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Prompts

Journal Entry: Thu Jun 23, 2011, 8:01 PM



In November 2010, we posted a poll about it and discussed the idea with a lot of you, and at the start of the new year, we started posting writing prompts to inspire your writing ventures.

What is a prompt? Some sort of theme or topic, a sentence or perhaps even a song or movie clip that would be designed to spark your creativity to write something about it. As of now, we're posting a prompt bi-weekly, but we're open to changing scheduling based on your feedback. Each new prompt will be submitted individually, while this blog will remain as an archive of previous prompts. Feel free to come back and be inspired by prompts that you may have missed!

Also, send any prompt-inspired works to us via note! Please specify which prompt was it written after so your watchers know, and we do too. (: we'll then include it in the New Prompts folder in our gallery.



Prompts

2011

February 16: Think of a pairing that is somewhat paradoxical in nature, but in an unexpected way.
Examples:
• Hummingbirds and taxicabs
• Statues and oil spills
• Silk and bulldozers
• Angels and cigarettes

March 23: Write from the perspective of someone who cannot use the sense that you write the strongest with.
Explanation: Do you write most often with visual descriptions? Write from the perspective of a blind person. What would their world be like?

April 6: Write about something ugly, but find the beauty in it.
Examples: War, fear, hate, cruelty

April 20: Write a love letter or poem from one inanimate object to another.
May 18: Take two significant lines from a published poem, and expand upon them in a way that is completely your own. Be sure to quote and name the poet at the top of your piece!
June 9: Write in a form, genre, or style that isn't normal for you.
Example: If you write horror stories, try writing a mystery; if you write free-verse poetry, try writing a villanielle or another fixed form.

June 23: Someone who you are extremely close to unexpectedly dies. Write that person a letter explaining what you will miss most about him or her.

July 7: Pick an event from your childhood that you wish would have gone differently. Write it as though it had happened ideally.

July 19: Choose your favorite book. Then, write a first-person narrative from the viewpoint of a minor character.
Example: Write from Boromir's perspective in The Lord of the Rings.

July 31: Use a point of view you aren't used to.
Example: If you write confessional, first person poetry, try writing narrative or lyric poetry. If you generally tell stories in first person, try third person. Or even second person!

August 14: Write from the perspective of the opposite sex. Include at least one situation (prose/narrative) or condition (poetry) relating to their interactions with your own gender.

August 28: Go out and try something new, be it a food (e.g. sushi), going to a new place (e.g.  to an art gallery), or an activity (e.g. going on a hike or eating at the sidewalk tables outside of an eatery). Record as much as you can during or after. Be sure to include items of all senses if applicable. Recreate the experience as genuinely as you can in a piece of writing.

September 12: Choose a poem you like. Take the last line and use that as the first line of your own poem.

September 26: Write a (romantic, if you want) story about someone, focusing on the quirks of their personality.
Example: Listen to the narration of this video for an example.

October 4: Write about the biggest lie you've ever told.

October 18: Write a poem or short story focused on the changing season. Let the characteristics of fall inspire your description of the characters.

November 2: Find a song and use the title and/or lyrics as inspiration for your piece.

November 16: Write a different bit of writing at the same time of every day in the next week.
Example: Like, 8:30 am every morning for a week. They can be about the same theme/storyline or completely different.

November 30: Write about the wind. Any way you like.

December 6: Odyssey Into 2012: A Site-Wide Collab

December 13: Use a story/poem to tell us about a word you've created.

December 20: The story starts when your protagonist tells the truth. Another character is someone who has no problems with blackmail.

December 27: Write about an alien entity who is from the past.

January 3: Write about a bus driver who believes your protagonist is a long-lost family member.


2012

January 15: Love at second sight. Any and all relationships welcome.
Example: Person to person, person to nature, object to object, etc.

January 25: Collecting photographs.
Explanation: What are the photos of? Who collects them? Why? What are the stories behind them? Are they being used for anything?)

February 5: no.1: Write about an uncommon occupation.
Examples: Mortician, street sweeper, lamp-lighter, etc. Can also be a fictional occupation.
no.2 What's at the end of the rainbow?

