So I have a fun idea to get away from the blank page syndrome (a.k.a. writer's block, a.k.a. I-dunno-how-to-start-this-really-cool-idea). Looking back at my writing history I realize that I write better (or at least more profusely) when working off a prompt. This is why Role Play story writing is so successful. Each time you interchange with a partner, it is essentially them giving you a prompt. For any of you out there that might not know what Role Play (RP) writing is, it is just as the name suggests. You write (in third person) the experiences and thoughts of a single character performing an act or a series of acts and then you have a writing partner have their character react to what you wrote. It's a fun back and forth that is not only great writing practice but wonderful at helping you build and develop characters. One of the reason's it's so fun and so successful is because you are kept wondering what your partner will write because that is your next prompt.
Back when Yahoo!360 was an active site (may it rest in peace), I used to write a few short segments based on prompts I found on sites like Writer's Digest. One such story was about a person receiving a text from an unknown number. I pumped out a generous amount for such a tiny prompt and had thoughts to even take it further. Now, when I say 'prompt' it doesn't necessarily have to be 'It was a dark and stormy night when Mrs. Winters went outside to look for Pooky and found...' like that. I mean even a self prompt like 'what would I do if I won the lottery.' Things like that to get the juices going. And this brings me to the point of this blog post: guided prompts. If you have an idea and you want to write about it but aren't sure how to get started, try prompting yourself into scenes.
I have an android piece that I am itching to work on and so far I have about five different beginnings, all of which I despise and I know that it's because I'm putting too much pressure on myself to make it 'perfect' and I'm not letting myself just relax and write (which is kind of the point of writing, right?). So what I'm going to do is give myself specific prompts.
Idea: Dystopian Android Tribe
Prompt: Leader of Android Tribe comes across a dead human. What does he do?
Prompt: Androids find a baby and attempt to raise it.
Prompt: Androids think of themselves as 'living,' how do they react when someone tells them they have no value and are just pieces of machinery?
Prompt: Show the androids breaking or following the three laws of Robotics.
Prompt: Do androids really dream of electric sheep?
Prompt: It was a dark and stormy night... wait... no, I meant: one of the androids falls into disrepair, how do the androids react to the 'death' of one of their own?
These are all scenes that could potentially work themselves into the book, but the real purpose of these prompts is to get me somewhere in character and plot development and, ultimately, to get words on the page. I will most likely be answering some of these tomorrow and posting them on my Gurgle Burp blog. I know that the idea as I've written it is very vague (trust me I do have a bit more of a plan in mind than just that), but if you have any prompts for that idea, please post them and I will attempt to answer them as well! Prompts are fun, dang it. They shouldn't just be used to generate ideas, they can also be employed to fuel ideas that are already hatched and eager for development.
Amanda LaFantasie (Skoora) © April 2013