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Writing Prompts: 5 Great Ways to Inspire Your Writing

  Posted by From The Write Angle , 29 March 2012 · 546 views

While some of us are blessed with a muse that overwhelms us with ideas, some of us have moments of drought.

And then there are some of us who simply desire to keep our craft's gears well lubed with constant writing. We want to grow, learn, and build our skills.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which kind of writer you are, sometimes we could all do with a writing prompt or two to boost our creativity, add another element to our writing to freshen it up, or simply to get our creative juices going.

Writing prompts are fabulous for building story muscle. On occasion, I use writing prompts when I can't get to my computer to write. So, as I go about my business I build stories in my head. It's fantastic, error-free, muscle-building practice that keeps me entertained and thinking creatively at times when it would be easy for that side of me to fall out of practice.

Five Awesome Writing Prompts That Build Creative Muscle:

1. Images
If you are a visual type--or even if you aren't--images can be an awesome prompt for starting a story or for fully imaging what you are writing about. If a writer can fully envision their character and the scene they are building, they are much more likely to put meaningful details into the scene and really add that extra oomph to their stories that brings it alive for their readers.

Posted Image

Image source

This image really tweaks my imagination and gets the 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How) burning rubber in my mind. What is the story behind this church? Where did it come from? How on earth did they get it here? When did it get moved here? Why is it there?

Where can you find good images? Try these:
Deviant Art
Google--search out strange and wonderful things in the image search

Have you stumbled upon (accidental reference to the online service!) some great images online?

2. The Storymatic
I got this game (The Storymatic) for Christmas and LOVE it. My daughter and I regularly use it to amp up our oral storytelling.

How it goes: One of us starts the story and we switch back and forth building on each other's additions to the story, pulling a card to add to the story at each turn. (The game is a series of cards that you mix and match to build a story. For example, you might pull a character card that says: "taxidermist" and a story card that says, "travel agent was wrong." You put them together and suddenly you have a very interesting story.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me reference this story on my casual "finish the story Friday."

Do you have a game you like to play that gets stories rolling?

3. Books
There are some great books out there for inspiring one's writing. For my birthday I got the book "Plotto" which supposedly references every story plotline ever written! Stumped? Add one of the elements listed to juice it up or continue forward. Or how about a book like: 350 Fabulous Writing Prompts.

Do you have a writing prompt book? Which do you/have you used?

4. Online
The Teacher's Corner.nethas a writing prompt for each day of the year. Wondering what today's is? Check it out. (It's about a pencil!)

If you are on Twitter, follow @writingprompt. (Sadly, the prompts have been a bit sporadic lately, but there have been some good ones making it worth the follow.)

Do you know of a good online source?

5. The Five 5 W's
Ask yourself Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
About what? Look out your window. Go people watching. Channel your inner child--you know the one, he's that little guy who is always asking, "Why?" Channel that little dude and question the world! It's your oyster.

Now that you've looked at writing prompts from the write angle, you have no excuse for writer's block, a lack of story ideas, or general sluffing off. (Sorry!) So let's get down to it and let's get creative!! And… go!

Do you use writing prompts? Where do you get your best prompts? (Yes, in the shower counts.) Share them in the comments!

Jean Oram has an inner child who demands to know "why" which works really well with her creative inner child who enjoys making up crazy replies. She tweets inner child stuff as @kidsplay and writing stuff as @jeanoram. So far she's kept the two from having a twittersation online, but it's been a tough battle. When she's not moderating the two inner children, she blogs about writing.


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