February 19: no.1: Mea Culpa. (Latin for 'my fault'.)
no.2 What would happen if you tipped over an hourglass? Think outside the box.

February 26: Write about a point of no return.

March 11: Write from the point of view of a board game piece. Some examples: a character from Clue, a Scrabble letter, the dice inside of the Trouble bubble, etc.

March 25: Write a letter to someone you've never met before. This person could be an actor, a writer, a family member, even a fictional character.

April 8: Put your iPod/mP3/any music player really on shuffle. For the first five (or more) songs that come up, incorporate two (or more, whatever you want) lines from each song into your piece.

April 24: Write an epistolary piece involving at least three people and at least two different kinds of media. (Get creative: don't just use letters or e-mails, try IM programs, bottle-messages or wiki edit wars!)
Not all the entries have to be directed at each other, but they should link up in some way. Perhaps two people are editing a document together and one of them starts receiving mysterious texts. Perhaps someone stumbles on a decades-old correspondence and it helps to uncover mysteries in the present. Go wild!

May 6: Write from the point of view of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Give them a personality, have them interact with other sins, or even some of the Seven Heavenly Virtues. For example, is sloth secretly in love with chastity, but is too lazy to overcome chastity's, well, chasteness?

May 22: Write from the voice of someone in a different time period. Examples: Regency period, Victorian England, or in the far far future. Basically, choose a time period you don't usually write about. Added challenge, switch up the setting as well. It can be something as broad as space, down to a corner inhabited by dust bunnies.

June 3: Pick a piece of art, it doesn't matter what it is, whether it's a painting, a song, a dance, etc. Write a story for it. If it has one already, pick a different facet/point of view. You can also try muting a video or a random part of a movie and use that as well. A good place to look would be through your very own favorites collection on dA. Or somebody else's favorites. Whatever tickles your fancy.
Here's a few things to start you off if you're stuck:
:bulletblue: This Heineken ad.
:bulletblue: "Be Mine" choreography.
:bulletblue: Renoir. (Except that was just an excuse to share that painting; it's one of my absolute favorites. :love:)
:bulletblue: These two.
:bulletblue: This.

June 17: You're stranded somewhere. (Post-apocalyptic world, desert island, out on the English moors, your math class, etc.) You must pick four things to have with you. Yes, they can be people. Take it from there. What are you using these things for? If there's people, how are you interacting? For my poetry folks out there, write the four things in stanzas (or however you like to format your poems).

July 15: Write something you've always wanted to say to someone, but never had the chance to. It can be a confession, a secret, a simple "hello", a rant, etc. I can be to a parent, a friend, a significant other, a pet, a deity. Use your imagination!

July 19: Expand a six word story.
Check out SixWordStories' gallery for inspiration. Or Six Word Stories on Twitter.
Here are a few of my favorites:
:bulletblue: Deathly silent groom. Literal shotgun wedding.
:bulletblue: Drink to Life. Drive to Death.
:bulletblue: Fortune cookie reads: That wasn’t chicken.
:bulletblue: Poked hole in condom. He’s mine.
:bulletblue: She merely smiled. His world stopped.

November 26: Make up a word, and then write something about that word!

December 24: What is the last thing that comes to your mind when you think of a plant? Write about it.

2013


January 7: What will you leave behind?

January 21: What would you put in your bucket list?

February 4: What happened after breakfast?

February 18: Write about or as the person / object / the paint / the material of the visual art piece you chose. Some suggestions:
:bulletred: Nocturne in Black and Gold, The Falling Rocket, by James Whistler.
:bulletblack: The Winged Victory of Samothrace.
:bulletred: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.
:bulletblack: Night, by Raffaelle Night.
:bulletred: A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat.

March 4: what is hurt, to you?

March 18: what does it mean, to reinvent or be reinvented?

April 1: Write something inspired by the older festivals of April Fool's Day, Hilaria and Feast of Fools. How can a masquerade symbolise a social revolution, or a breakdown of societal or political roles? Why does humour and celebration enable us to ignore those roles? How do we find freedom or power in disguise?

