Category — Writing prompts
It wasn’t until I moved to Oregon and saw mistletoe growing in the wild that I realized that mistletoe, that most romantic of plants, is actually a parasite. It grows in clumps on tree branches, drawing nutrients from the host plant, and it can actually cause damage. Who knew?
Write about mistletoe. From your earliest experience of it to what you know and feel about it now, include as much detail as you can.
December 8, 2014 Comments Off
December 1, 2014 Comments Off
With all the focus on food and holiday shopping, we often forget that Thanksgiving is the season of gratitude. Each day this week, write down three things you’re grateful for, whatever these may be.
Next, write a scene about a Thanksgiving meal. This could be a scene starring the character in your novel, a poem about the Thanksgiving you spent in a train station in Guangzhou, or an essay about a childhood Thanksgiving that was particularly memorable.
November 24, 2014 Comments Off
Write about the last day you spent in nature, whether hiking or swimming in a lake or the ocean. Remember and record all the sights, sounds, smells, and textures you experienced. Next, write about how this day differs from a day spent in a city or suburb.
November 17, 2014 Comments Off
With winter on its way (perhaps already here, depending on where you live), we enter another season. Write about winter … what does this season mean to you, and why? Write about all your memories, and how these affect your current attitudes about winter.
November 10, 2014 Comments Off
When my husband warned me to avoid stepping on snails after a recent rain, I suggested the snail is probably his spirit animal (he loves them). The notion of a spirit animal its origins in traditions both specific and otherwise, but it generally refers to an affinity we have for a particular animal as well as facets of our personalities. Write about your own spirit animal — any animal that may fit your own version of what a spirit animal might be.
November 3, 2014 Comments Off
October 27, 2014 Comments Off
Write about losing — a game, a bet, at item you loved. Then, write about something unexpectedly won or found.
October 20, 2014 Comments Off
October 13, 2014 Comments Off
October 6, 2014 Comments Off
September 29, 2014 Comments Off
Write about a noise that drives you mad. Be as detailed as possible; write a whole scene or poem about it.
September 22, 2014 Comments Off
September 15, 2014 Comments Off
September 8, 2014 Comments Off
For Shakespeare’s Juliet, “that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet” — but for a writer creating characters, a name can be a wonderful opportunity for enhancing character development.
Some writers must have a good character name before writing a the first word of a fictional story; for others, names are a bit of an afterthought. (Or, if you’re like my writer husband, you use the same three character names for every piece until your editor reminds you that some recycling isn’t actually for the best.)
Character names are more important than you might think…for one, having just the right name can offer a sense of context, history, culture, and personality — whereas having an ill-fitting or too-strange name can distract readers.
Here are a few tips for choosing the perfect names for your fictional characters…
- look for names that aren’t too simple or too weird, unless this is for a very good reason
- research the origin of the name; give it meaning
- think about how it sounds in your ear and how it looks on the page
- consider how the character feels about his/her name
- use names consistently throughout (first name, or last name) to avoid distracting or confusing readers
- if you’re writing about someone resembling a real-life person, change the name (as well as other identifying characteristics) to something really, really different
For inspiration and a plethora of name ideas, check out baby-name books, visit the Social Security Web site (where you can search name popularity by year), and search baby-name websites. You could also research the old-fashioned way: Dorothy Parker got her characters’ names from the telephone book and from the obituary columns.
Here are a few writing prompts to get you in the naming mood …
- Write for 10 minutes about how you feel about your own name. Do you like it? Have you always liked it? Why/why not? What would you prefer your name to be if not the one you have? Has your name changed over the years due to losing or acquiring nicknames, marriage, etc.?
- Write a list of your favorite names, both male and female. Next, write down characteristics you associate with these names, physical and otherwise.
- Write down the names of all of your family members and/or close friends. How do their names help define who they are (or not)?
September 3, 2014 3 Comments