In Praise of Prompts
IN PRAISE OF WRITING PROMPTS
Earlier today I was talking to another writer about prompts. Early in my 100-day flash fiction challenge, I learned that they really helped with the task of creating new content daily. I swear by prompts now.
Here are some of my favorite writing prompt sites. Please post links of your own in the comments. Prompts are like gold to me now.
Here are five (5) of my favorite prompts list I’ve found so far.
Probably my favorite batch of prompts so far is the first one. I’ve written SEVENTEEN stories from these 25 prompts so far, and I’m not done yet. Some prompts are so good, I feel I can reuse them, write additional stories from them. I’ve written at least one story from each list.
When I started writing and publishing stories online four months ago, I had the idea of producing a story every day. And so that was how I started. I had a small reserve of stories I was and am planning on including in a self-published collection of short stories.
I soon realized that repeating the entire creation cycle of write/edit/revise/publish every day can be difficult. So I moved my goal post from adhering to that ideal forever. Rather, I would complete a 100-day ‘challenge’ in which I created flash fiction.
When I started, the only size metric I paid any attention to was word count. I knew that VOCAL.media will publish nothing under 600 words. Consequently, some of my first stories were longer than ten pages!
Now, however, the flash stories I create daily are between 2 and 3 pages long, usually well under 1,000 words.
Migrating from short stories (some could’ve been considered novellas) to flash fiction reduced a lot of the pressure I was putting on myself in the challenge.
Everything changed when I discovered writing prompts. They were and are a blessing.
I can create ideas. And, ironically I suppose, once I discovered these compiled stores of online writing prompts, I came up with even more ideas. I’m estimating by the time I complete my 100-day challenge roughly half came from another’s writing prompt seed idea. The other half was from me.
Once I have an idea, I rarely stall or feel blocked (knock on non-superstitious wood please), I will shut my notebook off if I feel myself getting over-tired, and go do something else before I feel frustrated. (Of course, I also write as a hobby. Maybe if it was my income source, I might experience feeling blocked.)
But sometimes I can feel a little sluggish in generating an original seed idea that will be the basis for a story. Other times, it’s like I’ve opened a floodgate and I get inundated with ideas, and I end up feeling overwhelmed.
Prompts have been a wonderful aid in my development as a writer. Like a set of training wheels on a bike. I know how to ride a bike now (write), but I doubt I will ever totally give up prompts.
Please post your thoughts in the comments. Also, if you’ve found different websites with prompts, please share that as well. I thank you in advance!
A CAVEAT: No offense, please, but I write and post flash fiction, short stories, and pieces about writing fiction. While you’re welcome to drop your links about programming or investing or anything on my post, please know I will in all likelihood NOT read your piece. My interest is only in FICTION at this time. And if I don’t read your piece, I don’t feel like I should clap for it either.