Unusual Writing Prompt #1

For Flash Fiction or Short Story

By Annette Rey

I’m starting a new series of posts based on breaking writer’s block with exercises using an unusual approach.

Do you need a quick-start writing idea that is unusual and challenging? You can make this exercise as involved and as long as you like. Or you can hover around the idea and write a short flash fiction.

Here’s how to begin:

Read the list.

Pick an item from the list.

How do the words affect you? You can use word association. Which word reminds you of what? What picture image do you have when you read the items? What is your first impression? What impression do the words leave with you?

Don’t over think this. Just jump in. You don’t have to know a lot about history. What you write does not have to actually BE ABOUT the item listed. The idea is to get you writing.

Each writer is unique. Don’t stress if you think you don’t know about these things. Relax. Breathe. Begin to write.

OR —

You may be inspired to do a bit of research on these items. If you go this route, you can pick up appropriate words to apply to the idea. You can drift from the idea, and as you read about it, a character may come to mind. How does she feel when she sees the structure? What era is she living in? Is your character seeing this in person or in a picture book – like maybe you are doing at that moment as you research? Do you want to set this structure in a different time and place?

There are so many ways to approach this list.

Here we go.

The Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages

1) The Colosseum at Rome

2) The Catacombs at Alexandria

3) The Great Wall of China

4) The Leaning Tower of Pisa

5) The Mosque of St. Sophia at Constantinople

6) The Porcelain Tower of Nanking

7) Stonehenge

Be as challenged as you want to be. Pick the one you are most familiar with or the one you have never heard of before.

One of the greatest things about forcing yourself to learn more about an unfamiliar thing is you pick up knowledge that you can use later in your writing. You pick up new terms. You flex your brain.

I am going to write a flash fiction – one for each item.

Now you give this a try.

Happy writing!


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