My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Writing Prompts--Fast and Random

Random enough for ya?
Trying to get to my writing group this afternoon turned into a zany adventure of being late that culminated in a sit-com-esque moment when texting my partner to let her know that I was running late, I missed my stop on BART. Only a strange looking insurance salesman with a proclivity to share way too much personal information about his gastrointestinal status could have it worse. And the end result was we didn't get writing until a half an hour late. So instead of doing extensive writing on anything we picked we gave ourselves only five minutes of frenzied pace.

Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes some of the most exciting prompts that generate the most interesting ideas can come from having very little time. (This can be true in general about writing--put yourself on a fierce deadline and you will probably surprise yourself.) If you can't sit and think for a long time; you silence the second guessing pretty quickly.  Anyone who's finally gotten their paper topic with two hours to go until it's due knows exactly how this works.

Each of the following prompts is only five minutes. FIVE MINUTES--that's it. Write fast; don't stop; and don't take time to think. See what happens.

Don't forget that these are JUST exercises, and most importantly don't forget to HAVE FUN!!

Prompt 1- Pick a book from around you at random. Go to page 42. The first sentence on that page is the first sentence of your writing prompt. (If it makes absolutely no sense at all, go to the next sentence, but the point of the prompt is to make something out of nothing, so don't just keep looking until you find something you like.)

Prompt 2- Pick one random verb and one random noun. This is a pretty good place to do that if you don't have another way you prefer, but you don't need to use them AS a phrase--just figure out the verb and the noun. Just set one word to noun, one to verb (transitive or intransitive) and leave the others blank. Do this TWICE. These are the ideas you have to marry together in your prompt.

Prompt 3- Here's one from long long ago. Picture a memory. Nothing specific, just the first thing that pops into your head. Could be from last week or your very distant childhood, but don't "switch" memories to something easy to remember. Really do the first one to pop in your head. (Mine was about my fourth or fifth birthday. Close your eyes and try to focus on that image for just a moment or two. When you open your eyes, write about it in as much detail as you possibly can.

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