April 15: Be silly, be relaxed, be wild - imagine yourself landing on an earth-like (i.e. containing life) planet and, in poem or prose or script form, describe this place and the life on it.

April 29: Write something inspired by a real-life conversation - either put yourself somewhere to eavesdrop, or take something from randomsnippetsofconversation!

May 13: Write something inspired by a title - from a book, a poem, a play, anything (and don't forget to credit it)! Some fascinating ones, in case you're stuck:

In Praise of Shadows. The Melancholy of Resistance. The Anatomy of Melancholy. A Short History of Decay. Because I Was Flesh.  The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light. Passing Strange and Wonderful. I Was Told There'd Be Cake. If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet?! I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. If On A Winter's Night A Traveller. Their Eyes Were Watching God. The Forgotten Dialect of the Heart. It Was Like This: You Were Happy. Things to Do in the Belly of a Whale.


May 27: Look into these eyes. Stare into them, and think, man, I wonder what he's seen? If you'd ask us if that were our latest prompt, you'd be right. Write about the answer to that prompt!

June 10: Imagine if your house gained the five basic senses, that is to say, if your walls could hear, your floors feel, your ceilings smell, your windows see, and your doors taste... play up the five senses and incorporate them into different furniture and fixtures in your home, like making your kitchen taste or your closet see. Do go ahead and go as fantastical or as non-fiction as you see fit. What if a house (your house, someone else's house, anything) had the five basic senses?

June 24: Write about injustice. Anything goes, fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, etc., but injustice is the name of the game - an event, a societal construct, a stereotype, a character - anything. What is it? What's unfair about it? What makes people angry about it? Is it obviously wrong, or a more subtle wrong-doing? Can it be fixed? Is anybody doing anything to fix it? And so on and so forth. Go wild.

July 8: The Overview Effect: "a cognitive shift of awareness ... reported ... during spaceflight ... while viewing the Earth". It is, basically, the effect of seeing Earth and realising how small you are. You don't have to write a letter or anything like that - a poem or a short story or a play (or anything else) you can think of, incorporating the Overview Effect into it.

July 22: Here's the deal: rework an old fairy tale into the modern world - no deus ex machina. No magic. A deus ex machina, Latin: "god from the machine," is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. (Wikipedia).

August 5: Write using in media res, or: begin in the middle. In media res - "in the midst of things" - is an ancient literary technique where your story, poem, play, what have you, begins mid-way through. Start from the middle of a sentence / line, or the middle of your narrative, or in a non-linear chronology, or use flashbacks, or have the narrator explaining as you go, etc. The options are limitless. But the basic rule is you start with the middle - explanations later. Homer's Iliad is an example: it opens up in the middle of the Trojan War.

August 29: Use a flash-forward.

September 23: This image.

October 7: This photograph.
Tell Me A Story by LUCILALEYLA

October 21: Retell a story you know, but this time, add monsters. (From writingprompts.tumblr.com). What sort of monsters will you show us? Are these real, physical monsters or those of the psyche, ripping your characters apart? Will they have fangs and claws, or words and hands? Do the same for poetry or for prose - how do relationships change with monsters? How misunderstood are monsters? How not misunderstood are monsters?

November 4: Click on this Random Line Generator" for poetry and this Random Line Generator for prose. Use that line in your poem/prose. It doesn't necessarily have to be the starting line, but I want to see it somewhere in your work!

December 2: This image.

December 16: This site gives you random nonsense text - "verbiage" - based on the works of William Gibson, who writes cyberpunk, speculative fiction. Take the first line of what you get - refresh only if you have to - and write something based off it. Pick a phrase from word, ignore some words if you want, use the entire line, or, if you're feeling daring, pick more than a line (a paragraph, two paragraphs, the entire text). Up to you. Here are some examples:

:bulletred: knife pen soul-delay saturation point tanto computer katana modem.
:bulletblack: math- convenience store boy film rebar assassin shoes girl boy San Francisco kanji Kowloon silent.
:bulletred: vehicle 3D-printed dolphin man meta- girl faded industrial grade nodal point.
:bulletblack: camera augmented reality drugs nodality silent sentient refrigerator urban skyscraper fetishism.




