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Stuck? Try Designing Creative Writing Prompts

Be a Creator in the Prompt Universe

Okay, so you’ve tried creative writing prompts everywhere but have gotten stuck at each and every turn. It’s not that you’re out of ideas or even suffering writer’s block. In all honesty, you may’ve spent too much time at the keyboard and haven’t given yourself enough life points.

 

Being a writer can be a solitary profession and the more we create, the more we want to be glued behind the keyboard and laptop screen. Yes, I realize we’re to the point to where we don’t mind sacrificing family events or Friday nights to stay in and write.

 

We make time to write and may even sneak our writing time in at work.

 

But, just like with all passions, we all need a break…well, sort of…and this is what I recommend to you. Get a nice break in the form of not taking a break.

 

Okay, what?

 

Yeah, you’re still working on creating new material in all technicality.

 

What does this have to do with prompts?

 

Everything.

 

Okay, how?

 

Let me show you.

 

Watch a Movie Series

Don’t just pick something random. Pick something related to the genre in which you write. Pick something theme related as well, which holds an identical message to what you want to write about.

 

So, only watch something new if it’s relative to your chosen genre, watch, and if it helps, take notes.

 

Take notes on the characters, their personalities, what they’re after, the antagonists, the plot as a whole. I guarantee you’ll be getting some prompts running through your mind as to what to write about next.

 

Sometimes, we only need to watch a movie series or one movie of a series, and we will then experience a mental explosion (in a good way), catapulting us to new ideas.

 

Look at Images

C.S. Lewis came up with the Chronicles of Narnia Series by looking at a postcard of a faun carrying an umbrella and thought why not make a story out of this.

 

Take a look at my featured image for a second and you’re going to see a windy road leading seemingly to nowhere. Around this road are rolling hills, forests, farms, and small towns. In fact, I’m writing this very blog in a library about five miles from the place.

 

This image here is one that sparked my own creative juices, as it leads to a small town I used as a setting for Northern Knights.

 

Look at the image below.

This little town, Wintersville, Ohio, is the town I’m speaking of based on the main setting of Northern Knights. It’s located not far from the backroad in the featured image.

 

What I’m saying here is imagery, whatever you find appealing, is going to spark creative juices and likely form a prompt in your mind.

 

So, which one formed in my mind?

 

To tell you the truth, it was this basic thought, not a prompt just yet: The Ohio Valley has a Harry Potter type of feel, with its tall hills, forests, and endless country. Let’s make a Harry Potter like story out of this area.

 

Of course, I had to answer the prompt itself, which was this, after watching a miniseries on the History Channel, which relates to Tip One: What would the American Revolution look like in Modern Day America?

 

One of my subgenres is war and I’ve always wanted to write a series based on war and conflict. I’ve always been a history buff and wanted to incorporate both history and global events into my work. So, knowing I wanted to create a Harry Potter type of series complete with some kind of uprising, I took imagery AND movies or in my case, miniseries, and Northern Knights was born.

 

Read a Book Series

I think a lot of authors like to copy other authors and I know this because Les Edgerton stated in his book ‘Hooked’ that he always has at least forty novels at his disposal while drafting a work.

 

Forty novels!

 

The rule of thumb is to make the work your own but when in doubt, find inspiration from your favorite authors.

 

As I said, I wanted to create my own Harry Potter like series but twisting it to fit my own themes, ideas, and of course, my own world.

 

We know of a lot of authors who’ve used the Chronicles of Narnia as inspiration. Another work often cited from numerous authors is Of Mice and Men, a novella published in 1937. The list goes on; many authors point to many popular works as inspiration.

 

Again, just make sure you make your own original work. No plagiarism!

 

Attend Events

I’m going to point to someone who wrote a script. That someone is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone was inspired to write Rocky after attending a boxing event. Of course, we all know of the legacy Stallone left with Rocky. It also kickstarted his acting career.

 

You can attend any even related to your genre or niche. If you love sports, attend a sporting event. If you’re a fan of social issues, attend an event regarding it. There are literally hundreds of events you can attend in your chosen niche.

 

And who knows? Maybe you’ll end up like Stallone someday?

 

Go For It

Okay, get off the laptop right now and immerse yourself into some fun research which will soon be feeding your mind with so many prompts you’ll need a spreadsheet just to keep track of them all.

 

Think of what you’re doing as work, because in a way, your mind will be working. Take notes on anything that jumps out at you when embarking on your own prompt creating journey.

 

I know somewhere down the line you’ll concoct the perfect story, likely from a combination of movie and TV viewing, reading, imagery, and of course, events.

 

Continue to repeat this exercise as often as you need and you’ll find something that will work for you, your message, your genre, and your next awesome work.

 

If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns, please leave a comment and I will get back to you! Until then, have an awesome time finding your next great plot.

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