It's been one of those nights when I feel like writing but don't have a concrete idea to write about. Today I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed in my room all day. The end. So I googled "writing prompts" and discovered that there is quite an interesting range of prompts available on the world wide web, ranging from the benign ("You meet a genie and he offers you three wishes. What do you wish for and why?") to the creepy/ridiculous ("You get a text message from an unknown number saying 'I have the money and hid the body.' You play along until you realize that this is not a joke. Transcribe the text conversation.") None of these prompts really caught my fancy, but the concept of writing a short idea-sparking paragraph did. So, here are my own writing prompts.
1. Write a story that begins at the end of an evening when you show up to a party wearing the same outfit as a casual acquaintance, and ends with each of you waking up and starting your respective days. Like the backwards episode of Seinfield.
2. Scientists discover that a common ingredient in food (like high fructose corn syrup) is a proven carcinogenic. The information is not widely publicized. What action do you take, if any? What reactions do you see from others?
3. You discover an hourglass that is magically endowed with the power to erase one event completely from your life . Do you take the offer? What event do you erase? What are the consequences?
4. Write a scene about a young adult bringing her significant other to meet her parents.
5. Take the title of a song you like, and write a poem with the title's opposite as your new title. "Unbreak my heart" becomes "break my heart," for example.
6. Find a Bible. Open to a random verse. Write about it.
7. You google your name and discover that someone with your exact same name is leading a life very similar to yours: is involved in the same activities and has a similar career, for example. You decide on a whim to contact this person and meet him or her. What happens?
8. You discover that the death of a close family member, long believed to be accidental, was actually a carefully calculated murder. You have a good idea of who was behind the murder, and decide to confront him or her. What happens?
9. Take a command used with dogs, such as "good girl" or "stay" and write a poem about a human subject.
10. Write about an experience with a fake tan, real or imagined.
11. Make up a "translated" proverb from a foreign language and invent a scenario in which this proverb could be used.
12. Take one aspect of the culture in which you grew up (an infinitesimal example, like jell-o) and write about it for as long as you possibly can.
13. You work at a copy shop. Every day a man comes in and asks for you to make copies of one or two pages for him. One day you notice that all the papers seem to be some sort of plan for committing a large-scale terrorist act. What do you do? What happens?
14. What parenting mistake that you parents made had the most far-reaching effect on you?
15. Write a poem with a number in every sentence.
16. Take a famous quote, and replace one of the words. Invent a historical event that could have been the source for such a quote.
17. Start a story with this sentence: "We never talk about the past anymore." End with the sentence, "And that was that."
18. Make a list of the ten most common slang terms you used in junior high school. Write a story incorporating all of them.
19. Write about DRAMA. Do you like it or dislike it? What role has it played in your life?
20. One morning you wake up and discover that your spouse/significant other is gone and in his or her place is someone of the same sex as you. This persons insists that you have been together for many years and that your life as you remember it never happened. How do you get to the bottom of this?
21. Make a list of ten things or people that give you the creeps. Incorporate all of these into a scary story.
22. Due to a series of misunderstandings, you end up in jail on the eve of a significant holiday (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.) Describe your experience.
23. If you knew you were going to die and could write a letter to be read at your funeral, what would it say?
24. Write of a place that is "no place for the old."
25. Write a poem about kissing without once using the word "kiss" in any form.