Writing Prompts for March 2015

A little spring for a snowy March day.March is coming in like a lamb here—a very cold lamb, but a lamb. And I’m grateful. After a February of very cold temperatures, way too much snow, a broken circuit breaker, a leaking pipe, and a furnace replacement, I’m ready for a change. Here’s my personal public service announcement: Please install a carbon monoxide monitor if you haven’t already. If ours hadn’t gone off when it did at about 8 o’clock in the evening, and we’d gone to bed without knowing about the leak, we might not have woken up the next morning. A chilling thought.

I’ve tried to keep snow and wintery thoughts out of the writing prompts for March. Hope you enjoy them and have a creative month ahead.

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

  • Key, glass, red, petal, end, call
  • Paper, control, gold, drop, glow

2. Here are some opening sentences for you to try:

  • Low battery. Exactly the two words I didn’t want to see right now.
  • After sitting at the same desk for three years, I figured I was beyond seeing anything new. I was wrong.
  • Henry died two years ago, but I saw him for the first time today.
  • “What do you mean, you’re out of lemons?”
  • Unlike Disneyland, my hometown was not the happiest place on earth.
  • A day at the mall. I’d agreed to spend a day at the mall. An hour was my usual limit.
  • The voice on the phone was warm and convincing.
  • The flames had nearly reached the stables.

3. Here are some possible story or poem titles:

Turning the Corner, The Blue Stone, Wind and Weather, Death at the Races, Framed, Table for Three, How to Stop a Killer, Spring and Violet, Street Corner

4. See if you can write a scene for these lines of dialogue:

  •  I just heard from Henry.
  • And?
  • He’s not coming.
  • Why?
  • He said you’d know.


  • I can’t believe how hot it is.
  • You chose this place for our vacation.
  • Yeah, when I thought they’d have air conditioning.


  • Have you seen Henry?
  • No. Why?
  • He should be here by now.


  • Your secret is safe here, my lord.
  • And why should I believe you?
  • Because you are still alive.


5. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you finally choose that career or are you still secretly wishing for that childhood dream to be real? Why or why nor? Answer the same questions for your characters.

6. What was your favourite piece of clothing when you were a child? A special sweater make by grandma, a t-shirt with a favourite TV or movie character, a shirt from you favourite team? Describe the garment and how you felt wearing it. Do the same for your characters.

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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