Every author goes through some kind of writer’s block at some point, I’d imagine (at least I like to tell myself they do). Here are some self-made creative writing prompts to consider when faced with such a predicament. Feel free to use and abuse and adapt as you see fit. After all, getting past writer’s block is all about writing…often something different from what’s blocking you.
Let these prompts be the prune juice for your blockage…er, something of that sort.
If you’re willing, please share the scene or excerpt that was inspired by one of these prompts. Simply indicate which prompt you chose and include it as a comment, or include the link in the comments section. This part isn’t necessary, but I’d love to see what you came up with.
- You’re a parent of a three-year-old, or watching your three-year-old niece/nephew or a friend’s child (whatever feels most “right”). The kid’s been in the bathroom alone for about twenty minutes before finally exiting the room with a big grin on his/her face—the kind of grin most people would find cute unless they’re the ones who will have to deal with the reason behind it. You enter the bathroom…describe the scene.
- Describe a fake religion, one you might make up for a civilization in a book you intend to write. What does its congregation worship? Who presides over the congregation? What is the basis of their beliefs?
- Your Great Uncle dies, one you barely knew you had, yet strangely you’ve inherited his infamous farmlands out in the sticks of a small town you’ve never heard of. When you arrive, the place is a dump: boarded-up windows; a water-warped roof; rotting walls. This place is going to need a lot of work. Inside is empty save for a large wooden box sitting in the middle of the living room. While the rest of the room is laden with dust and cobwebs, this box has been recently cleaned. What’s in the box?
- The girl/guy of your dreams approaches you. Describe not only this person, but your reaction and how you feel.
- You attend a magic show at a neighborhood child’s birthday party—one of your kid’s friends. Your child goes on stage as a volunteer, where the magician makes him/her disappear! Everyone claps, the magician takes a bow and then retreats backstage out of sight. The show is over and the crowd begins to disperse, but after several minutes, your child hasn’t been returned to you. You search for the magician, but can’t find him! (Now…write).
- Your brother/sister/good friend/someone you know quite well comes to the front door, barging in with an anxious look on his/her face. “I need to tell you something, something I’ve known for a long time but couldn’t tell you before,” she says, and then seems to ponder this a moment. “It might be better to show you; we haven’t much time.” She rolls up her sleeves and holds out her arms with palms up (Now…write).
These prompts should be led into, meaning you write the first part of the paragraph, page, short story, what have you.
- (Name of young girl) turned to the open window, staring calmly at the starlit sky. She watched as the massive bird glided over the slumbering village, its silhouette shown against a silver-moon backdrop. “Everything’s going to be different now,” she said to (name of young boy). “You’ll see.”
- (Name of main character) curled up against the wall, as if the stares of the family portraits brought him/her great shame. That’s when the voice inside his/her head finally quieted.
- (Name of main character) gazed out at the still water of the lake—the blossomed lily pads reflected by his eyes. “You’ll never look at it quite the same, will ya (name of first main character),” said (second character). (Name of first main character) shook his head. “I suppose not, though I don’t suspect I’ll ever come back here.”
Hope this helps. Happy writing.