Writing Prompts Linked List

Writing Prompts

It’s a list day!

Some people write for pleasure, some people write to inform, some write for money, others for therapy. Whatever your reason, sometimes you might find yourself stuck for an idea. Don’t be; there’s loads of sites out there to get your creative juices flowing.

As a writer however, I would urge everyone to at least try to come up with your own ideas – take pictures, go for a walk, even in your own neighbourhood, take a bus ride and write down what other passengers say (old people are the best!), sit alone in silence for fifteen minutes, keep a dream diary, question yourself.

It’s a list day!

So you tried all that and today your brain went on holiday. Instead of trawling through your search engine, I have dragged together a list of 15 sites you might like to visit. I have included fiction, non-fiction, poetry and Y.A links.

1.Penguin Random House Writers Academy                                                                

Divided into categories – so you can find the genre you prefer. This is a shareable site, so you can add your own prompts if you like.

http://www.thewritersacademy.co.uk/writing-prompts/

2.Daily Writing Prompts

As well as a list of prompts to get your ideas started, they have other suggestions for making your own prompts.

https://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-prompts-101/

3.Edutopia

Primarily aimed at school students, but there is no reason why an adult could not find something of interest here. Can also be used to prompt essay writing as much as fiction. N.B: Star Wars fans might be interested to learn that this was set up by George Lucas as part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF)

https://www.edutopia.org/article/50-writing-prompts-all-grade-levels-todd-finley

4.Tumblr

Snapshots of quotes, opening lines, pictures and more to get the juices flowing. Great idea as some of us are visually stimulated rather than through other people’s words.

http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/

5.Pinterest

Similar to tumblr. If you are not familiar with Pinterest it is like a massive series of online message boards. You can find quotes, images and text to get you started.

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/explore/writing-prompts/?autologin=true

6.Think Written

Need a prompt for each day of the year? Here you will find 365 writing prompts, simple one-liners without too much input from the creators.

http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

7.Reddit

Ideas submitted by members of the public (you can too!) Some of these ideas are really interesting.

https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/

8.Writers Digest

Hundreds of ideas to scroll through here, from the light-hearted and fun to more potentially serious issues. Click on one of the idea links and you are provided with some background to start you off.

http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts

9.Poets & Writers

I found this site a little awkward to use, you have to read through a lot of other stuff until realising, oh, this is the prompt.

https://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

10. The Writer magazine

As well as having lots of prompts ready to use, right there on the first page, you can sign up (free) to get weekly prompts in your mailbox!

https://www.writermag.com/writing-prompts/

11. Letterpile

Although small and limited, in comparison to other sites, I quite like the mixture of pictures and single lines as prompts.

https://letterpile.com/writing/200-Creative-Writing-Prompts

12. The New York Times

For narrative and personal writing, the New York Times has collected ideas from students, who had previously been prompted to write something in response to articles in the NYT.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/20/learning/lesson-plans/650-prompts-for-narrative-and-personal-writing.html?mcubz=3

13. The Poetry Society

Ideas from tutors and poets, not just prompts but how to go about writing a poem on a theme. Contains links to poets and other helpful sites. You can download and print off a PDF of ideas so that you can get off the computer and let your poetic mind wander over paper!

https://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/national-poetry-competition/resources/poetry-writing-prompts/

14. Poetry Prompts

Although this is a tumblr blog, and I already have included tumblr, I thought this was beautifully clean and simple in its presentation. Looks like a series of prompt cards with a single sentence or word.

http://poetryprompts.tumblr.com/

15. Bookfox

Non-fiction writers don’t get much inspiration handed to them, so here’s a site for those of you who love writing creatively, but not fiction. He also has extra links at the bottom of the page – to push yourself!

https://thejohnfox.com/2016/06/creative-nonfiction-prompts/

 

Happy writing!

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Books, Reading & Fairies…

I am one of those individuals who come up with lots of ideas and follow few of them through. I’m a ‘Scanner’, a dilettante, a jack-of-all-trades, but more on that another time.

