Prompts · Writing Life

An Introduction to Prompts

Prompts are something that’s supposed to give you an initial idea: write something focused on the color blue; your main character ages thirty years over night. Oh no! Crazy or mundane, it doesn’t matter, prompts will tell you what to do and it’s your job to find out how you can do it. The problem is, writers generally don’t view them this way. They look at a prompt and say it’s dumb, there’s no way they can write something from this. What are they, some kind of writer?

Well, yeah. That’s why you’re trying to write, dumb-butt.

Unfortunately, many people don’t look up prompts unless they’re in the middle of Writer’s Block. They’re so far into it that they’re looking for anything to tell them what to do, to wave a magic wand in front of their faces and say, “Right here! This is what you have to do!” When you look at prompts in this state of mind, suddenly they’re all the dumbest thing you’ve ever read. Because guess what? They aren’t there to hold your hand and tell you how to write. They’re just there to go, “Hey, what if unicorns, am I right?” And you give it a try, no strings attached.

So the next time you see a prompt, which will be once a week on this blog, remember that it’s here to give you an idea for a quick scene. It’s not going to fix your writer’s block. That’s your job.