How do you view writing prompts?

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    I'm curious how everyone here views writing prompts. I'm thinking of having little ones every once in a while, but some people feel pressured or do not feel they can be beneficial. Would it be something you might want to try? I wanted to give something to compliment our Character Respond Answer Ask thread. :)

  • I like them, but I tend to do better with more abstract prompts; such as one-word prompts or prompts that give certain random elements to put into a scene or story, than prompts that say "write a story about this type of character doing this sort of thing".

    For instance, I'll feel more compelled to respond to a prompt that says something like "write a story containing puppies a house fire and a bucket of fish" than one that says "write about a magician who discovered a real interdimensional portal inside his top-hat".

  • I second @Blackbird. Answering a prompt like the first example would be much easier for me to work with than the latter. For the second one, I might be able to conceptualize a character, but I wouldn't be able to build a plot on that. For the first, I have an idea of how to build a story and I know that I won't have to put much work into building a character, even if it's something simple like:

    The house was burning down, but at least Anna had saved the puppies and still had her catch from earlier that day in a bucket at her side.

    To be honest though, I mostly just hoard prompts until I get really bored, and then I free write with a select few of them, and then I throw them back into my hoard to potentially reuse later. For example, the novel I wrote for Nano '15 came from a few prompts I threw onto a document in the beginning of that year, then salvaged around September when I realized I needed a plot still.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    Fantastic feedback! I think I love the idea of crazy prompts but I am also put off by them. I think maybe having some fun abstract prompts like ... A picture and then leave it in your hands to do something inspired by the story... or maybe something inspired by a song... or something like find a way to include a wrench, jello, and a yellow umbrella into a short story might be cool. :)

  • Plotist Team: Timeline Master

    @josey one of the most inspiring writing-prompts series I've seen is io9's concept art prompts - I'm not sure where they get their images from, but even though I'm not into sci-fi generally, I always thought they were fantastic:

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @Sian Yeah, that's something I am considering :D But for our fantastic community here :D

  • @Josey said in How do you view writing prompts?:

    or maybe something inspired by a song...

    You would be surprised how often that happens to me... :/

    I agree though. It would be fun if you did a mix of everything whenever you posted a prompt, I think.

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