A couple of ideas I came up with about 12 – 15 years ago were to do with sharing one’s own reading selection. I worked at a well-known book shop at the time and ran a Book Swap. So easy and free – everyone brings a book wrapped in paper, place it in a box, take another out. That’s it, but you often get something you may never have thought of purchasing, you may get exposed to a genre that previously you had avoided. The other idea never came to anything – it was to do with leaving books in public spaces; one’s own publications or some other author you really had enjoyed.

So thank goodness for Goodreads and Book Fairies!

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A ‘real’ book fairy!

 

I have been a member of Goodreads for some time now, admittedly I do not share or rate or converse with others as often as I might, but yesterday this information dropped into my mailbox –

Hide a Book Day with Goodreads

When I read it, I thought, well finally someone’s doing it, because I sure as hell am too lazy!!!

The basic gist is this, You leave out one of your own books or share a favourite book from another author. It’s a way of sharing literature, and what can be better than that.
There are a couple of things you need to take part; two stickers for each book, you can get them from The Book Fairies.
Next; you hide the book in a semi-obvious spot for someone to find. But as Goodreads states, watch the weather forecast as you don’t want your book to get soggy.
Then; take a picture and share it with your fellow Goodreads members and Book Fairies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #goodreadsturns10 #hideabookday, #ibelieveinbookfairies.

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‘Hiding’ a book in a rickshaw in Mumbai

I love this idea (not only because I thought of it , privately, yonks ago!), it incorporates two positive aspects of human behaviour – reading and sharing.
I know I will be keeping a lookout, though I cannot imagine anyone in my town will get involved.
I do have one quibble with the ‘event’. It is happening on a Monday, working people such as myself will possibly not have time to hide or look for books. I would have preferred it to be run on a weekend, but that’s just me.

Which book will you hide for other readers to find on September 18?

Read more at Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1012-goodreads-believes-in-book-fairies-and-you-can-too

You can find the Book Fairies at:

http://ibelieveinbookfairies.com/checkout/order-received/27117/?key=wc_order_59b26576c83d8&utm_nooverride=

See also:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/book-fairies-are-leaving-novels-all-over-mumbai-have-you-found-one-yet/story-OudJCoeu7WtRAZlmag770O.html

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Pressed Faerie by Brian Froud

 

Writing is…Hard

Writing is….Hard

Well, writing per se is not hard. However, writing well is!

It is quite easy to put pen to paper, finger tips to keys, or quill to parchment; whatever takes your fancy, I do it all the time. It does not make what I write worthy of reading, or even particularly good.

As an adult who is fairly new to the world of writing, I realise how very little I was taught at school, and probably because teachers work to a curriculum which itself is about passing exams. I am not alone in this lack of education regarding how to write. I was not, for example, taught the difference between an essay and a story, an assignment, a dissertation, or a thesis. I have had to pick these up in the later years of my life – a huge indictment on the English Education system.

Writing is not hard because I am dull-witted; I am not.

Writing is a creative activity, it demands a skill with words that, sadly, many so-called authors do not have. Word-smiths work hard at compiling and re-arranging 26 letters (in English) into a plethora of ideas, and use the same 26 letters over again for completely different themes.

Writing well is demanding.
It requires practise. It requires persistence. It requires commitment. It requires creativity. It requires honesty. Anyone can produce word vomit – it’s recognising the good bits that makes the difference.

Recently, I have been asking myself – who cares? Or, So what?

Who cares if you wrote a tragedy about a lovelorn grass snake? So what if you ‘have a story inside’, do you really have to share it? What make you think anyone wants to read it? I have been guilty of producing some trite nonsense, I need to stop. And so do a lot of people.

Self criticism seems to be sorely lacking in many individuals. I blame the school system; everyone can be creative, everyone is a winner – no they can’t and no they are not. This lack of competition has created a society with a watery attitude to the arts; vapid outpourings of equally vapid individuals.

And this criticism is not only levelled at ‘young up and coming’ authors – there are many brilliant new writers – no, I have read some tosh from long established writers who seem to pump out vast quantities of barely edited text, in the infuriating belief that more is better. It is not.

Many authors have only ever produced one or two novels – would that the others had!!!!

