Prompts

Angry? Too nice? Prompt #454

Congratulations on being here, taking time to do something for yourself. Sometimes the writing prompts on The Write Spot Blog are serious, sometimes fun, and sometimes instrumental in learning something about writing and learning about ourselves. You are always free to write whatever you want. The prompts are just ideas to get you started. If you are writing and run out of things to say, either repeat the prompt, or write “what I really want to say.” And go from there. When you read the prompt, write it down, and just start writing. Get rid of the editor that sits on your shoulder. Don’t think. Don’t overthink. Write whatever comes into your mind. The writing prompts are meant to encourage you to write what you really want to write (no judgement on good or bad, nice or not nice content). But what if what you really want to write isn’t…

Prompts

Edges . . . Prompt #446

If your life was surrounded by a frame, what would the edges look like? Sharp, soft, curvy, plain, straight? Brightly colored, small, large? Dull, deep, shallow? Stand out? Plain, simple, fancy? Blend in? Fierce? Protective? Describe what the edges of your life’s frame would look like. Does your frame help you or hinder you? What kind of edge does your life hold? Write about a frame that borders your life.

Prompts

Tapestry of Fortunes Inspired . . . Prompt #439

I’m spending this summer re-reading Elizabeth Berg’s books. Perhaps I’m trying to recreate the summers of my pre-teen years. After morning chores, afternoons were mine to do what I wanted. I walked to the library every Saturday and checked out an armload of books. Starting with the letter A in the children’s section, I worked my way around the room. I don’t remember what letter I was on when I abandoned the children’s section for adult fiction, upstairs in the grand and austere room, seeped with old-world charm, burnished wood stair railings, mahogany wainscoting, heavy oak chairs, and of course stacks and stacks of books. Those were the days of hushed voices and the librarian whispering shhhhh, pointer finger over pursed lips. This summer, I’m enjoying the cool breeze from a portable fan while Berg’s characters march and dance through my head. Here is an excerpt from Tapestry of Fortunes from pages 7 and 8:…

Prompts

Write Your Story. Prompt #436

An article in the Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, September 14, 2006 described how Betty Henshaw wrote about her childhood in the Oklahoma hills and her family’s move to California.  Author Sandra Scofield read a collection of Betty’s work and said her history needed to be in the hands of a university press. Texas Tech University Press published her story and Betty did a book tour in 2006. Here’s an excerpt from that newspaper article. “The family hired an auctioneer and sold their cows, horses, pigs, chickens, farm tools, the potatoes in the barn and the home-canned fruits and vegetables. Mama kept her sewing machine. The next morning I helped herd the younger children into the truck before first light. Daddy and Robert had placed a feather mattress on the pickup bed. The babies crawled to the back, grabbed a pillow each, and rolled up in quilts. Sadness washed over me…

Prompts

Write what is hard to admit. Prompt #435

“You don’t grow up missing what you never had, but throughout life there is hovering over you an inescapable longing for something you never had.” — Susan Sontag, excerpted from The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper continues: “As a child, you generally aren’t aware that your family is different from any other. You have no frame of reference.”   The following is excerpted from What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. “I am thinking of how right he was when he said that people want to be deceived. I have learned the truth of that notion over and over; but I never admitted to its obvious presence in my own life. After all, I claimed I did not need my mother. I said I had replaced her.” Prompt: Write about something you have been unwilling to admit or something you have been deceiving yourself about. Note: No one…

Prompts

Flashbacks . . . Prompt #433

A flashback is a scene set in a time earlier than the main story. Sometimes when you are telling a story, or writing a story, you need to backtrack and tell what happened previously. A flashback is a shift in a narrative to an earlier event that interrupts the normal chronological development of a story. From Make a Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld: “With flashback, you want to focus on action, information, and character interactions.” Flashback can also be thought of as backstory.   Use flashbacks to explain, enlighten, and inform. An example is What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. The story takes place during a woman’s travels to meet her sister and mother. We learn what happened thirty-five years prior through flashbacks while the woman travels in space. Other examples of using flashback to tell a story: To Kill a Mockingbird: The whole story is a flashback told by Scout a…

Prompts

Ouch. Prompt #434

Write about someone in your life who is consistently critical of you or what you do, and this could be yourself. I recently read a Facebook post by Prince Ea about the four letter word that ends all arguments: Ouch. Suggestion: As you write on this prompt, think of what words and actions hurt and add “ouch” to your writing. Frame your situation as experiences that had an “ouch” factor. Next, write what you wish you had said, or could have said, to lessen the hurt. Next, write a love letter to yourself. List your strengths, your qualities, your capabilities that make you uniquely you. Be generous with yourself. You deserve it.

Prompts

An object that “speaks” to you. Prompt #430

Picture the house or apartment you grew up in. If there was more than one house or apartment, choose one to focus on for this writing. Imagine standing outside, looking at the door you usually entered. Stand outside for a moment. Walk in and wander until you see a piece of furniture that speaks to you. Describe the object. Write about the memories and feelings it brings up for you. Write until you feel done with this object. Another time write about another object from your childhood or adolescence.