By Annette Rey
There are lots of writing prompts out there and most are good ideas if you follow up on them. They range from one word, one picture, to a sentence, or a paragraph in length. If you are having trouble getting started, here is a type of hint that gives information without restriction. It should provide you with a bit more wriggle room to begin a story.
Make a page of three columns – pronoun/noun, verb, pronoun/noun. Beneath them write the first word that comes to your mind. The longer the list, the more options you will have. Then, without planning or thinking about it, maybe even with your eyes closed, pick one word from each column. Next, begin writing based on those words.
Here is a sample of what this exercise looks like. (Hint: Use powerful verbs).
Pronoun/Noun Verb Pronoun/Noun
Lion slinks cliff
Apocalypse vibrates elephant
He collides manor house
Monarchy destroys sailboat
George manipulates Ethel
Randomly, I chose apocalypse – destroys – manor house. That’s a great beginning idea. I immediately see a malevolent, old-style family living in their manor house, plotting evil against one another while all along their little lives mean nothing, as an apocalypse is approaching to destroy them. I can choose to destroy all of them, or one of them, but I can surely destroy their way of life. Maybe one or the majority of them will have an epiphany after the destruction, and learn to live better lives – or, maybe not. And maybe the apocalypse ends up being only a threat, and the people change (or not) without the destruction. I can take the story anywhere. As I write, the story may write itself, evolve on its’ own as the ideas flow.
See, I got all of that from playing with words.
No writer’s block here.
I suggest you begin by creating a flash fiction, say 250 words, then go to 500. If it works out well, enlarge upon it and work it into a short story length.
Engaging in writing exercises makes writer’s block disappear and gives birth to new work. Give this one a try.