Writing is hard for blog snoopy
Writing is hard for Snoopy…

Book Review – The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver

The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver

Published : 2007, Hodder & Stoughton.
Genre: Thriller

TheSleepingDoll
The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver

 

 

YOU CAN TELL A LIAR BY HIS EYES.

Special Agent Kathryn Dance reads people the way other investigators read crime scenes.
But she’s never seen eyes like Daniel Pell’s.
Back cover blurb.

 

I have been a fan of crime fiction; and non-fiction, since my late teens. My habit was to read a book and if I enjoyed it I would then acquire and devour everything published by this author. My only surprise, to myself, is that I have neglected my crime reading in recent years, returning to it this year with Jeffery Deaver’s The Empty Chair. Also, I realised I had never written a review of a crime novel. So here goes.

Even if you have never read one of Deaver’s books, you may be familiar with his work as many have been turned into films:
Dead Silence (1997) starring James Garner.
The Bone Collector (1999) starring Denzil Washington and Angelina Jolie.
The Devils Teardrop (2010) starring Tom Everett Scott and Natasha Henstridge.

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Movie poster for The Bone Collector

The Sleeping Doll introduces a new detective; Agent Kathryn Dance, a widow with two young children who works for the Californian Bureau of Investigation, “Like an FBI for the state.” Dance is a specialist in interrogation and reading body language, so we get, not only her analysis of a criminal but of some of those around her in her working and private life. In this way, Deaver uses this as a tool for the reader to have a window onto the minds of other characters without having to head hop and it works really well, as not only do we get this inkling into another characters possible feelings, but we spend over half the book in the mind of Kathryn Dance – and considering the line of work she does, it is not an unpleasant place to be. For the rest of it, we enter the thoughts of Daniel Pell…

The Sleeping Doll of the title refers to a little girl (who is a teenager when the story begins), who survived a murderous assault on her family because she was asleep amongst her toys; hidden. The perpetrator of the crime, Daniel Pell, is currently serving time in a Correctional Facility. Dance has come to interview Pell regarding a newly uncovered crime. Pell has never spoken about his involvement in the ‘sleeping doll’ murders, and neither has the surviving child.

Dance recognises a Svengali type personality in Pell, who’s chilling blue eyes are equally taking the measure of Agent Dance as she does his.
Dance is smart, capable and strong, she is going to need to be on peak form when Pell escapes, leaving a bloody trail in his wake.

Deaver is a great storyteller who engages his readers without any superfluous text. He gets straight down to business; much in the manner of Kathryn Dance, and keeps us hoping and guessing all the way through. He nearly always adds a twist in the end of his tales, and The Sleeping Doll is no exception. I’m a great one for trying to second guess who did what, to whom and many times I’m pretty close.

Not this time.

On Autism

Today saw the posting of my first piece for the School For Autism Blog.

We can see the growing numbers of people diagnosed Autistic/Asperger’s across the world, not as an increase in this ‘condition’, but as the ability of specialists to recognise it due to increasing their understanding and knowledge through constant research.

India is one continent that is noticing an ‘increase’ in Autism, and some are dealing with it beautifully; with understanding, kindness and positivity.

I first heard about The School for Autism via Linked In and a woman who was advertising for writers. The piece I wrote, entitled ‘Working with Benedict’ retitled ‘Benedict* – A Special Child With Regular Needs’, can be read here:

https://sfachikitsya.com/2017/08/20/working-with-benedict-special-child-regular-needs/

 

Writing On The Move –

Writing on the move – or NOT as the case may be!

Begun at 10:00 am Monday.

So I am writing as I go, on my phone, as I have had to read the road atlas for a bit as we took a ‘detour’; I was desperate for the loo, and then we took a wrong turn, so what should have taken an hour to get to the position we are currently at, has taken almost 4 hours. Sometimes we have reached London from Wirral in the same time!

I should have written my post this morning, but due to circumstances – travelling in car, using phone (which incidentally is rubbish , Windows, don’t buy one), I have resorted to making a word doc en route.

The occupants of the field I used were extremely curious.

Hey! we’re moving at 40 mph! Woo!

