, park, call

2. Start a story with someone who is in one of the following situations:

trapped, laughing, lost, running away, flying.

3. Try one of these opening sentences to begin a story:

  • He told us to meet him at midnight.
  • The path hadn’t looked so creepy in daylight.
  • She lit the match and smiled.
  • The old man wiped his glasses with the sleeve of his robes and then spoke.

4. Can you write a scene around one of the following dialogue excerpts?

  • I bought Bill a present.
  • Why?
  • Because I know it will make him furious.
  •  Jacob said to turn right here.
  • Yes, I heard him.
  • Then why aren’t we turning?
  • Wait! I’ve dropped something.
  • We don’t have time to go back.

5. Can you think of a story to go with one of these titles?

The Lighthouse Mystery, Bailey’s Town, The Future Door, Red Light, Deserted, Keeping Faith, Cliff’s Edge

6. March can come in like a lion or a lamb. A stubborn person is often compared to mule; a sneaky one to a fox or a weasel. Do you use animal imagery in your stories? Do you ever compare your characters to animals? When Laurence Olivier tackled the part of Richard III (a very scheming and bloodthirsty character) he used the imagery of a spider to help him create the character. Go through your story and think of creatures to which you can compare your characters. This information might help you find a new slant on the way your characters might dress or how they decide to solve a problem.

Writing Prompts for February

A Snowy DriveThe Christmas poinsettia is thinning out, the fireplace mantle is empty of snowmen, musical snow globes, and the seasonal moose, the last of the holiday chocolate has been consumed, and I’m on week 4 at Weight Watchers. It must be February.

Today horizontal snow is flying by my window and the temperature feels like -17 degrees Celsius with the wind chill. Two weeks ago it was +12 and my daffodils were poking through the red stones on my flowerbed. This is winter in southern Ontario.

Tomorrow, our provincial prognosticator of the duration of winter, Wiarton Willie, groundhog extraordinaire, will be jarred from a nice sleep and asked to step outside his warm home and look for his shadow. If he sees his shadow, there will be an early spring, if not, expect six more weeks of winter. Either way, we’re pretty much programmed here to deal with winter as long as it sticks around.

To keep the creative fires burning, whether you have snow or not, here are some writing prompts for February.

1. Write a piece using one, some or all of the following words: snow, windows, night, candle, branches, waiting.

2. Try one of these opening lines:

  • Jim glared out the window as fat flakes of snow filled in the sidewalk he’d just shoveled. “Mary!” he called. “What did you say the temperature was in Las Vegas today?”
  • My boss was right. Sunday was the perfect day for a murder.
  • It was too damn quiet.
  • Outside the diner, a black pickup rolled to a stop.
  • Helen never looked good in red.

3. See if these lines of dialogue inspire a scene:

What’s that?
I don’t hear anything.
Shhh. Listen.
Oh. That’s not good.

How’d it go?
The captain was less than impressed.
But did he believe you?
Yes. We’re leaving in an hour.

What’s so interesting? You’ve been staring out that window for the past hour.
Bill’s late.
Wouldn’t he call if he were going to be late?
Yes, if he could.

Did you get what you wanted?
Then let’s get out of here.

4. Maybe one of these titles will work for you: Wet Roads and Stars, Miranda’s Memory, Black on Black, Gateway, Red Light, Washed in Dreams, Sundown and Sam, Wild Winds, Empty Pages

Have a fantastic February!

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