Sometimes even when you’re in the mood to write, you can’t think of anything to write about. At these times prompts can be helpful in getting the creative juices flowing. Sometimes you will find a complete story coming out of the prompt, other times it just makes for good practice in honing your skills. Here are 5 prompts for you to use any time you need them.
1. Think back to a place you’ve visited only once and try to recreate it.
Remember that historical site you visited as child on a field trip, or the restaurant you happened upon with friends while out of town. Try to recreate that place in your mind and begin to describe your surroundings. Hit on all of the five senses, describing how the area smells, what the surrounding sounds are, what kind of lighting there is, and so on. Once you’ve exhausted your true memories of the place begin filling in any details with your imagination and let it be a jumping off point for your writing.
2. Choose a mythical creature and write a detailed description of it.
If you choose, for example, the mermaid, you could begin by describing the exact shade of her scales or the size of her tail. Be as descriptive as possible, focusing on giving the reader as accurate an idea of the creature in your mind as you can.
3. Choose a portrait painting that you do not know the history of and create one for it.
Give a life story to a nameless Degas dancer or describe a day in the life of one of the picnic party in Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”. You can also write about their emotions or thoughts at the exact moment captured in the painting.
4. Choose a landscape painting and describe your portrait character’s reaction to it.
Write about your character’s reaction to the landscape of “The Starry Night” or describe their stroll through one of Monet’s gardens.
5. Choose two characters from literature and write about them having to spend time together.
If Elizabeth Bennett and Jane Eyre had to share a carriage ride, would they get along? How would Arthur Dent react to Mary Poppins?