Why oh why do ‘they’ do roadwork’s when people are trying to enjoy the summer? Not only the motorway; M6, but the surrounding A roads, so can’t win either way.

Getting peckish now, its 13:50. Both of us fed up. Oh, another queue.

More delays, now junctions 15 and 16. Aarrgghh!!

I do not think I have seen so many traffic cones in all my life. That regular rolling thrumming you get in a car, a combination of engine, air blowing through the vents and tires on tarmac, becomes like an itch you can’t scratch, my ears are feeling ‘bunged up’ from air pressure and the temperature in the car is way too warm for me, but if I open the window too wide there’s lorries and wheels and noise…

To misquote Apocalypse Now, “ Stoke, shit, we’re still in Stoke.”

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After 3 hours we are nowhere near London, in fact we are further away!!

Why are there so many effing lorries on the road?! Why can’t they do deliveries at night, to releave congestion?

Where are all the service stations?! 14:05, really hungry now.

Typing on the phone is like making a humongous text, and the worst thing is, I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to post it when I arrive – internet connection and all that.

I’m reminded of when I was a little kid, my mum used to dread the holiday drive. I think I was about 3 or 4 years old and when we had been driving for what seemed like forever, I asked that question parents hate, “Are we there yet?” My mum tells me in recollections, she could have cried, we had a days drive ahead and we were at the bottom of our road!

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How most of the English countryside looked today…

Welcome Break, it is indeed. I have taken the wheel for the past 2 hours and my clunky hips and knees are burning and screaming for relief. Ahhh…

Quite a pretty spot, with a water feature, bull-rushes and a lily pond.

Most of these service places look alike, don’t know where I am.

Im riding shotgun again; His Nibs has offered to do the last leg. Hence the writing again. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving, I especially enjoy motorways; I get to pretend I’m a racing driver.

OMG! The rain! Visibility reduced on M40; on the bright side, the temperature is cooler. At this rate, we are going to hit the London rush hour, oh joy.

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The road only looks empty at this point because we were all travelling way away from each other…

Wow, it just went dark, as if someone turned the lights off, dark; quite weird. So it seems like the only way to get a clear run on the motorway, is for it to lash down, but then speed is reduced for obvious reasons.

You know when you are writing, you often have a ‘soundtrack’, or when you drive you put on some tunes? We’ll what has been todays accompaniment? Test Match Special; yes, a full day of cricket. It’s been the fourth day and England have just beaten South Africa; I also know the names if some cricketers now! Cook, Broad, Anderson, Ali, Root are who I remember off the top of my head, as we crawl along the end of the M25; yes we are back to that…ho hum.

A question: What the f*** is a ‘Smart Motorway’? That apparently is what is being constructed, hence the hold ups and queues and irate drivers and sore knees and backsides. I keep seeing notifications that they are building a ‘Smart Motorway’! (Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of the signs, but they were really boring, not very smart at all)

Will this Smart Motorway be able to take us painlessly and quickly to our destination with ease? Will it be able to recognise when a driver is tired and usher him/her to a quiet lay-by and provide a soothing cool flannel for the forehead? Will it even remove Incident signals when the aforesaid incident is long gone?! Will it do your kids homework? Or write my blog for me?!

Until the Smart Motorway can do any of this, the journey from North to South will remain a pain in the proverbial.

So….how did this get posted?

I am in London, I made a successful connection to the internet and had to e-mail everything from my phone to my laptop.

It is now 20:40.

We arrived in London at 19:00 – that is an 8 hour journey, twice as long as it should have taken.

Thanks Road Maintenance of England (or whoever you are; I DON’T CARE! JUST BUCK YOUR IDEAS UP!)

Thanks for reading guys. I’m off for a couple of glasses of red wine, Shiraz if you must know.

X

 

 

Writing is like…keeping an allotment

 

I have had a plot on the local allotment site for approximately 12 years.

I find it to be good for the body and soul – exercise, fresh air and fresh food. I get off my backside and potter about in the greenhouse; mostly I am clearing weeds and overgrowth. You just can’t beat the pleasure of taking home produce that you grew yourself, without pesticides, with your own fair hands.