The New Prompts


During the end of 2013 there was a long talk within the admin team about the need to refresh our Prompts. We wanted them to be more inspiring, more of a challenge. So we changed! Our prompts become monthly, they feature more specific challenges, and 100 points go to a lucky participating deviant each month! :la:
These are the new prompts we've submitted so far. Feel free to try any of them, even if the prizes have already been given.

February Prompt: Not About the Sky: This story is not about the sky. The sky is a recurring theme of your writing, either because your protagonist is an aviator or because they're scared of flying, because they study astronomy or they're looking for god up there, because they're mourning a death or because the airplane trails make them think of their far-away family, or lover. The sky is used in metaphor, in interior monologues or dialogues, but it is NOT the center of the story: in other words, make a decent plot goddammit and the sky is just used as a recurring metaphor or subject of conversation/reflection.

March Prompt: What to Do with Loss:Someone has lost something. That thing could be a person, a physical object, or an abstract object: the loss of this object affects the plot, however, the plot is NOT the search for it. So, you say, what does this mean?
Basically, your story must feature a loss of any kind, and whether this loss makes the character who is going through it happy or sad, the plot cannot be the search for what they lost! It can be about their feelings, the events leading up to the loss, the way they deal with it or escape from it, but it cannot be about the search for it. Simply put, this is not going to be a treasure hunt for the fairy godmother heirloom you lost when you moved out of your parents' house, or the adopted child looking for his biological parents/siblings. :paranoid: be creative!

Add a Comment:
 
:iconbrokengod--veins:
brokengod--veins Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Look at all these prompts! :love:

Thanks for accepting me as a new member! :love:
Reply
:iconsolarune:
Solarune Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013   Writer
This is horrendously late, but you're welcome! :D Glad to have you here.
Reply
:iconbrokengod--veins:
brokengod--veins Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:) :huggle:
Reply
:iconthe-unavenged:
The-Unavenged Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2012  Professional General Artist
This is now my next project! :la: I plan to make an anthology and write a story for every prompt. I might add this project to my blog I was planning on making for my NaNoWriMo experience. I just think it would be something interesting, and of course it would give me something to actually add to the group. I have had such horrible writer's block for the past two years. I don't know why I never looked here at the prompts. :dummy:
I love all of these and you guys are amazing. I follow your group even though I don't really post, I think I have submitted one story the entire time I have been a part of it. I'm excited to really get started and start posting things more often.
Reply
:iconsolarune:
Solarune Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2012   Writer
eee you're amazing. :heart: Thank you for this lovely comment, it makes my day when people write stuff like this. So glad you like the prompts! :D The people who think them up are amazing. (It's *IndigoSkyes at the moment, so go and give her some love!) And don't worry about how much you're participating – everyone participates however much they can according to what works for them – it's just nice to have you here!
Reply
:iconlegendarysim:
LegendarySim Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Do you guys take prompt suggestions?
Reply
:iconsolarune:
Solarune Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Writer
We totally could! Send along your suggestions to *artiskewl. :dummy:
Reply
:iconomegawolfess:
OmegaWolfess Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012
Great job with the prompts! :)
Reply
:iconsolarune:
Solarune Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012   Writer
Thank you, we're glad you like them! :la:
Reply
:iconwyvernletdie:
WyvernLetDie Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2011  Professional Writer
New prompt :eyes:

Why does Christopher Columbus come to mind?
Reply
:iconskunkly:
Skunkly Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2012
I'll wager it's the font.
Reading it, the same thought slapped my brain.
Reply
:iconsolarune:
Solarune Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011   Writer
YAY NEW PROMPTS.
I've been meaning to write for all these for a while. I think what I might do is print all these off and do them in my notebook, so there's no chance of being distracted by the 'net. :heart: :eager:
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2012  Student Photographer
:highfive: Sounds like a good plan.
Reply
:iconmoonlightwillow6:
MoonlightWillow6 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011   Writer
Thanks for posting these prompts!

