What About Writing Prompts?

I know I already talked about breaking the seal on the writing day, but some fuckers asked me about writing prompts, so I thought I’d write about that here.  What do I think about writing prompts to get the creative gravy flowing?

I think most writing prompts suck ass.  Here are some examples of common and terrible writing prompts:

(From Writer’s Digest)

  • You walk out of the grocery store one day and discover that the streets are full of cows on bicycles. What’s even weirder is that you’re the only one who finds this odd. What is going on?
  • Your family has always been a little off when it comes to holiday traditions. You eat tacos on the Fourth of July and hamburgers on Cinco de Mayo. How did this whacky tradition get started?
  • You hide in the museum bathrooms until the building is closed and everyone is gone. What is the first thing you do? Do you touch everything you possibly can or go exploring in the back rooms? Don’t forget to watch out for security guards!

(From Poets & Writers)

  • What happens when you tell the story of a real event from another person’s point of view? Think of a situation in which you disagreed with someone—it could be a slight difference in taste or a fight with far-reaching consequences—and recount the opposing opinions each of you expressed. In the first-person voice, write an essay about the disagreement from the other person’s perspective. Take into consideration how the words you uttered during the event could be interpreted differently by the other person.
  • Homes often feel like they contain the energy of those who live there. Once the occupants are gone, whether they’ve moved on to another home or passed away, the house may suddenly feel vacant, even when the furnishings and decor remain. This week, write about a home or place so special you would consider it sacred, and how you felt when that space underwent a significant change. Recall fond memories and the absence experienced in that space.

… must I go on?

These are fucking lame writing prompts.

So today, for you, I’m going to provide a few writing prompts that might actually help you get moving without reducing you to the mentality of an eighth grader.

Waterworth Writes Prompts

I’m just writing five for now, maybe I’ll start a bank later.  I’ve got shit to do, bro.

  • You’ve just gotten a call from the neighbors, your house is on fire.  No one is trapped inside, but nothing’s going to survive the four-alarmer.  How do you spend the insurance money?
  • Your credit card bill is due, but you’re a freelance writer and haven’t been paid in a month.  What excuse will you use to dodge the payment yet again?
  • Someone at a party asks you what you do for a living.  What lie do you tell them so they don’t give you that look (you know the one) when you try to explain what a copywriter does?
  • Your dog comes into the room carrying a half opened pack of cigarettes.  How do you teach the dangers of nicotine to Fido?
  • The grocery store is out of the one and only brand of peanut butter that keeps you focused and productive.  You feel blood rushing to your head and the stirrings of a full-blown toddler temper-tantrum coming on.  How do you convince the manager to keep more of this brand in stock without blowing a gasket?

Bonus prompt:

You’ve got six dollars, a half-eaten loaf of bread, six eggs and two packs of ramen.  Plan a week of meals for two that will fit within your budget and supplies.  PS.  You have no power or water because you didn’t pay the bill.

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