I have grown and eaten all the usual fayre; potatoes, onions, peas, cabbage, carrot (though these are never very successful for me), lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, swedes, plus many varieties of beans, pumpkins, courgettes, beetroot, rocket, mint, parsley and so forth. Until you have tried, you cannot imagine the complete joy when you dig up your first potato crop – like buried treasure, they tumble across the fork tines, you brush away the soil and grin as you fill your bag.

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Writing is similar in that…

First, you need a plot, in both cases! An allotment plot is usually about 10 poles; or 250 square . A story plot is, well, immeasurable; short story, flash fiction, novella or novel, all require a plot of sorts. You will have had an idea for what you want to produce, let the idea settle and grow in your mind first, let it get a foothold – but not a foothold like the weeds, no, you don’t want that. Water it, with note taking; plants do not grow without watering, so how do you ‘water’ your story idea? Get on a bus, sit in a café, wander about with a small notebook and ‘collect people’. I always carry a notebook to jot down things I have seen or heard, could one of the people around you be a character in your story? Make sketches, take pictures on your phone (ask permission if photographing people though!) be on the lookout for even the tiniest things that will add sustenance and ‘reality’ to your plot.

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Prepare the ground for sowing – research – for your story. Often you can use preparatory products to aid in soil richness. Soil is not the same wherever you go, you’d be surprised; loamy, clay, heavy, sandy, silt or chalky. And this will determine, to a degree, what you can grow in it. Similarly, you as a reader and writer, have preferences – genres, and this will be the ground in which you work for the coming days/weeks/months/years! Make sure you have a good idea of your overall plot, some writers know exactly what they will write from the get-go, and others work it out as they go along.

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As you write, you will need to weed out sections that do not work. And you may go and do more research on a particular topic as you go: *But don’t do like I do and get lost in the world of the internet – you were specifically looking for 17th century carpentry tools, and ended up following some loosely connected route through 17th c clothing, housing (through history!), food, Jewish recipes, famous Jewish comedians, the Jewish diaspora, and then you’re too depressed to continue writing. But occasionally, the allotment of life will throw up a beauty, a single item can grab you and you just have to have it, even though others may consider it a weed, to you it will be a beautiful flower.

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Editing can be a bitch. Pruning is the editing of the horticulture world, and sometimes you will have to be ruthless. When a fruit bush has completed production, or even rose bushes, you need to cut them back. This can result in a sad, stubby, almost unrecognisable plant, but the following year, it will come back stronger and more productive. Similarly you have to chop back the dross in your writing; be firm with yourself, read your work out loud, does it sound right? No? Then cut it out. I once wrote a story and had reached 80,000 words; when I edited it, I cut it by 30,000. Of course I had to re-write, but it was better. I hate editing, I make no bones about this, in the same way I hate weeding – but it has to be done people!  I hate that it has taken me ages to write the damn story, and now I have to read it all again and weed out the dross, if I could afford it, I would have an editor do it for me, simply because I want to move onto the next idea. There is no getting away from editing, so, bite the bullet and go for it.

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The compost  heap can grow to enormous proportions. Continuous weeding, editing, cropping back will result in a metaphorical heap of words at your feet; like the cutting-room floor of a film editor. Or the allotment pile. But panic not, this is all grist for the mill, it may look like you ‘lost’ chunks of writing, but what you gained was skills; editing skills, recognising what works and what doesn’t. and you never know, you might riffle through that heap of discards and be able to reclaim a line or two for another story; that sentence that seemed out of time in your historical romance, might be perfect for something more contemporary, or even futuristic.

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Stop and smell the roses. I spend a lot of time, perhaps too much, simply doing nothing; just enjoying the environment on my allotment plot. I watch bees – a lot! – and the visiting blackbird (he was the inspiration for a poem), bugs and flies and the flowers and worms and the resident fox – but mostly bees. Take time to enjoy your writing. Isn’t it wonderful that you have this ability? Creativity doesn’t come to everyone, so be thankful you are. Read books and enjoy someone else’s world. Don’t worry about what others think – it’s your work! Take a break – don’t lose your mind.

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