Perfect for getting out of any post Nanowrimo slumps! :D
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2011  Student Photographer
You betcha. :highfive:
Reply
:iconlit-twitter:
Lit-Twitter Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011
Chirp, it's been twittered. :)
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Student Photographer
Thanks. :heart:
Reply
:iconthecr8tive1:
thecr8tive1 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Student General Artist
i can't wait to write about the wind!! :D
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Student Photographer
:love: Awesome.
Reply
:iconsumiko7741:
Sumiko7741 Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
im gonna start from the beginning for kicks ^u^
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011  Student Photographer
:dummy: Good luck!
Reply
:iconlatyredkaos:
LatyreDKaos Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2011
It is a challenging thing you request, to have someone step not only outside of the preconceptions they hold to their skin, but the preconceptions built into them societally, and to an extent, genetically because of gender. I believe this will grow those who attempt it as both writers and as human beings.

Well done, tWR, well done.
Reply
:iconk47454k1:
K47454k1 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2011  Professional Writer
That was a pretty well articulated version of my reasoning when writing the prompt. :D

We write about both sexes, sometimes, without actually trying to comprehend them. It tends to lead to unrealistic characters and the employment of misconceptions in our writing.

Thanks for the lovely comment!
Reply
:iconkfshaw:
KFShaw Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2011  Student Writer
I'm curious to see what you have for August, these all sound really neat. :nod:
Reply
:iconcherrichan13:
cherrichan13 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
:eyes:
Reply
:iconmelanie-howle-h:
Melanie-Howle-H Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the info =D
Reply
:iconcherrichan13:
cherrichan13 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Our pleasure. :hug:
Reply
:iconkitchenprincess96:
kitchenprincess96 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011
Awesome
Reply
:iconcherrichan13:
cherrichan13 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
:w00t:
Reply
:iconbrittanybeaar:
BrittanyBeaar Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Student Photographer
The July 19th prompt, doesn't that count as a fan fiction? I thought we weren't allowed to submit these. :/
Reply
:iconbleusman:
bleusman Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2011
Not necessarily. What if you don't even give their name? The plot of the book doesn't necessarily have to tie into the story you write, and the character needn't even exist within the setting of the book. Be creative! ;)
Reply
:iconbrittanybeaar:
BrittanyBeaar Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011  Student Photographer
Okay, thanks for clearing that up. :3 Gives me some very interesting ideas !
Reply
:iconbleusman:
bleusman Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2011
Glad to help! :D
Reply
:iconherzeleid31:
herzeleid31 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011  Student Writer
That's what I was thinking. :\
Reply
:iconazndramafrk94:
AznDramaFrk94 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011
For the July 19th prompt, is it still going? Can I still submit? And is it ok if I write in the viewpoint of a minor character from a manga instead of a book?
Reply
:iconpsycho-analysis:
Psycho-analysis Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I'm actually really looking forward to writing for some of these...
Thank you for the inspiration.
Reply
:iconmisterkage:
MisterKage Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
While I know you're usually free to choose for yourself when it comes to most writing excercises and such, I figured I might as well ask..
Does it have to be an actual book, or can it also be (for example) a (web)comic, tv-show, movie, screenplay or whatnot?
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Student Photographer
Whatever inspires you the most. :hug:
Reply
:iconmisterkage:
MisterKage Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Heh, now that's something I can work with ^^
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2011  Student Photographer
:dummy: Great!
Reply
:icondragonfoxing:
Dragonfoxing Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011
Usually I don't have the attention span to do a prompt, but that last prompt I can most definitely do.
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Student Photographer
:highfive: Great, glad to hear it!
Reply
:iconmeerkat14:
meerkat14 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2011
THESE PROMPTS *GASPS* so much wonderful!
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2011  Student Photographer
:highfive:
Reply
:iconhedonisticwillow:
HedonisticWillow Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011
Where do I submit? :D
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Student Photographer
Reply
:iconhumanisms:
Humanisms Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Sadness with ensue. D:
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Student Photographer
Undoubtedlly.
Reply
:iconhumanisms:
Humanisms Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Will*. Cannot type. D:
Reply
:iconjonathoncomfortreed:
jonathoncomfortreed Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Student Photographer
:slow:
Reply
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