Writing prompts and story-hatching

Text: Solveig Hansen, 2018

To write more, write more. Writing prompts are a good way to keep the words flowing.

“I sit, I stand up, I walk, I sit down, I get coffee and then some more. I’m not a patient writer. But then, once in a while, I get completely absorbed in the task before me and ideas and words flow freely. The sun sets and when it seemingly suddenly rises again, I’m still sitting there in front of my computer.” This is how I used to describe my writing habits. I really wanted to write on a regular basis, but there was a resistance inside me so strong that it seemed like a physical barrier.

Then I discovered the daily writing prompts from WordPress. “To write more, write more,” they reminded their bloggers in 2010 and encouraged us to write a post every day in 2011, presenting us with a daily prompt. “Yeah, right,” I said but jumped on the challenge and the resistance faded away as the days and weeks went by. I began to think about the resistance as birth pangs, unborn stories struggling to find their way into the world. There’s only one thing to do and that’s to sit down and start writing.

I still use the one-word daily prompts from WordPress occasionally, just to flex my writing muscles. One day their suggested prompt was Egg.

Writing prompt: Egg
Imagine all the things you as a writer can do with eggs in your story. You can have the protagonist eat them for breakfast with bacon and sausages together with two Bloody Marys at a hotel in Brighton where he is attending a middle manager conference and didn’t quite manage himself the night before.

You can have a husband bring breakfast to his ill wife in bed, eggs with sunny side up the way she likes it. He can be a genuinely caring retired husband — or not, as you will let the readers know when you reveal the extra ingredients in the eggs a few pages later.

You can have a mom make pancakes to cheer up a young broken heart, a gesture they will recall years later.

Or, have an egg crack open and let the bystanders go Awww as they watch a baby dragon peep out, spewing a little fire. Of course, it might lose its cuteness and become a killer on page 92.

Personally, I would like to write a short story about an egg that won’t hatch because the inhabitant is afraid to leave his comfort zone. But hatch he must.

Or you can just pop into the kitchen and make yourself an omelet.

A selection of sites offering writing prompts:

One-word daily prompts.

Subscribe to receive prompts in your inbox every Friday. You can also enter their weekly Short Story Contest for the chance to win $50 and have your story published on their blog.

Furious Fiction from Australian Writers’ Centre
Get new story prompts delivered to your inbox on the first Friday every month. Then you’ll have 55 hours to submit a story up to 500 words. The winner gets AUD$500.

Creative Writing Ink
New prompts every Thursday: photo, illustration or story starters.

100 Word Story
Write a 100-word story based on a monthly photo prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction
Write a story of around 200 words inspired by a photo prompt.

Write a Twitter story and publish it with hashtag #amwriting. New prompts every day.

Photo: Pixabay.com

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