One of my favorite things to do as a writer is respond to a prompt. It takes that intimidating white page and landscapes it with way points. Plainly put, it gives you a place to start. I often try to take a random prompt and apply it to a project I’m working on. Sometimes it feels like a stretch, but other times it forces me to look at my characters or story world from a new angle and I come up with something interesting. Whether I’m adding words to my work in progress or just playing around (which is good too!) I’m actively improving my craft by putting words on the page.
Occasionally, you can even get paid to write for prompts. I’ve gathered a list of them here.
I have so much fun submitting my writing to these types of opportunities that I wanted to give the whole, “hosting a writing contest thing” a try myself. So, today I have gathered for you a variety of interesting prompts and created a writing contest. Choose one, write to it, polish it up and then email it back to me. I will choose one talented writer to give the following…
A guest blog spot on my website featuring your contest story and a short bio (including links to your website or social media if you’d like.)
A Story Seedlings Boot Camp Packet. I have one left over from my full day workshop last week and I want to give it away. It includes: 1 motivation brainstorming sheet, 5 prompt pages (with direct instruction) meant for you to focus on crucial story elements, 1 Solid Starts page to help you select, view and try out 7 different ways to start your story, and a few other links and resources sprinkled in.
People from the workshop had this to say… so rest assured, this workshop packet is a big-time value.
So, are you ready to write? Pick any one of these prompts. Write a 500-1,000 word scene. Send it to me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) on or before Friday, June 28, 2019 (at midnight!). I will post the winning piece on my blog on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (If you are interested in the independent version of the workshop described above, click here.)
Sometimes writing prompts come from contrived places like prompt websites or prompts books, but I find that even more interesting are the prompts that come from places you aren’t expecting. For example, here is a screenshot of my daily CNN news highlight email. Obviously, there’s a true story to each one. These things really happened. But to me, they also seem like great fodder for fiction.
While in the middle of our first Barnes and Noble stop for the summer (my boys and I go once a month to pick out a book and get a sweet treat!), I found this book.
Looking for wit, wisdom, and inspiration all within the pages of one useful book? Read Something Else.
Life is a turbulent journey, fraught with confusion, heartbreak, and inconvenience. This collection of wit and wisdom from New York Times bestselling author Lemony Snicket is unlikely to help.
It includes a new introduction filled with curious aphorisms, a handful of never-before-seen-or-heard quotations, and fan favorites from works over the years. These dubious offerings, collected from Snicket’s books, unpublished papers, and more, have been made pleasing to the eye by illustrations, select fan art, and design flourishes.
You can get your copy the next time you stop in to Barnes and Noble, or if you are more of an online shopper, click here.
In it are lots of peculiar and poignant pieces of advice and keen observations. I found that several of them would be good story starters. I’ve chosen a few of my favorites for you.
Okay, that’s it. Choose one, write and send. (email@example.com) I wish you the best of luck in this, my first ever hosted writing contest! May the odds be ever in your favor.